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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Tough Turkeys Are Taking Over A California Town

You talking to me? (A turkey on New York's Staten Island; who's probably just as intimidating, if not more, than those in California.)
Jonathan Fickies Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:59 am

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Book Reviews
11:13 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Karen Russell's 'Vampires' Deserve The Raves

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:39 pm

I don't have a good track record when it comes to raving about Karen Russell. Last year, along with my two fellow judges, I nominated Russell's novel, Swamplandia!, as well as two other finalists, for the Pulitzer Prize. Result? The Pulitzer Board made headlines by deciding not to give out the award in Fiction. Nevertheless, I rave on: this time about Russell's new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

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The Two-Way
11:06 am
Thu February 21, 2013

In Wal-Mart's Earnings Report, A Lesson On The Tax Code

A Walmart store in Paramount, Calif. in November of 2012.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:31 am

The New York Times points out something rather interesting about an otherwise mundane business story. Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter earnings report tells the tale of how changes in the tax code has both helped corporations and hurt them.

As the Times puts it, during the fourth quarter of last year, "the tax code gave and the tax code took away."

The paper explains:

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Sen. Graham Says 4,700 Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

U.S. "Predator" drone over Afghanistan in Jan. 2009.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:09 pm

We've all heard that drone strikes directed against al-Qaida and other militants have been on the rise, but now Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has put a number on deaths by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle: 4,700.

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, rattled off the death toll during a talk he gave to the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, S.C., Tuesday afternoon.

"We've killed 4,700," Graham said.

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The Salt
10:20 am
Thu February 21, 2013

This Music Is Bananas (Really)

Making a banana piano is easy with the MaKey MaKey.
Jay Silver/Flickr

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 10:26 am

Fresh produce has never been hipper.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Pew: U.S. Catholics Divided On Future Of The Church

A silhouette of St. Peter's statue in front of St. Peter's Basilica is seen from the Vatican Gardens.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

Catholics in the United States are divided over what they want from their next pontiff, a new poll from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds.

While a majority (58 percent) say it would be "good" if the next pope allows priests to marry and 60 percent said it would be good if the new pope is from the "developing world," that majority narrows when they asked a broader question.

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Around the Nation
10:03 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Chicago Kids Say They're Assigned To Gangs

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:55 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll take a trip to Puerto Rico. The economy is struggling, but the music there is thriving. We'll hear more about that in just a few minutes.

But first, we turn to Chicago, where the recent shooting death of honor student Hadiya Pendleton has put that city's battle with gun violence, especially affecting the youngest victims, back into the national headlines.

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Music
10:03 am
Thu February 21, 2013

More Than Pretty Views Behind Puerto Rico's Music

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:55 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now we are going to turn our attention to Puerto Rico. That's where our colleagues at MORNING EDITION went recently for an in-depth reporting trip. They talked about the island's difficult economy, the many people leaving the island looking for opportunities elsewhere, and how all of that is affecting day-to-day life in the U.S. commonwealth.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Want To Be In The Dark? Death Valley Is Among 20 Recommended Places

The Racetrack area in Death Valley National Park, which boasts one of the darkest night skies in the U.S.
Dan Duriscoe National Park Service

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 10:29 am

Hearing that the International Dark Sky Association has declared that Death Valley National Park is now the world's largest "international dark sky park" sent us in search of other places that the organization recommends if you really like "star-filled nights."

The association, which tries to "call attention to the hazards of light pollution," has recognized:

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It's All Politics
9:37 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Failure To Ratify: During Amendment Battles, Some States Opt To Watch

George Washington is depicted addressing the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in this painting by Junius Brutus Stearns. Presumably, no representative from Rhode Island is in the picture; Rhode Island boycotted the gathering and originally rejected the Constitution.
AP

Mississippi has received lots of attention this week for finally having ratified the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. But the state is hardly alone in being slow about blessing some long-established national principle.

After a sufficient number of states have ratified an amendment, it can feel like a moot point for legislatures to give belated approval to laws that are already in effect.

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Politics
9:28 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Former Social Security Boss On The Real Problem

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:55 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, another family is grieving in Chicago after another young person was killed by gun violence this past weekend. Today we're going to bring you some very blunt, powerful perspectives from young people affected by the violence that you might not have heard. This from our colleagues with the public radio program "This American Life." And that's coming up later in the program.

