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Middle East
1:17 am
Fri July 12, 2013

In Southern Syria, Rebels Say U.S. Support Is Critical

Free Syrian Army fighters after a battle against government troops in Zaizoon, near Dera'a, on Feb. 16.
Shaam News Network Landov

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:38 pm

The battle for the city of Dera'a in southern Syria has become a test of an American pledge to give military support to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. After a string of defeats, the rebels have scored rare victories around Dera'a.

But in interviews,rebel commanders passing through neighboring Jordan say those gains could be lost without a dependable arms pipeline and promised U.S. support.

Yasser Aboud, a thin, intense former colonel in the Syrian army, commands the joint operations center for southern Syria.

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Shots - Health News
1:16 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Messy Rollout Of Health Law Echoes Medicare Drug Expansion

Back in 2006, President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt talked with reporters during a trip to Florida, where Bush spoke to volunteers helping seniors sign up for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Mike Stocker AP

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 3:13 am

It hasn't been a good week for the Affordable Care Act. After announcements by the administration of several delays of key portions of the law, Republicans returned to Capitol Hill and began piling on.

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Planet Money
12:53 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Will A Health Insurer Sponsor The Next 'Jackass' Movie?

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 3:13 am

Soon, most Americans will have to buy health insurance or pay a fine. This sounds like a marketer's dream: Captive shoppers directed by the government to buy your product. But when the product you're selling is health insurance, there are some pitfalls. Your customers may not love you. In fact, they may despise you.

"I think it may be too little too late for health insurance companies to now come out, like, 'Hey,we were just kidding the last 50 years!,'" says James Percelay, co-founder of the viral marketing firm ThinkModo in New York.

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Code Switch
12:48 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Mary Hamilton, The Woman Who Put The 'Miss' In Court

Mary Hamilton was found in contempt of court in Alabama, when she refused to answer questions after the prosecution addressed her only by her first name. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled in her favor.
AP

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 8:58 am

When the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling, its decisions can carry weight for generations. Think about decisions in the civil rights era regarding school segregation and the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama.

As part of our look back on the summer of 1963, we examine another Alabama case that had a subtle effect on the way courts treat defendants.

At a mock trial at Samford University in Birmingham, a student playing the role of a defense attorney questions his client on the stand: "To your knowledge, can a driver turning left turn on a yellow light?"

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Environment
12:46 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Sweeping Parts Of Southern Seas Could Become A Nature Preserve

The "Giant Tabular Iceberg" floats in Antarctica's Ross Sea in December 2011. Under a proposed new international agreement, large sections of the oceans around Antarctica would become protected as a marine preserve.
Camille Seaman Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:37 pm

The area of ocean set aside as a nature preserve could double or triple in the coming days, depending on the outcome of a meeting in Germany. Representatives from 24 countries and the European Union are considering setting aside large portions of ocean around Antarctica as a protected area. And the deal may hinge on preserving some fishing rights.

There are two proposals on the table: One would set aside huge parts of the Southern Ocean around East Antarctica; the other would focus on the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand.

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StoryCorps
8:03 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

A Father And Daughter 'Keep The Faith' During Cancer Fight

Faith in 2008, on her fifth birthday.
Courtesy of Jerris Marr

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 3:13 am

For the past three years, StoryCorps' Legacy program has given people facing serious illness the chance to record interviews with loved ones and caregivers. Recently, StoryCorps expanded the program to include children.

In 2007, Faith Marr was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer on her spine. She was 4 years old. That year she had her first of eight surgeries, replacing her vertebrae with titanium rods. Doctors were uncertain about her chances of survival.

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Prison Sterilization Report Prompts Call For Inquiry In California

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 1:18 pm

California lawmakers are calling for an investigation into allegations that 148 female prisoners underwent tubal ligation surgeries without the state's required approval. Some inmates said they had been pressured into undergoing the sterilization procedure, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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The Salt
4:01 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Are Antibiotics On The Farm Risky Business?

These pigs, newly weaned from their mothers, are at their most vulnerable stage of life. They're getting antibiotics in their water to ward off bacterial infection.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:25 pm

You've probably seen the labels on meat in the store: "Raised without antibiotics." They're a selling point for people who don't like how many drugs are used on chickens, turkey, hogs and beef cattle.

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Author Interviews
3:46 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Lessons In Bigotry And Bravery: A Girl Grows Up In 'Glory Be'

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:55 pm

In July, NPR's Backseat Book Club traveled to Hanging Moss, Miss., where Gloriana June Hemphill, better known as Glory, is just an ordinary little girl. But this is no ordinary summer — it's 1964 and the town has shut down the so-called "community" swimming pool to avoid integration.

