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NPR Ed
10:08 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

A New Study Reveals Much About How Parents Really Choose Schools

A painted map of the U.S. seen from inside a classroom at Homer A. Plessy Community School, a charter school in New Orleans.
Eric Westervelt NPR

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 7:13 am

The charter school movement is built on the premise that increased competition among schools will sort the wheat from the chaff.

It seems self-evident that parents, empowered by choice, will vote with their feet for academically stronger schools. As the argument goes, the overall effect should be to improve equity as well: Lower-income parents won't have to send their kids to an under-resourced and underperforming school just because it is the closest one to them geographically.

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The Two-Way
6:34 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

After Foie Gras Ban Lifted In California, Some Chefs Face Threats

Karlene Bley of Los Angeles spreads her torchon of foie gras onto bread during lunch at the Presidio Social Club restaurant in San Francisco. Last week, a federal judge overturned California's ban on the dish.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 10:59 am

Last Wednesday, a federal judge overturned California's ban on the sale of foie gras, the delicacy made from the livers of fatty ducks and geese that have often been force-fed. The ban was approved by California voters in 2004, and went into effect in 2012.

Since the ban was overturned, some chefs using foie gras in their menus have been receiving threats.

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The Two-Way
5:35 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

New Solitary Confinement Plan For Younger Inmates At Rikers

A view of buildings on Rikers Island penitentiary complex .
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 10:33 am

New York City officials unanimously agreed Tuesday to eliminate solitary confinement for inmates ages 21 and younger. The decision is groundbreaking: Jails across the U.S. impose solitary confinement on misbehaving inmates.

In recent years, the Department of Correction has been plagued by accusations of inmate abuse at Rikers Island, the second-largest jail in the U.S. In 2012, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) published Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York's Prisons, a yearlong investigation.

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The Salt
4:34 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

We Lie About What We Eat, And It's Messing Up Science

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 2:15 pm

How many peanuts did you snack on last week? If you don't remember, you're not alone. We humans are notoriously bad at remembering exactly what and how much we ate. And if there's one pattern to our errors, it's that we underestimate — unintentionally and otherwise.

And yet, for decades, researchers who want to amass large quantities of data about how much Americans eat and exercise have had to rely on individuals to self-report this information.

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Business
4:33 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Dollar's Rise Is Good News For The U.S., For Now

A pedestrian passes a currency exchange in London Jan. 5. The value of the U.S. dollar has risen about 15 percent against the euro since last summer.
Andy Rain EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:17 pm

If you've traveled outside the U.S. recently, or sent your U.S.-made products abroad, you've probably noticed that the dollar is getting stronger. The stronger dollar is the sign of a healthier U.S. economy, but its strength has the potential to erode growth.

There are a number of factors behind the dollar's rise, says economist Jens Nordvig, a currency expert at Nomura Securities. The main one is the health of the U.S. economy.

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Goats and Soda
3:43 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Control, Eliminate, Eradicate A Disease: What's The Difference?

A comic book captures the attention
 of Guinea worm patients Sadia Mesuna (right) and Fatawu Yakubu at a center for patients in Ghana.
Louise Gubb Courtesy of The Carter Center

Control, eliminate, eradicate: A thesaurus might tell you the words are similar, the last two even interchangeable. But as the American Museum of Natural History's newly opened exhibition Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease makes clear, when it comes to fighting disease the difference can be as stark as life and death.

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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Ohio Man Is Arrested For Allegedly Plotting Attack On U.S. Capitol

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:05 pm

The FBI arrested Christopher Lee Cornell of Cincinnati, charging him with buying weapons to carry out a terrorist attack on Washington, D.C. Cornell, 20, was monitored by federal agents who say he used Twitter to express support for the extremist group Islamic State as well as "violent jihad."

The arrest warrant for Cornell, who authorities say was known online as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, says that he "purchased and possessed firearms in furtherance of a plan to shoot and kill United States Government officers and employees."

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Parallels
3:29 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Some French Muslims See Conspiracies In Paris Shootings

A man walks through the Grand Mosque in Paris on Jan. 9. Some Muslims have questioned the official version of the shootings in Paris and embraced conspiracy theories. In schools, some Muslim students refused to take part in a moment of silence for the victims.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:43 pm

Last week's shootings in Paris shocked the French. Many received another jolt when they learned that some Muslim students refused to join in the minute of national silence observed across the country following the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The newspaper Le Figaro quoted one teacher in a heavily Muslim neighborhood in the eastern city of Strasbourg as saying that 80 percent of her students did not participate.

