Nation/World

Alzheimer's disease doesn't just steal memories. It takes lives.

The disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and figures released Tuesday by the Alzheimer's Association show that deaths from the disease increased by 68 percent between 2000 and 2010.

First supersized soda, now cigarettes: Under New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new plan, retailers in the city would have to keep tobacco products out of sight. The goal, he says, is to curb the rate of youth smoking.

The measure would make New York the first city in the nation to keep tobacco products out of sight in stores.

For years, many have dreamed of so-called smart guns, weapons that know their rightful owner and won't fire in the wrong hands. Think James Bond's gun in Skyfall.

A few major gun makers experimented with smart guns in the 1990s, but none came to market. Since then, it's been the domain of entrepreneurs and inventors.

Developers And Technologists

The Morris Missionary Baptist Church is nestled down a red dirt road, in Morris, Ga., set among pine trees near the Alabama state line. Next to the small white church lies its most recent grave site: that of Charles Foster Jr.

While the mass killings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., garnered a frenzy of news coverage, statistically, they are not the norm. Each year, thousands of gun homicides in the U.S. — 11,000 in 2010 alone — attract little or no media attention.

The FBI says it believes it knows who perpetrated the biggest art museum heist in history.

Wonder why you can't get a straight answer on how much a treatment or test will cost you? One big reason: State laws that allow hospitals and other providers of health care to keep costs hidden until they send you the bill.

A report card on price transparency released Monday gives 29 states an F and seven states a D for policies that keep patients and their families in the dark on prices. The failing grade went to those with practically no transparency requirements.

Ask Americans to point out Cyprus, and most would have to spin a globe several times before noticing the small island nation, east of Greece and south of Turkey.

But whether or not you have ever given a thought to the 1.1 million people living there under the warm Mediterranean sun, Cyprus might send a chill up your spine this week.

Does America Need A Strong Dollar Policy?

Mar 18, 2013

Is a strong U.S. dollar a good thing, or is it overrated as a policy goal?

Some argue that a policy aimed at keeping the dollar strong would hurt U.S. economic growth because it would make American goods and services more expensive, lessening global demand for them. Others say having a weak and unstable unit as the basis of the economy makes commerce harder and creates financial bubbles that then burst disastrously.

Figuring out whether a child who might have a concussion should stay in the game just got easier, thanks to this one-word answer from the nation's neurologists: No.

Today the American Academy of Neurology chucked 15-year-old rules that confused pretty much everybody, from parents and coaches to kids and doctors.

Instead of talking about various symptoms and concussion grades, the neurologists now say that the best offense is defense.

We promise, we'll get back to real news in a little bit. But first: After weeks of rumors, the sports icons Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn have made it official: They are dating.

"I guess it wasn't a well-kept secret but yes, I am dating Tiger Woods," Vonn, the Olympic gold medalist ski racer, tweeted.

Both Vonn and Woods, who is a 14-time major golf champion, also posted photographs of themselves on their Facebook pages.

In a Guatemalan courtroom Tuesday, prosecutors will present their case against a former military dictator who ruled during one of the bloodiest periods in the Central American nation's 36-year civil war.

Efrain Rios Montt is accused of genocide in the murder of tens of thousands of Guatemala's Indians. Human rights advocates and the families of victims have struggled for years to bring him before the court, and they say it is the first trial in Latin America of a former president in the country where he ruled.

Though we've seen The Natural many times, we have to confess we didn't know that a real woman shot a real baseball player in 1949 and that their story inspired Bernard Malamud's 1952 book and Robert Redford's 1984 movie.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

If Republicans hope to recapture the White House in the foreseeable future, they basically need to sound and campaign more like Democrats.

A zoo in Indonesia is now home to seven bouncing baby Komodo dragons. Before you recoil in disgust, have a look at this video from the BBC — "cute" may not be the operative word, but the hatchlings do exude a certain endearing quality.