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The Record
3:42 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Toshi Seeger, Wife Of Folk Singer Pete Seeger, Dies At 91

Toshi Seeger with her husband, folk singer Pete Seeger, in 2009.
Bennett Raglin Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 4:30 pm

Anyone who worked closely with Pete Seeger knew the legendary folk singer's wife. For seven decades, Toshi Seeger organized his festivals and handled his travel and correspondence. The social activist died Tuesday. She was 91.

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The Salt
3:38 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Why Doctors Oppose Force-Feeding Guantanamo Hunger Strikers

To raise awareness about force-feeding, Yasiin Bey, the musician and actor formerly known as Mos Def, in a video voluntarily underwent the same procedure administered to prisoners who refuse solid food in political protest while they are held in Guantanamo Bay.
Reprieve/Asif Kapadia

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 4:26 pm

For centuries, the act of refusing food has turned human bodies into effective political bargaining chips. And so it's no surprise that the prisoners desperate to leave Guantanamo after, in some cases, nearly a dozen years there, have turned to hunger strikes on and off since 2005 to try to win their release.

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

House Passes Farm Bill Without Food Stamps

House Speaker John Boehner discusses the farm bill vote at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

House Republicans have approved a farm bill sans food stamps, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the measure for the first time in 40 years.

The 216-208 vote was largely on party lines, with no Democrats supporting it. Twelve Republicans also voted against it.

The decision to cleave food stamps — formerly called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, from the rest of the farm bill gives Republicans a victory after GOP lawmakers in the House turned down the full measure last month.

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Shots - Health News
3:26 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Failure To Communicate Between Doctors And Men About PSA Test

At least they're talking.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 7:11 am

The PSA test has been dissed a lot lately. The nation's preventive medicine task force, for one, says the test is so unreliable in figuring out who's at risk for deadly prostate cancer that most men shouldn't bother getting one.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

'A $34 Million Waste Of The Taxpayers' Money' In Afghanistan

Photos depict scenes at the $34 million command center in Camp Leatherneck, completed in November. U.S. troops will never use the facility, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says.
SIGAR

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 4:22 pm

"On a recent trip to Afghanistan, I uncovered a potentially troubling example of waste that requires your immediate attention."

That's one of the opening lines of a letter the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction sent to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week. In it, Special Inspector General John Sopko detailed how a contract worth $34 million was used to build a facility U.S. troops will never use.

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All Tech Considered
3:06 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Anonymous Person Posts $500,000 Bond To Free Texas Teen

An undated photo of Justin Carter, who's facing a felony "terroristic threat" charge in Texas.
Courtesy of Jack Carter

Justin Carter, the 19-year-old who was arrested and jailed in February after making a Facebook comment about a school shooting, is out of jail. An anonymous donor posted the $500,000 bond to allow Carter to go home. Carter plans to stay near New Braunfels, Texas, to await his trial on a felony terroristic threat charge.

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Politics
2:53 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Resurrected Farm Bill Passes Without Food Stamps Component

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The farm bill is back. Three weeks ago, the House surprised Hill watchers when Democrats and Republicans alike voted against the bill. Well, today, they passed it - narrowly. In today's bill, though, a huge component was missing. As NPR's Tamara Keith reports, House leaders stripped out the section of the bill that deals with food stamps.

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World
2:53 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Residents Search For Answers After Deadly Train Explosion

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:55 pm

In Lac Megantic, Quebec, locals are waiting impatiently for answers following Saturday's train explosion that left 50 people dead. The provincial government in Quebec is blasting the railroad at the center of this disaster for responding too slowly — and requesting more aid from Canada's federal government to help the rural town rebuild.

Environment
2:43 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Wastewater Wells, Geothermal Power Triggering Earthquakes

A geothermal energy plant near the Salton Sea in California taps deep underground heat from the southern San Andreas Fault rift zone. A new study ties the amount of water pulled from the ground by the geothermal plant here to the frequency of earthquakes.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:55 pm

The continental U.S. experiences small earthquakes every day. But over the past few years, their numbers have been increasing. Geoscientists say the new epidemic of quakes is related to industrial wastewater being pumped into underground storage wells.

Now there's new research that reveals two trigger mechanisms that may be setting off these wastewater quakes — other, larger earthquakes (some as far away as Indonesia), and the activity at geothermal power plants.

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Music Reviews
2:11 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Jay-Z Swings Triumphant Then Trivial On 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'

Jay-Z's previous albums include Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. He collaborated with Kanye West for Watch the Throne.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 2:19 pm

Now 43 years old, Jay-Z has become the Jay Gatsby of hip-hop: a man with a checkered background playing host to endless parties, celebrating excellence, the good life and himself. It's no wonder that he was asked to oversee the music for director Baz Luhrmann's amusement park ride version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's romantic fantasy.

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The Salt
2:04 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Taste Of Grandma's Kitchen: We Hack An Old Ketchup Recipe

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 1:23 pm

Editor's Note: This post is part of All Things Considered's Found Recipes project.

