NPR News

Pages

5:07pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Middle East

Arab League Wavers On Sanctions Against Syria

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 11:54 am

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Arabi (far left) meets with foreign ministers of the Arab League in Cairo on Nov. 27. The group imposed tough sanctions against Syria at that meeting, but is now wavering when it comes to implementing them.
Khaled Elfiqi EPA/Landov

The Arab League has a reputation for being long on rhetoric and short on action. That's why it was so surprising when Arab ministers approved an unprecedented package of sanctions against Syria at the end of November.

But the unity that produced that vote is falling apart, and a meeting in Cairo to set the terms of the sanctions was suspended indefinitely.

Read more

5:06pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Your Money

Amid A Blizzard Of Discounts, 'The Thrill Of The Hunt'

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 5:47 pm

Customers crowd into a Best Buy store in Burbank, Calif., on Nov. 25.
Jae C. Hong AP

Anybody with an e-mail box this time of year is in the middle of a storm — a 20 percent-off coupon lands, only to be topped by another for 30 percent off, then 40 percent, half-price. That's not to mention the free shipping offers piling up like snowdrifts as we head into the last full weekend of Christmas shopping.

Read more

4:50pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Zynga Has Disappointing Initial Public Offering

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 5:01 pm

The corporate logo for Zynga, center, is shown on an electronic billboard at the Nasdaq MarketSite on Friday.
Mark Lennihan AP

The tech and business press called it the most hyped initial public offering since Google, but very quickly today Zynga's public debut went sour with its stock price falling below its initial price of $10.

Read more

4:15pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Transfers Enemy Combatant To Iraqi Government

U.S. authorities decided to transfer Ali Mussa Daqduq — shown here on a poster at a 2007 U.S. military news conference in Baghdad — to Iraqi authorities.
Chris Hondros AFP/Getty Images

As part of its withdrawal from Iraq, the United States has turned over its final prisoner to Iraqi authorities.

The man is Ali Musa Daqduq, whom the United States held in Iraq as an Enemy combatant for his ties to Hezbollah, a militant group from Lebanon.

Read more

3:54pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Food

Marshmallows From Scratch: A Simple, Sticky How-To

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 7:42 am

All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block shows off marshmallows she made from scratch using a recipe from Jennifer Reese's book, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.
Jacob Margolis NPR

A few years ago, Jennifer Reese lost her job, so she decided it was the perfect time to save money by undertaking "all those exciting Little House on the Prairie cooking jobs" she'd been curious to try. Reese was an ambitious cook, and her enthusiasm knew no bounds: She wasn't just baking bread or grinding peanut butter. She fried potato chips, made Pop-Tarts, stretched curds into mozzarella, infused vermouth, fermented kimchee — and, while she was at it, raised her own chickens, turkeys and goats at her home in the San Francisco Bay area.

Read more

3:47pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Music News

Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence Of 'Mr. Guitar'

Chet Atkins at RCA's Studio B in the 1960s.
Courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame

3:39pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Asia

Chinese Property Dispute Becomes A Bitter Showdown

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 12:10 am

Family members burn funeral offerings for Xue Jinbo on Friday. Xue, 42, was involved in a property dispute that turned into a major confrontation with authorities in the southern Chinese village of Wukan. He died in police custody.
Louisa Lim NPR

What began as a property dispute in the southern Chinese village of Wukan has escalated into an open revolt for the past six days. It's one of the most serious episodes of unrest that the Chinese Communist Party has faced in recent years. The protests were suspended for a while Friday so villagers could mourn the man whose death led villagers to chase police and government officials out of town. The police have sealed off the area, but NPR's Louisa Lim managed to get into Wukan.

Read more

3:14pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Batman Actor Christian Bale 'Roughed Up' By Chinese Authorities

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:18 pm

English actor Christian Bale speaks to journalists as he arrives for an event of the Zhang Yimou-directed new movie "The Flowers of War" in Beijing, China.
Andy Wong AP

The actor Christian Bale says he was "roughed up" by Chinese authorities when he tried to visit human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng.

The incident was caught on camera by a CNN crew that was accompanying him on the trip. Here's the video:

And here's The New York Times' description of it:

Read more

3:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Commentary

Week In Politics: Economy; GOP Primary

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 6:27 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And now we're joined by our regular Friday commentators, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and David Brooks of the New York Times. Welcome to both of you.

E.J. DIONNE: Good to be with you.

DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.

Read more

3:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Sports

Tebow Mania: Why The Quarterback Is So Popular

Fans show their support of quarterback Tim Tebow.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Every so often, an NFL player transcends the game. Think William "Refrigerator" Perry or Bo Jackson.

Tim Tebow, the quarterback who'll lead the Denver Broncos against the powerful New England Patriots on Sunday, has become a household name, thanks to his improbable come-from-behind victories combined with his prominent expressions of faith.

How does he do it? The Bears, Chargers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Jets, Raiders and Vikings would like to know.

Time For A Comeback

Tebow is a proper noun. Tebow is a verb meaning to genuflect.

Read more

3:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Law

SEC Charges Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Officials

The Securities and Exchange Commission is going after former top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for allegedly committing securities fraud.

The mortgage giants had to be taken over by the government in 2008 and then propped up by taxpayers. The SEC says the officials misled investors about the firm's exposure to subprime mortgages

Read more

3:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Music Interviews

Cam Penner Spins Road Stories On 'Gypsy Summer'

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:35 pm

Cam Penner's latest album is Gypsy Summer.
Courtesy of the artist

When your grandfather is a bootlegger and your family runs an illegal small-town roadhouse, you must have a lot of stories to tell. Cam Penner does, and he tells them in his music. The Canadian singer-songwriter's latest album is titled Gypsy Summer.

