NPR Blogs

The Salt
4:15 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Food Stamp Program Doesn't Guarantee Food Security, Study Finds

A sign in a New York City market window advertises the acceptance of food stamps.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Just as the food stamp program has been hit with funding cuts, a small study out of Harvard has found that the program isn't doing enough to ensure that its participants get a complete and nutritious diet.

The researchers wanted to find out how much the benefits provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a critical source of food aid for 47 million needy Americans, improved individuals' food security.

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The Two-Way
2:34 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Alabama Pardons Scottsboro Boys In 1931 Rape Case

Attorney Samuel Leibowitz, confers with seven of the defendants in the Scottsboro rape case in 1935 in Alabama. Thursday, a judge pardoned the remaining three men who hadn't already been pardoned.
AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:05 pm

"Today, the Scottsboro Boys have finally received justice."

That was Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's reaction to a parole board's decision Thursday that brought an end to an eight-decade-old case that came to represent racial injustice in the Deep South.

The parole board unanimously approved a posthumous pardon for Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright — the three black men who weren't pardoned in the 1931 rape case.

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Shots - Health News
2:13 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Babies Seem To Know Themselves Soon After Birth

Researchers stroked babies' faces with a paintbrush while they watched the same thing happening to a baby in a video. How long the babies in the experiment watched the screen gave clues to what they were thinking.
Courtesy of Maria Laura Filippetti

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 3:20 pm

Understanding you exist as a person happens a lot sooner than you might think.

A study involving 40 cute, pudgy babies found that they were aware of their bodies — and even displayed a sense of ownership of them — less than two days after being born.

Both of those qualities are key ingredients in realizing your own existence, says the study's lead author, Maria Laura Filippetti, a doctoral candidate specializing in cognitive development at Birkbeck College, University of London.

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Kennedy Cousin Skakel Gets Bail As He Awaits New Murder Trial

Michael Skakel, pictured in October 2012, was granted bail Thursday.
Jessica Hill MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:00 pm

Michael Skakel, a cousin of the Kennedy family, was granted bail Thursday and released from prison as he awaits a new trial in the 1975 murder of his neighbor Martha Moxley.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Senate Democrats Detonate 'Nuclear Option' To Curb Filibusters

Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:09 pm

(We added to the top of this post at 2:08 p.m. ET.)

There was high drama Thursday on the floor of the Senate as Democrats significantly changed the way business in the chamber is done.

In what Republicans cast as a "power grab" but Democrats defended as a way to break gridlock, the Senate's rules were changed to make it much more difficult for a minority of the members to hold up action on key presidential nominees.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
1:20 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

The Ties That Bind Animals And Humans Alike

Elephants at the Mashatu game reserve in Mapungubwe, Botswana.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Most of us — scientists and animal lovers alike — agree by now that chimpanzees and elephants, birds and bunnies, dolphins and dogs may all feel love and joy and grief.

When stories of animal emotion go viral, as recently happened with two inseparable dog brothers, one of whom acts as a seeing-eye dog for the other, we share them not because we're knocked out with surprise by what animals feel but because we're touched and uplifted.

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Shots - Health News
12:50 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Reinventing The Condom With Easy-On Tabs And Beef Tendon

One experimental condom has tabs on either side so it's easier to put on in the dark.
Courtesy of California Family Health Council

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 12:42 pm

When you hear the term "next-generation condom," beef tendon probably isn't the first thing that pops into your mind.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Three Women May Have Spent 30 Years As Slaves In London

A very disturbing story is emerging from the U.K.:

-- "Two people have been arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude at a house in London sparked by a report on Sky News. The inquiry was launched after one of three alleged victims told a charity she had been held against her will for more than 30 years." (Sky News)

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Yellen's Nomination To Fed Gets OK From Senate Committee

Janet Yellen during her confirmation hearing earlier this month. She's expected to win Senate approval to take over as head of the Federal Reserve.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:55 am

By a 14-8 vote that saw three Republicans join 11 Democrats in saying "aye," the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday morning approved the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next head of the Federal Reserve.

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Shots - Health News
10:42 am
Thu November 21, 2013

A Son's Death Reveals Chasms In Emergency Mental Health Care

A hearse leaves the Deeds family home in Millboro, Va., on Tuesday, after 24-year-old Austin "Gus" Deeds died in an apparent suicide.
Don Petersen AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:49 pm

Parents who have a child struggling with serious mental illness live in fear that the worst will happen.

The apparent suicide of a young man in Virginia after he allegedly attacked his father, a state senator, shows how difficult it can be for families to get help in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The recession brought deep cuts in states' spending on mental health. The reductions made it harder for people to get help before they're in crisis, mental health advocates say, and even harder to find a hospital bed in an emergency.

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The Salt
10:15 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Remember 'French Fries Cause Cancer'? Here's The Acrylamide Update

French fries: There are probably other reasons besides acrylamide to avoid these tasty snacks.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 3:02 pm

Back in 2002, french fry lovers around the world received a nasty bit of news: Those crunchy, fried strips of potato contained a known carcinogen. Now, all these years later, a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration has consumers once again puzzling over whether to fear the chemical acrylamide.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Family Asks North Korea To Release 85-Year-Old American

North Korean soldiers march through Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang. Merrill Newman, an American grandfather, has been missing since being removed from a plane about to depart North Korea on Oct. 26.
ED JONES AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:53 am

The family and friends of an 85-year-old California grandfather have appealed to North Korean officials to release the man, who reportedly has been held by authorities in the communist state since Oct. 26.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Jobless Claims And Wholesale Prices Drop

Part of the scene at a job fair for veterans and family members earlier this month in Marietta, Ga.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:47 am

While it's always important to keep in mind that neither one week nor one month make for a trend, there is good economic news to pass along:

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Top Stories: Afghan Security; Plane Lands At Wrong Airport

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:48 am

Good morning, here are our early stories:

-- Obama Says U.S. Will Respect Afghan Sovereignty.

-- Taking Off Will Be Tricky After Jet Lands At Wrong Airport.

And here are more early headlines:

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Obama Says U.S. Will Respect Afghan Sovereignty

A member of the Afghan Loya Jirga listens as the more than 2,000 elders begin debating a proposed U.S.-Afghan security pact on Thursday in Kabul.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:15 pm

As Afghan elders debate whether to approve a proposed security agreement with the U.S., there's word that President Obama has said the U.S. will respect Afghanistan's sovereignty and carry out raids on Afghan homes only under extraordinary circumstances, The Associated Press writes.

The wire service says Obama made that pledge in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. It adds that:

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