U.S.

Around the Nation
4:06 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Montana Shooter Found Guilty Despite State's 'Castle Doctrine'

Diren Dede, a 17-year-old German exchange student, was fatally shot in the head and arm when he entered the garage of Markus Kaarma in Missoula, Montana, on April 27. Kaarma claimed it was self-defense, but a Montana jury recently found him guilty of deliberate homicide.
Oliver Hardt Getty Images

More than 30 states have laws that allow people to use deadly force if they have a reasonable fear for their life or property. But this week, a Montana jury said that type of law has its limits, finding a homeowner who shot a teenager in his garage guilty of deliberate homicide.

In the early hours of April 27, a motion detector alerted homeowner Markus Kaarma someone was in the garage of his home in Missoula, Mont. He went outside and almost immediately fired four shotgun blasts, killing 17-year-old Diren Dede, a German exchange student.

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The Two-Way
3:21 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Many States Now Have $2 Gasoline, Analyst Says

On Cue in Oklahoma City, was reportedly the first station to lower regular unleaded below $2 a gallon. Now, 24 states have $1.99 gasoline.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Remember when we told you earlier this month that a gas station in Oklahoma City had lowered its price for regular unleaded to $1.99 a gallon?

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Decorated Tuskegee Airman Lowell Steward Dies At 95

This July 1943 photo provided by the Los Angeles Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen Inc., shows Lowell C. Steward after his graduation from flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field, in Tuskegee, Ala. Steward, who won the Distinguished Flying Cross among other awards, died on Wednesday at age 95.
AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 2:45 pm

Lowell Steward, one of the famed World War II Tuskegee Airmen, has died at age 95 at a hospital in Ventura, Calif., his family says.

Steward, a Los Angeles native who flew 143 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross among other awards, died on Wednesday.

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Movies
9:59 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

A worker carries a poster for the movie The Interview away from its display case at a theater in Atlanta. "It feels like the margin's narrowed about what kind of movies Hollywood will be making," says veteran Hollywood producer Stephanie Striegel.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:05 am

President Obama is not the only one thinking about the precedent set when Sony decided not to release the comedy The Interview. Around Hollywood, the action drew immediate rebuke as celebrities took to Twitter — like director and producer Judd Apatow:

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel agreed, writing, "An un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent."

In writing rooms and comedy clubs in Los Angeles, however, the conversations are more nuanced.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Sat December 20, 2014

4 Gitmo Prisoners Released For Return To Afghanistan

The entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, in a photograph taken earlier this year.
Ben Fox AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 1:02 pm

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The United States has released four Afghan detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who were returned to Afghanistan — the latest in a series of releases of inmates in recent weeks.

Reuters says: "The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009, a U.S. official said."

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Russia Says It Won't 'Cave In' To New Western Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in front of the map of the Russian Federation, with Crimea on the left of the map, during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. The Kremlin has responded angrily to the latest round of U.S.-EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.
Alexei Druzhinin AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 2:30 pm

Russia, battered by the falling price of oil, its chief export, and a tumbling ruble, lashed out against the U.S. and EU for new sanctions that President Vladimir Putin says already account for "25 to 30 percent" of his country's eroding currency.

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Animals
8:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:39 am

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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Michel Martin, Going There
8:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

'Going There' in 2014

Ferguson resident Frankie Edwards shows a rubber bullet wound he suffered during one of the nights of protests to NPR's Michel Martin (right) and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles (second from right) during the community conversation at Wellspring Church.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

We've been privileged in these last few months to share the stories of many Americans, some of them famous, but most of them not. We came together through some avenues we know well — books, music and theater. Sometimes, we found each other through pathways that have only recently become a big part of our lives, such as the #BeyondFerguson hashtag that brought so many young people to an August community meeting in that city. Our New Year's Resolution is to keep these honest and vital conversations going. We are going there.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Sat December 20, 2014

North Korea Has An Interesting Offer. And Another Threat

A banner for The Interview is posted outside Arclight Cinemas, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Wednesday. The theatrical release of the film has been cancelled following cyber attacks and threats believed to originate in North Korea.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 3:34 pm

North Korea, which denies that it had anything to do with a hack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, now wants to help the U.S. root out the real culprit. But true to form for Pyongyang, the dubious offer comes tinged with a threat of "serious" consequences should Washington decline.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Twelve Weeks To A Six-Figure Job

A student at the coder boot camp at General Assembly in New York City learns more than "Hello, world."
Courtesy of General Assembly

Marlon Frausto is in pursuit of the new American dream. Just a few weeks ago he left his job, in Hispanic marketing for the legal industry, and moved to San Francisco.

Every day he wakes at 5:30 a.m., commutes 45 minutes by train, and studies until 9 or 10 at night. He's spending down his savings and says he's getting help from "my loving family."

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U.S.
6:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Obama Wraps Up A 'Breakthrough' 2014

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:33 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Latin America
6:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Author: Cuban Dissidents Feel Betrayed By Obama's Action

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:39 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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Around the Nation
4:27 am
Sat December 20, 2014

At One Retirement Home, Residents Run A TV Channel

On the set of Behind the Silver Screen, a Channel 22 series profiling life stories of Hollywood veterans who are Motion Picture and Television Fund residents.
Jennifer Clymer MPTF

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:39 am

For many people, being retired means playing golf in Florida or baking in the sunshine in Palm Springs. But at one retirement community in Los Angeles, the most popular activity isn't shuffleboard. It's producing TV shows.

