All Things Considered for Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kerry Meets Iranian Foreign Minister For Nuclear Talks

Another round of talks on Iran's suspect nuclear program took place Thursday, this one at the United Nations and, for the first time, at the ministerial level. Secretary of State Kerry and Iran's new Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, will be among those in attendance along with their counterparts from the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany. No breakthroughs are anticipated in New York but the talks are expected to reconvene a week or so later in Geneva in search of an accord.

Obama: Obamacare Is 'Here To Stay'

Maryland embraced Obamacare from day one. Next week, the state will launch an ambitious health insurance exchange. President Obama traveled there Thursday to talk about his vision for health care, the law and the middle class.

Republican Tactics Slow Down Obamacare Prep

As Republicans try to figure out how to defund President Obama's health care law, some members of the party are attacking Obamacare on other fronts, too. For example, one House committee is investigating groups that were contracted to educate people about how to enroll.
The Justice Department says nine more Japanese companies have pleaded guilty and agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for their roles in a criminal conspiracy to fix the prices of auto parts.

Fresno Officials Dismantle Homeless Encampments

City officials are planning to remove a large homeless encampment on the outskirts of downtown. The California city, where 1 in 4 people live below the poverty line, has taken down three other large encampments in recent weeks. The moves have been controversial and displaced hundreds of people.

College Board 'Concerned' About Low SAT Scores

Roughly 6 in 10 college-bound high school students who took the SAT in 2013 performed poorly. The sponsor of the test wants to work with schools to help students do better, but some say the group is really concerned with trying to keep the test relevant.

Student Loan Changes Squeeze Historically Black Colleges

Classrooms at some historically black colleges and universities around the country are emptier this semester. Stricter lending requirements for the federal Parent PLUS Loan that began in 2011 have dramatically cut federal lending to parents of HBCU undergrads. While some analysts welcome new limits to parent loans, administrators at HBCUs worry about increased financial pressure from drops in student enrollment.

NSA Revelations Leave Encryption Experts In A Quandry

Documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden indicate the NSA may have installed backdoors on encryption products. It's not clear exactly what's going on but the stories have unleashed plenty of fear and loathing in the closed world of encryption researchers.

MLB Chief Bud Selig To Retire After Next Season

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig made it official: He formally announced his retirement Thursday, effective after the 2014 season.

'Popular Science': Web Comments Are Bad For Science

Popular Science magazine shut down online comments to stories on its website Tuesday. Robert Siegel speaks with Jacob Ward, the magazine's editor-in-chief, for more on the decision.

House Republicans Ready To Move On To Debt Ceiling Debate

With a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown still unsettled, House Republican leaders shifted gears to the next fiscal deadline: the mid-October debt ceiling deadline. Congress must raise the debt ceiling or the Treasury will run out of borrowing authority and default on its obligations. House leaders are putting together a wish list of demands in return for raising the limit.

Sen. Murray: Replacing Sequestration A 'Top Priority'

Washington Sen. Patty Murray, Senate Budget Committee chair and Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference, talks to Robert Siegel about efforts in the Senate to stave off a government shutdown and pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.
Former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, now leading the Heritage Foundation, has been one of the most influential voices in the budget brinksmanship on Capitol Hill. "There's no question in my mind that I have more influence now on public policy than I did as an individual senator," he says.

Putting Good Deeds In Headlines May Not Be So Good

Good Samaritans are celebrated in the press for doing the right thing all the time, but does all that attention lower expectations for everyday behavior?
The composer imagined his music more than 40 years ago. Known as the father of "Ethio-jazz", Astatke has been credited with creating a new genre that blends Ethiopian music and jazz. His new album, Sketches of Ethiopia, is as complex as it is easily enjoyable — the mark of a master.
A doctor who authored the book Wheat Belly says that modern varieties of wheat have more gluten and have caused the rise in celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. But other doctors have other theories to explain why wheat makes some people sick.

Hash Browns To Soothe Any Homesick Midwesterner

Amy Thielen knows hash browns. The Minnesotan is a former grill cook who spent many hours flipping those grated potatoes and making sure they had the prefect crisp edge. For today's Found Recipes, Thielen shares the story behind her Glorified Hash Browns, "glorified" because they're accompanied by grilled peppers.
Severe drought has forever changed the landscape in New Mexico. Grasslands have been replaced by desert, and ranchers to reduce the number of cattle grazing open fields. Recent rains have brought some relief, but it's not enough to reverse desertification.

Civil Rights Crusader Evelyn Lowery Dies At Age 88

The wife of civil rights leader Joseph Lowery has died in Atlanta at age 88. Evelyn Lowery was a civil rights activist alongside her husband. She participated in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery in the 1960s and spent most of her life working for civil and human rights.

An American Masterpiece, And A 'Menagerie' Of Stars

A revival of Tennessee Williams' glorious 1945 drama opens tonight at Broadway's Booth Theater. Zachary Quinto and Cherry Jones star in the play, which is partly based on the playwright's own life and family.
Find an archived Episode: