Nation & World News

5 Quotes From Earl Lloyd, The First Black Player In The NBA

By Bill Chappell on February 27th, 2015 | Last updated: February 27, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Earl Lloyd, who became the first black player in the NBA nearly 65 years ago, died Thursday at age 86.

Lloyd had a long career that stretched from West Virginia State to basketball’s Hall of Fame. He once told a young man who thanked him for being a pioneer, “Man, you owe me absolutely nothing.”

As a player, the 6’5″ Lloyd was nicknamed The Big Cat. He was drafted in the same year as other black players, but he was the first to play in the regular season, for the then-Washington Capitols.

In 1955, Lloyd helped the Syracuse Nationals win an NBA title; he later played for the Detroit Pistons.

At the time of his death, Lloyd had been living in Crossville, Tenn., with his wife, Charlita. He was a native of Alexandria, Va., who also lived for many years in Detroit.

Lloyd was also a jazz fan. During his playing days, he carried around issues of Downbeat magazine during road trips, to help him find gigs in the cities he visited.

After his playing days, Lloyd had stints as a scout and coach in the NBA. He “is credited with discovering basketball talents Willis Reed, Earl Monroe, Dave Bing, Ray Scott and Wally Jones,” according to a statement from West Virginia State.

Lloyd went on to work at the Dodge division of the Chrysler Corporation, followed by working in job placement in Detroit’s school system.

Lloyd spoke to NPR several times in the past 15 years. We’ve collected some of the most compelling quotes from those conversations here.

From 2000, speaking to NPR’s Linda Wertheimer:

“Here I am, a young black kid — from kindergarten right through graduating from college, I never had a white classmate. And you’re born and raised in the den of segregation, you’ve been treated third-class all your life. So you tend to believe that you’re inferior. And when you walk into a pro training camp… the first thing you ask yourself, very quietly, [is] ‘Do I belong here?’ And at training camp, where it’s on, and you start scrimmaging these guys and playing against them, you know — then the bulb lights up, and tells you that you belong.”

From a 2013 talk with NPR’s Gene Demby:

“My parents used to say it only matters if other people think you’re special. What you think is only as important as a rat’s behind.”

“I always say that if someone had to handpick a place to play their first game as a black player, it would be Rochester, N.Y. In that part of the country in the wintertime, no one hates anyone. You see black folks and white folks pushing each other’s cars through the snow. But the next day we were in St. Louis. That was not a nice place to be in 1950. That was not a nice place to be. But there was no Klansmen [at that first game] and all that, with signs and ropes. It was too cold for all that.”

From a 2010 talk with NPR’s Liane Hansen:

“Jackie made things a lot easier for me. But what happened, if you think about it, Jackie Robinson played first base. The guy playing left field, he can call him all the names he wants to call him and their paths will never cross. But in pro basketball, you stand on a foul line and some guy who might want to call you a name is less apt to — because the proximity is kind of immediate. And there’s a little danger involved in calling a guy a name who’s standing right next to you.”

“One kid said to me, he said, Mr. Lloyd, we really owe you. And I explained to him, man, you owe me absolutely nothing. I said, whatever kind of career I had, it has served me well, but you do owe some people. And the people you owe are the folks who are going to come behind you. It’s incumbent upon each watch — when you play your 10, 11 years and you’re in your group — when you leave, I truly hope that you’ve done all you can possibly do to leave it a better place for the folks who come behind you.”

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Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock On ‘Star Trek,’ Dies At 83

By Krishnadev Calamur on February 27th, 2015 | Last updated: February 27, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Updated at 1:16 p.m.

Actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Mr. Spock, the logical half-Vulcan, half-human in the original Star Trek series and several movies, has died at his home in Los Angeles, his granddaughter, Madeleine, told NPR. Nimoy was 83.

The cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she said.

NPR’s Neda Ulaby, who is reporting on the story, tells our Newscast unit:

“Leonard Nimoy started acting as a teenager at a settlement house theater in Boston where he grew up. His father was a barber, a Jewish refugee from Ukraine. Nimoy felt stifled by Spock at times during his career. He also appeared on Broadway, wrote poetry and plays and directed a few blockbuster movies, including Star Trek 4. He eventually made peace with the character. Spock could have been just pointy ears and punch lines. Leonard Nimoy gave him gravitas.”

