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Parallels
8:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Amid Construction Boom, Migrants Flow Into Brazil

Construction is underway on the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, shown here June 12. The stadium will be the venue for the opening ceremony and game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and many migrants are among the laborers working on the project.
Sebastiao Moreira EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:34 am

Brazil is in the midst of a building boom as it constructs stadiums across the country in preparation for the World Cup it will host next year. In Sao Paulo, hundreds of workers are building a massive arena that will take many more months to complete.

But not all of the workers are Brazilian.

Marie Eveline Melous, 26, arrived from Haiti just a few months ago because life was so difficult, especially after the huge earthquake in 2010. "It's hard to find work. I came to Brazil to help my situation," she says.

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Science
8:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

New Bugs In Florida Stymie Researchers, Threaten Crops

The psyllid, discovered eight years ago in Florida citrus groves, has been problematic for researchers and farmers alike.
University of California, Davis AP

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:34 am

With its pleasant climate, Florida has become home to more exotic and invasive species of plants and animals than any other state in the continental U.S. Some invasive species have been brought in deliberately, such as the Burmese python or the Cuban brown snail. But the majority of species are imported inadvertently as cargo.

Amanda Hodges, who heads the biosecurity research lab at the University of Florida, says that until recently, scientists saw about a dozen new bugs arrive in Florida each year.

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It's All Politics
7:15 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Fight Shifts Back To States

Allan Hoyle of North Carolina (center) protests gay marriage outside the Supreme Court.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 8:35 pm

The dual victories the Supreme Court handed to gay-marriage supporters Wednesday seemed to temporarily shift the focus of the fight from Washington to the states.

For instance, one of the more notable reactions to the Supreme Court decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and upholding a lower court ruling that blocked California's Proposition 8 from taking effect came from the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Can I Just Tell You?
5:35 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

It's Time To Move On From The Past

Celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on NBC News' Today show on Wednesday.
NBC, Peter Kramer AP

I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness – a subject that's been coming up quite a bit lately because, really, how could it not?

As I was putting my thoughts together, Paula Deen, one of the queens of high-calorie Southern cookery, was still on her apology tour, trying to explain a few things, like her use of the N-word and the desire to dress up an army of black male waiters so that her brother could have the fun experience of being served by them at a, quote, "true Southern plantation-style wedding."

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Humans
5:12 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Pitch-Perfect: Why Our Shoulders Are Key To Throwing

Harry Kaplan practices pitching during Home Run Baseball Camp at Friendship Recreation Center in June. Kaplan's arm is stretched long and toward the ground as his hips are faced away from the catcher. A chimp, in contrast, could never throw a fastball.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:01 pm

The ability to throw a baseball or any object with speed and precision is unique to us humans. And that ability depends on certain features of our anatomy that arose in our ancestors over 2 million years ago, according to a study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

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Health
4:50 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

'The Lyme Wars' That Tiny Ticks Have Wrought

In the current New Yorker, Michael Specter explores the conflict among some people who suffer from Lyme disease, and the doctors who study it.
aanton iStockphoto.com

Until 1977, Lyme disease was almost unknown. But in the decades since a Yale rheumatologist first described an unusual cluster of arthritis cases in Lyme, Conn., the disease has become the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the country. Acute symptoms of Lyme disease commonly include a bull's-eye rash followed by flu-like symptoms.

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Music Reviews
4:50 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

'My Ellington': A Pianist Gives Duke Her Personal Touch

Duke Ellington (1899-1974) at the piano at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon, during a British tour on Feb. 10, 1963.
John Pratt Getty Images

At the keys, Duke Ellington abstracted from stride piano, which modernized ragtime. Ellington's own spare percussive style then refracted through Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor, as well as a generation of freewheeling pianists active in Europe, like Aki Takase. Her new solo piano album is My Ellington, on which she plays some stride bass herself, as in "In a Mellow Tone."

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U.S.
4:05 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Being Postmaster General Isn't What It Used To Be

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, in 2011, appears before a Senate committee looking into the Postal Service's economic troubles.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:34 am

The job of postmaster general was once one of the country's most politically powerful. It is also one of the oldest; a version of the position existed before the Declaration of Independence.

But today, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe finds himself continually caught in the political crossfire. Donahoe is tangling with unions and members of Congress over how to manage the Postal Service's future — as it faces huge losses, dwindling mail volume and ballooning costs.

It may seem strange now, but Donahoe was originally drawn to postal work by the money.

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The Salt
3:59 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Rosie The Robot Won't Serve Your Food, But She'll Pick It

A lettuce thinner manufactured by Ramsay Highlander removes excess seedlings from the field so that others have room to grow. Just one worker is required to operate the machine.
Rachel Estabrook

From manufacturing to cupcake sales, companies are finding that machines can often do the job just as well, or better, than humans. But some tasks – like picking and tending to fruit and vegetable crops – have remained the territory of low-wage laborers.

But labor-starved growers are now eying machines with increasing interest.

Some 90 percent of the strawberries and 80 percent of the salad greens grown in the U.S. come from California. These crops and a lot of others have always been picked by hand because they don't ripen all at once and can bruise easily.

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The Two-Way
3:56 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

NFL Tight End Aaron Hernandez Charged With Murder

Aaron Hernandez was cut by the New England Patriots after he was arrested Wednesday. Hernandez faces first-degree murder charges in the death of Odin Lloyd, 27.
Otto Greule Jr Getty Images

Pro football player Aaron Hernandez, who until today was a member of the New England Patriots, was charged with murder and other crimes in a Massachusetts courtroom Wednesday. He was arrested this morning and formally charged this afternoon, with authorities blaming him for the death of Odin Lloyd, 27, whose body was found on June 17.

A judge has ordered that Hernandez be held without bail.

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