NPR News

World
2:41 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Opera Unfolds When A Cuban Cabaret Is Shut Down

Cuban performers ranging from dancers to opera singers were packing in audiences at Havana's El Cabildo restaurant and cabaret. In a case seen as a test of Raul Castro's commitment to economic changes, government inspectors recently closed the restaurant.
Desmond Boylan Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 1:18 pm

Ulises Aquino was already one of Cuba's best-known baritones when he founded his own company, Opera de la Calle, or Opera of the Street, in 2006. By combining Cuban rhythms and dance with his formal musical training, he won fans at home and abroad.

Aquino also considers himself a good "revolucionario," meaning he's a loyal supporter of Cuba's socialist system. And when President Raul Castro urged Cubans to increase productivity by starting small businesses, Aquino answered the call.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Microsoft Gives Hotmail A Facelift, Says It Will Transition It To Outlook

The new Outlook is incorporated with other services like Skype.
Microsoft

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 6:00 am

Microsoft announced that Hotmail — the email service with 324 million users — will transition into a web and more social version of Microsoft's Outlook.

Reuters reports that Microsoft made the announcement, as they showed off their free web version of the email program it is renowned for.

Reuters adds:

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World Cafe
1:18 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Kat Edmonson On World Cafe

Kat Edmonson.
Courtesy of the artist

Texas native Kat Edmonson possesses astonishing vocal control: She glides effortlessly between tones, and can move from a lilting falsetto to a raspy growl with ease. Her debut album, 2009's Take to the Sky, finds her exploring the roots of classic pop and jazz songs — an approach she continues on its sequel, this year's Way Down Low.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Deal Struck To Avoid Possibility Of Government Shutdown In October

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced on Tuesday an agreement to avoid a government shutdown shortly before the November election," The Hill writes. "He said he, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Obama have all agreed to the deal."

Boehner confirmed the news in an email his staff just sent to reporters:

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The Torch
12:27 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team Wins Gold Medal; First In 16 Years

Young Skywalker: Gabby Douglas helped solidify the U.S. women's team grip on gymnastics gold. The Americans beat Russia and Romania.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 4:35 pm

The U.S. women's gymnastics team has won the team gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, handily beating Russia, which took silver, and Romania, which took bronze. China finished fourth.

Update at 2:25 p.m. EDT: The U.S. women led off with their strength — the vault. The apparatus gives them an advantage, and not only because Maroney is the world champion and gold-medal favorite in the event.

The AP describes why:

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Shots - Health Blog
12:17 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

As Ebola Cases Rise In Uganda, Health Workers Seek To Contain Virus

The Ebola virus causes a deadly form of hemorrhagic fever.
Frederick Murphy CDC

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 6:16 pm

The number of Ebola cases in Uganda has increased during the past few days, a spokesman from the World Health Organization tells Shots. But the outbreak is still limited to a small region.

"Accumulatively to date, there are 36 suspected or confirmed cases," WHO's Gregory Hartl says. "All cases are in the Kibaale district," a rural region west of Uganda's capital, Kampala.

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It's All Politics
11:39 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Obama Chooses San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro As Convention Keynoter

In what now looks like practice for the big show to come, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gives the keynote address at the Texas Democratic Convention in Houston on June 8.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 2:29 pm

Get used to hearing the name Julian Castro. You're likely to be coming across it a lot in coming days and perhaps beyond.

President Obama chose Castro, the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio, to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Dying Man's Wish To Leave $500 Tip Turns Into Nearly $50,000 Charity

Aaron Collins, who wanted to leave a big tip.
Facebook.com/AaronsLastWish

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 8:13 am

This good-news story began on July 9 with a blog post simply titled "My Brother."

Aaron Collins, wrote his brother Seth, "was the type of person that took great joy in unexpected kindness." And before his July 7 death, the nearly 30-year-old Aaron had made a request:

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The Torch
11:25 am
Tue July 31, 2012

London 2012 Lives Up To 'Social Games' Title, In Unwelcome Ways

The London Games have lived up to their hype as the first truly "social" Olympics. But social media like Twitter have also brought embarrassments, and even an arrest.
NPR

The London 2012 Games have been touted as the first Olympics to live fully in the age of social media. After all, the organization's Twitter feed has nearly 1.4 million followers, as it lists on its special portal for Facebook and other social sites. But a rash of scandals and news related to Twitter has put a new mark on the face of these games. And, as they say, it ain't pretty.

