NPR News

It's All Politics
4:41 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Former Iowa Lawmaker Admits To Getting Payoff Before 2012 Caucuses

Kent Sorenson says he was paid for his endorsement of Ron Paul in the 2012 presidential campaign. He had previously served as chairman for Rep. Michele Bachmann's Iowa campaign.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 4:54 pm

A former Iowa state senator says he took money for shifting loyalty from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul during the 2012 presidential campaign.

There's always a certain amount of weirdness in the Iowa presidential caucuses, and in the 2012 cycle the peak weirdness might have come just before New Year's. Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson, the Iowa chairman for Bachmann's campaign — jumped to the Paul campaign six days before the voting, immediately setting off rumors that he took a payoff for switching sides.

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The Two-Way
4:21 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

ACLU, U.S. Settle Lawsuit On Deportation Of Immigrants

Marta Mendoza, a 47-year-old Mexican woman, had lived in the Los Angeles area illegally for 32 years. There, she raised six children, all U.S. citizens.

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Men In America
4:04 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Freemasonry Still Alive And Well, And (Mostly) Men-Only

Danny Done, 26, worshipful master of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge in Seattle. The fraternity is "a really interesting social network that's not online," he says.
Martin Kaste NPR

The members of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge near downtown Seattle are on the young side. The guy in charge is 26.

Danny Done, the lodge's worshipful master, is lounging on his designated chair in the room reserved for private ceremonies.

His title comes with a top hat, though he avoids putting it on — he says it makes him look dorky. But he does like other aspects of Masonic regalia, like his Templar sword. Done uses it to point to a diagram on the wall that charts out the different kinds of Masonry.

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Law
3:49 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

In Settlement, Homeland Security Agrees To Reform 'Voluntary Departures'

The Department of Homeland Security is settling a lawsuit with the ACLU, which deals with immigrants who were improperly pushed to leave the country. The suit alleged that DHS agents coerced immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to take part in a process called "voluntary departure."

The Salt
3:40 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Diplomats And Lawyers Try To Define 'Culturally Acceptable Food'

Tractors sit on a sugarcane plantation on the land of a Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous community in Brazil, where Oxfam has alleged "land grabs" unfairly take land from the poor. The United Nations is drafting voluntary guidelines for "responsible investment in agriculture and food systems" in response to such concerns.
Tatiana Cardeal Courtesy of Oxfam

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 4:31 pm

Here's a fine topic for a graduate seminar in anthropology: What makes food culturally acceptable? Cue discussions of values and taboos, tastes and traditions.

Now make room for diplomats and lawyers, because this question has popped up, improbably, during international negotiations at the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

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Shots - Health News
3:04 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Life After Ice Buckets: ALS Group Faces $94 Million Challenge

Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, LeBron James, Lindsay Lohan, Kermit the Frog and Conan O'Brien all got icily drenched for charity.
via YouTube

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 3:52 pm

The ALS ice bucket challenge continues to bring in huge donations this summer for efforts to cure and treat what's commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. As of today, the viral campaign has raised more than $94 million for the ALS Association. That's compared with $2.7 million raised by the group during the same time last year.

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Parallels
3:02 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

When Do Food Shortages Become A Famine? There's A Formula For That

A child with suspected malnutrition is examined at a medical clinic in Malakal, South Sudan, in July.
Matthew Abbott AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 3:49 pm

Chris Hillbruner has a little-known job with an extraordinary responsibility: to determine how close a given country has come to famine.

In his six years at the U.S. government's Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET, he's only officially declared famine once before, in Somalia in 2011.

Hillbruner explains that the bar for declaring famine was deliberately set high to avoid the confusion of the 1980s and 1990s, when well-meaning aid agencies acted like the boy who cried wolf.

"Famine," Hillbruner says, "is a word that gets thrown around a lot."

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Around the Nation
2:59 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Chicago Greets Little League National Champs As Returning Heroes

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 3:49 pm

Chicago has gathered for a parade to celebrate the Jackie Robinson West baseball team, which won the U.S. championship at the Little League World Series. Chicago Public Radio's Natalie Moore reports that this all-black team has helped to unify a city reeling from North and South Side segregation, as well as renewed attention on the city's violence.

