NPR News

Business
12:52 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

This Traffic Backup Brought To You By ...

Commuters in major U.S. cities spend an average of 2.5 days a year stuck in traffic. Some companies are capitalizing on that time and offering drivers money for renting out their bumper space to advertisers.
Damian Dovarganes AP

With the advent of the "sharing economy" and successful peer-to-peer ventures like Airbnb and RelayRides, it is now possible for millions to turn a quick buck by renting out underused assets like a spare guest room or a even a dog that needs walking.

But many of us who endure long car rides to work each day have another asset that we may have been too frazzled, bored or fatigued to appreciate — even though it trails us almost everywhere we go: our car's bumper.

Traffic Problems

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

Vincenzo Nibali Set For Tour De France Victory

Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team, on the podium as he retains his yellow leader's jersey on the penultimate day of the tour.
Pete Goding PA Photos/Landov

It's all over but Sunday's ride down the Champs-Elysees: Italian cyclist Vincenzo Nibali has locked up an unassailable lead in the 2014 Tour de France.

Nibali, 29, is poised to take his first title in cycling's premier event and will become the first Italian to wear the yellow jersey on the final stage from Evry to Paris since Marco Pantani in 1998.

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Parallels
11:14 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Barrel Bomb Attacks Devastate Iraqi Families

Smoke rises from buildings in May after shelling on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which is currently held by anti-government fighters. Rights workers say civilians are being killed by government attacks with so-called barrel bombs.
Sadam el-Mehmedy AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 11:44 am

Human rights groups are accusing the Iraqi government of indiscriminate bombing. Baghdad officials deny that and note they're fighting a Sunni insurgency that commits mass executions and suicide bombings.

Yet rights workers say civilians are being killed by government attacks with so-called barrel bombs — the crude weapons made famous in Syria's current conflict. Barrel bombs are illegal and indiscriminate explosives, packed in things like oil drums or gas cylinders.

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Fresh Air Weekend
10:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Trans Bodies, Trans Selves,' 'Hard Day's Night,' Arthur Allen

Criterion Collection is selling the movie on DVD and Blu-ray.
Courtesy of Criterion Collection

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

'Trans Bodies, Trans Selves': A Modern Manual By And For Trans People: Modeled after the groundbreaking feminist health manual Our Bodies, Ourselves, the book details the social, political and medical issues faced by transgender people.

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Sat July 26, 2014

North Korea Reportedly Tests Short-Range Ballistic Missile

South Koreans at the Seoul train station watch a TV news program showing a June missile launch conducted by the North.
Ahn Young-joon AP

North Korea has fired a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, according to The Associated Press, which quotes an unnamed South Korean official.

The test is described as beginning with a launch in the country's southwest Hwanghae province on Saturday morning and ending when the missile landed off the east coast at the end of a 310-mile flight path.

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History
8:33 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Lover's Letters To President Harding Pushed German Cause

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

Sports
8:33 am
Sat July 26, 2014

NFL Faces Criticism Over Ray Rice Suspension From Ravens

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

Remembrances
8:33 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Bel Kaufman Took Us 'Up The Down Staircase'

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

Digital Life
8:33 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Citizen Evidence Lab Separates Truth From Fiction In Viral Videos

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

Politics
8:33 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Congress Leaves Town Next Week, But Will Anyone Notice?

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

Middle East
8:33 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Is Hezbollah Hesitant To Help Hamas?

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 10:38 am

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

The Two-Way
7:41 am
Sat July 26, 2014

U.N.: Second Black Box Found At Algerian Airliner Crash Site

An image released by the government of Mali shows the scene of the crash, just over the border with Burkina Faso.
Mali Government Xinhua/Landov

United Nations experts said they had recovered a second so-called black box at the crash site of Air Algerie flight AH5017 that went down in the desert in southern Mali.

Reuters says that "initial evidence taken from the remote crash site indicates that the aircraft broke apart when it smashed to the ground early on Thursday morning, making an attack appear unlikely."

