NPR News

PHOTOS: Scenes From The March For Life

Jan 25, 2013

Thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered across the nation's capital Friday, marking the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

For many, faith was a large part of their opposition. Dunia Minniun from New Jersey, brought her husband's cross to the rally so he could be with her "to save the lives of the innocents."

Signs of 1963 are everywhere in Birmingham, Ala., these days. The city is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights events of that year: the children who marched until police turned fire hoses and dogs on them; Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"; and the September bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.

Planted by white supremacists, the bomb killed four young girls preparing to worship. It was an act of terrorism that shocked the country and propelled Congress to pass the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act.

To Combat Suicides, Army Focuses On The Homefront

Jan 25, 2013

When Sgt. Brandon McCoy returned from Iraq, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife, Alicia, remembers him being on edge in public.

"I'm watching him, and his trigger finger never stopped moving, constantly," says Alicia.

Four years later, after he returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, she says, she'd wake up with his hands wrapped around her throat. She told him: Get help or get a divorce. So he scheduled an appointment and — along with Alicia — trekked to the Fort Campbell hospital located on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

In a bombshell decision on the limits of executive power, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., has invalidated President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Legal experts say the court's reasoning upends decades of conventional wisdom and deals a big victory to Senate Republicans in an era of congressional gridlock.

A key federal panel Friday recommended placing new restrictions on Vicodin and similar prescription painkillers.

At the conclusion of an emotional two-day hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 19-10 to recommend the agency change how drugs that contain the opioid hydrocodone are classified as controlled substances.

The Mars Curiosity Rover has beamed back its first nighttime pictures. It sent one taken while using its white LED lights and another using its ultraviolet LED lights.

It's a milestone and the pictures are pretty cool. But they don't tell us much of anything yet.

The agency charged with finding French alternatives to foreign-language terms has put an end to the word "hashtag" in France.

From now on, reports Fast Company, the Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie has decided "mot-dièse" (that's MO-dee-YEZ for those of you who are not Francophiles) is the new hashtag.

Fast Company explains:

The Catholic Church is Spain's largest and richest landowner, though its nonprofit status means it is exempt from paying most taxes.

But amid the current economic crisis, that may be changing.

One college town just outside Madrid is leading an effort by some Spanish municipalities to serve the church an up-to-date property tax bill.

Alcala de Henares is re-evaluating the status of hundreds of church holdings that have been exempt from paying property tax for hundreds of years.

Not many Americans are fans of the Electoral College. But trying to change the way electoral votes are allocated makes lots of people unhappy, too.

That's what Republicans in a number of states are finding just now. There are a half-dozen states that President Obama carried last November where both the legislature and the governor's office are controlled by the GOP — Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia.

In most of those states, there are efforts under way to change how electoral votes are distributed.

Health insurance plans now have to cover the full cost of breast pumps for nursing mothers. This is the result of a provision in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and the new rule took effect for many people at the start of this year.

It's led to a boom in the sale of the pumps, which can cost hundreds of dollars.

Lots has been made about Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and her glasses. New York Magazine, for example, ran a photo gallery of how Clinton used her glasses to convey emotions during the Benghazi hearings on the Hill.

Today, State Department spokesman Philippe Reines responded to the magazine's photogallery providing a serious explanation for the new accessory:

Singer Don McLean has been fined $400, BDN Maine Midcoast reports, for cruising through a Rockport, Maine, school zone last September at 43 mph when the legal limit was 15 mph.

Who likes meetings? Anybody?

Didn't think so.

Now what if the meeting were held on the go instead of in a stuffy conference room?

If that sounds a little better, then try a walking meeting. You and your colleagues can talk shop and get some exercise.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., won't seek re-election next year, he announced Friday.

The conservative Capitol Hill veteran faced recent criticism from the right for seeking a bipartisan compromise on deficit issues, and for being among the first high-level Republicans to question fidelity to Grover Norquist's no-new-taxes pledge after the November elections.

Those stances had raised speculation about a possible Tea Party-backed GOP primary challenge next year, when Chambliss would have been seeking a third six-year term.

