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4:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

N.C. Governor Causes Controversy With Poet Laureate Appointment

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 1:38 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We have a report this morning on a controversy in the rough-and-tumble bare-knuckle world of poetry. North Carolina has a new poet laureate, Governor Pat McCrory appointed a state employee whose work is self-published. The governor acted without input from the state Arts Council which has some in the literary community upset. Here's Duncan McFadyen of member station WFAE in Charlotte.

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NPR Story
4:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Commission To Decide If Some Federal Inmates Will Be Let Out Early

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

One of the most significant changes to the criminal justice system in a generation will be on the table tomorrow here in Washington. The U.S. Sentencing Commission is set to vote on a plan that could send tens of thousands of federal prison inmates home early by reducing prison terms for drug trafficking. It's getting mixed reviews from both law enforcement and some civil rights groups. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson reports.

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The Two-Way
2:34 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser

Physicists put diamonds at the center of this massive laser, to see what would happen.
Matt Swisher Matt Swisher/LLNL

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:09 am

Physicists have used the world's most powerful laser to zap diamonds. The results, they say, could tell us more about the cores of giant planets.

"Diamonds have very special properties, besides being very expensive and used for jewelrey etc.," says Raymond Smith, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "It's the hardest substance known to man."

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Parallels
2:32 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Amid A 'Shimmering' Tension, A Walk Through Israel And The West Bank

Paul Salopek, National Geographic fellow, looks out over Jerusalem during his seven-year journey by foot from Africa to South America.
Bassam Almohor National Geographic

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:09 am

Not long ago, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek traveled through Israel and the West Bank as part of his journey walking from Africa to South America. He was there this spring, before the current violence erupted. Talking recently from Cyprus to Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, he says the long-standing conflict was part of daily life.


Interview Highlights

On coming under fire from Israeli soldiers

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Shots - Health News
2:31 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Skimping On Sleep Can Stress Body And Brain

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 7:58 am

"The lion and calf shall lie down together," Woody Allen once wrote, "but the calf won't get much sleep."

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Goats and Soda
12:04 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Dogs Carry Kissing Bug Disease In Texas And Latin America

Dogs throughout Latin America carry the Chagas parasite — and boost the risk of people catching it. And it's not just shelter dogs, like these in Mexico, who are at risk. Even family dogs get the deadly disease.
Jose Luis Gonzalez Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:47 am

We often think about people spreading diseases around the world. This spring, vacationers brought chikungunya from the Caribbean to the United States. Businessmen have likely spread Ebola across international borders in West Africa. And health care workers have carried a new virus from the Middle East to Asia and Europe.

But what about (wo)man's best friend?

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Law
11:58 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

With A Series Of Small Bans, Cities Turn Homelessness Into A Crime

Susan St. Amour panhandles on a median in Portland, Maine. The city tried to ban loitering on medians last year, but a judge found the law unconstitutional.
Caroline Losneck for NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 12:00 pm

Laws that criminalize homelessness are on the rise across the country, according to a new report by an advocacy group. The laws prohibit everything from sleeping in public to loitering and begging. Advocates for the homeless say the laws are making the problem worse.

Susan St. Amour is among those who could be affected by the new restrictions. Twice a week, she stands on a median strip at an intersection in downtown Portland, Maine, asking passersby for cash. She says she needs the money to get by.

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News
7:02 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Obama Unrolls New Sanctions Against Russia

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama had some announcements today on U.S. policy overseas. In the White House briefing room, the president ran through a long list of what he described as pressing foreign policy challenges - questions about the election results in Afghanistan, Iranian nuclear talks, the ongoing violence between Hamas and Israel and finally, the situation in Ukraine. The U.S. government imposed new sanctions on Russia today over interference in that country. Here's how President Obama summed it up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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U.S.
5:59 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Lotteries Take In Billions, Often Attract The Poor

A customer holds his Mega Millions lottery ticket at Tobacco Plus in Muncie, Ind. Researchers say lotteries often draw low-income gamblers who are on welfare.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:13 pm

Santo Domingo Liquors in Lawrence, Mass., has two cash registers. But sometimes only the lottery register has a line.

Elizabeth Correia, eight months pregnant, is running that register with her mother — her family owns the store.

"We do this seven days a week. Seven days a week. My mom, sometimes she'll do it open to closing," Correia says.

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The Two-Way
5:52 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Federal Judge Declares Death Penalty Unconstitutional In California

California's death row at San Quentin State Prison is crowded, but the execution chamber has been idle since 2006
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 12:22 pm

A federal judge has ruled that California's use of the death penalty is dysfunctional and violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney's ruling came in response to an appeal by Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to death in Los Angeles in 1995 for the rape and killing of his girlfriend's mother three years earlier.

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