Parallels
2:47 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Before Leaving Afghanistan, U.S. Troops Must Declutter

A construction excavator demolishes a B-hut at the huge Bagram Air Field north of Kabul. The military used the structures as bunks and offices during the 13-year war but is tearing them down as most of the military prepares to leave by year's end.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 3:49 pm

Sgt. 1st Class Tom Albert is with the Army's 2nd Engineers at the massive Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, and he's overseeing operation Clean Sweep here. It's a huge job, because American troops and equipment are scheduled to be out of Bagram and other bases by the end of the year.

The U.S. and Afghanistan are still trying to work out a deal that would allow nearly 10,000 military personnel to stay, but even that would be just a fraction of the force that's been here for the past 13 years.

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Business
2:47 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

As BK Takes Tim Hortons, Canadians Stay Loyal To Their National Icon

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

Politics
2:47 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Mapping Out The End Days Of The Midterm Campaign

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

Around the Nation
2:47 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Surfers Flock To The Water, As Huge Waves Hit The West Coast

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 3:49 pm

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

National Security
2:47 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

The Life Of The Man Who Died Fighting For ISIS

Douglas McAuthur McCain was a U.S. citizen raised in Minnesota. He also just earned a dubious distinction, as the first American to die in Syria fighting for the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State. For more on McCain, Robert Siegel speaks with Michael Schmidt of The New York Times.

Media
2:47 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

London 'Times' Goes Retro With Stereo Typing

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 3:00 pm

Robert Siegel speaks to Patrick Kidd, the editor of The Times Diary, about the sounds of mechanical typewriters piped into the newsroom of The Times in London. The idea is that the sounds will increase energy levels and help reporters hit deadlines.

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

Science
1:53 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

There's A Big Leak In America's Water Tower

Joe Giersch, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, studies stoneflies that live only in the melt from glaciers and snowpack in the northern Rockies.
Clint Muhlfeld USGS

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 3:49 pm

The northern arm of the Rocky Mountains is sometimes called "the crown of the continent," and its jewels are glaciers and snowfields that irrigate large parts of North America during spring thaw.

But the region is getting warmer, even faster than the rest of the world. Scientists now say warming is scrambling the complex relationship between water and nature and could threaten some species with extinction as well as bring hardship to ranchers and farmers already suffering from prolonged drought.

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Parallels
12:35 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

It's Not Whisky, But Everyone In Scotland Drinks It By The Bottle

Irn Bru is a hugely popular Scottish soda that may even outsell Coca-Cola in Scotland. It also symbolizes local pride in a place that will vote on whether to break away from the United Kingdom next month.
Courtesy of Irn Bru

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 2:47 pm

For a visitor to Scotland, it can be difficult to understand the local passion for a neon orange soda that locals call "the brew." The drink is Irn Bru (pronounced "iron brew").

You can find it from McDonald's to corner stores and pubs across Scotland. It is such a powerful force that it may even outsell Coca-Cola here — making it one of the few places on the globe where Coke isn't the leading brand.

"This stuff runs in my blood," says Chris Young, as he walks through downtown Glasgow carrying a bottle.

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Interviews
11:57 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Sarah Silverman Discusses Her Movie 'Jesus Is Magic'

Silverman won the Emmy for best writing for a variety special for her HBO special We Are Miracles. In 2005, she spoke with Fresh Air about her movie based on her acts in New York and Los Angeles.

Originally broadcast Nov. 09, 2005.

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

Transcript

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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Wed August 27, 2014

As Cease-Fire Takes Hold, Big Question In Gaza Becomes What's Next

An Israeli couple, Noga and Moshiko Siho, kiss after they have their wedding photos taken Wednesday in an army staging area on the Israel-Gaza border, near Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Israel.
Oded Balilty AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 12:26 pm

Some semblance of normal life returned to Gaza on Wednesday.

The day after Hamas and Israel accepted an open-ended cease-fire, Palestinians returned to their homes, markets opened and bulldozers began clearing the rubble, while in Israel, the sirens warning of rockets fell silent.

Naturally, Palestinians, Israelis and the world started looking toward the future and began asking a tough question: What's next?

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Television
11:57 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Aaron Paul On Playing A Meth Dealer On 'Breaking Bad'

Paul won the Emmy for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for playing student-turned-drug dealer Jesse Pinkman. In 2011, he said his character was supposed to die in the first season.

Originally broadcast Sept. 19, 2011.