Exxon More Golden Than Apple Again

Jan 25, 2013

Apple stock has dropped sharply since it announced earnings that disappointed analysts. Now the tech tastemaker is paying another price, losing its crown as the world's most valuable company to Exxon Mobil.

Exxon's market capitalization, the total value of its outstanding stock, was about $417 billion Friday. Apple's was about $413 billion.

You thought the economic recovery in the United States was anemic? Try the United Kingdom.

The country learned today that their economy shrank 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. This puts Britain on the precipice of what The Guardian says is an "unprecedented" tripple-dip recession. That is, its third recession in four years.

The Guardian explains:

Thousands of demonstrators are on the streets in Egypt to mark the second anniversary of the revolution that brought down the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Reporting from Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel says two years later what has emerged is "a nation divided."

Leila tells our Newscast unit that while there are many people on the streets, many others are at home, and it's "really unclear" which represents the majority. The country, said Leila, is split between those who want a secular government and those who want Islamist rule.

New Norovirus Strain Rips Through The U.S.

Jan 25, 2013

It's here. A variant of norovirus first spotted in Australia is now sweeping the U.S.

The wily virus causes stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. The sickness is sometimes referred to as the stomach flu, though influenza has nothing to do with it.

For the past two decades, in a small town in southern Italy, a pianist and music teacher has been hunting for and resurrecting the music of the dead.

Francesco Lotoro has found thousands of songs, symphonies and operas written in concentration, labor and POW camps in Germany and elsewhere before and during World War II.

By rescuing compositions written in imprisonment, Lotoro wants to fill the hole left in Europe's musical history and show how even the horrors of the Holocaust could not suppress artistic inspiration.

Did President Obama Misuse MLK's Bible?

Jan 25, 2013

The fact that President Obama's second inauguration took place on the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday felt right to many people, but some critics say the comparison is all wrong. Host Michel Martin and the Barbershop guys weigh in on that and other news.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll talk with a minister whose latest assignment has provoked unexpected questions about race and faith. More on that in our weekly Faith Matters conversation. But first we return to the issue that's still so much on the minds of the nation and national leaders, which is how to keep citizens safe from gun violence while still balancing this country's historic commitment to gun rights.

Former 'Ebony' Editor Was Proud German

Jan 25, 2013

Tell Me More remembers Ebony Magazine's former managing editor, Hans Massaquoi. He arrived in America as an outsider, after growing up black in Nazi Germany. Host Michel Martin speaks with his former colleague, Lynn Norment about his career and legacy.

Now that President Obama is ensconced in his second term, speculation about the future of American politics is wildfire-ish.

In a post-inaugural story, the Associated Press reports that the name of Democratic Vice President Biden "has surfaced as a potential presidential candidate in 2016." Politico says Biden is intoxicated by the prospect.

Back in the day – the 17th century – Vermeer, Rembrandt and the rest of the Dutch Golden Age crew blazed a trail for realism in art. Their work wasn't just technically dazzling; it was also distinctive. Instead of fat baby cherubs and saints, they painted the stuff of every day life. Often, that meant food.

In their hands, grapes popped with juiciness. Lobsters steamed, ready for cracking. Milk practically splashed the viewer as it poured from the jug.

Israel, Germany and Canada are among the countries that have already marched down the path the U.S. will soon follow in allowing women a role in front-line combat units.

And most experts say the integration of women into such roles elsewhere has gone smoothly, despite concerns as to whether they would be up to the physical demands and about the question of fraternization between male and female troops.

Saying he is choosing "one of my closest friends and one of my closest advisers" for the job, President Obama on Friday said that longtime aide Denis McDonough will be his next chief of staff.

During a midday event at the White House that was remarkable for the expansive comments the president made about his friend's character, his dedication and the respect he gets from those who work in the administration, Obama said McDonough has "the kind of heart that I want in the White House."

A hubbub's been building up north for the past week or so about the maple leaf on Canada's new $20 bills.

Though there was a 7.3 percent drop in sales of new homes in December from November, sales were up a healthy 8.8 percent from December 2011, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

Homes sold at a annual rate of 369,000 last month.

Over the whole year, the agencies estimate, there were 367,000 new homes sold — up 19.9 percent from the 306,000 sold in 2011.

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