News Archive - May 29, 2014

Former D.C. Council Member Michael Brown Sentenced To 39 Months

Former D.C. Council Member Michael Brown has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for taking more than $50,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents.

Lawmakers Increase Pressure On Troubled Veterans Affairs Department

Today Virginia Senator Mark Warner, who is up for reelection, joined the growing list of Democrats from purple states calling on the head of the VA to resign.

Gansler Ad Criticizes Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown For Skipping Debate

As next month's Democratic primary for governor inches closer, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is going after Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown for skipping a debate this week.

D.C. Adds Six New Qualifying Conditions For Medical Marijuana

D.C. is loosening up its restrictive medical marijuana program, adding six new conditions that would qualify a resident for the drug.

After Decades Of Silent Wandering, NASA Probe Phones Home

ISEE-3, launched in 1978 to study solar wind, was "borrowed" for a comet mission a few years later and virtually lost. A group of space enthusiasts say they've managed to reestablish contact.

No Hunch Here: Richard III Suffered From Scoliosis Instead

Shakespeare described the 15th century British king as "deformed, unfinish'd," and a hunchback. A 3-D model of his spine reveals that Richard had developed severe curvature of the spine as a teen.

'No Evidence' Snowden Raised Concerns While At NSA

The National Security Agency says it has only one email exchange between the former contractor and the NSA's legal branch — concerning a technical issue.

A Speech To A Nation Weary Of War, And Wary Of The World

The president knows America is deeply disillusioned with foreign wars and moves that seem to lead to them. "Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail," he said.

Condiment Detente: Sriracha Plant To Stay In California City

After a contentious half-year, Irwindale's City Council and Sriracha-maker David Tran have come to an agreement: His factory stays put and the spicy scent stays in the bottle.

Husband Of Woman Stoned To Death In Pakistan Killed First Wife

Mohammad Iqbal, whose wife was killed by angry relatives in Lahore earlier this week, admits he killed his first wife so he could remarry.

Hot Sauce Art: LA Museum Honors Sriracha and Tapatio

For an exhibition called "LA Heat," the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles asked 30 artists to come up with new works inspired by two homegrown hot sauce heroes: Sriracha and Tapatio.

The Economy Takes A Dip, But Analysts Look For It To Snap Back

The latest U.S. report showed growth shrank in early 2014, but talk of a recession is unwarranted, economists say. They blame a harsh winter and say strong consumer spending signals a rebound.

Pope Invites Israeli, Palestinian Leaders For Joint Prayer Session

Israeli President Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, have agreed to attend the joint prayer meeting at the Vatican, set for next week.

Texas Takes A Hard Right Turn

In most states this year, the Republican establishment has managed to hold off Tea Party challengers. In Texas, the opposite was true.

Ford Recalls 1.4 Million Vehicles For Various Defects

The recalls include 1.1 million SUVs with power steering defects, 200,000 Taurus sedans with a corrosion issue and 82,500 vehicles with floor mats that might interfere with the accelerator.

No Surprise Here: Sisi Rolls To Victory In Egypt's Election

Less than a year after a coup, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won the presidential election with more than 90 percent of the vote.

Teenage Sisters Allegedly Gang-Raped, Murdered In India

The bodies of the girls were found hanging from a mango tree. Authorities have arrested seven men, including two police constables, in connection with the assault.

Measles Hits Amish Communities, And U.S. Cases Reach 20-Year High

Because more people are refusing vaccines, measles can spread when people bring it to the U.S. from abroad. That's what's behind the high number of cases this year, with 288 so far.

Anonymous Man Starts Internet Frenzy By Giving Away Cash

A man who says he cleared a big profit in a real-estate deal has been giving away money, hiding $50 or $100 at a time in California cities. More than 250,000 are following his clues on Twitter.

ACLU Sues California For 'Equal Learning Time'

At high poverty schools, "students rarely experience a normal school day, let alone semester or year."

The Future Of Online Ed Isn't Heading Where You Expect

A workforce-based initiative on a twin island nation shows the true potential of free online education.

Medicare Frequently Overpays Doctors For Patients' Visits

The agency that runs Medicare said it doesn't plan to review the billings of doctors who almost always charge for the most expensive visits because it isn't cost-effective to do so.

LeBron James And Lance Stephenson Share Odd And Quiet Moment In NBA Game

There are many ways to psych out an opponent. The Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson went the unconventional route last night, softly blowing into LeBron James' ear.

Google's White Male-Heavy Staff Underlines Tech's Diversity Problem

After years of stalling, Google released a demographic breakdown of its staff that shows the company as 70 percent male and 61 percent white.

Former D.C. Council Member Michael Brown To Be Sentenced Thursday

At sentencing today, Michael Brown faces nearly four years for taking bribes in an undercover FBI sting.

Doctors Say They Would Shun Aggressive Treatment When Near Death

There's a big difference between the kind of death doctors say they want and the care the average person receives at the end of life. Doctors want less rather than more.

Streetcar Funding Slashed By D.C. Council, Gray Warns That Network Imperiled

On Wednesday the D.C. Council voted to cut spending for a planned 22-mile network of streetcars, saying the project had been mismanaged. Mayor Vincent Gray warned that the entire program could be in jeopardy due to the cuts.

Maryland Immigrant Advocacy Organization Endorses Brown, Frosh

The group Casa De Maryland unveiled their endorsements for the state's Democratic primary on Wednesday, as well as laying out their vision for rent stabilization to go along with the Purple Line Metro project.

Former Army Chief Cruises To Win In Egypt's Presidential Election

Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi "won by more than a landslide, taking at least 93 percent of the vote," reports NPR's Leila Fadel from Cairo.

D.C. Council Approves Tax Cuts, But Not Without Controversy

Income tax rates for many D.C. earners would go down as part of a plan that got initial approval on Wednesday, but would make up that revenue by taxing businesses and making other cuts.

Downed Ukraine Helicopter Had General On Board; 14 Die In Attack

Militants in Ukraine shot down a military helicopter near the eastern city of Slovyansk Wednesday, killing 14 soldiers that included an Army general.

U.S. GDP Fell 1 Percent; First Drop In 3 Years

Government analysts blame the first-quarter slump on "a significant decline in inventory investment," especially among car dealerships. Jobless claims fell by 27,000 last week, to 300,000.

You Can Thank 150 Different Compounds For The Sweet Smell Of Bacon

The smell of frying bacon can rouse us from the deepest sleep. If you've ever wondered why, and how that works chemically, the American Chemical Society has a video for you.

'Oh My Jesus!': Gun Violence Interview Gets Up-Close Example

An interview about guns in Chicago was derailed Wednesday when a burst of gunfire erupted down the street from where NPR's David Schaper was talking with a community activist.

Judge Halts Ohio Executions, Citing Drug Controversy

A federal judge has put Ohio's next two scheduled executions on hold, months after an inmate took more than 20 minutes to die in an execution in the state.

Search For Flight MH370 Black Boxes Ends; 'Pings' In Dispute

Search and salvage teams will assess where they should look next for the jet's remains after an Australian agency said the search area "can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370."

Transcript And Audio: President Obama's Full NPR Interview

NPR's Steve Inskeep interviewed President Obama on Wednesday about foreign policy, including his approaches to Syria, Ukraine and China, as well as his effort to close Guantanamo Bay prison.