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Shots - Health News
9:26 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Hospitals Clamp Down On Early Elective Births

Waiting may be hard, but it's worth it.
iStockphoto.com

For decades, doctors have been warned about the dangers of delivering babies early without a medical reason. But the practice remained stubbornly persistent.

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World
9:02 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Corruption Reigns In Spain; King's Son-In-Law Accused Of Embezzling

Iñaki Urdangarin, Duke of Palma and the Spanish king's son-in-law, is accused of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds.
Manu Mielniezuk AP

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 8:26 am

There is no end, it seems, to revelations of corruption in Spain, exacerbated by the country's economic crisis. The latest scandal threatens to topple the pedestal on which Spain's royals have long stood.

The newest suspect is the king's son-in-law, who is accused of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds and faces a judge this weekend.

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The Two-Way
8:46 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Existing Home Sales Rise Again; 'Seller's Market Is Developing,' Realtors Say

A "for sale" sign in San Francisco last summer.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Sales of existing homes rose 0.4 percent in January from December and were up 9.1 percent from January 2012, the National Association of Realtors reports.

The trade group also says "a seller's market is developing and home prices continue to rise."

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Thu February 21, 2013

In A Swirl Of Humanity, A Chance Encounter With A Saint

Gyanesh Kamal, a Hindu saint, attends the Kumbh Mela on the banks of the Ganges River in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. The gathering is the largest religious festival in the world.
Anoo Bhuyan NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:49 am

Kurt Vonnegut once said, "What makes life worth living are the saints. ... They can be longtime friends or someone I meet on a street. They find a way to behave decently in an indecent society."

And so it is with Gyanesh Kamal, a man I met at India's Kumbh Mela, one of the oldest festivals on Earth. To the uninitiated, this spiritual spectacle is a discombobulating din of prayers, loudspeakers and pilgrims so ceaseless it disorients the senses.

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The Salt
8:35 am
Thu February 21, 2013

More Antioxidants In Your Diet May Not Mean Better Health

The flavonoids in coffee may have health benefits, but preventing stroke may not be one of them.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 10:34 am

Antioxidants in foods are good for you, so more should be better, right?

Evidently not.

In a new study, people who ate more antioxidants overall didn't lower their risk of stroke and dementia in old age. That flies in the face of earlier research that found that the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables reduce stroke and dementia risk.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Thu February 21, 2013

L.A. Hotel Where Body Was Found In Water Tank Has 'Long, Dark History'

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, which advertises "low monthly rates."
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:44 am

  • From KPCC: Chris Nichols speaks with Susanne Whatley about the Cecil Hotel

(Feb. 22, 7:15 a.m. ET: Scroll down for an update. "The water's safe, authorities say.")

The gruesome discovery this week of a young woman's body inside a rooftop water tank at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is not the Cecil's first brush with such notoriety, as Southern California Public Radio's KPCC reports.

Chris Nichols, associate editor at Los Angeles Magazine, told KPCC about the hotel's "long, dark history."

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Shots - Health News
7:23 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Medical Waste: 90 More Don'ts For Your Doctor

Scans shouldn't be ordered routinely for kids with minor head injuries, new advice to doctors says.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 2:54 pm

Doctors do stuff — tests, procedures, drug regimens and operations. It's what they're trained to do, what they're paid to do and often what they fear not doing.

So it's pretty significant that a broad array of medical specialty groups is issuing an expanding list of don'ts for physicians.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Winter Storm 'Q' Barrels Through Nation's Midsection

Snow-packed morning commute in Wichita on Wednesday.
Wichita Eagle MCT via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:02 pm

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. State of emergency in Missouri.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency due to the heavy snowfall. The declaration allows state agencies to work directly with county and city emergency responders.

Jennifer Davidson of member station KSMU reports that about 40 people are staying at The Salvation Army in Springfield, which provides beds, blankets, and food for families in need.

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Inflation Was In Check Last Month; Jobless Claims Jumped Last Week

Gasoline prices at a station in Encinitas, Calif., earlier this week.
Mike Blake Reuters /Landov

Consumer prices were flat in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. But a driving force behind that good news has reversed itself since then. According to BLS, gasoline prices fell 3 percent last month. In February, though, gas prices have risen sharply. So watch for next month's BLS report on consumer prices to tell a different story.

