NPR News

Middle East
5:11 am
Sat March 21, 2015

In Tunisia, Society 'Wasn't Quite Prepared' For Liberal Reforms

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 8:56 am

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

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Parallels
5:11 am
Sat March 21, 2015

On Libel And The Law, U.S. And U.K. Go Separate Ways

A statue of the scales of justice stands above the Old Bailey, the courthouse where many high-profile libel cases are tried, in London. The U.K. is a popular place for libel cases to be filed because of laws that make it difficult for journalists or the media to prevail.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 22, 2015 11:45 am

In the U.S. this past week, HBO aired the documentary Going Clear, about the Church of Scientology, to strong reviews. The nonfiction book on which the film is based was short-listed for the National Book Award.

Yet there have been serious challenges to releasing the film and the book in the U.K. That's because Britain does not have the same free speech protections as the United States.

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Science
5:11 am
Sat March 21, 2015

Why Some Mushrooms Glow In The Dark

N. gardneri mushrooms grow at the base of young babassu palms in Brazil. A bland tan by day, the fungi emit an eerie green light by night.
Michele P. Verderane/IP-USP

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 8:56 am

A team of scientists recently created some fake, glowing mushrooms and scattered them in a Brazilian forest in hopes of solving an ancient mystery: Why do some fungi emit light?

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Strange News
5:11 am
Sat March 21, 2015

Patent Sketch Appears To Resolves Toilet Roll Tensions

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 8:56 am

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

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Around the Nation
5:11 am
Sat March 21, 2015

New York Is Losing The Accent That Gave It 'Toidy-Toid Street'

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 10:40 am

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

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You can tell which city some people are from as soon as they say...

DONALD SEMENZA: Come on, forget about it. What are you, serious? You didn't think I know that? Of course I know that.

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The Two-Way
10:51 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Police: Suspect In New Orleans Airport Attack Was Armed With Molotov Cocktails

The ramp to departures is blocked by emergency vehicles at the New Orleans International Airport on Friday night in Kenner, La.
Jonathan Bachman AP

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 4:21 pm

Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

The man police say attacked TSA agents with a machete and insecticide spray at the New Orleans Airport also carried a bag of Molotov cocktails and had mental health issues, authorities say.

The man was shot three times. Police say he has since died, The Associated Press reports.

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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Benghazi Panel Asks Clinton To Hand Over Her Email Server

The House committee that's investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has formally asked Hillary Clinton to turn over her email server after it emerged that she used a personal email account during her tenure as secretary of state.

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Code Switch
5:22 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

From Selma To Eisenhower, Trailblazing Black Reporter Was Always Probing

Ms. Payne interviewing a soldier from Chesapeake, Va., in Vietnam in 1967.
Courtesy of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center/Harper Collins

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 7:39 am

When Ethel Payne stood to ask President Dwight Eisenhower a question at a White House press conference in July 1954, women and African-Americans were rarities in the press corps. Payne was both, and wrote for The Chicago Defender, the legendary black newspaper that in the 40s and 50s, was read in black American households the way The New York Times was in white ones.

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Animals
4:15 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Record Number Of Stranded Sea Lion Pups Strains California Resources

So far this month, more than 330 California sea lions have been admitted to the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, Calif.
Nathan Rott NPR

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:58 pm

There are more than two dozen pens at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, Calif., and no vacancy. They're filled with more than a hundred sea lion pups, grouped by health condition.

The pups in the first row of pens are swimming in small pools and sliding across the wet concrete.

"These guys on this half of the facility are actually doing pretty well," says Lauren Palmer, the chief biologist at the center. "They're eating on their own. They're playing. They're porpoising."

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

John Urschel, Ravens Offensive Lineman, Publishes Math Paper

Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel is also a mathematician.
Chris Graythen Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 4:29 pm

John Urschel is an offensive lineman for the NFL Baltimore Ravens whose Twitter handle is @MathMeetsFball. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in math, both with a 4.0 grade-point average. And this week he tweeted:

Now, journalists are notoriously poor at math (or at least this one is), so we'll provide a link to the paper. And for those of you who are mathematically inclined, here's the abstract:

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Shots - Health News
3:12 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Scientists Urge Temporary Moratorium On Human Genome Edits

Microbiologist Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley. She's co-inventor of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology — a tool that's recently made the snipping and splicing of genes much easier.
Cailey Cotner UC Berkeley

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:58 pm

A new technology called CRISPR could allow scientists to alter the human genetic code for generations. That's causing some leading biologists and bioethicists to sound an alarm.

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It's All Politics
2:55 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

It's All About The Benjamins And Jacksons — But What About The Women?

