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5:51 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Soaked In Drought: Lessons From The Dust Bowl

Scorched pastures are spreading across central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest. Technology and techniques developed from previous droughts like the Dust Bowl are helping to save some of today's crops, but there's no substitute for water.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.

"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.

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The Two-Way
6:35 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

From Our Readers: English Only? Look To The Past

Many of our commenters look to America's rich history of immigration in order to form their opinion of the 'English-Only' debate. Interestingly enough, this approach facilitated conclusions on both sides of the issue.

"John G" believes that, "Society, not law, determines the specific language used."

He writes:

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Shots - Health Blog
6:33 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Experts Fear Whooping Cough Vaccine's Shield Is 'Waning'

Pharmacist Kristy Hennessee administers a vaccination against whooping cough in Pasadena, Calif., in 2010. Vaccinations are the most powerful weapon for slowing the epidemic, but there are growing concerns that the current vaccine doesn't last as long as expected.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 9:29 pm

Whooping cough is getting a foothold once again in the U.S., and it seems to be getting stronger. More than 20,000 cases have been reported so far this year, compared with only about 8,500 last year, and Washington State has already declared a whooping cough epidemic.

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The Two-Way
6:30 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Paterno Family Will Appeal Sanctions; NCAA Rejects Attempt

Visitors gather around the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium Saturday in State College, Pa.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

The family of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno said it intends to appeal the sanctions issued by the NCAA against the university in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

In a letter to the organization, the family repeated its accusations that the sanctions were decided in haste and without due process.

The AP reports that the NCAA quickly responded that their sanctions weren't up for appeal.

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The Torch
5:49 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Saudi Arabia's First Female Olympian Makes History In Judo Match

Wojdan Shaherkani of Saudi Arabia (left) met Melissa Mojica in the women's +78 kg judo in London. Their match was short, but historic.
Quinn Rooney Getty Images

It's nearly time to set The Torch to "dim" for the night, but we must note something historic that happened today: Wojdan Shaherkani competed for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics, becoming the first woman ever to do so.

Shaherkani wasn't a threat to win her match against Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica. After all, Shaherkani is only 16, and her highest level of achievement in judo is a blue belt. Their match only lasted 1 minute and 22 seconds.

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The Two-Way
5:34 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman Is Headed Back To Jail

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Dave Martin AP

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been sentenced to 78 months in prison.

It means Siegelman is headed back to prison after he was freed to appeal his case. The AP gives us some background:

"Siegelman, 66, and former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for the governor appointing Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board.

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Health
5:11 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

New York Officials: Breast Milk May Be Best 'Formula'

City leaders want to encourage more new moms to breast-feed their babies. One of several "Latch on NYC" posters promoting the initiative.
Courtesy of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 6:06 pm

Starting next month, dozens of hospitals will participate in "Latch on NYC," an initiative aimed at encouraging new moms to breast-feed instead of using baby formula.

Health care professionals say breast-feeding is better for both mother and baby.

But critics — many of them mothers — say the city is inserting itself where it doesn't belong.

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The Torch
4:42 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Track Cyclist's Admitting To Intentional Crash Won't Bring Investigation

The British sprint team of Philip Hindes (front), Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy won a gold medal Thursday, but remarks by Hindes caused concerns about athletes' ethics to resurface. The IOC says it will not investigate.
Bryn Lennon Getty Images

If one thing is clear at these London Games, it's that not doing one's best is not only uncool — it's not allowed. Witness the badminton-to-worstminton scandal that erupted earlier this week, when players turned the tournament structure into a "farce" by attempting to lose in order to manipulate their seeds in the next round.

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Reuters Says Its Website Was Hacked, Fake Syria Stories Posted

The wire service Reuters says its blogging service was compromised today. The people responsible, Reuters said, took the opportunity to post a fake news story about Syria.

Reuters reports:

"One of the false posts purported to be an interview with Riad al-Asaad, the head of the Free Syrian Army.

"'Reuters did not carry out such an interview and the posting has been deleted,' the Reuters statement said.

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Experts Find Ancient Mayans May Have Used Chocolate As Condiment

Chocolate.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 3:38 pm

Archaeologists have made a surprising discovery: They announced they found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate as opposed to a cup.

The conclusion they make is that it means ancient Mayans not only drank chocolate but also used it as a condiment.

The AP reports the discovery was made public by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History.

The AP adds:

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