News Archive - November 19, 2013

Sotomayor's Dissent Highlights Concerns Over Elected Judges

The justice issued a strong dissent when her colleagues declined to review an Alabama law allowing elected judges to override a jury's decision not to impose the death penalty.

Divided U.S. Supreme Court Leaves Texas Abortion Law In Effect

Planned Parenthood and other opponents of the law had won an initial victory that was overturned days later by a U.S. Court of Appeals. Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow Texas to keep enforcing the law during an ongoing court battle.

Postal Service Hopes 'Harry Potter' Stamps Spell Revenue

The USPS is banking that Harry Potter buffs will scoop up the limited-edition stamps, which feature stills from the eight Harry Potter films. But not everyone's a fan; critics say the new products are too commercial — and that a British import doesn't belong on a U.S. stamp.

Va., Md. And D.C. To Share In $37 Million Settlement With Google Over Privacy

Virginia will receive more than $392,000 dollars as part of a multi-state settlement with Google over claims that the company violated consumer privacy.

Florida Rep. Trey Radel Charged With Cocaine Possession

The freshman Republican faces arraignment on the misdemeanor charge in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

When You Hear $13 Billion, Don't See Dollar Signs

Announcements of legal settlements worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, including Tuesday's $13 billion U.S. settlement with JPMorgan Chase, have been common in recent years. Often, though, only a fraction of the amount ends up in consumers' pockets.

New York's Graffiti Mecca, 5Pointz, Was Whitewashed Overnight

The iconic building will be demolished making way for new apartments and shops. The Queens building was a stop on many tours and was the canvas for some 1,500 artists.

Why College Campuses Get Hit By Meningitis Outbreaks

Princeton University is asking students to get vaccinated with a shot not approved for use in the U.S. in an effort to stop a meningitis outbreak. Meningitis can be deadly, and it spreads in places where people are in close contact, like a dormitory or a prison.

D.C. Council Not Down With Plan To Let Some Buildings Grow Taller

Mayor Vincent Gray may be onboard with changing the century-old law that limits how tall buildings in D.C. can be, but the D.C. Council certainly isn't.

Beyond The Caricature: 5 Things To Know About Mayor Rob Ford

Since the Toronto mayor admitted to smoking crack, he's been portrayed as a bumbling, error-prone addict, whose everyman persona has helped him maintain his popularity in Canada's most populous city. But we wondered: Who is Rob Ford really?

Sen. Creigh Deeds Allegedly Stabbed By Son, Who Then Killed Himself

A day after being stabbed in his home, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds remains in fair condition. The incident that also left his son dead is again shining a light on mental health treatment in the commonwealth.

JPMorgan Chase Will Pay $13 Billion In Record Settlement

The Justice Department announces that JPMorgan Chase will pay $13 billion to settle U.S. claims over the sale of troubled mortgages. The deal includes a $4 billion payment for consumer relief. More than half of the record settlement amount will be tax-deductible, the banking giant says.

First Walmart Stores In D.C. To Open Dec. 4, Will Employ 600 People

A pair of Walmart stores will open in D.C. on Dec. 4, the first of six stores planned by the Arkansas-based retailer in the city.

Safety Agency Opens Probe Into Tesla Fires

The battery-caused fires have sparked concern about the safety of the electric cars. Tesla says their cars are no more prone to fires than regular gasoline-powered cars.

Mizeur To Introduce Bill Legalizing And Taxing Marijuana

Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur will propose that marijuana be treated the same way as alcohol — legally sold and taxed.

King Of Thrones: America's Best Restroom Is In Minneapolis

It pays to be unique when you're going for the title of best restroom in the land. Design details are crucial. It also doesn't hurt if patrons can relax in a fantasy setting and grab a drink from a window connecting to a bar.

Gray Officiates Same-Sex Marriage At Wilson Building

Wedding bells rang today at the John A. Wilson Building as Mayor Vincent Gray officiated a same-sex wedding.

Typhoon Haiyan's Exact Death Toll May Never Be Known

veThe storm struck on Nov. 8 and some remote islands have yet to be reached. It's been difficult to get help to some survivors and to account for the dead. As of Tuesday, the official death toll stood at nearly 4,000. Among them were at least 5 Americans.

Senate Finance Chairman Floats International Tax Code Overhaul

Sen. Max Baucus released a detailed "discussion draft" Tuesday that envisions a revenue-neutral reshaping of the tax code. Among the plan's goals: bringing home some of the cash that U.S. corporations are thought to have parked overseas.

Landlines, It Turns Out, Aren't Vanishing Everywhere

The number of landlines grew in about two dozen countries, but their growth was explosive in Cambodia, Cameroon and Kiribati, countries that until recently had poor infrastructure. Still, as expected, cellphone numbers were even more impressive.

