NPR News

Parallels
5:13 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India

Abhina Aher was born a boy biologically and is now a hijra, a member of an ancient transgender community in India. Of her painful physical and psychological transformation, Aher remembers now: "I just wanted to become a beautiful butterfly."
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:29 pm

The signs came early that Abhina Aher was different.

Born a boy biologically and given the male name Abhijit, Aher grew up in a middle-class neighborhood of Mumbai, India. The son of a single mother who nurtured a love of dance, Aher would watch enthralled as she performed.

"I used to wear the clothes that my mother used to wear — her jewelry, her makeup," Aher, now 37, recalls. "That is something which used to extremely fascinate me."

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It's All Politics
4:31 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Are Democrats Trying To Energize The Base With The Race Card?

Attorney General Eric Holder (right) recently expressed outrage at the treatment President Obama and he have received from conservatives. He stopped just short of saying it was race-related, leaving that for the African-American audience at the recent National Action Network convention to decide.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:46 pm

Few mixtures in American life are more emotionally combustible than the one formed by the combination of politics and race.

That helps explain why Democrats, in general, and President Obama, in particular, have tended to steer clear of overtly raising race as an issue to explain some of the opposition to Obama's presidency and agenda.

There seems to be a shift in recent days, however.

Top Democratic party officials have either directly or indirectly blamed race for some of the hostility to Obama, his policies, or both.

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The Salt
3:53 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

In The Land Of Razor Clams, Dinner Hides Deep Within The Sand

Clams this fresh taste like tender calamari.
Martin Kaste/NPR

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

As soon as you drive into town, it's pretty clear that Long Beach, Wash., is all about the razor clam. The first clue is the giant frying pan. It's 14 feet tall and a relic of the clam festivals of the 1940s. And then there's the clam statue that spits when you insert a quarter.

But if you really want to see how much people here love their clams, you'd have to be like Karen Harrell and get up before dawn and drive out onto the blustery beach to go clam digging.

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Politics
3:48 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

In Virginia, Politicians Fish For Support At Old-Fashioned Event

Former Sen. George Allen (center) greets attendees at the 64th annual Wakefield Shad Planking in Wakefield, Va., in April 2012. This year's Shad Planking featured Democratic Sen. Mark Warner as the speaker.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

At a time when new technologies and social media are transforming politics, we turn to a decidedly old-fashioned campaign event. It's an annual festival known as the Shad Planking, a spring rite of Virginia politics for nearly 70 years.

It's a must-attend event for state politicians, who practice the oldest form of retail politicking among tall pine trees at a dusty campsite.

In Wakefield, about an hour southeast of Virginia's capital of Richmond, shad fish have been roasting by on an open fire since 5 a.m. They're nailed to oak planks.

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Africa
3:42 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Somalis In Kenya Are Used To Raids, But They Say This Was Different

Kenyan security officers rounded up people Friday as part of a crackdown that has swept up thousands of undocumented refugees, immigrants and Kenyan citizens of Somali descent in recent weeks.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:12 pm

Mohammed Ali Isaac's hands shook as he showed his Kenyan ID to the police officers. They let him pass, but his cousins weren't so lucky. The two women had forgotten their IDs at home, and the police were threatening to load them into one of three large trucks they'd brought for the purpose.

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World
3:42 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Leaflets Given To Donetsk Jews Made Waves Worldwide, But Not In Donetsk

An anti-fascist sign hangs on the barricade outside an occupied government building in Donetsk.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

A development in Eastern Ukraine has set social media on fire and triggered outrage around the world.

In the city of Donetsk, someone distributed fliers ordering Jews to register with the separatists who have taken over government buildings.

Even though nobody in Ukraine believed the leaflet was real, the fliers hit a nerve.

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The Two-Way
3:02 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Rescue Workers Erect Memorial To Washington Mudslide Victims

A memorial erected by rescue workers near the site of the March 22 mudslide that killed at least 39 people.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 8:35 pm

Rescue workers still searching for bodies from the March 22 landslide that killed at least 39 people near the town of Oso, Washington, erected a simple, but moving memorial to the victims of the tragedy. Four people are still listed as missing.

NPR's Martin Kaste, who took the photo, says the rescue effort is in a "transition phase" as crews from other states are leaving and being replaced by fresh searchers.

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All Tech Considered
3:01 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Airbnb To Start Charging Hotel Taxes In A Handful Of Cities

Airbnb, the online home-rental service, says it will start collecting hotel taxes in a few American cities.
Chris Weeks Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

When Regitze Visby, a tourist visiting San Francisco from Denmark, searched for accommodations for her trip and saw she could stay at one of the famed "painted ladies" on Alamo Square through Airbnb, she took it.

At $135 a night, "it was a good deal," she says.

But does she know if she's paying a transient occupancy tax or a hotel tax? "I have no idea," she says.