Nimoy reprised the role he is most famous for in the J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the franchise. He told NPR’s Guy Raz in 2009: “I know why they wanted me in this last film, which was to create a bridge between the original cast and the new. But that’s been done. So I would suspect that there’s no need for my presence again.”

Actor Zachary Quinto, who took over as Mr. Spock in the reboot and its sequel, told NPR in 2013 that Nimoy “was very supportive from the beginning, and we became incredibly good friends.”

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Bangladeshi-American Blogger Hacked To Death In Dhaka

By Krishnadev Calamur on February 27th, 2015 | Last updated: February 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm

A Bangladeshi-American blogger, whose writings denounced fundamentalist thought and earned him death threats from Islamist groups, was hacked to death by two attackers in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital. Avijit Roy’s wife, Rafida Ahmed, who was with him during the attack late Thursday, was severely wounded.

Roy and Ahmed, Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizens, were returning from a book fair when they were attacked on a crowded sidewalk in Dhaka. The Dhaka Tribune newspaper reports that Roy died in hospital from excessive bleeding and an internal brain injury. His wife is reportedly in critical but stable condition. The couple was due to return to the U.S. next month.

The Associated Press reports that Ansar Bangla 7, a previously unknown group, claimed responsibility for the attack, citing Roy’s “crime against Islam.” Police are investigating the attack, but no arrests have as yet been made.

NPR’s Julie McCarthy, who is in New Delhi, India, tells our Newscast unit that Roy had received threats on social media from hard-liners angered by his writing. She says:

“Roy founded the website ‘Free Mind,’ a congregation of free thinkers, atheists and humanists of mainly Bengali descent. The clash between secularists and Muslim fundamentalists risks destabilizing Bangladesh, where hard-line Islamist groups demand public executions of writers like Roy, the second blogger to be murdered in Bangladesh in two years.”

In 2013, blogger Rajib Hyder was killed in nearly the same way, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

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9 People Found Dead In Southern Missouri

By Bill Chappell on February 27th, 2015 | Last updated: February 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Police say a gunman is among nine people found dead in south-central Missouri, following a series of shootings in multiple locations Thursday night. The man was 36; police say he died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The attacks happened in Texas County, Mo., and the gunman’s body was found in nearby Shannon County. Police say an elderly woman whose body was found in a residence seems to have died from natural causes. Seven other people died of gunshot wounds; one person who was wounded is in the hospital.

“In our job, we see a lot of bad stuff, and this is bad,” Sgt. Jeff Kinder of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said at a news conference Friday morning. He added, “It’s not natural to see that sort of thing.”

Details are still coming in about the violence that struck the small community of Tyrone. The names of the victims have not been released. We’ll add more news as it emerges.

Update at 10:05 a.m. ET: People Found At Five Residences

“We’re currently working six active scenes,” says Sgt. Jeff Kinder of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, adding that the total includes five residences along with the area where the suspect’s car was found.

Update at 9:58 a.m. ET: A Call To Police

From a Missouri State Highway Patrol release:

“On the evening of February 26, 2015, at approximately 10:15 p.m., the Texas County Sheriff’s Department requested assistance with a disturbance involving a weapon at a residence in Tyrone, Missouri. A juvenile female caller indicated she was in the residence and apparently heard gun shots.

“She immediately fled to a neighbor’s house to notify authorities. Responding deputies found two deceased persons at this residence. Further investigation revealed five additional victims who were deceased and one additional victim who was wounded in three additional residences. All three residences were in Tyrone.”

Our original post continues:

From local newspaper the Houston Herald:

“A Missouri State Highway Patrol officer confirmed the death of the alleged shooter. The lawmen said he was found in a parked vehicle in Shannon County. Investigators at about 7:30 a.m. were leaving one of the crime scenes. Two are within a short distance of each other near Highways H and DD.

“A neighbor in the area reported that at 3:45 a.m. authorities came to the door checking for fatalities or injured. Persons in the Highway H residence said they were told to stay in the house and not to open the door to strangers.”

Maps show that Tyrone sits along a two-lane county highway, in an area where the sole buildings seem to be modest houses and a post office.

