NPR National News

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.

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 happens, all of a sudden he needs it.

"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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 figure James Galante.

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.

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 exonerated by a postwar tribunal.

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.

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.

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 well."

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.