All Things Considered
Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times has been binge watching films at the 10-day festival. So far he's been impressed by Richard Linklater's Boyhood, Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here and Amir Bar-Lev's documentary Happy Valley.
President Obama last year appointed a commission to recommend ways that local election officials can shorten lines at the polls. On Wednesday, that commission is releasing its final report, offering suggestions on how to make improvements in the voting experience.
Months before Brazil hosts the World Cup, preparations are going at breakneck speed to host the hundreds of thousands of tourists who will pour in to watch the extravaganza. Still, construction on several of the proposed stadiums is behind schedule, and infrastructure upgrades have been delayed, as well. Will Brazil be ready for the games?
Melissa Block speaks with David Brown, the president and CEO of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, about Peyton Manning's "Omaha" audible heard during the AFC Championship Game. The audible, called by Manning dozens of times to signal plays, has spurred much excitement and a public relations outreach for tourism in the Midwestern city.
Voters in Turkey go to the polls on March 30 to elect local officials, and the election is seen as the first chance for Turks to weigh in on a number of major controversies. These include Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly autocratic governing style, the growing repression of free speech and a corruption scandal that has claimed the jobs of three cabinet ministers thus far. The race for Istanbul mayor is seen as the best hope for Turkey's secular opposition to lift itself off the political mat and become a contender again.
The Pentagon is saying that it needs to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 to train Afghans and maintain a counterterror mission. But military officials are once again running into interference from Vice President Joe Biden. That's nothing new: Biden in particular has for years pushed for a counterterror option of only several thousand troops, though the military says that number is far too small. The Pentagon argues that Biden's proposal would mean the U.S. forces would be largely consigned to their bases.
Melissa Block and Robert Siegel update listeners on some of what the open flood gates of social media brought us when we asked for suggestions for our Cabin Fever playlist. Hint: It was a deluge of great, funky, upbeat, sunny songs prescribed to cure the winter blahs.
The New York Yankees have signed Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a massive, seven-year contract. After putting up gaudy statistics with the Japanese Pacific League, the prized right-hander had become the object of a bidding war between major league teams. Now, questions abound about whether the young pitcher can live up to the hype — and the salary.
The self-defense groups that have emerged in the western Mexican state of Michoacan are on the public relations offensive. They've been posting videos on Twitter and Facebook condemning the Knights Templar drug traffickers and exalting their own crusade to expel the cartel from their towns and businesses. Meanwhile, federal officials don't seem to know how many of these vigilantes there are and have halted efforts to disarm them.
Political lines are being drawn in Alaska over the proposed Pebble Mine, a hugely controversial project to build an open-pit gold and copper mine in the Bristol Bay watershed. The watershed is one of the last unspoiled salmon fisheries in the world. The state's Democratic senator, Mike Begich, is in a tough re-election race this year, and he's just come out against the mine. But the mine's proponents complain that environmentalists — and the EPA — are prejudging a project that hasn't even applied for formal permits yet.
The Olympic sport is like gymnastics in the air, but in the final few rounds, aerialists can't use the same trick twice. Come go time, they have to figure out which trick to do, based on what their competitors have just done.
The meeting in March will be the two men's first face-to-face encounter. The president and the pontiff have a shared interest in fighting income inequality, but the Roman Catholic Church still has serious differences with the president on issues such as abortion.
An arctic air mass is blanketing the eastern half of the nation today, bringing with it high winds and heavy snow accumulations in some areas. Thousands of flights have been cancelled, schools are closed and federal government offices are closed. Those who don't have to drive or be somewhere also have an opinion on the weather.
Papers documenting allegation of sexual abuse by priests in the Chicago Archdiocese were released to the public today by victims' attorneys. The documents cover only 30 of at least 65 priests for whom the Chicago church says it has substantiated claims of child abuse. The papers, put online, were made available through settlements between Church and victims' lawyers. Church officials said most of the abuse occurred before 1988, none after 1996, and that all were ultimately reported to authorities.
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been charged with illegally accepting gifts and loans from a political donor. The indictment, filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, marks a substantial escalation of a scandal that has marred the end of McDonnell's term in office.
A new report released Monday claims to show direct evidence of torture by the Syrian government, presenting documents and photographs of scarred, emaciated corpses. For more about the findings, Melissa Block talks to Professor David Crane, the first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and one of the authors of the report.
Controversy has dogged an article published last week on the website Grantland. The piece is called "Dr. V's Magical Putter," and it tells the unusual tale of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, who designed a golf putter that attracted positive attention. In the course of reporting the article, writer Caleb Hannon discovered that several purported facts about Vanderbilt's life had been falsified. Hannon also learned that Vanderbilt had been born a man and was living life as a woman. Critics of Hannon's article have alleged, among other things, that his reporting contributed to Vanderbilt's suicide in October 2013.
The retailing giant Target is doing what it can to limit the damage from a massive data breach. But there are signs that other hackers are trying to take advantage of the original data theft with elaborate "phishing" schemes.
Chinooks, podengo pequenos and rat terriers are the three new breeds headed to New York City to compete with some of the best canines in the country for "best in show" at this year's Westminster Kennel Club dog show in February. NPR's Melissa Block talks with Westminster Kennel Club's David Frei about these new furry competitors.
The justices heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could decimate public employee unions. At issue is whether nonunion workers can be forced to pay fees that help cover the cost of negotiating a union contract from which they benefit.