The plane was en route from Ouagadougou, the capital of the West African nation of Burkina Faso, to Algiers when it suddenly disappeared from radar.

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All Tech Considered
7:23 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Tech Week: Industry Diversity, Digital Afterlives, Net Neutrality

Twitter released a scorecard showing its workforce — like other major tech firms — is largely male and white.
Jeff Chiu AP

What happened in technology this week, you ask? Here's a roundup of the tech stories reported by NPR and others since you last checked in.

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NPR Ed
7:08 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Learning To Read May Take Longer Than We Thought

Most of what we know — or think we know — about how kids learn comes from classroom practice and behavioral psychology. Now, neuroscientists are adding to and qualifying that store of knowledge by studying the brain itself. The latest example: new research in the journal Developmental Science suggests a famous phenomenon known as the "fourth-grade shift" isn't so clear-cut.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Sat July 26, 2014

U.S. Embassy Compound In Libya Shut Down Amid Fighting

In a photo taken on Thursday, smoke rises from a residential area in Tripoli, Libya. Deadly clashes erupted between Islamist fighters and pro-secular militias earlier this month.
Hamza Turkia Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 7:06 am

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET.

The U.S. has temporarily closed its embassy in Libya and evacuated diplomats amid what is being described as a significant deterioration in security, with rival militant factions battling in the capital, Tripoli.

"Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

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NPR Story
6:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Bobby Patterson's 'Got More Soul,' Heart And Spirit

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 8:33 am

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

Around the Nation
6:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Lost At Sea, Legos Reunite On Beaches And Facebook

These Lego dragons washed up at Bigbury-on-Sea, on the south coast of Devon, England in the late 1990s.
Tracey Williams Lego Lost At Sea

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 9:36 am

Nearly two decades ago, a massive wave struck the Tokio Express, a container ship that had nearly 5 million Legos onboard. The colorful toy building blocks poured into the ocean. Today, they are still washing up on shores in England.

Tracey Williams and her children first happened upon the Tokio Express Legos in the late 1990s. Since then, she's created a Facebook page called — Lego Lost At Sea — where other collectors show off their findings.

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Space
6:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers

Scientists say a brief burst of radio activity has been detected at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. This new report resembles previous activity detected in Australia, which has scientist debating possible causes, including solar flares, blitzars, or something even more mysterious.
Brian Negin iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 8:43 am

Astronomers have a mystery on their hands. Two large radio telescopes, on opposite sides of the planet, have detected very brief, very powerful bursts of radio waves.

Right now, astronomers have no idea what's causing these bursts or where they're coming from. And nothing has been ruled out at the moment — not even the kind of outrageous claims you'd expect to see in tabloid headlines.

Australian Recordings Inspire Curiosity And Doubt

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Sat July 26, 2014

At Washington's Training Camp, Fans Are Split On Name Change

A Washington Redskins helmet lies on the turf at the football team's training facility in Richmond, Va.
AP

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 12:28 pm

Washington, D.C.'s football team has opened its training camp in Richmond, Va., just weeks after trademark registrations for its name were revoked.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Hamas Launches Rockets After Rejecting Gaza Truce Extension

A Palestinian man leans on his car after salvaging usable items from his destroyed house in Shuja'iyya neighborhood in east Gaza City, on Saturday. Gazans are taking advantage of a brief cease-fire with Israel.
Oliver Weiken EPA /Landov

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 1:12 pm

Update at 3:10 p.m. ET.

In a resumption of fighting, Hamas rejected Israel's offer of a four-hour cease-fire extension in Gaza and began lobbing rockets across the border, Israeli officials say.

Israeli Defense Forces said that three rockets were fired into Israel's Eshkol regional council within 15 minutes of the end of the original 12-hour cease-fire at 1 p.m. ET (8 p.m. Israeli time).

The restart of hostilities followed an announcement by Israeli Cabinet minister Yuval Steinlitz, that the lull would be extended.