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Who's Been Hacked By China? Better Question Might Be: Who Hasn't?

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 6:51 am

This week's stories about alleged cyberthieves based in China have news outlets chasing related angles. Today's include:

-- "Chinese Cyberspies Have Hacked Most Washington Institutions, Experts Say."

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Pistorius Case Dealt 'Serious Blows'; Detective Faces Own Shooting Charges

Oscar Pistorius as he entered a court in Pretoria on Thursday.
Mike Hutchings Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 9:03 am

Update at 10 a.m. ET. New Lead Investigator:

A new lead investigator has been appointed in the murder case against South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, The Associated Press reports from Pretoria. That announcement follows the news from earlier Thursday, as we reported below, that the detective who had been in charge of the case faces attempted murder charges of his own stemming from a 2011 shooting incident.

Our original post:

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The Two-Way
5:19 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Book News: Even Mark Twain Has A Shirtless Picture On The Internet

A photo of Mark Twain from the 1880s.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 4:50 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Open Culture dug up an old picture of Mark Twain, who clearly did not heed his own (possibly apocryphal) advice: "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
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Around the Nation
5:07 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Birds Of Different Feathers Flock Together

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A rooster, a mallard, and a white duck walked into a pond and into a beautiful friendship. A white duck with a limp, a rooster nicknamed Cocky and a mallard have settled down together at a pond on the grounds of a retirement community in White Rock, South Carolina. The State newspaper reports the trio has captured the imagination of residents there, who can't get enough of the birds of different feathers flocking together. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:03 am
Thu February 21, 2013

New Jersey Man Breaks Arcade Record

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Middle East
3:43 am
Thu February 21, 2013

A Visit To A Christian Community In Syria

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:47 am

Syria's minority Christians are caught in the middle of the country's 23-month conflict. Many members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East are fleeing Syria. Those who stay say they fear they will be targeted by Islamist militants — a growing force among rebels fighting President Assad's regime.

Business
3:43 am
Thu February 21, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:55 am

Sony has sold about 77 million PlayStation 3s since its launch in 2006, starting at $500 each. The new model is expected to be cheaper, and it should be available in time for the holidays. The company says the PlayStation 4 will focus on social networking features and cloud-based games.

All Tech Considered
3:14 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Amid Lawsuits, Aereo Brings Broadcast TV To The Internet

Aereo allows users to connect to a distant antenna — a tiny device that acts like an old set of rabbit ears — and watch broadcast TV channels on their computer, tablet or smartphone. Currently the service is available only in New York City, and it's embroiled in legal complications.
Source images from iStockphoto.com, composite by Camila Domonoske

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 3:52 am

An antenna or a provider: For nearly all Americans, those are the only two ways to access live network TV. Anyone within range of a transmitter can hook up rabbit ears to tune in to ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and other broadcasters, while cable or satellite subscribers get local channels through their subscription.

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Asia
1:39 am
Thu February 21, 2013

An Indonesian Extremist Trades Rifle For Spatula

Convicted ex-terrorist Mahmudi Haryono recounts his experiences while sitting at a table at the restaurant where he works in Semarang, Indonesia. The restaurant is one of three founded by social entrepreneur and reformed radical Noor Huda Ismail, to help ex-jihadis in Indonesia reintegrate into society.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:02 am

Tucked away in a back street of Semarang, a city in Indonesia's Central Java province, is a tiny, four-table restaurant. In the cramped kitchen, Mahmudi Haryono whips up a plate of ribs — lunch for two customers.

He brings it out and serves it to two Indonesian soldiers in olive drab uniforms.

Haryono is smiling and cool as a cucumber. But he acknowledges that after getting out of jail a few years ago, serving men in uniform set butterflies aflutter in his stomach.

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It's All Politics
1:06 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Defense Cuts May No Longer Be Political Sacred Cow

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:17 am

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that the automatic spending cuts due to hit the Pentagon and other branches of government next week will damage U.S. national security.

In a letter to Congress, he said those cuts would put the military on a path toward a "hollow force." But the warnings don't appear to be moving the needle with lawmakers or the American public.

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