Police are coordinating their investigation out of a mobile command post.

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Senate OKs Funding For Homeland Security; House Has Rival Plan

By Bill Chappell on February 27th, 2015 | Last updated: February 27, 2015 at 5:03 pm

The Senate has voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security through Sept. 30, providing the agency with full funding. The bill does not include any provisions that would block President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Both the House and Senate are holding votes Friday on bills to fund the DHS, and there’s a chance the Senate might approve the House’s new proposal of a three-week funding extension, to avoid a shutdown.

“I don’t know if [the House] can pass the three-week bill,” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York told MSNBC Friday. “We would much prefer they do a full funding bill, but we’re not going to shut the government down.”

Update at 11:22 a.m. ET: Senate Approves Full Funding

The Senate has voted to fund Homeland Security through Sept. 30, providing the agency with full funding. The final tally was 68-31.

The Senate is expected to take up the House’s stopgap measure later Friday, if it passes. That legislation has been moving forward in the House.

Our original post continues:

Just a day before the DHS was set to run out of money (at midnight tonight), Republicans in the Senate had come to terms with the need for a “clean” bill to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security, one that doesn’t require changes to the executive actions President Obama has taken on immigration.

As NPR’s Ailsa Chang reported, they’ve been hoping the House would follow suit.

Ailsa quotes Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who says the burden of the majority is the burden of governing: “As a governing party, we’ve got to fund DHS and say to the House, ‘Here’s a straw, so you can suck it up.’ ”

But on Thursday night, Republican leaders in the House came up with a different idea: to fund DHS for just three weeks to give the two chambers of Congress time to work out a compromise measure.

As The Associated Press reports, some Republicans in the House have said that shutting down DHS would be an acceptable cost of thwarting the executive actions on immigration.

From the AP:

” ‘Shutting down’ the agency known as DHS ‘is a set of words that don’t really have the meaning that people attribute to it,’ said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. ‘There was hardly any effect whatsoever on the Department of Homeland Security from the last shutdown, and I would anticipate a similar effect this time.’

“Brooks was referring to the 2013 partial federal government shutdown that Americans blamed mostly on Republicans, and which many GOP leaders have vowed not to repeat.”

House Republicans have noted that many DHS workers, such as transportation security officers, were declared “essential” and went to work as normal during that shutdown. But as Ailsa reported earlier this week, those security officers were left without paychecks until after the shutdown was resolved.

Even if Congress adopts the three-week stopgap measure, the leaders of the two chambers will have to figure out how to resolve their different views — and their different styles.

“You know, the House by nature and by design is a hell of a lot more rambunctious place than the Senate,” House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday.

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More Details On ‘Jihadi John': Early Run-Ins And Radicalization

By Bill Chappell on February 27th, 2015 | Last updated: February 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm

More details are emerging about Mohammed Emwazi, the man identified as the militant seen in beheading videos released by the self-styled Islamic State. His name came out Thursday.

Emwazi is a British citizen who was born in Kuwait and grew up in West London. He reportedly graduated from the University of Westminster with a degree in computer programming.

There are two narratives about Emwazi’s past that attempt to explain how the man dubbed by the media as “Jihadi John” became radicalized and internationally notorious.

One scenario has been put forth by a researcher with a Muslim advocacy organization in the U.K. called CAGE. The researcher says that when he met with Emwazi in the fall of 2009, Emwazi was incensed over having been detained by British security services while traveling, NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston reports on Morning Edition.

“The implication has been that Emwazi was radicalized because of this poor treatment,” Dina says on Friday’s Morning Edition.

But another part of the story comes from court papers recently obtained by the BBC. They suggest that Emwazi had radical leanings even before he was detained.

“Those court papers were filed back in 2011, and they say that Emwazi was part of a group known as the North London Boys,” Dina says. “They had links to the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabab. The London Boys were allegedly funneling money and fighters to the group as far back as 2007.”

A member of that group went to fight in Somalia in 2009 after saying he was traveling to Africa to go on safari — a story that, Dina says, Emwazi also told when he was stopped by authorities months later.

Emwazi moved to Kuwait in 2009 and eventually reached Syria in 2012.

Trying to piece together Emwazi’s past, the British media has descended on a building in London where the man is believed to have lived.

