Genealogists at Ancestry.com have two surprises for us today: After years of studying President Obama's family tree, they have concluded that he was likely John Punch's 11th great-grandson. Punch is considered the first documented American slave.
The second surprise: The experts connected President Obama to Punch not through his African father, but through his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who was white.
In a mostly empty Olympic Stadium, Austin Playfoot lights the Olympic cauldron Monday morning. The cauldron was extinguished Sunday night, so it could be moved to one end of the stadium. Click the enlargement to see a close-up view.
Just when the discussion over the London Olympics' opening ceremony was finally being overshadowed by actual sporting events at the Summer Games, news emerges Monday that the Olympic cauldron was extinguished Sunday night, so it could be moved.
Voter I.D. laws have been hotly debated this election season. Now, a Pennsylvania case is challenging that state's new Voter I.D. law. The Justice Department also announced that it will investigate whether the law is discriminatory. Host Michel Martin speaks with Columbia Law Professor Nathan Persily for more on the case.
Judo is a sport of leverage, strength, tactics and cunning. These attributes can appear to the uninitiated to be two people attempting to grab each other, without success, for five minutes. And then when no points are scored, they try to grab each other for another three minutes of overtime.
One of these gripping contests — the men's quarterfinals at 66 kg — has become the source of international indignation over a perceived injustice. But with the sport of Judo, an apparently firm set of circumstances can flip in an instant.
Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 12:00 pm
Reports that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at a fundraiser in Jerusalem that "culture" is among the reasons Israel's economy is much stronger than those in "areas managed by the Palestinian Authority" have led a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accuse Romney of racism.
Good morning. Here's a roundup of London 2012 Olympics news stories that have caught our interest. We also have a highlight list of today's upcoming events, in a different post. You can also check out our main schedule. Here's what's been happening already today:
Former Ambassador Ryan Crocker speaks with Renee Montagne
The rising hopes but still-daunting challenges facing the people of Afghanistan and their allies, most notably the U.S., were underscored again this morning by two new stories:
-- The recently departed U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, told Morning Edition host Renee Montagne that he does not think Afghans will suffer through another devasting, multi-party civil war after U.S. combat forces are gone in 2014.
Australia's Jamie Dwyer, who scored three goals against South Africa in field hockey Monday, goes horizontal in London's Riverbank Arena. The South African goalie matched Dwyer's strategy, but Australia won, 6-0.
Swimming is again the big draw in the London 2012 Olympics today, with four gold-medal races scheduled. But gymnastics also has a big day. Competitions are being held in 22 sports Monday — meaning there are dozens of events vying for your attention. Below, we list the ones we'll be keeping a close eye on.
As always, we'll be reporting results and stories as they happen. So if you're someone who worries about spoilers and prefers to watch on tape-delay, steer clear of our Twitter feed... and possibly the entire Internet.
Anthony Kuhn reporting about Aleppo for 'Morning Edition'
The focus of the battle between the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and opposition fighters remains on the city of Aleppo, where it could be a long, deadly fight before either side can claim victory.
An estimated 370 million people — about 60 million more than live in the U.S. — were without power for at least part of today in northern India because of a massive failure in the country's power grid.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Time now for traffic on the 30. London's moving well despite fears the games would clog the city. The M1 highway is busy, but somewhere between normal and nice. And the AP reports inside London no problems at all. The commute to the Houses of Parliament five minutes shorter than normal and bike riders are loving roads cleared of cars for the Olympic races. Wish we were there. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Japan has edged out Sweden for a world record. No, not the Olympics but the Guinness Record for largest ukulele ensemble. More than 2,000 people in Yokohama went to the street to strum their tiny Hawaiian instruments. Trying to top the record is becoming a sport in its own right. Earlier this month in Cairns, Australia, people took on the Swedish record, but they missed the mark by a 150 strummers.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Months of pre-trial legal arguments begin in earnest this morning when James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others in a July 20 shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., appears in an Arapahoe County, Colo., court.
The opening weekend of the Summer Olympics was marked by highs and lows, of course, and the swimming pool had its share of both. World records, a stunning loss and a medal for the home team — and that was all in just one afternoon.
Before American Dana Vollmer answers how a 55.98-second 100-meter butterfly — the fastest time ever, and worth a gold medal — feels, consider this: Vollmer was diagnosed as a teenager with two life-threatening heart conditions that prompted her mom to carry a defibrillator to Dana's races.
Government troops are battling rebels for control of Syria's largest city, Aleppo. The government launched a major offensive over the weekend to retake neighborhoods held by the Free Syrian Army. Both sides appear to be preparing for an extended battle that could prove crucial to the outcome of the 17-month-old uprising.
After days of massing troops and weapons, the government assaulted rebel-held neighborhoods with tanks, helicopters and artillery, as heard in an amateur video uploaded to YouTube.
An epic battle between the two biggest smartphone makers begins Monday in a federal district court in San Jose, Calif., where computing giant Apple is asking for more than $2.5 billion from rival phone maker Samsung for patent violations.
The suit would be the most expensive patent violation in history, and it's just one front in Apple's war against phones running Google's Android operating system.
Writer Karin Slaughter has seen the fallout of some of Atlanta's most gruesome crimes and most dramatic transitions.
