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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Failed French Rescue Attempt Leaves Several Dead In Somalia

In October, kidnapped French intelligence agent Denis Allex appeared in a video shot by his captors. In the video, Allex pleads for French President Francois Hollande to negotiate for his release.
- AFP/Getty Images

It's not clear whether a French intelligence agent is dead or alive after a botched rescue attempt in Somalia on Saturday morning. As the AP reports:

"France says the agent, code-name Denis Allex, was killed in the raid, along with a French commando and 17 Islamist militants. But the militant group al-Shabab, which held Allex for more than three years, says it still has Allex and claims to have captured a French soldier."

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Simon Says
10:29 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Cheating Might Buy Home Runs, But No Hall Of Fame

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:23 pm

The Baseball Hall of Fame is a tourist attraction, not a papal conclave. And the people who cast votes for the Hall are sportswriters, not the College of Cardinals.

But there was something momentous this week when the Baseball Writers Association elected no one to the Hall of Fame. Not Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards. Not Barry Bonds, who hit a record 762 home runs. Not Sammy Sosa, who hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Civil War, 'Downton' And 'Girls'

Lena Dunham's series Girls, which follows the lives of a group of young women in New York City, returns to HBO this month.
Jessica Miglio HBO

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 11:43 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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The Two-Way
7:38 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Hazardous Smog Enshrouds Beijing

The air quality in Beijing registered at hazardous levels on Saturday, beyond the index used to chart it.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 9:48 am

Beijing's air quality reached extremely hazardous levels Saturday, and officials are warning people to stay indoors, NPR's Louisa Lim reports.

"Beijing's skies are shrouded in a blanket of spectral grey smog, which blocks visibility and makes the eyes sting," Lim tells our Newscast Desk.

She says the air quality level is literally off the charts: The U.S. embassy's index stops at 500, but the levels recorded Saturday hit "beyond index," above 800. Lim adds:

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:33 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Phooey On Flu

A lot of you have had it by now, or are having it or are about to be exposed. This year's flu is called "H3N2" and this week it's doing big business in about 47 states, Chicago and New York. If you've had a flu shot and if you wash your hands several times a day for 20 seconds, (which is the time it takes to hum "Happy Birthday to You" two times through) you might reduce your odds of getting sick.

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The Sotomayor Interview
7:01 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Sotomayor Opens Up About Childhood, Marriage In 'Beloved World'

Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor applauds during a reception in her honor at the White House.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 4:35 pm

Over the course of time, Supreme Court justices have written 225 books. Few reveal much about the justices themselves, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor's autobiography, My Beloved World, is a searingly candid memoir about her life growing up in the tenements of the Bronx, going to Princeton and Yale Law School, becoming a prosecutor and a private corporate lawyer and, at age 38, becoming a federal judge.

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The Sotomayor Interview
7:00 am
Sat January 12, 2013

A Justice Deliberates: Sotomayor On Love, Health And Family

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke with NPR in December at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:27 pm

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor readily concedes that she was the beneficiary of affirmative action in higher education, and she doesn't really know why her view is so different from that of her colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas.

"As much as I know Clarence, admire him and have grown to appreciate him," she says, "I have never ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive. And I know one thing: If affirmative action opened the doors for me at Princeton, once I got in, I did the work. I proved myself worthy. So, I don't look at how the door opened."

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Animals
6:51 am
Sat January 12, 2013

'Python Challenge' Asks Floridians To 'Harvest' Snakes

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 12:08 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

They call it The Python Challenge.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Today and for the next month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is asking Floridians to tangle with the Burmese Python. They call it a harvest. Of course, that means that they want people to hunt pythons. How do you hunt pythons? Very carefully, I'm sure. They're huge constrictor snakes that can grow to be more than 20 feet long.

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U.S.
6:42 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Gun Buyback Programs Tend To Attract Low-Risk Groups

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 12:08 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a number of cities have launched gun-buyback programs, to try to reduce the number of firearms in circulation. This weekend, the police department in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is offering a gun buyback called Operation Safe Streets. It will give people who turn in weapons a $150 gift card, for a handgun; $200 for assault weapons. Santa Fe's chief of police is Raymond Rael.

If somebody turns in a gun, do they have to say where they got it?

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Politics
6:42 am
Sat January 12, 2013

What Obama's Cabinet Picks Say About His Second Term

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama has announced most of his Cabinet choices for his second term. There are no big surprises. All are pretty familiar faces in Washington, D.C., but Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and the White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew still must get through Senate confirmation. We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, thanks for being with us.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Happy to be here.

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