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

Transcript

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Goats and Soda
11:19 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Lizards And Worms Should Not Be On The School Lunch Menu

Indian schoolchildren eat their free midday meal.
Narinder Nanu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 12:54 pm

Rice and lentils was the free lunch on Aug. 22 at the Government Model Senior Secondary school in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh.

Teachers took a look at the meal.

They found worms.

Lunch was not served. Seven hundred students reportedly went home hungry after their school day.

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Hate-Crime Convictions In Amish Beard-Cutting Case Thrown Out

Sam Mullet stands in the front yard of his home in Bergholz, Ohio, in 2011. Mullet's conviction for hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of fellow members of his faith was overturned Wednesday.
Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 11:53 am

An appeals court in Cincinnati has overturned the hate-crime convictions of 16 Amish who cut the beards and hair of their fellow Amish.

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Parallels
10:08 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Iraqi Christian Village: From Sanctuary To Ghost Town In 2 Months

Friar Gabriel Tooma leads a service at the Chaldean Church of the Virgin Mary of the Harvest, in Al-Qoush on June 15. At the time, the Christian village in northern Iraq was taking in those fleeing violence in the nearby city of Mosul. Now the village itself is largely deserted.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 3:49 pm

The northern Iraqi village of Al-Qoush was humming with activity — and some jitters — when NPR visited back in June. The Assyrian Christian villagers had opened their schools and homes to Iraqis fleeing the takeover of nearby Mosul by Islamist fighters calling themselves the Islamic State.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Back Home, Freed American Journalist Says He's 'Overwhelmed By Emotion'

Peter Theo Curtis smiles as he talks with reporters outside his mother's home in Cambridge, Mass., on Wednesday.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 12:46 pm

American journalist Peter Theo Curtis was back home in Cambridge, Mass., today, after he was released by a militant group in Syria.

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Goats and Soda
9:14 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Rice Bucket Challenge: Put Rice In Bucket, Do Not Pour Over Head

Rice is just as nice as ice when it comes to bucket challenges. Right: Manju Latha Kalanidhi, inventor of the Rice Bucket Challenge, gives grains to a hard-working neighbor.
Courtesy of Manju Latha Kalanidhi

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 12:15 pm

There's the Ice Bucket Challenge. And now there's the Rice Bucket Challenge.

More than a million people worldwide have poured buckets of ice water over their heads as part of a fund-raising campaign for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

But when word of the challenge made its way to India, where more than 100 million people lack access to clean drinking water, locals weren't exactly eager to drench themselves with the scarce supply.

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Wed August 27, 2014

U.N. Says Assad Regime, Islamic State Are Committing War Crimes In Syria

An injured man sits after being treated at a medical center following shelling in the city of Douma, Syria.
Abd Doumany AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 1:14 pm

A report presented by the United Nations today paints a pretty grim picture of Syria.

It tells the story of a country mired in a ruthless civil war in which all sides are indiscriminately killing and torturing civilians. It presents a laundry list of human rights violations and war crimes undertaken by both the forces of President Bashar Assad and non-state armed groups, such as the Islamic State, that are fighting to topple the regime.

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The Two-Way
6:01 am
Wed August 27, 2014

French Prosecutors Put IMF's Lagarde Under Investigation

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 8:24 am

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, says French prosecutors have put her under formal investigation.

The New York Times reports:

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The Salt
5:31 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Any way you slice it, Americans are obsessed with pizza. One in eight of us are noshing it on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the average American consumes pizza about 39 times a year, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.

The signature of a great American-style pizza is not the toppings du jour but the cheese: hot, gooey mozzarella, with big, dark splotches of caramelization.

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The Two-Way
4:56 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Both Afghan Candidates Pull Observers From U.N. Audit Of Votes

Afghan election commission worker sorts ballots for an audit.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 8:30 am

The Afghan election process was thrown further into disarray on Wednesday, when both candidates pulled their observers from a U.N.-led audit of the country's ballots.

The Associated Press reports that Abdullah Abdullah was the first to withdraw his observer, saying the process was full of fraud. The news service adds:

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Europe
4:32 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Moral To This Story: Don't Lie About Being Kidnapped

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 5:15 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Around the Nation
4:22 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Neighbor Tries To Shut Down Lemonade Stand

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 5:15 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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