NPR News

Shots - Health Blog
1:50 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Speaking Multiple Languages May Help Delay Dementia Symptoms

Because these Chicago second-graders are bilingual, they may be better protected later in life against the ravages of dementia.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

The brains of people who grow up speaking two languages are wired differently, and those differences protect them from dementia as they age.

That's the news from two studies out this month from a scientist in Canada who has spent decades trying to figure out whether being bilingual is bad or good. "I've been doing this for 25 years," Ellen Bialystok, a distinguished research professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, tells Shots. "Suddenly people are interested. I figure it's because everybody's scared about dementia."

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The Salt
1:42 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Panel: To Safeguard Food Imports, It's Not Just About Inspections

A worker monitors the loading of containers on to a ship at a harbor in China's Shandong province. Under a new U.S. law, Chinese food exporters will now have to share more food safety information with American food importers.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Locavores, a word with you. Local food may be gaining traction in all kinds of ways, but a report out today from the Institute of Medicine serves as a stark reminder of just how globalized our food system truly is.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:22 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

More Fake Cancer Drugs Found In The U.S.

The FDA says so far it hasn't gotten any reports of patients receiving the fake Altuzan.
U.S. Food And Drug Administration

Another batch of phony cancer drugs has made its way into the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says.

U.S.-based medical practices purchased vials of counterfeit medicine labeled as Altuzan from a foreign supplier, FDA spokesperson Shelly Burgess tells Shots. She said the agency doesn't have any reports of patients having received the counterfeit drugs.

Altuzan is the Turkish brand name for Avastin, the FDA-approved blockbuster cancer drug from Swiss drugmaker Roche's Genentech unit. Altuzan is approved for use in Turkey — but not in the U.S.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

More Violence, As U.N. Mission Races Toward Damascus

The peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan and backed the United Nations has yet to curb the violence in Syria.

Reuters reports that even though a U.N. team of peacekeepers is scheduled to arrive in Damascus, today or tomorrow, opposition activists said government forces continued their attack. They said about 80 people have been killed since Tuesday.

Reuters adds:

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

After 567,000 Miles And 48 Years, Florida Woman Parks Her 'Chariot'

Rachel Veitch and "Chariot," her 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente.
Katie Ball

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 4:05 pm

When 93-year-old Rachel Veitch picked up the newspaper on March 10 and realized that the macular degeneration in her eyes had developed to the point where she couldn't read the print, she knew it was time to stop driving.

But there's much more to the Orlando, Fla., woman's story.

The decision meant she would no longer be getting behind the wheel of her beloved 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente, a car she calls "The Chariot." Veitch has pampered her ride for nearly five decades and 567,000 miles.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Wed April 4, 2012

'The Dog Ate My Tickets': This Time, The Mother Of All Excuses Was Real

One of the pieced-together tickets.
Russ Berkman via KJR

Imagine you've scored hard-to-get tickets to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Now, imagine you're so excited that you make big a deal out of this: You buy plane tickets, you schedule some golfing of your own, you invite three buddies. And then, one day you get home to find only chewed pieces of the tickets attached to the strings that came with them.

Suddenly, it dawns on you: "The dog ate my tickets."

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The Two-Way
10:33 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Military Proceeds With Guantanamo Trial Of Sept. 11 Mastermind

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:24 pm

The U.S. military announced today that it was ready to proceed with the war crimes tribunal of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo prisoners suspected of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attack on the United States.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports this is important because it means that Mohammed must be arraigned within 30 days. This step is basically a military grand jury agreeing that there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

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Africa
10:26 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Mali's Rebellion Stirs Fear Of Wider Saharan Conflict

Tuareg rebels eat a meal last month near the Malian city of Timbuktu, which they recently captured. The rebels have taken control of northern Mali, raising concerns about stability in the broader region.
Ferhat Bouda DPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 11:26 am

Rebels from the Tuareg ethnic group now control most of northern Mali, a territory as big as France on the edge of the Sahara desert.

A column of trucks loaded with Tuareg fighters rolled into the ancient desert town of Timbuktu on Sunday, taking over the positions abandoned by fleeing government soldiers.

They include an Islamist faction that wants to impose Shariah law throughout Mali and are believed to include elements with links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

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The Two-Way
10:08 am
Wed April 4, 2012

In News Conference, Pakistani Militant Taunts U.S. Over $10 Million Bounty

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawwa and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, listens to a reporter during his interview with the Associated Press in Islamabad, Pakistan on Tuesday.
B.K. Bangash AP

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed said he's not in hiding. In fact, he said, he would be Lahore tomorrow, if the United States wanted to capture him.

