More news from National Public Radio | KALW

More news from National Public Radio

Judge Resigns, Casting Doubt Over Khmer Rouge Trials

Oct 14, 2011

Long running and frequently delayed, the legal cases against former leaders of the Khmer Rouge are now in danger of being terminated before many of their victims get the justice they've sought.

A German judge resigned this month from the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal. The judge, Siegfried Blunk, felt Cambodian officials were obstructing efforts to investigate the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, which is believed to have killed as many as 2 million of its own citizens between 1975 and 1979.

Most fans of the late co-founder of Apple probably already know, but just in case:

Some folks have declared this to be "Steve Jobs Day," and are encouraging others to "Sport your black turtleneck, jeans, tennis shoes, and glasses and snap a pic!" They're also making it easy to donate money to cancer research in Jobs' memory.

Aquaculture, one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture in the U.S., combats the global dilemma of depleting wild fish populations. But a new report from the group Food & Water Watch says factory fish farms risk the health of other, stable species swimming in the sea. One of the biggest problems? The fish food.

The holiday shopping season seems to start earlier every year. And this year, Medicare's open enrollment season also begins — and ends — earlier than ever.

The annual enrollment period for privately run Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug benefits starts Saturday, rather than in mid-November as in past years. The deadline for enrollment has also been pushed up — to Dec. 7 from Dec. 31. But the enrollment season is now a week longer, so it's not all bad news.

Death Toll In Syria Exceeds 3,000, U.N. Says

Oct 14, 2011

Saying that the government's uses of "excessive force to crush peaceful protests" has led to a "devastatingly remorseless toll of human lives," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reported today that more than 3,000 people have now died because of the violence in Syria in recent months.

And at least 187 of the fatalities were children, Commissioner Navi Pillay added.

Retail Sales Rose 1.1 Percent In September

Oct 14, 2011

Driven by gains at car dealers, U.S. retail sales rose 1.1 percent in September from August, the Census Bureau just reported.

It's the strongest one-month gain since February's 1.3 percent increase.

And sales were up 7.9 percent from September 2010, Census adds.

Berlusconi Survives Confidence Vote

Oct 14, 2011

Breaking news from The Associated Press:

"Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi survives confidence vote in Parliament."

The BBC says "Berlusconi won the vote by 316 to 301, the bare minimum he needed." That, it adds, "presages trouble ahead. ... If Mr Berlusconi has to get a vote of confidence on every issue, he will find it very difficult to govern."

Don't "drunk dial" an old lover.

Double check the "To" address before sending an email about your incompetent boss.

And if someone really ticks you off, sleep on it before posting about what happened. You might decide in the morning that it's best left unsaid.

That last bit of advice comes to mind with the story of a Seattle bartender who exposed a "nasty non-tipper" on her Facebook page and mistakenly identified the wrong guy — causing headaches not only for him but for her as well.

Occupy Wall Street Park Cleanup Postponed

Oct 14, 2011

Today's planned cleanup of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have been camped out for a month, has been postponed — bringing cheers and relief to those in the park, who thought the move might have been a ruse designed to evict or arrest them.

Defending Defense Contracts: Programs Turn To PR

Oct 13, 2011

Five Air Force Pave Hawk helicopters are parked or landing in the high desert east of Tucson, Ariz. They are transporting victims of a mock earthquake as part of a training exercise called Operation Angel Thunder.

"We were always known for staying really quiet and not really saying much," says Brett Hartnett, who started Operation Angel Thunder five years ago.

Playing Chicken To Cut The Deficit

Oct 13, 2011

If you've ever thought that most of politics is game-playing, you're right. Political scientists often use mathematical game theory to describe how Congress works. And when they look at the current battle over how to handle the deficit, the game that comes to mind is chicken.

Steven Smith is a professor of political science at Washington University, and he says yes, Republicans and Democrats sometimes remind him of two cars driving as fast as they can toward a cliff.

Charlotte, N.C., is perhaps best known as the home of Bank of America, the country's largest financial institution. So now, with Bank of America struggling to revive its stock price, cutting tens of thousands of jobs and widely criticized for charging customers a $5 monthly fee to use their debit cards, what's the mood in Charlotte?

Apathy Reigns In Russian Election Season

Oct 13, 2011

Vladimir Putin will be president, says 30-year-old Yelena.

The lifelong Muscovite is chatting to a friend in Alexander Gardens next to the Kremlin in Moscow. Yelena, who like many Russians won't give her last name when discussing politics, says she's not even sure she will vote.

"Everything's been decided," she says in Russian. "It will be the same no matter who we vote for."

It's election season in Russia, with votes due for parliament in December and president next March. Everyone knows who will win, however, and voters are not energized by the campaign.

Trade Deals May Alienate Some Obama Supporters

Oct 13, 2011

President Obama had a rare bipartisan economic success this week when Congress passed three trade deals.

Obama is going to Detroit on Friday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to take a victory lap. But some important parts of Obama's base are not fans of these deals — with South Korea, Panama and Colombia — which could have political consequences for the president.

