NPR News

Shots - Health Blog
3:06 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Medical Technician Might Have Exposed Hundreds To Hepatitis C

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 1:24 pm

After five years of crisscrossing the country as a traveling medical technician, David Kwiatkowski landed at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital in the spring of 2011. A full-time job in the hospital's cardiac unit soon followed.

It was at Exeter that federal prosecutors say the 33-year-old began to divert syringes of the drug Fentanyl. They say Kwiatkowski, who was arrested July 19, would inject himself with the painkiller, and then refill syringes with a saline solution. He is hepatitis C-positive, meaning those tainted needles might have spread the liver-damaging virus.

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Space
3:04 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Telescope Targets Black Holes' Binges And Burps

The NuSTAR telescope, seen in this artist's illustration, will soon be sending back data that researchers will use to study black holes.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 5:45 am

NASA's newest space telescope will start searching the universe for black holes on Wednesday. Scientists hope the NuSTAR X-ray telescope, which launched about six weeks ago and is now flying about 350 miles above the Earth, will help shed some light on the mysteries of these space oddities.

Mission control for the telescope is a small room on the University of California, Berkeley, campus, where about a dozen people with headsets rarely look up from their screens.

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Europe
2:55 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Italy Worries Sicily's Woes Could Have Ripple Effect

Raffaele Lombardo, the governor of Sicily, speaks to reporters after his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Rome last week. Lombardo has been accused of having ties to the Mafia in Sicily.
Alessandro Bianchi Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 3:09 pm

In antiquity, Sicily was known as Greater Greece. Now, the eurozone crisis has led to sharp spending cuts and, with an economy based on public sector wages, Sicily is being called Italy's Greece. The central government fears the region's debt of more than $6 billion could further endanger the country's financial stability.

Worried about contagion, the Rome government is dictating on Sicily tough bailout conditions similar to those international lenders imposed on Greece.

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The Torch
3:46 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Studying Oscar Pistorius: Does The 'Blade Runner' Have An Advantage? [Video]

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa runs in the men's 200-meter event at the Paralympic World Cup in May. Some observers have suggested Pistorius receives an unfair advantage from his carbon-fiber "blade" legs.
Michael Steele Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:04 pm

The technology that makes walking possible for amputees is also making running possible at the Olympics. On Saturday in London, South African Oscar Pistorius will run on artificial limbs in the 400-meter sprint. Pistorius is a double amputee who runs world-class times on his carbon-fiber legs.

At last month's Prefontaine Track and Field Classic in Eugene, Ore., Pistorius ran in the inside lane of the 400-meter race. He leaned forward on his knees and fingers, and slipped his feet into the starting blocks — well, they're not actually feet.

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World
3:46 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

In Israel, Rabbis Rank Among The Rich And Famous

Rabbi Yaacov Israel Ifargan is known as the 'X-ray' rabbi for what his followers say is his ability to "see right through" a person. According to Forbes in Israel, he is worth about $23 million, which makes him the country's sixth-richest rabbi.
Tsafrir Abayov AP

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 12:01 pm

Over the past year, Israelis have taken to the streets to protest the country's high cost of living. They've also directed their anger at a small group of business moguls who have used their close ties to government officials to gain control of large chunks of the Israeli economy.

Now, the Israeli edition of Forbes magazine has shed light on a surprising category of Israelis who have quietly also climbed to the top rung of society: multimillionaire rabbis.

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It's All Politics
3:46 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Texas GOP Senate Runoff Gives Tea Party An Opportunity To Flex Its Muscles

Ted Cruz, left, and David Dewhurst shake hands before their Republican Senate debate in Dallas on June 22.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 7:45 am

The Republican race to succeed retiring Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison wasn't supposed to be tough. But it's become one of the hardest-fought and most expensive intraparty races in the country.

Early this year, the race was expected to be a coronation for Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, 66.