The Wasserman Campus of the Motion Picture and Television Fund is a retirement home for people who worked in the entertainment industry. These actors, producers, editors, and other showbiz veterans have credits dating back to the days of live television.

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Latin America
5:57 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Restoring Diplomatic Relations With Cuba Is A Complicated Process

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:37 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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This Week's Must Read
5:33 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

'Rum, Rumba, And Romance': A Book On Cuba's Enduring Mystique

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:15 pm

Cuba is dominating the news, following President Obama's announcement that he will begin to normalize relations with the island nation.

For our series This Week's Must-Read, poet and Cuban-American writer Richard Blanco turns to literature for another perspective on this story.

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Law
5:06 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Troubled By Grand Jury Verdicts, Students Request More Time For Exams

Thousands gathered on the National Mall last week to protest the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Some law students say their involvement in the protests means their exams should be postponed.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:50 pm

"The dog ate my homework?" Try, "I was protesting a grand jury decision," instead.

Students at some top law schools want exam extensions for what they are calling the trauma of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions. But other law students are wondering what message that sends to future employers.

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NPR Ed
4:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

The Fate Of The Administration's College Ratings

Rating colleges isn't easy.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 1:21 am

Today, details of the Obama administration's plan known as the Postsecondary Institutional Ratings System, or PIRS, finally saw the light of day. The idea, in this incarnation, was just under three years old.

The president announced its conception during his State of the Union address in 2012.

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Non-Hazardous

Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont., in September. New EPA guidelines treat toxic coal ash from such plants much the same as common household garbage.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:50 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new national standards designating coal ash – a nearly ubiquitous byproduct of coal-fired power plants that contains arsenic and lead – as non-hazardous waste.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that coal-fired power plants produce more than 130 million tons of the coal ash each year and they have long stored millions of tons of it in giant ponds.

But many of those ponds have failed in recent years, allowing contaminated water to get into rivers and streams, and ultimately into drinking water.

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Economy
3:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Government Sells Last Major Stake In A Bank Post-Financial Crisis

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:58 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Law
3:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

FBI Officially Pins Sony Cyberattack On North Korea

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:58 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When President Obama held his year-end news conference today, cyber security jumped to the top of the agenda, a result of the recent cyber attack on Sony Pictures.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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Around the Nation
3:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Neighboring States Challenge Colorado's Recreational Marijuana Law

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

St. Louis Grand Jury Heard Witnesses Who Lied, Prosecutor Says

"I didn't want to fire things up," St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch says of his silence since announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 3:40 pm

Some witnesses were clearly lying when they spoke to a grand jury about the August police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., according to St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch. In an interview about the case Friday, the prosecutor says he won't seek perjury charges.

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Law
2:37 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Sentenced For Life, Inmate Still Holds Hope For Release

David Padilla with his grandchildren. Seventeen years ago, a judge found Padilla guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Courtesy of the Padilla Family

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:39 pm

Thousands of people sentenced under the tough drug laws of the 1980s and '90s are still behind bars, serving mandatory minimum prison sentences requiring them to spend decades, if not life, in prison. Nowadays people convicted of the same crimes serve far less time.

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Michael Phelps Pleads Guilty To DUI

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was sentenced to 18 months' supervised probation today after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

He was arrested in September after leaving a casino in downtown Baltimore. Police documents show that he swerved over a yellow line while going 84 in 45-mph zone. Police say Phelps failed field sobriety tests and registered a 0.14 on a blood-alcohol test. In Maryland, the legal limit is 0.08.

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Education Dept. Issues Framework For New College Rating System

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 10:59 am

Beginning next year, colleges and universities will be judged on three broad criteria when it comes to meting out federal financial aid: access, affordability and student outcomes, according to a new "framework" released by the Education Department.

The ratings plan was first announced by President Obama in August 2013, but the framework announced today is only an interim step. Public input is being sought by Feb. 17 on the proposed system.

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Shots - Health News
9:47 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Some Early Childhood Experiences Shape Adult Life, But Which?

Having warm, supportive parents early on correlates with success in adulthood.
Agent Illustrateur/Ikon Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 1:25 pm

Most of us don't remember our first two or three years of life — but our earliest experiences may stick with us for years and continue to influence us well into adulthood.

Just how they influence us and how much is a question that researchers are still trying to answer. Two studies look at how parents' behavior in those first years affects life decades later, and how differences in children's temperament play a role.

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Book News & Features
6:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

3 Business Best-Sellers Show Inequality Is Now The Hot Topic

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 1:30 pm

Best-selling business books typically tell you how to get rich — either by becoming a better worker or investor, or perhaps by learning the secrets of successful entrepreneurs.

And in 2014, readers could find plenty of books promoting pluck and hard work, such as MONEY Master the Game and The Innovators.

But three books broke the pattern, generating headlines and big sales by focusing on unfair aspects of wealth creation.

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NPR Ed
6:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

New Federal College Ratings Will Consider Aid, Total Cost, Employment

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:12 pm

Today the Education Department released long-awaited details on a plan to hold colleges accountable for their performance on several key indicators, and officials said they'll be seeking public comment on the proposals through February.

"As a nation, we have to make college more accessible and affordable and ensure that all students graduate with a quality education of real value," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.

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Business
4:17 am
Fri December 19, 2014

U.S. Authorities Investigate, Sony Reels From Computer Hack

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:22 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Latin America
4:14 am
Fri December 19, 2014

State Department To Begin Steps To Restore Ties With Cuba

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:22 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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