Alabama's Gov. Robert Bentley has signed a sweeping education bill that gives tax credits to parents who want to transfer their children from a failing public school to another public or private school. The bill became law one day after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit against it was premature.
The late Raymond Telles may not be a household name, but he was a trailblazer for Latinos in politics; he was the first Latino elected mayor of El Paso, Texas and later became a U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica. Host Michel Martin looks back on Ambassador Telles' life with former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros.
Studies show there are a growing number of homeless people around the age of 50. But it's common for them to experience illnesses and injuries more common among people well beyond their age. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR correspondent, Pam Fessler and homeless advocate, Tony Simmons, about the rising number of aging homeless.
Following celebrations for the historic election of Argentine Pope Francis, it's time to look at the business of leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics — bureaucracy and all. Host Michel Martin discusses the Pope's future agenda with Reverend Jose Hoyos, of the Diocese of Arlington, and religion professor Anthea Butler.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 2:18 pm
The 266th pope, and the first ever from Latin America, has one lung, rides the subway, reads Dostoevsky and has been described as both a moral compass and a silent accomplice to Argentina's former Dirty War leaders.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 11:18 am
By a 10-8, party-line vote with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday moved legislation that would revive the ban on assault-style weapons that expired in 2004.
A man dressed as a skomorokh, a medieval East Slavic harlequin, distributes bliny in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the last day of Maslenitsa, March 1, 2009.
Credit Dmitry Lovetsky / AP
A man dressed as a medieval East Slavic harlequin distributes blini in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the last day of Maslenitsa in 2009. The festival originated in pagan times as a way to mark the end of winter and beginning of spring. Pancakes known as blinis abound: Their round shape and warmth were meant to symbolize the sun.
Credit Mikhail Metzel / AP
Street vendors in the ancient Russian city of Suzdal, some 124 miles east of Moscow, prepare the traditional foods that mark the Maslenitsa holiday in 2010.
Credit Misha Japaridze / AP
People stick coins to an ice sculpture of Lady Maslenitsa in front of St. Basil's Cathedral just outside the Kremlin on Feb. 14, 2010, during the last day of Maslenitsa celebrations.
Credit Marat Gubaidullin / AP
Residents of the Russian town of Yalutorovsk attempted to make a record-breaking pancake during 2011 celebrations of Maslenitsa. For several years, Yalutorovsk's residents have made a huge pancake for Maslenitsa to apply for entry into the Guinness Book of World Records, but they've failed to turn it over.
Credit Dmitry Lovetsky / AP
A man tries to burn a small effigy of Lady Maslenitsa during the final evening of festivities in 2011 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The torching marks the end of the holiday — a fiery goodbye to "lady winter." A larger straw effigy burns in the distance.
Credit Sergei Grits / AP
Belarusian woman drink vodka and sample more traditionally sized blinis.
Credit Misha Japaridze / AP
A vendor sells blini at a booth camp just outside the Kremlin in Moscow during Maslenitsa, February 2009. Each day of the week calls for prescribed activities. For example, on Sunday, the final day of the event, people are supposed to seek forgiveness from friends and strangers.
Credit Ivan Sekretarev / AP
Smiling Russians at the Aksyonovo village celebrations of Maslenitsa in 2012.
Credit Misha Japaridze / AP
People view straw effigies for sale at a booth just outside the Kremlin in 2009. Often referred to as "Lady Maslenitsa," the straw figures are meant to symbolize winter (the word for winter in Russian is feminine).
Credit Viktor Drachev / AFP/Getty Images
Belarusian women in festive costumes welcome the coming of spring with stacks of blinis during the 2010 Maslenitsa celebrations. The holiday is celebrated in Slavic Orthodox European countries.
Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 1:36 pm
Nothing says party like pancakes and butter. At least, not if you happen to be in Russia this week.
The country is in the midst of celebrating Maslenitsa, an Eastern Slavic folk holiday that takes place the week before the start of Russian Orthodox Lent (this year, it starts March 18). Though now tied to the Christian calendar, Maslenitsa has roots in ancient Slavic sun worshippers — it originally marked the end of winter and advent of spring. And, like Mardi Gras, it involves a whole lot of feasting before the Lenten fast — with blinis, a Russian pancake, as the food of choice.
The death of Ieng Sary, co-founder of the Khmer Rouge that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 and killed an estimated 1.7 million of that nation's people in the process, has dashed the hopes "among survivors and court prosecutors that he would ever be punished for his alleged war crimes," The Associated Press writes.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rides on a boat near the sea border with South Korea in this March 11 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency. Bellicose rhetoric from North Korea has put other countries in the region on edge.