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Summer Nights: Funtown After Sundown
3:46 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Fishin' In The Dark Draws Rods and Reels To Park

A pond in Charlotte, N.C.'s Freedom Park is a popular spot for evening fishing. The city keeps the pond well-stocked with catfish.
Julie Rose for NPR

In the middle of Charlotte, N.C.'s toniest historic neighborhood, a pond in a local park has become the city's unlikely fishing hole.

Many residents consider Freedom Park one of the city's prettiest, and when summer arrives the fishermen come out, hoping to catch "the big one."

A tiny bream wriggles on the end of 11-year-old Ciarra Carella's line. She's fishing with a piece of hotdog, her line dangling off the edge of a lovely stone bridge. It's a popular spot for wedding photos and for bringing your kids to feed the ducks.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Poll: After Aurora Shooting, Opinions On Gun Control Are Unchanged

The Century 16 movie theatre is seen from a memorial setup across the street on July 28, in Aurora, Colorado.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:56 pm

A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that American views on gun control have pretty much remained unchanged since the Aurora, Colo. theater mass shooting.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:50 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Legal Battle Erupts Over Whose Plastic Consumers Should Trust

CamelBak-brand water bottles on display at an outdoor supply store in Arcadia, Calif., in 2008. The company removed BPA from the plastic in its bottles.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:46 pm

In 2007, Eastman Chemical began marketing a tough new BPA-free plastic called Tritan. Business was good, says Lucian Boldea, a vice president at Eastman.

"We were able to make the statement that our product is not made with BPA and would release data to consumers to support that fact," he says.

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The Record
2:47 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Feminist Punk Band, Imprisoned For Five Months, Gets Next Gig: Russian Courtroom

Members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezha Tolokonnikova (left), Yekaterina Samutsevich (center) and Maria Alyokhina, at a hearing in Moscow court on Monday.
Andrey Smirnov Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:46 pm

After more than five months in prison, some Russian dissidents are getting their day in court. The three young women are accused of being members of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band that staged a protest against then presidential-candidate Vladimir Putin in February.

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World Cafe
2:33 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Next: Allen Stone

Allen Stone
Courtesy of Jason Tang
  • Hear two songs by Allen Stone

Allen Stone's smooth voice plays well against the sometimes curiously synthetic beats that characterize his songs. The soul and R&B singer hails from outside Spokane, Wash., where he began his singing career as part of his church choir. After stints in community college and Bible school, Stone brought his talents to bear with his debut album Last to Speak in 2010. The self-proclaimed hippie crafts his songs with socially conscious lyrics, and his commentary on topics ranging from the economic crisis to technological dependence is wittily pertinent.

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Middle East
2:32 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Is Assad Carving Out A Haven For Syria's Alawites?

A Syrian man holds a national flag bearing pictures of President Bashar Assad during a pro-regime protest to condemn a deadly attack in the central Midan district of Damascus on April 27.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:04 pm

As fighting between the Syrian military and rebel fighters rages, concerns are growing about how the regime of President Bashar Assad might react if it becomes convinced it's about to lose power.

One theory involves the establishment of a breakaway region dominated by Syria's Alawite minority — which includes the Assad family — in the northwestern coastal mountains. Analysts say this would be a disaster both for Assad and the region, but it can't be completely ruled out.

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It's All Politics
2:17 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Support For Same-Sex Marriage Could Be Official Democratic Stance

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 7:45 am

Democrats are on the path to including an endorsement of same-sex marriage for the first time in their official party platform.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reported Monday that the proposal has made it through an important Democratic committee.

The 15 Democrats who serve on the party's platform drafting committee voted unanimously to endorse same-sex marriage in the party's official agenda, says Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who serves on the committee.

Frank recently married his partner.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:49 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

What Does The Future Hold For Bird Flu Research?

