NPR News

Goats and Soda
1:42 am
Thu August 21, 2014

How Much Bigger Is The Ebola Outbreak Than Official Reports?

Workers with the aid group Doctors Without Borders prepare a new Ebola treatment center near Monrovia, Liberia, on Sunday. The facility has 120 beds, making it the largest Ebola isolation clinic in history.
John Moore Getty Images

The latest numbers on the Ebola outbreak are grim: 2,473 people infected and 1,350 deaths.

That's the World Health Organization's official tally of confirmed, probable and suspect cases across Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. But the WHO has previously warned that its official figures may "vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak."

So how bad is it really?

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Around the Nation
1:41 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Holder Seeks To Sooth Nerves During Visit To Ferguson

The nation's top law enforcement officer traveled to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday to wrap his arms around a community in pain.

Attorney General Eric Holder hugged community leaders, a highway patrol captain and the mother of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old killed by a white police officer earlier this month.

From the moment he walked into a soul food restaurant in Ferguson, the attorney general found friends and began getting reports on the community's mood after days of protests and sporadic violence.

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Planet Money
1:36 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Typewriters, Underwater Hotels And Picture Phones: The Future, As Seen From 1964

General Motors

The 1964 World's Fair showcased jetpacks and new miracles of science. There was an entire house made from Formica. You could wipe it clean with a sponge!

The people who put the fair together tried to imagine how the future would look. Here are a few predictions, and how they actually turned out.

1. We had picture phones back then?

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Movies
1:34 am
Thu August 21, 2014

A Maverick Director, At Home On The Range

Robert Rodriguez ventures into Hollywood for the premiere of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.
Getty Images

Robert Rodriguez's newest film, Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, is about to hit theaters — it's a 3-D crime thriller based on the Frank Miller's graphic novel series, laden with booze, broads and bullets.

But Rodriguez has also made comedic spaghetti Westerns, vampire flicks and four Spy Kids movies, about a young brother-sister duo of super sleuths — all from his home base in Austin, Texas. Though he's been in and out of Hollywood recently, putting the finishing touches on Sin City 2.

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The Two-Way
6:30 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Macy's To Pay $650,000 In Settlement Over Alleged Racial Profiling

Customers at Macy's flagship store in New York City say they were discriminated against. Macy's has agreed to a settlement.
Eric Thayer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:51 pm

Macy's has agreed to a settle over complaints of racial profiling in its flagship New York City store. The department store will pay $650,000, according to a statement from the New York attorney general's office.

This deal follows a similar deal earlier this month with Barneys in New York.

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National Security
6:30 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

U.S. Reveals Failed Special Forces Mission To Rescue Hostages

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 7:59 pm

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

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

U.S. Forces Tried To Rescue Foley, Other Hostages In Syria

President Obama leaves after making a statement Wednesday about the killing of journalist James Foley in Syria. The president said the U.S. would continue to confront Islamic State extremists despite the brutal murder.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 8:42 pm

The White House and Department of Defense released statements Wednesday night regarding an attempt earlier this summer to free hostages held by the Islamic State in Syria, including journalist James Foley, whose execution was announced Tuesday by the militants.

According to Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, the U.S. had hoped to reclaim multiple hostages on the mission:

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The Salt
3:58 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

No. 1 Most Expensive Coffee Comes From Elephant's No. 2

Elephants, unlike humans or civets, are herbivores. The fermentation happening in their gut as they break down cellulose helps remove the bitterness in the coffee beans.
Michael Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

I s#&% you not: The world's most expensive coffee is now being produced in Thailand's Golden Triangle, a region better known for another high-priced, if illegal, export: opium.

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Men In America
3:58 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

From A Father And Son, What It Means To Be A Military Man

Mark Pierce enlisted in the military in 1970, served in Vietnam and retired in 2010. Years later, his two sons also joined the armed forces.
Courtesy of Mark Pierce

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:35 pm

Military service once defined the lives of many men in the United States, particularly before the end of the draft in 1973. But today, many younger adults have no direct family ties to the military at all.

