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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Obama To Raise Minimum Wage For Federal Contracts

President Obama, working at his desk Monday night on the eve of his 2014 State of the Union address.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 10:06 am

News broke this morning that President Obama will announce during his State of the Union address tonight that he's going to sign an executive order raising the minimum wage in new federal contracts.

And as stories about that were popping up on news sites, one of the president's top advisers was on Morning Edition saying that Obama has "warmed up to" the idea of using such executive orders to advance his agenda.

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It's All Politics
6:49 am
Tue January 28, 2014

5 Things To Expect In Obama's State Of The Union Address

President Obama gestures to Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner before giving his 2013 State of the Union address.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 1:35 pm

As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, he does it against a backdrop of some of the lowest voter-approval ratings of his presidency, with a divided Congress that has largely stalled his second-term agenda and with Washington's collective focus starting to shift toward the midterm elections and beyond.

Here are five things to expect from the president in his fifth State of the Union speech:

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Politics
6:25 am
Tue January 28, 2014

New Bipartisan Farm Bill Emerges From Long Debate In Congress

The new farm bill includes provisions to help livestock producers hit by natural disasters and extreme weather. Here, cattle stay warm in a barn in Illinois during this month's cold weather.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 7:55 am

Members of the House and Senate have reached a bipartisan agreement on a five-year farm bill that will end months of uncertainty for farmers and agriculture workers, its backers say. If enacted, it would close the gap left when the previous farm bill expired late in 2013, after an emergency extension lapsed.

The Agricultural Act of 2014, which will likely come up for a vote on Wednesday, reflects the many agendas that helped to complicate its creation.

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The Two-Way
6:22 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger, Folk Music Icon And Activist, Dies At 94

Pete Seeger closes out the 2011 Newport Folk Festival.
Anna Webber WireImage

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 10:00 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': A look back at Pete Seeger's life, from former NPR newscaster Paul Brown

Pete Seeger, "a tireless campaigner for his own vision of a utopia marked by peace and togetherness," died Monday at the age of 94.

As former NPR broadcaster Paul Brown adds in an appreciation he prepared for Morning Edition, Seeger's tools "were his songs, his voice, his enthusiasm and his musical instruments."

The songs he'll be long remembered for include "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

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Books News & Features
3:58 am
Tue January 28, 2014

The Annual Awards For Children's Books Are Out

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 7:20 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, the Grammy Awards are behind us. The Oscars are around the corner. And now, we have another award that also gets a lot of attention this time of year, from people who love kids' books.

The American Library Association has announced this year's Caldecott and Newbery Award winners. NPR's Lynn Neary reports.

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Education
3:58 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Political Rivals Find Common Ground Over Common Core

Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Del., has begun implementing the national Common Core State Standards for academics. The GOP largely backs the standards that are rolling out in 45 states, but Tea Party conservatives have been critical — and liberals increasingly have the same complaints.
Steve Ruark AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 11:25 am

Supporters of the new Common Core education standards adopted by 45 states say the standards hold American students to much higher expectations, and move curriculum away from a bubble-test culture that encourages test preparation over deeper learning.

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Politics
3:58 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Capitol Hill Lawmakers Reach Bipartisan Farm Bill

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 7:20 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All that took was a two year delay. House and Senate negotiators last night reached a compromise on the Farm Bill. That legislation deals with agriculture, of course, and also governs the federal food stamp program, from which billions will be cut. Derek Wallbank of Bloomberg News has been covering this story. He's on the line. Welcome to the program.

DAVID WALLBANK: Thank you very much for having me.

INSKEEP: So what took Congress so long?

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Politics
2:42 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Brothers Levin Near The End Of A 32-Year Congressional Partnership

Sen. Carl Levin (left) huddles with his brother and fellow Michigan Democrat, Rep. Sandy Levin, during testimony on the automotive industry bailout in 2008.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 12:57 pm

During President Obama's speech Tuesday night, Sen. Carl Levin will be doing what he's done at every State of the Union for decades: sitting with his older brother and fellow Michigan Democrat Rep. Sandy Levin.

No two siblings in the nation's history have served longer than the 32 years the brothers Levin have been together in Congress. Both have held powerful committee chairmanships.

But this will be their last State of the Union together. Carl, who was first elected to Congress four years before his brother, has decided to retire at the end of the year.

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The Two-Way
11:02 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Inspector General: Literacy Training Of Afghan Forces Has Limited Success

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand guard outside Bagram military base.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

An effort by the international coalition in Afghanistan to teach Afghan security forces to read and write has had limited success and has been plagued by problems, a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction finds.

The $200 million effort was funded by the U.S. and after more than three years of the program, the report found that about half of the members of the Afghan National Police are still illiterate.

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