NPR News

The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

House Cancels Vote On $659 Million Border Security Bill

Texas Parks and Wildlife Wardens patrol the Rio Grand on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mission, Texas, earlier this month.
Eric Gay AP

House GOP leaders pulled the plug on a $659 million bill to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America.

The vote on the legislation had been scheduled for this afternoon on the final day before the start of a five-week summer break for Congress.

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Africa
1:13 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Kidnapping Is A Lucrative Business For Al-Qaida, Documents Show

A neighborhood resident walks through a building in Timbuktu, used by al-Qaida-linked jihadi fighters for more than a year. Last year, The Associated Press found al-Qaida documents in the building.
Rukmini Callimachi AP

A recent report by journalist Rukmini Callimachi details al-Qaida's strategy of kidnapping Europeans and demanding large ransoms — and how those ransoms are a key source of funding for al-Qaida operations.

"Europe is funneling these enormous sums of money to al-Qaida," Callimachi, a foreign correspondent with The New York Times, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "They're reluctantly and unwillingly becoming al-Qaida's main patron."

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Television
1:09 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Maggie Gyllenhaal Is 'The Honorable Woman': A Series Both Ruthless And Rewarding

Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Nessa Stein in the SundanceTV original series The Honorable Woman.
Des Willie Courtesy of Sundance

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 1:34 pm

Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in a new eight-part miniseries that couldn't be more timely: It's about a woman who finds herself embroiled in the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

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The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Kentucky Buoys Noah's Ark Park With Millions In New Tax Breaks

Mike Zovath, co-founder of Answers in Genesis ministries, poses for photos at the Ark Encounter headquarters, in 2011. Kentucky has granted the project tens of millions in tax incentives.
Dylan Lovan AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 1:33 pm

Kentucky has approved $18 million in new tax breaks for a controversial Christian theme park that is to feature a 510-foot-long replica of Noah's Ark.

Maryanne Zeleznik of member station WVXU in Cincinnati reports that the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the incentives for the Ark Encounter, to be built in Williamstown.

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NPR Story
12:36 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Widow Of American Ebola Victim Speaks Out

Decontee Sawyer, wife of Liberian government official Patrick Sawyer, a U.S. citizen who died from Ebola after traveling from Liberia to Nigeria, cradles her 1-year-old daughter Bella at her home in Coon Rapids, Minn., Tuesday, July 29 (Craig Lassig/AP).

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 1:08 pm

The Ebola outbreak that’s killed more than 670 people in West Africa has hit too close to home for some Americans.

Decontee Sawyer lives in Minnesota, which is home to Liberia’s largest diaspora community. Her husband, a Liberian government official, recently contracted the virus in Liberia and became the first American to die from Ebola in this outbreak.

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NPR Story
12:36 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

District Profile: Virginia's 7th Congressional

Republican candidate David Brat (left), who defeated Rep. Eric Cantor in the primary, will face Democrat Jack Trammell in November. (Facebook)

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 1:19 pm

Eric Cantor officially stepped down as House Majority Leader today. He will be replaced in the leadership by Kevin McCarthy of California after losing in a primary for his Virginia congressional seat.

Cantor’s district, Virginia’s 7th congressional, is the focus of this week’s installment of District Profiles, looking at congressional races across the country. Republican candidate David Brat, who defeated Cantor in the primary, will face Democrat Jack Trammell.

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NPR Story
12:36 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Facebook Targets Zambia With Free App

Facebook-founded Internet.org aims to increase Internet accessibility on a global level. (Internet.org)

Altruism or good business? Today, Facebook launched a free mobile app in Zambia.

The company says people who can’t afford Internet service in the poor African country will have a new way to find jobs and get health advice on pregnancy and childbirth.

It’s the latest in Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, a larger push to reach millions of potential customers in developing countries.

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Flight Delays In China Leave Travelers Feeling Squeezed

Passengers packed the waiting hall Tuesday at Hongqiao Railway Station, which services a terminal at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 1:38 pm

Air travel in some of eastern China's busiest airports has slowed to a crawl over the past week or so, stranding thousands of travelers and igniting debate about the increasing competition between military and civilian flights for the country's airspace.

