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12:01am

Wed January 25, 2012
Energy

Is The Booming Natural Gas Industry Overproducing?

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 12:25 pm

Hydraulic fracturing wells have been producing a tremendous amount of natural gas — far more than the current demand. Above, a Cabot Oil & Gas natural gas drill at a fracking site in South Montrose, Pa.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The practice of hydraulic fracturing — pumping fluid into underground rock to push up natural gas — has its detractors, especially among environmentalists. But it's becoming clear that whatever its drawbacks, "fracking," as it's called, is producing a lot of gas — maybe too much gas.

Fracking was once a small part of the natural gas industry, a technique to get hard-to-reach deposits in underground shale. Then the technology improved, and the dinner bell rang. Everybody wanted in. Now there's so much gas on the market that the price is at a 10-year low.

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12:01am

Wed January 25, 2012
Africa

Nigeria's President Under Pressure To Quell Violence

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (left) walks with the Emir of Kano Ado Bayero during a one-day visit to the city that was rocked by recent attacks.
Aminu Abuabakar AFP/Getty Images

Kano, the largest city in Nigeria's Muslim north, is an ancient, sprawling city of more than 9 million. Last Friday, the Muslim day of prayers was shattered by a series of coordinated bomb blasts.

Just down the street from one of the main market areas in the city, the street remains blocked off from a police station hit in the attacks. The radical Islamist sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility.

Sagir Ali, a security guard at a parking lot at the market, says he watched as nearby government offices were attacked.

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12:01am

Wed January 25, 2012
Middle East

Can Sanctions Alone Get Iran To Negotiate?

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 10:44 am

Fishing boats are seen in front of oil tankers on the Persian Gulf waters, south of the Strait of Hormuz. The European Union has announced plans to join U.S. efforts to slow the flow of oil from Iran, the world's third largest exporter.
Kamran Jebreili AP

In an effort to bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program through economic pain, both the U.S. and the European Union have imposed sanctions that should make it harder for Iran to sell its oil. But the global oil business is unpredictable, and sanctions are no guarantee.

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12:01am

Wed January 25, 2012
Around the Nation

Irene's Floods Dry Up Business In Vermont Town

When Waterbury, Vt., got walloped by the remnants of Hurricane Irene, the small town sustained an estimated $9 million in damages to personal property, and countless millions more in lost business revenue. Five months later, the waters have receded, but Waterbury's future remains uncertain.

On Main Street, a church bell still chimes every day, but daily life in Waterbury hasn't been the same since Irene.

"It's palpable," says Bill Shepeluk, Waterbury's municipal manager. "You can sense that it's not as vibrant as it was."

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6:25pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Salt

Eaters Worldwide Are Skeptical of Manufacturers' Health Claims

A woman with her son checks labels on fruit drinks in a store in Manila, Philippines.
Pat Roque ASSOCIATED PRESS

We members of the global food village seem to have something in common: We're pretty darned skeptical food manufacturers' health claims.

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6:04pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Presidential Race

Gingrich Campaign Rides A Financial Roller Coaster

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 7:43 pm

Casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, at the Marina Bay Sands complex in Singapore in June. The Adelsons have donated $5 million each to the pro-Gingrich superPAC Winning Our Future.
Roslan Rahman AFP/Getty Images

Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign celebrated his win in the South Carolina Republican primary with a so-called money bomb, a fundraising push to raise as much as possible.

It was a success. But its importance also shows the precarious financial state of Gingrich's campaign.

Spokesman R.C. Hammond says the campaign first set a target of $1 million, then doubled it and met it, all within 48 hours.

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6:00pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Live Blog: 'No Bailouts, No Handouts, No Copouts,' Obama Will Say

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:33 pm

President Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

5:04pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Apple Sold 37 Million iPhones Last Quarter, 7 Million More Than Expected

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:22 pm

Apple's just-released financial results for the quarter ended Dec. 31 have some eye-popping numbers:

-- "Record quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion," double the $6 billion of the same quarter a year earlier.

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4:25pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Around the Nation

Texas Town Embraces New Refugee Residents

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 9:06 pm

Ker Paw Nah, 27, is a supervisor at Pilgrim's Pride. He met his wife, Paw Mu Nar in a refugee camp. Their son, Hai Ler Nah, just turned one.
Kate Archer Kent Red River Radio

Though some states have cracked down hard on illegal immigration, one small Texas town has rolled out the welcome mat for hundreds of foreigners and wouldn't mind seeing more move in.

It started about a year ago when a chicken processing plant in Nacogdoches, Texas, announced it would hire a couple hundred new workers, all of them refugees from Myanmar, also known as Burma.

"The initial reaction, it wasn't as good as it should have been," says Nacogdoches Mayor Roger Van Horn.

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4:20pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Business

Muslim Men Rescue Bagel Shop And Keep It Kosher

Founded in 1920, Coney Island Bialys and Bagels claims to be the oldest bialy bakery in New York City. It's now run by two Pakistani Muslim men, who say they are keeping it kosher.
Margot Adler NPR

Coney Island Bialys and Bagels claims to be the oldest bialy bakery in New York City. Founded in 1920, it's faced hard economic times and changing neighborhood demographics.

