Deputy Attorney General Knew Comey Was Out Before Writing Critical Memo, Senators Say

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew President Trump planned to fire FBI Director Jim Comey before he sat down to write a memo criticizing Comey's conduct. That's according to several United States senators who met with Rosenstein Thursday afternoon in a secure room in the Capitol basement. "He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to writing his memo," Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill told reporters after the briefing. Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin echoed McCaskill, saying...

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The day after Easter, St. Peter's Square was packed.

Caramba Camarra, a Gambian volunteer with Opera Romana Pelligrinaggi, the Vatican-run pilgrimage agency, said he had never seen so many people lined up to visit the basilica.

"It's amazing! The line curves like a serpent, filling the whole square," he said. "It looks like the crowds at Mecca."

Four American Muslims are suing the FBI alleging that the law enforcement agency bullied them using the no-fly list.

According to a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the men claim they were put on the list after refusing to become agents for the FBI.

The ex-Army intelligence analyst responsible for the biggest leak of classified material in U.S. history is now officially known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

From his home base in Shanghai, Frank Langfitt keeps track of a wide swath of North and East Asia. He's recently back from Myanmar, where he went for (mostly) fun.

Seven years after a violent split, the two main Palestinian factions said Wednesday that they are attempting to reconcile and form a national unity government within five weeks.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas have tried several times to resolve their feud, but those efforts quickly unraveled.

So will this attempt fare any better?

Forget wearables, let's talk about inflatables.

Volvo's new child safety seat concept is a fully inflatable device designed to make what's normally a clunky and heavy seat both lighter and more portable.

So compact is this prototype that it goes from a stylish-looking backpack into a rear-facing car seat in less than a minute. You can pump it in the car — the seat comes with its own pump — and it's Bluetooth-connected so you could pump it remotely.

When inflated, the seat weighs just under 11 pounds.

President Obama, at the start of a four-stop trip to Asia, sought to reassure Japan that the U.S. is on its side in a dispute with China over the tiny Senkaku islands chain, which has led to bluster and naval jockeying between the two countries in recent years.

Growing up in West Virginia in the 1960s and '70s, Susan Brown would have a slice of salt rising bread, toasted, for Saturday morning breakfast. Her grandmother baked the bread with the mysterious and misleading name.

There's little or no salt in the recipe. No yeast, either. The bread rises because of bacteria in the potatoes or cornmeal and the flour that goes into the starter.

The taste is as distinctive as the recipe. Salt rising bread is dense and white, with a fine crumb and cheese-like flavor.

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President Trump departs for his first foreign trip as president Friday. He’ll visit Saudi Arabia and Israel and then go to the Vatican and Brussels.

The trip comes amid a swirl of allegations about collusion with Russia, leaked intelligence which may have come from Israel and questions about U.S. policy on the location of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The U.S. Treasury Department is freezing the assets of eight members of Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice as a result of rulings that the U.S. says have usurped the power of that country's democratically elected National Assembly.

The sanctions were announced in a statement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin:

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, accused Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of failing to answer his questions about President Trump's business ties to people who might be violating money laundering and other U.S. laws.

Mnuchin responded by suggesting Brown "just send me a note on what you are looking for."

Brown pointed out that he had already sent a two-page letter.

President Trump gave a eulogy on Thursday for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"Obamacare is collapsing. It's dead. It's gone," Trump said in a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

"There's nothing to compare it to because we don't have health care in this country," he went on.

That left some Obamacare customers scratching their heads — figuratively — on Twitter.

President Trump is expected to face pressure from European Union leaders at the G-7 summit in Italy next week to keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Treaty.

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Deputy Attorney General Knew Comey Was Out Before Writing Critical Memo, Senators Say

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew President Trump planned to fire FBI Director Jim Comey before he sat down to write a memo criticizing Comey's conduct. That's according to several United States senators who met with Rosenstein Thursday afternoon in a secure room in the Capitol basement. "He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to writing his memo," Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill told reporters after the briefing. Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin echoed McCaskill, saying...