Credit Alison Rosa / KarinSlaughter.com
In addition to her Will Trent series, Karin Slaughter has also written a series of crime novels set in the fictional town of Heartsdale, Ga.
Credit Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
Completed in 1936, Atlanta's Techwood Homes was the first public housing project in the nation. But in the years before the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the community had become known for its poverty, gang violence and drug trafficking problems.
Credit Gene Blythe / AP
Just before the Atlanta Olympics, Techwood Homes was torn down to make room for Centennial Place, a mixed-income housing development. Today, the neighborhood is transformed, but it still has a place in Slaughter's grisly crime fiction.
Credit Kathy Lohr / NPR
Marla Lawson has worked as a forensic artist for the Atlanta Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for decades.
Best-selling crime novelist Karin Slaughter (yes, that's her real name) grew up just south of Atlanta in the 1970s and '80s, when the city saw some of its most gruesome crimes: A rash of child murders in which dozens of African-American children disappeared, their bodies turning up in nearby woods and rivers. The realization that horrid crimes can happen even to children changed Slaughter's life.
As the federal debt balloons, reducing it would seem more and more pressing. Yet policymakers remain far apart. Debt, deficit and budget rhetoric is often accompanied by numbers cherry-picked to support a particular political view.
But a new book by Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel lays out the numbers that both political parties face.
A cross-sectional X-ray shows what's called a "sunken chest." The bright circle near the bottom is the spine; the gray blob on the right is the heart.
Credit Amy Standen for NPR
Justin Rosales, 14, had a powerful magnet implanted in his chest that snaps onto another one inside a brace, shown on the right. Over the next two years, doctors hope the magnets will gradually correct his sunken chest.
Credit Courtesy of the University of California, San Francisco
An X-ray of Justin Rosales' torso shows the magnet implanted inside his chest.
You may not have heard of pectus excavatum — or "sunken chest," as it's commonly known — but there's a good chance you know someone who was born with it.
It's the most common deformity of the chest wall, affecting roughly one in 500 people — boys much more often than girls. And while sunken chest can be corrected with surgery, the procedure is invasive and very painful. Many families won't do it.
One rite of passage most teenagers look forward to and parents dread is learning how to drive. Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens by far, on the order of five times more than poisoning or cancer. Does that mean you should scare the daylights out of teens to encourage safe driving? Traditional driver education classes tend to do exactly that, with gruesome videos and photos of fatalities and smashed-up cars.
Authorities will file formal charges in the Aurora, Colo., theater shootings Monday. It's widely assumed that prosecutors will file dozens, if not more than a hundred, first-degree and attempted murder charges against 24-year-old James Holmes, the lone suspect in the July 20 attack.
Poet Ouyang Yu comes to NPR's Poetry Games representing two continents: Asia, where he was born (in China); and Australia, where he moved in 1991. He is a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, literary translation and criticism in English and Chinese.
Of his poem "Lifting," he writes: "Much as I admire weightlifting heroes or heroines, I can't help reminding myself that, however powerful a weightlifter is, he or she can't lift himself or herself up. The magic of the word is that, when well lifted, it has the power to transform."
Speaking from Israel on Sunday, presumptive GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney said that he would respect the nation's "right to defend itself" against Iran. He said the United States also has "a solemn duty and a moral imperative" to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons.
Romney's trip and his speech are typical of presidential candidates, who every four years work to outdo one another when it comes to credentials on Israel and U.S. relations with the Jewish state.
An old taxi is pushed toward a vehicle license office to be exchanged for an import permit in Yangon, Myanmar. As many Burmese citizens take cars as an investment, many imports are sold and resold with a higher markup.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
Mechanics at Ohn Myint's car repair shop on the outskirts of Yangon refurbish rusty, decades-old government jeeps.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
U Ohn Myint has serviced many decades-old jalopies and kept them roadworthy when ordinary Burmese could not import private cars.
Nowhere are the many recent reforms in Myanmar, also known as Burma, so evident as on city streets. Until this year, they were often choked with ancient jalopies because for most of the past half century ordinary Burmese citizens weren't allowed to purchase imported cars.
But the country's car import policies are now undergoing a lurching sort of liberalization, whose speed, quirks and unintended consequences offer a window on Myanmar's reforms.
Killer Joe (2012) is the latest film from William Friedkin, the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist. The movie, which stars Matthew McConaughey, earned an NC-17 rating for its violent content.
Credit Anne Marie Fox / Le Festival de Cannes
McConaughey and Zac Efron play brothers in Lee Daniels' 2012 film The Paperboy, based on a novel by Pete Dexter. The film played at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Credit Claudette Barius / Warner Bros. Pictures
In 2012's Magic Mike, McConaughey brings a subtle, frightening darkness to the role of a strip-club owner with a sizable sleazy streak.
This may be the year of actor Matthew McConaughey.
At the very least, fans will remember 2012 as the year that McConaughey revolutionized his career. He's starred in five different independent films, taking on smaller, character-actor parts in place of his usual roles as the sly-grinning heartthrob in romantic comedies.
You might not be able to hear it on television, but in the Olympic stadiums and arenas of London over the next weeks, games-watchers will be treated to some exclusive new tracks from world-renown mashup artist Jordan Roseman, better known as DJ Earworm.
"Out of the blue, there was an email," Roseman tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "They wanted these mixes."