A government official in Bali, Indonesia, holds a chicken before administering an injection to cull it as a precautionary measure in April to prevent the spread of bird flu.
Firdia Lisnawati AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 2:43 pm

In a hotel ballroom in New York City, a couple hundred flu researchers watched with interest Monday as a government official ran down a list of seven kinds of experiments that could raise special security risks.

The official noted that one item on the list was any experiment that could make an infectious agent more transmissible, or contagious. "It wouldn't take long for this audience to come up with an example of that," he noted wryly.

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Apple, Samsung Face Off In Court Over Alleged Patent Infringements

Samsung Electronics Co. representatives wait to enter the Robert F. Peckham Federal Courthouse in San Jose, California on Monday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 1:26 pm

Fortune calls it "the patent trial of the century." And based on money alone, it might as well be: Apple and Samsung are accusing each other of infringement. Samsung wants higher royalties on some technology and Apple is seeking $2.5 billion in damages.

A jury will decide which, if any, company is right. With jury selection, Reuters reports the trial begins today in San Jose, Calif.

Reuters adds:

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The Torch
1:14 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Lochte Misses Out On Medal; American Grevers Wins Backstroke [Results]

Record setter: U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin celebrates winning the women's 100m backstroke final at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:22 pm

Yannick Agnel of France has won the 200m men's freestyle at the London 2012 Olympics, beating a field that included American Ryan Lochte and German world record holder Paul Biedermann. Sun Yang of China and and Tae-Hwan Park of South Korea finished with identical times of 1:44.93 — which means that both of them will receive silver medals.

We'll be updating this post with more results from today's action.

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The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Jonah Lehrer Resigns From 'New Yorker,' Admitting He Made Up Quotes

Jonah Lehrer.
Nina Subin Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:56 pm

Jonah Lehrer, the super star science writer, has resigned from The New Yorker and admitted that quotes that he attributed to Bob Dylan in his latest book, Imagine, don't exist.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:48 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Ebola Outbreak Kills At Least 14 In Uganda

Although infections with the Ebola virus are rare, they can be deadly.
Cynthia Goldsmith CDC

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 12:48 pm

An outbreak of the Ebola virus has emerged in western Uganda.

Twenty cases were reported by the World Health Organization yesterday. At least 14 people have died. The number of Ebola infections is expected to rise in the next few days, as more patients are admitted to hospitals.

The outbreak began in a rural district of Uganda about 125 miles west of the Uganda capital, Kampala.

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The Torch
11:46 am
Mon July 30, 2012

U.S. Men's Gymnastics Takes A Fall During Finals

U.S. gymnast John Orozco runs through his pommel horse routine, in the Olympic men's team final at the 02 North Greenwich Arena in London. The Americans fell short of the promise they established in qualifying rounds.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 12:52 pm

The U.S. men's gymnastics team had an excellent day of qualifying this weekend, putting it in first place entering today's team finals. But the Americans struggled in the final, which does not carry points over from the earlier rounds.

Update at 2:12 p.m. EDT: The U.S. team has taken fifth place in the competition, despite early struggles that put them in last place. Great Britain surged to win the silver medal behind China — but Japan is reportedly now disputing the score one of its gymnasts received on the pommel horse.

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Music Reviews
11:38 am
Mon July 30, 2012

This Time, R. Kelly Burns With (Relatively Chaste) Passion

RCA Music Group

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 2:56 pm

In recent years, the Chicago-based R&B singer R. Kelly has alternated between elaborate ballads and and the more erotic collection of songs and videos for his series Trapped In The Closet. His new album, Write Me Back, may be relatively chaste in its sentiments, but it's by no means without passion.

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It's All Politics
11:29 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Poll: Jobs Should Be Next President's Priority; Tax Fairness? Not So Much

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:31 pm

Nearly every major poll indicates that the top issues for voters are jobs and the economy. Making the wealthy pay more in income taxes? Not so much, at least according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll.