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Senator Wants A List of Trump Business Associates; Mnuchin Wants A Note

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, accused Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of failing to answer his questions about President Trump's business ties to people who might be violating money laundering and other U.S. laws. Mnuchin responded by suggesting Brown "just send me a note on what you are looking for." Brown pointed out that he had already sent a two-page letter. The Senate Banking Committee hearing provided the kind of sharp exchange that underscores the gap...

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Will The Government Help Farmers Adapt To A Changing Climate?

The livelihoods of farmers and ranchers are intimately tied to weather and the environment. But they may not be able to depend on research conducted by the government to help them adapt to climate change if the Trump administration follows through on campaign promises to shift federal resources away from studying the climate. Farmers stand to lose a lot if worst-case climate projections come to pass. They are likely to face extreme swings in temperature and precipitation. Pests and crop...

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Wading Into Murky Waters, Trump Trip To Advocate Religious Unity

Donald Trump's first overseas trip as president begins Friday with a pilgrimage of sorts. With stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, Trump will be visiting the centers of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the three major monotheistic religions. But he's wading into deep waters with potential for missteps and disagreement. He'll meet with Muslim leaders despite declaring that "Islam hates us" during the campaign; he'll meet with Pope Francis, who advocates for countries to be welcoming...

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It Began At The Ditto Tavern: Chris Cornell's Life As Grunge's True Seattle Son

Of course it's a story about death and Seattle music. I woke up this morning after bad dreams last night, only to find the real nightmare — that Chris Cornell of Soundgarden was dead. As with all these losses it seems surreal, untrue, unimaginable. But there it is. If there was one Seattle band of the "grunge" era that seemed more "Seattle" than any other, it was Soundgarden. Nirvana was actually from Aberdeen, and not a single member lived in Seattle until 1992; Pearl Jam didn't become a...

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Is 'Internet Addiction' Real?

When her youngest daughter, Naomi, was in middle school, Ellen watched the teen disappear behind a screen. Her once bubbly daughter went from hanging out with a few close friends after school to isolating herself in her room for hours at a time. (NPR has agreed to use only the pair's middle names, to protect the teen's medical privacy.) "She started just lying there, not moving and just being on the phone," says Ellen. "I was at a loss about what to do." Ellen didn't realize it then, but her...

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The Beatles' First Take Of 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'

On February 28, 1967, The Beatles were in Abbey Road Studios in London working on a new song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Today we're premiering "take one," the first attempt The Beatles made at recording it. For me, a teen back then, the dreamy sound of this song was like nothing I'd ever heard. With the "Summer of Love," the hippie movement and drug-infused art and culture exploding, it didn't take much imagination (induced or not) to hear the words "picture yourself on a boat on a...

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Women Opt To Skip Pelvic Exams When Told They Have Little Benefit

This is a story about conflicting medical advice. One group of doctors, represented by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommends yearly pelvic exams for all women 21 years of age and older, whether they have symptoms of disease or not. But the American College of Physicians, representing doctors of internal medicine, says that potential harms of the exam outweigh benefits and recommends against performing pelvic examinations unless a woman is pregnant or has symptoms...

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Oxfam: Combined Wealth Of 5 Richest Nigerians Could Lift Country Out Of Poverty

The five richest men in Nigeria could bring nearly all Nigerians out of extreme poverty for one year, according to a new Oxfam report on inequality in the country. It's one of many stark conclusions drawn by the charity. Oxfam Nigeria's Good Governance Programme Coordinator Celestine Okwudili Odo describes the level of inequality as "obscene": "Extreme inequality is exacerbating poverty, undermining the economy, and fermenting social unrest. Nigerian leaders must be more determined in...

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Composer Angelo Badalamenti, Master Of Mood, Returns To 'Twin Peaks'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7d0Lm_31BE Twin Peaks was destination television in 1990 and '91. Everybody — including, supposedly, the Queen of England — wanted to know "Who killed Laura Palmer?" — whose murder is the central mystery of the series. Now, creator David Lynch has revived the show, which will return on Showtime on Sunday. And with Twin Peaks returns one of its most important characters: the man you never saw on-screen, but whose presence was always felt. Twin Peaks always...

