NPR News

Music
1:26 am
Thu June 28, 2012

The Bajo Quinto: The Instrument That Will Not Go Gently

Don Telesforo next to a bajo quinto, holding a jarana mixteca.
Courtesy of Ruben Luengas

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 10:34 am

Almost 20 years ago, a young student at the National University of Mexico went in search of a very old instrument in the mountains of the southern state of Oaxaca. Today, he has become a leading force in the revival of the instrument called the bajo quinto and the music played on it.

Ruben Luengas was working on a research project at the National School of Music in Mexico City in 1995. He wanted to focus on the music of his hometown, in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, so he asked his 97-year-old grandmother to tell him about the music played at her wedding.

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Middle East
1:17 am
Thu June 28, 2012

In A Syrian Souk, Support For The Regime Falters

People walk through Hamidiyah market in Damascus, Syria, Feb. 28. The merchants of this landmark bazaar were once ardent supporters of President Bashar Assad. That's no longer the case.
Bassem Tellawi AP

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 6:25 pm

In Syria's capital, Damascus, the Hamidiyah souk is a landmark — a centuries-old covered market linked to a maze of alleyways in the heart of the capital. Over the 15-month uprising, Syria's merchants have supported the regime of President Bashar Assad. But that support is crumbling.

Shops selling everything from cold drinks, ice cream and spices to wedding dresses and electric guitars line Hamidiyah's cobblestone streets.

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Asia
1:17 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Amid Fierce Debate, Japan To Restart Nuclear Plants

Anti-nuclear activists in front of the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, June 22. Some 20,000 demonstrators protested against the Japanese government's decision to restart two idle nuclear reactors in western Japan, ending a brief period without any nuclear power generation.
Rie Ishii AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 10:34 am

After taking all 50 of its nuclear reactors offline following a devastating accident last year, Japan is planning to restart the first of two of them in western Fukui prefecture as early as Sunday.

The catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in March 2011 forced Japan to scale back plans to aggressively expand its nuclear energy sector. But the highly controversial move to restart the two reactors on the other side of the country is a sign that the nuclear power lobby isn't throwing in the towel yet.

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Music
6:25 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Third Time's The Charm: J-Lo And Pitbull 'Dance Again'

Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull perform onstage at the 2011 American Music Awards in Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 10:34 am

Her day job as an American Idol judge notwithstanding, Jennifer Lopez returned to pop radio this summer with a splash. Her new single, "Dance Again," has been on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart since April 2, reaching the top on May 26.

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It's All Politics
5:02 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Romney Gets No Relief On Outsourcing Story

Mitt Romney appears with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (left) on Wednesday. Romney failed to convince Washington Post journalists they were wrong to link him to the outsourcing of U.S. jobs while he led Bain Capital.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 1:51 pm

Ever since the Washington Post published a widely read piece last week whose central premise was that when Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital the firm invested in companies that shipped U.S. jobs abroad, President Obama, Vice President Biden and other Democrats have repeatedly cited it.

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The Two-Way
5:02 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

In Settlement, FCC Says Comcast Will Pay $800K, Extend Stand-Alone Internet Offer

A Comcast logo is seen on a Comcast truck in Pittsburgh in 2011.
Gene J. Puskar AP

The Federal Communications Commission and Comcast-NBCU came to an agreement today over charges that the cable company had not adequately advertised its affordable Internet-only plans.

Providing data-only plans and making sure customers knew they were available was one of the conditions set by the FCC when it approved the NBC/Comcast merger in 2011.

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The Salt
4:51 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Why There's Less Red Meat Served On Many American Plates

Some Americans are cutting back on red meat, and health concerns seem to be the biggest reason they're doing it, a survey found.
Shmeliova Natalia iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 5:38 pm

Dan Charles reported earlier this week on why meat consumption in the U.S. has climbed so precipitously; today, we brought you charts and graphs on that, and on how meat production affects the environment.

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Election 2012
3:51 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Some Democrats To Skip Obama's Renomination Party

Bank of America stadium in Charlotte, N.C., where President Obama will accept his party's nomination on Sept. 6.
Jeff Siner MCT/Landov

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 1:52 pm

This summer's Democratic National Convention has already gotten shorter, shrinking from the traditional four-day extravaganza to three days. Now it appears the attendance for the event is shrinking, too.

At least a dozen Democrats say they won't be able to make it to Charlotte, N.C., when the convention begins Sept. 4. It's no coincidence that all are facing tough election campaigns in places where President Obama's popularity lags.

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Middle East
3:47 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Is A Protest Camp Still Needed In Yemen?

