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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Edison's Talking Dolls Can Now Provide The Soundtrack To Your Nightmares

Thomas Edison's talking dolls were reportedly pretty robust, but their miniature phonographs were another story.
Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:34 pm

Back in 1890, Thomas Edison gave us the world's first talking dolls. Today, the glassy-eyed cherubs that are still around stand about 2 feet tall; they have wooden limbs and a metal body; and they sound supercreepy. (If you're looking for a soundtrack to your nightmares, listen to the audio story above.) Edison built and sold about 500 of them back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing them possible for the first time in decades.

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National Security
3:11 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Self-Declared Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Texas Shooting

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Religion
3:11 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Texas Shooting Sheds Light On Murkiness Between Free, Hate Speech

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Author Interviews
3:11 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Pedro Martinez On 2004 Red Sox: 'We Were A Laughing Group'

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

U.S.
3:11 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

From Oakland To Baltimore, Lessons Learned From Cities Of Unrest

Public memorials, like the one at the scene where Freddie Gray was arrested, have become sites to commemorate other deaths of unarmed black men in similar police encounters across the country.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:54 pm

The images from Baltimore of demonstrations, police in riot gear, looting and outbreaks of violence are familiar to some other cities after encounters with police ended in death for unarmed individuals — primarily black men.

Officials say what comes from those tragic encounters can be important lessons about policing and moving forward.

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Economy
3:11 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

In Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis, There Are No Easy Solutions

Protesters gather April 30 Outside of Puerto Rico's Capitol building in San Juan to oppose Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla's budget proposal. The plan would raise taxes to help cover the state's massive debt.
Ricardo Arduengo AP

The island of Puerto Rico is many things: a tropical paradise, a U.S. territory and an economic mess. After years of deficits, state-owned institutions in Puerto Rico owe investors some $73 billion. That's four times the debt that forced Detroit into bankruptcy two years ago. The bill is now due.

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Sports
3:11 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

St. Louis Rams Consider Move To Los Angeles

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's All Politics
3:11 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

New Jersey Pension Lawsuit Piles On Gov. Christie's Rough Week

New Jersey's pension system is more than $80 billion in the red. Gov. Christie mostly blames past governors for sticking him with this bill. "I'm like the guy who showed up for dinner at dessert. ... And I got the check," he said earlier this year.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

It's been a tough week for New Jersey Gov. and possible Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie.

One of his former allies pleaded guilty and two others were indicted for allegedly creating a traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge as political retribution.

Now, New Jersey's highest court is set to hear arguments over one of Christie's signature accomplishments: his pension reform deal.

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Goats and Soda
2:17 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Virtual Volunteers Use Twitter And Facebook To Make Maps Of Nepal

Kathmandu Living Labs' earthquake site collects data about conditions and needs. Each blue dot represents the number of reports of help wanted — medical, food, water or shelter — near Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Living Labs

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:15 pm

The village of Melamchighyang needs 100 blankets.

The remote area of Hyolmo has many injuries, and only two nonprofit groups are providing "limited aid."

Two girls from Germany are missing in Langlang Valley.

People are stranded in Kyanjin Gompa.

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It's All Politics
2:17 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Obama Laces Up To Tout Asian Trade Deal At Nike

President Obama walks away from Marine One in his Nikes on Sunday. He heads to Nike Headquarters later this week.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:24 pm

President Obama says he wants consumers around the world buying more products stamped, "Made in the U.S.A."

That's one reason he's pushing a controversial Asian trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Obama has chosen a curious setting to make his pitch for the trade agreement this week. He'll be speaking Friday at the Beaverton, Ore., headquarters of the Nike Corporation.

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Parallels
1:55 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

It's No Joke: Venezuela Cracks Down On Comedians

Venezuelan comedian Laureano Marquez performs a stand-up routine at a theater in Caracas last year. Marquez says the government is now cracking down on comedians who make jokes about the government and the country's economic problems.
Christian Veron Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:11 pm

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The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

New French Rules Would Expand Surveillance Of Terrorism Suspects

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 2:01 pm

French lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament have voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill legalizing broad surveillance of terrorism suspects. The legislation, which must still be approved by the country's Senate, has been criticized as highly intrusive.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley tells our Newscast unit:

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Parallels
1:13 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

London's Dominance Becomes A British Election Issue

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:11 pm

Nearly every country in the world has its major hub city, often the capital, with smaller cities feeding into it. The United Kingdom takes this structure to a whole new level. London is one of the richest cities in the world, and its population is the size of the next six British cities combined.