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As Trump Built His Real Estate Empire, Tax Breaks Played A Pivotal Role

For a young Donald Trump in the 1970s, the Grand Hyatt hotel on East 42nd Street was his first major development project, a chance to make a splash in the big-time world of New York City real estate. Yet the glitzy glass-fronted hotel never would have been possible without an almost unprecedented 40-year tax abatement from the city, which was then recovering from a painful fiscal crisis. "Essentially, what they did was, they said, 'We'll give you a massive cut in the property taxes you have...

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Comic Hasan Minhaj On Roasting Trump And Growing Up A 'Third Culture Kid'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of6PLJbMnxE As the American-born child of parents who emigrated from India, comic Hasan Minhaj often feels a little out of place. "I exist in this hyphen," he says. "I'm an Indian-American-Muslim kid, but am I more Indian or am I more American? What part of my identity am I?" Those are the kinds of questions Minhaj deliberately sidestepped when was getting his start in comedy. "It was almost like I was on the playground all over again," he says of his early...

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Many Of California's Salmon Populations Unlikely To Survive The Century

Wild Chinook salmon, probably the most prized seafood item on the West Coast, could all but vanish from California within a hundred years, according to a report released Tuesday. The authors, with the University of California, Davis, and the conservation group California Trout, name climate change, dams and agriculture as the major threats to the prized and iconic fish, which is still the core of the state's robust fishing industry. Chinook salmon are just one species at risk of disappearing....

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Bryan Cranston Hides And Watches In 'Wakefield'

There's a whiff of John Cheever-ish unease in Wakefield , a quietly unsettling drama about a man who disappears from his suburban home, only to spy on his family's response from a house across the street. In fact, the movie is based on a 2008 New Yorker short story by E.L. Doctorow, which in turn was inspired by a Nathaniel Hawthorne tale with the same premise, written in 1837. That is a big chunk of male gaze down the years, but here comes a woman, writer-director Robin Swicord, who both...

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Texas Wants To Set Its Own Rules For Federal Family Planning Funds

Texas is seeking permission from the federal government for the return of federal family planning money it lost four years ago. It lost those Medicaid funds after it excluded Planned Parenthood and other clinics affiliated with abortion providers from the state's women's health program. If President Trump's administration agrees, Texas could serve as an example to other states wishing to defund Planned Parenthood clinics. In 2011, the Republican-dominated Texas legislature signaled its...

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The Device Of Illness Disappoints In 'Everything, Everything'

Based on Nicola Yoon's YA novel, Everything, Everything is about an 18-year-old girl who suffers from severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a condition that's kept her inside the same house her entire life, due to potentially fatal vulnerabilities to allergens, viruses, and other infections. SCID is a real disease — David Vetter, the famous "bubble boy," died due to complications after a bone marrow transplant in 1984 — but for Yoon's purposes, and the film's, it's mostly a romantic...

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Episode 606: Spreadsheets!

Note: This episode originally ran in 2015 .

Spreadsheets used to be actual sheets of paper. Sometimes, a bunch of sheets of paper taped together. Any calculation made on a spreadsheet was done by hand, and these could take days to complete for an accountant or bookkeeper. It was tedious. One little adjustment to these calculations meant a whole day of erasing and filling the same boxes out again. Then, in the late '70s, a bored student invented the electronic spreadsheet. It...

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New Lawsuit Alleges Baylor Players Gang-Raped Women As 'Bonding Experience'

A new federal lawsuit against Baylor University accuses football players of drugging and gang-raping young women as part of a hazing or bonding ritual — and the university of failing to investigate the pervasive sexual assault. The players often took photographs and videos as they carried out the gang rapes, the suit alleges. It was filed by "Jane Doe," who says she was raped by four to eight Baylor players in February 2012. Her Title IX suit says the school's "deliberately indifferent...

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Energy Companies Urge Trump To Remain In Paris Climate Agreement

President Trump is expected to face pressure from European Union leaders at the G-7 summit in Italy next week to keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Treaty. Trump recently signed an executive order aiming to roll back President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan but did not address the Paris agreement. European Union leaders aren't the only ones who are imploring Trump to keep the U.S. as part of the largest climate agreement in history. Ben van Beurden is the CEO of Shell, the giant energy...

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