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 6:24 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Yemen's capital, Sana'a, a sprawling tent city is beginning to be dismantled. It was home to thousands of protesters for more than a year. Known as Change Square, it came to look more like Change Mile as street after street became packed with demonstrators and their makeshift homes. Kelly McEvers reported from Yemen during last year's uprising and she went back and sent this report about the changes at Change Square.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:47 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Can IVF Treatments Reverse A Woman's Biological Clock?

Human embryos under a microscope at an IVF clinic in La Jolla, Calif.
Sandy Huffaker Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:20 pm

Modern reproductive technologies can give older women the same chances of having a baby as younger women, researchers reported Wednesday.

The new study found that women age 31 and younger have about a 60 percent to 75 percent chance of having a baby after three IVF cycles. The chances drop to about 20 percent to 30 percent for women ages 41 or 42, and to about just 5 percent to 10 percent for those age 43 or older.

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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

No 'Bath Salts' Drug Found In System Of Face-Eating Attacker

An undated booking mug made available by the Miami-Dade Police Dept., showing Rudy Eugene.
AP

Back in May, we told you that Miami Police suspected that a man who was shot dead while he bit off another man's face was high on "bath salts."

A Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's report released today, however, disproves that theory. According to the AP, the only drug found in Rudy Eugene's system was marijuana.

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Europe
3:13 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

European Union Tradeoff: Sovereignty For Stability

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:50 pm

In order to salvage its common currency, Europe is working toward a tighter fiscal union. That will require a tradeoff — sovereignty for economic stability. Over the next two days European Union leaders will try to come to an agreement to boost growth.

Architecture
3:13 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Still Unimplemented, Ariz. Law Has Chilling Effect

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:49 pm

It will be weeks — maybe longer — before the one part of Arizona's immigration law the Supreme Court left standing goes into effect. A lower court has to remove its injunction before local police are required to ask about immigration status. But as NPR's Ted Robbins reports, there's already been a backlash.

Shots - Health Blog
2:56 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Goes Overlooked In Supreme Court Anticipation

When the U.S. Supreme Court rules Thursday on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it will also rule on whether the expansion of Medicaid is an unconstitutional infringement of states' rights.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:20 pm

When the Supreme Court announces its long-anticipated decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, all eyes will be on the so-called individual mandate. That's the section of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.

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Mom And Dad's Record Collection
2:30 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Chris Thile's First Musical Memory

Chris Thile says he was only a year old when he first heard "The Girl from Ipanema."
Danny Clinch

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 7:54 pm

It's clear Chris Thile has an ear for music: The 31-year-old mandolinist, best known for his bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, has been playing music his entire life.

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Election 2012
2:28 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Influx Of Puerto Ricans Changes Fla.'s Voter Calculus

A sign lets voters know they can cast early ballots for the Florida primary election in January at the South Creek Branch Library in Orlando.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 7:51 pm

Florida is a perennial battleground state in presidential elections. And within Florida, the area around Orlando is a battlefield where the terrain has changed radically.

It used to be a tossup. But four years ago, Barack Obama won in Orlando — or technically in Orange County — with 59 percent of the vote, a margin of almost 80,000 votes.

What happened in Orlando?

There were several things: The Democrats registered a lot of black voters. Obama ran well among independents. But the biggest difference was the number of new arrivals to the area.

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Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

The State Of Affairs For Veterans Seeking Jobs

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, retired Army General Eric Shinseki, is attending that job fair in Detroit and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.

SECRETARY ERIC SHINSEKI: Well, thank you, Melissa. Great to be joining you.

BLOCK: When you talk with employers, what do they tell you about the hurdles or the challenges of hiring veterans? What are the problems there?

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Presidential Race
2:09 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Translating The Veepstakes

David McNew Getty Images

Running for president means spending a lot of time convincing the public that you really want the job. Not so if you're seeking the No. 2 spot.

The road to the vice presidency, history shows, is paved with feigned disinterest.

"If you're going to be vice president, you're going to be in the president's shadow," says Jody Baumgartner, a political science professor at East Carolina University. "If you appear to be seeking the vice presidency, drawing attention to yourself, that's not really a quality that a presidential candidate is looking for."

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World Cafe
2:03 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Third World On World Cafe

Third World.
Courtesy of Artist

Together nearly 30 years, the reggae band Third World is one Jamaica's most popular and decorated musical acts, with listeners around the world and 10 Grammy nominations to its name. Partly responsible for mainstreaming reggae music, the group formed in 1973 and built a solid following playing the Kingston reggae scene, making its debut at Jamaica's Independence Day celebration.