For the men in Mark and Jeremy Pierce's family, however, military service is a tradition dating back to the Civil War.

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Law
3:58 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Supreme Court Steps In To Put Hold On Va. Same-Sex Marriage Licences

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

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

The Two-Way
3:22 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

SeaWorld Won't Appeal Ban On Trainers Performing With Orcas

Killer whales perform in Shamu Stadium at the SeaWorld Orlando theme park in Florida. SeaWorld says it will not appeal a citation that prohibits trainers from performing with the whales.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

SeaWorld has decided not to appeal a court ruling that prohibits its trainers from performing with killer whales, the Orlando Sentinel reports, citing a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The legal battle has lasted for years, beginning with the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau by an orca named Tilikum in 2010.

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Health
3:20 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

The Momentum Of The Ice Bucket Challenge — And What It Means For ALS

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

A recent fundraising challenge has gone viral on social media, calling attention to research into Lou Gehrig's disease. Audie Cornish talks with Forbes contributor Dan Diamond about the state of that research and where it goes from here after the fundraising success.

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Many Seek Justice In Ferguson, Mo., But Will Have To Wait Awhile

A memorial sits at the site of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Mo. Any investigation into his shooting by a police officer is likely to take months.
Larry W. Smith EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

Both the county case and the federal investigation into the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown are expected to take time, as are basic answers about the circumstances that led to the black teenager's death Aug. 9.

About two dozen people showed up Wednesday in front of the St. Louis County Courthouse to demonstrate against County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who is preparing to present evidence in the case to a grand jury.

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Remembrances
2:25 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Remembering James Foley, A Journalist Who Made His Life In War Zones

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

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

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Parallels
2:17 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

In Syria, The U.S. Weighs A Range Of Unpalatable Options

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad walk along a street in Mleiha, near the Damascus airport, during a tour organized by the Syrian government on Aug. 15.
Omar Sanadiki Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:35 pm

President Obama said Wednesday that the Islamic State is a cancer that threatens all governments in the Middle East. But that raises the question of what the U.S. could or should do.

Two former U.S. ambassadors to Syria, Robert Ford and Ryan Crocker, have advocated different approaches to a conflict where there are many different options. But none is appealing and there's no guarantee, or even a likelihood that U.S. action would ultimately determine the outcome.

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Around the Nation
2:13 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

EPA Wades Into Water Fight With Farmers

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

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

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Middle East
2:13 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Militants Behead American Journalist, Leveling New Threats At U.S.

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

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

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Today, American foreign policy intersected with personal tragedy. The parents of James Foley spoke about their son. He's the American journalist killed by the extremist group known as the Islamic State.

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Africa
2:13 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

In Liberia, An Ebola Quarantine Descends Into Riots

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

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

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The Salt
2:13 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Legendary Vermont Bakers May Stop Selling Beloved Sourdough Bread

Rabin bread on a rock at the farmers market in Plainfield prior to setting up the table.
Jon Kalish for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

When Jules Rabin lost his job teaching anthropology in 1977, he and his wife, Helen, turned to baking to keep their family afloat. For 37 years they've baked sourdough bread that people in central Vermont can't seem to live without.

The year before Jules left Goddard College, he and Helen built a replica of a 19th century peasant oven, hauling 70 tons of fieldstone from nearby fields. The stones covered an igloo-shaped brick baking chamber 5 1/2 feet in diameter.

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Parallels
2:13 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Gaza Violence Tests Once-Unshakable Allies U.S. And Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on July 23. While the two countries are close allies, they have exchanged criticism during the recent Israel-Hamas fighting in Gaza.
Pool AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

Relations between Israel and the United States are going through a turbulent time. The two sides — normally seen as unshakable allies — have increasingly taken to trading barbs and accusations about the other's policies and decisions, breaking diplomatic protocol.

The occasional frictions of the past few years have been exacerbated by the war in the Gaza Strip.