For a look at Emwazi’s life when he graduated from college in 2009, here’s The Guardian:

“By this time, Emwazi was said to be a polite, observant Muslim with a penchant for designer clothes. He was also a member of a loose-knit group of Muslim youths who played five-a-side football together, were educated at the same schools, attended the same mosques, and were all impressed by a particular preacher, Hani al-Sibai.

“Of that group, three are now dead, one is living in Sudan after being stripped of his British citizenship, a fourth cannot leave the UK for fear that he too will be deprived of his citizenship, and several are serving prison sentences.”

Under the headline “Jihadi Junior,” The Sun has printed a class photo that the newspaper says includes Emwazi at age 11. It adds that he was a fan of Manchester United.

U.S. and British authorities have not publicly confirmed Emwazi’s identity, but intelligence officials in both countries have told journalists that they identified Emwazi months ago — and that they wanted to keep their discovery secret because of operational reasons.

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Ahead Of Netanyahu’s Speech To Congress, Hints Of A Thaw

By Krishnadev Calamur on February 26th, 2015 | Last updated: February 26, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly meet with Sens. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Harry Reid, D-Nev., the chamber’s top Democrat, after his March 3 speech to Congress.

The announcement, which was reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which cited a senior Israeli official, came after the American Israel Public Affairs Committee announced that Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, and Samantha Power, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, will address the organization’s annual conference in Washington. Netanyahu will also address the AIPAC conference.

The news could mark the first de-escalation of rising tensions between the U.S. and Israel.

As we have been reporting, Netanyahu’s speech to Congress has been controversial from almost the moment it was announced by House Speaker John Boehner. Netanyahu says he wants to highlight the dangers posed by Iran, which Israel views as an existential threat. He is opposed to the talks involving the U.S. and its allies and Iran over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

The Obama administration called the invitation to the Israeli leader, made without consulting the White House or the State Department, a departure from protocol. Obama, citing the proximity of the Israeli elections, said he won’t meet Netanyahu during his visit to Washington; neither will Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry, who will both be traveling at that time.

As criticism of the announced speech mounted, Netanyahu said he was determined to speak to Congress over what he sees as the threat posed by Iran.

On Wednesday, Kerry intensified the criticism of the Israeli leader, saying his judgment on the issue “may not be correct here.” That followed Rice, the national security adviser, telling PBS’ Charlie Rose that Boehner’s invitation to Israel’s prime minister — and Netanyahu‘s acceptance of it — have “injected a degree of partisanship” that is “destructive to the fabric of the relationship” between Israel and the U.S.

Boehner rejected that assertion Thursday.

“The American people, and both parties in Congress, have always stood with Israel. Nothing and no one should get in the way of that,” he said. “And that’s why it’s so important for the American people to hear what Prime Minister Netanyahu has to say about the grave threats that they’re facing.”

Netanyahu’s speech to Congress would coincide with the final stretch of negotiations the U.S. and its allies are engaged in with Iran. Many members of Congress want to impose further sanctions on the Islamic republic, a move that would likely doom the talks.

But Netanyahu’s speech has also created a divide in Congress, where Democrats, including some of Israel’s strongest allies, have expressed displeasure. Some Democrats have said they will boycott the speech.

The Associated Press reports that sending Rice and Power to AIPAC may ease — or worsen — tensions with Israel. The news agency adds:

“U.S. officials had floated the idea of sending a non-Cabinet level official to the event to show the administration’s deep displeasure with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next week, in which he will argue against an Iran deal.

“In their as-yet unscheduled appearances at the AIPAC conference that runs from Sunday to Tuesday, Rice and Power will stress the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and the administration’s commitment to Israel’s security, according to American officials.

“But, they will also make the administration’s case for the ongoing negotiations with Iran before an audience of more than 16,000 pro-Israel activists that is likely to be hostile to the talks and deeply concerned by growing animosity between Obama and Netanyahu and their top aides over the prime minister’s speech and his opposition to one of the president’s signature foreign policy goals.”

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In Video: The Great Llama Drama Of 2015

By Eyder Peralta on February 26th, 2015 | Last updated: February 26, 2015 at 7:04 pm

A pair of llamas on the loose in Sun City, Ariz., riveted the nation this afternoon.

