NPR News

The Two-Way
1:48 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez Will Retire After A 23-Year Career

In this Sept. 13, 2009, photo, Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez pauses during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in Arlington, Texas.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Next Monday, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, considered one of Major League Baseball's greatest catchers, will announce his retirement.

The news was first reported by the AP and confirmed today by the Texas Rangers, the team where Rodriguez made his debut.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, won a record 13 Gold Golves. The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Levon Helm, Legendary Drummer-Singer Of The Band, Dies

Levon Helm and the Levon Helm band perform during the Heros of Woodstock concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y. in 2009.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 6:30 am

After a long battle with cancer, Leon Helm died today. He was 71.

"Levon Helm passed peacefully this afternoon," a statement posted on his website read. "He was surrounded by family, friends and band mates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul."

Helm was the legendary drummer and singer of '60s rock act, The Band. Earlier this week, Helm's family announced that he was in the final stages of cancer.

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The Record
1:26 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Levon Helm, Drummer And Singer In The Band, Dies

Levon Helm performing with The Band in 1971.
Jan Persson Redferns

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 6:33 am

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Digital Life
11:58 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Young People Turn From Kony To Spooning Record

In 2010, more than 500 students at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., hit the campus green to break the world record for spooning. On Friday, students at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., plan to claim the record.
Maia Rodriguez Courtesy of Northfield.org

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 1:50 pm

Students at the College of William & Mary are talking about a big extracurricular event being held on their campus on Friday. Organized largely through social media, more than 600 students at the prestigious Virginia campus have signed up to participate.

It's not about Joseph Kony. It's an attempt to break the world record for spooning, set by Carleton College back in 2010.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:48 am
Thu April 19, 2012

When It Comes To A1C Blood Test For Diabetics, One Level No Longer Fits All

A person with diabetes may need to test blood glucose levels up to 10 times a day.
Isaac Santillan iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 12:38 pm

If there's one thing that people with diabetes get pounded into their heads, it's that they've got to keep their A1C level under control. That's the blood glucose measure that's used to decide how well a person is managing their diabetes.

But new diabetes management guidelines announced today will cut many people with diabetes some slack.

Where old guidelines from the American Diabetes Association said that people should maintain an A1C of 7, the new guidelines say that patients should work with their doctors to determine an appropriate A1C target.

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The Two-Way
11:34 am
Thu April 19, 2012

PHOTO: President Obama Sits In Rosa Parks Bus

President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich. on Wednesday.
Pete Souza The White House

During his trip to Detroit, yesterday, President Obama visited the Henry Ford Museum and had the opportunity to sit in the bus where in 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to make way for a white customer. That moment sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and fueled the civil rights movement that made it possible for Barack Obama to become president.

Today, the White House's photographer Pete Souza tweeted a picture of the moment:

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The Two-Way
10:57 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Florida Governor Appoints Task Force To Review 'Stand Your Ground' Law

Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed a task force on Thursday charged with reviewing the state's gun laws, including the so-called "stand your ground law," that came into controversial focus after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

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World Cafe
10:49 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Latin Roots: The Lasting Fad Of Boogaloo

The Joe Cuba Sextet.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 2:01 pm

Today's episode of Latin Roots features Felix Contreras, co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's online music program about Latin Alternative music. Also a reporter and producer for NPR's Arts Desk, Contreras specializes in jazz, world music and Latino arts and culture. A part-time musician who plays Afro-Cuban percussion in several Latin and jazz bands, Contreras is uniquely qualified to discuss Latin Alternative music. In today's episode, he speaks about boogaloo, how it developed and how it impacts Latin music today.

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World Cafe
10:39 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Grimes On World Cafe

Grimes.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:49 am

Grimes is the one-woman project of Claire Boucher, a talented and eclectic Canadian singer. Born and raised in Vancouver, she moved to Montreal for college but left to pursue her craft when her work as Grimes began to take off. Marrying lo-fi punk with dreamy pop, Grimes quickly became a fixture in Montreal's underground music scene. Boucher incorporates elements of dance, video and still images into her live performances, creating otherworldly and entrancing multimedia experiences in the process.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Thu April 19, 2012

String Of Attacks Kills More Than 30 In Iraq

Iraqis inspect a car destroyed in a car bombing in Baghdad's Haifa Street, as dust creates a yellow haze across the city on Thursday.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye AFP/Getty Images

A string of bombings struck Baghdad today and left at least 30 people dead. It was the most violent day the city has seen in close to a month.

As The New York Times points out, while this kind of violence is common in the country, today's attacks were "a reminder, after weeks of relative calm, that an organized insurgency remained active."

