NPR National News

Terrified to see your teenager behind the wheel? You're not alone. But a new study finds tougher state licensing laws have led to a decrease in fatal accidents, at least among 16-year-olds. That's the good news. But here's the rub. Some kids are waiting until they're 18-years-old to get their driver's licenses. At this point, they're considered adults, and they don't have to jump through the hoops required of younger teens. They can opt out of driver's ed. And they are not subject to...

Republicans pulled off an upset in Tuesday's special election in New York City to replace former congressman Anthony Weiner. Bob Turner claimed victory over Democrat David Weprin. Democrats hold a 3-1 registration advantage in the district that spans parts of Queens and Brooklyn. And they put scores of volunteers to work canvassing, but none of it was enough to stop Turner. "We've been asked by the people of this district to send a message to Washington, and I hope they hear it loud and clear...

A day after her finance minister said the possibility of an "orderly default" by Greece should be on the table, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to reassure markets by saying that Germany will continue to finance Greece. As The Wall Street Journal explains it , what Merkel is saying is that Europe will not allow Greece to be forced to declare bankruptcy or leave the eurozone. The paper adds: Ms. Merkel's comments helped to calm jittery markets on Tuesday, and contributed to a sharp...

NYPD Investigating Officers' Dirty Dancing

Sep 13, 2011

We're breaking from the serious news for a few minutes to bring you a bit from New York City, where a group of New York City's finest may be in hot water for having a little too much fun at the city's West Indian American Carnival parade. The parade happened Sept. 5, but after a video of the dancing uniformed cops was posted on the website WorldStarHipHop and then went viral on YouTube, the New York City Police Department announced today it was launching an investigation. What's the big deal?...

U.S. Embassy Attack Highlights Afghan Security Issues

Sep 13, 2011

Insurgents rained a barrage of rockets and gunfire on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters Tuesday in a brazen attack in Afghanistan's capital that underscores their ability to stage operations even as coalition forces hand over security to Afghan troops. The militants launched the high-profile assault just two days after the U.S. marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was the third major strike in Kabul since late June, casting fresh doubts on the ability of...

The nation's poverty rate rose last year to 15.1 percent, the highest level in 17 years, according to new data from the Census Bureau. The agency's latest poverty report, released Tuesday, shows that 46 million people were poor and that the median income dropped last year by more than two percent to about $49,445. Not unexpectedly, the continued lack of jobs was the main cause. Economist Rich Burkhauser of Cornell says income declined for just about everyone and — surprisingly — at a faster...

Ted Weschler of Charlottesville, Va., paid $2.6 million dollars at a charity auction in both 2010 and 2011 to have lunch with Warren Buffett. In a press release, yesterday , Berkshire Hathaway announced that Weschler was joining Buffett and another partner to manage some of Berkshire's equity holdings. But the interesting part comes later in the release, when the company says: Warren Buffett, Berkshire's Chairman, will continue, however, to manage most of the funds until his retirement. After...

Now the nation's pediatricians have waded deep and early into the race for the presidency. In an unusual instance of political fact-checking of a candidate's statements by physicians themselves, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a tough prescription for Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann: Get your facts straight on the HPV vaccine. In case you missed it, she sparred with Texas Gov. Rick Perry Monday night over his executive order that would have mandated vaccination of state schoolgirls...

Tuesday's hearing in the supercommittee was supposed to be about the history of the current debt crisis. Almost nothing causes more partisan bickering than that. Each party is fervent in its belief about who drove the government into the ditch — namely, the other guys. On Tuesday, however, Doug Elmendorf, the man who runs the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), immediately dispensed with the question of blame and laid out the options for the supercommittee. "Putting the federal...

Businesses In Joplin, Mo., Find Economic Opportunity

Sep 13, 2011

It's been nearly four months since a tornado slammed into Joplin, Mo., destroying about one-third of the city. More than 525 businesses were in the direct path of the storm. Now as they rebuild, business owners are seeing some opportunities in the wake of their tremendous losses. 'Can Do' Attitude After the tornado hit, the building that housed the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Joplin was destroyed. A safe used to store narcotics was one of the only things to survive and even it got knocked...

