National & World News from NPR

Feel like you're paying more out of pocket for medical expenses? You've got company, according to the latest data from health insurers.

Enrollment in health savings accounts grew 18 percent last year as employers continued to steer workers into high-deductible medical plans, an insurance group said this morning.

Franz Kafka published just a few short stories and a novella during his lifetime, yet he was considered one of the 20th century's most influential writers.

The rest of his work was largely kept secret, and literary scholars have long wondered what gems they might find among Kafka's papers.

The answer may ultimately lie on Tel Aviv's Spinoza Street, inside a small, squat apartment building covered with dirty, pinkish stucco that looks like it's seen better days.

This is the second of two stories we're doing this week on organ transplants. See the first story, Who Decides Whether This 26-Year-Old Woman Gets A Lung Transplant?

Nikolaos Trichakis is a Harvard Business School professor who studies air traffic. He was watching the news one night when a segment came on about the waiting list for kidney transplants.

Food Trucks Draw Hungry Kids For Free Summer Meals

May 30, 2012

For millions of American children, the end of the school year means the end of free and reduced-price lunches that fill the gap between their appetites and their families' budgets. It's not that meals aren't available during the summer – they generally are, thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program. But getting kids to show up for those meals is harder than you'd think.

The Pakistani doctor who American officials say was recruited by the CIA to help in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and has since been sentenced to 33 years in prison, was convicted of having ties to a banned militant group, not for alleged treason.

One American's dream can be another American's nightmare.

Consider: Some people long to live in big cities; others think cities have ruined the landscape. Some Americans love to drive big old honking SUVs; others see huge cars as pollution-producing monsters. For some people, the American dream is a steady office job. For others, the office is a sinkhole and the real dream is freedom from the office.

A wildfire that has burned 265 square miles of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico is now burning across 170,000 acres. That makes it the biggest wildfire in state history.

As the AP reports, this fire eclipses a blaze last year that burned 159,593 acres in Las Conchas and threatened the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

(NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan this month. On Morning Edition, he reported from the eastern province of Ghazni about what's being called "the last major combat offensive of the Afghan War." Now, he tells us about his interview with the No. 2 U.S. officer in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti.)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday he is "very confident" that Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker will survive next week's recall election.

And Priebus, a Wisconsin native, said that a Walker win Tuesday over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett would mean "a much tougher road in Wisconsin" for President Obama in November's general election.

Note: As you may have guessed from the headline, there is disturbing content in this post. And scroll down for an update.

More is becoming known about one of the most horrific crimes we've heard about recently — the attack in Miami on Saturday during which a man was "biting off parts of another man's face."

Brig. Gen. Neil Tolley says that he has reviewed his presentation at a Special Forces Industry Conference and has come to the conclusion that he was "accurately quoted" by a reporter from the The Diplomat.

There have been very few days lately when worries about Europe's debt crisis weren't growing.

As Spain struggles to shore up its third-largest bank with a $24 billion bailout, the country's borrowing costs continue to go through the roof as fears lingered about a possible run on its banks.

Is Kofi Annan's Mission Dead In Syria?

May 30, 2012

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to start the program today by focusing on some pressing international stories. Later we'll try to find out why some demonstrators in Tel Aviv attacked African migrants last week, and we'll also talk about how Israel's government is responding to this. But first we turn to developments in Syria, where the violence that's been going on for a year has taken a particularly vicious turn.

Racial Tensions Boil Over In Israel

May 30, 2012

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the auto industry is bouncing back and at least some of that recovery is thanks to subprime lending. We talk to NPR's Sonari Glinton about which carmakers are floating loans to customers with less than pristine credit. We'll talk about whether that's a problem or not.

Is Subprime Lending Making A Comeback?

May 30, 2012

Auto sales are on the rise in Detroit, and not just for people with perfect credit. Chrysler and other companies are targeting customers with subprime credit, and giving them interest rates well above what you might imagine. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR's Sonari Glinton about who's doing it, and what it might mean for the economic recovery.

