There is speculation about a last minute settlement. But if that doesn't happen, a federal judge in New Orleans will today begin hearing arguments about BP's liability for the 2010 oil rig explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 men and led to one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation's history.
At stake: Billions of dollars in potential penalties.
-- Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric has resigned and will not be taking part in the conclave of cardinals that will select the next pope. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports from London, "Cardinal Keith O'Brien's decision was announced a day after revelations that he behaved inappropriately with several priests."
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
A group of prominent Canadian authors are stripping down for a (mostly) nude calendar. Proceeds from the Bare It For Books project will go to PEN Canada, an organization that promotes freedom of expression. The (actually kind of hunky) Life of Pi author Yann Martel will be Mr. December.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Betty LeMaster watched a television program in Smyrna, Tennessee - a show about geology - and it got Ms. LeMaster wondering about the 10-pound rock she'd used as a doorstop for years. She took it to Middle Tennessee State University. And according to the Daily News Journal, testing revealed her doorstop is fossilized coral 450 million years old. Older than the dinosaurs and still holds the door just fine. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Jennifer Lawrence won the Best Actress Oscar for "Silver Linings Playbook." Surely, that will be remembered longer than her performance at the Academy Awards. On the red carpet she used a four-letter word which ABC bleeped. Inside, she fell on her way to accept the award. Later, reporters asked how she'd prepared for the evening. Lawrence said her family had taken over her house and at some point, quote, "I did a shot." It could happen to anybody.
Shirley Chisholm (N.Y.) was the first black woman elected to Congress; Barbara Jordan (Texas) was twice the Dem keynote speaker; Cynthia McKinney (Ga.) was later a Green Party prez nominee; Stephanie Tubbs Jones (Ohio) served as House ethics cmte chair and played a big role in the 2008 Clinton campaign.
Credit Ken Rudin collection
Collins, the longest serving black woman in the history of Congress, retired after 1996. She died Feb. 3.
Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 10:10 am
Once, the special election to succeed the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr. in Illinois' 2nd District seemed impossible to handicap, especially with some two dozen or so candidates on the ballot. Thus, it became not so much a horse race discussion as a conversation dominated by concerns about race and guns. Now, according to many observers, many of the questions have given way to the sense that Tuesday's winner will be Robin Kelly, a former state representative. (We officially must wait for the general election, on April 9.)
NPR's business news starts with a new economic forecast.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: The latest survey of economic forecasters by the National Association of Business Economics predicts 2 percent growth this year. That is down from last year's 2.2 percent. The current budget battle in Congress is partly blamed for slowing the economy now.
The survey goes on to say that next year could be better if budget issues are resolved by then. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And today's last word in business is: pirates beware.
If you download copyrighted material illegally, you might get a warning from your Internet service provider starting as soon as today. That's according to blogs covering file-sharing communities like Bit Torrent, where users share and download movies and music for free. Big copyright holders like the Motion Picture Association of America, have been working with Internet providers on ways to punish online pirates, although we do not yet know what the punishment might be.
Bad weather can mean big losses for homeowners and insurance companies. So recently, the insurance industry built a laboratory in rural Richburg, South Carolina in hopes of developing more weather-resistant buildings. The latest experiment was a giant, indoor hailstorm.
Julie Rose of member station WFAE takes us inside.
JULIE ROSE, BYLINE: Tanya Brown has had a single obsession these past two years...
TANYA BROWN: I'm a research engineer and the lead engineer on this project.
European budget problems prompted governments to cut back on investments in digital services and broadband networks. Industry officials say this damages Europe's ability to compete.
Terri Schultz reports from Brussels.
TERRI SCHULTZ, BYLINE: The European Union's own officials acknowledge there's a serious disconnect between what Europe is doing and what it needs to do to stop falling behind in the telecommunications industry.
For decades after the devastation of World War Two, Germany recoiled from any prospect of military engagement. Now the country is under pressure to get involved in foreign military conflicts as the U.S. cuts back its role as the world's policeman. Germany's growing military role is now being debated in government and academic circles.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. There's now a timeline to the end of the rule of the Castro family in Cuba. President Raul Castro said on TV he will step down after one final five-year term. And he named a replacement. Nick Miroff reports from Havana.