How To Prepare For Climate Disasters? Artist Says Dehydrate Food

After he ran out of food during Hurricane Sandy, New York artist Tattfoo Tan vowed to be better prepared for future climate-related disasters. His latest art installation features meals made from dehydrated vegetables that will last one year on the shelf.

Crossroads GPS Reports A Single Donation Of $22.5 Million In 2012

The politically oriented non-profit co-founded by Karl Rove reports it received 84 percent of its donations last year from gifts of $1 million or more.

Virginia Oyster Harvest Bounces Back

Governor Bob McDonnell says the 2012-2013 harvest of the hard shell totaled 406,000 bushels, up 60 percent over the previous year. The harvest numbers include wild oysters and those grown in aquaculture farms.

Woolly Bear Caterpillars Predict Mild Winter For Mid-Atlantic

How bad will our winter be? If you ask the region's woolly bear caterpillars, they say not to worry — the Mid-Atlantic is in for a mild winter.

Montgomery County Police Kill Armed Man In Germantown

Police in Montgomery County say officers shot and killed a man last night in Germantown.

This Slide Shows Why Wouldn't Work At Launch

Check out this "red team" review of by private consulting firm McKinsey & Co., months before the federal health insurance site launched. One slide in particular shows why its chances of success were low from the start.

As Weather Changes, More Deer Find Their Way Onto Area Roads

With the weather turning colder, it's the deadliest time of the year for deer and a very dangerous time for drivers: rutting season.

Glover Park Group Asks D.C. To Undo Traffic Lanes Changes On Wisconsin Ave.

An Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Glover Park has had a change of heart on traffic calming measures on a portion of Wisconsin Avenue, and now wants D.C. to undo them.

D.C. Legislator Pushes For Minimum Wage Of $11.50

D.C. Council member Vincent Orange (D-At Large) says he's building consensus for the city to approve a minimum wage of $11.50 an hour, which would be one of the nation's highest.

States Renew Battle To Require That Voters Prove Citizenship

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an Arizona measure requiring that new voters produce proof of citizenship. Now the state, along with Kansas, has gone to court to challenge the requirement that they use federal registration forms.

Winter's Coming And Thousands Are Homeless After Tornadoes

The severe storms that swept through Illinois, Michigan and other states left at least eight people dead. Thousands more had their homes destroyed or ruined. With cold weather coming, reconstruction will be delayed.

Prominent Virginia Lawmaker Stabbed, Son Shot Dead

Creigh Deeds, a Democratic state senator in Virginia who was his party's 2009 gubernatorial nominee, is being treated for serious injuries. His son Gus is dead. Authorities are investigating the incident at the family's home.

Spiritual Healers Keep Watch For Plague In Uganda

It can be tough to stop the plague from spreading in rural Uganda because most villages don't have medical doctors to diagnose the deadly infection. But healers and herbalists are common. A scientist has trained them to detect the illness and refer patients for modern treatment.

March Of The Indies: The Punk Rockers Of Video Games

Video games are increasingly seen as a deep, artistic medium, as much as a form of entertainment. But behind the big-budget behemoths of the video game industry sits the growing and expanding market of independent video games. These are games created by small teams and even solo developers.

University Of Texas Students Cancel 'Catch An Illegal Immigrant Game'

The university said the game was "completely out of line." The Young Conservatives of Texas called off the game, citing the condemnation.

Picture This: Selfie Is 'Word Of The Year'

Sorry, "twerking" fans. Your word didn't come close according to the experts at Oxford Dictionaries. When everyone who is anyone seems to have posted a photo of themselves on the Web, "selfie" was the natural choice.

World Headlines: Argentina's Kirchner Returns To Presidency

She was out for five weeks following brain surgery to remove a clot. In other news, Nepalese are voting for a new Constituent Assembly, and we swear it's not Spam — Monty Python's surviving members are reuniting for a stage show.

NSA Releases Some Files On Electronic Surveillance

Leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have put pressure on the intelligence agency to release more information about its activities. Among the records is a court ruling that the agency repeatedly exceeded its authority.

LISTEN: For Its 150th, A Reading Of The Gettysburg Address

Though President Lincoln said "the world will little note nor long remember what we say here," his words have lived on. Read them again and listen to historian Eric Foner and NPR staff deliver one of the nation's greatest speeches.

Two Explosions, Multiple Deaths At Iranian Embassy In Beirut

The blasts happened in a part of the city that is also home to offices of a Shiite party that is allied with Hezbollah. Forces battling Syrian President Bashar Assad have carried their fight to his supporters in Lebanon. There are reports that a brigade with ties to al-Qaida claimed responsibility.