NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
6:07 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Mask Recovered From Suspect's Trash Tests Positive For Ricin

Federal authorities wearing hazmat suits walk to the home of J. Everett Dutschke on April 23, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

FBI agents witnessed J. Everett Dutschke trying to get rid of items authorities say would implicate him with the mailing of ricin-laced letters to President Obama and other officials.

As we've reported, the FBI originally arrested Paul Kevin Curtis in the case, but Curtis told them he was being set up by Dutschke, his rival.

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Shots - Health News
4:43 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

How Doctors Would Know If Syrians Were Hit With Nerve Gas

Doctors at a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, treat a boy injured in what the government said was a chemical weapons attack on March 19. Syria's government and rebels accused each other of firing a rocket loaded with chemical agents outside of Aleppo.
George Ourfalian Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 12:02 pm

President Obama affirmed Tuesday that there's evidence Syrians have been attacked with chemical weapons — in particular, nerve gas.

But that's not the same as proof positive.

"We don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them," Obama said. "We don't have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened."

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The Salt
3:59 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Why An Immigration Deal Won't Solve The Farmworker Shortage

American farms like this iceberg lettuce field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods outside Salinas, Calif., are facing a dwindling supply of farmworkers from rural Mexico.
Kirk Siegler

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 8:01 pm

The Salinas Valley in Northern California grows about 80 percent of the country's lettuce, and it takes a lot of people to pick and pack it. In a field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods, a dozen lechugueros, or lettuce pickers, are bent at the waist, cutting heads of iceberg lettuce. They work frantically to stay in front of a line of 12 more packers, who seal them with tape and toss them onto a conveyor belt.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Spanish Judge Orders Bags Of Blood Destroyed In Doping Case

Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, left, arrives at a court house in Madrid on January 28, 2013.
Dani Pozo AFP/Getty Images

By all accounts, it was a less-than-spectacular end to one of Spain's biggest doping cases. El País, the country's biggest newspaper, summed up the trial of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes saying it ended without blood and without a sentence.

Fuentes was convicted of endangering public health and was given a one-year suspended sentence, a $6,000 fine and a four-year ban from practicing medicine. Most people sentenced under two years in Spain skip prison.

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The Salt
3:52 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Caffeine-Laced Gum Has Energized The FDA

Wrigley says its new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum gives consumers the power to control how much caffeine they get.
Wrigley Incorporated

The caffeinated chewing gum has pushed the FDA over the edge.

The federal agency held its tongue when caffeinated potato chips, jelly beans, chocolate, sunflower seeds and energy bars hit the market.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

No More Politics For Pakistan's Musharraf, Court Orders

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is escorted from a courtroom on April 20.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been banned for life from running for political office, a high court ruled on Tuesday.

The move by the Peshawar High Court appears to end the possibility that Musharraf, who returned to the country last month after four years in self-imposed exile, will stand in the May 11 parliamentary elections as he had hoped.

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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Qatar Covers Nude Statues, Greeks Take Them Back

This ancient Greek statue, from 520 B.C., is one of two nudes that were covered up in a Greek exhibit that went on display in Qatar. The statues were sent back to Greece.
Nimatallah / Art Resource, NY

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:43 am

The ancient statues depict young men, naked and muscled, in their physical prime. The two sculptures were supposed to celebrate the purity and kinetic beauty of ancient sport in a traveling exhibit, "The Olympics — Past and Present."

But when the Greek exhibit reached the conservative Muslim emirate of Qatar, the two statues were placed behind a screen of sheer black cloth.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Cyprus Passes Tough Financial Bailout Package

A Cypriot left-wing supporter sits in the shade during a protest outside the Parliament in Nicosia on Tuesday.
Patrick Baz AFP/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Cyprus approved a controversial $13 billion bailout from international lenders that's aimed at keeping the country from a messy default and withdrawal from the eurozone.

The agreement, which totals $30 billion when Cyprus' own contributions are included, passed 29-27 in the 56-seat Parliament.

The ruling center-right Democratic Rally party and its ally, the Democratic party, voted for the measure.

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The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Female Soldier Sentenced To 10 Months Over Desertion

The first female to desert during the Iraq war was sentenced to 10 months in prison after she pleaded guilty late Monday during a court-martial.

The AP reports that Pfc. Kimberly Rivera, 30, deserted during a two-week leave in 2007. Rivera headed to Canada when she was ordered back to Iraq for a second tour.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

NBA Player Jason Collins Could Snag Endorsements, Speaking Gigs

Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards rebounds against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center earlier this month in Chicago.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 4:04 pm

For Jason Collins, coming out just might prove a winning career strategy.

Before this week, the NBA center seemed like just another second-tier professional athlete, slouching toward retirement while still in his 30s. But all that changed overnight when Collins acknowledged he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine published Monday.

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Hic, Hic, Hic: TV Weatherman Keeps Going Despite Hiccups

KHOU-TV's David Paul, hiccuping his way through his forecast Monday night.
KHOU.com

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:12 pm

We admire KHOU-TV meteorologist David Paul's good-natured determination.

Check how he handled it when a case of the hiccups hit during his time on the air Monday evening.

And in the comments thread, please share any stories of a time when hiccups hit. Also: your surefire cure.

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Teen's Punch Reportedly Lands Soccer Referee In Critical Condition

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:11 pm

A soccer referee who was reportedly punched in the face by a teenager during a game is in critical condition in a Utah hospital, four days after the incident.

After sustaining what seemed to be minor injuries, the 46-year-old official later lost consciousness — leading doctors to find "far more serious head injuries than thought," The Salt Lake City Tribune reports.

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Shots - Health News
1:22 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Evening Primrose Oil No Match For Eczema's Itch

Evening primrose, also known as sundrops, may be more useful in the garden than in the medicine cabinet.
iStockphoto.com

Eczema is an itchy and, to some, an embarrassing skin ailment. Typical medial treatments like cortisone are less than ideal.

So some people have turned to evening primrose oil, a remedy made from the seeds of a yellow wildlflower that are rich in the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid.

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Just In Case: Cruise Line Insured Against Loch Ness Monster

This is an undated file photo of a shadowy shape that some people still claim is the Loch Ness monster in Scotland.
AP

There's word that a Scottish cruise line has taken out an insurance policy in case of a beastly disaster. Jacobite Cruises is now insured against damage from the Loch Ness Monster.

"We see it as keeping in line with good business practice," Freda Newton, managing director of Jacobite Cruises, tells The Scottish Sun. "There is so much going on — people have tried to hunt the Loch Ness Monster, people have tried to capture it. We just don't know what could happen. It's prudent."

The Sun reports:

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:46 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Is Time Real?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

We physicists are all romantics. Don't laugh; it's true. In our youth we all fall deeply in love. We fall in love with a beautiful idea: beyond this world of constant change lies another world that is perfect and timeless.

This eternal domain is made not of matter or energy. It's made from perfect, timeless mathematical laws. Finding those exquisite eternal laws — or better yet, a single timeless formula for everything — is the Holy Grail we dedicate our lives to.

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