NPR News

Analysts Point To Several Factors In Wheldon's Death

Oct 18, 2011

When the race cars began to collide Sunday on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Dr. Terry Trammell immediately muted his television. He watched in silence to focus on the signs of injury based on car positions and how the safety crew was responding. When he saw the helicopter arrive, he knew that someone was severely injured. Dan Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, was pronounced dead two hours later.

Yes, the drug war has created an image problem. But Mexico has launched an aggressive publicity blitz to try to attract more tourists, and it seems to be succeeding.

Even President Felipe Calderon is involved in the full court press to tout the wonders, delicacies and marvels of Mexico to potential visitors.

On the PBS program The Royal Tour of Mexico, Calderon serves as the on-camera guide for TV host Peter Greenberg. The president leads a zip-line tour across a rain forest, rappels into a cave, climbs Mayan ruins and snorkels along a coral reef.

As Republican presidential candidates gird for their eighth debate, this one in Las Vegas, Nev., Tuesday evening, a central question is: how will the Herman Cain phenomenon shape the event?

With the one-time pizza company CEO near or at the top of the GOP field depending on which poll you consult, he's likely to draw more attention from the other candidates at the debate than was true in any of their previous meetings. The two-hour debate will be carried by CNN at 8 pm ET.

As Mark has reported, BlackBerry users faced a text messaging outage for three days straight last week. Yesterday, BlackBerry offered some customers $100 in free apps as an apology.

States across the country continue to fight the spread of a dangerous new drug: bath salts.

They aren't anything like those soothing crystals you pour into the tub — they're synthetic stimulants, so-called designer drugs that cause paranoid, psychotic, often violent behavior in users.

Bath salts can still be purchased legally in some states and, in some cases, over the Internet.

One of the federal government's few success stories when it comes to policing corporate crime in recent years comes from a post-Watergate law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA.

Prosecutors have used the law to get more than $1 billion in bribery fines out of huge companies like Siemens and DaimlerChrysler.

But now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing back: It has hired former Justice Department leaders to make the case that the law is out of date.

Critics: Law Has Huge Consequences

"The Marine Corps is ending its controversial ban on bracelets honoring U.S. troops killed in combat," Marine Corps Times is reporting.

Since Gallup started asking Americans in 1969 whether use of marijuana should be legal, most have said no. But in a Gallup poll released yesterday, half of Americans said the government should legalize pot use.

That is a record high.

Here's Gallup's historical chart for the question:

And here's how they characterize the shift in public opinion:

President Obama's bus tour rolled into Virginia on Tuesday afternoon, after a day and a half in North Carolina.

The president has been using the tour to promote his jobs plan and to criticize an alternative plan put forward by Senate Republicans.

Another Day, Another Diner

Earlier Tuesday, the president stopped at Reid's House Restaurant in Reidsville, N.C., bypassing the special — spaghetti and Texas toast — in favor of a cheeseburger and sweet tea.

As we've seen before this year, when a "haboob" rolls over a city the results can be awesome — and not in a good way if you're caught in it.

Monday afternoon in Lubbock, Texas, a massive dust storm turned day into night in less than a minute. Check this video from local TV station KLBK and The Associated Press (which loops once).