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Did Silicon Valley Help The NSA Spy?

Dec 3, 2013

Georgetown University professor Abraham Newman argues that business practices at the big technology companies have helped the National Security Agency gather consumers’ personal data in the U.S. and abroad.

Technology companies have reacted sharply to revelations of N.S.A. spying on their customers’ data. Google said, “We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform.”

Cyber Monday, the Super Bowl of online sales, broke all records this year, with sales up 19 percent over last year.

Mobile traffic accounted for 13 percent of total site visits, and sales are projected to reach $2 billion for desktop online sales, according to comScore.

But the bonanza isn’t over. Today is “Giving Tuesday.” The movement to create a national day of giving started last year, raising $10 million dollars for more than 2,500 charities nationwide.

'This Law Is Working,' Obama Says Of Health Care

Dec 3, 2013

While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."

"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."

Baking cookies is almost magical. You put little balls of wet, white dough into the oven and out pop brown, crispy, tasty biscuits.

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.

Man Killed In Shark Attack Off Maui

Dec 3, 2013

Yet another shark attack in Hawaii, this time leading to the death of a man off Maui. It comes just three days after a woman survived a harrowing shark attack on the same side of the island.

The Associated Press reports that a shark bit the dangling foot of Patrick Briney, 57, of Stevenson, Wash., as he fished from a kayak between Maui and Molokini, a small island that is a popular diving and snorkeling spot.

Each year, Transparency International releases its Corruption Perception Index, and this year, like most, the Scandinavian countries and New Zealand were at one end of the spectrum as the least-corrupt nations in the world.

In the category of most-corrupt, there was a three-way tie: Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

The most famous crosswalk in the world has to be Abbey Road. But, today, the city of Baltimore unveiled what could be the most entertaining of crosswalks.

The street crossings adjacent to the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in downtown are now equipped with four different games of hopscotch. Take a look:

Dead mice laced with acetaminophen have for the fourth time been dropped from helicopters into trees on Guam in an experiment aimed at killing snakes that have devastated the island's bird population and caused other damage.

No, we haven't been duped by something written by The Onion.

In the first lawsuit of its kind, several nonprofit groups that received federal grants to help people sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act are suing the state of Missouri.

The Missouri law requires health insurance helpers called navigators to be licensed by the state, which involves passing an exam and paying a fee.

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

Imagine how Robbie Travis felt. He waits tables at Libertine, a high-end restaurant just outside St. Louis, and his ex insisted on coming in just a few days after they'd broken up.

Like everyone else, waiters and waitresses have to show up for work on days they'd rather be anywhere else. But it's especially tough to shrug off a bad mood in a job where people expect you to greet them gladly.

"You have to fake it a little bit," Travis says. "That's what pays the bills."

Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old American war veteran and tourist who was arrested in North Korea in October, once supervised a guerrilla group of "perhaps the most hated and feared fighters" of the Korean War, some of his former comrades say. That's according to The Associated Press, which offers details about Newman's service as a possible explanation for his detention.

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro committed suicide by hanging himself, two independent corrections consultants said in a report released on Tuesday.

Before this report was released, a review by a state prisons agency had suggested that Castro died in September while performing autoerotic asphyxiation. That is likely not the case, Lindsay M. Hayes and Fred Cohen, who were hired by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, found.

The AP reports:

Toy Gender Wars: Team Pink Or Team Blue?

Dec 3, 2013

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Sylvia Porter: Right On The Money

Dec 3, 2013

Although she's little-remembered today, personal finance columnist Sylvia Porter was one of the best-known and most admired women in 1950s America. A nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, she also wrote books, appeared on TV shows such as Meet the Press and advised presidents. Her monthly column in the Ladies Home Journal broke ground by encouraging women to control their own finances.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history took a major step forward Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

Ian Volpi, 25, is from Atlanta, Ga. He teaches English at the English Life school in Denizli, Turkey.

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Produced by Art Silverman

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Anti-government protesters in Thailand are claiming a symbolic victory Tuesday after police allowed them to swarm into the prime minister's compound and shout slogans.

The protests began Nov. 24 but turned violent two days ago when police clashed with demonstrators opposed to the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Four people were killed and more than 250 others wounded in the past three days, according to The Associated Press.

Overweight or obese people are indeed more likely to die prematurely than people of normal weight, say researchers who've analyzed the data. Their conclusion throws cold water on recent studies that have found some excess weight isn't so bad.

Earlier this year, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that overweight people actually live a bit longer than their skinnier peers.

Is a chimp, living as a pet in the home of Patrick and Diane Lavery in Gloversville, N.Y., really enslaved and entitled to his freedom? Does the 26-year-old Tommy, who scientists argue is cognitively similar to humans, deserve some of the same rights as Homo sapiens?

Those questions are at the center of a lawsuit (pdf) filed in the State of New York Supreme Court in Fulton County, N.Y., on Monday.

Kicking off a weeklong trip to East Asia, Vice President Joe Biden urged China and Japan to put in place new mechanisms to reduce the chance of an escalation in tensions.

Six-Year Jail Term For Dancer In Bolshoi Acid Attack

Dec 3, 2013

A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced the man who ordered an attack on Bolshoi Theater artistic director Sergei Filin to six years in a penal colony.

Former Bolshoi ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, 29, was one of several people convicted in the attack in which a masked assailant threw acid into Filin's face, nearly blinding him.

American 15-year-olds continue to turn in flat results in a test that measures students' proficiency in reading, math and science worldwide, failing to crack the global top 20.

The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings, which come out every three years. The latest results, from 2012, show that U.S. students ranked below average in math among the world's most-developed countries. They were close to average in science and reading.

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