News From NPR

Parallels
4:10 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Venezualan Flights Are Dirt Cheap ... If You Can Get A Ticket

At the official rate, 1 U.S. dollar is worth 6.3 Venezuelan bolivars. But in a country with runaway inflation, the black market rate is about 60 bolivars to the dollar. This has made airfares extremely cheap for those using currency acquired on the black market.
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:35 pm

Reporter John Otis was looking for a flight to Venezuela. That may sound like a simple task, but air travel to and from that Latin American country turns out to be extremely complicated these days. Here's his story.

A direct flight from my home in Bogotá, Colombia, to Caracas, Venezuela, takes about 90 minutes. But when I tried to buy a ticket recently, none were available. I was offered a flight with an overnight stop in Miami, but that would have cost $5,000.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Thai Government Says It Won't Postpone Parliamentary Elections

Anti-government protesters flee from tear gas sprayed by police in Bangkok on Thursday.
Kyodo /Landov

Thailand's government has rejected a call from the country's Election Commission to delay a February vote to choose a new parliament, as protesters opposed to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra increasingly resort to violence to disrupt the polls.

Anti-government demonstrations have been going on for weeks as "yellow shirt" protesters — most drawn from the ranks of Thailand's urban middle class — have sought to oust Yingluck, whose government was elected in a 2011 landslide, mostly with support from the country's poorer, rural farming communities.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Suspect Pleads Not Guilty In Fatal Shooting Of TSA Agent In LA

Paul Ciancia, 23, in an undated photo provided by the FBI.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 4:04 pm

The man accused of fatally shooting a TSA worker at Los Angeles International Airport last month has pleaded not guilty.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, entered the plea on Thursday with the federal magistrate at a West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. His trial is set for Feb. 11.

Read more
Governing
1:51 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

In 2013, Federal Workers Found New Reason To Be Unhappy

Cindy VanDerwerker, a maintenance worker at Saratoga National Historical Park, clears leaves from a walkway on Oct. 17 in Stillwater, N.Y.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 3:08 pm

Elizabeth Lytle is an administrative program assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago — "a glorified name for a secretary," she says.

If Lytle isn't thrilled with her title, she's even less enamored of her job.

"The morale is just unbelievably low because we're never recognized," Lytle says. "Management doesn't seem to go to bat for us."

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:45 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Common Knee Surgery May Help No More Than A Fake Operation

Knee pain is common, but surgery isn't necessarily the answer, researchers say.
Inna Jacquemin iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:09 am

Go to the doctor with knee pain, and they might say you've got a meniscus tear and need surgery to fix it. But surgery for this common problem might not be any better at relieving pain than having no surgery at all, according to researchers who went to the trouble of performing fake surgery to find out.

The gold standard for medical research is a randomized controlled trial, but it's hard to sign people up if they might undergo pretend surgery.

Read more

Pages