NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
9:07 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Jobless Claims Stay Near Six-Year Low

There were 308,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, up 1,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reported Thursday morning.

That means claims continue to run at a relatively low rate that until recent weeks hadn't been seen since the spring of 2007 — six months before the start of the 2007-09 recession.

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Sharp Words Over Shutdown When Lawmaker Visits WWII Memorial

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas.
Kevin Dietsch UPI/Landov

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., has become a flashpoint as the partial government shutdown continues.

First there was the attention paid on Tuesday when a group of WWII veterans (with some help from Republican members of Congress and their staffs) ignored barricades and went through with their long-planned visit to the site.

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The Two-Way
7:27 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Dozens Dead, More Feared Lost, After Shipwreck Off Sicily

Some of the victims recovered after Thursday's wreck of a ship near Sicily were placed in body bags before being brought ashore to the island of Lampedusa.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 10:59 am

There's been a sea disaster near Sicily, as The Associated Press reports:

"A ship carrying African migrants to Europe caught fire and capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Thursday, killing at least 94 people as it spilled hundreds of passengers into the sea, officials said. Over 150 people were rescued but some 200 others were still unaccounted-for."

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Book News: Tom Clancy Remembered As The Father Of A Genre

Author Tom Clancy, seen in 2004, was an insurance agent before publishing The Hunt For Red October in 1984.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Shots - Health News
5:35 am
Thu October 3, 2013

From Therapy Dogs To New Patients, Federal Shutdown Hits NIH

The Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
National Institutes of Health

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 1:00 pm

Abbey Whetzel has a 12-year-old son named Sam who has been at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland for over a month. He has leukemia that is no longer treatable. And in this difficult time, one source of joy has been the therapy dogs that come to visit the sick kids.

"They can only come once a week, but it's the highlight of Sam's week," says Whetzel. But this week, she says, her son got some bad news. "They came and stopped in, and told Sam that the therapy dog wouldn't be coming because of the government shutdown."

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Shots - Health News
3:07 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Back To Work After A Baby, But Without Health Insurance

People get information on California's health exchange at a table at Union Station in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the exchange's opening day.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:13 pm

Pardit Pri had health insurance until she decided to quit her job as a legal administrative assistant and stay home with her newborn son 20 months ago. She thought she'd have coverage by now. But it didn't work out that way.

"I knew that I wasn't going to be working for a while because I decided to stay home with my son, and I thought ... 'OK, fingers crossed. Nothing will happen during that time,' " she says, as she plays with her son in their Orange County, Calif., apartment.

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Shots - Health News
3:03 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Studying The Science Behind Child Prodigies

Cellist Matt Haimovitz made it big in the classical music scene as a little kid.
Stephanie Mackinnon

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:53 pm

Matt Haimovitz is 42 and a world-renowned cellist. He rushed into the classical music scene at age 10 after Itzhak Perlman, the famed violinist, heard him play.

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Shots - Health News
2:59 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Small Businesses May Find Insurance Relief In Exchanges

An employee of Covered California works in the newly opened call center in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Covered California is the state's new health insurance exchange.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 2:11 pm

Walk down the carpeted hallways of Westwind Media in Burbank, Calif., and it's common to hear the odd explosion, the hum of traffic or a burst of gunfire.

It's here in these edit bays that small feature films and TV dramas like the ABC hits Grey's Anatomy and Scandal and CBS's Person of Interest get primped and polished for prime-time viewing.

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The Two-Way
6:53 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Jury: Concert Promoter Was Not Liable In Michael Jackson Death

Brian Panish, attorney for the Michael Jackson family, delivers his closing argument to jurors in the Michael Jackson lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live last week in Los Angeles.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:55 pm

A Los Angeles jury has found concert promoter AEG Live was not negligent in the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson, who died of a sedative overdose four years ago.

Jackson's mother had sought $1.5 billion in damages — a figure AEG's attorney called "ridiculous" last week.

Reuters reports the jury ruled unanimously. The 12-person panel in the wrongful death lawsuit was made up of six men and six women, but only nine jurors were needed to decide the case.

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The Two-Way
6:14 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Legal Advocates Want Overhaul Of Public Defender System

Former Vice President Walter Mondale speaks at a Georgetown University Law Center discussion last week. He is one of several prominent individuals calling for better legal representation for the poor.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 9:55 am

Prominent members of the legal community are pressuring the Obama administration to do more to ensure that poor criminal defendants have access to a lawyer, a situation that Attorney General Eric Holder has already likened to a national crisis.

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

John Boehner Reports No Progress After Meeting With Obama

The White House is seen behind a stop sign in Washington, D.C, on Oct. 1.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 1:46 pm

Update at 7:15 p.m. ET. No Progress:

Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, stepped out of the White House this evening after a 90-minute meeting with President Obama and reported no progress.

"They will not negotiate," Boehner said. "All we are asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people on Obamacare."

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Shots - Health News
5:39 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

A DEET-Like Mosquito Spray That Smells Like Jasmine Or Grapes?

Scientists have discovered four new DEET-like mosquito repellents. Three of them are safe to eat.
Courtesy of Pinky Kai/University of California, Riverside

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:56 am

California scientists are reporting a pair of victories in the epic struggle between man and mosquito.

A team at the University of California, Riverside, appears to have finally figured out how bugs detect the insect repellent known as DEET. And the team used its discovery to identify several chemical compounds that promise to be safer and cheaper than DEET, according to the report in the journal Nature.

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The Salt
4:45 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Fish Guidelines For Pregnant Women May Be Too Strict, Study Suggests

In a study of 4,000 pregnant women, fish accounted for only 7 percent of blood mercury levels.
JackF iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 5:22 pm

The health benefits of eating fish are pretty well-known. A lean source of protein, fish can be a rich source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to benefit heart, eye and brain health.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:33 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Science: For Good Or Evil?

A warning to us all
Universal The Kobal Collection

In 1818, the 21-year-old Mary Shelley published the great (perhaps greatest) classic of gothic literature, Frankenstein, Or the Modern Prometheus. As we all know, it's the story of a brilliant and anguished doctor who wants to use the cutting-edge science of his time — the relationship between electricity and muscular motion — to bring the dead back to life. Two decades before Shelley's novel, the Italian Luigi Galvani had shown that electric pulses could make dead muscles twitch.

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