NPR News

The Two-Way
9:02 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Still Need A Lawn Yeti? Good News — SkyMall May Be Cleared For Relaunch

In January, SkyMall LLC and its parent company, Xhibit Corp., filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with some $50 million in liabilities. The company's assets were set to go up for auction in late March. The news led to a strong show of support for the in-flight catalog.

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The Two-Way
6:10 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

The Sen. Menendez Indictment In Five Excerpts

Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 9:03 pm

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Shots - Health News
5:13 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Germanwings Crash Highlights Workplace Approaches To Mental Health

When it comes to an employee's mental health status, what does an employer need to know, or have a right to know?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:00 pm

The horrifying crash last week of the Germanwings flight operated by Lufthansa has put a spotlight on what the airline knew — and what it should, or could have done — about its pilot's mental health.

Lufthansa could face unlimited liability, after the pilot allegedly brought the plane down deliberately. Here in the U.S., employment experts say monitoring employees' mental health status raises a thicket of complicated issues.

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Shots - Health News
3:12 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Trading Walkathons For Ice Buckets, Charities Try To Hold On To Donors

A big crowd turned out for the March of Dimes walkathon in Gainesville, Fla., in early March. But overall, the March of Dimes' March for Babies raised $3.5 million less in 2014 than it did the year before.
Elizabeth Hamilton Gainesville Sun/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:00 pm

Springtime means outdoor charity events, and there are plenty to choose from.

You can walk, run, bike, swim or even roll around in the mud to raise money for a cause. But some of the bigger, more established events aren't doing as well as they used to, and charities are trying to adjust.

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Law
3:12 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:00 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A grand jury has indicted Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey on federal corruption charges. Menendez made a brief statement to reporters after the indictment was announced.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

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Politics
3:12 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' Law Differs From Other States

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:00 pm

Nineteen other states have religious freedom laws, and there's even a federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Garrett Epps, professor of law at the University of Baltimore, who wrote about what separates Indiana's legislation from the others for The Atlantic.

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Politics
3:12 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Arkansas Governor Asks Legislators To Revisit 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:00 pm

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told state lawmakers Wednesday they should either amend or recall a bill that's dubbed a "religious freedom" measure. The governor changed his stance after the business community and gay rights activists complained about the measure.

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

With Nostalgia And A Last Nosh, 1 Of 3 Remaining HoJo's Closes

A vintage postcard (circa 1930-1945) shows the HoJo's on U.S. Alternate Route I, in Fredericksburg, Va.
Boston Public Library/Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:55 pm

In the 1960s and '70s, Howard Johnson's restaurants were the biggest chain in the country, with more than 1,000 locations.

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Navajos Fight Their Food Desert With Junk Food And Soda Taxes

A price comparison of Spam and fresh fruit in a grocery store in Navajo Nation. According to the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance, the vast majority of the inventory at reservation stores would be considered "junk food" under the new tax law.
Courtesy of Denisa Livingston

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 2:57 pm

More than 30 cities and states across the country have attempted to tax soda. Nearly all have failed.

Now, a community of about 250,000 people has found a way to tax not just sugary beverages, but also junk food. At the same time, it's making fresh produce more affordable in one of the hardest regions in the U.S. to buy it.

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The Two-Way
2:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:12 pm

(This post was last updated at 8:12 p.m. ET.)

Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, has been indicted on federal corruption charges.

The indictment alleges that Menendez abused his office to benefit Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor who was the senator's friend and donor. Menendez has always maintained his innocence.

During a press conference in Newark, New Jersey, Menendez said he was "confident that at the end of the day, I will be vindicated."

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Justice Department Won't Charge IRS' Lois Lerner With Criminal Contempt

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 3:23 pm

Updated at 4:33 p.m. ET

The Justice Department will not pursue criminal contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was at the center of a political storm over the agency's alleged targeting of conservative groups. The announcement came from Ronald Machen, the outgoing U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, to House Speaker John Boehner. (The letter is embedded at the bottom of this story.)

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Parallels
2:20 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

In Battered Tikrit, Iraqi Forces Claim Much, But Not All Of City

Iraqi security forces and allied Shiite militiamen look for Islamic State extremists in Tikrit on Tuesday. Iraqi forces were going house-to-house in search of snipers and booby traps.
Khalid Mohammed AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:00 pm

Driving from Baghdad north to Tikrit, we speed up a main road Wednesday through small towns that have been won back from the self-declared Islamic State, or ISIS. Some still have smoking buildings.

On the outskirts we pass through places that have obviously seen heavy fighting. Half-built houses are pocked with bullet holes, their windows shattered.

As we move into Tikrit proper, the excited fighters begin celebrating, Iraqi style, with gunshots into the air. They have reason to celebrate. A hard-fought battle appears to be nearing a conclusion.

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The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

California Governor Issues 1st-Ever Statewide Mandatory Water Restrictions

Morning traffic makes its way toward downtown Los Angeles along the Hollywood Freeway, past an electronic sign warning of severe drought. California Gov. Jerry Brown introduced the state's first mandatory water reduction measure this week.
Richard Vogel AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:03 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown instituted California's first-ever statewide mandatory water reductions on Wednesday, as the state endures its fourth year of drought.

"This historic drought demands unprecedented action," Brown said, mandating several new conservation measures:

  • A reduction in water use by 25 percent for California cities and towns.
  • New pricing structures by local water agencies to encourage conservation.
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The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

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

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 4:36 pm

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

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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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

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:27 pm

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 sinusitis 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 security forces Wednesday, a key step in driving the militants out of their biggest strongholds.
AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 2:43 pm

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

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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

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:00 pm

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 past 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.

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

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

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 2:56 pm

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 Wednesday, 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 4:23 pm

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 2:05 pm

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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