Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 11:03 am
Following an already violent year in Pakistan, on the first day of the New Year gunmen shot and killed five teachers and two aid workers as they were driving home from work.
According to The Associated Press, the groups director said they may have been targeted for their anti-polio work, which would follow a pattern of attacks against charity and aid workers in Pakistan in recent weeks.
I first heard Natalie Maines's version of "Mother," the Pink Floyd song, while sitting alone in my car on a particularly difficult Saturday morning. It was the day after Adam Lanza took his mother's guns into Sandy Hook elementary school and wreaked destruction, and like many people across America, I'd spent most of the previous day trying to grasp what had happened. I really mean grasp: like so many tragedies that don't involve me directly yet engross me as they unfold in raw, real time on the Web, this one quickly became a spectral burden that was difficult to shake.
Waves crash over the Kulluk oil rig, which washed aground on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska. Officials say aircraft have not spotted any signs of a fuel leak from the rig, which reportedly does not contain crude oil.
Credit Jeff Brady / NPR
The drilling rig Kulluk, seen here in 2010, is specially built to work in the Arctic Ocean. Its round shape deflects ice floating in the water.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 4:44 am
An oil drilling rig holding more than 150,000 gallons of diesel, lubricating oil, and hydraulic fluid has run aground near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, after it was being towed during a storm. The crew was evacuated before the rig was incapacitated.
"The rig ran aground in a storm, with waves up to 35 feet and wind to 70 miles per hour," reports Jeff Brady, on NPR's Newscast. The Shell Oil rig is "about 250 miles south of Anchorage," Jeff says.
Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 10:39 am
A compromise deal to stop broad spending cuts and tax increases is headed to the House of Representatives, after receiving strong support in the Senate. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., talks with Steve Inskeep about a possible House vote on the "fiscal cliff" deal.
Cole, the House deputy majority whip who also serves on the Appropriations Committee, says he expects the House to approve the Senate bill, calling it "a pretty big win."
Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 6:19 am
As the new year begins, we here at The Salt are looking back at the food topics that got you talking in 2012, and pondering which conversations will continue in 2013. (And, like many of you, we're also firmly swearing off the holiday cookies.) So, instead, feast your eyes on this roundup of our top stories from the past 12 months:
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden make a statement regarding the passage of the fiscal cliff bill in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House late Tuesday evening.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as legislation to negate a fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and sweeping spending cuts moves to the GOP-dominated House.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 2:23 am
The House of Representatives voted 257-167 late Tuesday to pass a Senate-approved compromise deal that stops large tax increases for 99 percent of Americans, and delays massive spending cuts for two months.
The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
NPR's S.V. Date is reporting on the deal for our Newscast unit. Here's what he says:
"The eventual deal was hammered out by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. It passed the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support.
This New Year could mean a new cost for the craft store chain Hobby Lobby. The federal health care law requires employee insurance plans to cover emergency contraceptives. Hobby Lobby's owners did not want to do that. They say drugs commonly known by names like the morning-after pill are tantamount to abortion.
Now, the Supreme Court has turned aside Hobby Lobby's request to block the mandate. So, starting today, the company could be fined as much as $1.3 million per day for defying the law.
Michigan's Lake Superior State University issued its annual list of annoying expressions to banish. The list includes: trending, bucket list, kick the can down the road and spoiler alert. The top one to ban: fiscal cliff.
In Seguin, Texas, a December city council election ended in a tie. Both candidates received 141 votes. So it was up to the mayor to settle things. The law gave him some options such as drawing straws or tossing dice. He chose: coin toss.
The past year has seen more debate about the best way to find breast cancers.
A recent analysis concluded that regular mammograms haven't reduced the rate of advanced breast cancers — but they have led more than a million women to be diagnosed with tumors that didn't need to be treated.
Along with decent finances, it takes a lot of talent and practice to play in an orchestra. The same goes for being able to make people laugh. And even some of the most brilliant comedians can have a hard time of it. Let's listen to the usually great Johnny Carson in one of his not-so-great moments on the "Tonight Show."
NPR business news starts with record prices at the pump.
You may already have a sense of this from your bank statement, but now AAA has confirmed that the average price of a gallon of gasoline hit a record in 2012. The group says the national average for the year was $3.60. That is nine cents higher than the average in 2011, which was the previous record. For 2013, AAA thinks increased domestic oil production will help keep prices lower. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
People celebrate the new year following a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing.
Credit Roslan Rahman / AFP/Getty Images
Fireworks illuminate the sky over the Marina Bay in Singapore during an eight-minute display.
Credit Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP/Getty Images
People release balloons during an annual ceremony produced by the Prince Park Tower hotel in Tokyo. More than 1,000 balloons were released, along with visitor's wishes.
Credit Antony Dickson / AFP/Getty Images
Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong.
Credit Bay Ismoyo / AFP/Getty Images
Fireworks are launched over Jakarta's main business road to mark the new year.
Credit Ed Jones / AFP/Getty Images
People cheer following a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing.
Credit Manan Vatsyatana / AFP/Getty Images
Fireworks erupt over the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Sydney kicked off a wave of dazzling firework displays welcoming in 2013, from Dubai to Moscow and London, with long-isolated Yangon joining the global pyrotechnics for the first time.
Credit Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP/Getty Images
French soldiers celebrate the New Year's Eve at Warehouse base in Kabul.
Credit Eranga Jayawardena / AP
Sri Lankan inmates at the Welikada prison pray during a religious ceremony. Over four thousand prisoners at one of the country's largest prisons invoked blessings and ushered in the new year by engaging in Buddhist rituals.
Credit Andrew Medichini / AP
Pope Benedict XVI prays in front of the Nativity in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. He marked the end of the year by saying that despite all the death and injustice in the world, goodness prevails.
