NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
8:50 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Report: Army Examines Claims Of Racial Slurs At Alaska Base

The Army is investigating allegations that members of a platoon at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, used racial slurs against one another during what they called "Racial Thursdays," the Army Times is reporting.

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The Two-Way
8:22 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Obama To Iranians: 'Best Opportunity In Decades' For A Different Future

President Obama is using a Nowruz message to tell Iranians that "we have the best opportunity in decades to pursue a different future between our countries."

"The days and weeks ahead will be critical. Our negotiations have made progress, but gaps remain. And there are people, in both our countries and beyond, who oppose a diplomatic resolution," Obama says in the message to mark the Persian new year. "My message to you — the people of Iran — is that, together, we have to speak up for the future we seek."

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The Two-Way
6:59 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Remains Of Sept. 11 Victim Identified

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 8:03 pm

New York City medical examiners have identified the remains of another of the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He is Matthew David Yarnell of New Jersey, a 26-year-old vice president of technology of the Fiduciary Trust Co.

NPR's Hansi Lo Wang tells our Newscast unit that Yarnell worked on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower. His remains were identified through DNA testing.

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The Salt
6:24 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Watch Your Back, Kale. Kelp Is Gunning For The Veggie Du Jour Title

Alaria, a type of seaweed also known as "Wild Atlantic Wakame," grows in the North Atlantic Ocean and is similar to Japanese wakame, a common ingredient in miso soup.
Courtesy of Sarah Redmond

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 11:39 pm

The story of how kale went from frumpy to trendy is a great inspiration to Gabriela Bradt, a fisheries specialist at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

"Nobody cared about kale. Then it became the green du jour," says Bradt.

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Australia Taking Over Local Government On Tiny Bankrupt Island

The old government buildings and remains of the penal colony in Kingston, the capital of Norfolk Island, located about 1,000 miles northeast of Sydney, in a photo taken in 2006.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 8:11 pm

Australia has announced that it is revoking self-government on tiny Norfolk Island, where ancestors of the original HMS Bounty mutineers settled in the mid-19th century.

The move was announced after it became clear that the island, a former penal colony with just 1,800 inhabitants, was facing bankruptcy.

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The Two-Way
5:17 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Prices For Chanel Handbags To Rise In Europe, Lower In Asia

A sales assistant arranges handbags inside a Chanel boutique at a shopping mall in central Guangzhou, China, in February 2014.
ALEX LEE Reuters /Landov

A Chanel handbag is classic, designed to withstand upheavals in fashion and taste. But not price. The Paris-based fashion house has announced that the prices will go up in Europe, and down in Asia.

The move will affect the 11.12, the 2.55, and the Boy Bag models.

At the moment, there's a significant difference in cost between the two regions. Hana Ben-Shabat, a retail and consumer goods specialist at A.T. Kearney, tells NPR that a bag that costs $3,500 in Europe can run up to $6,000 in China.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:48 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

We May Have Snakes To Thank For Our Acute Vision

African bush viper
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 7:50 pm

In a new paper published in the journal Primates, author William C. McGrew, a former professor of evolutionary primatology at the University of Cambridge, reports a high rate of venomous snake encounters by his team of primatologists seeking to observe unhabituated wild chimpanzees in Mount Assirik, Senegal, West Africa.

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Target Agrees To $10 Million Settlement Over Data Breach

Shoppers line up outside a Target store in South Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 4:48 pm

Target has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit related to the company's 2013 data breach.

Court documents show hacking victims could get as much as $10,000 apiece.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson indicated at a hearing Thursday in St. Paul, Minn., that he planned to grant preliminary approval of the 97-page settlement, The Associated Press reported.

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The Two-Way
4:14 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

N.Y. Judge Rejects Release Of Grand Jury Testimony In Eric Garner Case

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 6:05 pm

A New York state judge has refused to release grand jury testimony about the death last year of Eric Garner on Staten Island.

Garner, 43, died in July after being placed in a chokehold as he was being arrested for selling loose cigarettes on the sidewalk. A grand jury decided in December not to indict the police officer involved in the death.

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Shots - Health News
3:29 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

'Looks Like Laury' Shines The Power Of Friendship On A Failing Mind

Laury Sacks and her husband, Eric. The actress and writer developed frontotemporal dementia in her late 40s and died in 2008 at age 52.
Courtesy of Eric Sacks

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 5:44 pm

More than 5 million Americans have dementia, and that number is only climbing. Each case leaves some people wondering what's left in a friendship when the bond between confidants becomes literally unthinkable, when language and thinking fail. But a good friend can sometimes help in ways that a spouse, a child or a paid professional can't.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Netanyahu Says A Palestinian State Is 'Unachievable' Today

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington earlier this month. In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, Netanyahu said a separate Palestinian state is unachievable "under the present circumstances."
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 5:21 pm

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, fresh from victory in parliamentary elections this week, says he wants to clarify remarks he made on the campaign trail that appeared to write off any possibility of a Palestinian state on his watch.