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Africa
10:53 am
Thu July 31, 2014

'Africa Is Champion': Reporting From A Changing Continent

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 11:28 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
10:41 am
Thu July 31, 2014

CIA Chief Apologizes To Sens. Feinstein, Chambliss Over Computer Intrusion

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 11:48 am

Ending a contentious and very public spat between two branches of government, Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Saxby Chambliss because some CIA officers improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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Shots - Health News
10:36 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Hospitals Fight Proposed Changes In The Training Of Doctors

Chief Medical Resident Dr. Julia Vermylen, right, critiques interns during an "intern boot camp," held at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital in June.
Stacy Thacker ASSOCIATED PRESS

An influential report that urges sweeping changes in how the federal government subsidizes the training of doctors has brought out the sharp scalpels of those who would be most immediately affected.

The reaction also raises questions about the sensitive politics involved in redistributing a large pot of money –mostly from Medicare — that now goes disproportionately to teaching hospitals in the U.S. Northeast. All of the changes recommended would have to be made by Congress.

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Goats and Soda
9:20 am
Thu July 31, 2014

How Will You Die?

Steve Cutts for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 12:50 pm

So let's cut to the chase. Depending on where you live on Earth, cooking dinner, having sex and going to the bathroom are either three of life's many pleasures, or they're the riskiest things you can do.

Why?

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Scientists Say The Moon Is Hiding A Lumpy Middle

The full moon rises above the castle of Somoskoujfalu, northeast of Budapest, Hungary, earlier this month.
Peter Komka AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 12:48 pm

What shape is the moon? When it's full, we'd all agree that it looks perfectly round. But careful measurements by a team of scientists have shown that's not the case.

Like many an Earth-bound observer, it turns out that our nearest neighbor in space is hiding a slight bulge around the waist. It's less like a ball and more like a squashed sphere, with a lump on one side.

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds State's Controversial Labor Law

A farmer drives his tractor past the Wisconsin State Capitol during a rally in March of 2011.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Handing Gov. Scott Walker an important election-year victory, the Wisconsin Supreme court on Thursday upheld a controversial labor law championed by the Republican governor.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the Supreme Court also upheld the state's voter ID law and one providing some benefits to gay couples. The paper adds:

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The Salt
8:01 am
Thu July 31, 2014

How To Order Pizza From A Nuclear Command Bunker

Getting a pizza delivered to a remote nuclear missle base is tricky. Unfortunately, the Air Force won't let you use its helicopters.
Dan Gage/USAF

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 10:33 am

I spent months working with the U.S. Air Force to get access to a remote underground nuclear bunker in Nebraska for our radio series on America's missile forces. There was only one question left to answer before I left.

What did I want for lunch?

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The Two-Way
7:54 am
Thu July 31, 2014

20 Million Gallons Later, UCLA Water Main Finally Plugged

Water filled the stairs to a parking structure adjacent to the main entry doors of Pauley Pavilion, home of UCLA basketball, after a 30-inch water main burst on nearby Sunset Boulevard Tuesday.
Matt Hamilton AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 12:07 pm

After 30 hours, work crews have finally succeeded in shutting off the last of the water that gushed from a broken water main near the University of California, Los Angeles campus.

There was so much water that police and fire teams had to rescue people from underground parking garages that became flooded by the estimated 20 million gallons that spewed from the 30-inch pipe.

Albert Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said the main was completely shut off at 9 p.m. PT on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Conflict In Gaza: What You Need To Know Today

The Palestinian sister of Mohammed al-Daeri, 25, mourns during his funeral in Gaza City on Thursday.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:41 am

Perhaps signaling a widening of its offensive in Gaza, Israel called up 16,000 reservists on Thursday. That means Israel has activated 86,000 reservists since the conflict started.