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Shots - Health Blog
9:51 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Staying Active Fends Off Alzheimer's, Even In People Over 80

This would count. But even washing the dishes helps fend off dementia in old age.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:39 am

Activity cuts the risk of Alzheimer's disease and slows cognitive decline, even in the very old, according to a new study.

There's been plenty of evidence for the "use it or lose it" theory of brain capacity. But this study is one of the first to show that activity of all sorts benefits people over age 80, even if they're not "exercising."

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Politics
9:10 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Alberto Gonzales: GOP Turns Off Latinos From Party

The DREAM Act calls for a path to citizenship for some undocumented students. In the past, Republicans have opposed versions of the bill, but some prominent figures like former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales say the GOP needs to find its own voice on the issue. He speaks with host Michel Martin.

Music Reviews
9:10 am
Thu April 19, 2012

From Dominican Roots, Bachata Is Here To Stay

Joan Soriano.
Alicia Santistevan

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 9:39 am

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Shots - Health Blog
8:46 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Flossing Is Good For The Gums, But Doesn't Help The Heart

It's still a good idea. But it won't protect you against heart disease.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 8:24 am

Think flossing and brushing is helping to fight off heart disease and stroke? Think again.

An expert panel of dentists and cardiologists, writing in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, says there is no evidence that treating or preventing gum disease has any direct effect on heart health.

That's a big turnaround. For the past decade, the medical establishment has been telling people that cardiovascular disease can be caused by poor oral hygiene. Why the change?

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Middle East
8:22 am
Thu April 19, 2012

For Syria, A 'Lawrence Of Arabia' Moment

Syrians walk through a badly damaged neighborhood in the central city of Homs on Sunday. Despite a declared cease-fire, fighting has continued in a number of Syrian cities, and peace efforts are at risk of collapsing.
AP

In the final scenes of the classic film Lawrence of Arabia, the Arab rebel fighters are wrapped up with internal, petty squabbles in Damascus as the great powers maneuver for the future of Syria.

Now, nearly a century after the events depicted in that movie, there's a similar Lawrence of Arabia moment playing out in Syria.

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The Two-Way
6:54 am
Thu April 19, 2012

U.N. Chief: Syria Violating Cease-Fire Amid Apparent Deal On Observers

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:31 am

In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the Syrian government is not living up to its end of the bargain on a week-old cease-fire deal.

Ban says the government has failed to keep its pledge to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from cities, but adds that he still thinks there is "opportunity for progress."

The Secretary General's letter comes as the U.N. and Syria apparently worked out details of an observer mission to monitor the shaky deal meant to end more than a year of bloodshed that has killed an estimated 9,000 people.

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It's All Politics
6:37 am
Thu April 19, 2012

In Swing States, Obama Campaign Begins Push For Another Latino-Vote Landslide

President Obama's re-election campaign has released four new Spanish-language ads, each ending with the phrase: "Esta eleccion si importa," which in English means, "This election does matter."
barackobama.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 9:42 am

In 2008, Barack Obama captured two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, winning in crucial swing states with large Hispanic populations like Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

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Law
5:18 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Dutch Entertainer Sued Over Magic Trick

A Dutch magician has threatened to tell the secret behind one of Penn & Teller's most famous bits. In this shadow illusion, an untouched rose falls apart as Teller cuts at the shadow with a knife. Teller tried to make the offer disappear by paying the Dutchman the $3,000. When that was refused, Teller sued.

Around the Nation
5:04 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Is Nakedness Protected Political Speech?

John Brennan of Portland, Ore., was going through airport security when he was pulled aside for a closer look. So he removed all of his clothes, saying it was an act of protest. Facing charges, Brennan argues he was "nude but not lewd."

National Security
3:08 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Secret Service Forces Out 3 Agents

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 4:24 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, frpm NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep, good morning.

The Secret Service scandal has now cost three men their jobs. The government says they were involved in misconduct in South America, and they are leaving the agency. Agents, as well as military personnel, allegedly hired prostitutes in advance of President Obama's recent trip to Colombia.

NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson has been following this story. She's in our studios. Good morning.

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Asia
3:08 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Avalanche May Alter Himalayan Combat Zone

Pakistani army soldiers work Wednesday at the site of a massive avalanche that buried 140 people, including 129 soldiers, April 7 at the Siachen glacier. Pakistan's army chief called for the peaceful resolution of the Himalayan glacier dispute with rival nuclear power India.
B.K. Bangash AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:44 pm

In the chill of the world's highest combat zone lies the prospect of warmer relations. Pakistan's army chief said Wednesday that there's a need to resolve the conflict that has Indian and Pakistani troops facing off at frigid altitudes of up to 20,000 feet in the Himalayan Mountains. An estimated 3,000 Pakistani soldiers have died from the atrocious weather conditions since deployments on the Siachen glacier began in 1984.

