NPR Blogs

Krulwich Wonders...
8:18 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Artist Plays Detective: Can I Reconstruct A Face From A Piece Of Hair?

Vimeo

Her techniques aren't super-sophisticated. She's not a leader in the field. She's more or less an amateur. This is what you can do with ordinary genetic engineering tools right now. Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg can find a cigarette lying on the sidewalk on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and working from traces of saliva, by pulling DNA out of those saliva cells and using a bunch of simple algorithms available online, she can make some very educated guesses about what the smoker might look like.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Book News: Paula Deen's Cookbook Sales Still Sizzle

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

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Vatican Official Arrested Over $26 Million Scheme

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:50 am

A Vatican official already under investigation for money laundering was arrested after police say they caught him and two other men plotting a scheme that would bring in 20 million euros (about $26 million) in cash into Italy from Switzerland on a jet.

Prosecutors say Monsignor Nunzio Scarano said the money belonged to some friends, according to The Associated Press. The wire service talked to Nunzio's attorney Silverio Sica and reports:

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Fri June 28, 2013

With Mandela's Health As Backdrop, Obama Heads To S. Africa

Children release 95 balloons to mark Nelson Mandela's upcoming birthday outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where Mandela is being treated for a recurring lung infection in Pretoria, South Africa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 4:10 pm

Update at 4 p.m. ET: President Arrives In South Africa

President Obama and his family landed in South Africa late Friday. It's the second stop on his one-week trip to the African continent.

Our original post continues:

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The Two-Way
6:38 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Regulators File Charges Against Corzine Over MF Global Debacle

Federal regulators are suing former MF Global Holdings CEO Jon Corzine, accusing him of not properly supervising the company that filed for bankruptcy back in 2011. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission says Corzine failed to keep money that belonged to the brokerage's customers from being used to cover MF Global's obligations.

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The Salt
6:11 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Composting On The Way Up In New York City High-Rises

Compost bins at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket in Brooklyn, N.Y. are part of a pilot program to get New Yorkers to recycle their food waste.
Courtesy of Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:45 am

High-rise apartment buildings might not seem like fertile ground for making compost.

But officials in New York want to capture and recycle more of the city's food waste — even in some of the nation's most vertical neighborhoods. They're expanding a pilot program that's also trying to encourage composting by turning greenmarkets and libraries into drop-off sites for residents' food waste.

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The Two-Way
5:19 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Senate Approves Sweeping Immigration Overhaul, In Final Vote

The Senate has passed a sweeping immigration bill, widely seen as the product of the "Gang of 8," a group that includes Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz. (left), and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The two shook hands before Thursday's final vote.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The Senate approved a sweeping immigration bill Thursday, endorsing a bill that would put millions of immigrants who illegally entered the United States on a path to citizenship. The final vote tally on the bill was 68 in favor, with 32 opposed.

The bill also includes measures that would punish employers who take advantage of immigrant workers, as well as providing billions in spending to employ fences and high-tech tools to help secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

All 52 Democratic senators voted for the bill, along with 14 Republicans and two independents.

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The Salt
5:10 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

What The Rise Of Cage-Free Eggs Means For Chickens

Cage-free chickens in Harold Sensenig's barn near Hershey, Pa., get to roam and perch on steel rods, but they don't go outside.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 9:32 pm

The typical life of an egg-laying chicken is beginning to change dramatically.

Ninety percent of the eggs we eat come from chickens that live in long lines of wire cages, about eight birds to a cage. Animal welfare groups have long been campaigning against these cages.

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Shots - Health News
5:00 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Maine Once Again Allows Mail-Order Canadian Drugs To Cut Costs

They're back: Cheaper mail-order medications from Canada and other foreign lands.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 12:03 pm

It's deja vu all over again in Maine.

For the first time in years, a state has acted to allow its citizens to purchase prescription drugs by mail from other countries. The idea is to take advantage of those nations' lower prices, which can be half the cost of those at American pharmacies.

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Shots - Health News
3:51 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

How Head Injuries Seem To Affect The Risk For Stroke

The cause of strokes in younger people remains largely a mystery.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 3:47 pm

Twenty percent of strokes hit people under age 65, and the cause of many of those strokes remains a mystery. Having had a concussion or other traumatic brain injury might make the risk of a stroke more likely, a study says.

Back in 2011, researchers in Taiwan had unearthed an association between traumatic brain injury and stroke by combing through hospital records.

It's one of those "Oh, really?" findings that gets scientists itching to check it out themselves.

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The Two-Way
2:57 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

NFL's Aaron Hernandez Loses Appeal For Bail In Murder Case

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will be held without bail on murder charges, a judge has confirmed. Here, Hernandez, left, stands with one his defense attorneys, Michael Fee, during his arraignment in Attleboro District Court Wednesday.
Mike George AP

NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was charged with first-degree murder and weapons crimes Wednesday, will not be released on bail, the Fall River Superior Court has ruled. Hernandez, 23, was released by the New England Patriots within hours of his arrest yesterday.

While Hernandez's defense attorney, Jamie Sultan, said that releasing a murder suspect on bail was a possibility, the judge in the bail hearing replied that it was "very rare."

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Monkey See
2:17 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Murder, Lego, And (Of Course) Zombies: Notes From The E3 Expo

In this shot from the game Saints Row IV, it sure looks like somebody is warding off an attack with a guitar.
Deep Silver

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:01 pm

Of the over 15 I've slogged through, this year's E3 Expo was, hands down, the best video game conference I've attended. The new consoles will give us hyper-realistic games. For drama, Sony at their press event outright insulted Microsoft. Most importantly, there were plenty of new games, and they looked better than the many banal franchise games on the show floor. To call these the most promising games of E3 isn't to say they're the best games of E3. To be the best, the games will have to be played and finished and considered.

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

WATCH: Rep. Tammy Duckworth Dresses Down IRS Contractor

Tammy Duckworth questions an IRS commissioner.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:19 am

It is one of those rare Congressional exchanges that's both dramatic and compelling: Yesterday during a House Oversight Committee hearing, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost her legs and use of her right arm when she served in Iraq, dressed down an IRS contractor who used his military disability status to receive government contracts reserved for disabled vets.

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Boston Bombing Suspect Indicted; Could Face Death Penalty

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:19 pm

A federal grand jury handed down a 30-count indictment against the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing today. Dzohkhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Boston on July 10.

The charges against Tsarnaev, 19, include killing four people and using weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. Attorney's office in Massachusetts announced on its Twitter feed. The attacks also injured more than 250 people.

Update at 3:10 p.m. ET.

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Joyous 'Bedlam' Expected When San Francisco Gay Marriages Resume

Bernice Frucht, 80, found what proved to be the ideal retirement job through a want ad. In 20 years, she's conducted something like 7,500 weddings.
Alan Greenblatt NPR

Bernice Frucht performed San Francisco's last same-sex marriage in 2008. She finished just under the wire.

As she's done for the past 20 years, Bernice was conducting weddings at City Hall as a volunteer deputy marriage commissioner at the time. Officials there were awaiting instructions following passage of Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California.

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