NPR News

The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Supreme Court Tells Oklahoma To Put Off Executions, Citing Drug Dispute

The execution of three inmates has been put on hold, as the Supreme Court intervenes in a case that involves the controversy over the drugs states use to put people to death. The justices cited the sedative midazolam, which has been used in three executions that did not go smoothly.

The Supreme Court's stay is likely to hold until April, when it will hear arguments from three inmates who say that Oklahoma's execution protocol violates the U.S. Constitution.

The court's order did not elaborate on the reasons or debate behind the move:

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Middle East
2:34 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Jordan Considers Handing Over Prisoner For Hostage Pilot

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Education
2:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

At 100, Dartmouth Grad Still Writing His Class Notes

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Law
2:28 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Judge Throws Out Convictions Of Civil Rights Pioneers, 'Friendship 9'

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Around the Nation
2:25 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Deal May Be In Sight For Pacific Coast Longshoremen

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Parallels
2:25 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Where Is All That Excess Oil Going?

Tankers are berthed beside the Fawley oil refinery on Jan. 7, in Southampton, England. With low oil prices, some traders are buying oil and storing it in tankers, hoping the price will rise soon so they can sell it at a profit.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

There's a term traders use when the price of a commodity like oil has fallen because of oversupply but seems guaranteed to rise again.

It's a market that's "in contango," says Brenda Shaffer, an energy specialist at Georgetown University. "It almost sounds like a sort of great oil dance or something."

And Shaffer says that some oil speculators see an oil market that is in contango in a major way.

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U.S.
2:25 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

End Of Life Care Can Be Different For Veterans

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

The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Live, From Iceland: It's A Hamburger

An exhibit called "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland" now has a webcam devoted to it. The burger was purchased in 2009.
Bus Hostel Reykjavik

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:29 pm

They call it "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland." Purchased more than five years ago, it has been displayed in the Na­tional Mu­seum of Ice­land. Now a webcam has been devoted to the hamburger (with a side of fries), among the last sold by the American company in the country.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:35 pm

The name Junípero Serra is well known in California: Schools and streets are named in his honor, and statues of the 18th century Spanish missionary still stand. But Native American activists are far less enamored with the friar, saying Serra was actually an accomplice in the brutal colonization of natives. They object to Pope Francis' recent announcement that he will canonize Serra when he travels to the U.S. this fall.

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Goats and Soda
12:43 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

India Grows, Russia Shrinks: Mapping Countries By Population

Can you find Australia and Canada? The cartogram, made by Reddit user TeaDranks, scales each country's geographic area by its population. (Click through to see the high-resolution map.)
TeaDranks via Imgur

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:32 pm

World maps distort. It's inherent in their design.

Take a spherical object (the Earth) and try to represent it on a flat plane (paper). Some parts of the sphere are going to get distorted. (On most maps, Canada and Russia get puffed up, while countries along the equator get shrunk.)

Every now and then, though, you stumble across a map that enlightens.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Disability Advocates Fight Disabled Governor

Texas Governor-Elect Greg Abbott listens to questions from the press after a meeting at the White House December 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:18 pm

For the first time since 1987, one of the nation’s governors is in a wheelchair. Texas Governor Greg Abbott won the race by promising to fight the federal government with his literal “spine of steel,” but disability advocates are saying that he hasn’t fought for them.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

$4.5 Million, 30 Seconds, 1 Super Bowl Ad: Priceless?

The Super Bowl ad from the glue maker Loctite involves people dancing with fanny packs. (YouTube)

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:45 pm

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, which means the biggest and most expensive advertising night of the year. Several of this year’s ads are already available online, in part or in full.

Television is far from the only way to advertise during the game these days, so at $4.5 million for 30 seconds, is it still worth it?

Here & Now’s media analyst John Carroll joins host Lisa Mullins to discuss that question and some of this year’s ads.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Brisket Shortage Has BBQ Lovers Gnashing Their Teeth

Drought conditions are forcing ranchers to thin their cattle herds, and that means there’s a shortage of brisket, the front-end cut of beef that’s emblematic of Texas barbecue.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that higher commodity prices have even forced one best-in-state barbecue restaurant to close down recently.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Wed January 28, 2015

2 Israeli Soldiers Killed In Attack Near Lebanese Border

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:00 pm

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded during an attack near the Lebanese border on Wednesday.

Hezbollah, a long time Israeli rival in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the attack and Israel told the United Nations that it would take necessary steps to defend itself.

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Shots - Health News
10:02 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Is It OK To Pay Pregnant Women To Stop Smoking?

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, stillbirth and infant death.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 12:42 pm

Women who smoke while they're pregnant are more likely to have health problems, and their babies are at risk, too. But attempts to get women to stop smoking while pregnant usually fail.

When pregnant women in Scotland got paid to quit, 23 percent of them managed to stop smoking, compared with 9 percent who quit after they got counseling, support calls and free nicotine replacement therapy, according to a study published Tuesday in The BMJ.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Judge Throws Out Friendship 9's Civil Rights-Era Conviction

Five members of the Friendship Nine — Willie Thomas Massey (from left), Willie McCleod, James Wells, Clarence Graham and David Williamson Jr. — sit at the counter of the Five & Dine restaurant in Rock Hill, S.C., on Dec. 17. A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961.
Jason Miczek Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:04 pm

Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET

A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the Friendship Nine, nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961, at the peak of the civil rights movement.

