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Around the Nation
5:31 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Washington State Man Tries To Rid House Of Spider

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Some people really don't like spiders. So you can sympathize with the Washington state man who found a spider in his laundry room. Maybe showing a touch of arachnophobia, he made a makeshift blowtorch. He took a lighter and a can of spray paint. He sprayed flames toward the spider. And of course, he set his house on fire, costing $60,000 worth of damage. We have no word as of this morning on the spider's condition. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

It's All Politics
5:09 am
Thu July 17, 2014

The GOP Now Likes Community Organizing (If It Wins Elections)

Republican officials Rob Collins, Phil Cox and Matt Walter all seemed pleased at a briefing for journalists about the GOP's midterm election prospects, as did former first lady Mamie Eisenhower.
Frank James NPR

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 6:56 am

Both parties are sounding confident right now about their midterm election prospects, but only one can be right. As it stands now, Republicans clearly have more reason for optimism.

On their side, Republicans have history and a current political environment in which the Republican base looks to be more excited about the coming election than Democrats.

Meanwhile, voters are consistently telling pollsters that they're dissatisfied with the nation's direction, which usually portends bad news for the party holding the White House.

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The Two-Way
4:51 am
Thu July 17, 2014

A 5-Hour Truce Between Hamas And Israel Ends, And Fighting Begins

A Palestinian municipality worker sweeps the street as a United Nations vehicle drives past a damaged money exchange post. Israel and Hamas took a break from fighting Thursday for humanitarian reasons.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 2:12 pm

This post was updated at 4:10 p.m. ET: Ground Offenses Begin

Israel has sent ground forces into Gaza on Thursday, which we are covering in this post.

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET: Hostilities Resume

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Around the Nation
4:43 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Panama's Ex-Strongman Sues Over 'Call Of Duty' Video Game

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Panama's most famous dictator is suing the makers of "Call of Duty." In the video game "Black Ops 2," Manuel Noriega is a character who works with and turns against the CIA.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "BLACK OPS 2")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Manuel Noriega) (Spanish spoken).

NPR Story
3:55 am
Thu July 17, 2014

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Faces Media Scrutiny Head-On

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And we've been reporting on another border controversy, a series of violent incidents in which U.S. Border Patrol agents killed civilians. Sometimes, years passed without any conclusion on whether the shootings were right or wrong.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A new commissioner, Gil Kerlikowske, says that Border Patrol needs to show greater openness. And he has now given MORNING EDITION his first extended interview on the agency's use of force.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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NPR Story
3:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

'Voices of Cycling' Duo Has Shared A Mic For 29 Years

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:17 am

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen have covered the Tour de France, the sport's most grueling race, together for decades and have developed a rapport that viewers appreciate.

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

NPR Story
3:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

N.C. Governor Causes Controversy With Poet Laureate Appointment

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 12:38 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We have a report this morning on a controversy in the rough-and-tumble bare-knuckle world of poetry. North Carolina has a new poet laureate, Governor Pat McCrory appointed a state employee whose work is self-published. The governor acted without input from the state Arts Council which has some in the literary community upset. Here's Duncan McFadyen of member station WFAE in Charlotte.

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NPR Story
3:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Commission To Decide If Some Federal Inmates Will Be Let Out Early

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

One of the most significant changes to the criminal justice system in a generation will be on the table tomorrow here in Washington. The U.S. Sentencing Commission is set to vote on a plan that could send tens of thousands of federal prison inmates home early by reducing prison terms for drug trafficking. It's getting mixed reviews from both law enforcement and some civil rights groups. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson reports.

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The Two-Way
1:34 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser

Physicists put diamonds at the center of this massive laser, to see what would happen.
Matt Swisher Matt Swisher/LLNL

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:09 am

Physicists have used the world's most powerful laser to zap diamonds. The results, they say, could tell us more about the cores of giant planets.

"Diamonds have very special properties, besides being very expensive and used for jewelrey etc.," says Raymond Smith, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "It's the hardest substance known to man."

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Parallels
1:32 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Amid A 'Shimmering' Tension, A Walk Through Israel And The West Bank

Paul Salopek, National Geographic fellow, looks out over Jerusalem during his seven-year journey by foot from Africa to South America.
Bassam Almohor National Geographic

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:09 am

Not long ago, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek traveled through Israel and the West Bank as part of his journey walking from Africa to South America. He was there this spring, before the current violence erupted. Talking recently from Cyprus to Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, he says the long-standing conflict was part of daily life.


