After three years, smoking ban compliance better than expected Since the smoking ban took effect on October 1, 2007, 326 people have reported smoking violations to the state. That's less than what department officials anticipated, said John Olson, the department's enforcement coordinator its indoor air unit.5:24 p.m.
National Public Radio Stories
Life Insurance Firms Profit From Death Benefits
Life insurance companies boost their bottom lines by holding on to death benefits owed to families of service members and millions of other Americans, an investigation by Bloomberg Markets magazine found. Cindy Lohman, whose son was killed in Afghanistan, says she feels betrayed by his life insurance company, Prudential.
Judge Blocks Parts Of Arizona Immigration Law
A federal judge has blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona's new immigration law from taking effect Thursday. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Ted Robbins about the ruling and where the legal challenges go from here.
Under Obama, More Illegal Immigrants Sent Home
The federal government under President Obama has steadily increased the deportation of illegal immigrants. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it's on track to expel some 400,000 people this year, 8 percent more than it did in 2008. And ICE is increasingly targeting those who have broken other laws.
The Food Chain's Weak Link: Tiny Ocean Plants Dying
Microscopic plants in the ocean are among the most important creatures on Earth and produce half of the planet's oxygen. But they are in trouble. A new study finds that since 1950, the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean's surface waters has declined by 40 percent.
Remembering Cartoonist John Callahan
Cartoonist John Callahan has died at age 59. He spent the last three decades of his life in a wheelchair, the result of a car accident, and created often tasteless and offensive cartoons dealing with people with disabilities.
Uproar Grows Over Pay For Calif. City's Officials
The uproar continues in the small California community that found itself paying the highest salaries in the nation for its city officials. The city manager, the assistant city manager and the chief of police have all resigned after their six-figure incomes were revealed -- but now they are looking at collecting potentially million-dollar pensions in their forced retirement. The scandal has reinvigorated debate over the need to reform the state's pension system to plug the state's $19 billion deficit.
Are Public Pension Funds Sustainable?
The payout of pensions is proving financially burdensome to states and localities. So how sustainable are these pensions? To find out, Robert Siegel talks to Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, who helped produce their report "The Trillion Dollar Gap: Underfunded State Retirement Systems and the Road to Reform." Urahn says states are obligated to pay because it is a state constitutional obligation, and she says, "The likely scenario is taxes will go up to pay the promises they made."
Is Outgoing Colombian President Riling Venezuela?
Hugo Chavez is accusing the U.S. of planning to attack his country, using Colombia as its proxy. Nothing new, except for the timing: Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's term ends in a few days, and some observers say Uribe is stirring the pot as a parting message not just to Chavez, but to his own successor.
Report Asks: What's Lurking In Your Stadium Food?
Michele Norris talks to Paula Lavigne about her recent report for ESPN's Outside the Lines. In that story, "What's Lurking In Your Stadium Food," Lavigne examined the health inspection reports for all the stadiums used by the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball.