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9:27 am
Sun February 17, 2013

White House Warns Of Sequestration's Effects

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough at the White House on Jan. 25.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 12:08 pm

The White House and congressional Democrats are sounding the alarm bells over the consequences of the sequester, the across-the-board cuts to the budget that are scheduled to go into effect in March.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the cuts would offset "pretty good" economic activity over the past few months. He said President Obama had a plan to cut an addition $1.5 trillion from the deficit.

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The Two-Way
7:07 am
Sun February 17, 2013

At Least 15 Dead As Car Bombs Explode In Baghdad

Iraqis inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Ameen neighborhood in eastern Baghdad on Sunday.
Khalid Mohammed AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 9:33 am

At least two dozen people are dead and dozens injured Sunday in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, after multiple car bombs exploded within minutes of each other in mainly Shiite areas.

NPR's Kelly McEvers is reporting on the blasts for our Newscast unit.

"The explosions targeted shops and outdoor markets in Shiite districts around the city. After the blast helicopters were circling over many parts of the city.

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Pope Blesses Faithful At Vatican For First Time Since Resignation Announcement

Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges a cheering crowd of faithful and pilgrims during the Angelus prayer from the window of his apartments at the Vatican on Sunday.
Domenico Stinellis AP

Pope Benedict XVI blessed tens of thousands of cheering faithful Sunday for the first time since he announced his resignation last week.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reported on the event for our Newscast unit. Here's what she said:

"Under hazy skies, St. Peter's Square was packed with pilgrims, tourists and curiosity seekers.

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Around the Nation
3:21 am
Sun February 17, 2013

'Time And Casualties': Gen. Dempsey On Cost Of Sequester

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies before a Senate panel in Washington last Tuesday on the looming cuts to the defense budget.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 10:28 am

It's been about a year and a half since Gen. Martin Dempsey left his job as chief of staff of the Army and became President Obama's top military adviser as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey is now responsible for reshaping the U.S. military after 10 years of war, which means scaling the forces down. At the same time, he's fighting to stave off across-the-board cuts to the defense budget — the so called sequester — that could happen in a couple weeks if Congress fails to reach some kind of budget deal.

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Afghanistan
3:20 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Searching For Ibrahim

Ibrahim Gumus was 16 when he ran away from his home in Turkey to join al-Qaida. This is the photo his father — who traveled to Afghanistan to try and find him — carries in his wallet.
Courtesy of Farhettin Gumus

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 4:23 am

Over the years, al-Qaida has recruited young men in the Arab world, Africa and Central Asia, including Afghanistan. The group has also had some success in luring followers from Turkey.

Last month, Fahrettin Gumus, a retired security guard from Turkey's northwestern province of Bursa, went to Afghanistan in search of his son, who he had last heard from three years earlier.

The small-framed 57-year old says he often worried about his son Ibrahim, but he never through he'd go through with his plan to join al-Qaida.

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U.S.
3:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Rethinking The U.S. Presidency: 3 Alternative Realities

President Woodrow Wilson meets with his first Cabinet, circa 1912. Should Cabinets have a more central role in a president's decision making?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Did you pay attention to the State of the Union Address? Were you struck by the countless complexities President Obama has to deal with? The economy. The national budget and deficit. Health care. Tax reform. Education. Jobs. Energy. Climate change. The national infrastructure. Immigration. Gun violence and on and on and on.

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The Two-Way
3:09 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Winning The Battle Remotely: New Medal Awards Evolving Warfare

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announces a new medal that recognizes combat contributions made far from the battlefield.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 4:13 am

  • NPR's Tom Bowman On Importance Of Medals
  • Predator Pilots Engage in Remote Control Combat

To get the newest military medal, you don't have to have been on the front lines. In fact, you could work very, very far from any combat.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced by outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday, would recognize drone operators and those engaged in cyberattacks who haven't put themselves in harm's way.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:33 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Jonas Kaufmann On Wagner: 'It's Like A Drug Sometimes'

Tenor Jonas Kaufmann.
Petra Stadler courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 4:00 pm

This year is the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth. The man widely called the greatest living Wagnerian tenor is marking the occasion in style — and asking listeners who may have turned away from the German composer to give his music another chance.

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Religion
3:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

From The Inner City: Leading A New Generation Of Muslim Americans

Nashashibi runs the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago.
Terrence Antonio James MCT /Landov

This summer on the South Side of Chicago, thousands are expected to gather for an outdoor festival sponsored by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, or IMAN.

The festival, Takin' It to the Streets, attracts well-known musicians, like hip-hop artist Mos Def in 2010 and Chicago native Lupe Fiasco. The goal of the festival's organizers is to promote cooperation between the city's residents, regardless of their backgrounds.

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Business
3:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

High-Speed Rail Buzz Overpowers Daily Chug Of Freight Trains

A Union Pacific freight train passes over a grade crossing in Elmhurst, Ill.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 5:12 pm

From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.

In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for it.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.

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