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Planet Money
1:18 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Will Robot Nannies Save Japan's Economy?

The key to Japan's economy?
Courtesy of Cartoon Network

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 7:40 am

More than half of all Japanese women quit their jobs after giving birth to their first child. That's more than double the rate in the U.S., and it's a problem for Japan's economy.

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The Record
10:05 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

20 Years Ago, Tupac Broke Through

Tupac Shakur on the set of Poetic Justice.
Everett Collection / Rex USA

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:37 pm

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The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

New Photos Show 'Real Face' Of Tsarnaev, Police Sgt. Says

Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19 as he emerged from a boat stored in a Watertown, Mass., backyard. The red dot of a police sharpshooter's laser sight can be seen on his forehead.
Mass. State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy Boston Magazine

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 9:47 pm

(Updated 11:45 p.m. ET)

Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy, who released images that depict the capture and arrest of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has reportedly been "relieved of duty," Boston Magazine reported Thursday night.

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Arts & Life
4:31 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Civil War's First African-American Infantry Remembered In Bronze

Boston's Shaw Memorial sits at the corner of Beacon and Park Streets.
Andrea Shea WBUR

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:37 pm

The Shaw Memorial, by American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, stands 11 feet by 14 feet, like a giant bronze diorama, on the corner of Boston Common. In it, 40 or so black soldiers march to war alongside their white colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, on horseback.

The statue memorializes the first African-American volunteer infantry unit of the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, which was crushed 150 years ago Thursday in a battle at Fort Wagner in South Carolina.

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Around the Nation
3:49 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

South Boston Transformed In Whitey Bulger's Absence

Four decades after James "Whitey" Bulger first rose to power, "Southie" is not what it used to be. The once blue-collar, Irish-Catholic neighborhood is now an ethnic melting pot that has been invaded by young urban professionals who have gentrified the area and smoothed out its once-rough edges.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:31 pm

When the FBI brought reputed mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger back to his old stomping ground of South Boston to be tried in federal court after 16 years on the lam, he must have done a double take. The neighborhood that Bulger is accused of terrorizing with murders and extortion is booming.

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The Two-Way
3:42 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Detroit Files For Bankruptcy

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 2:32 am

(This story last updated at 6:45 p.m. ET)

The city of Detroit has filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, seeking Chapter 9 protection from creditors and unions owed some $18.5 billion in debt and liabilities.

In a news conference on Thursday, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he didn't want to go into bankruptcy, but the city will now "have to make the best of it."

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

GOP Won't Defend Ban On Veterans Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

U.S. Army Captain Michael Potoczniak (right) embraced his partner of 10 years Todd Saunders as they obtained their marriage license at City Hall in San Francisco on June 29.
Stephen Lam Reuters /Landov

House Republicans, who defended in court the Defense of Marriage Act only to see it struck down by the Supreme Court last month, have now decided not to try to defend a similar law that denies veterans' benefits to married, same-sex couples.

BuzzFeed, which broke the news Thursday of the GOP's decision, reports that:

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Shots - Health News
3:11 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

For A Long And Healthy Life, It Matters Where You Live

It's not just living longer that matters. It's living healthier longer.
iStockphoto.com

It's not just how long you live that matters. It's healthy life expectancy – the additional years of good health you can expect once you hit 65.

And by that measure, a new analysis shows it makes a lot of difference where Americans live.

Hawaiians are lucky in more than their idyllic weather and gorgeous scenery. Seniors there can expect a little more than 16 years of healthy life after 65. Women in Hawaii can expect more than 17 years.

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The Salt
2:46 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

These Pictures Might Tempt You To Eat Bugs

Gordon recommends dusting the deep-fried tarantula spider with smoked paprika.
Chugrad McAndrews Reprinted with permission from The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 8:18 am

Oh, Jiminy Cricket, you've never looked more scrumptious.

The grasshopper kabob is one of several enticing images of insect cuisine included in the new, revised edition of The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, by avowed entomophagist (i.e., bug eater) David George Gordon.

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Code Switch
2:45 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

S.C. High Court Moves To End Saga Of 'Baby Veronica'

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that custody for Baby Veronica, shown here in a October 2011 provided by her adoptive mother, Melanie Capobianco, be transferred from her biological father to the Capobiancos.
Melanie Capobianco AP

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 3:47 pm

UPDATE July 24, 2013: The South Carolina Supreme Court denied a petition for rehearing and ordered Baby Veronica's adoption by the Capobiancos finalized, as reported by NPR's Nina Totenberg.


Less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court sent an unusually messy child custody case back to the lower courts, South Carolina's Supreme Court has ruled to end the long-running saga of Baby Veronica, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Florida Community Asks Mermaid To Swim Elsewhere

Jenna Conti, also known as Eden Sirene, before being asked to stay out of the water.
Courtesy of Bob Abruzzese

Jenna Conti just wants to swim.

