NPR News

The Two-Way
9:01 am
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S. Database Glitch Delays Passport, Visa Processing

An employee looks at a Russian foreign passport at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Filippov Alexei ITAR-TASS/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 9:03 am

The U.S. State Department's global database for processing visas and passports is experiencing problems that could cause delays for millions of people around the world who are awaiting travel documents.

The Associated Press writes:

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Goats and Soda
8:47 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Shades Of The Middle Ages: The Plague Popped Up In China And Colorado

The same bacterium that ravaged medieval Europe as the "Black Death" still occasionally reemerges.
Bettmann/CORBIS

The plague isn't just something you read about in medieval history books.

This past week, five cases were reported: four in Colorado and one in China.

The Colorado residents were diagnosed after coming into contact with an infected dog.

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The Two-Way
8:44 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Israeli Artillery Hits U.N.-Run School In Gaza

A United Nations-run school sheltering civilians in Gaza has been hit by Israeli artillery, the U.N. says. More than a dozen people have been killed, according to Palestinian officials.

Reuters quotes Chris Gunness, a spokesman for UNRWA, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, as confirming that the shelter in Beit Hanoun was hit.

The Associated Press reports that "Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the dead and injured in the school compound were among hundreds of people seeking shelter from heavy fighting in the area."

Reuters says:

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Montana Sen. Walsh Says PTSD May Have Played A Role In His Plagiarism

Sen. John Walsh, a Democrat from Montana.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 8:24 am

After The New York Times reported that Sen. John Walsh plagiarized at least a quarter of his master's thesis, the Montana Democrat is telling The Associated Press that post-traumatic stress disorder may have played a role.

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The Two-Way
7:27 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Iraq Elects Kurdish Politician To Ceremonial Post Of President

Fouad Massoum speaks to the press after an Iraqi Parliament session in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2010. Massoum, a Kurd, has been elected to the largely ceremonial post of president in Iraq.
Hadi Mizban AP

Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum has been elected president of Iraq by the country's parliament, another step in forming a new government after months of deadlock.

As Leila Fadel reports from Erbil in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region, "Massoum took his oath vowing to protect the constitution and the unity of Iraq. He made the promise as Iraq threatens to splinter into three pieces."

The vote for the largely ceremonial post of president was delayed for a day after the Kurdish bloc of legislators asked for more time to make their pick. Massoum was their choice.

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Shots - Health News
5:57 am
Thu July 24, 2014

A Simple Way To Reduce Stroke Risk: Take Your Pulse

Sure, your doctor can do this. But you can, too. And for stroke patients, it could be a lifesaver.
iStockphoto

An irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation is a big cause of stroke, especially for people who have recently had a stroke. But it's not something that most people can feel.

Doctors test for atrial fibrillation by hooking people up to an electrocardiogram machine at the office, or having them wear a Holter monitor for a day or a week. There are also implantable monitors to check for afib, but they aren't widely used.

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Gaza Conflict Day 17: Here's What You Need To Know

The grief-stricken Palestinian mother of 1-year-old Abdulrahamn Abed al-Nabi carries his body after he was killed in an Israeli military strike along with their cousin, 3-year-old Hadi Abed al-Nabi.
Mohammed Abed AFP/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration is now allowing American flights in and out Israel.

If you remember, the FAA banned flights to Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday, after a rocket landed about a mile from the airport.

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Parallels
5:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Syrian Babies Born To Refugees Face A Future In Limbo

Ayaman with his wife, Selma, and their one-month-old daughter Shana, who was born in Turkey. Syrian refugee parents who give birth in Turkey are finding it difficult to register their newborns and many are stateless.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Thousands of Syrian infants born to refugee parents are now stateless. Their births are unregistered and will pose many difficult challenges in this long-term conflict.

The exact numbers are far from certain. A recent report by the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, suggests that 75 percent of Syrians born in Lebanon since 2011 have not been properly registered. Many families don't have any identification documents, which were destroyed in the fighting, or left behind in a panicked escape.

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Law
5:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

In Detroit Porch Shooting Trial, It's Murder Vs. Self-Defense

Copyright 2014 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit http://michiganradio.org/.