The Obama administration is scrambling to head off what it fears will be a diplomatic train wreck at the United Nations next week. After years of gridlock in Mideast negotiations, the Palestinians plan to seek U.N. membership as a state on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war. That territory includes the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and the plan would go through the Security Council, where the U.S. has already promised to use its veto. But the Palestinians have...

Partisans on both sides continue to argue over whether to put more money into the coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is running short of cash because there have been so many tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters this year. The political bickering is nothing new, of course. But this tweet today from the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) got our attention: "In 2011, #Obama has already declared disasters in 48 states. U.S. had 10 bil-$...

They're calling it Million Hearts – a newly launched campaign to put a half-dozen simple and proven public health strategies into wider practice. Federal health officials say it can prevent a million heart attacks and strokes between now and 2016. Federal officials call it "the next big step" in cardiovascular prevention. There's lots of evidence it's an achievable goal. First, deaths from cardiovascular disease have already been cut by 60 percent over the past generation. About half of that...

James Murdoch Recalled By British Parliament

Sep 13, 2011

James Murdoch, News Corp.'s deputy chief operating officer and the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, will face a second round of grilling from the British Parliament. If you remember, News Corp. has been under fire in Britain over revelations that the now-closed News of the World tabloid had hacked the phones of public and private figures. The AP reports: The committee of lawmakers investigating the scandal hopes to tie up "one or two loose ends" by recalling the younger Murdoch, committee...

Parents of young children, we have some good news courtesy of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: In the coming months, most children younger than 12 will no longer be required to take off their shoes when going through airport security. The AP reported that during testimony before the Senate, Napolitano also said children will less frequently be subject to pat-downs from Transportation Security Administration officials. Over the past few months, we've reported on the controversy...

At first glance, today's report from the U.S. Census Bureau on the number of Americans without health insurance in 2010 looks, well, a little dull. About 16.3 percent of people in the country were without health insurance, which "was not statistically different from the rate in 2009," the report points out. But dig a little deeper and there's plenty of action. Take, for instance, the 2-percentage-point increase in coverage for young adults aged 18 to 24. Long among the most likely to lack...

Painting Of A Burning Bank Fetches $25,000 At Auction

Sep 13, 2011

One California artist has made some serious money with a series of paintings that have struck a chord internationally. In an auction on Ebay , Alex Schaefer sold a 22-by-28 inch oil painting of a burning Chase Bank branch in Los Angeles for $25,200. Schaefer tells The Los Angeles Times that his painting is a "visual metaphor for the havoc that banking practices have caused to the economy." Prior to the sale, the painting got media attention, because it caught the eye of police. According to...

One question at last night's Republican presidential debate has the Internet abuzz. Not really for what Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said but for the reaction of a few people in the Tea Party crowd. This was the question from CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I'm not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I'm healthy, I don't need it. But something terrible...

"The CIA assesses that, 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States continues to face a serious threat from al-Qaida and its worldwide network of affiliates and sympathizers," even though the terrorist organization "has been weakened," CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress today in his first testimony since taking over the top job at the intelligence agency. In a statement prepared for a hearing held by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Petraeus says that the...

The international tribunals at The Hague have dealt with horrific war crimes and brought Balkan war criminals and African warlords to trial. Now, the tribunal is being asked to investigate top Vatican officials over the global clerical sex abuse scandal, and victims say these offenses meet the legal definition of crimes against humanity. Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly apologized for crimes committed by priests. But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and the...

USDA To Ban 6 More Strains Of E. Coli In Ground Beef

Sep 13, 2011

E. coli 0157:H7 isn't a lonely foodborne villain any more. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said today that six uncommon strains of E. coli will be banned from ground beef due to risks of illness. Consumer groups are hailing the move as the biggest advance in meat safety in years. But meat processors warn it will cost consumers more money, and say the scientific evidence doesn't justify the new expense. The new rule will require USDA meat inspectors to conduct new E.coli testing that the...

