NPR News

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat July 4, 2015

'Shadowshaper' Paints A Vibrant Picture

Courtesy of Arthur A. Levine Books

Shadowshaper had me crying at 3 percent of the e-book. Not because it was sad, but because I am one giant button when it comes to stories about family, heritage, language, art, and the magic mixed up in them, and this book knew just where to push.

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Around the Nation
3:46 am
Sat July 4, 2015

A Bird Of Courage And A Bash In Denmark: The July 4 You Didn't Know

Benjamin Franklin thought the turkey was a much more respectable bird than the eagle.
Kairon Gnothi (Opportunity Knocks) Flickr

Independence Day is typically filled with revelry — many people drink American beer, shoot explosives into the sky and rock red, white and blue apparel that may not be appropriate for everyday wear. It's also a day full of interesting, quirky history that people usually don't talk about between filling their mouths with hot dogs and singing The Star Spangled Banner off-key.

But if you're destined to spend your holiday at, say, a company cookout, here are five things you may not have known about Independence Day that you can use as conversation starters:

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Goats and Soda
3:39 am
Sat July 4, 2015

Need A Hand? Don't Worry, The Ghanaians Got Your Back

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 3:52 am

I finally reached the outskirts of my community after a 5-mile, uphill bike ride from the town where I go to buy groceries.

Hot, exhausted and loaded down with rice, bananas and mangoes, I didn't have the energy to go the final few hundred yards to reach the compound where I live.

Luckily, I didn't have to.

From the distance I heard cries of "n be Wumpini lo lo ni." That means "Welcome home my sister Wumpini." (That's my local name; it means God's gift.)

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Parallels
3:25 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Debt Crisis Puts The Squeeze On Greece's Banks

Pensioners queue outside a national bank branch in Athens on Thursday. Greek banks are running out of cash and the situation poses further danger to the economy, analysts say.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 4:31 pm

As they rapidly run out of cash, Greece's banks could hardly be in a more precarious position.

For months, as this crisis has intensified people have been slowly withdrawing their money. The banks have been able to do business only because of emergency loans from the European Central Bank.

But when Greece missed a payment to the International Monetary Fund this week, the ECB decided not to lend any more money.

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Environment
3:25 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

On The Rebound, Panthers Prowl Expanding Swath Of Land In Florida

Panthers roam in rural Collier County, in southwest Florida. As the Florida state animal's population has grown, wildlife officials may seek to take the panther off the endangered species list.
Courtesy of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 4:31 pm

In Florida, the official state animal triggers mixed feelings. The Florida panther has been on the endangered species list for nearly 50 years. From a low point in the 1970s when there were only about 20 panthers in the wild, the species has rebounded.

Now, nearly 200 range throughout southwest Florida. And some officials, ranchers and hunters in the state say that may be about enough.

Florida panthers are a subspecies of the cougar or mountain lion. They're slightly smaller than their cousins, but like them, the panthers need lots of room to roam.

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Architecture
3:25 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Chicago To Replace Famed Ferris Wheel With Taller One

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 4:31 pm

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Around the Nation
3:25 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

In Philadelphia's Fishtown, A Fierce Debate Over The Fate Of A Polish Church

St. Laurentius, a polish Catholic church in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood, was closed in March amid fears that it would collapse. Since then, the community has pushed back to save the historic building.
Kim Paynter WHYY

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 4:31 pm

For more than a century, the copper spires of St. Laurentius have stood tall over Philadelphia's Fishtown. But the city's oldest Polish church — founded in 1882 — could soon face the wrecking ball.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

#NPRreads: The 'Grexit,' Video Games And Fleeing The Rwandan Genocide

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 3:58 pm

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you five reads.

From Ina Jaffe, NPR's Los Angeles-based correspondent:

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It's All Politics
2:03 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

A Conservative Firebrand From The Start, Ted Cruz Always Had A Plan

Cruz in his high school yearbook; he was president of the drama club.
Second Baptist High School

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 4:31 pm

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

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NPR Story
12:43 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Conservationist Madison Stewart Stands Up For Sharks

Recent attacks in North Carolina have heightened the negative public perception of sharks. But for 21-year-old Australian Madison Stewart, sharks are almost family.

