NPR News

The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Madison, Wis., Council Votes To Ban Discrimination Against Atheism

In what is believed to be a first in the United States, the common council of Madison, Wis., has voted to amend the city's equal opportunities ordinance "to add nonreligion as a protected class."

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Goats and Soda
1:24 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

A Virus In Your Mouth Helps Fight The Flu

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Hidden inside all of us are likely thousands of viruses — maybe more. They just hang out, harmlessly. We don't even know they're there.

But every once in a while, one of these viral inhabitants might help us out.

Young people infected with a type of herpes virus have a better immune response to the flu vaccine than those not infected, scientists at Stanford University report Wednesday. In mice, the virus directly stops influenza itself.

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Code Switch
1:13 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Trevor Noah Is A Quarter Jewish. Does That Make His Anti-Semitic Jokes OK?

Trevor Noah at a Comedy Central event in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2012.
Dominic Barnardt/Gallo Images Getty Images

Editor's note: This post contains words and sentiments you might find deeply offensive.

The glow had barely dimmed on Comedy Central's unveiling of comedian Trevor Noah as the new host of The Daily Show when Noah's Twitter past came under fire. His critics have called some of his old tweets offensive, racist, misogynistic, homophobic and — the charge that seems to be getting the most attention — anti-Semitic.

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Shots - Health News
1:11 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Diagnosing A Sinus Infection Can Be A DIY Project

This is what the inflammation of sinus infection looks like in a false-color X-ray. It hurts even more in real life.
CNRI Science Source

Sinus infections are miserable, and it's hard not to want to run to the doctor for relief. Rethink that, the nation's ear, nose and throat doctors say.

Most people who get sinusitus feel better in a week, the doctors say, and many of those infections are caused by viruses. Getting an antibiotic isn't going to help.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Iraq Claims Victory Over Militants In Strategic City Of Tikrit

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (left) tours Tikrit after it was retaken by the security forces Wednesday, a key step in driving the militants out of their biggest strongholds.
AP

The Iraqi government says its security forces have retaken the city of Tikrit from militants with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Recapturing the strategic city after a month-long battle is considered a major setback for the jihadist group, also known as ISIS.

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Television
12:55 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

New Frank Sinatra Documentary Charts His Professional Ups And Downs

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

Television
12:55 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

From 'Banana' To 'Cucumber,' New Series Spans The Spectrum Of Sex

The new show from England, Cucumber, stars Vincent Franklin (left) as Henry and Cyril Nri as Lance. It premieres on Logo TV on April 13.
Ben Blackall Courtesy of Logo TV

The creator of the 1999 BBC series Queer As Folk has made three new TV series about gay men and women — and two of them are coming to the U.S. later this month. They have the conspicuous names of Cucumber, Banana and Tofu. Russell T. Davies says the titles came from a study he read from a scientific institute in Switzerland that investigated men's sexuality.

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Parallels
12:55 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Matamoros Becomes Ground Zero As Drug War Shifts On Mexican Border

State police officers patrol a highway between Ciudad Victoria and Matamoros, in northeast Mexico, in 2011. Mexico's drug and turf wars have descended on the once tourist-friendly border town of Matamoros.
Alexandre Meneghini AP

Matamoros, which sits across the bridge from Brownsville, Texas, used to be a laid-back border town famed for margaritas and manufacturing.

But for at least the last five years, it's grown more and more violent: first, when the Zetas broke away from the Gulf Cartel, and more recently as a new feud has broken out between two factions within the Gulf.

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Music
12:55 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Rare Latin Grooves Excavated In Anthology

There's a new entry in the ongoing series of Rough Guide music anthologies called Latin Rare Groove Volume 2. The mostly instrumental cuts draw on salsa, funk, soul and rock from vintage and new performers. Fresh Air music critic Milo Miles surveys the terrain and wonders what exactly to call this combination.

