Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 5:37 pm
Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET
Police from around the country are gathering at the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens today to honor a fallen comrade, Officer Rafael Ramos, who was fatally shot in an unprovoked attack one week ago along with his partner, Wenjian Liu.
Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:39 pm
The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."
Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 4:29 pm
Florence Allen Jones used to teach in Washington, D.C., before coming back home to Liberia.
Now she's part of the education ministry's teaching-by-radio team. Working with UNICEF and another nonprofit, Talking Drum, in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the government aims to provide lessons to children across the country, hit by the Ebola outbreak. Most schools closed this past summer and will likely remain closed for months.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 2:47 pm
Although it wasn't a great year for the shows themselves, it was a good year for programming, says TV critic David Bianculli.
"In terms of what was happening on television, in terms of new and old formats and new, exciting players coming into the mix — [it was] another good year," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm actually kind of encouraged."
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 2:06 pm
"This is a very, very depressing year for film," critic David Edelstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "because none of the great material came from Hollywood studios."
Studios, he says, direct their financial resources into sequels and comic-book movies, which leaves little room for "creative expression, and for doing something weird and potentially boundary-moving."
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 12:18 pm
Alan Gross, the former USAID subcontractor who spent five years in a Cuban prison before his release last week, will get $3.2 million from the federal government, part of a settlement with the Maryland-based company for which he worked at the time of his arrest.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, in a statement, said it had finalized a settlement, agreed to in principle in November, with Development Alternatives, Inc.
Moviegoers in Connecticut who want to watch "The Interview" have a choice of two theaters screening the film at the center of an international storm involving Hollywood, Washington, D.C., and North Korea.
Mayor Pedro Segarra and Hartford area religious leaders held a prayer vigil on the steps of City Hall to remember the two New York City police officers shot and killed last Saturday, and to call for an end to violence in Hartford.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 3:43 pm
One thing's for sure: Nikki Bollerman believes in her school and the kids who go there. How else to explain Bollerman, 26, giving a $150,000 windfall to the Boston area public charter school where she teaches third grade?
Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 12:12 pm
The city of Boston’s new chief of arts and culture has been making the rounds during her first full week on the job. Her name is Julie Burros and she hails from Chicago, a city famous for embracing and supporting the arts (like “Cloud Gate” in the above photo).
Burros quickly earned the nickname “arts czar” after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh fulfilled his campaign promise by appointing her to the newly created cabinet-level position this past September.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 10:09 am
Protesters against police brutality marched along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Tuesday, despite a call from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to suspend demonstrations. De Blasio asked people to wait until after the funerals of two police officers who were shot and killed over the weekend.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 10:24 am
This time last year, federal officials were scrambling to get as many people enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov as they could before the start of the program on Jan. 1.
Now, with the technical problems mostly fixed, they're facing a different problem: the possibility that the Supreme Court might rule that the subsidies that help people afford coverage are illegal in the 37 states where the federal government is running the program.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 12:36 pm
Updated at 12 p.m. ET
Protests over a police killing have returned to the St. Louis area, after a Berkeley, Mo., police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old black man Tuesday night. The authorities say he was armed; the shooting took place shortly after 11 p.m. outside a gas station in the St. Louis suburb that's just 2 miles west of Ferguson.
Every now and then, the jazz world needs a reminder that there are master musicians among us whose distinguished careers, elegant artistry, versatility, intelligence, resilience and well-honed craftsmanship are not given the recognition they so richly merit.
Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:15 pm
Now that MGM has won Massachusetts regulatory and voter approval to build a resort casino in downtown Springfield the Las Vegas-based entertainment giant has employment and local purchasing commitments to keep.
Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 8:32 am
Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET
More than 200 theaters will now show The Interview on Christmas Day, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures tells NPR.
Sony had pulled the controversial comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after ominous threats were made, allegedly by a group that hacked the studio's emails. The nation's largest theater chains had also said they won't show the movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.
We're nearing the end of another news-filled year. Take an entertaining and informative look back at 2014 as we benefit from the wisdom of the WNPR audience: below are ten most-viewed stories you shouldn't miss from our newsroom.
Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:32 pm
Sarah Koenig didn't expect her new podcast, Serial, to get so much press, but she says the attention helped keep her on her toes: "It was just a constant reminder of how careful we needed to be," Koenig tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 2:49 pm
Rep. Michael Grimm, the New York Republican who won re-election despite being indicted on 20 criminal counts related to a restaurant he owns, pleaded guilty to one charge of felony tax evasion Tuesday. He'll be sentenced in June; calls for him to leave Congress began Tuesday morning.
Grimm, a former FBI agent who represents Staten Island and south Brooklyn, had previously pleaded not guilty to charges that included mail fraud and perjury.
Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:50 pm
Keurig, the company that makes the popular single-serve coffee machines, is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31), the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today.
The Connecticut Veterans' Home in Rocky Hill includes a nursing home and a domiciliary that gives shelter and food to many veterans who were formerly homeless. A recent study of the facility points to a need for dramatic improvements.
Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 4:15 pm
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and a host of federal, state and local officials took an inaugural train ride Monday on newly rebuilt tracks in western Massachusetts.
The trip from Springfield to Greenfield highlighted the dawn of high speed passenger rail service along what is known as the Knowledge Corridor. For the first time in decades passenger trains will stop in Northampton and Holyoke. Kathleen Anderson, president of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, said it opens a lot of possibilities including more tourism.
Legislators and lobbyists are calling for the state's largest electric utility to lower its fixed residential charge with a new proposal that would set Connecticut Light and Power's fixed rate at $10.00 a month.