Brazil now rivals the United States in food production. Everything from beef and chicken to soybeans and corn. Environmentalists in Brazil worry that this agricultural boom has come at the expense of the country's forest, including the Amazon. But they're up against a tough farming advocate - a senator, landowner and head of the country's most powerful agricultural association. And as NPR's Juan Forero reports, she argues that Brazilian farmers can - and should - produce more, much more.
Three years ago today, a massive earthquake destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. About 200,000 people were killed. More than a million were left homeless. Governments and aid agencies from around the world pledged billions of dollars to help Haiti recover and rebuild from the quake. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was just one of many leaders who vowed that the international community would stand by Haiti for the long process of reconstruction.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has concluded a four-day visit to Washington, D.C. The president met with senior administration officials, including a private meeting in the Oval Office with President Obama. Their discussions reportedly centered on the U.S. role in Afghanistan after 2014. That's when most of the U.S. and NATO troops are due to withdraw from the country. NPR's Jackie Northam has this report.
Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a number of cities have launched gun-buyback programs, to try to reduce the number of firearms in circulation. This weekend, the police department in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is offering a gun buyback called Operation Safe Streets. It will give people who turn in weapons a $150 gift card, for a handgun; $200 for assault weapons. Santa Fe's chief of police is Raymond Rael.
If somebody turns in a gun, do they have to say where they got it?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama has announced most of his Cabinet choices for his second term. There are no big surprises. All are pretty familiar faces in Washington, D.C., but Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and the White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew still must get through Senate confirmation. We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Vice President Joe Biden met with factions in the gun debate this week, from the National Rifle Association to the families of the Virginia Tech shootings. On Tuesday, the vice president will present the recommendations of the task force on gun violence that he has been leading to President Obama. We're joined now by NPR's Brian Naylor who's been covering the gun debate in Washington D.C. Brian, thanks for being with us.
SIMON: Today and for the next month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is asking Floridians to tangle with the Burmese Python. They call it a harvest. Of course, that means that they want people to hunt pythons. How do you hunt pythons? Very carefully, I'm sure. They're huge constrictor snakes that can grow to be more than 20 feet long.
Of course, this last week has been kind of a nightmare for Boeing and its new 787 Dreamliner. In three separate incidents in as many days, airline carriers reported problems with brakes, with fuel leaks and a battery fire. The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a comprehensive review of the new plane. Joining us now to talk about Boeing's new 787 is Joe Nocera, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and our man on finance and other matters. Joe, thanks very much for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
You might've chuckled a bit this week, if you heard about the trillion-dollar platinum coin plan, to perhaps address Washington, D.C.'s debt ceiling stalemate. But it will certainly be no laughing matter if the U.S. Congress refuses to raise the borrowing limit, and the U.S. government defaults on its debt. Global financial markets would likely plummet.
NPR's John Ydstie reports on some of the options the president has if he and Congress cannot reach an agreement.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Hey, it's time for sports.
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SIMON: In the NFL playoffs this weekend, will the Falcons, Seahawks and Ravens soar? Will the Broncos buck, the 49ers strike gold, the Patriots run up the flag, the Texans remember, and the Packers pack up and go home? How many ridiculous phrases can I work into a sentence?
NPR's Tom Goldman joins us now to help us make sense of all of 'em. Tom, thanks for being with us.
In addition to being the captain of the New York Knicks, a six-time NBA all-star, and a father of three, Amar'e Stoudemire is also an author. STAT #3: Slam Dunk is the latest in his series for middle-school-aged readers.
For many, the stakes and the scale of World War II are hard to fathom. It was a war fought around the world, against powerful, determined regimes in Europe and the Pacific; some 65 million people died. And as the number of people who have actual memories of the war dwindle — as of next year, there will be fewer than 1 million living veterans — the mission of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans becomes all the more urgent.
Among the donations that poured into the American Red Cross building after the earthquake in Haiti three years ago was a box of Frisbees. In a flood of well-intentioned but unneeded donations, this box stuck out to Meghan O'Hara, who oversees in-kind donations for the organization.