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Sports
2:44 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Welcome, Spring — And More Importantly, Playoff Hockey

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

After the marathon, Boston sports fans will still have playoff hockey. If you pay attention to the National Hockey League, then you probably heard or maybe even said that there's nothing like the playoffs. And judging from the start of this year's playoffs, it's not an exaggeration. Here to talk more about it is sportswriter Stefan Fatsis. And, Stefan, the NHL playoffs began on Wednesday, but just how exciting have these first games been?

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Shots - Health News
2:41 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

One Scientist's Quest To Vanquish Epileptic Seizures

The dream of epilepsy research, says neurobiologist Ivan Soltesz, is to stop seizures by manipulating only some brain cells, not all.
Steve Zylius UC Irvine Communications

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

In the early 1990s, a young brain researcher named Ivan Soltesz heard a story that would shape his career.

His adviser told him about a school for children whose epileptic seizures were so severe and frequent that they had to wear helmets to prevent head injuries. The only exception to the helmet rule was for students who received an award.

"The big deal for them is that they can take the helmet off while they're walking across the stage," Soltesz says. "And that thing struck me as just wrong."

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News
2:41 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Disaster On Everest Marks Deadliest Day In Mountain's History

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Just ahead of peak climbing season on Mount Everest, tragedy has struck once again. At least 12 local climbers are dead and several more or missing after a massive avalanche this morning. The climbers, Nepalese Sherpas, were setting up ropes along a dangerous stretch of slope used by adventure tourism companies. This is looking to be the deadliest day in Mount Everest's history and the worst accident since 1996 when eight climbers died in a blizzard.

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Environment
2:41 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pipeline Put Off, As Keystone Review Is Indefinitely Extended

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:13 pm

The Keystone XL pipeline remains a major point of contention within the Democratic Party, as green voters pull President Obama one direction and pro-energy senators and labor unions pull the other. It looks as though the "comment period" for the project will be extended, delaying a decision past the November elections.

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The Salt
2:03 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Like Ham? There's A Festival For That In French Basque Country

Visitors look at Bayonne hams displayed on the first day of the yearly ham fair.
Gaizka Iroz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 3:52 pm

In Bayonne, they take their ham very, very seriously.

This medieval fortress of a town is minutes from the French seaside ports of Barritz and St. Jean de Luz, and not far from Spain's St. Sebastian. It has reigned as a cultural and commercial center for a millennium, according to historian Mark Kurlansky in The Basque History of the World.

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World
1:56 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Captains Uncourageous: Abandoning Ship Long Seen As A Crime

The Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian coast in 2012, killing 32 people. Its captain was accused of manslaughter and abandoning the 4,200 passengers and crew on the night of the wreck.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 2:30 pm

Cowardice comes in many forms, but there's a special sense of shame reserved for captains who abandon ship.

South Korean authorities have arrested Capt. Lee Jun-Seok, who was one of the first to flee from the ferry as it sank on Wednesday.

"I can't lift my face before the passengers and family members of those missing," Lee told reporters.

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Alt.Latino
1:24 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Salsa Legend Cheo Feliciano Dies

Cheo Feliciano at the opening of The Fania All Stars 2013 world tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
David F. Gasser LatinContent/Getty Images

Three days of mourning have been declared in Puerto Rico following the death of salsa great Cheo Feliciano in a car accident there early Thursday. The singer was 78. "His music embodied the rhythm of Puerto Ricans living in New York City," U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) said in a statement, "and his lyrics helped tell our collective story."

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NPR Story
1:24 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Boston Is Ready To Run Again

The finish line of the Boston Marathon, located on Boylston Street, is seen on April 16, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

One of the biggest fields ever will assemble in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, for the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday morning, which is Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. It’s the first Boston Marathon since the bombings near the finish line last April.

This year, 36,000 people will be running, including elite athletes from all around the world. African runners have dominated the Boston Marathon for more than two decades and they are the favorites again this year.

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NPR Story
1:24 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Boston Marathon Inspires At Children's Cancer Clinic

A mural in MGH’s pediatric cancer clinic tells the story of the hospital’s marathon team, which was founded by Dr. Howard Weinstein, chief of MGH’s pediatric hematology-oncology program, in 1998. (Courtesy of MGH)

While the Boston Marathon will be the center of international attention this year, the marathon has always been a focal point at a Boston clinic that treats children with cancer.

For each of the past 16 marathons, many patients at the pediatric cancer program at Massachusetts General Hospital have been paired with runners — using the race’s symbol of endurance and strength to the youngsters undergoing cancer treatment.

Two former patients ran last year but were stopped before the finish line because of the bombings.

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NPR Story
1:24 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

First Embryonic Stem Cells Cloned From Adults

For the first time, scientists have successfully grown stem cells from adults using cloning techniques.

This development, published in Thursday’s online edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell, brings scientists closer to developing patient-specific lines of cells that can be used to treat medical ailments.