"There hasn't been a change of the portraits since 1929 ... it's time to bring our money into the 21st century," says Susan Ades Stone, spokeswoman for Women on 20s.
iStockPhoto

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:58 pm

The college basketball playoffs have turned March into a month when many of us become bracket watchers. There is another playoff taking place that you may not have heard of — an online campaign to choose a woman to put on the $20 bill.

If you look into your wallet, whether you're feeling flush, or not, there's one thing the bills you do find all have in common ... the faces of dead white men. Most are presidents: Washington, Lincoln and Jackson. A few, Hamilton and Franklin among them, famous for other reasons. But not one of the faces is female.

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Politics
2:55 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Fourth-Graders Get Rough Lesson In Politics

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:58 pm

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

Music
2:55 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

'Still The King': A Tribute To An Icon Of Western Swing

Ray Benson (center) and his band, the Grammy-winning country outfit Asleep at the Wheel, have long been stewards of the sound co-pioneered by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.
Lisa Pollard Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 6:20 pm

"The essence of the Bob Wills sound, and the reason he picked and did what he did, is that it was dance music — period."

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Mexico's High Court Overturns Murder Conviction Of Man Jailed For 23 Years

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:44 pm

Mexico's Supreme Court has overturned the 1992 murder conviction of a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S. who authorities now say was found guilty based entirely on a confession derived from torture.

Alfonso Martin del Campo Dodd has been in a Mexican prison for 23 years after the brutal stabbing deaths of his sister and brother in law. He was sentenced to 50 years.

But Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled 4-1 that he should be freed "in light of the proof that torture was used to obtain his confession in the two crimes, without there being any other incriminatory evidence."

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It's All Politics
2:24 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Budget Reconciliation Explained Through Chutes And Ladders

Think of reconciliation as the biggest ladder in the game Chutes and Ladders — a procedural shortcut. But a presidential veto of whatever gets passed through reconciliation means tumbling back down a chute.
Ben Husmann Flickr

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:58 pm

There's a word you're going to be hearing a lot as Congress tries to pass a budget this year: reconciliation. It's a procedural fast-track lawmakers get to use after they approve a budget. Republicans are hoping to repeal the Affordable Care Act — or, at least parts of it — through reconciliation, but they're not likely to win that game.

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Goats and Soda
2:13 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

For The Love Of Pork: Antibiotic Use On Farms Skyrockets Worldwide

Regions that produce the most pork and chicken also use the most antibiotics on farms. Hot spots around the world include the Midwest in the U.S., southern Brazil, and China's Sichuan province. Yellow indicates low levels of drug use in livestock; orange and light red are moderate levels; and dark red is high levels.
PNAS

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 12:21 am

Sorry bacon lovers, we've got some sad news about your favorite meat.

To get those sizzling strips of pork on your plate each morning takes more antibiotics than it does to make a steak burrito or a chicken sausage sandwich.

Pig farmers around the world, on average, use nearly four times as much antibiotics as cattle ranchers do, per pound of meat. Poultry farmers fall somewhere between the two.

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

From Texas, A Supreme Court Case For Confederate Flag License Plates

This image provided by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles shows the design of a proposed Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate. . (Texas Department of Motor Vehicles via AP)

There are more than 300 specialty plates in Texas, paying tribute to things like wild turkeys, Dr. Pepper and the fight against terrorism.

But when one group submitted a plate design with their logo — a Confederate flag — it was rejected by Texas officials. On Monday, the constitutionality of that rejection will be considered by the Supreme Court.

At issue is whether the license plates constitute government speech or an individual’s private speech.

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Local Sports Become Lucrative Market

Regional sports broadcasters have become a big source of revenue for local teams. Pictured, the Arizona Diamondbacks play a game against the Oakland Athletics on March 10, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

If you’ve been watching March Madness, you’ve probably been watching on CBS, TNT, TBS or Tru-TV. Those networks have the TV rights to the games until 2024.

But if you’re a local sports fan, chances are you do a lot of your sports TV viewing on regional sports networks.

Those networks have become an important source of revenue for the teams whose games they broadcast, and if you pay for cable — you’re probably paying more for your regional sports network than almost any other channel.

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

People Fleeing Islamic State-Controlled Areas Flood Baghdad

Baghdad’s neighborhoods are home to increasing numbers of people who have fled areas controlled by the so-called Islamic State militants.

Many of those displaced come from Anbar province, west of Baghdad. They need aid, and it’s a struggle for the government and international community to get it to them, as the BBC’s Ahmed Maher reports from Baghdad.

