NPR News

The Two-Way
6:53 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Senate To Vote On Arming Rebels As Islamic State Seizes Villages

Islamic State fighters backed by tanks have seized 16 Kurdish villages in the past 24 hours in what is being described as a major advance for the extremist group in northern Syria, according to a human rights watchdog group.

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NPR Ed
5:47 am
Thu September 18, 2014

How To Make The Most Of Your 10 Minutes With Teacher

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 7:11 am

So you finally get the chance to meet one on one with your child's teacher — now what?

Like a good Boy Scout, be prepared: Educators agree that doing your homework before a parent-teacher conference can make a big difference.

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NPR Ed
5:47 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Rethinking A Fall Classic: The Parent-Teacher Conference

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina speaks with students Carlos Cruz and Lluvia Hernandez while visiting a school in Brooklyn earlier this year.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 6:48 am

So now that students have settled in to the routine of the school year, yet another fall education ritual looms: the parent-teacher conference.

And while there's universal agreement that parent involvement is a good thing, these all-too-short meetings are often frustrating on both sides.

Teachers, and parents, often find them too short and too shallow, too likely to focus on problems, with little time to really get beyond test scores and a few bullet points about the curriculum or homework. And, as children get older, fewer parents tend to show up.

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The Two-Way
5:41 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Scotland's Historic Decision: Should It Stay Or Should It Go?

A man plays the bagpipes on a "short walk to freedom" march in Edinburgh, Scotland on Thursday as polling in the independence referendum began.
Paul Hackett Reuters/Landov

Scots decide today whether to end 300 years of union with Great Britain and go it alone as they cast ballots in a historic referendum that is sure to have a lasting impact no matter which way it goes.

Public opinion polls in recent days have suggested that Scotland is very evenly split on the question and that the vote could be extremely close. The options are to vote "yes" or "no" to the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The results are expected on Friday.

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Animals
5:15 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Dog From Philadelphia Ends Up In Oregon Shelter

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:50 am

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

Around the Nation
5:01 am
Thu September 18, 2014

High School Reconsiders Student's Yearbook Photo

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:50 am

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

The Salt
4:39 am
Thu September 18, 2014

From Coffee To Chicory To Beer, 'Bitter' Flavor Can Be Addictive

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 6:40 am

Food writer Jennifer McLagan has spent the past few years trying to win home cooks over to the ingredients they fear. She's written a cookbook on fat, one on bones and one titled Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.

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Politics
4:38 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Ads Get Creative, Even Seductive, To Attract Voters

In this Illinois ad, Doris and her friend Betty suggestively encourage two young men to come in ... and get voter ID cards.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 7:17 am

September is voter registration month, but inspiring Americans to register and vote isn't always easy. Especially with politicians held in such low esteem. So some groups — and a few election officials — are taking a page from the book of Mad Men's Don Draper to get voters to the polls. Who knew that voting could be this much fun?

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Race
4:31 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Jacqueline Woodson On Being A 'Brown Girl' Who Dared To Dream

Author Jacqueline Woodson reads from her newest novel, Sept. 15.
Kat Chow NPR

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:50 am

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

The Two-Way
6:40 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Two More NFL Players Placed On 'Exempt List' Over Domestic Violence

Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy waves to fans as he arrives for an NFL football practice in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 11, 2014.
Chuck Burton ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:44 pm

Two more players were benched by NFL teams on Wednesday over allegations of domestic violence.

First, the Carolina Panthers placed their star defensive end Greg Hardy on the exempt list and then the Arizona Cardinals deactivated running back Jonathan Dwyer.

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The Two-Way
6:02 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Doctor Says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Has 'Rare ... Difficult' Cancer

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in December 2013.
Chris Young The Canadian Press

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:04 pm

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who made international news after he admitted to smoking crack, has cancer.

That's according to his doctor, a colorectal surgeon, who confirmed the diagnosis during a press conference on Wednesday.

The Toronto Star reports:

"Dr. Zane Cohen, the renowned colorectal surgeon, said Wednesday that Ford has a malignant liposarcoma. He will be treated with chemotherapy, Cohen said.