In her custom-made mermaid costume.

At the Fishhawk Ranch community pools in Tampa, Fla.

But rules are rules, the local development district board says. And the rules say no swim fins in the pools.

So Conti, or Eden Sirene as she's known when she swims, has been left high and dry.

She "just wanted to really show some magic here in Fishhawk," Conti says.

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Environment
2:24 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Wildfires Will Worsen, And Further Strain The Forest Service

An aircraft lays down a line of fire retardant between a wildfire and homes in the dry, densely wooded Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs, Colo., on June 13.
John Wark AP

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 9:13 pm

The deaths of 19 firefighters near Yarnell, Ariz., this summer have focused a lot of attention on just how bad wildfire has become in the West. And research predicts the situation is going to get worse.

Over the past decade, the region has seen some of the worst fire seasons on record. In addition to lives lost, the fires have cost billions in terms of lost property and in taxpayer money spent fighting the blazes.

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Around the Nation
2:24 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Where Are All Of Wyomings Escalators?

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Turning now to escalator news, specifically Wyoming escalator news.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There is a reported paucity of moving staircases in the Cowboy State, and that shortcoming has been posited as an argument for Wyoming to have fewer than its allotted pair of senators.

CORNISH: The argument goes like this: Why should a state with only two escalators get two senators?

BLOCK: Well, for some insight, we turn to the self-proclaimed escalator editor of the Casper, Wyoming Star-Tribune.

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U.S.
2:24 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Furloughs Cut Into Classtime At U.S. Military Bases

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:31 pm

Civilian furloughs have begun at U.S. military installations worldwide. The mandatory days off without pay, prompted by the current round of budget cuts known as sequestration, are looming over Defense Department-run schools that serve the children of military families. For teachers at the nation's most populous Army base, Fort Bragg, cuts mean no new textbooks and a loss of school days.

The Two-Way
2:17 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Sequestration Could Curtail 'Hurricane Hunter' Missions

A WC-130J "Hurricane Hunter"
U.S. Air Force

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:38 pm

Federal furloughs caused by sequestration could ground "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft, depriving forecasters of real-time measurements of storms during what's expected to be an especially active Atlantic hurricane season.

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

EPA, Labor Nominees Confirmed

By 59-40 vote mostly along party lines, the Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed Gina McCarthy as the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

That followed a 54-46 vote early in the day to confirm Thomas Perez as Labor secretary.

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The Salt
2:00 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Sweet And Savory: Finding Balance On The Japanese Grill

Reprinted with permission from The Japanese Grill.
Todd Coleman © 2011

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:31 pm

If you're looking for grilled Japanese food, chef and cookbook author Harris Salat recommends you head over to Fukuoka, a city where yatai, or mobile food carts, line up by the riverside.

The carts became popular after World War II, Salat says, when Japanese were looking to rebuild their lives and find new sources of income.

"You can kind of pull up a stool, and there's a cook, you know, grilling yakitori very carefully over charcoal," he tells Melissa Block, host of All Things Considered. "It's a lot of fun."

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Shots - Health News
1:37 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

World's Biggest Virus May Have Ancient Roots

Pandoraviruses were discovered lurking in the mud of Chile and Australia, half a world apart.
courtesy of Chantal Abergel and Jean-Michel Claverie

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 4:14 am

Researchers have discovered the largest virus ever, and they've given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus.

In mythology, opening Pandora's Box released evil into the world. But there's no need to panic. This new family of virus lives underwater and doesn't pose a major threat to human health.

"This is not going to cause any kind of widespread and acute illness or epidemic or anything," says Eugene Koonin, an evolutionary biologist at the National Institutes of Health who specializes in viruses.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Man Who Hoped To Testify Against Whitey Bulger Is Found Dead

Stephen Rakes as he arrived at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boston on June 12 for the first day of the "Whitey" Bulger's trial.
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:31 pm

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who claimed that notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger forced him — at gunpoint — to sell a liquor store in 1984, was found dead Wednesday in Lincoln, Mass.

According to the Middlesex (Mass.) District Attorney's office, "there were no obvious signs of trauma. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death."

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Pop Culture
12:46 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Maria Bamford: A Seriously Funny Comedian

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 1:05 pm

It's almost uncomfortable to laugh at Maria Bamford's comedy, because so much of it is about really serious problems she has: OCD, bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts. She's been hospitalized several times. But you have to laugh, because she's that funny.

In addition to the difficulties from which she suffers, Bamford — who has a new comedy CD out called Ask Me About My New God! — incorporates her family into much of her material. She's close to both her parents, in part, she says, because they've been through so much together.