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Politics
10:00 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Rep. Moore Discusses Stunning House Speech

During a debate over the Violence Against Women Act last week, the Wisconsin Democrat told her own history of surviving sexual assault and violence. Rep. Moore speaks with host Michel Martin about her story and why she thinks the Violence Against Women Act deserves bipartisan support. (Advisory: This segment may not be suitable for all audiences.)

The Two-Way
9:55 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Coming Up: Romney Talks To News Editors

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during today's speech to the American Society of News Editors, in Washington, D.C.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 10:55 am

Coming off his three-state sweep in Tuesday's primaries, GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney this noon renewed his charge that President Obama has displayed an "appalling lack of leadership."

Romney said that if elected president he could provide the kind of experience and guidance to give the economy a lift, get the government on the path toward deficit reduction and ensure the USA continues to play a leading role around the world.

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It's All Politics
9:40 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Define Each Other As General-Election Fight Starts For Real

Romey-Steven Senne/Obama-Carolyn Caster AP

Incumbent presidents generally try to cast their re-election contest as a choice between the imperfect but well-meaning and effective occupant of the White House and the far worse alternative offered by the rival party.

Challengers, on the other hand, try to frame a presidential race as a referendum on the sitting president whose record nearly always contains missteps, or who can be blamed for trouble in the economy or elsewhere.

In short, whether it's the president or the challenger, the way the game is played requires each to define the opposition as well as himself.

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Peabody Awards: NPR Among Honorees

Peabody.uga.edu

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 11:05 am

The winners of this year's George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media were just announced and NPR is among those being honored.

NPR work being recognized:

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Good News On The Jobs Front, Except From Yahoo

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 7:56 am

On the plus side, the ADP National Employment Report issued this morning estimates there were 209,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in March. And ADP's data often are something of a predictor for what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will have to say when it issues its monthly numbers. Those March figures are due on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Olbermann: 'I Screwed Up,' But Current TV Had Problems

Keith Olbermann.
Current TV

Essentially saying that he should have known better than to go to work for Current TV, Keith Olbermann said Tuesday night that he "screwed up" by taking the job last year.

But while Olbermann said "it's my fault that it didn't succeed," he also figuratively pointed his finger at Current for why things went wrong before he was dismissed last week.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:45 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Doctors Urge Their Colleagues To Quit Doing Worthless Tests

Doctors, don't order that CT scan when a less-expensive ultrasound would work just as well, the Choosing Wisely campaign advises.
Catherine Yeulet iStockphoto.com

Nine national medical groups are launching a campaign called Choosing Wisely to get U.S. doctors to back off on 45 diagnostic tests, procedures and treatments that often may do patients no good.

Many involve imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs and X-rays. Stop doing them, the groups say, for most cases of back pain, or on patients who come into the emergency room with a headache or after a fainting spell, or just because somebody's about to undergo surgery.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Former Colorado Sheriff Pleads Guilty In Meth-For-Sex Case

Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan before a court hearing last month.
Ed Andrieski AP

Former Arapahoe County (Colo.) sheriff Patrick Sullivan, who back in December was charged with trying to trade methamphetamine for sex with a man, "pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of meth possession and soliciting prostitution," Denver's KUSA-TV reports.

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It's All Politics
6:33 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Will Pennsylvania Dash Santorum's Political Dreams (Again)?

The action was in Wisconsin Tuesday night, but Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen, had already moved on to his home state of Pennsylvania. They greeted supporters at an election night rally in Mars.
Jason Cohn Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 7:07 am

After going 0-for-3 in Tuesday's presidential primaries, a defiant Rick Santorum dismissed calls to drop out and predicted he'll win the next contest in his home state of Pennsylvania on April 24.

He'll have to — and not because it would put the former Pennsylvania senator on a path to defeat front-runner Mitt Romney, who has been racking up delegates and is increasingly seen as the inevitable nominee.

A loss in Pennsylvania, where recent polls show Santorum is weakening, would "destroy the rationale for him continuing," says Pennsylvania pollster G. Terry Madonna.

