FBI Warns Of 'Grave Concerns' About 'Accuracy' Of GOP Snooping Memo

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET The FBI clashed with the White House on Wednesday over the much discussed Republican memo that alleges the bureau abused its surveillance powers. The bureau said it has "grave concerns" about the "accuracy" of the document that the president supports making public. The FBI issued a rare, two-paragraph statement undercutting the position taken by President Trump and his top aides that the memo, which the House intelligence committee has voted to release, should be...

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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.

Thousands of nonviolent drug offenders serving time in federal prison could be eligible to apply for early release under new clemency guidelines announced Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Details of the initiative, which would give President Obama more options under which he could grant clemency to drug offenders serving long prison sentences, were announced by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

An American journalist operating in eastern Ukraine has been kidnapped by pro-Russian gunmen, the separatists said Wednesday.

Simon Ostrovsky, working for Vice News, was seized at gunpoint early Tuesday by masked men in the restive eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now we'd like to go back to a story that we've turned to a number of times on this program. We're talking about the move in many countries in Africa to toughen legal penalties and increase the stigma against homosexuality.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally today, let's hear from a model and actress who also has Nigerian roots, Yaya Alafia. Last year was a breakout year for her with meaty roles in critically acclaimed films including Lee Daniels' "The Butler" and Andrew Dosunmu's "Mother of George." And she had a baby.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we turn to education for the youngest Americans. We're talking preschool here. President Obama has challenged the country to provide what he calls high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds. He mentioned this in his last two State of the Union addresses. Here he is earlier this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

The Joys Of Spoiling

Apr 23, 2014

In the age of the Internet, the act of spoiling is easier than ever before. Through live-tweeting and message boards and comments sections, the information is out there and spreads quickly.

But why do some people enjoy revealing certain information about stories — surprises and finales and more — before others have had the opportunity to experience it?

We could tell you what we think now. But that would spoil the rest of this story.

Spoliation Nation

"A Rio de Janeiro slum erupted in violence late Tuesday following the killing of a popular local figure, with angry residents setting fires and showering homemade explosives and glass bottles onto a busy avenue in the city's main tourist zone," The Associated Press writes.

I Believe in Gratitude

Apr 18, 2014
Wagner This I Believe
Johanna Wagner

In the summer of 2012, I had a lot for which to be grateful. My husband and I were expecting our first child in early September. As an anxious mother-to-be I spent those early summer months devouring books, movies, articles and just about anything I could find about babies and those first crucial weeks. I was thrilled and terrified imagining what it would be like in a few short months. Never once did I think that I might not be there to experience it myself. 

WPSU Jazz Archive - April 18, 2014

Apr 18, 2014

An archive recording of WPSU Jazz program broadcast on April 18, 2014 with Greg Halpin.

Pages

NPR Stories

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the independent structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which forbids the president to remove its director except for certain causes — is constitutional. That's a setback for the agency's critics in the financial industry and the Trump administration.

In 2012, as Syria's internal unrest deepened into full-scale civil war, Syrians living in the U.S. were offered an opportunity: If they met certain conditions and paid the requisite fees, they could register for temporary protection from deportation — and avoid having to return to the violence that awaited them back home.

In New York, Gun Owners Balk At New Handgun Database

6 hours ago

Say hello to an orca, and it might say hello back — or at least try to.

An international team of researchers, working with two orcas at an aquarium in France, have found that the whales were able to replicate the sounds of human speech, including words like "hello" and "bye-bye," as well as series of sounds like "ah ah."

Somewhere around 300,000 years ago, our human ancestors in parts of Africa began to make small, sharp tools, using stone flakes that they created using a technique called Levallois.

The technology, named after a suburb of Paris where tools made this way were first discovered, was a profound upgrade from the bigger, less-refined tools of the previous era, and marks the Middle Stone Age in Africa and the Middle Paleolithic era in Europe and western Asia.

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Train Carrying GOP Lawmakers Hits Garbage Truck In Virginia

Updated at 1:15 a.m. ET Thursday
An Amtrak train carrying House and Senate Republicans to their annual retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck Wednesday morning near Charlottesville, Va. At least one person was killed, according to a statement released by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The University of Virginia Medical Center had this update on the injured on Wednesday evening: "One patient is in critical condition, one patient is in good condition, three...