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U.S.
3:27 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Homeland Security Secretary Defends Executive Actions On Immigration

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

Audie Cornish talks to Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), about what the effects would be on DHS if Congress did not vote to fund it.

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

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

French Ambassador To U.S. Outlines 'Predicament' Of Immigration

French Ambassador to the U.S. Gerard Araud addresses a solidarity gathering at the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Araud said last week's attack was "in a sense maybe worse than what we were expecting, because it was done in a very professional way."
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

As it mourns the tragedy of last week's attack in Paris, France's government is also concerned about more attacks and how to adapt to prevent them. The concerns range from coping with 5,000 radical youth to becoming a society of immigration, France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, says.

While France's leaders had feared a terrorist attack within its borders, Araud says that "what happened was in a sense maybe worse than what we were expecting, because it was done in a very professional way."

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The Great Plains Oil Rush
3:27 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Falling Oil Prices Have North Dakota Migrants Rethinking The Boom

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

A year ago, as part of our series on the Great Plains oil rush, we brought you the story of a 36-year-old father who had recently lost his job when one of the last major timber mills in the Northwest shut down. After several years struggling to find steady work and even after going back to school, Rory Richardson decided to commute 550 miles from his home in far western Montana, to a place where jobs are plentiful - the oil fields of North Dakota. But after a little more than a year, he and his family have decided the toll is just too great.

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Middle East
2:46 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Al-Qaida Group Claims Responsibility In 'Charlie Hebdo' Attack

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

Audie Cornish speaks with Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies, about al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the group's claim of responsibility for the recent Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.

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

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The Two-Way
2:43 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

In Wake Of Lapses, Top Secret Service Officials Are Told To Leave

There's a management shakeup at the Secret Service in the wake of several security lapses: The Washington Post is reporting that four of the Secret Service's senior-most officials have been removed and a fifth is retiring.

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Shots - Health News
2:33 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

From The Mouths Of Apes, Babble Hints At Origins of Human Speech

Tilda the orangutan, relaxing between gabfests at the Cologne Zoo.
Cologne Zoo

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 6:56 am

An orangutan named Tilda is providing scientists with fresh evidence that even early human ancestors had the ability to make speechlike vocalizations.

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Around the Nation
2:16 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Threatened By Liability, Iowa City Bans Sledding

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

The city of Dubuque, Iowa, is the latest city to pass a ban on sledding. It affects all but two hills in town. City Council members say they've passed the ban to protect tax payers from lawsuits and are now asking local legislators to add sledding to the list of activities that cities are protected from being sued for, like skateboarding and biking accidents.

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Europe
2:16 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

New 'Charlie Hebdo' Cover Met With Condemnation, Albeit Measured

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

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

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Law
2:16 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Another Shooting Puts Albuquerque Police Back In The Spotlight

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

On Tuesday night, officers shot and killed a suspect who they say fired at them. Earlier this week, the county district attorney said she would seek murder charges against two other officers in the shooting of a homeless man last year.

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

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Politics
2:16 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

House Votes To Block Obama's Immigration Actions

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:33 pm

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

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Around the Nation
2:16 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Chicago Scrambles To Remain Top Contender For Obama Library

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 10:31 pm

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

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NPR Story
1:24 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

State Budgets Sag Under Weight Of Slow-Moving Economy

The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield is pictured in January 2010. (Randy von Liski/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 1:01 pm

State lawmakers and new governors across the country are getting sworn into office this week. Some of them will have an easier time governing than others.

Nearly a dozen states face budget shortfalls this fiscal year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which means states will be making difficult policy decisions right out of the gate.

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NPR Story
1:24 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Texas' Diverse Economy May Soften Oil Price Slump

A photo taken on June 6, 2013 shows a general view of French oil giant Total's Texan plant in Port Arthur. (Marc Preel/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 1:01 pm

As analysts remain concerned over tumbling oil prices, lawmakers in Texas — the leading producer of oil in the U.S. — are beginning to shape their next two-year budget.

Unlike states like Alaska, where oil industry taxes account for 89 percent of the its operating revenue, Texas has been working to diversity its economy since the 1980s oil bust.

Today, oil and mineral-related revenue makes up 10 percent of the state’s total tax collections, compared to 20 percent nearly 30 years ago.