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Wed April 4, 2012

VIDEO: Pepper Spray Used At Another California Student Protest

Nnaemeka Alozie, campaign manager for California congressional candidate David Steinman, poured milk on his face Tuesday after being pepper sprayed during the incident at Santa Monica College.
Courtesy of David Steinman AP

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The Two-Way
5:35 am
Wed April 4, 2012

After Ferocious Texas Tornadoes, Two Incredibly Welcome Words: 'No Deaths'

In Arlington, Texas, Tuesday afternoon, David Lowe carried his daughter's dog, Phoebe, away from the rubble.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 9:11 am

Tuesday's tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area produced some amazing videos of truck trailers being tossed into the air and homes being ripped apart.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Baylor Women Are Perfectly Great; Finish Season 40-0, Win NCAA Title

Brittney Griner (#42) of the Baylor Lady Bears blocks a shot attempt by Kayla McBride (#23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during Tuesday night's NCAA Division I women's basketball championship game in Denver.
Justin Edmonds Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 5:08 am

Looking not just to win the NCAA Division I women's basketball championship, but also to be the first team to win 40 games in one season and to do it without a single loss on the way, the Baylor Lady Bears achieved all that last night with an 80-61 win over Notre Dame.

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The Two-Way
4:40 am
Wed April 4, 2012

With Wisconsin Win, Romney Moves From 'Likely' To 'Almost Certain'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney celebrated last night with supporters in Milwaukee.
Scott Olson Getty Images

His wins Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Maryland and — most importantly — in Wisconsin has produced a subtle shift in the way Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is being referred to by the news media.

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Law
1:19 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Gay Marriage Lawsuit Presses For Survivor Benefits

Herbert Burtis' spouse, John Ferris (left), died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.
Courtesy of Herbert Burtis

Herbert Burtis met the person he wanted to marry in college, in 1948. But since the object of his affection was another man, they had to wait until 2004 for the ceremony, when Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages.

"It's a long engagement," Burtis says, laughing. "We thought it was time that we made each other honest people."

His spouse, John Ferris, died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.

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U.S.
1:05 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Activist Puts Albany Neighborhood On The Bus Map

Willie White pushed for the creation of a new bus route for his previously underserved neighborhood in Albany, N.Y.
Marie Cusick for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:47 pm

The New York state capital, Albany, is a gathering place for the state's most powerful people.

But in the city's poor and predominately black South End neighborhood, many residents once felt powerless.

They had repeatedly asked for better public transit for South End, an area plagued with poverty and crime not far from New York's gated governor's mansion.

Today, the city's Route 100 bus glides easily up Morton Avenue, a steep hill in the South End neighborhood. Many feel there would be no Route 100 if not for the efforts of local resident Willie White.

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Sports
1:04 am
Wed April 4, 2012

U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastics Star Readies For London

Rhythmic gymnast Julie Zetlin, seen here during last October's Pan-American Games, hopes to win a medal for the United States at the Summer Olympics in London.
Martin Bernetti AFP/Getty Images

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It's All Politics
12:58 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Once Again, Santorum Keeps It Close But Falls Further Behind

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally at Four Seasons Sheraton in Mars, Pa., Monday night. Rival Mitt Romney won the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Wisconsin primaries.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 11:50 am

Rick Santorum came surprisingly close to an upset in Wisconsin this week, losing to Mitt Romney by less than 5 percentage points. It was not as heartbreakingly close as his previous losses in Michigan and Ohio, but it was one more reminder of what might have been.

With a win in Wisconsin, Santorum would have confounded the ruling media narrative of the moment, which wants to turn from the primary season of spring to the autumnal matchup of Romney and President Obama.

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It's All Politics
4:35 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

A Primary Hat Trick: Romney Wins Wisconsin, Maryland And D.C.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 10:07 am

With wins in Maryland, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., Mitt Romney inched his way forward toward becoming the inevitable GOP presidential candidate.

After Tuesday's hat trick, the road to victory is clear for Romney and increasingly rocky and unlikely for Rick Santorum, Romney's leading opponent.

Still, in a speech from Mars, Pa., Santorum vowed to continue his campaign.

"We have now reached the point where it's half time," Santorum said. "Who's ready to charge out of the locker room for a strong second half in Pennsylvania?"

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It's All Politics
3:51 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

GSA Clown-Conference Scandal Could Result In Counterproductive Reaction

Former GSA administrator Martha Johnson on Capitol Hill in June 2009.
Harry Hamburg AP

The scandal involving the General Services Administration's by now infamous conference featuring spending on a clown and mind reader is certainly far from the biggest in terms of the overall dollars involved. After all, we're talking about less than $1 million all told.

That's pocket change at the Pentagon, where they can probably find more taxpayer money under the couch cushions.

But it may go down in history as one of the dumbest. A clown and a mind reader at a conference of federal bureaucrats? Really?

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The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

After Two Test Flights, The Race Toward A Flying Car Is On

The PAL-V at a runway.
PalVco via Flickr

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