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7:43 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet

Even some euro bank notes may need a good scrubbing. Like dollar bills, these notes are made from cotton and they harbor an array of bacteria.
Thomas Leuthard The Preiser Project/Flickr

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Stowaway Teen May Have Been Trying To Reunite With His Mom

The latest word about the teenager who survived a ride Sunday from California to Hawaii in the frigid wheel well of a jet is that he may have hoped to eventually get to Somalia to be with his mother.

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U.S.
7:38 am
Wed April 23, 2014

In Illinois, A Town That's Half-Destroyed But Filled With Hope

Washington, Ill., is full of both optimistic signs and lots of construction crews as the town rebuilds after a half-mile-wide tornado devastated the area last November.
Alan Greenblatt NPR

Washington is just starting to rebuild.

Much of the central Illinois town was wiped away by a half-mile wide tornado last November. In all, 1,108 homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable — a huge share of the housing stock in a city of 15,000.

"Early on, people were asking me how long it was going to take to rebuild the city, and I said we'll do it in a year," says Mayor Gary Manier. "That was wishful thinking."

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Wed April 23, 2014

'Object Of Interest' Found In Search For Malaysian Jet

Ships continued to search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on Wednesday. They were looking in an area about 1,000 miles northwest of Perth. Ocean Shield is an Australian ship that has been looking for the jet's black boxes.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority

After 6 1/2 weeks of false leads and conflicting information about what may have happened to the jet and the 239 people on board, Wednesday's headlines about the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 need to be viewed with considerable caution:

-- " 'Object of interest' found on Western Australian coast." (CNN.com)

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Education
5:23 am
Wed April 23, 2014

In Tulsa, Combining Preschool With Help For Parents

Shartara Wallace picks up her son James, 4, from preschool in Tulsa, Okla.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:34 am

At preschools in Tulsa, Okla., teachers are well-educated and well-paid, and classrooms are focused on play, but are still challenging. One nonprofit in Tulsa, the Community Action Project, has flipped the script on preschool. The idea behind its Career Advance program is simple: To help kids, the group believes, you often have to help their parents.

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Education
5:03 am
Wed April 23, 2014

One Approach To Head Start: To Help Kids, Help Their Parents

Tiffany Contreras walks her daughter Kyndall, 4, to preschool at Disney Elementary in Tulsa, Okla.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:25 am

President Obama has called repeatedly on Congress to help states pay for "high-quality preschool" for all. In fact, those two words — "high quality" — appear time and again in the president's prepared remarks. They are also a refrain among early childhood education advocates and researchers. But what do they mean? And what separates the best of the nation's preschool programs from the rest?

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Europe
4:34 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Putin's Chess Moves In Ukraine: Brilliant Tactics, But Bad Strategy?

Protesters play chess in Independence Square in Kiev last winter. Some would say that Russian President Putin is playing geopolitical chess when it comes to Ukraine.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 8:02 am

The game of chess is a national pastime in Russia. And you might say that Vladimir Putin is playing a high-stakes game of geopolitical chess when it comes to Ukraine.

Western leaders are plotting how to counter Putin's latest moves with economic sanctions. So to get some insight into what might come next, we talked to an economist who knows Russia — who is also extremely good at chess.

Putin Playing From A Weak Position

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All Tech Considered
4:33 am
Wed April 23, 2014

The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet

A Google data center in Oklahoma is shown. Google recently slashed prices for its cloud services; Amazon responded by cutting its cloud prices.
Connie Zhou AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 8:02 am

This week, our tech reporting team is exploring cloud computing — the big business of providing computing power and data storage that companies need, but which happens out of sight, as if it's "in the cloud."

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U.S.
4:31 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Subminimum Wages For The Disabled: Godsend Or Exploitation?

Workers shrink wrap products at the Sertoma Centre located just outside of Chicago.
Courtesy of Sertoma Centre

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:23 am

The president recently signed an executive order raising the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 for workers employed by federal contractors — including those with disabilities.

That's a victory for disabled workers who can make just pennies per hour at so-called sheltered workplaces.

While some call sheltered workshops a godsend, others say they are examples of good intentions gone wrong.

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Around the Nation
4:30 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Race To Unearth Civil War-Era Artifacts Before Developer Digs In

Archaeologist Chester DePratter stands by the site of Camp Asylum, the Civil War-era prison in Columbia, S.C. The site will soon be cleared to make room for a mixed-use development.
Susanne Schafer AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:23 am

About a dozen or so archaeologists in downtown Columbia, S.C. are focused on a 165-acre sliver of land that used to be a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. Last summer, the property was sold and the group is trying to recover as many artifacts as they can before a developer builds condos and shops in its place.

"We're out here to salvage what we can in advance of that development," says Chester DePratter, a University of South Carolina archaeologist.

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