Scott Neuman

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

He brings to NPR years of experience as a journalist at a variety of news organizations based all over the world. He came to NPR from The Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked as an editor on the news agency's Asia Desk. Prior to that, Neuman worked in Hong Kong with The Wall Street Journal, where among other things he reported extensively from Pakistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also spent time with the AP in New York, and in India as a bureau chief for United Press International.

A native Hoosier, Neuman's roots in public radio (and the Midwest) run deep. He started his career at member station WBNI in Fort Wayne, and worked later in Illinois for WNIU/WNIJ in DeKalb/Rockford and WILL in Champaign-Urbana.

Neuman is a graduate of Purdue University. He lives with his wife, Noi, on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Good morning.

Our early headlines:

Tulsa Shooting Suspects Set For Arraignment

Syria Cease-Fire Appears On Brink Of Collapse

Some of the other stories in the news today:

Saying it is "outraged" by reports of Syrian troops firing into a refugee camp across the border in Turkey, the U.S. State Department this afternoon said it strongly condemns the latest actions by the regime of President Bashar Assad and that things are getting worse in that country — not better, as had been hoped for when the regime agreed to a plan for a cease-fire that is supposed to begin Tuesday.

"Based on what we're seeing today, we are not hopeful" about the prospects for a cease-fire, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland added.

With $540 million (wait — it just went up to $640 million!) on the line, it's not surprising that Alabama resident Lance Larka is willing to drive across the state line for a chance to win the record Mega Millions jackpot.

Lester Wilson doesn't think of himself as a Republican or a Democrat. He's not a card-carrying Libertarian or Green, either.

The one group he does belong to is the 40 percent of Americans who identify as independents — now a larger chunk of voters than any single political party, according to a recent Gallup survey.

"I like my independent status. I think voting for just one party is a betrayal of my civic duty," says the 38-year-old maintenance worker from Asheville, N.C.

Neighborhood watch programs have long been the eyes and ears of local law enforcement, keeping tabs on suspicious behavior. But the recent shooting death of an unarmed Florida teenager by a watch volunteer may incite debate over how to balance vigilance and action.

When an Ohio high school student killed three classmates in a shooting rampage several weeks ago, it once again brought a national spotlight to a problem widely believed to be epidemic in schools.

The reality, experts say, is exactly the opposite: Violent crime in schools has decreased significantly since the early 1990s.

Clarification at 1 p.m. ET, March 13:

In its statement announcing that Rev.Marcel Guarnizo was being placed on administrative leave, the Archdiocese of Washington said the action was taken because of "credible allegations that Father Guarnizo had engaged in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry." The statement does not link the administrative action to his denial of communion to a lesbian parishioner. It does say that an inquiry is underway "into his actions at the parish."

USS Enterprise, the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is beginning the last deployment in her storied 50-year career on the frontlines of American sea power.

Known as the "Big E", she was among the vessels dispatched to the waters off Cuba during the October 1962 missile crisis with orders from President Kennedy to enforce an air and sea blockade of the island nation.

Syrian activists blamed pro-government militiamen for the latest killing of civilians in the city of Homs. At least a dozen people, including children, were killed, state media confirmed, saying instead that the perpetrators were "armed terrorists."

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 12 people were killed, but the Local Coordination Committee had a much higher figure – 45, according to The Associated Press.

The AP quoted the LCC and the Observatory as saying:

The White House will unveil a report today showing that U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports has dropped by more than two million barrels a day since President Obama took office.

The report shows U.S. imports at 8.4 million barrels a day last year from 11 million barrels a day in 2008. As a percent of all U.S. consumption, foreign imports went from 57 percent down to 45 percent in the same period, the report says.

The Taliban have vowed to avenge the deaths of 16 civilians in Afghanistan, allegedly shot by a U.S. soldier in a rampage through villages near Kandahar.

According to The Associated Press, the Afghan militia on its website called the attack a "blood-soaked and inhumane crime" and the attackers "sick-minded American savages." It promised to seek revenge "for every single martyr with the help of Allah."

William Johnson, a graphic designer by trade, recalls with much bitterness the long, grinding job hunt that followed his 2007 pink slip in Milwaukee.

"There were some people I emailed or called 10 or 15 times," he says. "After a few years of that, not hearing back from people ... slowly but surely I just sort of gave up."

There's been something wacky with the weather this winter, and many forecasters never saw it coming.

Among them was The Old Farmer's Almanac, the quirky, centuries-old mix of historical data, prognostications and folk wisdom. Millions of people consult the almanac, which uses a secret formula to come up with its annual, yearlong weather forecasts, even though meteorologists say it has a dubious track record.

Benom Plumb, a 31-year-old music industry executive from Nashville, thinks the country is on the wrong path, and that Ron Paul is the only candidate who can turn things around.

As for the other Republicans, Plumb doesn't mince words: Mitt Romney? Too slick. Rick Santorum? Too religious. Newt Gingrich? Untrustworthy. "They are all liars and cheaters, if you ask me," he says.

Greece: So, What Now?

Feb 21, 2012

Greece is looking more and more like one of those "troubled homeowners" we hear so much about.

It's underwater and struggling to cover debts worth far more than its gross domestic product. So nervous lenders are offering to write down some of those loans in hopes of sending Greece a lifeline and keeping Athens current on its payments.

In return, the country has agreed to put its balance sheet in order, a process that is going to be neither easy nor quick.

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch isn't backing down.

In an email to staff of the besieged Sun tabloid, where ten current and former senior staff have been arrested since November, the 81-year-old media tycoon promised to "build on the Sun's proud heritage by launching the Sun on Sunday very soon.

The email came as Murdoch visited the paper's U.K. headquarters for a meeting with staff. According to the BBC:

More horrific reports out of Homs only a day after the United Nations General Assembly called on President Bashar al-Assad's regime to end its shelling of the city.

Voice of America reports activists say:

... tank fire and artillery shelling hit four neighborhoods in the central protest city Friday which has spearheaded the 11-month uprising.

Both the House and Senate today voted to renew a payroll tax cut that benefits 160 million workers, as well as extending benefits to millions of unemployed Americans.

The Republican-controlled House voted 293-132, followed quickly by a simple majority vote in the Senate.

The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

Workers would continue to receive the 2 percentage-point cut in the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax — as much as $2,200 for high-income earners.

The Associated Press reports:

If you thought privacy settings on your iPhone, iPad or Apple desktop were keeping others from tracking your travels across the Web, think again.

Google Inc. and some advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Safari, the default Apple-supplied browser, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In a story today by Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries, the WSJ said:

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