NPR News

Deadly 'Choking Game' Comes With Big Risks

Apr 16, 2012

Michele Galloway went looking for her son, Connor, one morning in their Webster, N.C., home to make sure the seventh-grader hadn't overslept.

"I opened the door and I found him," Galloway said. "And he looked like he was standing up beside his bed. And I just said, 'Connor, you're awake.' And then I realized he was not awake."

She looked more closely. "There was a little gap between his feet and the floor," she said. "And I realized, you know, he had a belt around his neck."

The other end of Connor's belt was looped around the top of his bunk bed.

Last year, the number of homeless U.S. veterans on a given night dropped 12 percent from the year before. But tens of thousands were still on the streets, and more could be joining them as troops return from Afghanistan and Iraq. President Obama has vowed to end veterans' homelessness by 2015.

Homeless No More

James Brown left the Army in 1979. And for most of the next 32 years, he lived on the streets in and around Los Angeles. You might have seen him: the dirty, disheveled guy trying to keep warm in a cardboard box.

"Americans now walk the least of any industrialized nation in the world," says writer Tom Vanderbilt. To find out why that is, Vanderbilt has been exploring how towns are built, how Americans view walking — and what might be done to get them moving around on their own two feet.

Talking with Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep about what is wrong with Americans' relationship with walking, Vanderbilt says, "The main thing is, we're just not doing enough of it."

One in four women has had a migraine. And, it turns out, the debilitating headaches affect three times more women than men.

But why?

Decades ago, these headaches were attributed to women's inability to cope with stress, a sort of hysteria. Now experts are starting to figure out the factors that really make a difference.

Today scientists know a migraine is all in your head — but not in that old-fashioned sense. Migraines are biologically based, and they play themselves out as a wave of electrical activity traveling across the brain.

The Tax Man Cometh! But For Whom?

Apr 15, 2012

It's that time of year again – tax week.

With the deadline for Americans to file their income taxes looming, there's a good chance you've heard or will hear from politicians, on cable news and on talk radio about those who pay little or no taxes.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said that we "have a situation in this country where you're nearing 50 percent of people who don't even pay income taxes." There are even those who say that there are nearly 50 percent of Americans who pay no taxes at all.

The 237th anniversary of Paul Revere's famous midnight ride during the Revolutionary War falls on Wednesday. But long before Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made him famous, Revere was known as an engraver and a silversmith in Boston.

Brown University announced this week that it had found a rare engraved print by Revere, one of only five in existence. The print was tucked inside an old medical book that had been donated by physician Solomon Drowne, a member of Brown University's class of 1773.

Over 100 tornadoes touched down Saturday in the Great Plains, causing millions of dollars in damage across Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Despite the wreckage, there were few fatalities, a result perhaps due in part to the National Weather Service's warnings. Russell Schneider of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., offers his insight.

After Deadly Philadelphia Fire, Warehouses Blamed

Apr 15, 2012

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

In Philadelphia, a warehouse fire this past week killed two firefighters and left neighbors angry because the building was abandoned. The city faces the same challenges as many others across the country - it has too many big old and unused buildings. From member station WHYY in Philadelphia, Elizabeth Fiedler reports on the threat posed by vacant buildings.

ELIZABETH FIEDLER, BYLINE: John Mahoney walks his dog near the site of the fire. He wasn't surprised by what happened.

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Staying overseas, and to Egypt now, where election officials have stunned voters by banning three of the top contenders running in the country's upcoming presidential elections. Those candidates include Omar Suleiman, the vice president under Hosni Mubarak, the other two, a powerful leader from the Muslim Brotherhood and an ultra-conservative Islamist cleric.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

In Afghanistan today, the Taliban has launched a string of attacks across the country, including coordinated strikes in the capital, Kabul, that hit near western targets and Afghan government buildings. The Taliban says today's attack marks the beginning of what they call the spring fighting season, the period after the winter thaw when mountain passes and roads become accessible again.

A few years ago, author, critic, and translator Daniel Mendelsohn was teaching the epic Greek poem The Odyssey when his father decided to take his class.

Jay Mendelsohn, a retired research scientist, wanted to understand his son better, and understand his life's work. When Daniel decided he wanted to retrace one of the most epic journeys of Greek literature, Jay became his travel partner.

Amnon Weinstein first encountered a violin from the Holocaust 50 years ago. He was a young violin maker in Israel, and a customer brought him an old instrument in terrible condition and wanted it restored.

The customer had played on the violin on the way to the gas chamber, but he survived because the Germans needed him for their death camp orchestra. He hadn't played on it since.

"So I opened the violin, and there inside there [were] ashes," Weinstein says.

