Politics

Obituary
3:34 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

Former Republican Sen. Edward Brooke Dies At 95

Former Massachusetts Sen. Edward William Brooke speaks in the Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington, in 2009 during a ceremony where he received the Congressional Gold Medal. Brooke died on Saturday at age 95.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 8:37 pm

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

Former Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke, the first African-American to be popularly elected to the U.S. Senate, died Saturday at age 95, a family spokesman said.

Brooke, a Republican who had been Massachusetts attorney general, was first elected in 1966, defeating former Massachusetts Gov. Endicott Peabody. Brooke served until 1979. He died at his home in Coral Gables, Fla., surrounded by his family.

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Baseball
12:51 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

For Baseball Stadium, Hartford Changes Financing Plan

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, center, joined by Council President Shawn Wooden and Treasurer Adam Cloud to discuss the new stadium financing plan.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The city of Hartford is planning to change the way it finances its new minor league baseball stadium, a move that officials say will save taxpayers millions. 

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Obituary
9:05 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Mario Cuomo, From Queens Grocery To Governor, Dies At 82

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 9:49 pm

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo died on New Year’s Day, just hours after his son , Governor Andrew Cuomo, gave his inaugural address for his second term in office.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed December 31, 2014

The Wheelhouse Remembers The Groundhog Year of 2014

Another year is in the books. What's a story you'll remember from this year?
Fireworks by Grucci

The Wheelhouse is back with a special New Year’s Eve edition of our weekly news roundtable. We’ll look back at the year from the rough and tumble race for governor, to the conviction of a former governor. What do you think was the biggest story of 2014?

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Cuba
8:19 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Cuban Authorities Detain Artist, Dissidents, Thwarting Performance

Journalists wait for Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera at Revolution square in Havana, on Wednesday.
Adalberto Roque AFP/Getty Images

Cuban artist Tania Bruguera had a plan to test just how tolerant Cuba had become of dissident voices.

She planned a performance at Havana's Revolution Square for Tuesday afternoon. She would provide a microphone and Cubans were encouraged to speak about their vision for the island.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro spoke to Bruguera on Monday and asked her why she was planning the performance.

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Russia
3:22 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Sanctions Intensify Russia's Free Fall Into Economic Crisis

President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow on Dec. 23. Russia's current economic crisis stems from Western sanctions and diving oil prices.
Maxim Shipenkov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 11:39 am

A year ago, Russia's economy was riding high. Today, the country is widely thought to be entering a recession, if it's not already there.

The plunge in oil prices has been the main culprit, but Russia's economy has had trouble regaining its footing because of sanctions imposed by the West after the annexation of Crimea. President Obama and other Western leaders were quick to condemn Russia when it annexed the Crimean Peninsula last March, and they struggled to find a way to show their outrage.

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Here & Now
2:37 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Uncertainty In Europe After Greece Calls Snap General Election

Main opposition leftist Syriza party leader, Alexis Tsipras speaks to the media after the Greek Parliament failed to select the country's next president. The upcoming general election has left investors holding their breath. (Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images)

A snap general election in Greece next month has triggered uncertainty among investors and government across Europe.

The election came about when the Greek Parliament rejected the presidential candidate nominated by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The radical left Syriza party is leading in opinion polls, and its leader opposes the deep budget cuts and austerity measures that have been instituted in Greece as a condition of financial bailouts.

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White House
5:20 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Transcript: President Obama's Full NPR Interview

Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep interviews President Obama in the Oval Office.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 3:19 pm

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NYC Police
10:07 am
Sat December 27, 2014

Police, Politicians, Gather In New York For Ramos Funeral

Vice President Joe Biden, center, arrives for funeral services for New York City police officer Rafael Ramos at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale section of Queens, on Saturday.
Julio Cortez AP

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.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Vice President Joe Biden are in attendance at the funeral, which followed a wake for Ramos on Friday that was attended by hundreds.

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Cubans in U.S.
9:21 am
Sat December 27, 2014

For Cubans In Key West, A Longing To Fill In 'Gaps Of Who We Are'

Cuba is 90 miles away from the southernmost point in the United States, in Key West, Fla. "There used to be a ferry that ran between the two islands every day," says 89-year-old Gregorio Garcia, who emigrated in 1958. "I hope they operate it again someday."
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 11:10 am

Like Cuban-American families throughout the diaspora, the Garcias of Key West, Fla., gather on Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve, to catch up on news and eat a traditional meal of lechón, or roast pig.