Credit Martin Mejia / AP
Fake money and coins along with small-scale homes are displayed at the Market of Wishes in Lima, Peru. As part of their New Year's traditions, Peruvians buy miniature representations of the things they desire to acquire in the coming year.
Credit Andy Newman / AFP/Getty Images
Dachshunds and their owners parade in Key West, Fla., during the Key West Dachshund Walk. The annual New Year's Eve tradition attracted almost 200 of the short-legged, long-bodied canines.
Credit Justin Tallis / AFP/Getty Images
Cheerleaders take part in the New Year's Day parade in central London on January 1, 2013.
Credit Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty Images
Maurizio Palmulli of Italy dives into Rome's Tiber River, continuing an annual tradition which dates back to 1946.
Credit Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images
South Korean singer PSY performs with US singer MC Hammer during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square in New York.
Credit Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP/Getty Images
People write "2013" with sparklers as they celebrate the New Year at the shore of the Gulf of Finland in the city of Zelenogorsk.
Credit Dieter Nagl / AFP/Getty Images
Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Moest and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform the traditional New Year's Concert on January 1, 2013, at the music association in Vienna.
Credit Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP/Getty Images
People celebrate the New Year in front of St. Basil's Cathedral on Moscow's Red Square.
Credit Ye Aung Thu / AFP/Getty Images
People wait before the countdown to the New Year near the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. Some 50,000 people were expected to gather for the city's first ever public countdown to the New Year and fireworks.
Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 8:46 am
Some people choose to celebrate the arrival of the new year by staying home with a good book and cup of hot tea. Others go out to party, cheer, and bring in the year with as much fanfare as possible. (And of course, those are the people who tend to get photographed...)
Here's a look at how some folks around the world celebrated the arrival of 2013 — some with quiet moments, and some with as much revelry as possible.
And to all readers of The Picture Show, we wish a very happy new year to you.
It has been a busy year in Mexico's war on drugs. The administration of former President Felipe Calderon struck major blows to the country's largest cartels, slowing the violence that has claimed more than 50,000 lives.
But the new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, says he'll change tactics. He wants to go after the crime associated with drug trafficking instead of taking down crime bosses. His new attorney general says this is the right strategy, since the number of crime gangs working in the country has grown significantly.
Imagine getting ready to vote in an election and having no idea what the parties stand for or even who's running for which party. Well, that's close to the reality in Israel, where the political stakes are always high. Parliamentary elections are in just three weeks but a series of dizzying political maneuvers has left voters confused. Sheera Frenkel reports.
SHEERA FRENKEL, BYLINE: A couple of weeks ago, this advertisement by the left-wing Meretz Party went viral.
Every year, banks handle tens of millions of transactions. Some of them involve drug money, or deals with companies doing secret business with countries like Iran and Syria, in defiance of trade sanctions.
But if the Justice Department has its way, banks will be forced to change — to spot illegal transactions and blow the whistle before any money changes hands.
Federal prosecutors have already collected more than $4.5 billion from some of the world's biggest financial institutions — banks charged with looking the other way when dirty money passed through their accounts.
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of the Higgs boson on July 4, the long-sought building block of the universe. This image shows a computer-simulation of data from the collider.
It's a year-end tradition to cobble together a list of the most important advances in science. But, truth be told, many ideas that change the world don't tend to spring from these flashy moments of discovery. Our view of nature — and our technology — often evolve from a sequence of more subtle advances.
Even so, chances are good that this year's list-makers will choose the discovery of the Higgs boson as the most important discovery of 2012.
Gul Mohammed Khan has lost three sons in sectarian violence during the last two years, in Karachi, Pakistan. He stands here with some of his grandchildren who have lost their fathers. When he looks at his grandchildren, he says, he sees his sons.
Credit Fareed Khan / AP
Men mourn over the deaths of their family members during their funeral procession in Karachi, Pakistan last week. Police said gunmen have wounded a prominent Sunni cleric and killed his guards and his driver in an apparently sectarian attack in southern Pakistan.
Credit Reuters /Landov
Rescuers carry a sheet to collect body parts near the scene of a bomb explosion in Karachi on Saturday that killed at least six people and . wounded 48. The sandals in the foreground are displayed for sale.
The sad truth about Karachi in 2012 was that whatever your religion, business affiliation, or political party, someone was willing to kill you for it.
The murder rate in Pakistan's largest city and commercial hub hit an all time high last year. Over 2,500 people died in violent crimes in Karachi in 2012, a 50 percent increase over the year before.
Most of the deaths were attributable to sectarian killings and score settling. Shia Muslims took on the brunt of the violence. But Sunni Muslims were killed in reprisal attacks that added to the tally.
It's been a banner year for solar energy. The United States is on track to install a record number of solar power systems — thanks in large part to low-cost solar panels from China. That's been challenging for American manufacturers, and federal officials have put trade tariffs on Chinese panels.
Things look busy at the SunPower solar manufacturing plant in Silicon Valley. Workers are screwing frames onto shiny, 6-foot solar panels as they come off the line.
2012 will go down as a year of orchestral turmoil in the U.S.: Strikes, lockouts and bankruptcies erupted time and again as once seemingly untouchable institutions struggled financially.
There's been particularly little seasonal cheer in Minnesota's orchestral community. Protests erupted after management at the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra each locked out their musicians, after the musicians had rejected contracts that cut their salaries by tens of thousands of dollars and reduced the size of the orchestras.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 9:16 am
The White House released this statement from President Obama at 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday:
Leaders from both parties in the Senate came together to reach an agreement that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support today that protects 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a middle class tax hike. While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay.
Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:55 pm
With hours to go before the so-called fiscal cliff deadline, the House adjourned for the night and the Senate has yet to scheduled any vote. NPR's Julie Rover talks with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about the latest.