National and World News from NPR

Pages

World
1:32 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Why Chemical Weapons Have Been A Red Line Since World War I

Soldiers with the British Machine Gun Corps wear gas masks in 1916 during World War I's first Battle of the Somme.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 4:48 pm

President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons could change the U.S. response to the Syrian civil war. But why this focus on chemical weapons when conventional weapons have killed tens of thousands in Syria?

The answer can be traced back to the early uses of poison gas nearly a century ago.

In World War I, trench warfare led to stalemates — and to new weapons meant to break through the lines.

Read more
NWPR Books
1:20 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

One Of Ireland's Greatest Writers Looks Back On Eight Decades

Edna O'Brien is pictured here with her husband, the writer Ernest Gebler, in London in 1959. O'Brien's first novel, The Country Girls, was published a year later.
Edna O'Brien/Little, Brown and Co.

Back in the early 1950s, as a lonely, pregnant young wife already ruing her rash elopement, Edna O'Brien sobbed through the ending of Flaubert's Madame Bovary and wondered, "Why could life not be lived at that same pitch? Why was it only in books that I could find the utter outlet for my emotions?"

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:20 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Mate Doesn't Have Your Back? That Boosts Depression Risk

Having a special someone won't fend off depression if that person doesn't have your back.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:21 am

Having a mate is supposed to be good for your mental health.

But if that mate is critical or can't be counted on when the going gets tough, that's worse than having no mate at all, researchers say.

"The quality of your relationships matters more than quantity when it comes to depression," says Dr. Alan Teo, a psychiatrist at the University of Michigan who led the study.

Read more
Afghanistan
12:16 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Secret Cash To Afghan Leader: Corruption Or Just Foreign Aid?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged a report this week that the CIA has regularly been sending him money. Afghans seem to have mixed feelings. The president is shown here speaking at an event in Kabul on March 10.
S. SABAWOON EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 4:48 pm

After a report in The New York Times this week, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that the CIA has been secretly delivering bags of money to his office since the beginning of the war more than a decade ago.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:58 am
Wed May 1, 2013

NASA Details Space Telescope's Cosmic Near Miss

This diagram shows Fermi and Cosmos 1805 on a collision course.
NASA

A new video reveals just how close NASA came last year to losing its $500 million Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in a narrowly averted collision with a defunct, Cold War-era Soviet spy satellite.

On March 29, 2012, Julie McEnery, the project scientist for Fermi, received an automatically generated email warning that the two satellites were due in just a few days to pass within 700 feet of one another as their respective orbits crossed.

Read more
The Salt
11:46 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Chicken Diapers? Urban Farming Spawns Accessory Lines

Clucking all the way to the bank: A hen models a polka-dot diaper from MyPetChicken.com, a multimillion-dollar business that sells everything from chicken caviar treats to day-old birds.
Courtesy of MyPetChicken.com

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 7:19 am

There's free range and then there's free rein — around your house.

When Julie Baker's backyard birds started spending more time inside, it was tough to keep them clean. So she got innovative.

She sewed up a cloth diaper — chicken-sized, of course — added a few buttons and strapped it onto her little lady.

One thing led to another, and eventually, a business was born.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed May 1, 2013

WATCH: Civil Unions Are Legal In Colorado

Anna, left, and Fran Simon, both of Denver, Colo., are the first same-sex couple to be issued a Civil Union license at a midnight ceremony in the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder, at the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building on Wednesday.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 4:13 pm

At midnight, civil unions became legal in Colorado. The state joined eight other states with similar laws and nine others — plus the District of Columbia — to permit gay marriage.

As has become the custom, couples lined up at courthouses across the state in the middle of night, waiting for the clock to strike 12 to receive their paperwork and exchange their vows.

Read more
Television
11:25 am
Wed May 1, 2013

The Strategy Of Putting Politics On TV

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

Now, you've probably noticed this. Political drama is not confined to just the news on TV these days. We are in an era that is seeing a proliferation of politically themed television and other forms of streaming. And maybe you've also noticed shows like "Veep."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "VEEP")

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS: (as Vice President Selina Meyer) I'm the vice president of the United States, you stupid little (bleep).

DONVAN: And "Alpha House."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ALPHA HOUSE")

Read more
Business
11:18 am
Wed May 1, 2013

The Quiet Strength Of Introverts In The Workplace

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

Read more
Politics
11:05 am
Wed May 1, 2013

The Race For South Carolina's Congressional Seat

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Mass momentum for Markey, Sanford's ears and what they can't always hear, and Obama's sequester quest for an understanding with the GOP. It is Wednesday and time for a...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Trapped in a Taylor Swift album...

DONVAN: Edition of the political junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

Read more

Pages