NPR News

Strange News
5:40 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Italian Crime Bosses' Coded Notes Get Them Busted

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

Strange News
5:40 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Patriots Fan Interrupts Goodell's Vacation With Message In The Sky

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

The Two-Way
5:12 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Monsoon Flooding Kills Dozens In Myanmar, Prompting Calls For Help

A boy paddles a makeshift raft in flooded Kalay township, in the Sagaing Region of Myanmar. Heavy monsoon rains have affected more than 210,000 people in 12 out of Myanmar's 14 states and regions since June.
Ko Thaung Xinhua /Landov

At least 46 deaths have been blamed on flooding and landslides in Myanmar, where monsoon rains have forced disaster declarations in four regions. More than 1 million acres of farmland have been flooded, the government says.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is appealing for international aid to help it cope with the flooding. Officials also say that because water has blocked travel between some areas, they don't yet know the full extent of the crisis.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Complex, Generational Music In Lyrical 'Daughters'

From childhood, The Daughters' Lulu has been a creature of music, able to discern the notes of her surroundings on whim and command: The B-minor of a knife striking a glass, the pitch of different car horns, the musical composition of a waiter's dropped tray. As an adult, she is an opera singer in high demand, a soprano of rare talent who "[prefers] to sing the songs of witches."

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The Salt
4:42 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Here's The Buzz On America's Forgotten Native 'Tea' Plant

Yaupon growing in the wild in east Texas. This evergreen holly was once valuable to Native American tribes in the southeastern U.S., which made a brew from its caffeinated leaves.
Murray Carpenter for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 5:40 am

During a severe drought in 2011, JennaDee Detro noticed that many trees on the family cattle ranch in Cat Spring, Texas, withered, but a certain evergreen holly appeared vigorous. It's called a yaupon.

"The best we can tell is that they enjoy suffering," Detro says with a laugh. "So this kind of extreme weather in Texas — and the extreme soil conditions — are perfect for the yaupon."

Detro began researching yaupon — a tree abundant in its native range, from coastal North Carolina to East Texas — and discovered that the plant contains caffeine and has a remarkable history.

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Politics
4:42 am
Tue August 4, 2015

New Power Plant Rules Likely To Start Slow-Burning Debate, Legal Action

A coal scraper machine works on a pile of coal at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in 2009 in New Haven, W. Va. The state, in which coal mining is a major industry, is one party planning to sue the Environmental Protection Agency regarding new power plant regulations announced on Monday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 5:40 am

An epic legal battle is about to begin over President Obama's plan to address climate change, in which the Environmental Protection Agency is putting in place new limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. Critics argue the plan is on shaky legal ground, but the administration says it's prepared to defend the regulations in court.

In announcing the "Clean Power Plan" on Monday, Obama predicted some of the arguments his critics would make.

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Parallels
4:42 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Berlin's New Airport: Still In A Holding Pattern

The Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg International Airport was supposed to open in 2012, but has been delayed repeatedly and is now set to open in 2017. The cost overruns and delays have made airport the butt of frequent jokes.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 5:40 am

Germany may be Europe's economic giant, but Berlin remains the lone major European capital without a proper airport. The mismanaged, roughly $6-billion project to build one became a national laughing stock that has dragged on for years.

Ground was broken on the airport in 2006 and the opening was delayed just shortly before the planned date in 2012. The airport's managers are now pledging that Germany's third-largest airport will open on the outskirts of Berlin before the end of 2017.

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The Salt
4:42 am
Tue August 4, 2015

How New Jersey Tamed The Wild Blueberry For Global Production

Final inspection of frozen blueberries at the Atlantic Blueberry Company.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 5:36 am

Nearly every plant that we now depend on for food — from wheat to beans to tomatoes — comes from ancestors that once grew wild on hills and in forests.

In most cases, we don't know who, exactly, tamed those plants. We don't know which inventive farmer, thousands of years ago, first selected seeds and planted them for food.

The blueberry, though, is different. We know exactly who brought it in from the wild, and where.

It happened in the pine barrens of New Jersey.

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Around the Nation
4:42 am
Tue August 4, 2015

The U.S. Declared War On Veteran Homelessness — And It Actually Could Win

Daniel Harmon, a veteran of the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, looks out the window of his room at the Hollywood Veterans Center in Los Angeles. The facility provides housing to homeless vets.
David P Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 5:40 am

This is a tale of two cities. In New Orleans, there are signs of hope that veteran homelessness can be solved. But Los Angeles presents a very different picture.

Under the deafening highway noise of the Pontchartrain Expressway in central city New Orleans, Ronald Engberson, 54, beds down for the night. Engberson got out of the Marines in 1979, plagued even back then by problems with drugs and alcohol. He says that's mostly the reason he's been homeless the past 10 years.

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Shots - Health News
3:03 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Is Obamacare's Research Institute Worth The Billions?

PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby says grants to medical societies are needed to get through to busy professionals who "may not answer our phone calls."
Stephen Elliot Courtesy of PCORI

On the ninth floor of a glassy high rise in downtown Washington, partitions are coming down to make more room for workers handing out billions of dollars in Obamacare-funded research awards.

Business has been brisk at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute or, PCORI, as it is known. The institute was created by Congress under the Affordable Care Act to figure out which medical treatments work best —measures largely AWOL from the nation's health care delivery system.

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It's All Politics
9:10 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Much Like Speed Dating, Republicans Try Their Best, Short Pitches

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former CEO Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (PA), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stand on the stage prior to the Voters First Presidential Forum.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 8:37 pm

The crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls got their first chance to face-off this week — just not really against each other.

