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NPR's Jason Beaubien and David Gilkey have covered calamities all over the globe. But the recent aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines was particularly daunting. Jason describes the extreme challenges they faced.

The government says the former vice president is mobilizing an army of youth to seize key cities in the newly independent nation. The United Nations is not sure it can protect the thousands of people staying at its compound who have been displaced by recent ethnic fighting.

Scientists and growers are in a bitter fight against citrus greening, a disease that has devastated Florida's orange and grapefruit crops. They fear that unless scientists find a cure for greening soon, it's just a matter of time before economic realities and the disease force growers out of business.

Over the past year, a roaring debate has erupted among physicists about what exactly would happen if you fell into a black hole. Would it be "spaghettification," or a quantum firestorm and oblivion where space ceases to exist? The answer has big implications for fundamental physics.

North Dakota and western Canada are producing crude oil faster than rail cars and pipelines can take it to refineries. Now, one company wants to ship it by barge across the Great Lakes. That worries environmentalists, who say a 2010 tar sands oil spill near Lake Michigan has yet to be fully cleaned up.

As baby boomers retire and drilling increases, energy companies are hiring, adding 23 percent more workers between 2009 and 2012. But the hiring spree has come with a terrible price: Last year, 138 workers were killed on the job, twice as many as in 2009.

Only a rare few people have the ability to remember everything that happened in their lives. But that gift can seem like a curse, they say, keeping them marooned in the past and unable to enjoy the present. Forgetting, it seems, can be a good thing.

The diplomat, Mohammed Chatah, was a senior aide to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Chatah was also a critic of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the militant group Hezbollah that is allied with the Syrian leader. At least five other people were killed and about 70 were injured by Friday's blast.

As a middle-school student in the '80s, Lee Buono stayed after school one day to remove the brain and spinal cord from a frog. He did such a good job that his science teacher told him he might become a neurosurgeon someday. That's exactly what Buono did.

The Afghans will elect a new president, and the U.S. combat mission will end. There are worries about a resurgent Taliban, the fragile economy and the future of women's rights. In short, Afghans are concerned about most everything.

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