NPR News

Library Cat's Job Is Saved

2 hours ago

Why the city council of White Settlement, Texas, decided to fire Browser, mascot and rodent hunter of the public library is not clear, but the vote two weeks ago was 2-1 to banish Browser. Friday, under an avalanche of complaints, the council members decided unanimously that Browser could stay.

Browser got his job six years ago when the library had a problem with rodents. By all accounts, he was a big success and nestled into library-goers hearts.

A fishing boat captain is dead and China is asking for a "responsible explanation," after an anti-ship missile was launched toward China from a Taiwanese Navy vessel Friday. Navy officials are apologizing for what they call an accident – a mistake made during a simulation drill.

The incident occurred Friday morning, when a 500-ton corvette that was sitting in the Zuoying Military Harbor launched a supersonic missile that streaked nearly 40 nautical miles before hitting a Taiwanese boat that had been trawling for shrimp.

Randy Weston At 90

7 hours ago

The eminent pianist Randy Weston turned 90 this year, and he enjoyed an early celebration at the 2016 Panama Jazz Festival, where he was the guest of honor. Weston, whose father was born in Panama, has long celebrated his African roots in his life and music. His career spans the better part of 70 years.

The Ray Charles Songbook

8 hours ago

At age 21, trumpeter Kenny Rampton (now of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra) launched his touring career with a nine-month stint in Ray Charles' band. Earlier this year, Rampton honored his former bandleader by presenting the most authentic Ray Charles experience possible. The band was full of Ray Charles alumni (including backing vocalists The Raelettes), the set lists were faithful recreations of actual Ray Charles sets, and the charts were transcribed from the original tour music.

The Federal Aviation Administration emailed all 500,000 drone owners in its registry this week to remind them to stay away from wildfires. Close calls between hobby drones and firefighting aircraft persist across the West despite repeated warnings.

Did you know the United Kingdom is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to aid for global health and development?

The amount given in 2015 was the equivalent of $18.7 billion in U.S. dollars. That's second only to the $31.08 billion from the United States. It's an impressive total given the comparative size of the two countries and their economies.

The start of this year’s cherry season in May is the earliest growers have ever seen in Central Washington. Yakima Valley grower Mark Roy said the harvest usually runs from June 20 to July 20.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed new gun control legislation for California, enacting bills that limit magazine capacity to 10 bullets; require a background check for those purchasing ammunition; and restrict the lending of firearms, among other effects.

In signing the bills, Brown said he wants "to enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners."

Fireworks aren’t the only thing firefighters have to worry about this Fourth of July weekend. They have a big battle on their hands and have been bringing in extra crews and equipment to posts east of the Cascades.

Michael Phelps knows he'll be going to his fifth Olympic Games next month. Phelps officially qualified for Rio on Wednesday, by winning the 200-meter butterfly, a race he described as the hardest swim of his career.

He followed that up with a win in the 200-meter individual medley late Friday at the time the U.S. swimming trials in Omaha, and also qualified for the finals for the 100-meter fly on Saturday.

The wins had meaning far beyond the pool — a symbolic victory over the personal problems he wrestled while becoming the most decorated Olympian in history.

If you Google "Rio Olympics" right now, you won't see much about the athletes.

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Lisa Lynn Kotnik has been a singer on the New Orleans club circuit for more than 15 years.

"I sang at Fritzel's for eight years," she says. "I sang at the Bombay Club for 15 years, I sang at Margaritaville — the list could go on and on and on."

While Kotnik sings to revelers at night under the stage name Lisa Lynn, in the daytime she's battled health problems — fibroids, ovarian cysts, a hysterectomy and even a brain aneurysm.

Overnight in London, an honor guard stood vigil at the grave of the Unknown Warrior.

On Friday morning, across Great Britain, citizens observed a moment of silence.

And midday Friday, at a quiet field in northern France, British and French leaders paused amid a political crisis for a brief period of solidarity.

U.S. transportation authorities are investigating the deadly collision of a Tesla Model S car. And many reports say the fatal crash has heightened concern about self-driving cars. Which may be true. Except — Model S isn't a self-driving car.

Whenever July 4th lands on a Monday, travel surges as Americans take advantage of the long weekend. And you might assume the extra demand for gasoline would send pump prices higher.

But this year, drivers are discovering that prices have been falling in the run-up to the holiday — down to the lowest mid-summer levels in more than a decade.

Valerie Capers On Piano Jazz

12 hours ago

Valerie Capers is a pianist, composer and educator. The first blind graduate from the Juilliard School of Music, she is blessed with a diverse piano style that combines elements of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans, with some Chopin thrown in.

A group of gunmen attacked a cafe and have taken hostages in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, according to local media reports.

It's not clear whether there are any casualties or how many attackers might be involved.

The U.S State Department and local media say the cafe is in an upscale neighborhood called Gulshan that is home to many foreign embassies.

Since 2009, the U.S. has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in countries other than Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the White House says, providing new details to the often secretive strikes — many of which were carried out via unpiloted drone aircraft.

The administration released these figures for the period from Jan. 20, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2015:

  • 473 airstrikes carried out outside of "areas of active hostilities"
  • Combatants: between 2,372 and 2,581 deaths
  • Non-combatants: between 64 and 116 deaths

Federal judges have blocked new restrictions on access to abortions in Florida and Indiana just hours before laws in those states were set to take effect.

This follows Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned a controversial Texas law imposing restrictions on the procedure, deeming them unconstitutional.

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