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The Two-Way
8:09 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Islamic State Reportedly Seizes Last Syria-Iraq Border Crossing

In this photo released Thursday by a website run by Islamic State militants, damaged Syrian helicopters sit at Palmyra air base, which was captured by ISIS after a battle with the Syrian government forces earlier this week.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 2:02 pm

Fighters with the self-declared Islamic State have seized the last border crossing in Syria, where they control half of the country, according to a British-based monitoring group.

Syrian government forces withdrew from al-Tanf, known as al-Waleed in Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The border crossing lies at the extreme northwest of Iraq's border with Syria.

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NPR Ed
8:03 am
Fri May 22, 2015

An Irreplaceable Replacement, This Sub Gets The Job Done

Substitute teacher Josephine Brewington receives the substitute teacher of the year award.
Courtesy of Kelly Services

One of the toughest jobs in education is the substitute teacher. The pay is low, schedules are unpredictable and respect can be hard to come by. But because the average teacher missed 11 days of school in 2012-2013, a sub like Josephine Brewington ends up playing a crucial role.

And this week — Brewington was rewarded for her efforts — winning the 2015 Substitute Teacher of the Year award.

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Goats and Soda
7:36 am
Fri May 22, 2015

How Do You Motivate Kids To Stop Skipping School?

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

It seems like a no-brainer: Offer kids a reward for showing up at school, and their attendance will shoot up. But a recent study of third-graders in a slum in India suggests that incentive schemes can do more harm than good.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Irish Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Nuns vote on a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage, at a polling station in County Dublin, Ireland, on Friday.
Peter Morrison AP

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 2:08 pm

Voters in Ireland are deciding whether the country will amend its constitution to make same-sex marriage legal.

The vote on Friday follows months of debate in the heavily Catholic country. Opinion polls suggest the referendum will pass and Ireland will become the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in a national vote.

But, as NPR's Ari Shapiro points out, "Polls in this part of the world have been totally wrong in the past.

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The Two-Way
4:01 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Korean Air 'Nut Rage' Executive Freed From Prison

Former Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-Ah, after being released by a Seoul appeals court.
Jung Yeon-je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 2:50 pm

Former Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-ah, or Heather Cho, is out of prison after a four-month stay. If her name and alias don't ring a bell for you, the reason why she was jailed might.

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Heroin In The Heartland
3:57 am
Fri May 22, 2015

In America's Heartland, Heroin Crisis Is Hitting Too Close To Home

Sabas Sanchez Jr. was better known among his neighbors in Madison, Neb., as "Gordo" — Spanish for chubby. He also had an oversized personality. His father keeps this tattered photo in his wallet.
Bobby Caina Calvan Heartland Reporting Project

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 1:52 pm

Heroin, today, is killing more and more people in rural America.

One Mexican cartel has seeded low-cost heroin around rural towns in the Southwest and Midwest, selling it cheap and easy, almost like pizza.

Madison, Neb. — population 2,500 — is just a speck of a town, a two-hour drive from the big-city bustle of Omaha. But it's not far enough away to avoid the growing impact of heroin.

"The world's gotten smaller," says Police Chief Rod Waterbury. "If drugs can make it to Chicago, they can make it here."

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The Salt
3:55 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Revealed: The Ocean's Tiniest Life At The Bottom Of The Food Chain

Plankton collected in the Pacific Ocean with a 0.1mm mesh net. Seen here is a mix of multicellular organisms — small zooplanktonic animals, larvae and single protists (diatoms, dinoflagellates, radiolarians) — the nearly invisible universe at the bottom of the marine food chain.
Christian Sardet/CNRS/Tara Expeditions

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 5:54 pm

What's at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain? Well, think small ... smaller than you can see.

Tiny life forms in the ocean, too small for the naked eye to see.

There are (and scientists have done the math) trillions of microorganisms in the ocean: plankton, bacteria, krill (they're maybe bigger than "micro," but not by much), viruses, protists and archaea (they're like bacteria, but they aren't bacteria).

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The Two-Way
3:51 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Uneasy Rider: The Origins Of Motorcycle Gangs And How They Remain A Force

Police officers observe the scene at Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, the site of the recent motorcycle gang-related shooting.
Jerry Larson AP

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 11:52 am

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

The shootout involving motorcycle gangs last weekend in Waco, Texas, resulted in 170 arrests and put a spotlight on the gangs' history, which dates back to the 1940s.

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The Salt
3:50 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Adios, Trans Fats: FDA Poised To Phase Out Artery-Clogging Fat

Various food items that contained trans fats in November 2013. That month, the Food and Drug Administration first announced plans to ban partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from all food products. A final rule is expected any day now.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:32 am

The case against trans fats is not new. For years, health experts have been telling us to avoid them.

And as retailing behemoths such as Wal-Mart have committed to the removal of all remaining, industrially produced trans fats in the products they sell, the food industry has stepped up its pace to reformulate its offerings.

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Michel Martin, Going There
6:50 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

#MotorCityDrive: Is Detroit's Economic Engine Roaring Back To Life?

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 8:29 pm

For generations of Americans, Detroit was the place where people made things: powerful cars, amazing architecture, beautiful music. But now Detroit is entering a new chapter. After months of often tense and difficult negotiations, Detroit is now formally out of bankruptcy. Millions of dollars of contributions from private foundations and corporations helped the city preserve its acclaimed art collection. A new generation of artists and entrepreneurs, doers and makers is calling Detroit home. So we'd like to ask, what's next? What will drive Detroit's future now?

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