NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
6:09 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

North Korean Sends Special Envoy To China Amid Tensions

North Korea's Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae (front right) shakes hands with officials as he departs for China.
Kim Kwang Hyon AP

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 7:54 am

North Korea has sent a special envoy to China, hoping to patch up relations between the two countries that have been on rocky ground over Pyongyang's nuclear program and its recent seizure of a crew of Chinese fishermen.

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The Salt
5:44 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Could African Crops Be Improved With Private Biotech Data?

The baobob fruit is one of the 100 traditional African food crops that a group of scientists want to learn more about to improve nutrition.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

"I'm shocked by the optimism here," Howard Yana-Shapiro, the chief agricultural officer for Mars Inc. said Tuesday to the audience of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs' Global Food Security Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Seated there before him were some of the leaders from the wealthiest international organizations and multinational companies of the fight to end hunger. And Shapiro told them they weren't even close.

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The Two-Way
5:04 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

British Driver Says She's Sorry In 'Twit And Run' Case

A screen capture shows a tweet sent by Emma Way after she was involved in a collision Sunday. She has apologized for the incident.
@FSUSteve

A British driver who struck a cyclist with her car — and who then bragged about the incident on Twitter — has issued an apology. The incident caused an uproar after the collision Sunday.

"Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier - I have right of way he doesn't even pay road tax! #bloodycyclist," tweeted Emma Way, in a message that has been widely circulated despite her apparent attempts to delete it, and seemingly her Twitter account, @EmmaWay20.

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The Two-Way
4:14 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Costa Concordia Captain To Face Manslaughter Charges

Francesco Schettino (left), the captain of the Costa Concordia, leaves court with his lawyer, Francesco Pepe, last month. A judge has ordered Schettino to stand trial in the wreck of the cruise ship last year.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 6:04 am

A judge in Italy on Wednesday ordered the captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany last year, killing 32 people, to face charges of manslaughter.

Francesco Schettino, 52, is accused of negligence that led to the grounding of the ship and for abandoning the vessel while a rescue of the 4,200 passengers and crew was still underway.

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Shots - Health News
2:58 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Polio Outbreak In Kenya: A Threat To Global Eradication

A baby receives a polio vaccine at the Medina Maternal Child Health center in Mogadishu, Somalia. The country has one of the lowest immunization rates in the world.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 3:14 pm

Kenya has recorded its first case of polio in two years, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

A 4-month-old girl came down with paralysis on April 30, and then two healthy kids nearby also tested positive for the virus.

But this handful of infections with poliovirus has the potential to set back global efforts to eradicate polio, WHO spokeswoman Sona Bari tells Shots.

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Monkey See
2:49 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Cannes Diary: Delusions Of 'Gatsby' (And Dreams Of Notoriety)

The cast of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, which writer Raj Ranade says has set a high bar for other contenders at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Merrick Morton American Zoetrope/Nala Films

It's true enough that there's plenty wrong with Gatsby Le Magnifique, as the French are calling the latest from director Baz Luhrmann. But what better film could there have been to open the sensory onslaught that is the Cannes Film Festival than one orchestrated by that patron saint of overstimulation?

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Oregon's Cash-Strapped Counties Reject Public Safety Levies

A yard sign opposes a local tax increase to fund public safety in Josephine County, Oregon. The ballot measure reportedly failed by a thin margin.
Amelia Templeton OPB

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 3:06 pm

Two Oregon counties have reportedly rejected property tax increases that would have funded law enforcement and public safety services. The counties once received federal timber subsidies, but those days are over — and now they're scrambling to pay for essential services.

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

GIF Talk: Do You Say It With A G Or A J?

Steve Wilhite, inventor of the GIF file, was given a lifetime achievement award at the 17th annual Webby Awards Tuesday night in New York City. Don't congratulate him the wrong way: To him, GIF sounds like Jif.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images for The Webby Awards

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 3:41 pm

The kerfuffle Tuesday and today on Twitter about the "news" that the creator of the GIF gets annoyed if he hears someone use a hard "G" when pronouncing the name of his file format triggered our aging memory banks.

Hadn't we heard a while back that GIF creator Steve Wilhite and many other tech types insist it's supposed to be pronounced with a soft "J," like Jif peanut butter?

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Male Sergeant May Have Filmed Female Cadets At West Point

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Greg Mathieson MAI /Landov

A male sergeant at West Point has been accused of secretly videotaping at least a dozen female cadets, sometimes when they were showering, The New York Times reports.

Gen. John F. Campbell, the army's vice chief of staff, tells the Times that "once notified of the violation, a full investigation was launched, followed by swift action to correct the problem."

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Shots - Health News
1:18 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Research Reveals Yeasty Beasts Living On Our Skin

Fungi (cyan) surround a human hair within the skin. A study in the journal Nature shows the population of fungi on human skin is more diverse that previously thought.
Alex Valm, Ph.D.

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 11:20 am

Scientists have completed an unusual survey: a census of the fungi that inhabit different places on our skin. It's part of a big scientific push to better understand the microbes that live in and on our bodies.

"This is the first study of our fungi, which are yeast and other molds that live on the human body," says Julie Segre, of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who led the survey.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:25 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

The Inevitable Question?

NASA/ESA/SSC/CXC/STScI

Last week I gave a lecture at a corporative event for some 200 executives in the insurance business. Although this happened abroad, my experience is that things would not have been very different here. My mission was to jump-start some macro-level reflection, gently pushing people out of their comfort zone, posing questions that, in the rush of everyday life, we tend to leave aside.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Libya 'Talking Points' Emails Put Petraeus Back In Spotlight

The Washington Post." href="/post/libya-talking-points-emails-put-petraeus-back-spotlight" class="noexit lightbox">
Former CIA director and retired Gen. David Petraeus helped shape the first draft of "talking points" about the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks, according to emails released by the White House and analyzed by The Washington Post.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 12:59 pm

Former CIA Director David Petraeus is under renewed scrutiny over the role he played in creating the discredited "talking points" about the attack that killed four Americans last year in Benghazi, Libya. The Washington Post has a front-page story Wednesday that suggests Petraeus sought to shape the resulting memo to favor his agency.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

'I Have Not Done Anything Wrong,' Key IRS Official Says

Internal Revenue Service Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner as she was sworn in at a hearing held Wednesday by the House Committee On Oversight & Government Reform.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

"I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations."

That was the word Wednesday morning from Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the political storm over the agency's targeting of some conservative groups that were given extra scrutiny from 2010 into 2012.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:03 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

What Would Ben Franklin Do With A Bunch Of Balloons? Everything

Robert Krulwich and Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 5:40 pm

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Shots - Health News
11:43 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Fifteen Years After A Vaccine Scare, A Measles Epidemic

Luke Tanner, 7, gets vaccinated for measles at a clinic near Swansea, Wales, in April. Wales is at the center of a measles outbreak that has been linked to one death.
Geoff Caddick AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 5:39 pm

Great Britain is in the midst of a measles epidemic, one that public health officials say is the result of parents refusing to vaccinate their children after a safety scare that was later proved to be fraudulent.

More than 1,200 people have come down with measles so far this year, following nearly 2,000 cases in 2012. Many of the cases have been in Wales.

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