U.S.
5:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Iowa Mayor Calls For 'Caring Cities' To Take In Young Immigrants

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

Asia
5:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

With New Safety Measures, Nuclear Reactors May Reopen In Japan

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

U.S.
5:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Military Dogs' Advocates Say The Canines Aren't Pets — They're Vets

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

The Two-Way
4:51 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Authorities Lose Contact With Air Algerie Jet

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 8:33 am

Authorities have lost contact with an Air Algerie aircraft traveling from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers, Reuters reports citing the Algerian state news agency.

Reuters adds:

"APS said authorities lost contact with flight AH 5017 an hour after it took off from Burkina Faso.

"Spanish private airline company Swiftair confirmed it had no contact with its MD-83 aircraft operated by Air Algerie, which it said was carrying 110 passengers and six crew. An Algieran official had earlier said it was an Airbus A320."

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Strange News
4:50 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Judge To Bulldog Thief: 'You Hid The Pup; The Jig Was Up'

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

Strange News
4:50 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Sarah Palin Gets A Speeding Ticket, Says She 'Can't Drive 55'

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:39 am

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

Politics
4:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

A Strange Political Dustup Clouds Kansas Governor's Future

Paul Davis, third from left, the presumed Democratic nominee for Kansas governor, receives the endorsements of more than 100 current and former Republican politicians on July 15, 2014, in Topeka, Kan.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:35 am

Kansas's Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is locked in an unexpectedly tough re-election battle for doing exactly what he said he would do – cut taxes.

Citing mounting evidence that those tax cuts are creating a budget crisis – not stimulating the Kansas economy as promised – some in the state's moderate Republican establishment recently did the unthinkable: endorse a Democrat for governor.

That's not only endangering Brownback's re-election hopes, it's also tarnishing his plans to turn one of the reddest of red states into a national model.

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Parallels
4:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Despite Mideast Turmoil, More French Jews Are Moving To Israel

Rabbi Michel Serfaty (right), head of the Jewish-Muslim Alliance of France, stands next to a Muslim cleric, or imam, as they both hold signs wishing Muslims a happy Ramadan. The rabbi and the imam have also traded hats. Despite efforts by Serfaty's group, a record number of French Jews are expected to move to Israel this year.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 8:53 am

Jews are leaving France and moving to Israel in unprecedented numbers this year.

With the departures expected to surpass 5,000, France could pull ahead of the U.S. for Jewish emigration to Israel, known as aliya. Usually, making aliya is a cause for celebration. But in France this year, it's tinged with bitterness.

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NPR Story
4:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

What Would Demilitarizing Gaza Entail?

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:39 am

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

NPR Story
4:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

As Millions Of People Fast For Ramadan, Does The Economy Suffer?

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:39 am

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

Law
8:05 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Ariz. Governor Orders Review After Execution Lasts 2 Hours

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

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

The Two-Way
5:54 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Arizona Execution Of Inmate Takes Nearly 2 Hours

An undated file photo from the Arizona Department of Corrections shows inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood, who was executed Wednesday. After the lethal injection process began, Wood reportedly remained alive for nearly two hours.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:41 pm

Another U.S. execution has gone awry, as Arizona officials who were attempting to put inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood to death today instead watched him gasp and snort for more than an hour after the mix of lethal injection drugs was administered, Wood's attorney says.

Nearly two hours after the execution began at 1:52 p.m. local time Wednesday, Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m.

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It's All Politics
5:05 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Democrats Make New Bid To Require Donor Transparency

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition reception in Washington in June. On Wednesday, he appeared at a Senate rules committee hearing to oppose a campaign finance bill proposed by Democrats.
Yuri Gripas Reuters/Landov

Senate Democrats have rolled out this year's model of the DISCLOSE Act. Or, if you want to be more formal: the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act.

It's the third version of DISCLOSE since 2010. Broadly speaking, it would force donor disclosure on the big-money, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that are flourishing in post-Citizens United politics. Unlike almost all other players in an election campaign, 501(c)(4)s are not covered by the disclosure laws. Their donors are never publicly named.

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The Two-Way
4:56 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Campaign Finance Transparency Bill Gets Chilly Reception In Senate

A bill that would require transparency by nonprofit groups related to federal elections met with united opposition from Republicans Wednesday, at the first Senate hearing on what its supporters call the Disclose Act.