Since she was in her early teens, Stewart has made it her mission to preserve and educate the world about the creatures she feels so passionate about.

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NPR Story
12:43 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Kids Books Feature Famous Figures As Children

Cover of

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NPR Story
12:43 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

John Adams Wanted Independence Day On July 2, Not July 4

Founding Father John Adams thought that America's independence day celebration should be on July 2, not July 4. July 2, 1776 was day the Continental Congress voted for independence. (Karsun Designs Photography/Flickr)

As the Founding Fathers established the United States of America, they had their eyes on the future and they knew they were making history. But not everyone had the same opinion of the timeline of that history.

Most thought the big day was July 4, when then Continental Congress approved the text of the Declaration of Independence and sent it to the printer. But John Adams believed July 2, 1776, was the really the big day.

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 1:58 pm

A sun-powered airplane has landed in Hawaii after a five-day journey from Japan that smashed the previous record of 76 hours for the longest duration nonstop solo flight.

Pilot André Borschberg set the Solar Impulse 2 down on the tarmac at Kalaeloa Airport outside Honolulu after flying for 120 hours from Nagoya, his team reports.

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Movie Interviews
11:20 am
Fri July 3, 2015

It's All In Your Head: Director Pete Docter Gets Emotional In 'Inside Out'

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

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Music Interviews
11:20 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Pokey LaFarge Mines His Midwestern Roots, Finds 'Something In The Water'

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

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Parts Of Social-Sharing Site Reddit Go Dark In Apparent User Revolt

The popular Reddit question-and-answer section /r/IAmA, along with hundreds of others, have shut down in an apparent protest over the dismissal of a key figure at the social sharing site.
Screengrab from Reddit.com

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 5:52 pm

An Internet insurrection is taking place on Reddit, where moderators have shut down many of the social sharing site's most popular sections in an apparent protest over the dismissal of Victoria Taylor.

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Iceland's Pirate Party Wins Repeal Of Blasphemy Law

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 10:46 am

Iceland's minority Pirate Party has its first major legislative victory — repealing a 75-year-old blasphemy law that made it a crime to "ridicule or insult" the teachings of a legally recognized religious community.

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The Two-Way
9:11 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Aetna Announces $37 Billion Merger With Health Insurance Rival Humana

Health insurance giant Aetna has announced a $37 billion plan to acquire rival Humana.
Jessica Hill AP

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 10:01 am

In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.

The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.

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Shots - Health News
9:00 am
Fri July 3, 2015

When The Fish You Eat Have Eaten Something Toxic

Barracuda are one kind of fish that has been implicated in poisoning with ciguatera toxin.
iStockphoto

Some tasty saltwater fish carry a toxin that you may never have heard of.

And a recent study found that more people in Florida may be getting sick from eating fish contaminated with the toxin than previously thought.

By comparing Florida public health records with survey results from thousands of fishermen, scientists from the University of Florida found that ciguatera fish poisoning, as the condition is called, is significantly underreported in the state.

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Syrian Forces Try To Halt Rebel Offensive On Aleppo

Smoke rises after a reported barrel bomb attack by Syrian government forces in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Wednesday.
Ameer al-Halibi APAImages/APA/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 8:07 am

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET

Syrian forces have carried out airstrikes to push back what is being described as a major offensive by militants affiliated with al-Qaida to seize the key northern city of Aleppo.

As NPR's Deborah Amos reports from the Turkish border, the battle surprised the regime, but also surprised more moderate rebels, who tell NPR they are not part of the offensive.

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Russia Finally Launches Supplies To ISS After Earlier Failures

A Russian Progress spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Friday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 8:08 am

A Russian rocket filled with much-needed supplies for the International Space Station lifted off from a pad in Kazakhstan early today after two previous re-supply missions failed.