"What I said was that under the present circumstances, today, it is unachievable," Netanyahu says in an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep to be aired Friday. "I said that the conditions have to change."

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Qatar To Host Final Of Soccer's 2022 World Cup On Dec. 18

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 7:45 pm

Soccer's governing body says the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be played on Dec. 18, the Arab country's national day.

FIFA's executive committee also agreed that the 2022 World Cup, whose venue and schedule have been the focus of controversy, will be played over "a reduced timeframe, for instance 28 days."

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Obama Orders Reduction In Government's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

President Obama on Thursday signs an executive order directing the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 4:44 pm

President Obama signed an executive order at the White House on Thursday directing the federal government to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 percent from 2008 levels within the next decade and to increase its use of renewable energy sources to 30 percent of total consumption.

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The Two-Way
1:04 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Virginia's Governor Orders Inquiry Into Black Student's Bloody Arrest

Martese Johnson is held down by an officer Wednesday in Charlottesville, Va., in this photo provided by Bryan Beaubrun.
Bryan Beaubrun AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 4:39 pm

Responding to an incident that has sparked street protests in Charlottesville, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has ordered a state investigation into the arrest of a black University of Virginia student. Martese Johnson, 20, was left with blood streaming down his face after being arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents.

The case created an uproar after photos emerged showing Johnson, a member of U.Va.'s Honor Committee, lying on the sidewalk with uniformed ABC agents crouching over him. Portions of the concrete, as well as Johnson's head and shirt, are bloody.

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Shots - Health News
12:40 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

For A Good Snooze, Take One Melatonin, Add Eye Mask And Earplugs

It's hard to sleep when the light's on and the monitor's beeping.
Roderick Chen Getty Images

Hospitals are one of the worst places to try to get a good night's sleep, just when you need it the most. And though many have tried to muffle the noise of beeping monitors and clattering carts, the noise remains a big problem for many patients.

But what if we looked at a night in the hospital as a long overseas flight? As you settle in, they hand out eye masks and earplugs. And you cleverly brought along melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone sold at drugstores everywhere.

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The Salt
11:33 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Cramped Chicken Cages Are Going Away. What Comes Next?

Free-range houses allow chickens to move around freely, but operating costs were 23 percent higher than for traditional cages, according to a new study.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 3:57 pm

For the past two years, at an undisclosed location in the Upper Midwest, a large commercial egg farm has been probed with every tool of modern science. Researchers have collected data on feed consumed, eggs produced, rates of chicken death and injury, levels of dust in the air, microbial contamination and dollars spent. Graduate students have been assigned to watch hours of video of the hens in an effort to rate the animals' well-being.

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Thu March 19, 2015

NPR Appoints The AP's Michael Oreskes As News Chief

Michael Oreskes says that he admires NPR's reportorial muscle and that the network's greatest strength can be found in its ability to tell stories that listeners find compelling, accessible and absorbing.
Chuck Zoeller AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 2:57 pm

NPR has named Michael Oreskes, a top Associated Press executive and former New York Times editor who has led newsrooms in such global centers as New York, Washington and Paris, to run its news division.

Officially, Oreskes will be the network's senior vice president for news and editorial director, a slightly refashioned title. Oreskes is currently vice president and senior managing editor at the AP, where he oversees the giant international news wire's daily report.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Japan, China Hold Security Talks, Hoping To Defuse Tensions

Liu Jianchao (second right), China's assistant foreign minister, shakes hands with Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama (second left) during a meeting in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday.
Liu Tan Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 12:06 pm

China and Japan have agreed to set up a "maritime communications hotline" as a means of defusing tense naval standoffs as vessels from both sides patrol in waters near a disputed island chain in the East China Sea.

The issue is part of a broader security meeting – the first between Beijing and Tokyo since 2011. It comes as relations between the two countries — still marred by Japanese aggression in World War II – slowly improve, according to officials.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Thai Court Charges Ex-Premier Yingluck With Negligence

The Office of the Attorney-General of Thailand holds a news conference on Thursday about the Supreme Court's decision to accept a criminal charge against Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Li Mangmang Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 12:05 pm

Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will stand trial for her role overseeing a populist rice-subsidy program that was mishandled, costing the government billions of dollars.

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Monkey See
9:39 am
Thu March 19, 2015

The 'Empire' Touch: A Cookie By Any Other Name

Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) has been the highlight of the first season of Empire.
Chuck Hodes Fox

Empire closed out its remarkable first season on Wednesday night with a two-hour finale that proved once again one of the fundamental lessons brought to you by this show: whether this is your cup of tea or not, the people who make Empire really know what they're doing.