Although Heinz may dominate the ketchup scene, 100 years ago it wasn't uncommon to make your own at home. So why bother doing so now, when you can just buy the bottles off the shelf? At least one man, Jim Ledvinka, was motivated by nostalgia.

"Oh, yes — we remember my grandmother making ketchup. And it was quite a sight to behold," Ledvinka says.

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Health Care
1:59 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Former Insurance Exec Offers An Insider's Look At Obamacare

Pill bottles
iStockphoto.com

On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. It's aimed at making health insurance more affordable and reducing the overall costs of health care.

Some parts of the law have already gone into effect: Insurers can't impose lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, like hospital stays; children can stay on their parents' plan until they're 26; children with pre-existing conditions can't be denied coverage; and all new insurance plans must cover preventive care and medical screenings.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Report: Microsoft Helped NSA, FBI Get Around Encryption

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announces Microsoft's purchase of Skype in 2011, in San Francisco.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 3:53 am

The latest in The Guardian's series of reports on secret U.S. electronic surveillance efforts claims to detail the extent of Microsoft's cooperation with the National Security Agency, with the tech giant reportedly allowing agents to circumvent its own encryption system to spy on email and chats, as well as its cloud-based storage service.

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Death And Tax Evasion: The Strange Case Of Sergei Magnitsky

Sergei Magnitsky's mother, Nataliya Magnitskaya, holds a photo of her late son in 2009.
Alexander Zemlianichenko Associated Press

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 1:32 pm

A Russian court found whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion on Thursday, ending a convoluted case that caused a diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington. It gets even more bizarre given the fact that the man on trial died in 2009.

The posthumous conviction is unprecedented in modern times – even in a country with a history of show trials. But it's not entirely unheard of throughout the ages.

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Shots - Health News
12:38 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

For Youths, Fewer Homicides But Still Many Deaths

Homicide remains a leading cause of death for young people, even as rates drop. In Chicago, a teenage boy grieves next to a memorial where Ashley Hardmon, 19, was shot and killed on July 2. Gunmen fired while she was chatting with friends.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 7:14 am

Homicide rates among teenagers and young adults have dropped to the lowest level in 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That's good news, but it still means about 4,800 young people under age 25 were murdered in 2010.

Teenagers and young adults remain more likely to be killed than older adults, and homicide is a leading cause of death in the young, behind motor vehicle accidents.

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Parallels
12:15 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

China Unveils Massive Building — With Fake Beach, Fake Sun

A view of the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China. The structure — located in a suburb of Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province — is home to an indoor beach and a faux Mediterranean village.
Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 2:07 pm

The Chinese are calling the New Century Global Center, which opened in late June in Chengdu, the world's largest stand-alone structure.

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

True, Blue Planet Found Orbiting Nearby Star

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 12:37 pm

Move over, Earth. There's another blue planet in town — or at least in our corner of the Milky Way.

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope deduced for the first time the atmospheric hue of a planet outside our own solar system — and it turns out to be a "deep cobalt blue."

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Parallels
11:58 am
Thu July 11, 2013

If Egypt's Political Crisis Looks Bad, Check Out The Economy

Egyptian drivers wait in long lines outside a gas station in Cairo on June 26. Along with a stuttering economy, traffic-clogging street protests and a crime wave, fuel shortages have come to symbolize the disorder of the post-Mubarak Egypt.
Hassan Ammar AP

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:00 pm

The spotlight on Egypt has focused on the the political fallout from the military coup that toppled an elected but deeply unpopular government. But if you think Egypt's politics are a mess, just consider the economy.

Tourism, a major revenue generator, has been hurting since the Arab uprisings of 2011 that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Foreign investment has shriveled. Unemployment in many industries has soared. Inflation has risen, making everyday goods more expensive. And there's a black market in currency and fuel.

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The Two-Way
11:52 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Bernanke's Comments Lift Stocks To Record Highs

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 3:29 pm

Stocks surged Thursday after the chief of the Federal Reserve sent signals that the central bank wasn't in a hurry to stop helping the economy. When the markets closed, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was at a record high. Other U.S. indexes were also up, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rose nearly 170 points to a record 15,460.92.

Update at 5 p.m. ET: We've updated some figures in this post to reflect the markets' closing.

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Shots - Health News
11:45 am
Thu July 11, 2013

After FDA Approval, Drugmakers Often Miss Study Mark

Even after drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the safety studies continue.
iStockphoto.com

The prescription drugs you take spend plenty of time on the drawing board before they end up in your medicine cabinet. But the research work doesn't necessarily stop then.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Why We Aren't Assuming Snowden Is On That Jet To Havana

The more northerly route that Aeroflot 150 normally takes.
FlightAware.com

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 1:57 pm

Twitter has been abuzz with speculation that "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden is on Aeroflot Flight 150, which is headed to Havana from Moscow as we write.

What's the supposed evidence?

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