Interview Highlights

On coming under fire from Israeli soldiers

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Shots - Health News
1:31 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Skimping On Sleep Can Stress Body And Brain

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 6:58 am

"The lion and calf shall lie down together," Woody Allen once wrote, "but the calf won't get much sleep."

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News
6:02 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Obama Unrolls New Sanctions Against Russia

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama had some announcements today on U.S. policy overseas. In the White House briefing room, the president ran through a long list of what he described as pressing foreign policy challenges - questions about the election results in Afghanistan, Iranian nuclear talks, the ongoing violence between Hamas and Israel and finally, the situation in Ukraine. The U.S. government imposed new sanctions on Russia today over interference in that country. Here's how President Obama summed it up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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U.S.
4:59 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Lotteries Take In Billions, Often Attract The Poor

A customer holds his Mega Millions lottery ticket at Tobacco Plus in Muncie, Ind. Researchers say lotteries often draw low-income gamblers who are on welfare.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:13 pm

Santo Domingo Liquors in Lawrence, Mass., has two cash registers. But sometimes only the lottery register has a line.

Elizabeth Correia, eight months pregnant, is running that register with her mother — her family owns the store.

"We do this seven days a week. Seven days a week. My mom, sometimes she'll do it open to closing," Correia says.

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The Two-Way
4:52 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Federal Judge Declares Death Penalty Unconstitutional In California

California's death row at San Quentin State Prison is crowded, but the execution chamber has been idle since 2006
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 11:22 am

A federal judge has ruled that California's use of the death penalty is dysfunctional and violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney's ruling came in response to an appeal by Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to death in Los Angeles in 1995 for the rape and killing of his girlfriend's mother three years earlier.

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The Salt
4:07 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

This Dirty Little Weed May Have Cleaned Up Ancient Teeth

This young male, buried at a prehistoric site in Central Sudan, probably munched on the roots of a plant called purple nutsedge.
Donatella Usai Centro Studi Sudanesi and Sub-Sahariani

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 3:35 pm

The menus of millennia past can be tough to crack, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. For archaeologists studying a prehistoric site in Sudan, dental plaque provided a hint.

"When you eat, you get this kind of film of dental plaque over your teeth," says Karen Hardy, an archaeologist with the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

U.S. Sanctions Major Russian Banks And Energy Companies

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits forces stationed near the small city of Izyum on Wednesday.
Sergey Bobok AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 6:18 am

President Obama outlined a new package of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals on Wednesday.

"These sanctions are significant but also targeted," Obama said. "Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences."

The administration targeted large banks, as well as energy and defense firms. The sanctions stopped short of covering entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama said they were designed to inflict pain on Russia without harming U.S. companies or the nation's allies.

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Militias Clash At Libyan Airport For Fourth Day

Flames and smoke billow from an airplane at the Tripoli international airport on Wednesday, the fourth day of fighting there
MAHMUD TURKIA AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:08 pm

The control tower and 20 aircraft have been damaged by shelling at Libya's main airport in Tripoli as fighting continued there for a fourth day.

"It's a disaster for the country at large," says Dirk Vandewalle, an expert on Libya at Dartmouth College.

Since the revolution that deposed longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, the central government has relied on — and financially supported — militias to help fill the power vacuum.

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All Tech Considered
2:45 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Visa Makes Big Move To Boost Consumer Spending Online

Visa Checkout will store customers' credit card numbers and billing addresses once without their having to re-enter the information each time they shop online.
Visa

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 9:28 am

Here's an experience many of us have had: You're shopping on your smartphone. You click on the shoes or books you want. But then, when you get to the shopping cart, you abandon ship.

Visa says that's a big problem for retailers. On Wednesday, the credit card company announced it's rolling out a brand new system designed to get us to spend more money online.

One Password, Many Tokens

Visa is actually trying to fix two problems with one swipe.

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Shots - Health News
2:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Patients With Low-Cost Insurance Struggle To Find Specialists

Dr. Charu Sawhney examines patient Mang Caan. Sawhney supports the Affordable Care Act, but has been frustrated by how difficult it is to find specialists who accept some of the plans her patients bought.
Carrie Feibel for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 6:02 pm

The Hope Clinic in southwest Houston is in the very heart of Asia Town, a part of the city where bland strip malls hide culinary treasures — Vietnamese pho, Malaysian noodles, Sichuan rabbit and bubble tea.

Inside the clinic, internist Charu Sawhney sees patients from many countries and circumstances. She's a big believer in the Affordable Care Act since most of her patients have been uninsured. She actively pushed many of them to sign up for the new plans.