Now, the shop has been rescued by two Pakistani Muslims — and they're keeping it kosher.

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4:15pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Election 2012

A Few Questions, Answers About Mitt Romney's Taxes

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 6:22 pm

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney arrives to deliver a speech ahead of the State of the Union presidential address at National Gypsum Company in Tampa, Fla. on January 24, 2012.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Mitt Romney has filed his tax returns — to the voters. And to no one's surprise, the former Massachusetts governor, private equity firm exec and GOP presidential contender makes a tidy sum.

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4:15pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Energy

Foreign Oil Imports Drop As U.S. Drilling Ramps Up

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 6:07 pm

Natural gas is burned off next to an oil well being drilled at a site near Tioga, N.D., in August. U.S. oil production started increasing a few years ago and is predicted to continue to rise, reducing the country's dependence on oil imports.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Since President Obama took office, the U.S. has made considerable progress in overcoming a problem that has bedeviled presidents since Richard Nixon — dependence on foreign oil.

When U.S. oil dependence peaked at 60 percent in 2005, then-President George W. Bush said the country had a serious problem and was "addicted to oil."

Oil imports were down to 49 percent in 2010, and the Energy Information Agency predicted Tuesday that imports would drop to 36 percent by 2035.

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4:12pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Law

Same-Sex Marriage May Hinge On Supreme Court

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 7:27 pm

In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, making same-sex marriage in the state illegal. Now, legal challenges to that initiative mean it could soon get a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Max Whittaker Getty Images

With New York's legalization of same-sex marriage effectively doubling the number of Americans living in states where gays can marry, gay advocates like to say 2011 was a big year.

It's hard to imagine another doubling this year, but proponents are still hoping to build on last year's success. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states plus Washington, D.C., and it may come up for a vote in six more. All the while, legal challenges are pushing the issue closer to getting an opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court.

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4:05pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Common Chemicals Could Make Kids' Vaccines Less Effective

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 6:07 pm

iStockphoto.com

The more exposure children have to chemicals called perfluorinated compounds, the less likely they are to have a good immune response to vaccinations, a study just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.

The finding suggests, but doesn't prove, that these chemicals can affect the immune system enough to make some children more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

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3:58pm

Tue January 24, 2012
All Tech Considered

Who Are You? Google+ Really Wants To Know

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:01 pm

On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. But your true identity is key to Google+.
AP

Google will begin allowing users to add nicknames on Google+, Bradley Horowitz, the vice president of product at Google's social network said Tuesday.

True pseudonyms are still verboten on the network unless you go through an application process. To earn the right not to use your real name on Google+ you will have to prove you already have an online following that knows you that way.

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3:47pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Massive Solar Storm Causes Planes To Be Rerouted

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 7:13 pm

This January 23, 2012 image provided by NASA, captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows an M9-class solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere.
AFP/Getty Images

You might have heard about a major solar storm that is hitting Earth right now. It's the biggest to hit us since 2005. You've also probably heard a few people say, "I didn't feel anything."

As our friends at 13.7 explained earlier today, the storms have the ability to disrupt sensitive electronics and even the power grid. Usually none of those things happen. But, today's solar storm did cause a bit of disruption.

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3:44pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Around the Nation

Down And Out Escape To 'Slab' In California Desert

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 8:30 pm

Slab City is an informal community in the California desert on the site of a former WWII artillery range. The recent recession has sent the town a new wave of people who have fallen on hard times and are looking to escape the burdens of modern life.
Gloria Hillard For NPR

There are no signs leading to Slab City. From Los Angeles you head east deep into the desert, and then south, past the Salton Sea. For years, a diverse group of people has been drawn to the abandoned Marine base, but the troubled economy has driven even more travelers to the place dubbed "The Last Free Place in America."

Following the tire tracks of countless RVs, trailers, vans and campers, you pass a landscape of the vehicles that have taken root here, their tires now soft on the desert floor.

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2:43pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Asia

For China's 'Left-Behind Kids,' A Free Lunch

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:06 am

Students enjoy free meals on the inaugural day of the Free Lunch for Children program at Hujiaying primary school in Shaanxi province's Nanzheng county.
Louisa Lim NPR

For 10-year-old student Xie Xiaoyuan, just getting to school is an ordeal. On a recent day, her frostbitten ears are testament to just how difficult the trip is.

"I get up at five o'clock," she says, "then I comb my hair and start walking."

Xie navigates a mountain path in China's remote Shaanxi province in the dark, trudging through snowstorms and mudslides. Then she has to get a bus for about 10 miles. She hasn't time to eat breakfast.

"For lunch, I spend 15 cents on two pieces of bread and a drink," she says.

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2:43pm

Tue January 24, 2012
NPR Story

Letters: Love And Autism, Second Medical Opinions

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. During last week's show on love and autism, many listeners called and emailed, including Eric from Red Bluff, California. We read his email on the air. I will be a 40-year-old virgin in September. I dated once, when I was 32. Other than that, I've had no love interest where the love was reciprocated. I did not expect to ever find love. I do not believe I could be loved. That is all.