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Remembrances
2:13 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Yogi Iyengar, Who Helped Bring Yoga To The West, Dies At 95

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:30 pm

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

The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Same-Sex Marriages On Hold In Virginia After Supreme Court Weighs In

Supporters and opponents of gay marriage demonstrate outside the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., in May.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 4:42 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in to block a federal appeals court ruling that would have allowed gay marriages to begin in Virginia on Thursday.

The decision was widely expected and tells little about how the high court will ultimately rule on the issue. It merely preserves the status quo.

Indeed, while Virginia officials urged the Supreme Court to strike down the ban on gay marriage, they also urged the court to put a hold on the immediate issuing of marriage licenses.

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NPR Story
1:13 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Modern-Day Dust Bowl Isn't Easy, But It Beats The 1930s

Farmer John Schweiser, 80, has had to take shelter from recent dust storms. He also lived through the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

The historic drought that continues to hammer the West shows no signs off abating. Most of California remains in severe drought conditions, with its groundwater aquifers in danger of being depleted. Officials in Los Angeles have beefed up their use of “water cops” to make sure people aren’t wasting water.

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NPR Story
1:07 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Bumper U.S. Corn Yield Could Top Records

Early rains, cooler temperatures and hardier seeds have led to projections of a record harvest of corn this year. Most of that corn is used for livestock feed and ethanol.

Because of the predicted glut, corn prices have dropped by 13 percent this year.

Bryce Knorr of Farm Futures magazine tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that consumers can expect to see prices drop at the gas pump, but not at the grocery store.

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NPR Story
1:07 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

In Liberia, Ebola Quarantine Sparks Riots

Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. (John Moore/Getty Images)

In Liberia this morning, security forces attempted to quarantine the West Point neighborhood in the capital Monrovia, but residents broke out in a riot.

The Ebola holding center in West Point has been keeping residents on edge. On Saturday, an angry mob attacked the center, chasing and carrying out patients.

NPR photographer David Gilkey talks to Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabari about what he saw this morning as the riots began.

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The Salt
12:57 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Why Vegetables Get Freakish In The Land Of The Midnight Sun

Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off 2013 winners (with placards, left to right): Scott Rob (92.10 pounds), Keevan Dinkel (92.30 pounds) and Brian Shunskis (77.40 pounds). The growers are joined by the cabbage fairies, a group of women who for 15 years have volunteered at the cabbage competition.
Clark James Mishler Courtesy of Alaska State Fair

Everything in Alaska is a little bit bigger — even the produce. A 138-pound cabbage, 65-pound cantaloupe and 35-pound broccoli are just a few of the monsters that have sprung forth from Alaska's soil in recent years.

At the annual Alaska State Fair, which opens Thursday in Palmer, the public will have the chance to gawk at giants like these as they're weighed for competition.

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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Beheading Video Sets Off Debate Over How — Or Whether — To Portray It

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 3:25 pm

A video that shows an American journalist being beheaded by extremist militants has sparked outrage, along with arguments over whether the images should be restricted online.

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Wed August 20, 2014

President Obama Says Militants Who Beheaded American Are 'Cowardly'

President Obama said Wednesday that the extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in "cowardly acts of violence" and "has no place in the 21st century."
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 11:51 am

The extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in "cowardly acts of violence" and "has no place in the 21st century," President Obama said Wednesday, referring to the videotaped execution carried out by militants with the Islamic State.

Obama also said the group attacks women and minorities, "for no other reason than they practice a different religion."

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Goats and Soda
10:57 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Photographing An Ebola Riot: Put Your Fear Aside And Go Forward

A riot policeman directs a crowd of protesters in the West Point neighbourhood of Monrovia, after a quarantine was put into force early Wednesday in an effort to contain the spread of Ebola.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 5:10 pm

People were screaming and throwing rocks. The police were firing shots and hitting protesters with their batons. A riot had started in the slum neighborhood of West Point, in the Liberian capital of Monrovia.

"A riot is tough enough without knowing that you're in an Ebola-infected neighborhood," says NPR photographer David Gilkey, who was in West Point when it began.

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Africa
9:30 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Liberia Blocks Off Neighborhood In Ebola Quarantine, Sparking Riot

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 9:52 am

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

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