NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Whitey Bulger Decides Not To Take The Stand

James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 12:18 pm

One of the most anticipated testimonies in a criminal trial will not happen: James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster, decided not to testify in his own defense, today.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Nepal To Clamp Down On Everest Expeditions

Mountaineers on the summit of Mount Everest in May.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 12:54 pm

The Nepalese government says it will tightly monitor next year's ascents of Mount Everest after an embarrassing high-altitude brawl in April between a European climbing team and their Sherpa guides.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Fri August 2, 2013

State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Alert

The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday, warning of potential terrorist attacks.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:28 pm

The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of an al-Qaida threat that is particularly significant in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," State said in a statement. "This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013."

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The Salt
11:11 am
Fri August 2, 2013

FDA Approves Gluten-Free Label

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:01 pm

The Food and Drug Administration issued Friday the first legally binding rules for what food companies can legally label "gluten-free."

The rules should help millions of Americans who can't tolerate gluten in their diet.

Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley and rye. Bakers appreciate its gluey texture for making bread. But when people with celiac disease eat it, it causes their immune systems to attack their small intestines.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Giant Lion May Be King Of All Football Field Logos

At 50 yards wide, a new lion dominates the new field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium.
Lion Athletics

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:28 am

"That's a big ol' lion." How else to describe the new golden cat on the field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium that stretches from sideline to sideline, dominating the area between the 25-yard lines?

That description of the giant cat, which may be the largest on-field logo in America, comes from Mark Haslett of NPR member station KETR, which is based at the school in eastern Texas.

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Monkey See
10:58 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Rushing The Revolution: Television Is Disrupted! (Sort Of)

Vasca iStockphoto.com

Television is in the middle of a cataclysmic upheaval, in which there's no more season or midseason, no more requirement that a series run for 22 episodes at a time, no more stigma surrounding film actors going to television, no more assumption that television is watched on a television, no more assumption that people watch things when they're on, an explosive presence for social media that unites fans, and a growing sense on the part of a lot of people that television is pulling just as much of the cultural storytelling weight as film.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:55 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Why Dentists Should Fear Snails

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 4:30 pm

She was 34, on a trip to Europe, got sick from a flu or maybe it was a virus, had to lie down and stay in bed — for months and months. A friend brought her a snail. You might enjoy its company, she was told.

"Why, I wondered, would I enjoy a snail?," Elisabeth Tova Bailey asks in her book The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. "What on earth would I do with it?"

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Postmaster: We Photograph Your Mail, But Not To Snoop

A 2002 photo of the San Francisco Processing and Distribution Center.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:32 am

The head of the U.S. Postal Service has acknowledged that every piece of domestic mail is photographed for processing and that the information is sometimes made available to law enforcement, according to The Associated Press.

In an interview with the news agency, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says that exterior images of individual pieces of mail are snapped at some 200 processing facilities around the country primarily for sorting purposes, but that the images have been used "a couple of times" by law enforcement to trace letters in criminal cases.

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Shots - Health News
10:06 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Penn State To Penalize Workers Who Refuse Health Screenings

Penn State hopes to reduce its health care costs by helping employees become healthier. But some faculty members complain that charging them $100 a month for refusing to participate in a health improvement program is unfair.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 2:02 pm

If you work for Penn State and don't agree to step on a scale or have your waist measured, it could soon cost you $100 a month. The Pennsylvania State University is joining a growing list of employers penalizing workers who want company-sponsored health benefits but refuse to participate in health improvement programs.

University officials say they need to take dramatic steps to reduce health care costs, and getting their workers in shape is one way to do it.

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Monkey See
10:05 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Fruitvale Station' And Yelling At Clouds

NPR

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 12:20 pm

It's our 150th episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour — in case you want to visit the "Sesquicentennials" section of your local greeting-card store — and we've celebrated by scattering to the four winds. Host Linda Holmes is still in Los Angeles at the Television Critics Association press tour, while Trey Graham missed this week's taping for daring to visit out-of-town family.

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Fri August 2, 2013

U.S. Unemployment Sinks To 7.4 Percent; 162,000 Jobs Added In July

America's unemployment rate sank to 7.4 percent in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. A hiring sign is seen in a store window in Alexandria, Va.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:11 am

America's unemployment rate sank to 7.4 percent in July, a drop of two-tenths of a percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says in its monthly summary of the U.S. economic situation. But employers added 162,000 jobs last month, coming in below economists' expectations.

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Snowden Has Job Offers, Place To Live, Russian Lawyer Says

Edward Snowden has chosen where to live in Russia, which granted him asylum Thursday, his lawyer said. Here, Snowden is seen at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on July 12. At left is WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison.
Courtesy of Human Rights Watch

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:20 am

NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who spent more than a month at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport before being granted a one-year asylum Thursday, has picked out a place to live in Russia, his attorney there says.

Snowden is wanted on charges of espionage by the United States for leaking classified documents about secret U.S. surveillance programs. His departure from the Moscow airport ended, temporarily at least, weeks of uncertainty over his fate. He had applied to several other countries for asylum, as well.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Book News: Battle Rages On In Amazon Vs. Overstock Price War

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 8:51 am

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

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Fri August 2, 2013

U.S. Embassies To Close Sunday, And Possibly Beyond, For Safety

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:46 pm

Few details have emerged about the U.S. plan to shut down embassies that would normally be open this Sunday. A senior State Department official says that the U.S. facilities may be closed for more days, as well. The closures are being described as "precautionary steps" that are being taken "out of an abundance of caution."

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The Salt
3:18 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Massachusetts Revives The Lost Art Of Making Sea Salt

The Martha's Vineyard beach where Heidi Feldman collects saltwater to make sea salt.
Courtesy of Heidi Feldman

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:08 am

"Look for a house, barn, paddock, barking dogs and screeching peacocks."

Those were Heidi Feldman's instructions to me to find Down Island Farm in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

She forgot to mention the ram, free roaming chickens and miniature horse. But I managed to find it anyway.

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