A global hub, London completely dominates the political, cultural and economic life of the U.K. to an extent rarely seen elsewhere. The U.K. has struggled with this imbalance for decades. This Thursday's election is highlighting the divide.

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NPR Story
12:16 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Reporter's Notebook: Veteran Baltimore Journalist Jayne Miller

The boarded CVS Pharmacy is seen at Pennsylvania and West North avenues in West Baltimore on May 4, 2015. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is visiting Baltimore today to meet with local leaders, as things are slowly getting back to normal in the city.

The city has lifted its curfew, National Guard Troops are pulling out and businesses, including CVS, are saying they will rebuild.

But tensions are still running high in parts of the city, as evidenced yesterday after police arrested a black man. Rumors were running rampant that police had shot the man in the back as he was running away.

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NPR Story
12:16 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

What Is Cinco De Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, but more widely celebrated in the U.S. This parade celebration was in May 2012 on Central Park West in New York City. (Paul Stein/Flickr Creative Commons)

Today is Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May), a Mexican holiday traditionally celebrated with colorful costumes, singing, dancing and lots of drinking.

The day is well known in U.S., but as we sip on margaritas, do we know exactly what we’re celebrating?

The holiday commemorates a Mexican victory over the French in Puebla on May 5, 1862.

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NPR Story
12:16 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

The End Of An Era: Looking Back On Letterman's Legacy

US President Barack Obama tapes an appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman" in New York on May 4, 2015. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 1:23 pm

When David Letterman makes his last wisecrack as host of the “Late Show” on May 20th, he’ll be concluding an accomplished 33-year career that included more than 6,000 late-night broadcasts and almost 20,000 guest appearances.

His shows received 16 Emmy Awards awards and a staggering 112 Emmy Award nominations.

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans talks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the host’s legacy and final weeks.

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Goats and Soda
11:22 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Natural GMO? Sweet Potato Genetically Modified 8,000 Years Ago

Now that's a big root: Sweet potatoes aren't tubers, or thickened stems, like potatoes. Sweet potatoes are roots — swollen and packed with starch.
U-ichiro Murakami Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 12:51 pm

The first genetically modified crop wasn't made by a megacorporation. Or a college scientist trying to design a more durable tomato. Nope. Nature did it — at least 8,000 years ago.

Well, actually bacteria in the soil were the engineers. And the microbe's handiwork is present in sweet potatoes all around the world today.

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Tue May 5, 2015

New Fighting Along Yemen Border Closes Schools And Airports

An airport official walks past a military aircraft destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes, at the Sanaa International airport in Yemen on Tuesday. Destroyed runways prevent aid from being delivered.
Hani Mohammed AP

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 2:05 pm

The fighting in Yemen has expanded from the major cities and ports to a border region with Saudi Arabia. Shelling by Shiite Houthi rebels in the area of Najran in northwestern Yemen has forced Saudi Arabia to suspend school and halt flights into the local airports, according to news reports.

This latest flashpoint comes nearly six weeks into a Saudi-led air campaign to stop the Houthis and their allies, security forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, from taking control of Yemen.

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The Salt
11:20 am
Tue May 5, 2015

'Tales' Of Pig Intelligence, Factory Farming And Humane Bacon

Author Barry Estabrook says pigs can be taught to play computer games and recognize themselves in a mirror.
W. W. Norton & Company

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:59 pm

Journalist Barry Estabrook knows how to enjoy a juicy heritage pork chop. He'll also be the first to tell you what intelligent, sensitive creatures pigs are. "I had no idea how smart they were until I got in the research," Estabrook tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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Book Reviews
11:20 am
Tue May 5, 2015

'One Of Us' Examines The Damaged Inner Terrain Of Norwegian Mass Shooter

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:12 pm

Columbine; Port Arthur, Australia; The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin; Newtown — the list goes on and on. And, by now, the elements of this type of massacre have become ritualized: usually one, but sometimes more than one, deeply disaffected person, almost always male, who is heavily armed with guns and/or explosives, targets the innocent. In the aftermath, which sometimes includes a trial, the crucial question of "Why?" is never really answered. Instead, most of us are left to wonder how any human being, however twisted, could be capable of such horror.

