NPR News

Book Reviews
3:45 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Book Review: 'Kinder Than Solitude'

Kinder Than Solitude is Yiyun Li's sixth book.
Roger Turesson Courtesy of Random House

Ellah Allfrey reviews Kinder Than Solitude, by Yiyun Li.

Law
3:45 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Justice's 'Peacemaker' Unit Focuses On Transgender Rights

Diego Sanchez, the first openly transgender person to work as a legislative staffer on Capitol Hill, helped to develop a new Justice Department program that trains law enforcement to be more sensitive to the needs of transgender people.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

A groundbreaking survey reports that nearly 2 out of 3 transgender people say they've been victims of physical assault. Most of those crimes are never reported to police. This year, the Justice Department wants to change that by training law enforcement to be more sensitive to the needs of trans people in their communities.

Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole says its new training program is motivated by a simple yet powerful idea.

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The Salt
3:19 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow: A Guide To Speedy Vegetables

Cherry Belle radishes grow super fast.
John Trainor Flickr

Yes, it is true that gardening requires patience.

But face it, we live in an impatient world. And gardeners everywhere were depressed by the brutal and endless winter. (True story: The polar vortex killed my fall kale crop!)

So we are understandably eager to get sowing. And to see results by ... well, if not next Thursday, then maybe mid-May?

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Asia
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

South Korea Ferry Disaster Sets Rescuers, And Fears, In Motion

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 2:50 pm

Hundreds are missing after a ferry sank Wednesday off South Korea's southern coast. Reporter Jason Strother in Seoul offers details on the latest developments.

Europe
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Entering Talks In Geneva, U.S. Hopes For A Ukraine Breakthrough

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 2:50 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet Thursday with officials from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. They will discuss the crisis in Ukraine. While the Obama administration has said it has overwhelming evidence that Moscow is stirring up the unrest in eastern Ukraine, it says it wants to wait before expanding sanctions. Analysts say Washington has few other options.

Education
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

High School's Most Dreaded Test Gets A Makeover

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 2:50 pm

The College Board outlined changes today for its SAT, pairing the news with a few sample questions. NPR's Cory Turner details the makeover students can expect to find in spring of 2016.

News
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Ukrainian Tanks Roll In — But Above Them Russian Flags Fly

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:05 pm

Ukrainian tanks arrived in the city of Kramatorsk Wednesday morning. By the time they rolled out of the city, they were flying Russian flags. People in Kramatorsk tell the story of what happened.

Technology
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Man Reaches For The Sun For A Solution To Pakistan's Gas Crisis

Pakistani motorists wait in line at a refueling station in the outskirts of Islamabad on Jan. 20, 2013. Waits of up to four hours have become a way of life since Pakistan decided to switch to compressed natural gas about a decade ago.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:05 pm

Spring has crept up to the foothills of the Himalayas and, in Islamabad, Pakistan's purpose-built capital, the air is full of the scent of roses and the yelling of birds.

Yet, even in this most stately of South Asian cities, it is impossible to escape the realities of an unstable nation that has yet to figure out how to meet some of the basic needs of its 200 million or so citizens.

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

New Fossil Takes A Bite Out Of Theory That Sharks Barely Evolved

This mako shark looks like its ancient ancestors, but it's probably evolved to be even more terrifying.
Sam Cahir Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:56 pm

Sharks have looked more or less the same for hundreds of millions of years. But a newly discovered fossil suggests that under the hood, a modern shark is very different from its ancient ancestors.

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Middle East
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Iranian U.N. Ambassador's Past Makes Fodder For Diplomatic Dust-up

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:05 pm

The U.S. has denied a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran's choice as ambassador to the United Nations, which is based in New York. Aboutalebi is an experienced diplomat, but his past involvement as a translator during the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is problematic. Iran has complained to the world body, and a special committee is set to review the issue next week. Bloomberg reporter Sangwon Yoon explains the diplomatic controversy and how it may play out.

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Business
2:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Legal Moves Might Mean Fiscal Relief, And More PR Troubles, For GM

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:05 pm

General Motors is signaling its plans to ask a bankruptcy judge for protection from lawsuits related to a defective switch recall. As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the action could further complicate its current public relations crisis.

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

The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Ex-City Manager Caught In Calif. Salary Scandal Gets 12 Years

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo arrives at the Edward R. Roybal federal building and United States courthouse on Monday. Rizzo received 12 years in prison and was ordered to pay nearly $9 million in restitution for a scheme to pad his salary.
Nick Ut AP

Robert Rizzo, the former city manager of Bell, Calif., who pleaded no contest to conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds and falsification of public records, has been ordered to serve 12 years in state prison and repay nearly $9 million.

