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12:02 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Alleged $30M Theft By Comptroller Stuns Ill. City

This November 2011 photo provided by The American Quarter Horse Journal shows Rita Crundwell of Dixon, Ill., at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges she misappropriated more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle.
AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:52 am

The top financial official for the small city of Dixon, Ill., is accused of stealing more than $30 million from city coffers over the past six years. It's a staggering amount of money for the city of just 15,000 residents in northwest Illinois, and federal prosecutors allege she used the funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included horse farms and a $2 million luxury motor home.

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Music Interviews
6:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Anoushka Shankar: A Sitar Player In Andalusia

"There's a very primal, emotional response I feel when I hear flamenco," sitar player Anoushka Shankar says. "It's quite in the belly in a way."
Harper Smith

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:41 am

Anoushka Shankar is the daughter and protege of the renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who is credited with introducing Indian classical music to Western audiences. Now, Anoushka Shankar carries on this tradition in more ways than one. On her new album, Traveller, she goes back in time to make the connections between India and Spain.

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It's All Politics
5:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Obama, Romney Use Opposing Versions Of 'Are You Better Off?'

Mitt Romney's campaign plans on using variations of Ronald Reagan's "Are you better off?" question frequently over the next six months.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:37 pm

Ever since Ronald Reagan posed the killer question to voters in a 1980 debate with then-President Jimmy Carter — "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" — challengers to incumbent presidents have tried to repeat the Reagan magic.

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Mitt Romney
5:11 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

With Eye On November, Romney To Expand Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks with a staffer on the night of the Florida primary in January. Now that he's pivoting away from the primaries to the general election, Romney is expected to quadruple his staff soon.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:41 pm

Now that he's all but certain to be the Republican challenging President Obama in November, Mitt Romney has begun to expand his operations. In the past week, he's named a top aide to head his vice presidential selection team, and his paid staff is expected to soon quadruple in size.

With the president's campaign well-staffed and spread across the map, it's become a game of catch-up for Romney.

There are Republican primary contests in five important states next Tuesday, but with Rick Santorum's departure from the race, they've gotten little attention.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

3 Secret Service Agents Will Leave Agency Over Prostitution Scandal

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:22 pm

Three agents accused of cavorting with prostitutes during a trip to Cartagena as part of the "advance" team working on President Obama's trip to Colombia are leaving the agency.

The AP reports:

"Of the three workers forced out in the scandal, one is a supervisor who was allowed to retire. Another is a supervisor who has been designated for removal for cause, which requires that the employee be given 30 days' notice and a chance to respond with the help of a lawyer; and a third employee, not a supervisor, has quit.

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Three Books...
5:10 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books To Jazz Your Writing

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:49 am

I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"

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It's All Politics
4:54 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Most Small Businesses Don't Quite Fit The Political Picture

Angela Caragan's A Cupcake Co. offers gourmet cupcakes for special events. Like more than 20 million other small-business owners in the U.S., she has no employees.
Courtesy of Angela Caragan

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:28 pm

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a GOP measure to cut taxes on small businesses.

Now, the mental image most of us have of a small business is probably something like this: a handful of employees, a shop, maybe a restaurant or a little tech firm.

It turns out the reality of the nation's 28 million small businesses is, in many cases, quite different.

House Republicans say their tax cut would help millions of small businesses.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Vatican Says U.S. Nun Association Doesn't Adhere To Church Teachings

The Vatican has ordered a crackdown of an American organization representing most nuns in the United States. The Vatican ordered an investigation of the group in 2008 and today it said it was appointing an American archbishop to oversee a reform of the group.

The AP reports:

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Africa
4:23 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Tourists Make Historic Visit To War-Ravaged Liberia

The 150 passengers aboard the National Geographic Explorer cruise ship arrive in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, on April 16. It's reportedly the largest group of tourists to visit the country since the 1970s.
Tamasin Ford for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 9:26 am

Liberia has been better known for conflict than tourism the past couple of decades.

