NPR News

NPR Story
1:33 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

The Average Car In The U.S. Is 11.5 Years Old

A 2004 Toyota Camry ranked no. 3 for best-selling vehicle in 2004, and the Toyota Camry is still America's best-selling car. (long-mai/Flickr)

A new automotive survey from the research organization IHS says that the the average car on the road is 11.5 years old. But automotive sales numbers for July are higher than estimates and some car makers are beating their sales from last year.

Is the auto industry contradicting itself?

Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Paul Eisenstein, publisher of The Detroit Bureau, an online automotive publication to talk about the aging U.S. automobile.

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Shots - Health News
1:30 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Snail Venom Yields Potent Painkiller, But Delivering The Drug Is Tricky

The sea snail Conus magus looks harmless enough, but it packs a venomous punch that lets it paralyze and eat fish. A peptide modeled on the venom is a powerful painkiller, though sneaking it past the blood-brain barrier has proved hard.
Courtesy of Indepth Images Kwajalein

Researchers are increasingly turning to nature for inspiration for new drugs. One example is Prialt. It's an incredibly powerful painkiller that people sometimes use when morphine no longer works. Prialt is based on a component in the venom of a marine snail.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Containment Of Raging California Wildfire Jumps

Firefighters spray a hose at a fire along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif. on July 31, 2015. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

LOWER LAKE, Calif — Firefighters aided by lower temperatures and higher humidity have made progress corralling a wildfire threatening thousands of homes in Northern California.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Don Camp says containment of the fire in the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco was at 12 percent Monday morning after being stuck at 5 percent for days.

The fire — the largest in California — grew extensively over the weekend and measured 93 square miles by early Monday.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Why George Washington University Is Ditching Standardized Tests

George Washington University is the latest school to make the SATS and ACTs optional for admission. (slack13/Flickr)

This fall, some high school seniors will have it easier in the college application process. George Washington University, one of the nation’s top private schools, is the latest school to make the SATs and ACTs optional for admission.

NPR’s Claudio Sanchez talks with Here & Now‘s Robin Young and explains that the school hopes the move will help recruit and enroll more high-achieving students who don’t do well on tests.

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The Salt
1:03 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Heavy Loads Of Pollen May Shift Flight Plans Of The Bumblebee

Ready, set, fly! The ball bearings glued to this bumblebee's legs simulate the weight and placement of pollen loads. The tag on the insect's back is a lightweight sensor, designed to track its movements in flight.
Courtesy of Andrew Mountcastle

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 1:20 pm

Bumblebees are important pollinators of crops and wildflowers across the U.S., and gather heavy loads of nectar and pollen from flowers. A study published Monday shows that the type of food they carry affects how they fly.

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

President Obama Unveils New Power Plant Rules In 'Clean Power Plan'

President Obama delivers remarks at a Clean Power Plan event at the White House on Monday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 2:03 pm

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

President Obama formally unveiled his plan to cut power plant emissions — some two years in the making — calling it the "single most important step that America has ever made in the fight against global climate change."

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Goats and Soda
12:47 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Wheelchair Beauty Queen Sings For Toilets

Grace Jerry performs her original single "E Go Happen" at a gathering of young African leaders at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. The lyrics say: "Yes we can, sure we can change the world."
YouTube

Grace Alache Jerry is everything you'd imagine a pageant winner should be — beautiful, smart, articulate. She's a gifted musician, holds a diploma in law and even campaigns for the less fortunate.

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Goats and Soda
12:32 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Basketball (And The NBA) Try To Find Fans In South Africa

The night before the NBA exhibition game, two South African teams faced off in Johannesburg. Hoops aren't exactly a huge draw in the soccer-loving country. Attendance was about 1,000.
Don Boroughs for NPR

Motlapule Mofokeng missed his chance to see the biggest professional basketball game ever played in South Africa on Saturday. Tickets sold out in less than an hour for the NBA's All-Star Team Africa vs. Team World game in Johannesburg.

Fortunately, it wasn't the only big game in town. On Friday night the fashion design student at Vaal University of Technology cheered on the Egoli Magic, 7-0, as they battled the only other undefeated team in the Basketball National League (BNL), the Tshwane Suns.

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Shots - Health News
11:22 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Calls To Cut Off Planned Parenthood Are Nothing New

Protesters rally on the steps of the Texas state capitol on July 28 to condemn the use of fetal tissue for medical research.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 1:16 pm

Republican calls to defund Planned Parenthood over its alleged handling of fetal tissue for research are louder than ever. But they are just the latest in a decades-long drive to halt federal support for the group.