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Chicago Council OKs Fines Instead Of Arrests For Pot Possesion

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 2:10 pm

The Chicago City Council voted overwhelmingly to approve a new policy on marijuana possession.

The policy gives police the option of giving a fine to those caught with less than 15 grams. The fine could range between $250 and $500 and doesn't apply to minors or those carrying pot on a park or school grounds, reports The Chicago Tribune.

Previously, law required police to arrest the person and charge them with a misdemeanor.

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It's All Politics
1:27 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Obama Saw Immediate Fundraising Spike After Same-Sex Marriage Announcement

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 1:53 pm

In the days following President Obama's announcement that he supports same-sex marriage, anecdotal evidence suggested that the political position had a financial payoff.

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Europe
1:23 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Months After Protest, Russian Rockers Still Jailed

Women in a Russian punk rock group briefly perform a protest song at Moscow's main cathedral, Christ the Savior, in February. The singers criticized the church and Vladimir Putin, who is now president. Three women have been arrested and jailed for months, and the church is demanding harsh punishment.
Sergey Ponomarev AP

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 8:45 pm

The Russian government is facing a growing chorus of criticism over its harsh treatment of three women from an all-female rock band who staged a "punk" prayer service last winter in Moscow's most prominent cathedral.

Back on Feb. 21, two weeks before Russia's presidential election, several members of the band Pussy Riot, wearing brightly colored balaclavas, rushed onto the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:01 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

What Clementines Can Teach Surgeons

University of Michigan

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:20 pm

Clementines and pelvic anatomy are two things you probably wouldn't ever talk about in the same sentence, unless you're Pamela Andreatta.

Andreatta, a medical educator at the University of Michigan Medical School, knows all about how people learn. And lately, she's been spending a lot of time scrutinizing how residents are taught to do minimally invasive surgery.

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It's All Politics
12:26 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Read The Tea Leaves, But Justices (And Their Clerks) Aren't Telling

The U.S. Supreme Court
Alex Wong Getty Images

Several dozen people know how the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. And it'll stay that way until sometime after 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, when the court releases its opinion to the rest of us.

The decision will have broad societal, economic and legal ramifications, and will play a featured role in the November presidential election. But the justices and their young law clerks — the only ones privy to the deliberations — don't leak opinions. It's virtually unheard of.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Puny Humans: Robot Plays Rock, Paper, Scissors With 100 Percent Accuracy

A robot hand playing rock, paper, scissor.
Ishikawa Oku Laboratory

We don't know what this says about the relationship between humans and robots. But researchers at the Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Toyko have developed a robot hand that can beat a human 100 percent of the time in a game of "rock, paper, scissors."

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Here's How To Learn What The Supreme Court Says About Health Care

The U.S. Supreme Court, which will be in the news on Thursday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 12:15 pm

The biggest surprise Thursday morning at the Supreme Court will be if the justices do not issue their most-anticipated decision of the year — on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act; the health care overhaul enacted in 2010.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:42 am
Wed June 27, 2012

FDA Approves First New Weight-Loss Drug In More Than A Decade

Belviq, the first new prescription drug in years to help people lose weight, is expected to be available in four to six months.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 10:34 am

For the first time in 13 years, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to help people lose weight.

The FDA gave the green light to Arena Pharmaceuticals to sell Belviq, or lorcaserin generically, a twice-a-day pill that suppresses appetite and appears to affect metabolism by influencing levels of the brain chemical serotonin.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:41 am
Wed June 27, 2012

A Guide To The Cleanest And Filthiest U.S. Beaches

San Juan Creek meets the Pacific Ocean at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, Calif. The poor water quality off Doheny State Beach put in a list of worst beaches in the U.S.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 7:58 am

If you thought sharks were the scariest threat at the beach, you might consider the lowly bacteria lurking in shore waters instead.

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It's All Politics
10:27 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Where's The Bathroom? Half Of All State Lawmakers Will Be New On The Job

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 4:26 am

In the land of legislative freshmen, sophomores can be kings.

That's a dynamic that will play out around much of the country after the fall elections. Come January, about half the nation's roughly 7,400 legislators will be totally new on the job or have only two years' experience, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Wed June 27, 2012

ACLU Will Defend KKK In Bid To Adopt Stretch Of Ga. Highway

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 11:08 am

Considering it a First Amendment case, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has decided to defend a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in its bid to adopt a stretch of Georgia highway.

As Korva reported earlier this month, Georgia transportation officials turned down the group's request, saying "encountering signage and members of the KKK along a roadway would create a definite distraction to motorists."

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