Rizzo, who was city manager of Bell until 2010, apologized during sentencing, telling Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy that he "[breached] the public trust" and that "I am so sorry for that. I will never do anything like this again."

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National Security
1:44 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Edward Snowden: From 'Geeky' Dropout To NSA Leaker

What motivated Edward Snowden to leak NSA secrets? Bryan Burrough, Suzanna Andrews and Sarah Ellison explore Snowden's background in an article for Vanity Fair.
The Guardian/Getty Images

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has revealed some of the group's most carefully guarded secrets.

The reporting on the documents he leaked won a Pulitzer Prize for the Washington Post and The Guardian, announced on Monday.

But there's still a lot we don't know about Snowden himself — and his motivation.

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Code Switch
1:35 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Light And Dark: The Racial Biases That Remain In Photography

Syreeta McFadden has learned to capture various hues of brown skin.
Syreeta McFadden Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:42 pm

When Syreeta McFadden was a child, she dreaded taking pictures after a family photo made her skin appear dulled and darkened.

"In some pictures, I am a mud brown, in others I'm a blue black. Some of the pictures were taken within moments of one another," she wrote in a story for Buzzfeed, digging into an "inherited bias" in photography against dark skin.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

DJ Sessions: Blurring The Lines Between Rock, Jazz And Classical

Drummer David King, pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Reid Anderson are the band The Bad Plus. (Jay Frahm)

In the latest installment of DJ Sessions, pianist Christopher O’Riley joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to talk about his favorite group that’s making waves in the classical community.

O’Riley says The Bad Plus is comprised of great composers. The jazz group is known for its famous covers of pop songs, like Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” But its latest album reinterprets Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

ER Doctor Looks Back A Year After Marathon Bombing

A flag that says "Boston Medical Center Strong" waves outside of Boston Medical Center, a year after the Boston Marathon bombing. (Ron Medzon)

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 2:31 pm

On this day a year ago, Bostonians got one of their first glimpses into the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, when emergency room physician Ron Medzon came on our program.

“It was just one after another after another,” he said of the victims being brought into the hospital. “Every single person had a limb-threatening injury, a life-threatening injury. And I think 20 people came in over 40 minutes, which is just incredible.”

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Slow Start To Spring Housing Market

Usually as the weather heats up, so does the U.S. housing market. However, according to recent housing data, the market’s spring selling season is getting off to a slow start.

Despite expectations this past winter that warmer weather would rekindle growth, the market is seeing higher prices and mortgage rates, and a lack of houses for sale in some markets.

NPR Correspondent Chris Arnold discusses this slowdown with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Holy Bible Could Become Louisiana's Official Book

Hurricane Katrina holdout Hazzert Gillett reads his Bible in his New Orleans home in September 2005. The state's Legislature is considering a bill to make the Holy Bible the official state book.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 1:51 pm

The "Good Book" could become the official book of Louisiana if a bill sent to the state's Legislature passes in a vote that could come as early as this week.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
12:52 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Debate: Millennials Don't Stand A Chance

Jessica Grose, who writes for Slate, Bloomberg Businessweek and Fast Company, says that millennials have been mischaracterized in the media.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 1:15 pm

  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

The "millennial generation" has been getting a bad rap in popular culture in recent years. Millennials, roughly defined as people born in the 1980s and '90s, frequently see themselves depicted as entitled, coddled and narcissistic.

But many — including millennials themselves — dispute those characterizations. Young adults today are tolerant, civic-minded and entrepreneurial, they note, and are thriving despite entering into a tight job market, often with significant amounts of student loan debt.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Judge Overturns North Dakota's Strict Abortion Law

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 12:23 pm

A federal judge has struck down a North Dakota law banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, calling the law "invalid and unconstitutional."

The law, passed by lawmakers in the state just over a year ago, bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and is considered the most restrictive in the country.

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Boston Bombing Defendant Can See Victims' Autopsy Photos, Judge Says

Blue and yellow are the colors for tributes to victims of the Boston Marathon. Street lights on the route of this year's race are among the places they're showing up.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 1:24 pm

A federal judge said Wednesday that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may see autopsy photos of the three people who died after the explosions near the finish line of last year's race.