It turns out daddies are losing more than just sleep after a child arrives. New fathers also experience a sharp decline in levels of the male sex hormone testosterone. At least that's what scientists have concluded from a long-term study of more than 600 men in the Philippines. The scientists found that single men who started out with relatively high testosterone levels were more likely than other men to become fathers. But once a baby arrived, testosterone levels plummeted. And fathers who...

Parts of the U.S. are seeing a drop-off in vaccination rates among young children. The falling rates don't necessarily track with poverty or other poor public health trends; in fact, a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report flagged the poorest rates of kindergarten vaccination in relatively prosperous states, like Washington and Oregon. Public health officials say they see this trend, which they call "vaccine hesitancy," often among well-to-do, educated parents. Private...

Federal watchdogs say the U.S. Marshals Service needs to do a better job of valuing and selling assets tied to fraudsters and organized crime figures. The Justice Department's inspector general has found poor oversight and problems with record keeping that could be costing taxpayers money. The Marshals Service has managed investments, homes and jewelry tied to many prominent criminals over the past five years. The prominent felons include Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff and organized crime...

When I was a kid, I assumed that in the future things would get better and better until we were all driving flying cars and playing badminton with space aliens on top of 500-story buildings. Frankly, I kind of counted on this happening. But now I don't assume that we'll just keep going up anymore. I think there's probably a point to which civilization will evolve, and then all the gas and water will run out and we'll spend the rest of eternity trying to get back to the awesome times when we...

Note: Wilhelm Furtwangler's last name is typically spelled with an umlaut over the 'a' character. The npr website does not support characters with umlauts over characters. A variation of Furtwangler's name without the umlaut is spelled Furtwaengler.
Wilhelm Furtwaengler's name may be hard for Americans to pronounce, but the reason this great conductor isn't so well-remembered here is that he chose to remain in Germany during WWII, though he was never a member of the Nazi Party, and was...

Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White On JazzSet

May 26, 2011

The 52nd Monterey Jazz Festival in the fall of 2009 helped kick off the return of Return to Forever, the stellar fusion band from the 1970s — now a trio with Chick Corea , Stanley Clarke and Lenny White on piano, bass and drums, respectively. Two and a half years later, the trio won the Best Album Grammy for Forever , while Corea won for his solo in "500 Miles High." In 1968, Corea recorded the trio classic Now He Sings, Now He Sobs with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Roy Haynes . It has...

Bill Charlap And Renee Rosnes On Piano Jazz

Feb 12, 2009

It's a rare thing to have three pianists at three pianos in one studio. But given the marriage of keyboard masters Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes , host Marian McPartland thought it was a perfect opportunity to expand the Piano Jazz format with two of today's most gifted players as her guests. Charlap is one of the finest interpreters of American popular song and Rosnes is a modern jazz wizard. They join McPartland in this 2008 session for a trio of "You and the Night and the Music" as well as...

Hod O'Brien On Piano Jazz

Jan 26, 2009

On the drive from his home in Charlottesville, Va., to the Manhattan studios of Piano Jazz , pianist Hod O'Brien was inspired to compose an original tune in honor of the occasion. By the time he'd arrived, he'd worked out a swinging little ditty in his head, so he kicked off this session with a tune he called "Clarion for Marian." "His playing was wonderful," recalls host Marian McPartland. "And I really enjoyed playing on Charlie Parker ['Now's The Time'] with Hod. I thought it came off very...

John Pizzarelli On Piano Jazz

Jan 9, 2009

Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli is one of the hottest acts in jazz today. With his hip, swinging and sophisticated style, he makes music that sounds both classic and thoroughly modern. He comes by his guitar playing honestly: He's the son of jazz guitarist John "Bucky" Pizzarelli (a 1999 Piano Jazz alum) who often sat in with Marian McPartland during her 10-year reign at the 52nd Street jazz spot the Hickory House. The elder Pizzarelli, of course, helped his son get his start, as John...

Pages