Credit Ahn Jung-won / AP
South Korean President Park Geun-hye pushes a cart in a store in the capital, Seoul. In remarks Wednesday, North Korea referred to the "venomous swish" of her skirt.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:58 pm
North Korea's nuclear chest-beating has achieved the seemingly impossible by aligning the concerns of South Korea, Japan and even China, three Asian neighbors that have a long history of strained ties.
While all those countries have separate aims and interests, they share with the United States a mutual interest in containing the North Korean regime, restraining its rhetoric and keeping Pyongyang's nuclear option in a box, says Richard Bush III, the director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.
This is what researchers at the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider expect a Higgs boson to look like. The Higgs boson is the subatomic particle that scientists say gives everything in the universe mass.
"Scientists working with data from a large particle accelerator in Europe are now almost certain they have pinned down the elusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs Boson," NPR's Joe Palca tells our Newscast Desk.
Or, as it's also known, the "God Particle" (more on that moniker below).
Annie Dookan, a former Massachusetts crime lab chemist, is accused of falsifying evidence in as many as 34,000 cases. The state's criminal justice system is now reeling as former defendants are challenging their convictions and hundreds have already been released.
Credit Tovia Smith / NPR
Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey is reviewing thousands of files to determine which cases must be thrown out or retried because of potentially tainted evidence.
A scandal in a Massachusetts crime lab continues to reverberate throughout the state's legal system. Several months ago, Annie Dookhan, a former chemist in a state crime lab, told police that she messed up big time. Dookhan now stands accused of falsifying test results in as many as 34,000 cases.
As a result, lawyers, prosecutors and judges used to operating in a world of "beyond a reasonable doubt" now havenothing but doubt.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:36 pm
Which way the Republican Party?
In the hope of getting answers to that and other questions, many activists, party big wigs and political journalists have descended on a hotel in a Washington suburb to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, which started Thursday.
This annual CPAC gathering is the first since President Obama thwarted Republican efforts to retake the White House, a defeat of Mitt Romney that many in the GOP didn't see coming.
Testimony began today in a rape trail that has thrown a small Ohio town into the international spotlight. Two football players from Steubenville High School are accused of raping a 16-year-old girl during a night of partying last summer. Lawyers for the boys say the sex was consensual. The case has attracted widespread attention in part because of shocking photos, video and texts that circulated over the Internet.
And today's last word in business is: Life on Mars.
The TV show "Veronica Mars" starred Kristen Bell as a teenage detective. Critics loved it. It gained a lot of devoted fans, but the show was canceled in 2007 after three seasons.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Yesterday, the show's creator took to Kickstarter to raise money to make a movie version of the show. And in less than 12 hours, those devoted fans pledged more than $2 million, smashing the site's records along the way.
After more than 100 years of ups and downs, General Motors has a lot of history. Most of GM's history is in the form of cars — hundreds of actual individual cars. The company tries to keep at least two of each car in storage. NPR's Sonari Glinton went on a walk through GM's attic to find out about the company's past and future.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. A British man is learning the downside to Internet fame. The 62-year-old had been on sick leave from work due to stress for months, which is why his employer was surprised to see him wrestling a shark on an Australian beach in a video that went viral. He's seen dragging the six-foot animal away from shore.
The charity he worked for fired him, although in his defense, the man said the doctor had advised him to take a vacation. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Tim Kelleher says his Jack Russell terrier, Jack, scarfs down anything he can get his paws on. Which helps keep the kitchen floor clean, but last week Jack was looking very sick. Kelleher took him to the vet, who discovered the dog had consumed a bagel and somewhere along the line more than a hundred pennies. The vet operated and removed the pennies. Kelleher tells the New York Daily News that Jack's back and driving him crazy.
Gunmen killed a woman in Pakistan yesterday. The news stories about this were formulaic for Pakistan, she was killed in a customary manner by assassins on motorcycles who rolled away with impunity. What's remarkable is the way she lived. Parveen Rehman came from Karachi, one of the world's largest cities. She helped thousands of poor people obtain basic services.
When I first met her in 2008, she told me she studied to become an architect, but doubted the value of the upscale buildings she learned to design.
In Florida, an investigation into storefront Internet gambling parlors has forced the resignation of one top elected official. Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll is stepping down because of her involvement with a group called Allied Veterans of the World. That group runs dozens of storefront operations where people gamble using electronic slot machines. More than 50 people have been arrested.
And as NPR's Greg Allen reports from Miami, the investigation is sending shockwaves through Florida politics.