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The Salt
3:42 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Moon Turnips? NASA Takes Gardening to New Heights

NASA's latest mission is one small step for turnips, one giant leap for plant-kind.
Carolina K. Smith iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:15 pm

The hyper-local food trend is really big right now. And apparently, NASA wants to make sure astronauts don't miss out. The agency recently announced plans to grow cress, turnips and basil on the moon.

And to protect the plants from the harsh cosmic radiation and the moon's lack of atmosphere, NASA researchers will be sending them off inside a seriously high-tech terrarium.

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The Two-Way
3:10 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

French Experts Say There Is No Proof Arafat Was Poisoned

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2002.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 7:17 am

Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was not poisoned, French investigators have concluded.

After the results of the long-running investigation started to leak, Arafat's wife, Suha Arafat, told reporters in London that French scientists had ruled out the possibility that Arafat was poisoned with polonium-210.

Case settled? Not quite. This piece of news just means that the three teams tasked with the investigation have come to three different conclusions:

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U.S.
3:06 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Washington State Growers Roll The Dice On New Pot Licenses

Washington is the second state to adopt rules for the recreational sale of marijuana. Some entrepreneurs see state-licensed pot as a golden ticket, but other growers aren't sure applying for a license makes good business sense.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:55 pm

Washington residents thinking about jumping into the state's new legal marijuana industry need to act soon. The deadline to apply for a state license to sell recreational pot is Dec. 19, and the applications are flooding in.

Danielle Rosellison, a loan officer in Bellingham, Wash., applied for her pot-growing license on the first day. "It's so cool," she says, laughing. "We have butterflies in our stomach all the time. I feel like they're all shot up on adrenaline."

To Rosellison and her husband, a stay-at-home dad, legal marijuana is an opportunity to change their lives.

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Planet Money
3:06 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Two Sisters, A Small Room And The World Behind A T-Shirt

Minu (left) and her younger sister Shumi worked on the Planet Money men's T-shirt.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:39 pm

Part of the Planet Money T-shirt Project

This is the story of how the garment industry is transforming life in Bangladesh, and the story of two sisters who made the Planet Money T-shirt.

Shumi and Minu work six days a week operating sewing machines at Deluxe Fashions Ltd. in Chittagong, Bangladesh. They each make about $80 a month.

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Remembrances
3:06 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Televangelist Paul Crouch, Who Started Trinity Network, Dies

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:39 pm

Televangelist Paul Crouch, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died Saturday at the age of 79. The Pentecostal minister's broadcasting network came to be the world's largest Christian television system with Praise-a-Thon fundraising efforts that brought in as much as $90 million a year in mostly small donations.

The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

North Korean Leader's Uncle Reportedly Sacked From Top Post

In a photo from July, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (second left) is flanked by top advisers, including his uncle Jang Song Thaek, at far right in white uniform.
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 3:24 pm

An uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly been dismissed from a key post as the vice chairman of the country's National Defense Commission, an assessment by South Korea's intelligence service says.

In addition, two close aides of Jang Song Thaek were reportedly executed for corruption.

Jang, who is married to the sister of late leader Kim Jong Il, is said to have been fired last month. But, according to The Associated Press, purges against Jang have been reported in the past only to find him later back in power, apparently rehabilitated.

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Parallels
2:27 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Some Turkish Churches Get Makeovers — As Mosques

The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:11 pm

A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.

It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.

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The Two-Way
2:08 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'This Law Is Working,' Obama Says Of Health Care

While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."

"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."

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The Salt
2:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Cookie-Baking Chemistry: How To Engineer Your Perfect Sweet Treat

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:38 pm

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Parallels
1:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

The High Price Egyptians Pay For Opposing Their Rulers

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood run from tear gas during clashes with riot police near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on Nov. 22.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:11 pm

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.

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