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Interviews
12:21 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

'Inside Amy Schumer': It's Not Just Sex Stuff

On Inside Amy Schumer, the comic (here with Jon Glaser and Adrian Martinez) deploys everything from scripted vignettes to stand-up comedy and man-on-the-street-style interviews.
Matt Peyton Comedy Central

This interview was originally broadcast on June 25, 2013.

One of Amy Schumer's comedy routines begins with the declaration, "I'm a little sluttier than the average bear. I really am."

Degrees of sluttiness may be hard to define, but Schumer does talk frankly about many subjects — including sex — that can be uncomfortable for people, both in her stand-up act and on her Comedy Central series, Inside Amy Schumer, which is now in its second season.

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The Salt
12:03 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Hunting For The Tastiest Egg: Duck, Goose, Chicken Or Quail?

Quail, chicken, duck, goose.
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 4:44 pm

The chicken clearly rules the roost of American egg production. Our hens laid 95.2 billion eggs in 2013, according to government figures.

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Japan Says It Will Temporarily Scale Back Whale Hunt

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks in Tokyo on Friday. He says Japan will cut back on the number of whales it kills this year, but resume previous levels in 2015.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 1:12 pm

Japan says it will kill fewer whales when its seasonal Pacific hunt begins next week and will only observe whales in the Antarctic, after a U.N. court ordered it to stop taking the marine mammals from the Southern Ocean.

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It's All Politics
11:56 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Why Scott Walker Is Looking Beyond His Fan Base

GOP Gov. Scott Walker answers questions from reporters on April 16 in Madison, Wis.
Scott Bauer AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:14 pm

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker officially announced this week that he is running for — wait for it — re-election as governor of Wisconsin.

It will be at least six months before he says anything definitive regarding that other office, the oval-shaped one in Washington, D.C.

And that's to be expected.

Governors in both parties routinely run for re-election while keeping coy about the White House — much like Bill Clinton in 1990 and George W. Bush in 1998 and Rick Perry in 2010.

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Shots - Health News
10:35 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Pot Smoke And Mirrors: Vaporizer Pens Hide Marijuana Use

Vaporizer pens look like the e-cigarettes that dispense nicotine. But these devices are optimized for a potent marijuana resin with high concentrations of THC.
Courtesy of Grenco Science

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:16 pm

It's a sunny afternoon at Kelly's Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, and Nikki Esquibel is getting stoned. But you wouldn't know it.

The 19-year-old, who has a medical prescription for marijuana, is "smoking" pot with a handheld vaporizer, or a vape pen. It's sleek, black, and virtually indistinguishable from a high-end e-cigarette.

That's the point, says Esquibel. "I use it mostly around my neighborhood. It's easy to hide." The vapor coming from the device doesn't even have much of an odor.

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The Two-Way
10:28 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Strong Quake Rattles Mexico, But No Injuries Reported

A parked car suffered damage when a adobe wall collapsed on it after a strong earthquake shook Chilpancingo, Mexico, on Friday, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties.
Alejandrino Gonzalez AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 2:49 pm

A powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck near Mexico's resort town of Acapulco could be felt as far away as Mexico City, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the epicenter of Friday's quake was located about 80 miles northwest of Acapulco at a depth of about 15 miles. The effects, however, were felt 165 miles northeast in the Mexican capital, where shaking startled residents and lasted for about 30 seconds.

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Education
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

15 Years After Columbine, Are Schools Any Safer?

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School. That day, two students opened fire and killed 13 people.

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Faith Matters
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

New York's Muslims Push For Public Schools To Close For Eid Holidays

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Now we turn to a campaign to recognize Muslim religious holidays in the New York public school system. Roughly 10 percent of New York City's public school children are Muslims. And their parents are asking that schools close for the most sacred Muslim holidays. They argue that Christian and Jewish students get their most important holidays off already. Current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed the idea during his campaign. Take a listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAMPAIGN)

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Faith Matters
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

To Fight Extremism, Don't Alienate Troublemakers At The Mosque

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Here's What Putin Didn't Tell Snowden About Russia's Spying

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who appears not to have told the whole story about his nation's surveillance programs.
Alexei Nikolsky AP

"Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?" former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

"We don't have a mass system of such interception, and according to our law it cannot exist," the Russian leader responded.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Pakistani Madrassa Names Its Library For Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden is referred to as a shaheed, or martyr, on a sign outside the library at a girls' school in Islamabad.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 8:54 am

A sign now outside the small library at a religious school for girls in Pakistan's capital says the room has been named for a martyr — Osama bin Laden, whose al-Qaida terrorist network was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

"For us he was a hero of Islam," a school spokesman tells Agence France-Presse.

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The Two-Way
7:34 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Deal In Doubt As Separatists Refuse To Budge In Ukraine

A masked pro-Russia gunman looks through a window of a regional administration building seized earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 8:49 am

"Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said Friday that they were not bound by an international deal ordering them to disarm and were looking for more assurances about their security before leaving the public buildings they are holding," Reuters reports.

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