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Music
11:14 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Boban i Marko Markovic: Irresistible Party Music

Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar performs onstage in 2008.
Roger Kisby Getty Images

A dozen years ago, if someone told me that one of the liveliest, most inventive party albums of the year would come from a band originally associated with wedding celebrations and beer festivals, I would have been all, "Yeah, sure, you bet." If it was further explained that the band's roots were much closer to polka than rock, funk or hip-hop, I would have responded, "Don't push it." But nowadays, I'm familiar with the Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar, whose retrospective Golden Horns will lighten the heart and lift the feet as surely as anything you'll hear in 2012.

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Julián Castro, San Antonio Mayor, Will Deliver Democratic Convention Keynote

Mayor Julian Castro his daughter Carina, 2, and wife Erica (background) greet supporters at his campaign headquarters in 2011.
EDWARD A. ORNELAS AP

Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, will become the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at Democratic National Convention.

Castro, 37, is scheduled to speak Sept. 4 to open the convention, a slot usually reserved to showcase promising politicians.

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News
10:01 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Is Chick-fil-A Controversy A Civil Rights Debate?

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 12:59 pm

We continue our conversation with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell. Host Michel Martin asks if Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's comments amount to hate speech.

Food
10:01 am
Tue July 31, 2012

The Chick-fil-A Dilemma: To Eat or Not To Eat?

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 12:58 pm

The controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A has left some consumers wondering whether they should eat there or not. Ahead of "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" host Michel Martin speaks with ethicist Jack Marshall about the implications of spending decisions and what role businesses and political leaders have to play.

Politics
10:01 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Chick-fil-A Comments Still Churning Some Stomachs

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 1:00 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. As the world watches Olympic athletes go for the gold, we decided to check in with some dedicated sports moms about how parents can encourage their kids in sports without becoming, you know, those people. That's later in the program.

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The Two-Way
9:38 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Romney Aide To Reporters: 'Kiss My ... This Is A Holy Site'

Mitt Romney, at the top right, as he prepared to get into his car even as reporters were shouting questions.
Politico

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 12:02 pm

Note: there is a mild obscenity in this post.

We have a feeling this quote will loom large in campaign 2012 lore:

"Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people."

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It's All Politics
9:25 am
Tue July 31, 2012

As Romney Heads Home, Campaign Steers Talk Back To Running Mate

Mitt Romney speaks at the University of Warsaw Library in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 11:40 am

After a weeklong international trip took the focus off of Bain Capital and taxes, the Mitt Romney campaign may be ready to take the focus off of its international trip.

On Tuesday, Romney wrapped up his three-nation tour with a speech in Poland, while back home, his campaign announced a new app to keep track of the running mate selection process: "The historic announcement is getting closer," said campaign adviser Beth Myers.

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The Torch
8:57 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Missy Franklin On Winning Gold: 'Someone Needs To Pinch Me'

Missy Franklin stands on the podium with her gold medal, after winning the 100m backstroke at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Of that moment, she says, "I was trying to sing, but I was like, crying, at the same time."
Adam Pretty Getty Images

Missy Franklin couldn't contain herself — in the pool, on the medals stand and at her first gold medal news conference — after a dramatic finish in the 100 meter Olympic backstroke Monday night in London.

It wasn't an easy race. Out front and pulling hard with her graceful but powerful strokes, Emily Seebohm of Australia led in the last 50 meters, with the American Franklin a few strokes back.

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The Torch
8:13 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Olympics Set Record Ratings; Venus Rolls To Third Round

Venus Williams of the United States returns a shot to Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada in their Olympic singles tennis match, played at Wimbledon. Williams won, 6-1, 6-3.
Clive Brunskill Getty Images

Good morning. Today will be another big one in London — we'll have a preview of the action in a jiffy. For now, here are some stories that caught our eye:

- The London Olympics are a ratings hit, as NBC's coverage has broken records. "Through the weekend NBC averaged 35.8 million viewers in London, five million more than Beijing, and over a million more than the previous record-holder, Atlanta," says the TVNewser blog.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Share Your Stories: Did You Do 'Bedtime Math' Or Something Like It?

A bedtime story is a longtime tradition. What about a math, science or history quiz, though?
George Marks Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 5:14 am

  • Ashley Milne-Tyte reporting for 'Morning Edition'

Morning Edition catches up today with one New Jersey mom's way of teaching math to her children: bedtime problems "that soon became a beloved routine."