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The Two-Way
5:51 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Dutch, Australian Experts Reach MH17 Debris Field In Ukraine

An Ukrainian army soldier stands guard next to the cars of the OSCE mission in Ukraine at a check-point in the village of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has some good news this morning:

Remember, experts from Australia and The Netherlands have been trying to get to the debris field of the downed Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine for a week. Every time they attempted a trip, they were thwarted by heavy fighting.

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The Two-Way
5:02 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Argentina's Default: 5 Headlines That Tell The Story

Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof speaks during a press conference at the Argentina Consulate in New York on Wednesday.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:45 am

Yesterday in New York, representatives from Argentina and some of its creditors emerged from negotiations to announce that they had failed.

As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, this meant that the country had fallen into default for a second time in more than 12 years. The repercussions of the default are unpredictable, but it could mean that the country is shut out of the international debt markets, perhaps pushing interest rates and inflation higher.

With that here are five headlines that tell the story of Argentina's default:

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Politics
4:33 am
Thu July 31, 2014

With Congress Set To Adjourn, Border Crisis Remains Unresolved

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
4:33 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Life In Gaza Deteriorates As Water, Power Shortages Intensify

Palestinian children fill plastic bottles and water containers with drinking water from a public tap in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip on July 27.
Ashraf Amra APA/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 11:54 am

At a U.N.-run school where she was taking shelter from the fighting, Fulla Abed Rabou washed clothes in an outdoor sink.

City pipes deliver some water. But with thousands of people taking refuge at schools, much more has to be trucked in. Still, there is sometimes not enough, says Merit Hietanen, a U.N. employee managing water deliveries to the schools.

"One of the major issues is the tanks in the actual schools: The capacity is not big enough," she says. "So if we're tankering water, even if we manage to do it twice a day, they will run out."

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Environment
4:33 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Groundwater Is Drying Up Fast Under Western States, Study Finds

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Another battle is brewing over water in the West that could put farmers against city and suburb dwellers.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Strange News
3:55 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Pushing A Brussels Sprout Up A Mountain — For A Cause

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 4:33 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:36 am
Thu July 31, 2014

In Kansas City, Obama Brushes Off House GOP's Vote To Sue Him

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
3:32 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Why Hamas Is A Bigger Challenge For Israel Now Than In The Past

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 4:33 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
3:12 am
Thu July 31, 2014

What Somebody's Mummy Can Teach You About Heart Disease

Eduard Egarter-Vigl (left) and Albert Zink (right) sample Italy's mummified iceman for genetic analysis in November 2010. Previous research suggests he, too, was predisposed to heart disease.
Samadelli Marco/EURAC

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 12:47 pm

We think of heart disease as a modern scourge, brought on by our sedentary lifestyles and our affinity for fast food.

But a few years ago, a team of researchers discovered something puzzling — CT scans of Egyptian mummies showed signs of hardened, narrow arteries. Further scans of mummies from other ancient civilizations turned up the same thing.

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NPR Story
3:07 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Fighting Continues To Block Investigators From MH17 Wreckage

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:54 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
3:07 am
Thu July 31, 2014

New Bill Aims To Hold Colleges Accountable For Campus Sex Crimes

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
5:50 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

House Approves $16 Billion Plan To Improve Health Care For Vets

The House easily approved a deal to help veterans hammered out by Florida GOP Rep. Jeff Miller (left) and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 6:42 pm

The House voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would address widespread problems with health care for veterans.

The vote in favor of the $16.3 billion package was 420 to 5.

The problems veterans have had obtaining care has drawn national attention in recent weeks. A White House investigation into problems at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals found "significant and chronic systemic failures."

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The Two-Way
5:05 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

House Votes To OK Lawsuit Against Obama

Speaker John Boehner makes his way to the House chamber on Wednesday
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 5:17 pm

The House voted Wednesday to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama, claiming that he has overstepped the limits of his executive authority.

The vote to allow Speaker John Boehner to sue Obama was 225 to 201. Five Republicans voted no, while no Democrats voted in favor of pursuing the lawsuit.

Republicans say that Obama exceeded his constitutional authority by unilaterally deciding to delay the employer mandate for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

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