Friday's event is at a General Motors plant. The auto industry and its workers are big fans of the free-trade deal with South Korea, so they're sure to give the world leaders a warm welcome.

A New Muesli Maker's Quest For The Cereal Aisle

Oct 13, 2011

Small businesses are often called the backbone of the U.S. economy; they employ about half of the nation's private sector employees. But in many cases, small companies start out with a workforce of just one — like cereal entrepreneur Ian Szalinski in Rochester, N.Y., who's trying to stake a claim to the breakfast market.

In African Cave, An Early Human Paint Shop

Oct 13, 2011

Apparently one of the earliest human instincts was to paint things, including bodies and cave walls. That's the conclusion from scientists who have discovered something remarkable in a South African cave — a tool kit for making paint. It looks to be the oldest evidence of paint-making.

Over in southern Africa 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was pretty new on the scene. A favorite hangout was a cave named Blombos near the Southern ocean.

Syrians, Not The Regime, Feel The Sting Of Sanctions

Oct 13, 2011

Every Syrian is feeling the economic pain of a seven-month uprising and Western sanctions to end a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

But shopkeepers tell a different story along a street of open-air shops in the Midan neighborhood in central Damascus. A government escort accompanies an NPR reporter for interviews about the sensitive subject of tightening economic sanctions against Syria.

Hassan Shagharouri runs a sweets shop. When asked if prices are rising, he responds that the prices are the same and that everything is perfect.

A Love That Turned Difference Into Intimacy

Oct 13, 2011

As love stories go, Mary Ann Allen and John Klein's relationship started in an unusual place. And they were something of an unusual couple, too. But as it turned out, none of that meant a thing.

Klein recently sat down with Mary Ann's daughter, Bernice Flournoy, to explain.

"Tell us how you met Mom," Flournoy says.

"I had a temporary position at a senior citizen facility in downtown Oakland," Klein says. "Mary moved in there."

Allen, who was 59 years old when she met Klein, had diabetes.

A Gallup poll released today found support for the death penalty in the United States is at a 39-year low. As Gallup reports, "this is the lowest level of support since 1972, the year the Supreme Court voided all existing state death penalty laws in Furman v. Georgia."

In Spartanburg, S.C., Jobs Are Especially Scarce

Oct 13, 2011

The job market is barely treading water. The Labor Department Thursday reported that 404,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week — pretty much unchanged from the week before. Overall, there are 14 million people looking for work in the U.S.

One of those places where jobs are especially hard to find is Spartanburg, S.C.

On Thursday, the Occupy Wall Street protests spread to the heavily conservative corner of the heavily conservative state. It was a small turnout — about 20 people got some honks of support and some catcalls from people who shouted, "Get a job!"

Tracking The Media's Eye On Occupy Wall Street

Oct 13, 2011

In recent days, the Occupy Wall Street protests appear to be gathering steam, spreading beyond New York City to other cities across the country. The growing reach of the demonstrations has added to the pressure on journalists to figure out how to cover them.

An Australian court issued a temporary injunction that bars Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in the country. The judgement is a big win for Apple, which has filed lawsuits worldwide alleging that Samsung had copied its iPhone and iPad.

The Australian court ruled Samsung could not sell its device if included certain features such as a touch-screen.

The AP reports:

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has surged to the top of some national presidential preference polls, told NPR's Scott Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday, that his fundraising has increased 20-fold in the past few weeks, and he is hiring more, much-needed staff.

In fact, he told Scott in an interview Thursday that will air on NPR Saturday, that he just "brought on an entire team" of about 10 new people to help his campaign ramp up.

Silence Of Super(secret)committee May Be Progress

Oct 13, 2011

On Capitol Hill, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has been very quiet. Also known as the supercommittee, it was created by Congress this summer and is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in cuts over the coming decade. But, so far, its members are keeping their ideas for doing that on the down-low — and that may be a good sign.

It's been weeks since the committee had an open hearing. In fact, it's only had three meetings total — the first of which was to set up its rules.

The Associated Press along with other news organizations are reporting that a top leader of the Haqqani network has been killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan.

The AP pins the news of Janbaz Zadran's death on a "senior American official," and MSNBC reports that "local intelligence officials" also confirmed the news.

The Gulf Cooperation Council called for a meeting of the Arab League on what it termed the "dire" situation in Syria. Reuters and Al Arabiya report the GCC issued a statement with the announcement.

Al Arabiya adds:

As details emerge about the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., some experts say the plan is uncharacteristic of Iran's Quds Force, which is said to be behind the plans. So what is known about this elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards?

The latest edition of the federal government's annual reviews of private Medicare health plans came out Wednesday, just in time to help seniors choose plans during this year's open enrollment period that starts Saturday and runs through Dec. 7.

Cain's 9-9-9 Plan: Just Like SimCity?

Oct 13, 2011

One rival said he thought it was "the price of a pizza" (Jon Huntsman's quip). Another said you need to turn it upside down because "the devil's in the details" (Rep. Michele Bachmann's 6-6-6 reference).

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