An excerpt from Gallup:

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Mon July 30, 2012

24 Murder Counts, 116 Attempted Murder Counts For Colo. Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors in Colorado today charged James Holmes with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the July 20 deaths of 12 people and wounding of 58 during a shooting rampage at a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Genealogists Say Obama Likely A Descendant Of First American Slave

President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Washington Convention Center in April.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Genealogists at Ancestry.com have two surprises for us today: After years of studying President Obama's family tree, they have concluded that he was likely John Punch's 11th great-grandson. Punch is considered the first documented American slave.

The second surprise: The experts connected President Obama to Punch not through his African father, but through his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who was white.

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The Torch
10:06 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Olympic Cauldron Is Put Out, Then Relit, In London

In a mostly empty Olympic Stadium, Austin Playfoot lights the Olympic cauldron Monday morning. The cauldron was extinguished Sunday night, so it could be moved to one end of the stadium. Click the enlargement to see a close-up view.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Just when the discussion over the London Olympics' opening ceremony was finally being overshadowed by actual sporting events at the Summer Games, news emerges Monday that the Olympic cauldron was extinguished Sunday night, so it could be moved.

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The Two-Way
9:44 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Colorado Shooting Stories: There Were Many 'Heroes Among Us'

A heart shaped balloon hovered above a memorial for victims outside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last week.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 7:15 am

As they're being told, we're pointing to some of the stories about the 12 people who died and the 58 who were wounded when a gunman opened fire on July 20 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Click here to see more. As you see others, please share the links in the comment threads.

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Law
9:31 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Will Penn. I.D. Law Actually Keep Voters Away?

Voter I.D. laws have been hotly debated this election season. Now, a Pennsylvania case is challenging that state's new Voter I.D. law. The Justice Department also announced that it will investigate whether the law is discriminatory. Host Michel Martin speaks with Columbia Law Professor Nathan Persily for more on the case.

The Torch
9:28 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Overturned Judo Result Called A 'Farce' And Parody

A judo judge waves a blue flag to award victory to South Korea's Cho Jun-Ho Sunday. But moments later, judges raised white flags instead, giving the win to Masashi Ebinuma of Japan.
Franck Fife AFP/Getty Images

Judo is a sport of leverage, strength, tactics and cunning. These attributes can appear to the uninitiated to be two people attempting to grab each other, without success, for five minutes. And then when no points are scored, they try to grab each other for another three minutes of overtime.

One of these gripping contests — the men's quarterfinals at 66 kg — has become the source of international indignation over a perceived injustice. But with the sport of Judo, an apparently firm set of circumstances can flip in an instant.

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Romney's Words That Outraged Palestinians Were 'Mischaracterized,' Aide Says

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem's old city on Sunday.
Lior Mizrahi Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 12:00 pm

Reports that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at a fundraiser in Jerusalem that "culture" is among the reasons Israel's economy is much stronger than those in "areas managed by the Palestinian Authority" have led a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accuse Romney of racism.

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The Torch
8:27 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Phelps In Fly, Too Many Tweets, And A Chatty Olympics Greeter

Sam Griffiths of Australia, and his horse Happy Times, compete in the cross country phase of the equestrian eventing competition in London's Greenwich Park.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Good morning. Here's a roundup of London 2012 Olympics news stories that have caught our interest. We also have a highlight list of today's upcoming events, in a different post. You can also check out our main schedule. Here's what's been happening already today:

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Afghan Reconstruction Projects May Be 'Counterproductive,' Report Warns

At a road project in Qalat, Afghanistan, last summer, U.S. forces were providing security.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt.Brian Ferguson Reuters /Landov
  • Former Ambassador Ryan Crocker speaks with Renee Montagne

The rising hopes but still-daunting challenges facing the people of Afghanistan and their allies, most notably the U.S., were underscored again this morning by two new stories:

-- The recently departed U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, told Morning Edition host Renee Montagne that he does not think Afghans will suffer through another devasting, multi-party civil war after U.S. combat forces are gone in 2014.

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