The legislation would require any politically active group that spends more than $10,000 to list its donors. It was introduced last month, with 52 senators listed as its sponsors or co-sponsors (including the chamber's two independents).

NPR's Peter Overby reports:

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The Salt
4:15 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

Investigators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have discovered cases of organic fraud abroad as well as in the U.S. In 2013, 19 farmers or food companies were fined a total of $87 million for misusing the organic label.
Mark Andersen Rubberball/Corbi

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Maybe you've wondered, while looking at the price tag on some organic produce, whether that label is telling the truth.

Peter Laufer, a writer and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, doesn't just wonder. He's an outright skeptic, especially because the organic label seems to him like a license to raise prices. And also because those products are arriving through supply chains that stretch to far corners of the world.

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The Two-Way
3:37 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Obama Declares Emergency As Huge Fires Burn In Washington State

A burned-out car sits in front of a ruined house in this photo taken Sunday near Pateros, Wash. Large fires have destroyed hundreds of homes in the state this month.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 3:57 pm

Fires are still raging in Washington state, where officials hope rain might help them contain the large fires — but there's also a chance that heavy rainfall could trigger flooding and mudslides.

Fire crews have been battling several major fires in central and eastern Washington for the past two weeks. The blazes have destroyed hundreds of homes and caused wide power outages.

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It's All Politics
3:35 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Insurance For Fake Identities The Latest Skirmish Over Obamacare

Investigators were able to fraudulently sign up for coverage through HealthCare.gov, sparking criticism from Republican lawmakers.
J. David Ake AP

House Republicans went on the attack Wednesday over what they say is the latest bungling of the Affordable Care Act: fake identities used to get insurance.

Undercover investigators were able to get taxpayer-subsidized health insurance from the government's website 11 out of the 18 times they tried, according to a preliminary report from the Government Accountability Office.

Republicans on the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee say fraud and abuse will be rampant and may already be.

Democrats question all the fuss.

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The Salt
3:17 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Summer Program For Hungry Kids Gets Creative With Food Delivery

Logan Kovach, 6, Matthew Kovach, 2, and Allyson Kovach, 5, eat a lunch distributed by the YMCA in Hopkins County, Kentucky.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

More than 21 million children get free or reduced priced meals during the school year. But in the summer, that number drops to only three million.

The big question is what happens to all the other children. Do they get enough, and the right food, to eat?

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Parallels
3:14 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Common Ground Between Iraq's Rebels May Be Crumbling

People walk by a damaged police station in Mosul on July 15. The militants of the Islamic State are in control of the key city and have acted against former members of Saddam Hussein's regime who helped them drive out the Iraqi army last month.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Abu Wissam speaks to us by phone from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. He asks us to use his nickname to protect him, his family and his missing father before he recounts his father's kidnapping.

The men came on evening of July 3, just before Abu Wissam's family was preparing to break their day-long fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

"There were seven of them and before I knew it they were in our kitchen," he says.

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Shots - Health News
2:52 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Federal Health Exchange Stays Busy After Open Enrollment Ends

Even after the open enrollment deadline, HealthCare.gov remained a popular destination.
J. David Ake AP

For months, journalists and politicians fixated on the number of people signing up for health insurance through the federal exchange created as part of the Affordable Care Act. It turned out that more than 5 million people signed up using HealthCare.gov by April 19.

But perhaps more surprising is that, according to federal data released Wednesday to ProPublica, there have been nearly 1 million transactions on the exchange since then. People are allowed to sign up and switch plans after certain life events, such as job changes, moves, the birth of a baby, marriages and divorces.

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Music
2:44 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Finding The Anthropology In Latin Dance Music

Jorge Drexler's new album, Bailar en la Cueva, ventures into new territory for him: dance rhythms.
Thomas Canet Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Jorge Drexler's songs have been called introspective and literate. He's been compared to Paul Simon. But a couple years ago, the Uruguayan musician began to wonder what it would take to write dance-oriented music. That's the assignment he gave himself on his latest album, Bailar en la Cueva, or "dancing in the cave."

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