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that the successful launch of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, known as the Progress 60P, which is set to dock with the station on Sunday, was a relief to the astronauts and cosmonauts on the space station.

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Animals
5:33 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Parrot On A Winning Streak Picks Japan To Win Women's World Cup

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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NPR Story
3:06 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Why It's An Uphill Battle To Make Indianapolis A More Pedestrian Friendly City

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 5:33 am

Copyright 2015 WFYI-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wfyi.org.

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Europe
3:06 am
Fri July 3, 2015

When Greeks Vote Sunday, It's Not Just About A Debt Deal

A man waits at an Athens bus stop where the Greek word "no" has been spray-painted over "yes" on a banner put up in advance of Sunday's referendum. Greek voters will say whether they want to accept or reject a deal that's been offered by the country's creditors. Greeks are deeply divided and analysts say the outcome is not clear.
Thanassis Stavrakis AP

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 10:20 am

Elisavet Zachariadou is a retired professor of history in Athens. She admires Italian art and reads French literature and German philosophy. She considers herself a European.

"When I learned that Greece is going to be part of the European Union [in the 1980s], I was very happy," she recalls. "And I said, 'How nice. And how good for all of us.' "

But Zachariadou's attachment to Europe is complex. She's 84 and lives in the Athens suburb where she grew up during World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded Greece and her people suffered horribly.

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The Two-Way
6:31 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

REELZ TV Network Will Air Miss USA Pageant

Donald Trump co-owns the Miss America beauty pageant, which REELZ network will broadcast July 12.
Chicago Tribune TNS via Getty Images

Donald Trump's controversial remarks dispagaging Mexican immigrants led to a series of organizations cutting ties with the Republican presidential candidate.

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The Two-Way
6:10 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Investigators Say Weather Caused Mount Zion AME Church To Burn

Fire crews took two hours to control the blaze at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, S.C., on Tuesday. Authorities blame the fire on weather.
HANDOUT Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 11:12 am

Investigators say weather caused a predominantly black church in Greeleyville, S.C., to burn down, according to The Associated Press. A statement from the State Law Enforcement Division says there was no evidence of criminal intent in the blaze at the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church.

As NPR's Maanvi Singh reported yesterday:

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Virginia's Pamunkey Tribe Granted Federal Recognition

The federal government Thursday granted recognition to the Pamunkey Indian tribe of Virginia. The tribe, whose members encountered the first permanent English settlers some 400 years ago, had long sought the recognition.

The Pamunkey tribe has just over 200 members, about a quarter of whom live on a reservation near Richmond.

The announcement by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that it would recognize the tribe is "vindication," said tribal Chief Kevin Brown.

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The Salt
4:13 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

White House: We Have A Beef With GMO Regulations

About 90 percent of America's soybeans are genetically modified.
iStockphoto

The U.S. government's system for regulating the products of biotechnology, including GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, was born in 1986, and it has been controversial from the start. Now, it will be getting a makeover — in part to assure the public that GMOs really are adequately regulated.

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It's All Politics
4:08 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Small Donors Fueled Sanders' $15 Million Fundraising Haul

A supporter registers for a town hall meeting Thursday in Rochester, Minn.
Jim Mone AP

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, running in the Democratic presidential primaries, has raised about $15 million, his campaign said Thursday.

His campaign emphasized the grass-roots strength of his fundraising: 250,000 donors making nearly 400,000 contributions of $250 or less.

The numbers come from a quarterly disclosure report being filed at the Federal Election Commission, and are measured from when Sanders launched his campaign April 30.

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Goats and Soda
3:34 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Yes, There Really Is A Town In Liberia Called 'Smell No Taste'

This is a photo taken in the town of Smell No Taste, where a teenager died of Ebola this past week. The home where he passed away is now under quarantine.
Abbas Dulleh AP

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 6:19 am

A curious detail appeared in stories about the death this week of a 17-year-old boy from Ebola.

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