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Politics
12:04 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

The United States Of Dynasty: Boom Times For Political Families

Liz Cheney walks off the stage with her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, after addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2010.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 1:23 pm

Another day, another political dynasty.

This latest one is taking shape in Wyoming, where Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced Tuesday that she's challenging incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi in the 2014 Republican primary.

Her announcement is a fitting prelude to the next four years, when voters will witness America's political royalty in its full glory.

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Scientists: Pitch In July Is Slower Than Molasses In January

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:28 pm

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have some long awaited test results: After 69 years, they have captured on video a drop of pitch, also known as bitumen or asphalt.

With a camera trained on a glass funnel containing a generous dollop of the substance, so thick that it appears as a solid at room temperature, it finally happened.

You can see the dramatic moment in this video above, which proves conclusively that pitch is indeed a liquid, according to Nature.

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The Two-Way
11:56 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Justice's Rules Mean Reporter Need Not Testify, Lawyer Says

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency. The case that prosecutors want journalist James Risen to testify in involves an alleged leak of information by a former CIA agent.
Greg E. Mathieson Sr. MAI/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:48 pm

A lawyer for New York Times reporter James Risen is citing new Justice Department guidelines about when to subpoena journalists to support his argument that Risen is covered by a common-law reporter's privilege and need not testify about a former CIA agent who allegedly served as his source.

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Book Reviews
11:40 am
Thu July 18, 2013

The Only Surprise In Rowling's 'Cuckoo's Calling' Is The Author

J.K. Rowling recently revealed herself to be the author of the mystery novel The Cuckoo's Calling.
Ben Pruchnie Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 1:41 pm

Call it "The Mystery of the Missing Book Sales" — and I don't think we'll be needing to bring Sherlock Holmes in to solve this one. In April, a debut mystery called The Cuckoo's Calling was published. It appeared to be written by an unknown British writer named Robert Galbraith, who was identified on the book jacket as a former military cop now working in private security.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Indian Police Still Searching For Principal In Poisoning Case

Indian school children hold candles as they pay tribute to school children who died from food poisoning in Saran district of Bihar state.
Narinder Nanu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 12:18 pm

By Thursday afternoon, the number of children poisoned by their school lunch at a rural school in Bihar, India had risen to 23.

As we reported, doctors suspect the food the children were given was laced with a toxic insecticide.

Today, we get word that the principal at the school, who was tasked with overseeing the school meals program, has absconded and police were searching for her.

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All Tech Considered
10:36 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Tech Companies Issue Loud Call For Surveillance Transparency

A Ukrainian activist protests the NSA Internet surveillance program.
Sergei Supinsky Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 10:44 am

Apple, Google, Microsoft and a broad coalition of major tech companies are making a loud call for greater government disclosure of digital communications monitoring.

In a letter out today, an alliance of 63 companies and groups are calling for dramatically increased transparency around U.S. government surveillance efforts. This comes as the companies — and individual Americans — continue to grapple with recent revelations of a sweeping surveillance program led by the National Security Agency.

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The Two-Way
10:28 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Study: U.S. Viewed As 'Favorable', China As Rising Superpower

A Chinese boy passes a photo of China's first aircraft carrier during an exhibition entitled "Scientific Development and Splendid Achievements" in Beijing in 2012.
Feng Li Getty Images

More people around the globe view the United States positively than do China, but most of them also believe that Beijing is set to eclipse Washington as the world's dominant Superpower, according to a new Pew Research survey.

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The Salt
9:58 am
Thu July 18, 2013

How To Better Protect Farmworkers From Pesticides: Spanish

Farmworkers harvest and package cantaloupes near Firebaugh, Calif.
Gosia Wozniacka AP

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 11:02 am

Advocates for farmworkers, especially those who grow America's leafy greens and fresh vegetables, are pushing the government to do more to protect those workers from exposure to pesticides.

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Parallels
9:47 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Global Survey: China Will Surpass U.S. As Leading Superpower

In a global survey, many respondents believe that China has overtaken or eventually will overtake the U.S. as the world's leading superpower. Chinese are shown here walking in Shanghai's financial district in March.
Carlos Barria Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 11:56 am

China has supplanted or soon will supplant the U.S. as the world's leading superpower. That's the headline from a survey by the Pew Research Center, which put this proposition to people around the world.

In 23 of the 39 countries surveyed, majorities or pluralities said China has overtaken or will overtake America.

In China, the verdict was clear: Two-thirds believe their country already has supplanted or eventually will supplant America.

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The Two-Way
9:28 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Level In Months

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 9:33 am

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 24,000 last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. At 334,000, the number is at a 10-week low.

The Associated Press reports that the drop may be due to seasonal factors. The wire service adds:

"Still, the broader trend has been favorable. The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, fell 5,250 to 346,000.

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