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Middle East
2:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

The Devastation On The Ground In Gaza City

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 6:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Middle East
2:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

On Two Sides, Two Funerals — While Death Toll Mounts In Gaza

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 6:02 pm

As the violence between Hamas and Israel continues, so too do the funerals that come in its wake. NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro and Emily Harris attended two such funerals today, in Tel Aviv and Gaza respectively, and they tell of what they learned there.

Law
2:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

With A Rules Change For A Lever, Senate Ends Judge's 17-Year Wait

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:00 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A Missouri lawyer won Senate confirmation today as a federal judge. That came 17 years after he was first nominated to the bench by President Bill Clinton. Ronnie White's nomination in the 1990s triggered a fight between civil rights groups and some police groups. But as NPR's Carrie Johnson reports, a change in Senate rules helped him advance this time.

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Politics
2:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Miss. Primary Saga Rolls On, As McDaniel Refuses To Back Down

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 6:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Mississippi's Republican Senate runoff was decided three weeks ago, but the loser in that race refuses to accept the results. Longtime Sen. Thad Cochran is the certified winner, but his tea party-backed challenger, Chris McDaniel, alleges there might have been thousands of improper votes cast and today another twist. NPR political editor Charlie Mahtesian joins us now to talk about that twist. And Charlie, State Sen. Chris McDonnell's campaign held a much anticipated press conference today. But what actually happened?

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Law
2:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

With New Virtual Currency Rules, N.Y. Regulators Tread A Fine Line

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:31 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Banking regulators in New York State are expected to release new rules this week governing Bitcoins and other virtual currencies. From member station WSHU Charles Lane reports that many industry experts welcome the regulations but some worry that they could end up limiting the creative potential of this new way of doing business.

CHARLES LANE, BYLINE: In many ways virtual currencies are just like old-fashioned money. You can buy furniture, books, beer, whatever. But some say it's even better than money.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Company Experiments With 3D-Printed Car

Local Motors engineer James Earl prepares to test drive the company's 3D printed vehicle prototype. (Carrie Jung/KJZZ)

3D printers are capable of producing a variety of consumer products, from children’s toys to prosthetic limbs. Now, a company in the Phoenix area is trying to take the technology to the next level with cars. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Carrie Jung of KJZZ reports.

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Deborah Harkness Brings Her 'All Souls' Trilogy To A Close

Author Deborah Harkness has just released "The Book of Life," the final book in her bestselling "All Souls" trilogy. (Marion Ettlinger)

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:39 am

In 2011, University of Southern California history professor Deborah Harkness introduced readers to professor and reluctant witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont in “A Discovery of Witches.”

It was the first in what has come to be called her “All Souls Trilogy.”

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

District Profile: Environmental Issues Come To A Head In Coal Country

In West Virginia's third congressional district, Republican state senator Evan Jenkins, right, will try to unseat Democratic incumbent Nick Rahall. (U.S. House of Representatives / West Virginia Legislature)

As President Obama announces new actions on climate change, a tight congressional race in southern West Virginia coal country is bringing environmental issues to the forefront.

In West Virginia’s third congressional district, Evan Jenkins, a Republican state senator, will try to unseat Democratic incumbent Nick Rahall, who’s been in office since 1977.

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Parallels
1:06 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Syria's Army On The Verge Of Retaking The Country's Largest City

A Syrian man carries a girl on a street covered with dust following a government airstrike in Aleppo on Tuesday. Rebels took the eastern half of the city in 2012 but are now in danger of being forced out by President Bashar Assad's troops.
Baraa Al-Halabi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 6:02 pm

When Syria's rebels were on the offensive in 2012, they captured the eastern half of Aleppo and the surrounding countryside. But now President Bashar Assad's troops are poised to retake all of the city that is the largest in Syria and served as the prewar financial capital.

A new military campaign is heating up as Assad, who assumed power when his father, Hafez Assad, died in 2000, was sworn in Wednesday for his third term as president. A rebel defeat could be a crushing blow to what is left of the country's three-year rebellion against the Syrian regime.

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Politics
12:41 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Cory Booker Wants To Help Ex-Offenders Be Economically Productive

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Michel Martin is away.

Cory Booker was in the political spotlight long before he was sworn in as New Jersey's junior senator in 2014. His first campaign to become mayor of Newark was the focus of an award-winning documentary. Part of his term in that office was chronicled in a television series for the Sundance Channel.

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World
12:41 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Arts Program Makes Israeli And Palestinian Youth Hopeful For Future

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

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