The two-hour long rapid-fire interviews at the "Voters First Forum" in at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., had the feel of a speed-dating session as the 14 Republicans in attendance fired off their talking points in what amounted to abbreviated stump speeches, hoping voters would want a second date.

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The Two-Way
5:18 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Delta And American Ban Big Game Trophies As Airline Freight

The death of Cecil the lion, lured out of a protected area in Zimbabwe, has led Delta Airlines to stop shipping big-game trophies.
Andy Loveridge AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 11:27 pm

Updated at 1:30am ET

Delta says it will no longer allow freight shipments of big game trophies. The decision follows the killing of a popular lion in Zimbabwe.

The airline said in a statement on Monday that, effective immediately, it "will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo trophies."

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

Could Your Child's Picky Eating Be A Sign Of Depression?

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 5:23 pm

One of the frequent trials of parenthood is dealing with a picky eater. About 20 percent of children ages 2 to 6 have such a narrow idea of what they want to eat that it can make mealtime a battleground.

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics shows that, in extreme cases, picky eating can be associated with deeper trouble, such as depression or social anxiety.

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The Salt
3:29 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Tired Of The Seoul-Sucking Rat Race, Koreans Flock To Farming

Not only did the family trade their urban life for one in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and trees, but they also earn $300,000 a year.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 10:10 pm

Kim Pil-Gi left his construction job in Seoul, South Korea, three months ago. Now he happily spends his days handling grubs: squirming, writhing, beetle larvae, each one about as thick as a grown man's thumb. He sits at a tray, sorting them by size.

"At the construction company a lot of the time I'd wake up at 6 in the morning and work all night through to the next day," he says. "That was really hard for me."

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Goats and Soda
3:29 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Hope Or Hype: The Revolution In Africa Will Be Wireless

Babajide Bello of the tech company Andela takes a selfie with AOL's Steve Case after the pair played a pickup game of pingpong.
Courtesy of Andela

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 6:31 pm

The continent of Africa has long been seen as the place where humanitarian aid and World Bank loans go — to attempt to save lives or to dictate how countries should grow.

Now there's a new movement underway — a technology movement. Young entrepreneurs from the continent are protesting the old ways by launching startups that, they say, will put Africans in the driver's seat. But not everyone agrees that technology is the solution to Africa's problems.

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Sports
3:29 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Ultimate Frisbee Recognized By Olympic Committee

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 3:54 pm

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

Energy
3:29 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

How EPA Rules Would Hit Coal-Heavy West Virginia

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 3:54 pm

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

Environment
3:29 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Obama's Climate Plan Faces Huge Political Challenges

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 3:54 pm

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

NPR Story
3:29 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

From The Eye Of The Hurricane To Near Oblivion: Katrina's Forgotten Town

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Pearlington, Miss., a tiny town on the border with Louisiana. A home currently under construction there adheres to new FEMA standards for elevation.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 4:32 pm

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast 10 years ago, the eye of the storm made landfall near a tiny speck of a town at the mouth of the Pearl River on the Louisiana border with Mississippi.

To say Katrina — one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history — nearly wiped Pearlington, Miss., off the map isn't entirely true. The fact is, Pearlington was so small that it wasn't even on many maps.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

New York Attorney General Orders Immediate Halt To Realistic Toy Gun Sales

It is illegal to sell toy guns in New York that look real.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 4:57 pm

Toy guns that look real should no longer be sold in New York.

NPR's Joel Rose reports that retailers who were selling realistic-looking toy guns have agreed to halt their sales of the product. Wal-Mart, Amazon and other retailers have also agreed to pay $300,000 in fines as part of a settlement announced Monday.

An investigation by the New York attorney general's office found more than 6,000 toy guns that violate New York law were sold in the state in the past three years.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

California Wildfire Blazes Through 60,000 Acres, Containment Estimated Next Week

The "Rocky Fire" isn't expected to be contained until Aug. 10.
Josh Edelson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 4:39 pm

As wildfires continue to blaze across California, one fire is more expansive in its reach than others. It's called Rocky Fire, and it began last week. It has already burned through at least 60,000 acres.

The Rocky Fire, one of numerous active wildfires in the state, is north of San Francisco, and member station KQED reports it is roughly double the size of the city.

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The Salt
2:54 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Wanted: More Bulls With No Horns

One of the hornless Holsteins at Steve Maddox's California dairy farm. Maddox is beginning to breed hornless cattle into his herd, but it's slow going.
Abbie Fentress Swanson for NPR

The next time you're in the dairy aisle at the supermarket, take a moment to imagine the animals that produced all that milk. Do these cows have horns? Chances are they do, or at least they did at birth.

About 85 percent of milk sold in the United States comes from Holstein cows born with horns. But it's standard practice for farms to remove horns from cattle to prevent injuries to workers, veterinarians and other cows in the herd.

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The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Oil Prices Tumble Again, Hurting Drillers But Helping Drivers

Falling oil prices have put downward pressure on gasoline prices, now averaging $2.65 a gallon — about 85 cents cheaper than a year ago.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 4:49 pm

Oil prices took another drop Monday, rattling the stock market and putting more downward pressure on gasoline prices.

For oil companies, the price slump is hitting hard at profits, but for U.S. motorists, the downshift has brought savings at the pump.

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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 Jeanette Johnson and Scott Johnson

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 3:54 pm

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 3:54 pm

Bumblebees are important pollinators of crops and wildflowers across the U.S., and they 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

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 3:15 pm

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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