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The Two-Way
10:31 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Washington State Mudslide Death Toll Rises To 39

Tayler Drayton, 16, earlier this month painted words of support on a bus stop for those affected by the deadly mudslide at the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:08 am

The death toll in last month's fatal mudslide in Washington state has risen to 39, officials say, after two more bodies were recovered from the debris.

Search efforts following the mudslide, near the community of Oso in the Cascades foothills, have been hampered by rain and the difficulty in recovering victims from the mudslide on the north fork of the Stillaguamish River on March 22.

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Shots - Health News
10:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Medicare Kept Paying Indicted, Sanctioned Doctors

A check of Medicare's new database of payments to physicians confirms that at least $6 million in 2012 went to doctors who had been indicted or otherwise sanctioned.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:26 am

In August 2011, federal agents swept across the Detroit area, arresting doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals accused of running a massive scheme to defraud Medicare.

The following month, several of those arrested, including psychiatrist Mark Greenbain and podiatrist Anmy Tran, were suspended from billing the state's Medicaid program for the poor.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:34 am
Wed April 16, 2014

The Ultimate Animal Experience? Losing A Memory Quiz To A Chimp

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:34 am

Time to be embarrassed. You're about to be bested by a young chimpanzee in a memory test.

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Iraq's Infamous Abu Ghraib Prison Temporarily Closed

An Iraqi security officer patrols the grounds at Baghdad Central Prison in Abu Ghraib in 2009.
Wathiq Khuzaie Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:06 am

Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison that became the center of a 2004 prison-abuse scandal during the U.S. occupation, is being closed temporarily because of security concerns, according to the country's Justice Ministry.

The infamous prison, located on the outskirts of Baghdad near Sunni-dominated Anbar province, is being shut because of fears it could be overrun by Sunni insurgents, according to The New York Times.

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Dozens Of Girls Abducted In Nigeria

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 10:17 am

Soldiers, "vigilantes and volunteers," CNN writes, are searching for about 100 Nigerian schoolgirls who are reportedly in the hands of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

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Code Switch
7:32 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Revisiting Pulitzer Nominees That Touch On Issues Of Race

Washington Post writer Eli Saslow won a Pulitzer Prize for his series on the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 10:56 am

This week, Columbia University handed out the Pulitzer Prizes, which are widely considered among the highest honors in journalism. The occasion gives us a good excuse to shout-out some of the finalists and winning entries that touch on issues of race and culture. (Fair warning: These stories are very good journalism done in the service of illuminating some deeply dispiriting realities.)

Speak No Evil

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The Two-Way
7:14 am
Wed April 16, 2014

43-Year-Old Cold Case Closed: South Dakota Girls Died In Accident

Cheryl Miller's driver's license was among the evidence collected from the car she and Pamela Jackson were last seen in. The two South Dakota girls disappeared in 1971. Now, authorities say it appears they accidentally drove into a creek. It wasn't until last year that low waters revealed the vehicle.
South Dakota Attorney General's office AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 12:02 pm

Families and friends who have wondered since 1971 about what happened to two South Dakota girls now have some closure.

Authorities said Tuesday that they believe Pamela Jackson and Cheryl Miller died when their 1960 Studebaker Lark accidentally went off a gravel road and into a local creek. "All the evidence would appear to indicate an accident," South Dakota Attorney Gen. Marty Jackley said.

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The Two-Way
6:02 am
Wed April 16, 2014

In Ukraine: Reports Of Soldiers Switching To Pro-Russia Side

Men sit on an armored personnel carrier in Slovyansk, Ukraine, on Wednesday. A Russian flag flies from it. When some Ukrainian forces approached the city, locals say, they were persuaded to hand over their vehicles to pro-Russia protesters.
Gleb Garanich Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 12:49 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from Kramatorsk, Ukraine

Confusion continues to reign in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia gunmen remain in control of many government offices even as the Ukrainian military sends in troops, tanks and armed aircraft in an attempt to dislodge them.

According to NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is in eastern Ukraine, locals who are pushing to separate from the central government and join the Russian Federation claim that at least some Ukrainian troops are refusing to move against them.

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Hundreds Missing After Ferry Sinks Off South Korea's Coast

Rescuers head toward the ferry Sewol off the southern coast of South Korea on Wednesday. It sank while on a trip to a resort island. Several hundred people, most of them high school students and teachers, are missing.
Yonhap News EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:37 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports about the ferry accident
This post is being updated as news comes in.

Many hours after the tragedy, close to 300 people were still missing following a ferry disaster Wednesday off the southern coast of South Korea. Most of those unaccounted for are high school students who were on a trip to a resort island.

Read more

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