NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Biden Visits Chinese Leader As Flight Zone Dispute Simmers

Vice President Joe Biden speaks after a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Wednesday. Biden met with China's president to discuss issues that include China's recent claim of an air defense zone.
Lintao Zhang Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden met with China's president in Beijing Wednesday, in a trip to Asia that has often touched on growing tensions over China's new air defense identification zone.

Biden's two-day visit to China was planned before the country's defense officials surprised neighboring Japan by declaring a defense zone in an area contested by the two countries. The topic of the air zone likely helped extend a closed-door session that had been scheduled for 45 minutes to its actual length of two hours.

Read more
The Salt
1:18 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Mushroom Foraging: When The Fun(gi) Hunt Gets Out Of Hand

Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook, snaps the end off a mushroom in a Washington, D.C.-area park. When broken, the inside turns blue, identifying it as an inedible species of bolete.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 11:26 am

The first heavy rains of the season fell two weeks ago at Salt Point State Park, on the northern California coast, and now ranger Todd Farcau is waiting anxiously for the forest floor to erupt with mushrooms.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Income Inequality Is The 'Challenge Of Our Time,' Obama Says

President Obama talks Wednesday about the economy and growing economic inequality in Washington.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:46 pm

President Obama tried Wednesday to turn the conversation back to the economy, calling the growing income gap the "defining challenge of our time."

Read more
The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Norman Rockwell's 'Saying Grace' Sells For $46 Million At Auction

Norman Rockwell's 1951 painting Saying Grace sold for $46 million Wednesday — a record for the artist.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:06 pm

Three Norman Rockwell paintings sold for a combined total of nearly $58 million at a Sotheby's auction Wednesday. The three paintings, which had long been displayed in a Massachusetts museum named for the artist, were among 10 Rockwell works sold at auction today.

By far, the star of the bunch was the 1951 masterpiece Saying Grace, which sold for $46 million — a record for Rockwell's art. The price includes a buyer's premium. The AP says the artist's previous record of $15 million had been set by Breaking Home Ties at a 2006 Sotheby's auction.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:58 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Probing The Unknowable Mysteries Of The Brain

iStockphoto

I write to you from Agra, India, where I've spent a week in a conference on the possible relationship between the foundations of quantum physics and the workings of the mind. The main focus of the conference was this: does quantum physics play a role in how the brain works? Or, more profoundly, is the mind, viewed as a collection of possible brain states, sustained by quantum effects? Or can it all be treated using classical physics?

Read more
The Two-Way
10:54 am
Wed December 4, 2013

European Union Fines Banks Billions For Rigging Interest Rates

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia announces fines against eight large banks, in a scandal over rigging interest rates.
Georges Gobet AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:45 pm

European regulators have fined eight large banks a total of more than $2 billion over an illegal cartel scheme to fix interest rates. The fine, the largest ever issued in such a case by the European Union, comes after a two-year investigation into banks' collusion. And the inquiry isn't yet complete.

Two American banks — JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup — are included in the list of financial institutions fined as part of a settlement deal. Several banks that cooperated with investigators saw their fines reduced or eliminated.

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:43 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Rule Spells Out How Insurers Must Cover Mental Health Care

Insurance plans that offer mental health benefits have to keep them in line with the coverage for medical care.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:41 pm

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health plans that offer benefits for mental health and substance use to cover them to the same extent that they cover medical and surgical care.

Among other things, the law prohibits treatment limits and copayments or deductibles that are more restrictive than a plan's medical coverage.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:44 am
Wed December 4, 2013

U.S. Job Growth Surged In November, Report Signals

Air Force Staff Sgt. Bri Smith (right) of Atlanta talks with a Mary Kay consultant during a November job fair for veterans.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:54 pm

A report from payroll company ADP finds that "the U.S. private sector added 215,000 jobs during November making it the strongest month for job growth in 2013," says the company's president and chief executive, Carlos Rodriguez.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:15 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Stolen Radioactive Material Found In Mexico

A photo released by Mexico's nuclear safety agency shows medical equipment containing radioactive source material. The photo was taken as the equipment was being prepared for loading into a truck, which was later stolen.
CNSNS

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:10 pm

Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET: Cobalt-60 Found

Mexican officials say they've recovered the "extremely dangerous" radioactive cobalt-60 that was stolen last week, hours after finding its empty containter.

The Associated Press reports:

"A missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday near where the stolen truck transporting the material was abandoned in central Mexico, the country's nuclear safety director said.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Book News: Manil Suri Takes Bad Sex In Fiction Award

Author Manil Suri missed his chance to meet Joan Collins, who presented this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award at a ceremony in London.
Courtesy of Nina Subin

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:54 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Hezbollah Commander Dies In Attack Outside Beirut Home

Hassan al-Laqis, described as one of Hezbollah's founding members, was killed in an attack outside his home in Beirut. He's seen here in a photo released Wednesday by the Hezbollah Media Relation Office.
AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 8:18 am

A veteran Hezbollah commander with expertise in technology and intelligence was assassinated Wednesday in Beirut — a killing the militant group blamed on Israel.

Israeli officials denied involvement in the death of Hassan al-Laqis, who was reportedly shot in a parking lot outside his home.

Read more
Monkey See
5:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

The Top 5 Reasons We're Taking A Break From Lists

This Christmas, NPR Books would like to find something other than lists in our stockings.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

You love lists. We love lists. Everyone loves lists. And in the past five years, NPR has brought you more than 80 year-end book lists — the best book club books, the best cookbooks, the best gift books, the best guilty pleasures. We listed. You clicked. Everyone was happy.

Read more
The Salt
3:05 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Why $7-Per-Gallon Milk Looms Once Again

Sticker shock in the dairy aisle? If the government fails to pass the farm bill, milk prices could spike sometime after the first of the year.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:29 pm

The leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are meeting Wednesday as they continue to try to work out the differences between their respective farm bills. If they fail, the country faces what's being called the "dairy cliff" — with milk prices potentially shooting up to about $7 a gallon sometime after the first of the year.

Here's why: The nation's farm policy would be legally required to revert back to what's called permanent law. In the case of dairy, that would be the 1949 farm bill.

Read more
Shots - Health News
6:31 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Mammograms In 3-D May Be Better, But Hard Proof Is Missing

A woman is positioned for a traditional mammogram at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:02 pm

A newer form of mammogram may do a better job of finding cancer, a study finds. But the technology is still too untested to know if it's going to be useful for most women or even to know for sure who might benefit.

It's called breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography. Since being approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011, the new type of scan has been touted by radiologists.

Read more

Pages