Wayne Garcia, a local building contractor and artist, prepared the pork for the family feast this year. He smokes it for seven hours in a hole dug in his backyard, in a style he says was passed down from his great-grandparents.

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NYC Police
8:18 am
Thu December 25, 2014

NYPD Sorts Out Threats, Plans Funerals For Liu And Ramos

Officer Rafael Ramos (left) and Wenjian Liu were killed on Saturday in an attack by a gunman in a Brooklyn neighborhood.
NYPD EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 8:31 am

Authorities in New York City are monitoring threats made against police since two officers were fatally shot on Saturday, and are upping security at some stationhouses.

The gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, shot and killed Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in their patrol car before committing suicide. He had posted messages on social media suggesting the assault was revenge for deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of authorities.

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Alan Gross
11:34 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Contractor Freed By Cuba Will Get $3.2M From U.S.

Alan Gross pauses during a news conference at his lawyer's office in Washington on Dec. 17. The federal government will pay him $3.2 million as part of a settlement with the company that employed Gross when he was arrested in Cuba in 2009.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

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.

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Funding the Arts
9:17 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Everyone Wants A Piece Of Boston’s New 'Arts Czar'

(AP)

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.

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Tax Evasion
11:41 am
Tue December 23, 2014

New York's Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty To Tax Charge

Rep. Michael Grimm, seen here after voting in the Staten Island borough of New York City, was indicted on 20 criminal counts earlier this year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

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.

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National Parks
11:00 am
Tue December 23, 2014

President Obama Signs Law Designating Connecticut Colt Gun Factory as National Park

President Barack Obama signs a bill into law in a White House file photo.
Pete Souza White House

A measure designating Samuel Colt's 19th-century gun factory in Connecticut as a national park was signed into law on Friday by President Barack Obama. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Meet the New Leaders of Connecticut’s Senate

Incoming Senate President Martin Looney and Minority Leader Len Fasano.
Official photos

Next month, the state legislature will convene with a lot of familiar names in new top jobs. We sit down with the two new Senate leaders, President Martin Looney and Minority Leader Len Fasano. What are their priorities for the next session? You can join the conversation with your questions and suggestions for the new Senate leadership.

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State Administration
1:43 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Gov. Malloy Taps Bridgeport Senator to Run DMV

From left, Andres Ayala with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Gov. Dannel Malloy, and outgoing Commissioner Melody Currey.

Governor Dannel Malloy is tapping a Bridgeport state senator as his new commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Motor Vehicles. 

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Community
8:40 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Pakistani-Americans Hold Vigil at State Capitol for Peshawar School Children

Many were worried about the safety of family and friends in Pakistan.
Sujata Srinivasan WNPR

The Pakistani community in Connecticut strongly condemned the massacre of scores of school children by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan on December 16. Nearly 100 members of the Pakistani-American Association of Connecticut held a vigil at the Connecticut State Capitol last Friday.

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White House
2:10 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

President Obama Closes the Year With a Press Conference

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Alan Gross, who was en route to the United States from Cuba, in the Oval Office on December 17.
Pete Souza White House

President Barack Obama claimed an array of successes in 2014, citing lower unemployment, a rising number of Americans covered by health insurance, and an historic diplomatic opening with Cuba. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Connecticut's Changing Relationship With Guns

This gun is of the first production automatic pistols made by Colt, an M1900. Two hundred of these were delivered to the U.S. Navy.
Naval History and Heritage Command Creative Commons

Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed Vivek Murthy to be the nation’s next Surgeon General. His confirmation had been held up for more than a year by pro-gun lobbyists, because of his support for new gun control measures. Murthy founded the group Doctors for America, which had advocated for gun restrictions, but he has said his focus as Surgeon General will be on tackling the nation’s obesity problem.

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Cuba
7:10 am
Fri December 19, 2014

What's Next For Cuba? The Headlines That Tell The Story

A tourist takes a cab ride in a classic American car as the driver takes him past the Capitolio in Havana, Cuba on Thursday.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Two days after the U.S. and Cuba decided to end a more than 50-year estrangement, the natural question is: What's next?