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2:37pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

This could be your forest on psilocybin.
Baxterclaus Flickr

Magic mushrooms are said to blow your mind, but the hallucinogenic chemical psilocybin, the active ingredient, actually reins in key parts of the brain, according to two new studies.

The memorably vivid emotional experiences reported by mushroom users may flourish because the parts of the brain suppressed by psilocybin usually keep our world view tidy and rational.

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2:07pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Religion

10 Years On, Clergy Abuse Scandal Still Reverberates

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Ten years ago this month, The Boston Globe published the first in a series of stories about the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and systematic cover-up by the archdiocese of Boston.

The scandal shocked millions and proved to be just the beginning. It wasn't just Boston, and it wasn't just the U.S. Hundreds have now spoken out around the world. Their stories and their lawsuits forced the church to deal with an issue it kept under the rug for decades.

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1:51pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Salt

Why McDonald's In France Doesn't Feel Like Fast Food

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:41 pm

A McDonald's breakfast meal in Villeurbanne, France includes fresh baguettes and jam spreads with coffee for $4.55.
Juste Philippe Maxppp /Landov

Greetings from McDonald's, or "MacDo," as they call it here in Paris, where I am comfortably ensconced in a McCafé enjoying a croissant and a grand crème coffee. I'm surrounded by people of all ages who are talking with friends, reading, or typing away on their laptops like me.

The beauty of McDonald's in France is that it doesn't feel like a fast food joint, where hordes of people shuffle in and out and tables turn at a fast clip.

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1:38pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Wesley Brown, Nation's Oldest Sitting Federal Judge, Dies At 104

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 1:50 pm

Wesley Brown was appointed to the federal bench by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. When he passed the bar in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt was president.

As the Kansas City Star puts it, during his time as federal district judge in Kansas, Brown saw a shift in civil rights, and women's rights. He presided over cases about women in the workplace and tackled privacy issues on the Internet.

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1:00pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Environment

Op-Ed: The Verdict Is In On Climate Change

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Disputes on climate change are often presented in the familiar paradigm of a court case with scientists as prosecutors, skeptics as the defense, and the rest of us the jury awaiting the ruling of a judge.

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1:00pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Around the Nation

The Dangerous Lives Of Runaway Squatters

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 12:25 pm

Eight young homeless people died in a fire at this abandoned warehouse in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans, on Dec. 28, 2010. The blaze was sparked by wood burning in a barrel, which the squatters were using to stay warm during the freezing night.
Gerald Herbert AP

In December 2010, eight young people died in a fire in a New Orleans warehouse. Local accounts describe them as homeless squatters. One of the victims was Katie Simianer, a 21-year-old who had told her mother she was backpacking across the country.

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1:00pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Middle East

Can Turkey Be A Model For The Arab World?

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 3:45 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

In a recent presidential Republican debate, Turkey - under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan - was described as a place where the murder rate against women has increased 1,400 percent, where press freedom has declined to the level of Russia, and where Turkey's prime minister has embraced Hamas and threatened military force against both Israel and Cyprus.

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12:36pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

State Bill Outlaws Use Of Fetuses In Food Industry

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 1:34 pm

A scientist holds a tray of stem cells in a lab, in this file photo from 2010.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

A bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature has some folks scratching their heads, as it prohibits "the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses."

Since the bill was introduced late last week by State Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican from Oklahoma City, corners of the Internet have been buzzing with the news, as people try to figure out two things: 1) is this real; and 2) is there any reason the bill might be needed?

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12:32pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Business

Davos: A Super Bowl For Smart, Rich People

A guard stands next to a logo of the World Economic Forum at the Congress Center in the Swiss resort of Davos.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

When winter reaches its dreariest depths each year, Americans cheer themselves by planning Super Bowl parties. They want to reconnect with friends, eat, drink and share observations about who is likely to win — or lose.

But if you are very smart or very rich or even better, both — then you break up the mid-winter blahs by going to Davos.

That's the Swiss town where the financially, intellectually and politically powerful convene each year to reconnect with friends, eat, drink and share observations about winning and losing.

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12:09pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Julian Assange Announces The Launch Of New TV Show

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is trying to take his web-based provocations to the TV screen. Wikileaks announced Assange will host a television series featuring interviews with "key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries from around the world."

Wikileaks, which has published a vast amount of classified data including video and secret government documents, promises to "draw together controversial voices from across the political spectrum."

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12:09pm

Tue January 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Taxes May Be Legally Sound But They're Politically Dicey

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:30 pm

Mitt Romney greets audience members at the National Gypsum Co. in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

The income fairness debate has just gotten a lot more interesting. And it's taking place in anything but Mitt Romney's "quiet rooms."

Romney's release of his federal tax details for 2010 and 2011 came the morning that President Obama was preparing to deliver his State of the Union address, a speech in which he was expected to make the increasing gap between the superwealthy and everyone else a major topic of the evening.

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