This round aims squarely at the collection of fetal tissue, an issue that had been mostly settled — with broad bipartisan support — in the early 1990s. Among those who voted then to allow federal funding for fetal tissue research was now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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The Two-Way
11:01 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Texas Attorney General Turns Himself In On Fraud Charges

Attorney General Ken Paxton was booked on three felony securities fraud charges in Texas on Monday morning.
Collin County.gov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 1:37 pm

Facing securities fraud charges, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself in at a jail in Collin County, Texas, on Monday morning. A grand jury recently indicted Paxton on three felony charges that accuse him of misleading investors into a technology company.

"Two of the charges — first-degree felony securities fraud — carry the possibility of hefty jail sentences," reports member station KUT in Austin.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Second American Accused In Illegal Killing Of Lion In Zimbabwe

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 12:18 pm

Zimbabwean wildlife officials have accused a second American of killing a lion during an illegal hunt, this one in April. It comes a week after the international furor set off by the killing of Africa's iconic lion Cecil by a Minnesota dentist in early July.

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It's All Politics
10:14 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Ted Cruz Makes 'Mmm ... Machine-Gun Bacon'

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz trying bacon — made on a machine gun — at the end of a new video.
YouTube/IJReview

In a new video, presidential candidate Ted Cruz has manages to combine one of America's near-universal loves with one of its more contentious pastimes: bacon and guns.

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The Two-Way
9:58 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Group Offers To Help Revive HitchBOT That Was Vandalized In Philadelphia

As part of its U.S. travels, hitchBOT rode along with two boys who were heading to summer camp. But a week later, the robot was found to have been vandalized.
hitchBOT

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 10:44 am

The story of hitchBOT — the robot that had visited Europe and New York City, but couldn't make it out of Philadelphia in one piece — may not be over. A Philadelphia tech group is offering to rebuild the robot and hoping to repair their city's reputation.

A kid-sized robot that's built around a plastic bucket and sports a friendly LED face, hitchBOT had been on a mission to travel from Massachusetts to San Francisco, relying on the kindness of humans it meets along the way.

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Around the Nation
5:41 am
Mon August 3, 2015

After Moon Trip, Aldrin Required To Fill Out Customs Form

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 5:59 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Around the Nation
5:41 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Personal Injury Lawyer Stars In Toddler's Birthday Party

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 5:59 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. We know it's hard to choose the theme for a kid's birthday party, Spiderman, maybe trains, or maybe Morris Bart, personal injury lawyer.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

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It's All Politics
5:03 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Get Ready For The Biggest Week Yet In The GOP Race For President

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has surged to the top of GOP presidential primary polls despite a slew of controversial comments since he launched his campaign in June.
Scott Heppell AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 1:04 pm

The inaugural 2016 debate for the White House on Thursday will be the first time many voters will be tuning into the volatile GOP campaign, and candidates are praying they'll get a boost and not a bust from the face-off.

"The level of engagement has been very low," said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based national GOP strategist. "This will be a week where we will probably have record viewership on Fox News for a primary debate, and it's going to get a lot of attention and a lot of focus."

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Parallels
3:20 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Allegations Of Corruption Dog Mexico's First Lady Angélica Rivera

Angelica Rivera, the wife of Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, has been embroiled in controversy over the purchase of a luxury home.
Thomas Samson AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 9:53 am

Eight months ago, Mexico's first lady, Angélica Rivera, known for her fondness of designer clothes and European vacations, made a public promise to sell a multimillion-dollar mansion bought under controversial circumstances. She purchased the home, at below market rates, from a contractor with lucrative connections to her husband.

The scandal has been one of the biggest to rock President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration. Months later, many questions remain regarding the purchase — and Rivera has yet to sell the house.

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It's All Politics
3:11 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Baltimore Launched Martin O'Malley, Then Weighed Him Down

Newly elected Mayor Martin O'Malley (left) waves to supporters in Baltimore in November 1999.
Gail Burton AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 11:49 am

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

As Martin O'Malley neared the launch of his presidential campaign, the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor said he wouldn't think of announcing his bid "anyplace else," even as the city exploded with riots after the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who was fatally injured while in police custody.

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Shots - Health News
3:11 am
Mon August 3, 2015

How A Scientist's Slick Discovery Helped Save Preemies' Lives

Researcher John Clements in the early 1980s, after he figured out that lungs need surfactants to breathe.
David Powers/Courtesy of UCSF

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 11:23 am

In 1953, Dr. John Clements realized something fundamental about the way the lung functions — an insight that would ultimately save the lives of millions of premature babies.

The story begins in 1950, when the U.S. Army sent Clements, a newly graduated physician, to the medical division of what was then called the Army Chemical Center in Edgewood, Md. Clements was interested in doing research in biochemistry. His commanding officer was of a different mind.

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NPR Story
3:11 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Fahmy Waits To Hear If He Faces More Prison Time

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 5:59 am

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

U.S.
1:52 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Ghosts Of Katrina Still Haunt New Orleans' Shattered Lower Ninth Ward

Children walk down one of the many empty streets next to the vacant lots where houses once stood.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 1:39 pm

The flooded streets and destroyed homes of the New Orleans neighborhood known as the Lower Ninth Ward were among the most powerful and iconic images from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath 10 years ago.