Laura Overdeck, as it says on her Bedtime Math website, "along with her husband, John, started giving math problems to their two older kids. ... [And] when their 2-year-old started hollering for his own math problem, they knew they were onto something."

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The Salt
7:40 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Thank The Simple Wasp For That Complex Glass Of Wine

The European hornet, or vespa crabro, helps make wine by kickstarting the fermentation process while the grapes are still on the vine.
Otto Hahn Getty Images/Picture Press RM

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:33 am

The next time you take a sip of your favorite wine, you might want to make your first toast to hornets. Or, more precisely, European hornets and paper wasps.

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Homes Prices Rise, Consumer Spending Flattens

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 9:55 am

Two fresh economic indicators:

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Shots - Health Blog
6:58 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Distractions Come Naturally To Teenage Drivers

Drivers under 25 are more likely to send text messages and make calls behind the wheel. They're also less able to handle distractions while driving.
iStockphoto.com

Distracted driving is a problem for all drivers, but teens are at higher risk.

Yes, it's true that drivers under 25 are up to three times more likely to send text messages or emails while behind the wheel than older drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But there's a deeper problem: Teenagers are also at a developmental stage where getting distracted is more problematic than it is for older drivers.

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Strange News
6:04 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Police Use Their Heads To Hem In Runaway Hamster

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Strange News
5:56 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Olympic Volunteers Cash In On Ceremony Souvenirs

The Telegraph reports that props from the Olympics opening ceremony are appearing on eBay — everything from an "Industrial Revolution" costume, to pieces of confetti that erupted as Great Britain's team entered the stadium. Some of the performers are calling it "crass." But a seller pointed out it is in the spirit of the games — because it could "help me achieve my own ambitions."

The Two-Way
5:50 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Reports: GOP Lawmakers Blame Five ATF Officials For 'Fast And Furious'

"Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials ... are collectively responsible for the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation that was 'marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy,' " the Los Angeles Times reports.

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Election 2012
5:45 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Controversy Followed Romney On Overseas Trip

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 12:02 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, wrapped up a week-long foreign trip today, with a speech in Warsaw, Poland. His trip overseas, which began in London and then on to Jerusalem, was designed to bolster Romney's foreign policy credentials, but instead it's been riddled with gaffs and controversy.

Joining us now from Warsaw, is NPR's Eric Westervelt. Good morning.

ERIC WESTERVELT, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Massive Failure: 600 Million In India Lose Power; Grid Collapses For Second Day

Passengers waited for trains Tuesday at a railway station in New Delhi. Another grid failure cut power, causing chaos.
Raveendran AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 12:38 pm

At day's end in India, after what's been called the "world's biggest blackout" ever, officials were reporting that electric service had been restored to most of the 670 million or so people who lost it on Tuesday.

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NPR Story
5:19 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Punk Band's Case Tests Putin's Tolerance For Dissent

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 5:52 am

Three women charged with blasphemy went on trial Monday in Russia in a case that's being seen as a major test of President Vladimir Putin's tolerance for dissent. The women are members of the band Pussy Riot. They were arrested after staging a punk rock protest at the altar of a Moscow cathedral.

Dead Stop
3:07 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Rediscovered Headstones Hold Clues To Earthquake

The Gilliam Cemetery, near Sebastopol, Calif., received its first grave in 1852. Many of its older headstones have disappeared over the years.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 6:55 am

The Gilliam Cemetery, which lies 60 miles north of San Francisco, appears to be gaining residents lately. But it's not only because new people have been interred there. Instead, headstones that wound up being buried a century ago have been found and resurrected.

The cemetery's story begins in 1850, when a wagon train of pioneers left Missouri and settled near what is now Sebastopol, Calif. The Gilliam Cemetery was started in 1852, when Polly Gilliam Sullivan and her husband, Isaac, needed a place to bury their stillborn son.

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Politics
3:06 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Romney Goes After Obama On Alleged Leaking Of Secrets

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney meets with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars after his speech at the VFW National Convention in Reno, Nev., on July 24.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 6:25 am

The latest national security issue to figure in the presidential campaign has little to do with Iran, Afghanistan or other foreign policy challenges. Mitt Romney is instead focusing on what he and other Republicans allege is the Obama administration's record of leaking classified information for political purposes.

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