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As President Obama and congressional leaders started negotiations Friday to find a way to avoid the nation's going over the fiscal cliff, it was fairly plain that even some of those who are wisest in the ways of Washington couldn't agree on whether policymakers would actually be able to prevent the federal government from becoming a cliff diver.

Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina weighs in at close to 1,000 pages, whatever the translation. And since it appeared in the 1870s, it has often been acclaimed as one of the finest novels ever written. It's also been adapted for film or television at least a dozen times — including a sweeping and highly theatrical new version directed by Joe Wright.

Keira Knightley plays the unhappily married Anna, with Jude Law as her chilly, correct husband, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Count Vronsky, the dashing cavalry officer whose love for Anna leads to tragedy.

Plummer Portrays One Of The Greats, Again

Nov 17, 2012

In 1942, the legendary actor John Barrymore prowled the stage of an empty Broadway theater to prepare for an audition. He wanted to revive his first great performance as Richard III, but that night, Barrymore also opened the traveling trunk of his overstuffed, fabulous and troubled life.

Christopher Plummer won the Tony Award for best actor for his performance of this lion of the stage. Now, he's committed that performance to film.

Watching Mary Tyler Moore while he was growing up, city planner Jeff Speck saw a different view of urbanity. It stood out amongst the crime-ridden urban settings of other favorite TV series.

Millenials, Speck says, have an even broader vision of what city life means, thanks in part to Seinfeld, Friends and Sex and the City.The neighborhood coffee shops and carless characters show viewers a "walkable" city.

Sierra Leone's "blood diamonds" helped fuel atrocities in the impoverished West African nation in the 1990s. The war has now been over for a decade, and the country's most valuable resource is no longer known as the product of a conflict. But it remains a contentious issue.

President Obama hasn't even named his choice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who plans to step down at the end of this term. But there's been a lot of heated rhetoric this week over one of the front-runners, Susan Rice.

Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of the administration on five Sunday talk shows days after the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. At the time, she suggested the attack began as a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video. U.S. officials now say it was a terrorist attack.

Here's a quick rundown on three of the most impenetrable terms related to the fiscal cliff. For more, see our post, The Fiscal Cliff In Three And A Half Graphics.

1. Sequester

Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York and New Jersey, the lights and heat have finally come back on across most of the region.

But nowhere was the wait for power longer than on Long Island, where about 1,000 customers are still in the cold and dark, and utility mismanagement has deep roots.

David Petraeus' resignation from the CIA further complicated the debate over the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Petraeus, a key figure in the events, stepped down as director after admitting to an extramarital affair. But members of Congress were so anxious to hear from him that they brought Petraeus back to Capitol Hill on Friday to get his version of the Benghazi story.

Fresh off his re-election, a politically fortified President Obama summoned the top four congressional leaders to the White House on Friday for the first of what could be many rounds of talks for a deal to avert fiscal calamity.

The meeting was part of the opening moves to keep the nation from sailing over the so-called "fiscal cliff" — those across-the-board tax hikes and deep spending cuts set to kick in at year's end.

In welcoming the quartet of lawmakers, Obama struck a conciliatory note.

Vintage Trouble has enjoyed a pretty quick rise since forming just two years ago.

The tech industry has been lobbying hard for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the 1986 law governing online privacy.

Under an umbrella group calling itself Digital Due Process, companies and civil liberties groups have argued that the law is too loose with the privacy of data stored online, especially Web-based email and other documents on the cloud.

Ever since Hurricane Sandy ripped through the New Jersey coast, some of the hardest-hit towns have been closed altogether. Authorities say gas leaks and unstable buildings have made them too risky to visit.

This week, residents were allowed to enter Seaside Heights for a few hours each day to get a firsthand look at the damage. Many are struggling with whether to rebuild their homes.

Weighing The Cost

Rep. Peter King caused a row coming out of the closed-door hearings on the attack of the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

In an interview with Fox News, King, a Republican from New York, said that when former CIA Director David Petraeus said he believed from the start that this was a terrorist attack, he was contradicting earlier testimony.

A Florida judge on Friday denied Republican Rep. Allen West's last-ditch bid for a recount of early-voting ballots in the close and ugly re-election race he is losing to Democrat Patrick Murphy.

West's effort to wrest the race from Murphy, who is leading in a race that has yet to be officially called, now goes to the St. Lucie County elections board, which was scheduled to review his complaint late Friday.

It was unclear when it would rule.

This Is How Diabetes Swept The Nation

Nov 16, 2012

When it comes to diabetes, just about everyone has heard there's an epidemic upon us.

In 2010, about 18.8 million people of all ages in the U.S. had been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 7 million had diabetes but hadn't been diagnosed.

How much have things changed?

Back in 1995, about 4.5 percent of adults in the U.S. had been diagnosed with diabetes. By 2010, the prevalence had zoomed to 8.2 percent.

The ethanol industry is happy with the Environmental Protection Agency today. If you're worried about the price of meat, though, you may not be so pleased.

We've been bringing you the news of the escalating violence between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

But we wanted to bring you three pieces of media that vividly depict the situation on the ground.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

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Now, to an unusual drama playing out in the NBA. It involves the Houston Rockets and their first-round draft choice, the 6-foot-8-inch-tall forward named Royce White. White suffers from general anxiety disorder, and the illness is complicating his transition to life in the NBA. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us now as he does most Fridays. Hi there, Stefan.

STEFAN FATSIS, BYLINE: Hey, Audie.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. For the first time since the election, Republican and Democratic congressional leaders came together at the White House and by all accounts, it was time well spent.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: We had a very constructive meeting with the president.

SENATOR HARRY REID: So I think it was a very constructive meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It was a very constructive meeting.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. The Twinkie, the snack cake with incredible staying power on the shelf and in the marketplace, may have reached its expiration date. Hostess Brands says it is liquidating, going out of business after 82 years. The company wants to sell off all of its brands. The decision comes one week after a strike.

Hamas militants launched more rockets toward Tel Aviv and other cities amid Israel's continuing air and naval bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Friday. Egypt's Prime Minister also paid a brief visit to Gaza City and its Shifa hospital to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

When it comes to tallying our liquid calories, we're not always so accurate. Does that tiny 5-ounce serving of wine really count as a glass of wine? (The answer is yes.)

So as the season of celebrations heats up, and holiday cheer is delivered in the form of bubbly, beer or booze, just how many calories are we consuming from alcohol on a random Tuesday night?

Almost as much as we get from soda, apparently — an average of about 100 calories a day. That may not sound like a lot, but it can add up.

Here's a big number for you today: $500 million.

That's how much the latest installment of the "Call Of Duty" video game, "Black Ops II," raked in the 24 hours following its release.

For Republicans ruminating over why their party lost the presidential election, here's something else to digest from the swing state of Florida. Cuban-Americans — long a reliable Republican voting bloc — split almost evenly between Mitt Romney and President Obama, according to at least one group's exit polls.

Click the audio link to hear Alt.Latino's Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd discuss the Latin Grammy Awards with Tell Me More's Michel Martin.

Pig Genome Project May Pave The Way For Better Bacon

Nov 16, 2012

Could bacon get any tastier?

Pig scientists and breeders say indeed it could, now that the pig genome has been sequenced and a trove of new genetic information is available.

The Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium, an international group of researchers, published their analysis of the genome this week in Nature.

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