NPR Blogs

The Salt
5:30 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

Food companies spend a lot of time and resources coming up with the perfect plastic packaging to keep their products fresh.
iStockphoto

Like it or not, plastic packaging has become an ingrained part of the food system.

While it's clearly wasteful to buy salad, sandwiches and chips encased in plastic and then promptly throw that plastic away, we take for granted how it keeps so much of what we eat fresh and portable.

And behind many of those packages that allow us to eat on-the-go or savor perishable cookies or fish imported from the other side of the globe is a whole lot of science and innovation.

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The Two-Way
4:29 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

DOJ Reaches Agreement For Oversight Of Albuquerque PD

The mayor of Albuquerque has signed off on a framework of principles to submit the city's troubled police department to oversight by an independent monitor.

The deal, announced by the Justice Department, is aimed at addressing eight problem areas identified in a report last year by officials.

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Monkey See
4:19 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

5 Things I Learned About TV's Future From The Critics Press Tour

Noah Hawley (left) and Warren Littlefield, executive producers of the FX series Fargo, speak at Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

The voice came from over my shoulder; a shouted greeting in a room crowded with journalists, publicists, network executives, producers and stars.

I tuned to see David Boreanaz, star of the Fox TV show Bones, calling out to me like a long lost friend. I knew he had mistaken me for someone else — in a party held by Fox at the exclusive Soho House club, where everyone from Kelsey Grammer to David Tennant was sipping cocktails and talking shop, it wasn't hard to make that kind of mistake.

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Shots - Health News
4:15 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

For Better Treatment, Doctors And Patients Share The Decisions

When weighing the risk of heart disease, how the numbers are presented to patients can make all the difference.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:55 pm

Many of us get confused by claims of how much the risk of a heart attack, for example, might be reduced by taking medicine for it. And doctors can get confused, too.

Just ask Karen Sepucha. She runs the Health Decisions Sciences Center at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. A few years ago she surveyed primary care physicians, and asked how confident they were in their ability to talk about numbers and probabilities with patients.

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Shots - Health News
4:03 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S. Teens Still Lag In Getting Vaccinated Against HPV

Dr. Donald Brown inoculated Kelly Kent with the HPV vaccine in his Chicago office in the summer of 2006 — not long after the first version of the vaccine reached the market.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Though the vaccine against human papilloma virus is highly effective in preventing certain forms of cancer, the number of preteens getting the vaccine is still dismally low, doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

"One of the top 5 reasons parents listed is that it hadn't been recommended to them by a doctor or nurse," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters at a press briefing.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S.: Russia-Based Artillery Targeting Ukrainian Troops

Ukrainian troops camouflage their multiple rocket launcher at a checkpoint in Kryva Luka, in eastern Ukraine, earlier this month. The U.S. says Russia is planning to provide similar systems to the rebels.
Evgeniy Maloletka AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 3:20 pm

The U.S. says it has "new evidence" that Russian forces have been firing artillery across the border to attack Ukrainian military positions, and that Moscow is planning to ship powerful rocket artillery to the rebels it backs in the country's east.

"We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said during a daily briefing.

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The Two-Way
2:45 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Central American Presidents Say U.S. Shares Responsibility For Migration Crisis

President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez, left, delivers remarks on immigration beside President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina.
Michael Reynolds EPA /LANDOV

The presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will meet with President Obama on Friday.

But before the meeting, the heads of state are making the rounds in Washington, telling their side of an immigration crisis that has driven tens of thousands of unaccompanied children to the U.S. border.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Zoo In Argentina Says 'Sad Bear' Too Old To Go To Canada

Arturo, the only polar bear in Argentina, lives in captivity at a zoo in Mendoza. The plight of the "sad bear" has spawned more than 400,000 signatures on a petition to get him moved to a "better life" in Canada.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:55 pm

Despite a public outcry that resulted in more than a half-million petition signatures and a personal appeal by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Arturo, Argentina's "sad bear," has been deemed too old to migrate to Canada.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:42 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Who Is Most To Blame For Climate Change?

Flooding in a cemetery on Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands in December 2008.
Giff Johnson AFP/Getty Images

Here in southeastern Virginia, our biggest city, Norfolk, is saddled with an unwanted claim to fame. As The Washington Post has reported, Norfolk is the place "where normal tides have risen 1.5 feet over the past century and the sea is rising faster than anywhere else on the East Coast."

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Shots - Health News
11:46 am
Thu July 24, 2014

When Federal Privacy Laws Protect Hospitals Instead Of Patients

ProPublica

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 11:50 am

In the name of patient privacy, a security guard at a hospital in Springfield, Mo., threatened a mother with jail for trying to take a photograph of her own son.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Ukraine's Prime Minister Quits After Allies Withdraw From Coalition

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 3:23 pm

Ukraine's prime minister announced today that he is resigning after two parties said they were withdrawing from the ruling coalition.

"I am announcing my resignation in connection with the collapse of the coalition," Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said, adding Parliament could no longer do its work.

The Associated Press adds:

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Thu July 24, 2014

European Court Rules Against Poland In CIA 'Black Sites' Case

Barbed-wire fence surrounding a military area is pictured in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland. The CIA ran a secret jail on Polish soil, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday.
Kacper Pempel Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 3:50 pm

The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that Poland broke the European human rights convention by allowing the CIA to imprison and torture two terrorism suspects in secret prisons on its soil.

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The Two-Way
11:03 am
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S. Database Glitch Delays Passport, Visa Processing

An employee looks at a Russian foreign passport at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Filippov Alexei ITAR-TASS/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:28 pm

The U.S. State Department's global database for processing visas and passports is experiencing problems that could cause delays for millions of people around the world who are awaiting travel documents.

The Associated Press writes:

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Israeli Artillery Hits U.N.-Run School In Gaza

Palestinian children, wounded in a July 24 Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, lay on the floor of an emergency room at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya. Israeli tank shells hit the compound, killing more than a dozen people and wounding dozens more who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:49 pm

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET.

A United Nations-run school sheltering civilians in Gaza has been hit by Israeli tank artillery, the U.N. says. More than a dozen people have been killed, according to Palestinian officials.

Reuters quotes Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, as confirming that the shelter in Beit Hanoun was hit.

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The Two-Way
9:32 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Montana Sen. Walsh Says PTSD May Have Played A Role In His Plagiarism

Sen. John Walsh, a Democrat from Montana.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 10:24 am

After The New York Times reported that Sen. John Walsh plagiarized at least a quarter of his master's thesis, the Montana Democrat is telling The Associated Press that post-traumatic stress disorder may have played a role.

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