NPR News & Stories Via WUNC

Pages

Parallels
3:32 am
Tue March 11, 2014

In Tsunami's Wake, Fierce Debate Over Japan's 'Great Wall'

Workers build a concrete barrier along the coast of suburban Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, which was hard hit by the devastating tsunami in 2011. Nationwide, Japan has poured concrete to defend nearly half of its shoreline. Critics say much of it is unnecessary.
Lucy Craft for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:28 am

Three years after the massive tsunami that ravaged northeastern Japan, the government is building the biggest anti-tsunami barriers ever.

The vast network of supersized sea walls, mocked by some as "the Great Wall of Japan," is already underway and would stretch 230 miles and cost nearly $8 billion.

The wall is designed to protect places like the small port city of Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture. With its dramatic hills, white fishing boats and seafood market, Kesennuma has the pleasant nautical feel of Seattle.

Read more
Politics
3:27 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Holder Speaks Out On Snowden, Drone Policy, Softening Sentences

Already one of the longest-serving attorneys general in history, Eric Holder says he has no immediate plans or timetable to leave. Here, he speaks at the annual Attorneys General Winter Meeting in Washington on Feb. 25.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 12:13 pm

Virtually any time a major event ripples across Washington, the Justice Department is positioned near the center of it.

From the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner that carried three Americans on board to the fate of voting rights for millions of people, the attorney general has an enormous portfolio. And the stress to match it.

But after an elevated heart rate sent him to the hospital last month, Eric Holder says he's on the mend.

Read more
National Security
3:26 am
Tue March 11, 2014

U.S. Checks For Stolen Passports, But Other Nations Fall Short

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:28 am

One of the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is the appearance of two men on the flight manifest who were apparently traveling with stolen passports.

On U.S.-bound flights there are safeguards aimed at preventing that from happening. Interpol, the international police organization, issued a statement criticizing Malaysia for allowing the passengers to board the flight.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:08 am
Tue March 11, 2014

N.Y. Governor Says College For Inmates Will Pay Off For Taxpayers

Inmates at New York's Coxsackie Correctional Facility. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says reinstating state-funded prison college programs will ultimately save taxpayers money.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 10:28 am

America used to have a robust college education system for prison inmates. It was seen as a way to rehabilitate men and women behind bars by helping them go straight when they got out.

Those taxpayer-funded college classes were defunded in the 1990s. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would like to bring them back in the state, prompting a fierce new debate over higher education in state prisons.

Read more
The Salt
3:06 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Turning Food Waste Into Fuel Takes Gumption And Trillions Of Bacteria

The digester eggs at Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn contain millions of gallons of black sludge.
Courtesy of New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 1:12 pm

Every year, Americans send millions of tons of food to the landfill. What if you could use all of those pizza crusts and rotten vegetables to heat your home? That's already happening in one unlikely laboratory: the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn.

Read more
Business
3:02 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Customer Surveys Are Here To Stay. Suggestions For Improvement?

Washington Post advice columnist Judith Martin compares surveys to an insecure friend: " 'Are you sure you like me? Really? Do you like me?' And after a while you want to say, 'No! Go away!' "
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:58 pm

Call the cable company, and an automated voice wants to ask you about the experience. Buy a taco at a fast-food chain, and the receipt says there's a chance to win $500 if you answer a few questions.

Customer surveys seem to be everywhere — something Judith Martin addressed in her Miss Manners column in January: "They are violating the first rule of business: Don't annoy the customer."

Read more
All Tech Considered
12:03 am
Tue March 11, 2014

The Internet Will Be Everywhere In 2025, For Better Or Worse

Experts predict that people worldwide will be constantly connected by the Internet in 2025 — leading to a greater exchange of ideas but making people more susceptible to cyberattacks and manipulation.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:54 pm

In 2025, the Internet will enhance our awareness of the world and ourselves while diminishing privacy and allowing abusers to "make life miserable for others," according to a new report by the Pew Research Center and Elon University.

But more than anything, experts say, it will become ubiquitous and embedded in our lives — the same way electricity is today.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:17 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Judge Allows Army Brigadier General To Enter New Plea In Assault Case

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair leaves the courthouse for the day Wednesday at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C.
Ellen Ozier Reuters/Landov

The judge presiding over the court-martial of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair gave him the opportunity to enter a new plea in the assault case.

As The New York Times reports, Col. James L. Poh said the Army may have improperly influenced the senior officer who rejected Sinclair's plea. As we reported, Sinclair, 51, a former deputy commander with the 82nd Airborne Division, offered to plea guilty to lesser charges.

The Times adds:

Read more
The Two-Way
6:20 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

How An Aircraft Can Fall From The Sky Midflight

Brazil's navy sailors recover debris from Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean on June 8, 2009. It took until 2012 to detail what happened in that crash.
AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 7:54 am

There's always a risk in flying, but the phase in which a plane is cruising at high altitude is widely considered to be safe. And that's what makes the mystery of what happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 so confounding.

"Whatever happened happened quickly and resulted in a catastrophic departure from the air," Mark Rosenker, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board who is now a consultant with CBS news, told NPR's Melissa Block.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Seattle Moves To Curb Uber, Other Ride-Share Services

Seattle's government has given early approval to caps on ride-share companies such as Uber. Here, Peter Faris, whose company's drivers use Uber to find customers, holds a smartphone with the ride-sharing company's app in Washington, D.C.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 6:36 pm

Uber, Lyft, and similar companies that pair people who pay for a car ride with drivers who operate outside the traditional taxi system are facing new limits in Seattle, where the City Council's Taxi Committee recently voted to cap the number of "ride-share" drivers.

The full council had been scheduled to vote on a limit of 150 drivers per ride-share company today; the vote, which has sparked intense interest in the city, has been postponed until next Monday.

Read more

Pages