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The Two-Way
4:26 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Federal Reserve To Markets: Nothing To See Here; Move Along

Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen.
Susan Walsh AP

The Federal Reserve's policy makers just eyeballed the economy, and saw nothing new.

On Wednesday, they announced wage-and-price hikes remain low and growth continues at a moderate pace. That means interest rates can stay super low for a "considerable time," while the Fed's bond-buying program can wrap up next month, as expected.

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Shots - Health News
3:26 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Europe's Family Tree Gets A New Branch

This skull, from the Swedish archaeological site called Motala, is thought to have come from a hunter-gatherer who died there about 8,000 years ago.
Anna Arnberg

For those who eagerly trace their genetic lineage or subscribe online to find their earliest ancestors, there's a new group to consider adding to the furthest reaches of your list. A previously unrecognized population of ancient north Eurasians may be a major third braid in the genetic twist that gave rise to most modern Europeans and their kin.

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Goats and Soda
3:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

The Insights Of An Ebola Doctor Who Became A Patient

Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber, leave a news conference after his release from Emory University Hospital on Aug. 21.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:19 pm

He had cared for Ebola patients. He himself caught the virus. Only then, said Dr. Kent Brantly, did he fully grasp the awful nature of this disease.

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The Salt
3:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And Raise The Risk Of Diabetes

Should we drink diet soda or not? The latest study doesn't really clear things up.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 3:29 am

The debate over whether diet sodas are good, bad or just OK for us never seems to end.

Some research suggests zero-calorie drinks can help people cut calories and fend off weight gain.

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Economy
3:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Fed Pledges To Keep Interest Rates Low For A While

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:03 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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U.S.
3:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

House Approves Bill To Train, Arm Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:03 pm

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

NPR Story
1:53 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Federal Reserve Will Keep Interest Rates At Record Low

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low for a considerable period because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar.

The Fed says it plans to keep its benchmark rate near zero as long as inflation remains under control, until it sees consistent gains in wage growth, long-term unemployment and other gauges of the job market.

Additionally, the Federal Reserve announced that it will stop buying bonds to prop up the US economy.

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NPR Story
1:53 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Playwright Israel Horovitz Turns Filmmaker

Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith in a scene from the film "My Old Lady"(Cohen Media Group)

Israel Horovitz has written over 70 plays. He’s had some 50 of them produced in France, which bestowed on him its Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Now he’s directed his first feature film, “My Old Lady” based on his 2002 play. “My Old Lady” tells the story of Mathias, played by Kevin Kline, a down on his luck New Yorker who inherits an apartment in Paris from his father.

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NPR Story
1:53 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

NASA Picks Companies To Launch US Astronauts Back Into Space

Members of a panel announce NASA's choice of Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station during a news conference at the Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 16, 2014, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (John Raoux/AP)

 

NASA said it will give more than $6 billion to private space companies that will launch Americans into orbit.

Since the demise of the shuttle program in 2011, the United States has had to buy seats on Russian vehicles to get crew members to the International Space Station.

NASA announced this week that Boeing and SpaceX would have their own space vehicles ready to launch in 2017.

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Parallels
1:44 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

After A Long Wait, Syrian Rebels Hope The Weapons Will Now Flow

Syrian rebel fighters in the northern city of Aleppo in August. The Obama administration has been vetting rebel groups and decided that more than a dozen are moderate enough to arm.
Zein al-Rifai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:45 pm

President Obama has long been reluctant to provide substantial aid to Syria's so-called moderate rebels, often dismissed as weak and disorganized. But the rapid rise of the group that calls itself the Islamic State has changed many calculations.

The CIA has been running a small-scale covert weapons program since early this year, according to rebels who have been trained and are now receiving arms shipments. The modest program has strengthened moderate battalions, according to Western and regional analysts, even as rebel commanders complain about the meager arms flow.

