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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks For Gun Sales

President Obama makes a statement on gun violence as Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and family members of Newtown, Conn., shooting victims look on at the White House Rose Garden.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 5:36 pm

A bipartisan compromise that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases has been rejected by the Senate.

The defeat of the measure by a 54-46 vote — six votes shy of the number needed to clear the Senate — marks a major setback for gun-control advocates, many of whom had hoped that Congress would act to curb gun violence in the wake of December's Newtown elementary school massacre, where 20 students and six adults were killed.

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It's All Politics
3:29 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Focus On Sanford's Whereabouts, Again, Won't Help Gender Gap

Jenny Sanford says her ex-husband was in her Sullivan's Island, S.C., home without her permission.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

If it seemed like former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's problem with female voters couldn't get any worse, well, it appears that it might have.

Sanford, a Republican, is hoping to put the marital scandal that defined his second term behind him with a return to Congress in a May 7 special election. But just two days later, Sanford will have to appear in court to defend himself from an accusation that he was at his ex-wife's house in February without her permission.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Scientists Sequence Genome Of 'Living Fossil' Fish

Workers at the National Museum of Kenya show a coelacanth caught by Kenyan fishermen in 2001.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:17 pm

Scientists have unraveled the genome of the coelacanth, a rare and primitive fish once thought to be extinct, shedding light on how closely it's related to the first creatures to emerge from the sea.

The coelacanth, a fish that can reach up to 5 feet long and lives in deep ocean caves, had only been seen in fossils and was thought to have gone extinct some 70 million years ago. That was until 1938, when fishermen from the Comoros islands off the coast of Africa captured one in a net. A second coelacanth species was discovered off the Indonesian island of Sulewesi in 1997.

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

On Independence Day, A Subdued Syrian Capital

Pro-Assad, flag-painted Hummers are often seen driving throughout Damascus blasting patriotic songs and regime slogans. These two vehicles were photographed at the site of blasts earlier this month near Syria's central bank.
NPR

The writer is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus who is not being further identified out of safety concerns.

On this day in 1946, Syria celebrated the withdrawal of the last French soldier from its soil, and announced itself as an independent, 20th century-style nation-state.

It was a day of hope and jubilation, which over the years my older relatives would periodically recollect from memory.

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Movie Reviews
2:26 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Digging Into Ricky Jay's 'Deceptive' Card Tricks

Veteran magician Ricky Jay reveals much about himself in a new documentary on his life of deception. His card-trick techniques? That may be another story.
Kino Lorber

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 7:37 pm

When people talk about movie magic, they rarely mean card tricks. They're talking about digital wizardry and special effects.

But a new documentary called Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay is all about card tricks — and a man who has devoted his life to them.

Card artist Ricky Jay keeps up a constant stream of chatter in his act onstage — everything from gambling poems to stories about The Great Cardini — and it's all very entertaining, but the patter is designed to distract you from what he's doing.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:13 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

The Conductor Who Gained Power By Giving It Up

Colin Davis found power in humility later in his career — and one astonished music journalist.
Alberto Venzago

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 2:09 pm

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The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Iconic Gospel Singer George Beverly Shea Dies

George Beverly Shea talks at his home in Montreat, N.C. in Jan., 2009.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 10:01 am

Grammy-winning gospel singer George Beverly Shea died in Asheville, North Carolina last night after a brief illness. He was 104.

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The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

New Zealand Lawmakers Pass Same-Sex Marriage Law

Jills Angus Burney, left, and Deborah Hambly, right, who hope to marry in New Zealand, watch lawmakers ahead of the vote on same-sex marriage on Thursday, April 17, 2013.
Nick Perry AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 8:41 am

By a vote of 77 to 44, lawmakers in New Zealand have passed a new law permitting same-sex marriage. The bill was adopted after its third reading and is to take effect in August, according to the New Zealand Herald.

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All Songs Considered
2:12 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Glenn Jones' Bittersweet 'Farewell' To A Family Home

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 7:03 am

It's incredibly calming to watch Glenn Jones play acoustic guitar. Whether he's appearing by the train tracks or in one of our Tiny Desk Concerts, there's nothing flashy about his style, only careful consideration as he gently hops over the frets like a lily-padding frog.

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From The NPR Bookshelves
2:10 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Meet America's Poets Laureate, Past And Present

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:03 am

To celebrate National Poetry Month this April, NPR Books reached into the archives for some interviews with the nation's official poets. Poets Laureate past and present have revealed their eloquence and insight in these interviews, where they discuss their inspirations, their heart-breaking memories, their confrontations with aging — and, in the case of Ted Kooser, how his wife felt about his thousands of Valentines.

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