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The Two-Way
6:45 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gandolfini Suffered Cardiac Arrest On Family Trip, Reports Say

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano and Edie Falco as his wife, Carmella, in a scene from The Sopranos. Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest in Italy, according to reports citing a doctor at the hospital where was admitted.
Barry Wetcher HBO

Actor James Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest, The Los Angeles Times reports, citing the doctor in charge of the emergency department at the hospital in Rome where the Sopranos star was admitted.

Dr. Claudio Modini told the Times that Gandolfini, 51, was already in cardiac arrest when he arrived at Policlinico Umberto I Hospital Wednesday night.

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The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

U.S. Army To Scrap $7 Billion In Equipment In Afghanistan

Mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles — MRAPs — like these are some of the more than $7 billion in equipment the U.S. Army is dismantling and selling as scrap in Afghanistan.
Lucas Jackson AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 9:18 pm

In preparation for a complete exit from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds' worth of military equipment, The Washington Post reported.

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The Salt
6:05 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

House Smacks Down Farm Bill, And Farm Lobby, Too

Gracie Shannon-Sanborn, 5, holds a sign as she joins her father Allen Sanborn (L) and members of Progressive Democrats of America at a rally in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's office on June 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. The protestors asked the congressman to vote against a House farm bill, which was defeated Thursday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 2:16 pm

The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)

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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Dow Loses 350 Points After Fed Hints It Will Stop Buying Bonds

Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange after the opening bell on Thursday.
John Moore Getty Images

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 353 points on Thursday in a selloff sparked by uncertainty about the end of a government monetary stimulus program and a credit crunch in China.

Wall Street followed a downturn in global markets. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index lost 2.5 percent, while the Dow and Nasdaq composite indexes both lost 2.3 percent.

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The Two-Way
5:04 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

NSA Reportedly Allowed To Keep Some Domestic Communications

Attorney General Eric Holder reportedly signed off on the FISA court rulings that allowed the NSA to retain domestic communications under some circumstances.
Handout Getty Images

Special U.S. courts charged with authorizing electronic surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists gave permission to the NSA to retain in certain cases "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications, The Guardian reports.

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Six-Woman Jury Selected For Trial Of George Zimmerman

Six women have been selected for the trial of George Zimmerman, right, on second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was in court Thursday with his defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 7:02 pm

A jury has been settled upon in the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The six-member panel is made up entirely of female jurors; five of them are white women, according to reports.

Attorneys in the trial finished questioning potential jurors around mid-day Thursday; they are also selecting four alternate jurors for the trial.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Jury Sworn In:

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The Two-Way
3:02 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gay-Therapy Ministry Shuts Down, Says 'We've Hurt People'

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, with his wife, Leslie, in a May 2006 photo.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:25 pm

Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.

The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.

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The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Second Reported Miracle Paves Way For Pope John Paul's Sainthood

Cardinal Stanislav Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and former personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, prays in front of the late pope's tomb at St. Peter's Basilica in 2011, in Vatican City.
Getty Images

It's a miracle, though we're not quite sure of the details yet.

A Vatican official confirms that a committee of theologians has approved a second miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II's posthumous intercession — a sine qua non for sainthood.

Italian media say a Costa Rican woman was cured of a severe brain injury after her family prayed to the memory of the late pope. The Vatican is set to release details in the next week or so.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Amid Turmoil, U.S. Speedskating Chief Resigns

Already on thin ice after months of turmoil and scandal, the executive director of U.S. Speedskating (USS) has resigned.

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Monkey See
2:20 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

To Be, Or Not To Be (Covered By The AP)

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 4:45 pm

Ever so quietly this week, the national arts scene became a bit more fragmented, a bit more stratified and a lot more invisible. The Associated Press has just spiked a chunk of its opera, dance and off-Broadway coverage. And in this case, no news is bad news.

In an email, AP chief theater writer Mark Kennedy described the decision to me:

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Shots - Health News
1:46 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

MacGyver Says: Don't Mix Teenage Boys And Homemade Bombs

Soda bottles and household chemicals are sometimes used to make low-power bombs.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 9:14 am

They're sometimes called MacGyver bombs, in an homage to the 1980s TV hero who could make a bomb out of everyday items like a cold pill, blow an escape route through a wall and save the day.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would probably call these homemade chemical bombs "stupid things that teenage boys come up with to injure themselves and others."

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Shots - Health News
1:39 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

PTSD Plagues 1 In 4 Survivors Of Stroke

Insomnia, feeling isolated, and bursts of anger are symptoms of the anxiety disorder known as PTSD.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 7:57 pm

A person having a stroke may not be in a war zone, but his or her life is in danger all the same. That's enough to trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in some stroke survivors, researchers say, with symptoms like panic attacks, nightmares and flashes of anger.

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Singapore Endures Record Smog

The sun rises over the Singapore Central Business District as smog shrouds the city-state on Thursday.
Joseph Nair AP

Face mask-clad Singaporeans enduring record-breaking smog got some more bad news from their government on Thursday: The pollution may last awhile.

The choking smog that blanketed the city-state earlier this week, generated by burning clear-cutting fires in Indonesia, has gone well beyond the "hazardous" level on the Pollutant Standards Index, hitting 371 on Wednesday before coming back down to about 250. The previous record was 226, reached in 1997.

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The Salt
1:04 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Why Slave Labor Still Plagues The Global Food System

Workers process shrimp at a factory in Thailand in 2009.
Chumsak Kanoknan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 10:01 am

When the State Department released its annual report on human trafficking Wednesday, we got a chilling reminder that even in 2013, slave labor is still embedded in the global food system.

As many as 27 million men, women and children are estimated to be trafficking victims at any given time, according to the report. And some of those victims, the State Department says, are later forced to work in agriculture and food processing (though no one has a good idea how many).

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Justices: Federal Funds Can't Infringe On Nonprofits' Free Speech

The Supreme Court has struck down a law mandating that nonprofit organizations adopt a policy opposing prostitution as a condition for receiving federal funds for HIV/AIDS programs abroad, saying such a requirement violated the groups' free-speech rights.

In the 6-2 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts led the majority, with Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself.

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