In the finale (and if this needs saying, we're about to talk about the finale, so don't claim you weren't warned), we finally got the answers to some of the questions asked in the pilot, while at the same time, it was only entirely clear what was going on about half the time.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Tunisian Museum Attack: 'I Thought It Was A Game,' Witness Says

Survivors are escorted from the National Bardo Museum in Tunis on Wednesday. At least 20 foreign tourists were killed in the attack.
Mohamed Krit Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 1:52 pm

One day after a shocking attack in Tunis killed at least 20 foreign tourists and rattled Tunisians, authorities are looking for anyone involved in the gunmen's brazen assault of the National Bardo Museum. Tunisia's president says his country is "in a merciless war against terrorism."

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Australian Leader Raises Furor In Parliament With 'Goebbels' Comment

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (left) sparked the ire of the opposition Liberal Party by comparing its leader to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 8:34 pm

Roars of disapproval rang out in Australia's Parliament on Thursday, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Labor leader Bill Shorten "the Dr. Goebbels of economic policy." In the ruckus that ensued, three lawmakers were ejected and another walked out.

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Shots - Health News
3:06 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.S.?

Acids, alcohol and pancreatic tissue were separated, bathed and mixed in this laboratory of a 1946 insulin factory in Bielefeld, Germany.
Chris Ware Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 4:12 pm

Dr. Jeremy Greene sees a lot of patients with diabetes that's out of control.

In fact, he says, sometimes their blood sugar is "so high that you can't even record the number on their glucometer."

Greene, a professor of medicine and history of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, started asking patients at his clinic in Baltimore why they had so much trouble keeping their blood sugar stable. He was shocked by their answer: the high cost of insulin.

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The Two-Way
9:39 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Microsoft Is Phasing Out Internet Explorer

The logo of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, the Web browser due to be phased out in the next version of Windows.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 9:41 am

Clippy will soon get a roommate in Microsoft heaven or hell, depending on your perspective. This week, Microsoft announced that it will phase out Internet Explorer, its much-maligned Web browser, beginning with Windows 10.

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Shots - Health News
8:27 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Blue Shield Of California Loses Its Exemption From State Taxes

Steve Rhodes/Flickr

California tax authorities have stripped Blue Shield of California, the state's third largest insurer, of its tax-exempt status in California and ordered the firm to file returns dating to 2013, potentially costing the company tens of millions of dollars.

At issue in the unusual case is whether the company is doing anything different from its for-profit competitors to warrant its tax break. As a nonprofit company, Blue Shield is expected to work for the public good in exchange for the exemption from state taxes.

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The Two-Way
6:17 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Controversial French Comedian Convicted Of Condoning Terrorism

French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala gestures to the media as he leaves a Paris court house Feb. 4. He was convicted today of condoning terrorism after the attacks in January in Paris, and given a suspended sentence.
Michel Euler AP

Controversial French comedian Dieudonne has been found guilty of condoning terrorism and given a two-month suspended sentence.

The comedian faced up to seven years in prison and a fine for his Facebook post after the deadly attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

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The Two-Way
5:42 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

WATCH: Police Detonate 20,000 Pounds Of Fireworks

Dahboo777 via YouTube

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 7:23 pm

How long does it take to detonate 20,000 pounds of fireworks? The answer, courtesy of the Midland, Texas, Police Department, is 3 1/2 days.

A court ordered the destruction of the illegal fireworks. The department's bomb squad, along with those from Odessa, Lubbock and Amarillo, assisted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the controlled detonation.

And what does that controlled detonation look like? Here's the answer — in the form of a 48-second video from the department's Facebook page:

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The Salt
5:37 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Pain From The Grain: Corn Belt Towns Languish As Prices Drop

With corn production expected to remain high, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting that prices will continue to fall well into next year.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 6:27 pm

On a recent snowy afternoon on a farm in central Illinois, Dan Byers parked his pickup at the end of a dirt road and looked over some of his fertile land. A few years ago, high grain prices earned farmers here about $400 per acre for their corn and soybean crops. This year, it's possible that every acre Byers farms will cost him $50.

"It just takes a certain amount of fixed money to put a crop in and raise it," says Byers. "At today's prices, not much of anything works right now until there's a rebound."

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Britain Unveils A New 1-Pound Coin

The new 1-pound coin is expected to be released by 2017.
The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint in the U.K. has unveiled a new 1-pound coin that it says will be the world's most counterfeit-proof coin.

The 12-sided coin, which is set to be released by 2017, will still feature a likeness of Queen Elizabeth II on one side. But the "tails side" will have a new design representing the four symbols of the U.K.: an English rose, a leek for Wales, a Scottish thistle and shamrock for Northern Ireland. They emerge from a single stem within a crown.

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Shots - Health News
4:11 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

How Much Can Women Trust That Breast Cancer Biopsy?

Pathologists use slides like this one to look for signs of cancer in breast tissue.
Boilershot Photo Science Source

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 5:06 pm

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, the person who does the diagnosing is a doctor she never sees — the pathologist.

But though pathologists do a great job of identifying invasive cancer, they aren't as good at spotting two less clear-cut diagnoses that bring women a lot of uncertainty and worry, a study finds.

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