A Dispatch From The Titanic Memorial Cruise

Apr 15, 2012

One hundred years ago this Sunday, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank into the Atlantic on its maiden voyage. At that very spot today is another luxury liner, there to mark the centennial of the disaster. Writer Lester Reingold is on board the memorial cruise, and he sends us this report.

Remembering The Titanic, From Where It Sank

Apr 15, 2012

Host Rachel Martin talks with Lester Reingold, a writer and Titanic enthusiast, just after he'll have attended a memorial honoring the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic's sinking from aboard a cruise ship, anchored right where the ship went down.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong Un, stood before cheering troops and citizens today to make his first public speech. The address rounded off two weeks of celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of the nation's late founder and comes in the wake of Friday's failed missile launch. NPR's Louisa Lim reports on a new approach to leadership in the world's most isolated nation.

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Sports And Life: Head-To-Head

Apr 15, 2012

It's the first in a series of conversations between host Rachel Martin and NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca. Pesca digs deeper into big sports stories from the week, and brings one wildcard story that stayed under the radar.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

To Istanbul now, where negotiators for Iran and six world powers say yesterday's talks on Iran's nuclear program represent a constructive beginning. They agreed to meet again next month in Baghdad. U.S. officials note there is still a long way to go before the world can be satisfied with Iran's claims that it's enriching uranium only for peaceful purposes. But both sides say they're willing to try a step-by-step approach to resolving the issue. NPR's Peter Kenyon has more.

Congress Returns To Center Stage

Apr 15, 2012

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

U.N. Observers Head To Syria

Apr 15, 2012

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We turn our attention now to Syria. United Nations observers are preparing to travel to Syria this week to start monitoring the fragile cease-fire between government forces and rebel fighters. The U.N. Security Council yesterday approved the deployment of a 30-member team. The monitors will have their work cut out for them. As NPR's Grant Clark reports from Beirut, military bombardment is reportedly continuing, despite an agreed truce.

Storms Rip Across The Midwest

Apr 15, 2012

Several deaths and injuries have been reported following a tornado that rolled across Woodward, Okla. It was just one of the twisters that struck the Midwest on Saturday and overnight. As Kansas Public Radio's J. Schafer reports, more than 100 tornadoes touched down across four states.

Presidential Campaign Enters A New Phase

Apr 15, 2012

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This past week marked the unofficial start of the general election for President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum's departure from the presidential race cleared the way for Romney and signaled a shift to a new phase of the campaign. For more, we are joined by NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hi, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

Redefining 'Hacker' In Technology Hotbed

Apr 15, 2012

Palo Alto, Calif., recently hosted a 12-hour bonanza for software developers, artists and families. The "Super Happy Block Party Hackathon" was a marathon for coders to make new software in a short amount of time. It also featured food trucks, music and homemade robots. Corey Takahashi reports.

Host Rachel Martin talks with Matthew Goodwin, an associate fellow with Chatham House, about anti-immigrant extremism in Europe. Goodwin explains why once-fringe political parties have gained widespread support.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

One place where extremist views often flourish: cyberspace. Trolling, cyberbullying, call it what you will. Abuse via the Internet is a growing problem in this digital age.

And NPR's Philip Reeves says it's become so bad in Britain that people there are fighting back.

President Obama emphasized at a summit of leaders from across the Americas that the U.S. would not shift strategies in the war on drugs. His administration had, in recent weeks, faced criticism from some presidents who said the U.S. approach to the drugs trade had simply generated more violence in Latin America.

That wasn't the only thorny issue Obama faced in his trip to Colombia.

Norwegians will be confronted again this week with the terrible details and trauma of the worst peacetime attack in the country's history.

Police say last July 22, Anders Behring Breivik set off a car bomb in the center of Oslo near government offices. The blast killed eight people and spun residents and police into a state of chaotic alarm and confusion.

The midsection of the U.S. was wracked by storms and tornadoes overnight, with the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center forecasting more severe weather to come. Five deaths have been confirmed in northwest Oklahoma, the state's Department of Emergency Management tells NPR.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will spend the next seven months convincing us to send him to the White House. To get there, he'll have to make a strong case to one very important voting bloc: women.

A poll out this week by ABC and the Washington Post shows President Obama with a 19-point lead over Romney with women voters. For Romney to win, he's got to make a significant dent in that margin.

How do you measure who is an effective teacher?

More states are wrestling with that question, now that the Obama administration is encouraging schools to evaluate teachers with a combination of student test scores and classroom observations.

The question of whether teacher evaluations are reliable indicators for teacher effectiveness has long been controversial. But New York City reignited the debate when it rated thousands of teachers with test scores alone — and then released those ratings to the public.

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