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NPR Story
1:01 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

The Real People Who Inspired The Film 'Spare Parts'

Fredi Lajvardi (left) and Cristian Arcega are pictured at the Los Angeles Premiere of Pantelion Films' "Spare Parts" at Arclight Cinemas on Thursday, January 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Todd Williamson/Invision for Pantelion FIlms via AP)

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 4:51 pm

In 2004, a team of high school students from Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona, defeated college teams, including MIT, in an underwater robotic competition.

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NPR Story
1:01 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Orangutan Speaks? Google Translates!

[Youtube]

There’s news this week about an orangutan that’s doing something very unusual: she is making noises that sound like human noises. Human speech patterns have been heard in monkeys before, but not in the so-called great apes, such as gorillas and orangutans, which typically grunt.

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NPR Story
1:01 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Seattle Zoo Ponders Where To Send Its Elephants

Chai, the Woodland Park Zoo's 35-year-old Asian elephant, browses for treats thrown by her keeper in the zoo's elephant enclosure. The zoo is looking for a new home for Chai and other remaining elephant, Bamboo. (Deborah Wang/KUOW)

Officials at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle are in the process of looking for a new home for their two Asian elephants.

In November, they announced they would close their exhibit and send their elephants to another facility to allow them to be part of a larger social herd.

But there is still an active debate in Seattle about where the elephants should go next. Deborah Wang from Here & Now contributor station KUOW in Seattle reports.

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Remembrances
12:09 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Fresh Air Remembers National Book Award Winner Robert Stone

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

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Shots - Health News
11:21 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Early Test Of An Obamacare Experiment Posts Little Progress

Obama administration officials have warned that ambitious experiments run by the health law's $10 billion innovation lab wouldn't always be successful. Now there is evidence their caution was well placed.

Only a small minority of community groups getting federal reimbursement to reduce expensive hospital readmissions produced significant results compared with sites that weren't part of the $300 million program, according to partial, early results.

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Wed January 14, 2015

10 Dead After Texas Prison Bus Crashes Into A Train

Officials investigate the scene of a prison transport bus crash in Penwell, Texas on Wednesday. Law enforcement officials said the bus carrying prisoners and corrections officers fell from an overpass in West Texas and crashed onto train tracks below, killing at least 10 people.
Mark Sterkel The Odessa American/AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 7:56 pm

At least 10 people have died after a prison bus left Interstate 20 and crashed into a train just outside Odessa, Texas.

Eight inmates and two correctional officers were killed, Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a press release.

Clark added that five people — four inmates and one staff member — have been taken to a hospital.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Controversial French Comedian Arrested Over Facebook Post On Paris Attacks

Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, the French comedian better known as Dieudonne, has been arrested and held on charges of apologizing for terrorism in the wake of a Facebook post that referred to last week's deadly attacks in Paris.
Michel Euler AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 5:08 pm

Controversial French comedian Dieudonne has been arrested in the wake of the deadly attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and held on charges of apologizing for terrorism. He was one of 54 people held across France; none has been linked to the attacks.

Dieudonne's alleged crime: writing "Je suis Charlie Coulibaly" (I am Charlie Coulibaly) on his Facebook account.

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The Two-Way
9:44 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Mexico Charges Former Iguala Mayor In Missing Students Case

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 2:00 pm

Mexico's office of the attorney general made two announcements of note Wednesday in regard to the case of the 43 missing students.

Tomas Zeron, director of criminal investigations at the office, said that they had obtained another arrest warrant against former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez in connection with the kidnapping of the 43 students. And he also said that Velázquez's wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, had been linked to the Guerreros Unidos organized crime group.

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The Two-Way
9:01 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Pope Francis Canonizes First Sri Lankan Saint

Pope Francis arrives for Wednesday's canonization Mass for Joseph Vaz at Galle Face Green in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:13 pm

Pope Francis gave majority Buddhist Sri Lanka its first Catholic saint today during a seaside ceremony before thousands of people who packed the oceanfront of the capital, Colombo.

Francis is in Asia on a six-day tour intended to build the Roman Catholic Church's following on a continent that holds 60 percent of the world's population but only 12 percent of Catholics.

As church bells rang, the pope canonized Joseph Vaz, a priest who worked against the persecution of Catholics by the island's 17th-century Protestant Dutch rulers.

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