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Parallels
8:52 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

The Reasons Why Israel's Military Is In Such A Tough Fight

Israeli troops come out of the Gaza Strip on Friday following combat operations in the territory. Israel's military is the strongest in the Middle East, but has waged a series of protracted fights in recent years without winning clear-cut victories.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 7:24 am

Ever since its sweeping victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel has been regarded as the dominant military power in the Middle East. No Arab state has risked a full-fledged war in decades, and few question the conventional wisdom that Israel would swiftly defeat any national army in a traditional, head-to-head confrontation.

Yet for the third time in the past decade, Israel's powerful military finds itself in a protracted, messy fight with a small, elusive, Islamist group and has been unable to score a quick and decisive victory.

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The Two-Way
7:22 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Video: Haboob, A Huge Dust Storm, Hits Phoenix Area

A dust storm reported to be more than 3,000 feet high hit Phoenix Friday, limiting visibility and threatening to reshape landscapes and leave a coating of grit in its wake. Striking photos show a wall of dust pushing its way across neighborhoods and streets in the Phoenix metro region in the Valley.

The storm is commonly referred to as a haboob, from the Arabic word for an intense summer dust storm. Today's storm hit in time to complicate the Friday afternoon commute.

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The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

12-Hour Cease-Fire Begins In Gaza

Palestinian residents look at the wreckage of a vehicle, destroyed by an Israeli strike, after Palestinian fire fighters put out the fire, in Gaza City, early Saturday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 1:07 am

Updated 3:03 a.m.

A humanitarian cease-fire went into effect on Saturday, a plan agreed to hours earlier by Hamas and Israeli leaders. The truce would allow Palestinian civilians to get food and aid where it's needed, and would last for 12 hours, officials say.

The Associated Press reported that the Israeli military warned that it "shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit" the lull to attack Israeli troops or civilians.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

'I Love Your Country,' New House Member Tells U.S. Officials

Speaking about India, Rep. Curt Clawson told U.S. officials from the State and Commerce departments, "I am familiar with your country. I love your country."
Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:37 pm

Rep. Curt Clawson hasn't been in Congress long — he was sworn into office exactly one month ago. We mention that as a caveat, because in a congressional hearing Thursday, Clawson seems to have mistaken Americans who work in the U.S. departments of State and Commerce for representatives of India's government.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Bill Allowing Americans To Unlock Cellphones Passes House, Heads To Obama

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 3:49 pm

Approving a bill that has already passed the Senate, the House of Representatives has given its consent to legislation that lets U.S. consumers "unlock" their cellphones, rather than having them remain linked to specific service providers.

President Obama says he will sign the bill into law, applauding Congress today for taking "another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cellphone carrier that meets their needs and their budget."

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News
3:33 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Central American Leaders Stop By White House To Talk Border Crisis

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:40 pm

The presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras met with President Obama at the White House Friday, discussing the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America. So far, Obama has not seen eye to eye with Congress on possible solutions to the crisis.

The Two-Way
3:09 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Obama: U.S., Central America Share Responsibility For Influx Of Minors

At the White House on Friday, President Obama met with El Salvador's President Salvador Sanchez Ceren (from left), Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to discuss the border crisis.
AP

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:53 pm

President Obama met with the leaders of three Central American countries at the White House on Friday, telling them that they share responsibility with Washington for stemming an influx of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren discussed the growing humanitarian crisis with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

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Middle East
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Gaza Cease-Fire Still Just Out Of Reach: What Does Each Side Want?

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:40 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry is trying again to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, as casualty counts rise inexorably higher. NPR's Emily Harris is in Gaza, and she speaks to Audie Cornish about both sides' demands.

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

Politics
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Army War College Opens A Probe Into Sen. Walsh's Alleged Plagiarism

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

Middle East
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

For Islamic State, Victories In Iraq Mean Momentum In Syria

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:40 pm

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

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