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Beef Products, Inc., the South Dakota company at the center of a firestorm this spring over its product labeled "pink slime" by critics, announced Thursday it is suing ABC News for defamation and $1.2 billion in damages.

BPI alleges that ABC reporters and hosts made 200 false statements over the course of a month about BPI's product, known in the industry as lean, finely textured beef (LFTB).

The NFL's Brendon Ayanbadejo has gone to three Pro Bowls and is a star on the field. But when he recently spoke out in favor of gay marriage, a prominent critic told him to stop talking and focus on football. Ayanbadejo joins host Michel Martin to talk about why he's committed to defending same-sex marriage.

The Census Bureau announced that 15 percent of Americans lived in poverty in 2011 — a slight drop from the year before. But income disparities continue to grow. Host Michel Martin talks with Harvard professor William Julius Wilson, author of the 1987 book The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy.

Protests over a video insulting the Prophet Mohammad have spread throughout the Muslim world. Host Michel Martin discusses reactions and why it has elicited such anger with Al Jazeera's Abderrahim Foukara and Georgetown University Professor John Esposito. Advisory: This segment may be uncomfortable for some listeners.

Is The New iPhone Worth The Upgrade?

Sep 13, 2012

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now about that new iPhone. Techies have long been speculating about what the device will look like and what it will do. Guessing right along with everybody else was Mario Armstrong. He's a digital lifestyle expert and a frequent guest on this program.

Mario...

MARIO ARMSTRONG: Hey.

MARTIN: Welcome back.

ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Michel. Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: Tell us what you know. Are you in iPhone heaven?

Update at 12:31 p.m. ET. Federal Reserve Announces QE3:

The Federal Reserve announced it would spend $40 billion a month on bond purchases in an effort to stimulate the economy and drive the the unemployment rate down.

The Wall Street Journal says that unlike the first two rounds of Quantitative Easing, this time the Fed will focus solely on buying mortgage-backed securities.

To protect children against whooping cough, doctors recommend five shots of vaccine before they turn 7.

But what happens after that? How long does the protection last?

The past 24 hours have produced a few answers — but many more questions — about the anti-Islam film that became a flashpoint across North Africa and the Middle East this week.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports on Morning Edition that The Innocence of Muslims was shot in Los Angeles County last August, under the title Desert Warriors. It's full of "choppy dialogue, bad acting and scenes of a buffoonish Muhammad," she says.

UPDATE: 11:37 a.m. As expected, the New York Board of Health passed a rule banning sugary drinks like soda in sizes 16 oz. or larger at restaurants, concession stands and other eateries in an effort to combat obesity today. The ban is expected to take effect in March, but according to the Wall Street Journal, opponents are already considering a legal challenge to prevent that. It passed 8-0.

Update 8:21 ET. Two Slain Americans Identified:

Two of the security personnel who were killed Tuesday along with Ambassador Chris Stevens and Information Management Officer Sean Smith have been identified. They are Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, both security personnel who died helping protect their colleagues. Both men were former Navy SEALs, according to a statement from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Here's more from the statement:

We think of the power of the Federal Reserve as the power of money. After all, the Fed is the one institution that can create U.S. dollars out of thin air.

But recently, Ben Bernanke has argued that the Fed has another, critical power: the power of words. And when you're the chairman of the Fed, a few words can go a long way.

Most of the election-year attention Ohio gets is focused on the heavily Democratic areas in the northeast around Cleveland, or in GOP strongholds in rural areas and in the south around Cincinnati.

But it's also worth keeping a close eye on the state's less-traveled southeastern border with Pennsylvania and West Virginia — the Ohio River Valley. It's a place where there is a lot of doubt about how much either candidate can help.

Newly released census figures show a long-standing and glaring contrast: A third of families headed by single mothers are in poverty, and they are four times more likely than married-couple families to be poor. The disparity is on the rise, and as the number of single mothers grows, analysts are debating if more marriages could mean less poverty.

Federal Reserve policymakers are meeting in Washington, trying to decide whether — and exactly how — to boost the sluggish economy. Many analysts are expecting the Fed to take action, but they're also beginning to question whether another stimulus program will have any effect.

It's become conventional wisdom that President Obama's new lead in the polls is a bounce, coming out of the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C.

But an analysis from the Wesleyan Media Project suggests that the bounce might be due to TV ads as much as grand speeches. The Obama campaign and its allies laid out $21.1 million for TV during the two weeks of the party conventions. Over that same stretch, Republican Mitt Romney and his backers spent significantly less, $12.9 million.