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Shots - Health News
12:53 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Wireless Sensors Help Scientists Map Staph Spread Inside Hospital

Grey lines connecting health care workers (marked with "+") and patients represent contacts between them. The red figures are carriers of MRSA.
Obadia et al. PLOS Computational Biology

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 3:34 pm

Whatever lands you in the hospital or nursing home also puts you at risk for acquiring an infection, possibly one that's resistant to antibiotic treatment.

Staph infections are common problems in health care facilities, and many Staphylcoccus aureus bacteria are now resistant to drug treatment.

Chances are you've heard of MRSA, which is the kind of staph that isn't susceptible to methicillin, the antibiotic that used to be a silver bullet.

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The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Boehner Plans Trip To Israel This Month

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks during a news briefing in the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Thursday. Boehner's office announced today that he would travel to Israel at the end of the month.
Molly Riley AP

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 1:39 pm

House Speaker John Boehner plans to travel to Israel at the end of the month, close on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election and the Israeli leader's controversial address to Congress.

Although there are no details on who he might meet in Israel, Boehner "looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel," his spokesman, Kevin Smith, said in a statement.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Petraeus: Iran, Shiite Militias Bigger Threat To Iraq Than ISIS

David Petraeus speaks in Los Angeles on Nov. 7, 2014. The former head of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq tells The Washington Post that Iran and Shiite-backed militias pose a greater threat to Iraq than the self-described Islamic State.
Imeh Akpanudosen Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 1:08 pm

Gen. David Petraeus, who commanded the U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq, says the "foremost threat to Iraq's long-term stability" is not the self-described Islamic State but Shiite militias backed, and sometimes guided, by Iran.

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Remembrances
12:01 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Fresh Air Remembers Blues And Jazz Historian Samuel Charters

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

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Nation's Oldest Female Veteran Dies At 108

President Obama and Vice President Biden visit with Lucy Coffey in the Vice President's Office of the White House on July 25, 2014.
Pete Souza The White House

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 2:46 pm

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Lucy Coffey, the nation's oldest female military veteran, has died at the age of 108. She died Thursday in her sleep at her home in San Antonio, Texas. Her friend, Queta Marquez, a veterans' service officer, says Coffey had been sick for about a week and had a chronic cough, according to CBS.

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Code Switch
11:22 am
Fri March 20, 2015

The Time A Cartoonist Was Told To 'Lighten Up' A Character

Cartoonist Ronald Wimberly was told to "lighten up" a Mexican and African-American character.
Ronald Wimberly The Nib

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 2:02 pm

In a beautifully illustrated comic over at The Nib, cartoonist Ronald Wimberly relays the story of working with an editor who asked him to lighten the skin tone of a character he was working on, Melita Garner, who has been described as Mexican and African-American, a reporter, and Wolverine's ex-girlfriend.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks On Pause As Deadline Looms

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) at a meeting Wednesday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Brian Snyder AP

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 1:01 pm

Diplomats seeking the framework of a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief are taking leave of Switzerland — but only for a few days.

"Yes, we are all leaving," a smiling Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said as he walked past reporters at the luxury Beau Rivage Hotel in Lausanne, site of the 1920s treaty that finally dissolved the Ottoman Empire.

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The Two-Way
9:47 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Nigeria's President Hopes To Push Back Boko Haram In A Month

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during the inauguration ceremony of the 750 megawatt power station in the southwestern Ogun state, Nigeria, last month. In an interview with the BBC Friday, he said he hopes to retake all territory seized by Boko Haram within a month.
Jiang Xintong Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:05 pm

Speaking a week before he faces voters, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says he hopes that all the territory in the country's north that has been seized by Boko Haram extremists can be "retaken in a month" after a string of victories for government troops.

"I'm very hopeful that it will not take us more than a month to recover the old territories," Jonathan told the BBC. "They are getting weaker and weaker by the day."

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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Solar Eclipse Wows Parts Of Europe, Middle East And Russia

A drone flies in the foreground of the partial solar eclipse in Vienna, Austria.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 2:05 pm

People throughout Europe, as well as parts of the Middle East, Russia, Africa, Asia and South America, got a stunning view of a partial solar eclipse Friday. A very few lucky ones at sea and in the high Arctic caught a glimpse of the same event as a total eclipse, as the moon passed in front of the sun.

Sky and Telescope magazine wrote earlier this month:

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Code Switch
7:20 am
Fri March 20, 2015

'A Proud Walk': 3 Voices On The March From Selma To Montgomery

Demonstrators of different races and religions from across the country united to take part in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., 50 years ago.
AP

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 2:39 pm

Fifty years ago, civil rights protesters began their successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., two weeks after a crackdown by police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. NPR talked with three people from different parts of the country, of different races and religions, who answered the call from Martin Luther King Jr. to join the marchers.

Todd Endo:

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