Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 12:22 pm
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
All this morning, we have been following the aftermath of a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas last night. When volunteer firefighters in the city of West, Texas - that's about 20 miles north of Waco - first arrived to battle a fire at the plant, they encountered a disaster in the making.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
We're told this fire was burning at the site of a couple of storage tanks, each of which had the capacity to carry 12,000 gallons of ammonia.
The nation's attention turns this morning to a tiny city in Texas. It's simply called West. It is the site of a fertilizer plant from which a message went out to police radio last night.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: There has been an explosion on the fire scene. There are firefighters down at this time. Again, there has been an explosion on the fire scene. There are firefighters down at this time.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. There may be only one place in the world you will not hear Psy. His video "Gangnam Style" was seen 1.5 billion times, including several thousand in my household. His new video, "Gentleman," has 142 million views so far but is not on South Korean Public Broadcasting.
In that video, Psy dances up the street and kicks an orange cone that says no parking. South Korea's KBS says abusing public property does not meet its standards. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Dating can be tough in a small country like Iceland. There are only 320,000 people and many of them are distant relatives. So the government came up with an idea. They created a genealogy Web site. There's even a Smartphone app. Just tap phones with your date. And if you happen to share a grandparent, you'll get an alert. If a date is out of the question, the app does also track relatives' birthdays and so you can send them a card.
Two prominent Harvard economists have admitted there are errors in an influential paper they wrote on government debt. This paper was widely cited in recent budget debates. But the economists insist their mistakes do not significantly change their research.
NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: In their 2010 paper, Ken Rogoff and Carmen Rinehart argued that economic growth falls significantly when a country's debt level rises above 90 percent of its Gross Domestic Product or GDP.
Now, President Obama had promised to put the full weight of his office behind getting Congress to pass new gun control legislation. That weight was apparently not enough. When the legislation failed yesterday, Obama went into the White House Rose Garden and made a blistering speech, calling it a shameful day for Washington.
Like many California cities hit hard by the real estate crash, Indio (near Palm Springs) has been forced to make steep cutbacks to avoid bankruptcy. But unlike other cities, Indio hosts the highest-grossing music festival in the world — Coachella — which wraps up this weekend. It has made city leaders eager to capitalize on Coachella's riches.
Sam Torres, plumber by day, Indio city councilman by night, says he was prepared to become the most hated man in the city, and he very well may have achieved that goal. His offense? Proposing a 6 percent tax on Coachella tickets.
April 18, 2013, is a big day for Superman. The Man of Steel, more powerful than a locomotive, turns 75. Most of us know Superman's story — faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Less well-known is that the superhero is not native to the lost world of Krypton, nor the rural Kansas burg of Smallville. Superman is Cleveland's native son — at least as far as the city's residents are concerned.