I kind of think of Philz Coffee in Palo Alto, Calif., as the epicenter of Apple fanatics. It's so hip, only hand-poured specialty blends are sold here.

Every day dozens of techie types come to Philz for coffee and then lounge around on the leather sofa sipping away, often with Apple products scattered in front of them.

Yeliz Ustabas has an Apple laptop perched next to her and an iPhone balanced on her knee.

Americans donate billions of dollars to charity each year, and a portion of that money is raised by telemarketing solicitations.

Some of those charitable contributions are solicited by InfoCision Management Corp., an Ohio-based telemarketing company that, on its website, claims to raise more money for nonprofit organizations over the phone than any other company n the world.

For months, the tax-exempt Crossroads GPS has argued that its anti-Obama ads were merely issue ads and not political ads. No more. Today the group went up with ads explicitly telling viewers to vote against President Obama.

Co-founded by Republican operative Karl Rove, the group began running a 30-second spot Wednesday morning in Nevada that blames a weak economy and poor housing market on Obama and ends with the wording: "This election ... don't blow another vote on Obama."

Poverty Rate Remains Flat, Says Census Bureau

Sep 12, 2012

In 2011, the poverty rate in the United States remained steady and the number of uninsured Americans decreased, the Census Bureau said today. That means that more than 46 million Americans lived below the poverty line last year.

NPR's Pam Fessler filed this report for our Newscast unit:

The numbers for West Nile virus cases continue to rise, up 35 percent in the last week. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confident the nation has turned the corner on its worst-ever epidemic of West Nile virus disease.

Over jeers and cheers from the audience, commissioners on the Portland, Ore., City Council voted Wednesday to add fluoride to the city's drinking water starting in 2014.

Portland is the largest American city that doesn't add fluoride to its drinking water. But some groups have raised questions about the possible risks from fluoridation and oppose its use.

The U.S. poverty rate last year was unchanged from the year before, according to new figures Wednesday from the Census Bureau. But that still means almost 1 in 6 Americans was poor.

The new data show that 46.2 million people in the U.S. lived below the poverty line — about $23,000 for a family of four. The number of poor was almost exactly the same as it was the year before, but still historically high.

A Syrian documentary film producer whose disappearance two weeks ago prompted concerns for his safety and a letter of support from the Toronto International Film Festival is now free, according to reports.

This summer in Maine, I ate more lobster than at any other time I've been there – twice in one day on a couple of occasions. We lobster lovers had the glut of soft-shells, which started in June as the lobsters began to shed earlier and faster than usual, to thank for the more affordable market price of around $4 or less a pound.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says the three jailed members of the politically radical punk rock band Pussy Riot should have their sentences commuted to time served.

"In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody," The Associated Press quoted Medvedev as saying during a televised meeting with members of his United Russia Party.

The nation's official measure of health insurance coverage turned positive for the first time in quite a while.

The Census Bureau reported a decline in the number of Americans without coverage in 2011. But the ranks of the uninsured remain pretty high.

All told, 48.6 million people, or 15.7 percent of the population, had no health insurance last year, down 1.4 million from 50 million in 2010.

The order to tighten security at all U.S. diplomatic posts around the globe following attacks in the Middle East may be necessary, but it will come at a cost.

There has been an enormous increase in security precautions at American embassies and consulates over the past 30 years, and the bubble that many diplomats now operate under makes it more difficult for them to interact with people in other countries, limiting their ability to gather information and promote the American "brand."

Spanish-language network Univision announced Wednesday that, along with Facebook, it will host discussions with the presidential candidates next week, calling them "the first-ever events of their kind targeting Hispanic Americans."

The "Meet the Candidate" events — featuring Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Sept. 19 and President Obama on Sept. 20 — will be held at the University of Miami and will be broadcast on Univision and streamed online in English.

Moments ago in San Francisco, Apple's Phil Schiller unveiled the latest incarnation of the company's massively popular smartphone.

The iPhone 5, said Schiller, is "the most beautiful product we've ever made."

Of course, you want to know what's different about this model: Essentially it's thinner, lighter, faster and also has a bigger screen than the iPhone 4s.

The device also comes equipped to work with faster wireless networks like LTE, which AT&T, Sprint and Verizon carry.

The AP adds:

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