NPR Blogs

The Salt
5:26 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

'Braai Day' Aims To Bring S. Africans Together Over Barbecue

Jan Scannell, former accountant, has taken on a new identity as "Jan Braai," a South African TV show host and media personality promoting the idea of National Braai (barbecuing) Day, celebrated each year on Sept. 24.
Courtesy of Stephanus Rabie

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 5:30 pm

Nelson Mandela is officially "improving," though still in critical condition at a South African hospital. His long battle with a lung infection has South Africans anxiously contemplating their "post-Mandela" future in a still racially divided country. In a unique strategy, one man is hoping to help heal those divisions with a pair of barbecue tongs.

Jan Scannell is a 32-year-old former accountant with a dream: To establish a national holiday in South Africa like July 4 called Braai Day.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Which U.S. Agencies Have Taken The Most Furlough Days?

In May, the Housing and Urban Development agency closed for a day, as employees were placed on furlough. The HUD and other agencies were reportedly forced to take a fraction of the furlough days that had been threatened earlier in 2013.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 9:36 am

The threat of furloughs loomed large early in 2013, when mandatory budget cuts seemed certain to force federal workers to skip anywhere from 10 to 22 days of work without pay this year. A new tally by Federal News Radio shows that many agencies have taken fewer than half the days they had predicted.

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Shots - Health News
4:49 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Dengue Fever Pops Up In Florida

Dengue fever cases have cropped up in southern Florida.
CDC

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 8:31 am

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness, is back in Florida.

A handful of cases have been confirmed in Martin and St. Lucie counties in the past week. The cases there prompted a public health alert. Another case was seen in Miami-Dade, where officials issued a mosquito-borne disease advisory.

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The Two-Way
4:26 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

U.N. Will Talk To U.S. About Spying Claims

The United Nations says it will talk to the United States about a report that it spied on the communications of diplomats.

Reuters reports:

"'We're aware of the reports and we intend to be in touch with the relevant authorities on this,' U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

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The Two-Way
2:38 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Sabotage Prompts Two-Year Bans For Olympic Skater And Coach

Simon Cho of the U.S. celebrates during the 500 meter men's final race at the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Dresden in 2011.
Jens Meyer AP

"Obnoxious...disruptive...and...unsportsmanlike."

That's how a disciplinary panel at the International Skating Union (ISU) describes the behavior of former U.S. Olympic short track speedskating coach Jae Su Chun during a contentious international meet in Poland in 2011.

American Olympic medalist Simon Cho confessed last Fall to sabotaging the skate of a Canadian rival at that meet. Cho claimed his coach made him do it.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Wingsuit Flying: Incredible Thrill, But 'No Second Chance'

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 5:30 pm

"There is no second chance ... there is no margin of error whatsoever."

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The Salt
2:15 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Sandwich Monday: A Hot Dog Cookoff

The entry from Kuma's. There's a hot dog hiding in there somewhere.
Jamie Bernstein

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:33 pm

There is still debate as to whether the hot dog evolved from lesser sandwich forms or is the work of an intelligent designer, but everyone can agree it's a marvel of simplicity. At the Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff earlier this summer in Chicago, though, five chefs were challenged to reinterpret the humble tube steak, and we were challenged to eat them all.

The chefs were told to "start with Vienna Beef hot dogs" and "use them in any way imaginable." Those instructions, when you think about it, are frighteningly open to interpretation.

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Amateur Ko Wins LPGA Event Again; Says Goodbye To $300K Again

Lydia Ko of New Zealand reacts as she birdies the final hole to win her second consecutive Canadian Women's Open Sunday. Because Ko is an amateur, she didn't receive the winner's check for $300,000.
Stephen Dunn Getty Images

Lydia Ko, the New Zealand golfer who last year became the youngest person ever to win an LPGA event, has played her way into the record books again. By successfully defending her title at the Canadian Women's Open this past weekend, Ko, who's now 16, is the only amateur to win two LPGA events.

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The Salt
1:39 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

The Great Dumpling Debate: What Makes The Cut?

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:43 pm

When we first started thinking about dumplings for NPR's Dumpling Week, we presumed that there wasn't much to the little balls of dough. They seemed simple, universally beloved and unencumbered by controversy.

But the semantics of the dumpling turns out to be far more fraught that we imagined. This became clear when we started wondering whether tamales, or samosas, counted as dumplings. The deeper we waded into the pool of quasi-dumpling snacks, the more we realized we needed some expert input to set us straight.

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Shots - Health News
12:37 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

A Chat With The Doctor Can Help Kids Resist Smoking

Almost all adult smokers say they got their start before age 18.
iStockphoto.com

Doctors do make a difference when it comes to keeping children and teenagers from taking up tobacco. This may sound like a no-brainer, but until recently there wasn't strong evidence that anti-smoking efforts by pediatricians and other primary care doctors make a difference.

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The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Rodeo Clown 'Would Be Honored' To Shake Obama's Hand

Rodeo clown Tuffy Gessling in his first on-camera interview about the "Obama mask" incident, with Kansas City's KCTV.
KCTV

"I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke," says Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown behind a skit at the Missouri State Fair earlier this month that sparked outrage when a masked "President Obama" was chased by a bull that Gessling said was "gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!"

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Amanda Knox Won't Attend New Italian Trial, Lawyer Says

In 2011, Amanda Knox spoke to the media after arriving in the U.S., following a years-long criminal case against her in the death of a roommate in Italy. A new trial for Knox is planned to begin in Florence, Italy, next month.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 12:27 pm

Amanda Knox, whose murder conviction was overturned in 2011, will not travel to Italy for a new trial in the stabbing death of a fellow student. In May, Italy's supreme court ordered Knox to be tried again, along with her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Little Girl Who Needed Lung Transplants Due To Go Home

Sarah Murnaghan, center, on May 30 as she and her parents marked the 100th day of her stay in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Her father, Fran, is at left. Her mother, Janet, is at right.
Murnaghan family AP

Sarah Murnaghan, whose plight prompted a national debate about transplant policies when she came close to dying while waiting for new lungs, could leave a Philadelphia hospital as soon as Tuesday, CNN says.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:58 am
Mon August 26, 2013

In Defense of (Conceptually Messy) Psychology

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:43 pm

In a recent post at The Daily Beast, Will Wilkinson lambasts the field of psychology.

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Mon August 26, 2013

New Salinger Books Will Arrive In 2015, Authors Say

A new biography claims that unpublished fiction is on the way from late author J.D. Salinger, seen here at right posing with a friend, Donald Hartog, in 1989.
AP

A stream of fiction and stories written by reclusive author J.D. Salinger will be published between 2015 and 2020, according to a new biography about the writer of The Catcher in the Rye, who died in 2010. Some of the books will reportedly revisit beloved Salinger characters such as Holden Caulfield.

The claims come from David Shields and Shane Salerno, co-authors of the biography Salinger, which will be published next week. Days later, Salerno's documentary film of the same name will be released (and in January, it will air on PBS).

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