NPR Story
12:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

More Than A Garnish: 6 Great Parsley Recipes

Parsley is so much more than a garnish. Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst shares six recipes. (Kathy Gunst)

Do you think of parsley as a decoration? For Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst, parsley is so much more than the sum of its sprigs. Parsley plays an important part in Passover celebrations and often appears on Easter tables at well. Kathy joins hosts Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson to talk parsley and share these six recipes:

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NPR Story
12:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Airport Codes: Three Letters And A Few Unsolved Mysteries

Lynn Fisher and Nick Crohn created the website airportcod.es, which links hundreds of three-letter airport codes with a pretty picture and a brief story about the airport. (Screenshot from airportcod.es)

When I was boy, my mother worked in the sky. She was a flight attendant. Each month she brought home a new paper booklet, a schedule that listed every Southwest Airlines flight.

The map on the back was a spaghetti bowl of intersecting lines. A short hop from PHX to LAX. In the Midwest, it was MDW straight to STL. And DAL nonstop to LBB.

Who knew the flight from Dallas Love Field to Lubbock, Texas, could be so exciting!

There was a promise of adventure in every one of those little letters, and I memorized as many as I could.

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NPR Story
12:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

God Is Everywhere, At Least On TV

NBC's "A.D. The Bible Continues" tells the New Testament story of what happened after Jesus' crucifixion. (NBC)

This week, ahead of Easter and Passover, TV is flooded with religious programming. Everything from CNN’s fact-finding mission on Jesus called “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery” to National Geographic Channel’s “Killing Jesus” from Bill O’Reilly.

There’s also NBC’s sequel to “The Bible” with “A.D. The Bible Continues” and “The Dovekeepers” on CBS, about the Siege of Masada.

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The Two-Way
12:21 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

11 Former Atlanta Public School Employees Found Guilty In Cheating Scandal

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 1:22 pm

Eleven of 12 former public school employees in Atlanta were found guilty of racketeering in what is thought to be the biggest cheating scandal in American education, NPR member station WABE reports.

One defendant, teacher Dessa Curb, was acquitted of all charges, according to WSB-TV's Richard Elliot.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Wed April 1, 2015

U.S. Creates First Sanctions Program Against Cybercriminals

Dollar bills are reflected in a computer hard drive.
Thomas Trutschel Photothek via Getty Images

The U.S. wants to slap sanctions on cybercriminals. President Obama issued an executive order Wednesday creating the nation's first sanctions program to combat "malicious" cyberattacks and cyberspying.

President Obama said cyberthreats pose one of "the most serious economic and national security challenge" to the U.S., and that the executive order offers a "targeted tool" for countering that threat.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Wed April 1, 2015

'Girl Drifter' Race Driver Freaks Out Instructors In Prank

Malaysian pro driver Leona Chin took several driving instructors for a spin for their first day on the job.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 11:28 am

"It's my brother's car." That's what Leona Chin told four instructors about her high-powered sports car. She then stalled the stick-shift car in first gear and randomly turned the wipers on — before unleashing the skills she has honed as a professional driver. Havoc, and some panic, ensued.

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All Tech Considered
9:58 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Pew: 'Smartphone-Dependents' Often Have No Backup Plan For Web Access

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 11:23 am

Looking back on the clunky desktops of home offices, smartphones have expanded the definition what it means to "go online." With all of the apps and mobile capabilities available to us now, it's no surprise that smartphone ownership has grown.

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The Two-Way
9:31 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Thailand Lifts Martial Law, But Critics Say Its Replacement Is Worse

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has approved a request from the country's junta to lift martial law.

The announcement, which was made on television today, goes into effect immediately. But, as reporter Michael Sullivan is telling our Newscast unit, while the lifting of martial law is good news, critics say what it's being replaced with is worse.

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The Salt
8:28 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Scary Times For California Farmers As Snowpack Hits Record Lows

Dry, cracked earth is visible on a cantaloupe farm near Firebaugh, Calif., last August. Record-low snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mean most Central California farmers will face another year without water from the federal Central Valley Project.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 10:59 am

The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year.

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The Two-Way
8:26 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Patton Oswalt Tweets In Defense Of Comedy — And Trevor Noah

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 9:11 am

We've been following the story of the criticism directed at South African comedian Trevor Noah, who was named this week to succeed Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Arkansas Governor Asks Lawmakers For Changes To 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks in the Governor's Conference Room at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 10:38 am

Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he has asked the state's lawmakers for changes to the "religious freedom" bill passed Tuesday.

