5:32am

Mon October 31, 2011
Television

'Rock Center': Serving Hard News, But Will It Sell?

Brian Williams will set the course for the new NBC newsmagazine Rock Center. The network is positioning it as a serious news program — and expecting a ratings struggle, at least at first.

Justin Stephens NBC Universal

At 10 p.m. on Monday, NBC anchor Brian Williams will do something that hasn't been done in nearly 20 years: launch a new network TV newsmagazine.

Hosted live from NBC's Rockefeller Center headquarters — thus the name, Rock Center — it's an ambitious attempt to showcase both Williams' serious news skills and his signature dry wit. And if it's going to succeed, he and NBC may have to reinvent the newsmagazine for a new age.

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5:29am

Mon October 31, 2011
Law

High Court Considers When Bad Lawyers Taint A Case

The Supreme Court hears two cases about ineffective lawyers on Monday.

J. Scott Applewhite AP

On television, most criminal cases are tried before a jury. But in reality, more than 90 percent of all criminal cases in the United States never get to trial; they are resolved with a plea bargain. For the state, these bargains save money and resources, and they often include agreements that the defendant will help prosecutors make other cases. But plea bargains have also been criticized as a boon for real criminals who have information to bargain with, while little guys, with nothing to trade, can get mauled by the system.

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5:28am

Mon October 31, 2011
Performing Arts

Houdini Relative Unlocks Some Family Secrets

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:20 am

Theodore Hardeen (right) poses with brother Harry Houdini around 1901. Although Hardeen was the less-famous brother, he was also a magician and escape artist who continued to perform Houdini's routines after his death.

Courtesy of John Cox wildabouthoudini.com

You'd think if you were a relative of someone as famous as Harry Houdini, you'd know it. But George Hardeen, 59, didn't find out he was Houdini's great-nephew until he was a teenager.

His grandfather was Houdini's brother, Theo Hardeen, also an escape artist. At one point, the brothers performed together. Houdini and his wife, Bess, had no children, and when he died — on Halloween, 85 years ago — he willed all of his props to Theo.

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4:52am

Mon October 31, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Losing Weight: A Battle Against Fat And Biology

One recent study found that people were able to burn up an extra 450 calories a day with one hour of moderate exercise. That can include walking briskly, biking or swimming.

iStockphoto.com

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America

If you're among the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight, chances are you've had people tell you to just ease up on the eating and use a little self-control. It does, of course, boil down to "calories in, calories out."

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4:42am

Mon October 31, 2011
7 Billion And Counting

Visualizing How A Population Grows To 7 Billion

Watch as global population explodes from 300 million to 7 billion.

Adam Cole, Maggie Starbard NPR

The U.N. estimates that the world's population will pass the 7 billion mark on Monday.

Much of that growth has happened in Asia — in India and China. Those two countries have been among the world's most populous for centuries. But a demographic shift is taking place as the countries have modernized and lowered their fertility rates. Now, the biggest growth is taking place in sub-Saharan Africa.

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4:39am

Mon October 31, 2011
7 Billion And Counting

Nations Grow Populations, And Face New Problems

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 12:34 pm

Lujiazui, Shanghai's financial district, includes the world's third- and sixth-tallest buildings. The city's population is 23 million.

Frank Langfitt NPR

NPR's Frank Langfitt has spent the past year reporting in two countries where the populations and the problems could not be more different: South Sudan and China.

The best way to travel in South Sudan is by plane. That's because, in a nation nearly the size of Texas, there are hardly any paved roads.

Earlier this year, I flew to Akobo County, near the Ethiopian border. On the hour-plus flight, I saw cattle herders and acacia trees, but mostly empty landscape. There was little sign of the 21st century — or the 20th.

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4:33am

Mon October 31, 2011
Around the Nation

Thousands Of Trucking Jobs, But Few Take The Wheel

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 8:44 pm

A truck driver cleans his windshield at a filling station in Milford, Conn. The long hours, weeks away from home and mediocre pay contribute to the trucking industry's shortage of an estimated 125,000 drivers.

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Tough as it is to find work these days, tens of thousands of jobs paying middle-class wages are going unfilled.

Open truck-driving jobs require little more than a high school diploma and a month or so of training. But not everybody wants to be a long-haul truck driver, and many who do find they just can't hack it.

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4:21am

Mon October 31, 2011
Education

Students Born To Illegal Immigrants Sue Over Tuition

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 8:44 pm

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Miami by Florida residents being charged out-of-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities. The students are American citizens — children who were born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants — and they say Florida's regulations violate their constitutional rights.

Wendy Ruiz, a 19-year-old sophomore at Miami Dade College with a 3.7 grade point average, has a plan. She expects to graduate later this year with a two-year associate's degree in Biology.

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12:00am

Mon October 31, 2011
Kentuckians at War

"It was like mob mentality now, so you can’t just fire at someone who’s unarmed."

Former US Marine MP and Kentucky college student Noah Melgar.
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Marines are trained to fight proficiently with deadly weapons.  But when an unarmed mob in Iraq turned violent, such weapons were literally overkill.  Kentuckian Noah Melgar found himself in just such a situation.   As a military policeman with the Marines, Melgar had to fight hand-to-hand.

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5:31pm

Sun October 30, 2011
Around the Nation

Trust In America: Recovering What's Lost

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 6:35 pm

Tents pitched at the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York. The protests are part of a growing distrust in America of government and public institutions.

Mary Altaffer AP

Whom do you trust?

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed barely 10 percent of the public trusts the government. But it doesn't stop there: Trust in public institutions like corporations, banks, courts, the media and universities is at an all-time low; the military is one of the few exceptions.

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