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Sports
2:42 am
Thu April 19, 2012

As NBA Playoffs Near, Teams Grapple With Injuries

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 5:39 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

There's one more week left in this lockout-shortened, action-packed NBA regular season and still it's anybody's guess which team will survive the playoffs and be crowned champion. You've got young, hungry teams, veteran teams trying to hang onto their legacies, and everywhere, it seems, injured star players. NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins me. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Lynn.

NEARY: Tom, let's start with those injuries. Who's hurt and how's it going to affect the playoffs?

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Research News
1:36 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Death Penalty Research Flawed, Expert Panel Says

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:17 am

Proponents of the death penalty often argue that the threat of being executed acts as a deterrent that prevents people from committing murder. But those who oppose capital punishment challenge that claim. And some researchers argue that state-sanctioned execution might actually increase homicide rates.

Now, a panel of independent experts convened by the prestigious National Research Council has taken a look at this question and decided that the available research offers no useful information for policymakers.

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Environment
1:34 am
Thu April 19, 2012

How A 'Western Problem' Led To New Drilling Rules

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan., on Feb. 21. The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:45 am

The Environmental Protection Agency's new air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry may seem like odd timing, as President Obama has been trying to deflect Republican criticism that he overregulates energy industries. But the rules weren't the Obama administration's idea.

Several years ago, communities in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming complained about air pollution from natural gas booms in their local areas.

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All Tech Considered
1:30 am
Thu April 19, 2012

To Read All Those Web Privacy Policies, Just Take A Month Off Work

Many Web users have little idea about how, or when, they're being tracked. In this 2011 photo, Max Schrems of Austria sits with 1,222 pages about his activities on Facebook — the company gave him the file after he requested it under European law.
Ronald Zak AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:08 am

Internet surfers have long worried that they have insufficient control over their online privacy — despite the privacy policies many people agree to when they visit websites or use online services.

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U.S.
1:29 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Few Answers In Abuse Probes At Homes For Disabled

A memorial to Van Ingraham at his brother Larry Ingraham's home in San Diego. Van Ingraham died after an injury at Fairview Developmental Center in 2007.
Nadia Borowski Scott

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:08 am

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a sprawling facility of offices, residential buildings and therapy rooms set between a noisy boulevard and a golf course.

Some 400 people with developmental disabilities live at Fairview. And while minor scratches and bruises are not uncommon for these patients, over the years, the center has seen scores of serious injuries and even deaths.

Fairview is one of five state-run developmental centers in California — homes for people with developmental disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.

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Books
1:28 am
Thu April 19, 2012

'Boys On The Bus': 40 Years Later, Many Are Girls

Reporters surround Sens. George McGovern (left) and Hubert Humphrey after a Democratic presidential debate in 1972.
George Brich AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 8:15 am

The news business has changed a lot in recent years, and that's especially true of political news. But when you ask about a book that captures what it's like to report on a presidential campaign, one decades-old classic still rules: The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse.

The rough-and-tumble account of the reporters who covered President Richard Nixon's re-election against George McGovern back in 1972 is part of a Morning Edition series on political history.

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Around the Nation
11:02 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Alleged $30M Theft By Comptroller Stuns Ill. City

This November 2011 photo provided by The American Quarter Horse Journal shows Rita Crundwell of Dixon, Ill., at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges she misappropriated more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle.
AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:52 am

The top financial official for the small city of Dixon, Ill., is accused of stealing more than $30 million from city coffers over the past six years. It's a staggering amount of money for the city of just 15,000 residents in northwest Illinois, and federal prosecutors allege she used the funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included horse farms and a $2 million luxury motor home.

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Music Interviews
5:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Anoushka Shankar: A Sitar Player In Andalusia

"There's a very primal, emotional response I feel when I hear flamenco," sitar player Anoushka Shankar says. "It's quite in the belly in a way."
Harper Smith

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:41 am

Anoushka Shankar is the daughter and protege of the renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who is credited with introducing Indian classical music to Western audiences. Now, Anoushka Shankar carries on this tradition in more ways than one. On her new album, Traveller, she goes back in time to make the connections between India and Spain.

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It's All Politics
4:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Obama, Romney Use Opposing Versions Of 'Are You Better Off?'

Mitt Romney's campaign plans on using variations of Ronald Reagan's "Are you better off?" question frequently over the next six months.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:37 pm

Ever since Ronald Reagan posed the killer question to voters in a 1980 debate with then-President Jimmy Carter — "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" — challengers to incumbent presidents have tried to repeat the Reagan magic.

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