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A few years ago in Zambia, hippos were dropping dead by the dozens. Soon after the hippos fell ill, people started getting sick, too.

Between August and September of 2011, at least 85 hippos died in a game management area along the South Luangwa River near the border with Malawi. It turns out the hippos were the victims of anthrax, the same bacteria used in a series of letter attacks that killed five people in the weeks after Sept. 11. The anthrax outbreaks in hippos and humans in Zambia however, weren't part of some sinister terrorist plot. Instead, they were driven by hunger.

To walk around Berlin is to constantly, inevitably, trip over history.

Almost literally, in the case of the Stolpersteine, or "stumbling stones," embedded in the sidewalks outside homes where victims of the Holocaust once lived.

Germany's culture of "remembrance" around the Nazi years and the Holocaust is a well-documented and essential part of the nation's character. Though occasionally political parties may challenge it, those elements have thus far remained thoroughly fringe.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks to Jeff Ballou. Ballou is the National Press Club president and the news editor for Al-Jazeera's English-language channel. 

He spoke about his experience as journalist of color and the importance of attracting and retaining diverse voices in media. 

Aussie eclipse chaser heads to Idaho for 16th eclipse

Aug 16, 2017

Roughly 200 million people live within a day’s drive of next Monday's eclipse.

But eclipse chasers road-tripping to the path of totality will also be joined by those traveling much farther to stand in the shadow of the moon for just a few minutes.

Among them is Terry Cuttle, an amateur astronomer, and photographer, traveling from Brisbane, Australia, to the US to see his 16th total solar eclipse.

He’s been planning this trip for years and is aiming for eastern Idaho where the chances of clear weather are good.  

The former president's message after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., was brief, but it hit the right note for many.

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion ... ," Barack Obama tweeted, accompanied by a photo of himself, jacket slung over his shoulder, smiling at four young children gathered at a windowsill.

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's rarely seen but longest-serving aides, has been named interim White House communications director, filling the position left vacant by Anthony Scaramucci after his 10-day tenure.

Hicks will work alongside press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders until a permanent replacement is found, the White House said. She has been serving as director of strategic communications.

"We will make an announcement on a permanent communications director at the appropriate time," a White House official said.

On Monday, the moon will completely eclipse the sun, and people all over the U.S. will watch.

For those who have been boning up on eclipse trivia for weeks, congratulations. For everyone else, here are the things you need to know about the phenomenon.

"So this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop? ... [Jefferson] was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue?" — President Trump, Aug. 15, 2017

Four Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife employees were fired this month after an investigation found an “extremely sexualized culture” at a fish hatchery on the Columbia River.

Before taking action against hate, white people should look inward

Aug 16, 2017

In the aftermath of racist violence like what unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, one visceral reaction is a call to action — a call by outraged activists, by politicians who want to provide moral leadership, and by ordinary people who ask themselves what they can do in the face of extraordinary hatred.

The aftermath of the violent protest and counterprotests in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend continue to reverberate across the country — sparking discussions about race and the country's Civil War past.

Mourners gathered in Charlottesville on Wednesday to remember Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally. Attendees were asked to wear purple, Heyer's favorite color, in her memory.

In an overnight operation, workers removed Baltimore's high-profile statues linked to the Confederacy, using cranes and trucks to haul away monuments that honored Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Roger B. Taney, author of the Supreme Court's Dred Scott opinion.

"It's done," Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday, according to The Baltimore Sun. "They needed to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could."

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Here's the message the White House intended to send yesterday at a press conference in the lobby of Trump Tower.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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As a substitute for coveted elephant ivory, mammoth tusks can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A rush is underway to dig them out of the frozen earth in Siberia and sell them, mostly to China. The hunt is making millionaires of some men living in this impoverished region — but it's also illegal.

Photographer Amos Chapple followed a group of tusk hunters in Siberia on assignment for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He recalled his three-week journey with NPR's Ailsa Chang.

If you pull a fire alarm in any large U.S. city, it's likely that paid firefighters waiting at a nearby station will quickly respond. But seven out of 10 American firefighters are actually volunteers. They cover vast sections of the country, making up an aging network that is increasingly understaffed and overworked.

On a blazing hot day recently in western Kansas, two men have rushed from their jobs to douse a grass fire, for free.

"If somebody wasn't here to do it, this could get out of hand real quick," says Jason Lonnberg, with the Jetmore Volunteer Fire Department.

In July of 1878, Vassar professor Maria Mitchell led a team of astronomers to the new state of Colorado to observe a total solar eclipse. In a field outside of Denver, they watched as the sun went dark and a feathery fan of bright tendrils — the solar corona — faded into view.

Becca Dobberfuhl has a name for her Bouldin Creek home.

“It’s all this rusty, rusty, rusty color,” she says. “And the house is a modern house, and it has a box-like look to it so we call it the ‘Rusty Box.’”

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And I think it's fair to say President Trump veered way off message yesterday.

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Watch Out For 'Lizardmen'

Aug 16, 2017

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Until now, Ed Butowsky has enjoyed edging close to the limelight — an investment adviser who has pursued celebrity clients, his profile burnished through appearances on Fox News and its sister channel Fox Business Network.

Butowsky, a 55-year-old former Morgan Stanley executive, has been celebrated in glossy magazines, touted for his financial acumen, toasted for his proximity to the powerful.

In recent weeks, however, Butowsky has received unwanted scrutiny.

Students Find Spacesuits In Thrift Store

Aug 16, 2017

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Health Insurance CEO On New CBO Report

Aug 16, 2017

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Life in Charlottesville, Va., has been disrupted by the deadly violence at a white supremacist rally over the weekend. On the eve of the memorial for one of the victims, counterprotester Heather Heyer, President Trump blamed those counterprotesters — what he called the "alt-left" – for stoking the violence.

After Trump's remarks, Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy had to control his anger. He says the president is showing where his loyalties lie.

Most U.S. presidents pursue a two-track policy with Russia: confrontation on some fronts, cooperation on others.

President John F. Kennedy waged a showdown with the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 — and signed a nuclear test ban treaty with Moscow the following year.

Ronald Reagan famously called the Soviets "the evil empire" — and reached a major arms control deal with them.

Barack Obama got Russia to join a sanctions campaign against Iran — and also imposed sanctions against Moscow.

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