"We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history," Judge John C. Hayes III said before signing the order that vacated their trespassing convictions. (Hayes is the nephew of the judge who handed down the original sentence.) The prosecutor apologized to the eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine who were in the courtroom.

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The Salt
9:08 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

Clean Water Services held a brewing competition in Sept. 2014, inviting 13 homebrewers to make beer from its purified wastewater (as well as water from other sources). Now the company is asking the state for permission for brewers to use its wastewater product exclusively to make beer.
Courtesy of Clean Water Services

Just when we thought craft beer couldn't get any zanier, we learn that Oregonians want to make it with treated wastewater.

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro says it has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its "high-purity" system by turning recycled wastewater into beer.

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Goats and Soda
8:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mr. Taxi Driver, You Are GOING TOO FAST!!!!

One of five stickers pasted in Kenyan passenger vans as part of a Georgetown University study to promote safe driving.
Courtesy of Georgetown University

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:17 pm

The worst traffic accident I've ever seen happened on a highway in Kenya.

A friend and I were returning to Nairobi from Lake Naivasha when the cars in front of us came to a halt. I pulled onto the shoulder and spotted a 15-passenger van — a matatu in local speak — on its side, split open like a coconut. Another matatu was sideways in a ditch, its front end smashed inward. People were stopping, getting out of their vehicles and rushing to help.

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mexico Officially Declares 43 Missing Students Dead

A relative holding a picture of one of the missing students, wipes a tear from her face during a press conference in Mexico, City.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Mexico's attorney general made it official last night: The 43 college students who went missing last fall are dead.

That's the conclusion they've reached based on confessions of the alleged perpetrators and forensic evidence.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Jordan Says It's Willing To Swap Prisoner For Hostage Held By ISIS

Passersby watch a TV news program Wednesday in Tokyo reporting on a video posted on YouTube by extremists that purports to show Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 10:07 am

Jordan says it is prepared to meet the demands of Islamic State militants in order to save the life of a Jordanian hostage.

On Tuesday, the Sunni extremists released a video in which they demanded that Jordan release a woman who was sentenced to death over an attack in Amman that killed 60 people. If the release didn't happen in 24 hours, the militants said, they would kill a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist.

The AP reports:

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Around the Nation
5:56 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mayor Gets Worked Up As Storm Headed Toward New York City

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:09 am

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

The Two-Way
5:11 am
Wed January 28, 2015

As Nor'Easter Lifts, Life Slowly Gets Back To Normal In Hard-Hit Areas

Students play football at the Quad, on the campus of Harvard University on Tuesday in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Maddie Meyer Getty Images

A day after a monstrous winter storm spun its way across the Northeast, life is slowly getting back to normal.

Some residents of Massachusetts are digging out of almost 3 feet of snow. The AP reports that a travel ban has been lifted and Boston's highways are filling up with traffic.

Still, the AP adds:

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NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

New Anti-Austerity Party Gathers Support In Spain

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:04 am

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

NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

White House Won't Seek To End 529 College Tax Break

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:05 am

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

NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Chicago Twins Who Snitched On Drug Cartel Get Reduced Terms

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:13 am

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

NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

No More's Anti-Domestic Violence Spot To Air In Super Bowl

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:09 am

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

NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

First Listen: Israeli Singer Asaf Avidan

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:09 am

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

NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Judge To Exonerate 'Friendship 9' Activists 54 Years After Arrest

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:09 am

Nearly 54 years after their arrest, some of the first civil rights protesters to serve prison time for sitting at an all-white lunch counter were back in court Wednesday. A judge in Rock Hill, South Carolina cleared them of their convictions for trespassing.

In 1961, a group of nine college students from Friendship College walked into McCrory's Five and Dime Drugstore and sat down in protest to legal segregation in restaurants. Blacks were forbidden from sitting at the lunch counter so they were quickly taken to jail.

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Shots - Health News
1:30 am
Wed January 28, 2015

VA Steps Up Programs As More Veterans Enter Hospice Care

A hospital bed is draped with a flag after a veteran died in the hospice ward at St. Albans VA in Queens, N.Y.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:32 pm

Ask Americans if someone in their family served in the military, and the answer is probably no. After all, fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve these days.

But ask if one of their grandfathers served, and you'll likely get a different answer. Between World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, millions of men were drafted into service — and both men and women volunteered.

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Parallels
1:26 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Singing The Blues, A U.S. Envoy Hopes To Boost Ties With Ecuador

Adam Namm (left) is the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador and a member of Samay Blues Band. He performs regularly with the group and says its a way to breakaway from traditional diplomacy.
Alejandro Reinoso for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 10:31 am

Shortly before taking the stage at a bar in Quito, Ecuador's capital, the local band Samay Blues plugs in for a sound check.

Among the audience are a number of Americans. That's because the word is out: U.S. Ambassador Adam Namm will be sitting in on keyboards.

"I'm glad to get out of the office once in a while," Namm tells a patron. "Thanks for coming."

In a region where many left-wing leaders are hostile to the United States, Namm has found a novel way to reach out to his host country.

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