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CDC Director Resigns Because Of 'Complex' Financial Entanglements

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resigned Wednesday following reports that she bought shares in a tobacco company, among other financial dealings that presented a conflict of interest. "Dr. Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC Director," according to a statement issued by Matt Lloyd, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human...

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Justice Department Won't Retry Sen. Menendez After Corruption Case Mistrial

Federal prosecutors won't retry Sen. Robert Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen, in a surprise decision Wednesday that brings an end to the long-running case against the New Jersey Democrat. As recently as earlier this month , the Justice Department had vowed to retry Menendez on charges of bribery and fraud after its first attempt ended in a mistrial in November. But a court decision last week , in which several counts against Menendez were thrown out, persuaded prosecutors to reverse...

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Researchers Discover 'Anxiety Cells' In The Brain

Scientists have found specialized brain cells in mice that appear to control anxiety levels. The finding, reported Wednesday in the journal Neuron, could eventually lead to better treatments for anxiety disorders , which affect nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. "The therapies we have now have significant drawbacks," says Mazen Kheirbek , an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco and an author of the study. "This is another target that we can try to move the field...

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Kendrick Lamar Releases 'Black Panther' Tracklist, And It Doesn't Disappoint

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfCqMv--ncA The soundtrack to the year's most anticipated Marvel movie is packed with hip-hop star power. Kendrick Lamar , who is co-producing the soundtrack to Black Panther in collaboration with Top Dawg Entertainment president Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith and director Ryan Coogler, has unveiled the official tracklist for the film on Twitter. Fans already knew that the TDE camp would be involved in the soundtrack — the first two tracks of the album, " All The...

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LBJ Shares The Spotlight — Finally — In 'Building The Great Society'

If you spend enough time in Texas, you're likely to hear several stories about President Lyndon B. Johnson, the man who brought the Lone Star State to a Washington, D.C., that wasn't quite sure it wanted it. Here's one of them, which I heard from my grandfather more than 20 years ago: LBJ, having finished his time in the White House, was speeding along the back roads of the Texas hill country, when he was pulled over by a state trooper. The patrolman walked up to the car, and his jaw dropped...

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The Microbial Eve: Our Oldest Ancestors Were Single-Celled Organisms

If Victorians were offended by Charles Darwin's claim that we descended from monkeys, imagine their surprise if they heard that our first ancestor was much more primitive than that, a mere single-celled creature, our microbial Eve. We now know that all extant living creatures derive from a single common ancestor, called LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor . It's hard to think of a more unifying view of life. All living creatures are linked to a single-celled creature, the root to the...

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Trump Signs Order To Keep Prison At Guantanamo Bay Open

Updated at 6:10 a.m. ET President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order to keep open the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, after pledging during the campaign to "load it up with some bad dudes." Signed moments before he stepped to the podium to present his first State of the Union Address, Trump said in the speech: "In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists only to meet them again on the battlefield, including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi...

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In Reversal, FEMA Says It Won't End Puerto Rico Food And Water Distribution Wednesday

Updated 12:46 p.m. ET A spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that the agency's plan to end its distribution of emergency food and water in Puerto Rico and turn that responsibility over to the Puerto Rican government would not take effect on Jan. 31. "Provision of those commodities will continue," spokesman William Booher said. A different spokesperson, Delyris Aquino-Santiago, had earlier told NPR that it would "officially shut off" its food and water mission...

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GOP Onslaught Seeks To Shape Russia Story, While Keeping Clear Of More Firings

Updated at 1:52 p.m. ET President Trump and his allies are harnessing their control over the levers of power to lean harder than ever into their narrative about the FBI, the Justice Department and the Russia imbroglio — while stopping short of actually replacing any more top leaders. Republicans went on offense Monday by voting to authorize the release of a much-discussed memo that alleges the FBI and Justice Department abused their authority while investigating the Trump camp's connections...

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Can Seagrass Save Shellfish From Climate Change?