Now, much of New Orleans is back — more than half of the city's neighborhoods have recovered some 90 percent of their pre-storm population.

That's not the case for the Lower Ninth.

Today, there's a feeling of desolation on nearly every block of the predominantly African-American neighborhood.

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Remembrances
3:26 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

Remembering 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper, The Wrestler So Tough, He Wore A Kilt

Originally published on Sun August 2, 2015 4:37 pm

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

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Now let's take moment to remember one of the icons of pro wrestling.

(SOUNDBITE OF WRESTLING MATCH ANNOUNCEMENT)

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Law
3:23 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

Acquitted Of Extreme Corruption, Former Officers Now Sue For Defamation

Originally published on Sun August 2, 2015 4:49 pm

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

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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Food
3:20 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

Confronting A Shortage Of Eggs, Bakers Get Creative With Replacements

Originally published on Sun August 2, 2015 4:37 pm

Eggs are becoming more expensive and scarce recently because so many chickens have died from avian flu. So bakers, in particular, are looking for cheaper ingredients that can work just as well. (This story previously aired on All Things Considered on July 22, 2015.)

Politics
3:09 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

As First Presidential Debate Looms, A Look At The Landscape Of The Race

Originally published on Sun August 2, 2015 7:00 pm

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

The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

Review Of Leaked Test Results Shows Doping Is Widespread In Track And Field

The track at Olympic Stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Popperfoto Popperfoto/Getty Images

According to a review of the results of 12,000 blood tests, the world of track and field has a doping problem that is as big as the one cycling had at the height of Lance Armstrong's popularity.

That's according to the Sunday Times and Germany's public broadcaster ARD/WDR, which obtained a leak of documents with the bloodwork of 5,000 athletes.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

A Hitchhiking Robot's Journey West Ends Early ... In Philadelphia

HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot, sits with German tourists Sarah Strempel and Eric Vogel in the back seat of a vehicle as they and their companions prepare to leave Marblehead, Mass., after picking up hitchBot for its first ride on July 17.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 10:26 am

After a bunch of really nice humans helped a hitchhiking robot traverse the length of Canada and most of Germany, the robot was going to try to make it from Massachusetts all the way to California.

HitchBOT is the brainchild of two Canadian social scientists. As Frauke Zeller and David Harris Smith explained it in a piece for the Harvard Business Review, it was an experiment meant to spark a discussion "about trust, notions of safety, and about our attitude towards technology."

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Animals
12:15 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

For Many Adopted Dogs, The Journey Home Takes A Thousand Miles

Dinaz Campbell, 10, holds Sherry, her newly adopted dog, at an adoption clinic in Rockville, Md.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

Originally published on Sun August 2, 2015 4:07 pm

On a muggy Sunday morning in Rockville, Md., the parking lot of the local pet store is organized chaos at its finest. Several hundred people pack the lot looking for a dog to adopt, and they have 50 to choose from. But they'll have to sort through a whole bunch of barking and tail-wagging to do it.

The scene looks like a mix between a fair and speed dating. Volunteers run the check-in table, coordinators walk potential adoptive families through the logistics and people move from dog to dog trying to find a perfect match to take home.

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Parallels
12:15 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

In Seoul, Where Everything Moves Fast, There's Also Longing For The Past

Traditional architecture and modern skyscrapers overlap in central Seoul.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Sun August 2, 2015 6:28 am

Anytime I need to update a bunch of apps on my smartphone, I'm going to fly to South Korea to do it.

I'm only partly joking.

The Internet speeds are so fast here, they make me feel like the U.S. is living in the past.

And it's not just the Internet. The subways here are clean, and on time, with air conditioning and Wi-Fi.

Since I arrived in Seoul, I've lost track of the number of Americans who've told me, "Incheon in my favorite airport in the world."

Now, the journalistic cliché would be to say, "This didn't happen overnight!"

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Interviews
12:14 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

After Katrina, One Sister Moves On; For Another, 'Tomorrow Never Came'

Huge shafts of light strike the littered playing field of the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on Sept. 2, 2005, four days after Hurricane Katrina. The Superdome was a squalid shelter to tens of thousands of residents for days after the storm, including the Halley sisters and their mother.
Bill Haber AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 1:40 pm

Ten years ago this month, the monster storm Hurricane Katrina thundered through New Orleans and coastal Mississippi and Alabama. Many who survived the storm and its aftermath are still feeling its terrible impact.

This week on For the Record: Hurricane Katrina's mark on one family, 10 years later.

In 2005, sisters Regina and Talitha Halley had just moved out of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans into a new house on Spain Street. Regina, now 33, took care of her sister full time while their mom worked as a professional caregiver.

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