Let's talk next about a natural disaster. The many cities hit by hurricane Sandy included Hoboken, New Jersey. That city's mayor is ready to build walls to keep the water out next time, but that's a challenging proposition and the subject of today's business bottom line. Here's NPR's Joel Rose.
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Hoboken used to be an island, surrounded by the Hudson River on one side and tidal marshes on the other. By the 20th century, those wetlands were paved and developed. But after Hurricane Sandy, Hoboken was an island again.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
The worst environmental disaster in American history is the subject of a trial that is beginning today. It's a big and complicated civil lawsuit stemming from the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico - and, of course, the spill that followed that.
A drawing from a child sent to Newtown. Illustrator Ross MacDonald, who wants to archive and preserve art like this sent to the town after the elementary school shootings, calls it "both profoundly moving and just a beautiful piece of folk art."
Credit Courtesy of Ross MacDonald
Some of the many cards, letters and artwork sent to Newtown from all over the world was on display at the Newtown Municipal Center on Jan. 30. The items were recently moved to temporary storage.
Credit Kate Kunath / Courtesy of Ross MacDonald
Ross MacDonald, an illustrator in Newtown, Conn., has been documenting the letters and artwork. He describes the outpouring of grief the town has received on his blog and also here.
Two months after the massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut, letters, cards and gifts continue to arrive in Newtown each day, but the town is not sure what to do with it all.
The outpouring of grief started arriving just days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School — poetry, stories, banners and posters. Soon the halls of Newtown's Municipal Center and buildings all over town were packed with messages from children and parents, from a soldier in Afghanistan and an inmate at a California prison.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:36 pm
If you like Argo (which won Best Picture), the movie Chicago (which made a couple of appearances) and jokes about women (which just kept coming), you probably had a substantially better night than the average viewer, who was subjected to Seth MacFarlane's delivery of one of the worst hosting performances in Oscar history.
Haven't had a chance to watch the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts? All Things Considered is here to help. In the week leading up to the Academy Awards, NPR's Audie Cornish talked with the directors of the five short films nominated for best documentary short.
The films tell a range of stories — about a preventable disease that's ravaging Africa and the quiet loneliness of Florida retirees, the vibrant art of a homeless teenager and the hard life of "canners," and finally a salon that helps women with cancer cope with their scars.
When Pope Benedict XVI said he was stepping down, he broke a tradition that had been in place since 1415. The pope, who gave his final blessing Sunday, leaves the Catholic Church in the midst of changing social views and demographic shifts among its followers.
Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 10:59 pm
A big first for Danica Patrick, but an even bigger second for Jimmie Johnson.
Patrick made history out front at the Daytona 500, only to see five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson reclaim his spot at the top in the end.
Johnson won his second Daytona 500 with a late push on Sunday, grabbing the spotlight from Patrick as she faded on the final lap. Patrick became the first woman in history to lead laps in "The Great American Race" and was running third on the last lap, but slipped to eighth in the late push for position.
For Terje Isungset, the cold weather in Washington, D.C., this week is no problem. The Norwegian musician was in town to perform as part of the Kennedy Center's "Nordic Cool" series, and he needed low temperatures to keep his instruments in good shape.
He has chimes, drums, a marimba and a "tube-ice" (like a tuba). They're all carved out of shimmering ice, harvested from the frozen lakes of Ottawa, Canada, and shipped to the Kennedy Center for an hour of melting music.
It's worth the effort, Isungset says, to get the perfect sound.
For centuries, Aramaic was the language of an entire empire. It was the language of Christ, of biblical scholars, and of the Middle East. And for that reason, Esho Joseph, a former translator for the Iraqi regime who now lives in the U.S., is saddened by its slow disappearance.
"This language ... is ... [of] historical importance," says Joseph, who grew up speaking the language. "... And now it ... [is], you know, dying. It is really painful."
Jimmie Johnson has won the Daytona 500, one day after crash during a race there injured fans. Danica Patrick, who was hoping to make history, finished eighth. Jacki Lyden gets the latest from NPR's Mike Pesca.
André Brink is one of the most well-known anti-apartheid writers in South Africa. His latest novel Philida, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is set in 1832 in the South African Cape, just two years before emancipation.
The title character lodges a complaint against her master, Francois Brink, who is also the father of her four children. He'd promised her freedom, but then backs out and marries a wealthy white woman.