The impacts of climate change aren't a far-off possibility for the Pacific shellfish industry. Acidifying seawater is already causing problems for oyster farms along the West Coast and it's only expected to get worse. That has one Bay Area oyster farm looking for ways to adapt. It's teaming up scientists who are studying how the local ecosystem could lend a helping hand. "We need help," says Terry Sawyer of Hog Island Oyster Company. "That 'canary in a coalmine' analogy drives me crazy, but...

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U.S. Releases 'Oligarchs List' And Opts Against New Sanctions On Russia

The U.S. has named 96 Russian billionaires to its blacklist of more than 200 influential Russians, issuing its "List of Oligarchs" along with documents that were required by last year's sanctions. As it submitted the list to Congress, the Trump administration also told lawmakers it won't seek new sanctions, saying that existing punishments for Moscow's interference in U.S. elections are having an effect. While a number of top Russian politicians are on the list, it doesn't include one...

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CIA Director Has 'Every Expectation' Russia Will Try To Influence Midterm Elections

CIA Director Mike Pompeo says he has "every expectation" that Russia will try to disrupt midterm elections in November after U.S. intelligence uncovered interference in 2016. In an interview with the BBC , the head of the Central Intelligence Agency was asked about concerns that the Kremlin might try again to influence the outcome of upcoming U.S. polls. He said: "I haven't seen a significant decrease in their activity." "Of course. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and...

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Drug Distributors Shipped 20.8 Million Painkillers To West Virginia Town Of 3,000

Updated 6 p.m. ET Williamson, W.Va., sits right across the Tug Fork river from Kentucky. The town has sites dedicated to its coal mining heritage and the Hatfield and McCoy feud and counts just about 3,000 residents. But despite its small size, drug wholesalers sent more than 20.8 million prescription painkillers to the town from 2008 and 2015, according to an investigation by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The opioids — hydrocodone and oxycodone pills — were provided to two...

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Amazon, JPMorgan Chase And Berkshire Hathaway Pursue The Health Care 'Unicorn'

When Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon get together to make an announcement (any kind of announcement), it's sure to grab attention. So people perked up Tuesday morning when the CEOs of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase said in a press release that their companies are going to partner in a nonprofit venture to figure out "ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs." The details are scarce. The...

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Alice Smith: Tiny Desk Concert

Alice Smith is umami for the ears. From the opening licks of her Tiny Desk set, the eclectic singer-songwriter turned NPR's spacious D.C. headquarters into a Harlem speakeasy. For those not familiar, Smith made a big splash among true-school heads in 2006 with the release of her debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers, and Me . That record, whose title is a play on "The Rainbow Connection," brimmed with an arcane magic, and it created a legion of lifelong fans. Smith's live performances usually...

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National Book Awards Add Category Honoring Works In Translation

For the first time in more than two decades, the National Book Foundation is adding a new category to its annual slate of literary prizes: the National Book Award for Translated Literature. The new prize announced Wednesday will recognize a work of either fiction or nonfiction translated into English and published in the U.S. Executive Director Lisa Lucas described the move, which was approved unanimously by the foundation's board of directors, as a bid to transcend traditional boundaries and...

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A Century-Old Dairy Ditches Cows For High-Tech Plant Milk

As the story goes, Henry Schwartz's grandfather bought a herd of cows in Manhattan in the early 1900s and walked them across the Williamsburg Bridge all the way to the family farm in Elmurst, a neighborhood in Queens. By 1919, Schwartz's father, Max, and uncle, Arthur, were bottling milk under the name Elmhurst Dairy. By the 21st century, Elmhurst's milk could be found across New York City, from elementary schools to Starbucks. "Both sides of my family were in the dairy business, so I was...

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Take Note: author Michael Bérubé and his son, Jamie

Friday at 1:00pm: Twenty years ago, Penn State professor Michael Bérubé's son Jamie, has Down syndrome. We'll talk with the professor about his latest book about his son, “Life as Jamie Knows It."

Reveal: Bernie Made Off: Are We Safe From The Next Ponzi Scheme?

Sunday at 4:00pm: Madoff masterminded one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history, duping thousands of investors out of tens of billions of dollars. How? Could it happen again?

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