Read more

2:58pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Law

SEC Sues Former Freddie, Fannie Executives

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:24 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In federal court in New York this morning, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged six top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with civil fraud. The SEC says the executives of the giant mortgage companies mislead investors about the amount of subprime loans their companies held during the housing bust. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

Read more

2:49pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Slugger Barry Bonds Sentenced To One Month House Arrest

Baseball slugger Barry Bonds will serve 30 days in house arrest for his obstruction of justice conviction back in April.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

"Bonds sat stoically as U.S. District Judge Susan Illston told baseball's home run king that he had avoided prison but must spend one month in his two-acre Beverly Hills estate, two years on probation, serve 250 hours of community service and pay a $4,000 fine.

Read more

2:30pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Record

Music In Holiday Concerts Thorny Subject For Public Schools

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 12:59 pm

A choir in Little Rock, Ark., performs.
dlewis33 istockphoto.com

1:27pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Citing Eurozone Crisis, Fitch Threatens Downgrade Of 6 EU Countries

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:29 pm

Fitch ratings agency, one of the big three, said today that it was considering downgrading the credit ratings of six Euro-zone countries. Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus could see their their rating cut by one or two notches.

The AP reports:

Read more

1:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
NPR Story

Physicists Find 'Hints' of Elusive Higgs Boson

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Scientists have been searching for decades for a subatomic particle called the Higgs Boson. You've heard about it. It's been in the news, and you know, in theory, it explains why and how objects have mass.

Read more

1:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
NPR Story

Exploring The Science Of Flying, From Your Window Seat

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:57 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This holiday season I'm sure is finding many of us on airplanes, flying around the country. It could take tedious hours of body scans, the crummy back-of-the-seat TV and scary airplane bumps and noises. But if you marvel at nature and technology, though, you can turn this torturous event into a more enjoyable learning experience.

Read more

1:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
NPR Story

What Makes Wings Work?

Researchers at New York University are studying flight with a speaker, a soup pot, straws and a box full of paper aircraft. Emeritus professor Stephen Childress describes the experiment and what he and his colleagues have learned about flight from their homemade flying objects.

1:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Medical Treatments

Treating Stress, Speech Disorders With Music

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. You know that nice feeling you get when you listen to your favorite tune? What about music that can actually be medical therapy? It does exist. It's prescribed for illnesses from speech disorders to autism, Alzheimer's, even cancer.

Take the case of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. After she was shot in the head earlier this year, one way she learned to talk again was by singing her favorite songs, like this Cyndi Lauper tune.

(SOUNDBITE OF ABC BROADCAST )

Read more

1:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
History

Science Diction: The Origin Of The Petri Dish

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

It's time for our monthly episode of Science Diction, where we explore the origins of scientific words with my guest Howard Markel, professor of history of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. He joins us WUOM. Welcome back, Howard.

HOWARD MARKEL: Good afternoon, Ira.

FLATOW: We have a very interesting word, or actually lab equipment today.

MARKEL: That we do. It's my favorite plate. It's the Petri dish.

Read more

12:39pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

Family Of Agent Killed By 'Fast And Furious' Rifle Demands Accountability

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:19 pm

A year after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by a weapon lost in a failed gunwalking operation, his family is calling on the U.S. government to hold those responsible accountable.

Read more

12:32pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Remembrances

For Hitchens, In Life And Death, An Unaware Cosmos

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 10:29 pm

Christopher Hitchens, shown here in 2010, began a lifelong battle with a God he didn't believe in when he was just 9 years old.
David Levenson Getty Images

Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.

Read more

12:18pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Planet Money

Why Airlines Keep Going Bankrupt

Scott Olson Getty Images

The airline industry consistently breaks the number one rule of business: The job of the company is to make money.

"The industry in aggregate has lost about $60 billion over the 32 years since deregulation, " says Severin Borenstein, an economist at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkley.

Read more

12:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Iraq

Politicians Regret, Reflect On Iraq War Vote

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more

12:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Faith Matters

How Much Is Too Much Religion In Sports?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear what some of you have to say about this week's program. Our BackTalk segment is in just a few minutes. But first, it's time for Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality, and once in a while, the intersection with sports.

Read more

12:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
BackTalk

Listeners Bash Barbershop Comment On Work Ethic

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for BackTalk where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the Tell Me More blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. We also update you on some of the stories we've been covering. Ammad Omar is here with me once again. He's an editor here at TELL ME MORE. Welcome back, Ammad.

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Thanks, Michel.

MARTIN: What do you have?

Read more

12:00pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Barbershop

Shop Talk: GOP Hopefuls Beat Up On Obama In Debate

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chair for a shapeup this week are author Jimi Izrael, civil right attorney and author Arsalan Iftikhar, from the Log Cabin Republicans, executive director R. Clarke Cooper. He is also an Army Reserve captain. Thank you for your service.

R. CLARKE COOPER: Thank you.

Read more

11:52am

Fri December 16, 2011
The Two-Way

'Layaway Santas' Are Spreading Cheer This Year At Kmarts

We need a heart-warming story and this fits the bill:

"At Kmart stores across the country," The Associated Press writes, "Santa is getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents."

We're seeing stories about this happening in:

Read more

11:25am

Fri December 16, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

An Early Exit For Early Retiree Insurance Program

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 11:36 am

iStockphoto.com

The clock is winding down on a little known but very popular part of the Affordable Care Act that has helped employers offer health benefits to early retirees.

The $5 billion early retiree fund has already paid out $4.5 billion, and the last day to submit claims for any of the remaining funds is Dec. 31.

The federal health law created the fund to give employers an incentive to keep providing health insurance coverage for retirees between the ages of 55 and 65.

Read more

Pages