But this week, a group of 150 tourists, many of them Americans, arrived for a brief stay in the small nation on Africa's West Coast. When their cruise liner docked in the capital of Monrovia, they became the largest group of tourists to visit the country in many years, probably since the 1970s.

Dock workers in Monrovia usually unload cargo ships full of secondhand clothes or rice — not a cruise ship full of American tourists.

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Energy
4:04 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

New Rules To Curb Pollution From Oil, Gas Drilling

Oil and natural gas drillers use equipment like this to separate the liquid, gas and sand that come out of wells at the beginning of hydraulic fracturing operations.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:34 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.

Currently, waste products from the drilling operations, which include a mix of chemicals, sand and water, can be pumped into open enclosures or pits, where toxic substances can make their way into the air. The new rules will require this fluid to be captured by 2015, and flared — or burned off — in the meantime.

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Energy
4:04 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

As Gasoline Goes Up, Natural Gas Cheaper Than Ever

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:54 pm

At the same time gasoline prices are soaring, the cost of electricity is falling. The reason? Cheap and plentiful natural gas. A utility in Massachusetts has just sliced rates by 34 percent. Coming out of a recession, the lower electricity prices are quietly boosting the economy and providing some welcome savings to businesses and families.

NPR Story
3:41 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Months Into Mission, U.S. Action Against Kony Unclear

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:54 pm

In the Central African Republic, U.S. Special Forces soldiers are on the hunt for Joseph Kony, the brutal leader of the rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has been responsible for abducting tens of thousands of children and turning them into sex slaves or killers. The U.S. military set up its outpost in the country four months ago. Audie Cornish talks to Washington Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan, who wrote about the U.S. involvement.

Remembrances
3:36 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Dick Clark, 'Bandstand' Host, Dead at 82

Pop culture icon Dick Clark died Wednesday at age 82. He started his career as a college disc jockey and went on to shape the way America viewed music, TV game shows and New Year's Eve. Here, he hosts American Bandstand in 1958.
ABC Photo Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 1:59 pm

Dick Clark, affectionately known as the "world's oldest teenager," has died. He was 82, and had suffered a heart attack while in a Santa Monica hospital for an outpatient procedure.

Richard Wagstaff Clark became a national icon with American Bandstand in the 1950s, hosting the show for more than 30 years. Clark also hosted the annual New Year's Eve special for ABC for decades. He weathered scandals, hosted game shows and renewed his Bandstand fame with a new generation by producing the nostalgic TV drama American Dreams.

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World Cafe
3:12 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Emeli Sande On World Cafe

Emeli Sande.
Courtesy of the artist

Emeli Sande is young, but she already has an enviable list of accomplishments under her belt. Along with a specialty in neuroscience from the University of Glasgow, she's become a global R&B phenomenon at just 23. The U.K. soul singer wrote her first song at 11 and began participating in music competitions in her teens. Given her powerful vocals and keen understanding of what makes a great song, there was little doubt that her debut would be a doozy — especially once her first single, the soulful "Heaven," became a worldwide hit.

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Theater
3:12 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

London Smash 'Two Guvnors' Comes To Broadway

Adapted from The Servant of Two Masters, the new comedy One Man, Two Guvnors follows the "always famished and easily confused" Francis Henshall (James Corden, left), who must combat his own befuddlement while keeping both of his employers — a local gangster and criminal-in-hiding Stanley Stubbers (Oliver Chris) — from meeting.
Tristram Kenton

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:54 pm

If you weren't a college theater major, you can be forgiven for not knowing much about commedia dell'arte, the 500-year-old theatrical tradition that Carlo Goldoni used for his comedy The Servant of Two Masters in 1743. Contemporary playwright Richard Bean has adapted that play into the decidedly British laugh riot One Man, Two Guvnors -- and he says all you really need to know about commedia is ... well, it's funny.

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