Some People Really Can Taste The Rainbow

Mar 18, 2013

Plenty of us got our fill of green-colored food on St. Patrick's Day. (Green beer, anyone?) But for some people, associating taste with color is more than just a once-a-year experience.

One of the two men killed Sunday when a small plane crashed into a house near South Bend, Ind., was former University of Oklahoma star quarterback Steve Davis, the St. Joseph County (Ind.) coroner's office says.

More parents are worried about getting their daughters vaccinated against cervical cancer, despite more doctors saying the shots are a good idea.

The first person to challenge a file-sharing lawsuit brought by the Recording Industry Association of America has reached the end of the line.

Without comment, the Supreme Court refused to hear Jammie Thomas-Rasset's appeal, which means the $222,000 verdict against her stands.

Thomas-Rasset was convicted of sharing 24 songs on the peer-to-peer service Kazaa. She was arguing that the amount in question was excessive.

Ten years ago this week, U.S. troops invaded Iraq. NPR's David Gilkey was there and shares his memory of a photograph he made that first night.

The photos that David Gilkey took the night of the Iraq invasion were among the first pictures of U.S. troops in combat to come out of Iraq. And among the images he captured was one of a soldier running through an abandoned Iraqi army post that had, just minutes before, been hit by U.S. rocket fire.

Those photos would not have been possible without a night vision optic for his camera.

As Syria's revolt enters a third year, Syria's political opposition is meeting in Istanbul this week to choose a rebel government, despite opposition from the Obama administration.

Twelve candidates are in the running to lead the efforts, including an economist, a former agriculture minister and an IT specialist who is overseeing the Syrian National Coalition's aid operation on the Turkish border.

Break Down In Motor City Over New Manager?

Mar 18, 2013

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, R&B heavyweight Brian McKnight has sold more than 20 million albums over the course of his 20 year career. He'll tell us about his latest and he pushes back against some critics and the fans who think he may have gotten just a little too grown for their taste. We'll tell you what we mean in just a few minutes.

President Obama announced today he is nominating Thomas Perez, currently in charge of civil rights at the Justice Department, to be the country's next Labor secretary.

Introducing him in the East Room of the White House, Obama said Perez "knows what it's like to climb the ladder of opportunity," and has been "consensus builder."

Perez worked to become the first lawyer in his family. He knows first hand, Obama said, that if you work hard in United States, you can accomplish great things.

When President Obama signs an updated version of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday afternoon, the law will include new requirements for how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault.

Laura Dunn, who's been invited by the White House to attend, plans to be there.

Guitarist Alvin Lee, whose incendiary performance with the British band Ten Years After was one of the highlights of the 1969 Woodstock festival, has died.

He was 68. Lee's website says he "passed away early this morning [Wednesday] after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure." An assistant to his daughter also confirmed the news to NPR.

His band's biggest hit — "I'd Love to Change the World" — came a couple years after Woodstock. We'll embed a clip from that.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Live In Los Angeles

Dec 12, 2012

Now that it's officially two decades in the past, it's increasingly hard to fathom: In the mid-1990s, swing was popular again. It wasn't quite the big band style of Benny Goodman fame — this new variant was blended with rockabilly and ska and perhaps some other things — but the swing revival so captured the country that it landed Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on the Super Bowl halftime show in 1999.

Alt-country musician Robbie Fulks doesn't get much airplay on country radio, and he often takes an adversarial stance against the Nashville establishment. So a big part of his reputation is based on his more humorous songs — and his raucous live shows.

Fulks has just released his first live album, a two-disc set called Revenge; critic Ken Tucker has a review.

The group's name draws influence from guitarist Django Reinhardt's Hot Club of France and the classic Western swing style of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. But Hot Club of Cowtown — guitarist Whit Smith, fiddler Elana Fremerman, and bassist Jake Erwin — is alive and swinging in the 21st century.

The band members recently stopped by NPR's Studio 4B to talk about their music with NPR's John Ydstie and play some tunes from their danceable repertoire.

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