O'Hara says someone clearly wanted to help — the person mailed the box from Germany — but all she could think was, "Wow. That $60 or $70 could have been sent to so many different organizations to help out in so many different ways, and now we have a box of Frisbees."
Bob Dylan has made some puzzling moves in his celebrated career, but the compilation that his record label recently released may be as odd as anything he's ever put out.
The compilation, 50th Anniversary Collection, is a limited-edition, four-CD set that was only released in Europe. It seems to have been designed by the label to exploit a recent change in European copyright law.
Georgia Power's coal-fired steam-turbine electric generating Plant Bowen in Euharlee, Ga., seen in 2009. The utility is planning on shuttering 15 coal- and oil-fired generating units at its facilities.
Credit PR Newswire / AP
Georgia Power's Plant McDonough-Atkinson was converted to natural gas from coal. The facility produces enough electricity to power 625,000 homes.
Just a few years ago, Georgia Power generated nearly three-fourths of its electricity with coal. Last year, for the first time, natural gas edged out coal, and just this week the company announced plans to close 10 coal-fired power generators within the next few years.
"We do recognize this is a historic event for our company. We've never announced this many closings at one time," says Mark Williams, a company spokesperson.
A pair of prominent hedge fund managers have taken opposing positions on the nutritional-supplement company Herbalife. Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management says the multilevel-marketing company is a pyramid scheme and a bad investment. He's shorting the stock. Dan Loeb of hedge fund Third Point says Herbalife is a good investment. He's taken an 8.2 percent stake in the company and is betting that its shares will rise. Melissa Block talks with David Kestenbaum of the Planet Money team.
A clerk prices cigarettes at Discount Smoke Shop in Ballwin, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.
Credit Getty Images / Mario Tama
The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.
It's been only a few years since Congress granted the federal government the power to approve how tobacco products are made and sold in the U.S.
The Food and Drug Administration's new Center for Tobacco Products, established under a 2009 law that gives the agency jurisdiction over tobacco, must review all new cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, as well as any changes to existing brands.
But the agency has yet to clear any products under the new system, and some cigarette makers are frustrated by the backlog of applications.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:19 pm
You might think that after a pretty rancorous election season there would be lingering acrimony between people who belong to groups embroiled in some of the campaign's most heated debates. But if there is, a new study by Pew found that many Americans don't feel that way.
For years, I've taken issue with depictions of mentally ill characters in books and movies. Irrational behavior is easily explained away: They're crazy! No need to elaborate further.
So when I picked up Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See, I was apprehensive that the main character, an untreated bipolar Hollywood studio executive who leaves his wife and child for an international adventure, might be a kooky manic cliche.
Eurozone finance ministers reportedly won't approve a final bailout deal for Cyprus until after February elections there. The vote is expected to bring to power a conservative who will do everything that the current communist president is refusing: cut public sector jobs, slash wages and, above all, privatize public services. Everyone in the Cypriot government but president Demetrios Christofias agreed in November to austerity measures proposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up a week of White House meetings regarding gun violence and gun safety by meeting with a group from the video game industry — makers of games that have been criticized for glamorizing gun violence.
French President Francois Hollande announced on Friday that France has intervened militarily in the Saharan African nation of Mali, a former French colony, to stop any further advancement of Islamist extremist forces in the north of the country.
All over Australia - Alice Springs, Adelaide, Sydney, Wagga Wagga - it's been an extremely hot summer and it's expected to get hotter. The continent is experiencing a record-breaking heat wave. Roads have melted in 108-degree temperatures in the Outback and wildfires are raging in New South Wales. The heat is so persistent that the Bureau of Meteorology added two new colors to its official maps - pink and deep purple.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. The leader of Afghanistan has had a rocky relationship with the U.S., but today at the White House, President Hamid Karzai and President Obama spoke of progress. As NPR's Jackie Northam reports, today's discussion on what role the U.S. might play in Afghanistan in the future.