The major cable news networks — CNN, Fox, MSNBC — broke into their news coverage for chopper footage showing a black llama and a white llama running through parking lots and boulevards while being chased by a bunch of guys:

Eventually, more men with lassos joined the chase:

And the black llama was cornered and, much to the dismay of Twitter, was captured:

But the white llama was still holding on to the dream:

The llama escaped a few lasso attempts from men on foot. But then, they brought in the pickup truck and the “Great Llama Drama of 2015″ came to an end:

And everybody thought:

(By the way: Per The Associated Press, this all happened in Maricopa County. There’s no word on whether these llamas were pets.)

Update at 6:27 p.m. ET. Therapy Llamas:

The AP reports that the escaped llamas were working at a retirement home. The wire service adds:

“The fugitive llamas were part of a trio that were making a therapy visit to elderly residents at GenCare SunCity at The Carillons. Executive Director Jill Parsons said it was the first time the facility had hosted the llamas.

“The animals bolted when their handlers took them outside for a bathroom break.

“Parsons declined to name the llamas’ owners, saying that they were somewhat embarrassed by the whole ordeal. Their televised breakout quickly inspired a Twitter account and several hashtags.”

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South Korea Decriminalizes Cheating, Shares Of Contraceptive Companies Rise

By Jasmine Garsd on February 26th, 2015 | Last updated: February 26, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Extramarital sex is no longer a crime in South Korea, giving shares of contraceptive companies a boost.

On Thursday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court struck down a decades-old law that made adultery a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.

NPR’s Anthony Kuhn tell our Newscast unit that “roughly 100,000 people have been convicted of adultery since the law was passed in 1953, but conviction rates have recently fallen to below 1 percent.”

Still, The Guardian reports there is “a deep vein of traditionalism” in the country. The adultery law, the newspaper says, was passed with the stated purpose of protecting women at a time when the country was largely dependent on agriculture and women had few property rights. But changes in the economy and sexual mores made the law feel obsolete to many South Koreans.

Last year, South Korea blocked a Korean version of the extramarital-hookup site Ashley Madison. Earlier Thursday, Fusion interviewed Ashley Madison founder Noel Biderman, who says he is interested in returning to the country.

Two of the court’s nine judges involved in the Thursday ruling voted to uphold the law, saying decriminalization would encourage affairs and debauchery.

The New York Times reports that “more than 5,000 people who have been indicted on adultery charges since that 2008 ruling can now seek a new trial or, if they have not been convicted, demand that the charges be dropped.”

Share prices for leading condom brand Unidus were up nearly 15 percent, the daily limit on the country’s Kosdaq market. And shares of Hyundai Pharmaceutical, which makes morning-after birth control pills and pregnancy tests, rose 9.7 percent.

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Banksy’s Murals Turn Up In Gaza Strip

By Krishnadev Calamur on February 26th, 2015 | Last updated: February 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Banksy’s work is now in the Gaza Strip.

The artist, who uses public spaces for his often-provocative murals, posted images that he said were of art he created in the Gaza Strip, along with a two-minute video of life in the Palestinian territory, titled “Make this the year YOU discover a new destination.”

Here are some of the murals, which you can also see on Banksy’s own website.

Banksy writes about this image:

“A local man came up and said ‘Please — what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website — but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”

And on his website, he writes about the mural below: “Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons — they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day.”

Banksy is known for his political art that is often provocative. And these images, and the video below, are likely to have supporters as well as detractors given that they deal with the impact last year’s fighting between Hamas, which runs Gaza, and Israel had on the territory.

The two-minute video has a line that reads: “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful — we don’t remain neutral.”

The artist also posted one of the murals in Gaza on Instagram:

A publicist for the artist, whose identity is not known, released a statement to The New York Times that said:

“I don’t want to take sides. But when you see entire suburban neighborhoods reduced to rubble with no hope of a future — what you’re really looking at is a vast outdoor recruitment center for terrorists. And we should probably address this for all our sakes.”

Banksy’s work has previously appeared in the West Bank and other parts of the world, including his native U.K. In 2010, the artist worked on the opening sequence for The Simpsons that featured an Asian sweatshop.

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