The man who has represented the interests of Syrians living in Southern California as honorary consul general there has resigned from the volunteer position because he "could no longer bear witness to such barbaric crimes" by the regime of President Bashar Assad.

When it comes to businesses providing health coverage for employees, there's a mad dash for the exits, right?

Maybe not, according to a recent survey of more than 1,300 U.S. employers of varying sizes. Consultants at Oliver Wyman's health practice wondered how employers are weighing the increasing costs of providing health insurance and the potential exit strategy paths available under the federal health law (if it survives the Supreme Court).

The latest variant of the presidential election parlor game we call "What Were They Thinking?" asks why Mitt Romney chose this moment in his quest for the White House to become involved with Donald Trump.

Here's a contrarian guess by way of an answer: populism. Bear with me for a moment of explanation.

President Obama misspoke Tuesday when he referred to a "Polish death camp" and "we regret the misstatement," White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor has told reporters.

"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices" and apologize "to everyone affected by those choices." With those words, Dharun Ravi has offered what's being called his first "clear apology" for setting up a webcam to spy on his gay roommate in September 2010.

That spying shortly preceded roommate Tyler Clementi's suicide.

While Britain's Supreme Court today said that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of sex assault, he was also given two weeks to appeal that ruling.

Assange's lawyer said that she needs that time to probe whether the court's decision was based in part on matters that weren't argued during the legal proceedings.

Turkey announced today that it is ordering all Syrian diplomats and their staffs out of the country, as it joins other nations in registering outrage about a massacre over the weekend that has been blamed on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

There hadn't been any doubt about it for several weeks, but with his win Tuesday in the Texas primary Mitt Romney has "clinched the Republican presidential nomination," according to The Associated Press.

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes that the presiding judge on an international war crimes court says were of the "utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality."

As the sun beams down, Dorothy Flood, 75, stands on the steps of the Royal Gorge Route Railroad train, smiling like a 1940s movie star.

"Right there! Then turn around, right there!" photographers call out, jockeying to snap her picture. "Here we go, count of three — one, two and three!"

And with a tip of his cap, a porter offers Flood his hand, and her "Wish Of A Lifetime" begins.

Several thousand soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division are taking part in what is being called the last major combat offensive of the Afghan War.

Their task is to clear Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold and a key prize because it straddles the major roads to Kabul and the insurgent supply routes into Pakistan.

But the American troops are challenged by a stubborn enemy and a short time to finish the job.

Swimmer Vies To Bring Olympic Joy Home To Greece

May 30, 2012

Swimmer Spyros Gianniotis was born in Liverpool, England, but he will represent Greece in the upcoming London Olympics. At 32, he is the 10-kilometer open-water world champion, and one of Greece's best hopes for a medal in London. He's on a team of Olympians whose training budget has been drastically reduced by austerity measures and the economic crisis.

On a recent morning, Gianniotis' training included three hours of laps in an outdoor Olympic-sized pool in central Athens. The lean, freckled marathon swimmer glides to the end of the pool.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., is facing the daunting prospect of running a write-in campaign to get re-elected this year, as his campaign fell far short of the number of petition signatures he needs to qualify for the August primary ballot.

Compounding McCotter's troubles: It appears election fraud may have played a part in the failure.

Forget Big-Box Stores. How About A Big-Box House?

May 30, 2012

When it comes to architecture, sustainability and affordability can mean many things: Salvaged wood becomes new flooring, old newspapers are shredded into insulation.

But a few architects are taking green building one step further: creating entire homes and businesses out of discarded shipping containers — an approach some have dubbed "cargotecture."

Approximately a quarter-million shipping containers pass through Oregon's Port of Portland each year. These are big boxes — 40 feet long and weighing thousands of pounds.

What snarky headline writer could resist a story about "hot tuna?" Or how about "tuna meltdown?"

Really, it seems just plain daffy to ignore a new study that says some Pacific bluefin tuna picked up traces of radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year and brought it across the Pacific Ocean.

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