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Parallels
1:19 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

From Quebec To Kashmir, Separatists Watch Scotland Vote

These supporters of Scottish independence are saying yes, and separatist groups in other parts of the world hope it will give them a boost as they seek to break away.
David Cheskin AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 2:04 pm

Scotland's referendum on independence Thursday could resonate far beyond the borders of the United Kingdom. There are many places with separatist movements, like the militias in eastern Ukraine who have been battling the Ukrainian government this year.

Here's a look at some of the other places with separatists who want to break away from their current rulers, from Canada to Spain to Belgium to India.

Quebec

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Shots - Health News
1:13 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Kids' Perception Of Parents' Favoritism Counts More Than Reality

If a child feels like the odd person out, it could mean more problems in the teenage years, psychologists say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:37 pm

We all know which kid Mom and Dad liked best, and odds are you're thinking it's not you.

But does that really make a difference? It can, researchers say, but not always the way you might think.

Less-favored children are more likely to be using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as teenagers, according to researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

But what matters is not how the parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.

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Goats and Soda
12:00 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Who's Giving What: Nonprofits Step Up Anti-Ebola Efforts

Direct Relief has been shipping medical supplies to West Africa.
Courtesy of Direct Relief

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:44 pm

"Charities and individual philanthropies have given generously and they can make a big difference," President Obama emphasized yesterday during his announcement of U.S. plans for addressing Ebola.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Iran's Foreign Minister: U.S. 'Not Serious' About Defeating Islamic State

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a recent news conference in Rome. Zarif told NPR that the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to dealing with the self-declared Islamic State.
Fabio Campana EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 3:34 am

Iran's foreign minister says the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to combating extremist groups in Iraq and Syria and that President Obama needs a reality check on the subject of defeating the Islamic State insurgency.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep in an interview to air on NPR, said the United States is "not serious" about defeating the Sunni extremists.

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Obama Rules Out Another Ground War In Iraq

President Obama speaks at U.S. Central Command, at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:13 pm

President Obama reiterated that he will not commit U.S. troops to fight another ground war in Iraq, adding that U.S. airstrikes, combined with expertise, would be more effective in defeating the group that calls itself the Islamic State.

"As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq," Obama said at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

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The Salt
10:20 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Mistura Food Fest Gives Peruvian Cuisine A Chance To Shine

Cuy, or guinea pig, one of the traditional dishes from the Andes.
Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:08 pm

Every September, Peruvian restaurants and famous chefs from around the world gather in Lima for a celebration of Peruvian cuisine. The word mistura means "mixture" in Portuguese. And the cuisine served at Mistura, the biggest food festival in Latin America, certainly reflects a fusion of cultural dishes.

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Parallels
9:55 am
Wed September 17, 2014

For Scotland's 16-Year-Olds, The First Vote Will Be On Independence

Scotland lowered the voting age to 16 for Thursday's referendum on whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or opt for independence. It was widely assumed the teenagers would overwhelmingly vote for independence, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Scott Heppell AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:03 pm

It's lunchtime at Drummond Community High School in Edinburgh. The kids are all wearing the uniform of a smart black blazer, white shirt and blue tie. Some 16- and 17-year-olds are here with their cheese sandwiches and their baked potatoes.

They get to cast ballots Thursday in what looks to be a close vote on whether Scotland will become independent or remain part of the United Kingdom.

Here's what some of them are saying:

"Scotland will be a richer country if there's a 'yes' vote" for independence, says Calum Preston. "It's just a fact."

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The Protojournalist
9:17 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Growing Business — Show Us Your Desk Plant

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 7:21 am

Post a photo of the plant on your desk in the Comments section below.

That's right: The plant the boss wants you to take home ...

Now you can explain — with some research to back you up — that having greenery in your workspace makes you more productive. And how a ficus near the phone or a lily by the laptop helps grow business.

And maybe your supervisor will make like a plant — and leave.

Rooting Out The Problem

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The Two-Way
8:22 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Bangladesh Court Commutes Islamist Leader's Death Sentence

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:03 pm

Bangladesh's Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence of an Islamist leader who was convicted last year by a war crimes tribunal for his role in the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

Delwar Hossain Sayedee, now 74, will instead spend the rest of his life in prison, a five-member panel of judges ruled today.

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