NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

"Suffering On A Huge Scale": World Refugee Numbers Swell

Afghan refugee children collect items of use from a pile of garbage on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 2:24 pm

The United Nations Refugee Commission says more than 45.2 million people were in "situations of displacement" around the world as of last year — the most since 1994.

A report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there were 15.4 million refugees in other countries, 937,000 people seeking political asylum and 28.8 million people forced out of their homes but still inside their own countries.

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

FBI Director Says Agency Is Using Drones Over The U.S.

A Predator drone
General Atomics Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 4:55 pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is using drones on United States soil for surveillance purposes, the agency's director, Robert Mueller, told a Senate committee today.

"Our footprint is very small, and we have very few and of limited use, and we're exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use," said Mueller , answering a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Mueller, who was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said they were used in a "very, very minimal way and very seldom."

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The Salt
12:26 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Women And Children Caught In Middle Of Potato War

Fresh white spuds aren't allowed in a government supplemental nutrition program for women and children because, unlike other fruits and vegetables, potatoes aren't lacking in the typical diet.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 1:01 pm

We didn't plan it, but somehow, it has turned into Potato Week here at The Salt. The latest twist in the tater tales takes us to Capitol Hill.

Americans love to pile on the potatoes – we consumed a whopping 112 pounds per capita last year. But lately, the potato industry has been playing the part of jilted lover and taking its heartache to Congress.

According to the National Potato Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture "discriminates" against fresh, white potatoes.

Huh?

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:21 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

The Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name, Of A Beetle For A Beer Bottle

YouTube

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:35 pm

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

It's Beach Time... In Alaska, Where Heat Wave Breaks Records

In this photo taken on Monday, people swim and sunbathe at Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska.
Rachel D'Oro AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 1:44 pm

Taking advantage of an intense heat wave that broke long-standing records yesterday, residents of Anchorage, Alaska, headed to the beach at Goose Lake.

As the Anchorage Daily News reports, the National Weather Service recorded a high temperature of 81 degrees in the city, beating the previous record of 80 degrees set in June of 1926.

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The Salt
11:28 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Martini: This American Cocktail May Have An International Twist

The martini: international drink of mystery?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 2:15 pm

There's no cocktail more distinctly American than the martini. It's strong, sophisticated and sexy. It's everything we hope to project while ordering one.

Baltimore-born satirist H.L. Mencken is said to have called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet." But is the martini perfectly American? Maybe not entirely.

So in honor of National Martini Day on Wednesday, we decided to dig into the drink's muddled past.

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Shots - Health News
11:04 am
Wed June 19, 2013

AMA Says It's Time To Call Obesity A Disease

NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 9:15 am

While the American Medical Association may not have the clout it once did, it's still the largest single group of doctors making waves about health and the practice of medicine.

So it's not nothing when the AMA's House of Delegates approves a measure to label obesity a disease. The group's deliberative democratic body passed a measure in Chicago Tuesday that broadly, if vaguely, says obesity is a medical condition:

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:15 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Does Life Have A Purpose?

Kind of cute. But pretty stupid. A scale model of a baby sauropod in its egg.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

I don't mean our private lives, our personal choices and hopes, the plans we make along the years. I imagine that each and every one of us believes our lives do have a purpose, or many. What I mean is life as a natural phenomenon, this strange assembly of matter endowed with autonomy, capable of absorbing energy from the environment and preserving itself through reproduction.

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The 25 Movies To Which 'World War Z' Is A Sequel, Probably

Brad Pitt is Gerry Lane, Abigail Hargrove is Rachel Lane, and Mireille Enos is Karin Lane in World War Z.
Jaap Buitendijk Paramount Pictures

World War A (in which Isaac Newton is bonked on the head and still bravely figures out gravity)

World War B (spun off from a VH1 reality show)

World War C (in which two dudes hit each other with cellos for 2.5 hours)

World War D (part of The Great Report Card Skirmish Of 1998)

World War-E (in which a tiny robot rolls around and watches Hello Dolly and then smashes the doubloons out of everything in sight)

World War F (the [bleep]ing best war ever)

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Wed June 19, 2013

In Germany, Obama Defends NSA Surveillance Programs

President Obama speaks on the Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday in Berlin.
Timur Emek Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 12:45 pm

Update at 10:20 a.m. ET. 'Peace With Justice':

Speaking at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin — near the spot where John F. Kennedy made his famous speech almost 50 years ago — President Obama on Wednesday called on the global community to fight for democracy and freedom everywhere.

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Wed June 19, 2013

In Brazil, Protests Continue As Some Cities Cut Bus Fares

Students block an avenue in São Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday night, during a protest against a recent rise in public bus and subway fare.
Daniel Guimaraen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 11:33 am

For a second night in a row, tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to protest everything from the cost of living to government corruption.

The AP reports that during Tuesday's demonstrations:

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Monkey See
8:47 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Bait And Twitch: Vice Magazine, Suicide Glamour, And Not Staying Quiet

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 2:48 pm

This week, Vice magazine unveiled a fashion spread featuring images based on famous female writers who killed themselves. To call it merely tasteless would be to understate how calculated it was, as well as how revolting it was — it literally created an image based on a real writer who really hanged herself with a pair of stockings, and then it told you where to buy the stockings.

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Top Stories: NATO Attacked In Afghanistan; NBA's Game 6 Final

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:16 am

Good morning, here are our early stories:

-- Afghan Govt. Suspends Talks; Taliban Attack Kills 4 Soldiers.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Book News: Kim Jong Un Reportedly Gave 'Mein Kampf' As Gifts

Kim Jong Un (center) watched a performance celebrating the anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Yao Dawei Associated Press

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:52 am

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

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Heat, Spurs Headed To Game 7 After Stunning Game 6

LeBron James (right) of the Miami Heat snatches the ball from Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs during overtime in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:14 am

We'll let LeBron James do the talking. He said about the sixth game of the NBA finals between the Heat and Spurs:

"It's by far the best game I've ever been a part of."

And it certainly was a stunner: The Heat's Ray Allen hit a three-pointer with just 5.2 seconds on the clock to tie the game, denying the Spurs their fifth NBA title. The game went into overtime and remained airtight, but eventually the Heat prevailed 103 to 100.

ESPN has highlights:

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