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The Two-Way
10:42 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Attorney General Meets With Freddie Gray's Family In Baltimore

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 1:10 pm

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is in Baltimore Tuesday where she met with the family of Freddie Gray, the black man whose death led to riots in the city and charges against six police officers.

"This is a flashpoint situation," Lynch told a group of officials after she met privately with Gray's family. "We lost a young man's life and it begins to represent so many things."

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Shots - Health News
9:42 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Spore Wars Help Fend Off Life-Threatening Bacterial Infections

C. difficile bacteria, shown in yellow, are common in hospitals and nursing homes, and very difficult to treat.
Paul Gunning Science Source

Infections with the bacteria Clostridium difficile are a big problem, killing 29,000 people a year. Many of those people got infected while in the hospital. And antibiotics often don't work.

So how about this: Take spores from a harmless version of C. difficile and use them to fight off the bad bugs?

That's just what researchers at the VA hospital in Hines, Ill., did.

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The Two-Way
9:41 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee Announces Presidential Run

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 10:56 am

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Tuesday that he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

"It seems perfectly fitting that it would be here that I announce that I am a candidate for president of the United States of America," he told a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Hope, Ark., which is also Bill Clinton's hometown.

Huckabee, who previously ran for the presidency in 2008, hosted a television program on Fox News until January, when he ended the eponymous show to consider his political future.

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Shots - Health News
9:36 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Whooping Cough Vaccine's Protection Fades Quickly

Vials of Tdap vaccine sit on a table at a Solano County, Calif., health fair in August 2010.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Lately, Californians have been focused on a measles outbreak that got its start at Disneyland. But in the last five years, state health officials have declared epidemics of whooping cough twice — in 2010 and in 2014, when 11,000 people were sickened and three infants died.

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Book Reviews
9:28 am
Tue May 5, 2015

No Easy Answers In 'The Book Of Aron'

Courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf

"My mother and father named me Aron, but my father said they should have named me What Have You Done, and my uncle told everyone they should have called me What Were You Thinking." These are the first words of Jim Shepard's Holocaust-themed novel The Book of Aron, the reader's first introduction to the book's chronically depressed and likely doomed protagonist. Aron Różycki is a young boy when the story begins; by the end, after the Germans have occupied Warsaw and forced the city's Jews into a ghetto, he's older in ways that time can't measure.

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Tue May 5, 2015

One Chart That Explains A Big Issue Behind Baltimore Protests

Where you grow up matters.
Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 1:51 pm

When you talk to the people of west Baltimore, you'll hear a lot about how bleak the future looks for the children from that part of the city. The protests were certainly driven by the issue of policing, but they were also informed by the tough economic conditions of west Baltimore.

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NPR History Dept.
9:03 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Do We Really Need Libraries?

Bedford Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library — a gift from Andrew Carnegie, 1905.
New York Public Library

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 12:02 pm

In New York City, supporters of public libraries say that respect for — and repair of — the libraries is long, well, overdue.

A new campaign, Invest in Libraries, puts forth that in the past 10 years, the city government has reduced funding for public libraries by nearly 20 percent and 1,000 workers or so have been trimmed from the payroll. The campaign calls on the city to increase its support in various ways, such as restoring $65 million in operating funds.

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Africa
8:22 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Unannounced And Unprecedented: Kerry Makes A Stop In Somalia

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 9:18 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story will test the ability of the British to keep calm and carry on.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

London is the home of a new work of art. It is part of a competition.

INSKEEP: It's outdoors.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Tue May 5, 2015

'Vorrh' Takes A Dizzying Trek Into The Dark Heart of Fantasy

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 11:36 am

Before Brian Catling's debut novel, The Vorrh, was published in his native England in 2012, he'd already racked up an impressive list of credentials — just not as a fiction writer. His poetry, sculpture, paintings and performance-art pieces have been getting international acclaim for decades.

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The Two-Way
6:37 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Obama Nominates Marine General As Next Joint Chiefs Chairman

Gen. Joseph Dunford, commandant of the Marine Corps, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March.
Molly Riley AP

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 10:09 am

(Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET.)

President Obama has nominated Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. as the country's next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Speaking at the White House, Obama praised Dunford as one of the most admired officers in the military.

Dunford, 59, is currently the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Previously, he served as the commander of the allied forces in Afghanistan and he commanded the 5th Marine Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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