NPR News

How a gas shortage got worse with panic buying

Sep 23, 2016
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Emily Siner

If you drove past a gas station in Nashville last weekend, you might have seen bags over the pumps or else a really long line of cars. Not even minor celebrities were spared.

At an Exxon station on Monday — which had gas and no lines — Tennessee Titans punter Brett Kern was finally filling up. His car was almost on empty.

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Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

For more than 50 years, Cuba was an enemy of the United States. But not every American has seen Cuba as a threat.  

“You know, I tell folks all the time, I wake up every morning worried about something, but being invaded by Cuba is not one of them,” says Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau.

Israelis are closely following the US election, but in newspapers read by ultra-Orthodox Jews, there are no photos of Hillary Clinton — and some editors say that won't change, even if she becomes president.

Beni Rabinovich, a staff writer at the Yated Neeman newspaper, says publishing pictures of Clinton just isn’t done at his daily.

“If we write about Clinton and Trump, it’s much easier to run a picture of Trump,” Rabinovich says.

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Courtesy Project Runway

Fashion designer Roberi Parra is familiar with widespread shortages of food, supplies, and medicine. But as a contestant on this season's "Project Runway," he's a world away from his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela. 

The show's first episode featured a surprise challenge: The hosts of the series welcome the designers at a launch party. The designers are then a bit startled to learn that the decor for the party will also serve as materials for their looks.

The Amazon series Transparent is about a transgender woman named Maura who for decades was known to her kids as Mort, or Dad. Actor Jeffrey Tambor plays Maura and has just won a second Emmy for his performance. "When those roles come along, you don't run away," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "It's a perfect role, you know? I thought I was gonna do Lear, but I'm gonna do Maura."

The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African-American man, by Charlotte, N.C., police is under investigation and the circumstances are very much in dispute, but when you listen to protesters, you hear that their frustration isn't about just this one case.

Yahoo has revealed that it suffered a massive cyber breach in late 2014, which the company believes resulted in theft of information about the accounts of at least 500 million users.

The Internet responded in stride — as it has to all recent Yahoo-related news — with the regular tide of jokes about Yahoo's dinosaur status.

It's almost a year to the day since world leaders committed to meeting 17 "Sustainable Development Goals" by 2030, from wiping out extreme poverty to fighting disease and inequality.

Perhaps they should have added an 18th goal — compiling all the data needed to achieve the other goals.

This data gap has been the talk among advocates for the poor this week as the U.N. General Assembly's current session got underway. It was at last year's General Assembly that the 17 goals were set.

In 1970, archaeologists excavating the site of an ancient synagogue in Israel dug up a cylindrical lump of charcoal that looked like the remains of a scroll.

The animal-skin document was badly burned and battered. It was so delicate, just touching its surface sent pieces flaking off. To attempt to read it by unwrapping the layers would be to destroy the artifact forever. For curious scholars hoping to know what was written inside, the so-called En-Gedi scroll was a hopeless enigma.

Until now.

For all the international furor over genetically modified food, or GMOs, the biotech industry has really only managed to put a few foreign genes into food crops.

The first of these genes — actually, a small family of similar genes — came from a kind of bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. Those genes make plants poisonous to certain insect pests.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Syrian President Bashar Assad blamed the U.S. for the collapse of a fragile cease-fire earlier this week and denied carrying out well-documented human rights abuses, such as besieging civilians or using chemical weapons against them.

Betty Shelby, the Tulsa Police Department officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, is being charged with first-degree manslaughter in the case, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler says.

Kunzweiler announced the charge Thursday afternoon, six days after Crutcher died in a controversial encounter that was captured on video by a police helicopter camera and dashboard cameras.

Chinese officials are under fire after a local government tried to repair a section of the Great Wall by apparently just paving it over. Now, a centuries-old stretch of the wall looks more like a gray sidewalk than a global treasure.

"The five-mile stretch of wall in northeast Liaoning province is known as a particularly scenic part of the 'wild wall,' " NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing. "Its towers and parapets are partially crumbled by seven centuries of wind and rain."

Take a look at this video:

If a word is spelled correctly, the pigeon has been taught to peck at the word. If it's spelled incorrectly, the pigeon is supposed to peck at the star. When it gets it right, the machine hands it some food.

A group of researchers from New Zealand were able to train four pigeons to consistently — with 70 percent accuracy — recognize dozens of words. The smartest pigeon learned about 60 words that it could distinguish from about 1,000 nonwords.

There’s just over a week left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. But only one team — the Chicago Cubs — has clinched a playoff berth.

That means the race for the postseason, both division winners and wild card hopefuls, is reaching a crescendo.

Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with Here & Now sports analyst Mike Pesca about how the end of the season is shaping up.

As presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump get ready for their first debate Monday night, Here & Now looks at some of the highlights in the history of presidential debates.

The first Clinton-Trump debate falls on the anniversary of the first-ever televised presidential debate, between Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat John F. Kennedy, on Sept. 26, 1960.

Providing details on a large hacking case, Yahoo says it believes "information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen." The company says its investigation suggests the stolen data doesn't include payment and bank account information, which it says are stored in a different system.

Yahoo suspects that a "state-sponsored actor" performed the hack, stealing users' account information from the company network late in 2014.

Many of the signs say "Black lives matter," some read "No justice, no peace." And some have a simple directive:

"Release the tapes."

As demonstrators in Charlotte, N.C., take to the streets to protest the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, one of their demands is for law enforcement to show the public video footage of the encounter that led to Scott's death.

Ruling on a lawsuit filed by a state's Democratic attorney general against its Republican governor, the Kentucky Supreme Court says Gov. Matt Bevin doesn't have the authority to unilaterally slice money out of a state university's budget.

From member station WUKY in Lexington:

North Korea has 28 websites

Sep 22, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal

We've been talking today about the big Yahoo hack affecting a half-billion users.

A hack like this would never happen in North Korea — besides the whole "totalitarian state" thing, we learned this week that the country effectively has 28 websites. For perspective, there are 140 million .com and .net sites.

Until Sept. 19, if diners had wanted to see Yelp reviews for Elizabeth, N.J., restaurant First American Fried Chicken, they would have found just two of them, praising the food, wide selection and late hours. Now, the majority of reviews give the restaurant one star, refer to the owners as "terrorists," talk about "72 virgin bucket specials" and mention — repeatedly — that their chicken is "the bomb."

Charlotte's economy is strong but inequality remains

Sep 22, 2016
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Marketplace

Charlotte, N.C. is recovering from a second night of protests over the police shooting of 43-year-old Keith Scott, an African-American man  on Tuesday. Tear gas was used, businesses were damaged and Governor Pat McCrory has issued a state of emergency.

During Wednesday night’s protests, Aria Tuscan Grill evacuated all 40 of its guests.

“Because our ventilation started pumping the tear gas into the restaurant,” said Andrew Shook,  the restaurant's assistant general manager.

The breathtaking sadness of seeing a boy suffering amid Syria's civil war has prompted a breathtaking offer of hospitality and kindness.

The sight of shell-shocked 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was wounded in an airstrike in Aleppo, left many people speechless last month. It also prompted a New York boy named Alex to write to President Obama with a simple request: "Can you please go get him" so Omran can become part of Alex's family?

Less than a year after China suspended its one-child policy, officials in the central Chinese city of Yichang are asking public servants to have two children.

The request came in a public memo from municipal officials posted to the city government website. After more than 35 years, China relaxed one-child restrictions in January, allowing couples nationwide to have a second child if they want to.

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Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago/Handout 

The completion of a US weapons deal with Israel worth $38 billion clears the way for two of Israel's Arab neighbors to buy US fighter jets.

Qatar wants to buy 36 Boeing F-15 fighter jets. Kuwait has been waiting to buy 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. “Those have been on hold for years now,” says journalist Dan De Luce, who follows defense matters for Foreign Policy.

Say one thing for certain: The lists don't lack for leading lights.

When President Obama doled out the 2015 National Medals of Arts and National Humanities Medals on Thursday, plenty of the artists and arts patrons he draped with awards had familiar names — including Mel Brooks, Morgan Freeman, Terry Gross and nearly two dozen others.

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Lorne Matalon

The Colombian state and the guerrilla movement known as FARC, the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,  are scheduled to sign a peace accord Monday (September 26).   

In a new episode of Web comedy show Between Two Ferns, Hillary Clinton jokes about what she should wear at next Monday's debate, attending Donald Trump's wedding and Chelsea Clinton's friendship with Ivanka Trump.

Comedian host Zach Galifianakis asked the candidate a variety of (not surprisingly) irreverent questions — like what would happen if Clinton got pregnant in office and whether she ever thinks to herself, "Oh, maybe I should be more racist."

(This post was updated at 2:11 p.m. ET.)

Puerto Rico's governor, Alejandro García Padilla, has declared a state of emergency over a power outage that at its peak affected 1.5 million customers.

By morning that number had been cut by a couple hundred thousand, but more than a million customers on the island remained without electricity.

Signs, rocks, tear gas, fireworks, broken glass, blood: The streets of Charlotte, N.C., have borne witness to days of unrest after a fatal police shooting on Tuesday.

Two nights of protests have included peaceful calls for unity as well as violence and destruction. On Wednesday night, a civilian was shot at a protest and now, city officials say, is on life support.

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