On Morning Edition, NPR's Michelle Kelemen reports that the process of normalizing diplomatic relations will be pretty straight forward and is likely to be done quickly.

"We can do that via an exchange of letter or notes. It doesn't require a formal sort of legal treaty or agreement," Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere, said during a briefing on Thursday.

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Natural Gas
3:46 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

NY Fracking Ban Decision Elicits Different Reactions

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:16 pm

It will probably go down as the biggest decision of the year in New York State – a ban on fracking. Wednesday’s news came the same day casino license recommendations were announced. Supporters of a fracking ban are celebrating the long-awaited decision while opponents say they are disappointed and the Southern Tier, where fracking would have taken place, is doomed.

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Cyber Attack
3:02 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

White House Says Any Response To Sony Attack Needs To Be 'Proportional'

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:26 pm

The White House says the devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures was done with "malicious intent" and was initiated by a "sophisticated actor" but it would not say if that actor was North Korea.

Spokesman Josh Earnest says the matter is still under investigation.

"Regardless of who is found to be responsible for this, the president considers it to be a serious national security matter," Earnest says.

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Freedom
4:25 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Alan Gross, U.S. Contractor Freed By Cuba, Says 'It's Good To Be Home'

Alan Gross addresses a news conference in Washington on Wednesday hours after his release from Cuba.
Gary Cameron Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:56 pm

American Alan Gross, who spent five years in a Cuban prison before his release today as a humanitarian gesture, said "it's good to be home," and that he hoped the U.S. and Cuba move past their "mutually belligerent" policies.

"Two wrongs never made a right," Gross said in Washington shortly after he returned to the U.S. aboard a government plane.

Gross appeared frail but cheerful. Some of his front teeth were missing.

Gross thanked President Obama and his national security team for working toward his freedom.

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Infrastructure Investment
4:01 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Gov. Malloy Pledges Transportation Focus in Second Term

Gov. Dannel Malloy speaking at a Middlesex Chamber of Commerce event.
Credit CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy said he'll turn the focus onto solving Connecticut's transportation challenges in his second term.

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Diplomacy
12:25 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Obama Unveils 'New Approach' On Cuba As Former Foes Chart New Course

President Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. will work with Cuba to normalize diplomatic ties.
Doug Mills UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:41 pm

Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET

President Obama announced today the most significant change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in more than 50 years, paving the way for the normalization of relations and the opening of a U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Obama said "we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries."

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Cuba
10:52 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Polls Show Cuban-American Views On U.S.-Cuba Relations Are Nuanced

Men play chess at the Maximo Gomez Domino park in Little Havana in Miami, where political opinions are shifting.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:07 pm

With news that the United States will work toward re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and easing the embargo, there is already talk about the reaction in the Cuban-American community.

In political terms, this is a major voting bloc in the hugely important swing state of Florida.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:23 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Hartford Convention: 200 Years Since We Started the Fight Over States' Rights

Matt Warshauer is a professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and the author of several books including "Connecticut in the American Civil War"
Chion Wolf WNPR

Legend holds that years after the the Hartford Convention, a visitor from the South was touring the Old State House and asked to be shown the room where the Convention met. Ushered into the Senate chamber, the southerner looked at the crimson in the face of George Washington in the Gilbert Stuart portrait hanging here and said, "I'll be damned if he's got the blush off yet.

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Metro-North
9:01 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Engineer Files Lawsuit Over Train Derailment

A 2013 Metro-North train derailment in Bridgeport injured 65 commuters.
Credit NTSB

A second Metro-North engineer has filed a federal negligence lawsuit against the railroad as a result of the May 2013 derailment in Bridgeport that injured dozens of people. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed December 17, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Administration Shakeups, New Haven News, Return of Chris Donovan

Dannel Malloy takes his first gubernatorial oath of office.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses the new look of the Malloy administration as the governor heads into his second term. Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Chris Donovan finds a new line of work with a state teachers' union. We also check in on the Elm City, where New Haven's police chief is making headlines for a confrontation at the Yale Bowl.

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