Critics of the measure say it allows businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians. Supporters say it advances religious freedom.

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It's All Politics
8:18 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Indiana Law: Sorting Fact From Fiction From Politics

Opponents of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act rallied against the legislation at the Indiana State House on Saturday.
Doug McSchooler AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 9:09 am

The culture wars are always percolating beneath the surface in presidential politics — until something or someone pushes them to the surface.

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Shots - Health News
8:09 am
Wed April 1, 2015

To Avoid Surprise Insurance Bills, Tell Exchange Plan When You Move

If you thought more experience with the heath insurance marketplaces would cut down on confusion about them, you'd be wrong. The questions about how they work keep pouring in. Here are answers to some of the latest queries.

I purchased health insurance in Ohio through the marketplace in April. I then moved to Missouri and applied for marketplace coverage there that began in October. I had assumed that the Ohio marketplace would cancel my coverage there, but that didn't happen. What should I do?

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Musician Joni Mitchell Is 'Awake And In Good Spirits' In Intensive Care

Musician Joni Mitchell attends a party before the Grammy Awards in February. Mitchell, 71, was found unconscious in her home Tuesday.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 9:04 am

After being found found unconscious in her home Tuesday afternoon, folk music icon Joni Mitchell has been hospitalized in Los Angeles. "She is currently in intensive care undergoing tests and is awake and in good spirits," according to her website.

Mitchell "regained consciousness on the ambulance ride," her website says.

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The Two-Way
6:28 am
Wed April 1, 2015

World's Oldest Person Dies At Age 117

Misao Okawa, who died at age 117, posed for a photo with her son Hiroshi Okawa, 92, (left) and other family members as they celebrated her birthday last month in Osaka, Japan.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 8:28 am

She was born in 1898. And now comes word that Japan's Misao Okawa has died at age 117. She had been the world's oldest person since 2013, according to Guinness World Records.

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The Two-Way
5:43 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks: Kerry Will Remain In Switzerland For Another Day

Prolonged nuclear talks gave Russian journalists time to play a game of giant chess Wednesday in a courtyard of the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Brendan Smialowski AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 1:13 pm

(This post was last updated at 3:12 p.m. ET.)

A day after the self-imposed deadline passed for reaching a framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program, negotiators are still working.

By evening in Switzerland, the State Department said Secretary of State John Kerry would remain in Lausanne until at least Thursday morning.

"We continue to make progress but have not reached a political understanding," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

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The Two-Way
5:16 am
Wed April 1, 2015

CEOs Of Germanwings, Lufthansa Visit Crash Site

Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann (left) and Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr visited the site of the Germanwings jet crash in Le Vernet, France, on Wednesday.
Claude Paris AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 10:08 am

Top executives of Lufthansa and Germanwings airlines visited the site of last week's plane crash that killed 150 people. Speaking with reporters, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr did not respond to questions about the co-pilot's medical history.

Spohr said that while his airline is learning more about the crash, "it will take a long time for all of us to understand" how the tragedy occurred.

From Berlin, Esme Nicholson filed this report for our Newscast desk:

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Music News
5:14 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Colorado Lawmakers Don't Want Marijuana Going To People On Welfare

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:05 am

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

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Asia
4:59 am
Wed April 1, 2015

China Limits Chauffeurs; Workers Struggle To Pass Driving Test

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 5:36 am

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

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NPR Story
3:54 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Minimal Sierra Nevada Snowpack Will Not Ease California's Drought

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 1:19 pm

The latest figures on the California drought are expected to be released on Wednesday. The state's snowpack, a major source of water for the rest of the year, is at the lowest level on record.

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

Transcript

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NPR Ed
3:01 am
Wed April 1, 2015

The Opposite Of The Dean's List

The Education Department, headed by Secretary Arne Duncan, says it's keeping a close eye on 556 colleges and universities that do a poor job of complying with federal regulations and handling federal financial aid.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 8:56 am

No school wants to be on this list.

It was just released by the Department of Education. On it are the names of 556 colleges and universities that failed the department's "financial responsibility test."

Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell says that each school's finances are now being placed under a microscope because the government "had serious concerns about the financial integrity of the institution or its administrative capacity."

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