NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
11:26 am
Thu April 26, 2012

VIDEO: Norwegians Stand Up To Killer's Hate By Joining In Song

People gathered in Oslo today to sing Children of the Rainbow, in a demonstration against the views of killer Anders Behring Breivik.
Kyrre Lien AFP/Getty Images

Anders Behring Breivik, who last summer killed 77 people in Norway, thinks a folk song called Children of the Rainbow is brainwashing young Norwegians.

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Thu April 26, 2012

New Allegations Surface Of Secret Service Misbehavior In El Salvador

U.S. Secret Service

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 1:24 pm

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pledged on Wednesday the investigation into Secret Service agents who allegedly hired prostitutes this month in Cartagena, Colombia, "will be complete and thorough and we will leave no stone unturned."

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:30 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Culture, Not Biology, Shapes Language

The Pirahã people live along the Maici River in Brazil's Amazon region.
Courtesy of Dan Everett

There's no language gene.

There's no innate language organ or module in the human brain dedicated to the production of grammatical language.

There are no meaningful human universals when it comes to how people construct sentences to communicate with each other. Across the languages of the world (estimated to number 6,000-8,000), nouns, verbs, and objects are arranged in sentences in different ways as people express their thoughts. The powerful force behind this variability is culture.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:12 am
Thu April 26, 2012

The Delights Of Reading Upside Down

ambigram.com

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 12:25 pm

Publius Paquius Proculus, they say, invented pizza almost 2,000 years ago. I don't think he did, and anyway, that's not the coolest thing about Proculus, a very successful baker and sometime politician, who was living in Pompeii the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted. He, his house and his family were buried. Then, centuries later, when archeologists unearthed his home they discovered a message, etched onto one of his household walls. It looked like this:

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The Two-Way
9:41 am
Thu April 26, 2012

'I Failed,' Says Rupert Murdoch; But He Points At Others For Cover-Up

Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, as they were being driven away from the Royal Courts of Justice following his testimony today in London.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 10:26 am

While conceding that "I failed" because some of his News Corp. tabloids in the U.K. were guilty of hacking into the phones of murder victims, celebrities and politicians, media mogul Rupert Murdoch also testified today that lower-level executives were the ones behind a "cover-up" that kept him from knowing about what had happened.

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The Two-Way
9:32 am
Thu April 26, 2012

TSA Agents Accused Of Taking Drug Money To Look The Other Way

The expedited security line at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP

Easy, isn't it? Get a note from the TSA officer who screens you at the airport so you know which lane to pick for your security check. Then stroll through with your suitcase jammed with kilos of cocaine. Your screener won't utter a peep, even if it's marijuana or methamphetamines instead. In exchange, pay your screener hundreds of dollars in a bribe.

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Thu April 26, 2012

'Bring Andy Home:' Search For Missing Corgi Goes High Tech

Where's Andy?
The Bring Andy Home Facebook page

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

We love dogs. So we can't resist passing along word that later today All Things Considered plans to catch up on the story of Andy, a tan and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi who has been missing since New Year's Eve.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Almost No Change In Jobless Claims Last Week

There were 388,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, down just 1,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

And in another sign that the labor market's recovery remains sluggish, the agency said "the 4-week moving average was 381,750, an increase of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average of 375,500." That measure is said by economists to be a better gauge of the underlying trend in claims.

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The Two-Way
6:31 am
Thu April 26, 2012

After Conviction, Pakistani Prime Minister 'Imprisoned' For Just A Few Minutes

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as he arrived at court today in Islamabad.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 5:15 pm

Convicted today of contempt for refusing to push for the reopening of a corruption case involving Pakistan's president, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was given a prison sentence that lasted just a few minutes.

"The ruling ... appeared to be a compromise," The Associated Press writes, "but could still mean problems for him because he has been convicted in a court. That means he could face dismissal from office in the weeks, or more likely, months to come."

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Conflicting Claims On Cause And Death Toll After Explosion In Syria

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:08 am

While activists inside Syria say government forces are responsible for an explosion today in the city of Hama, and that about 70 people were killed, President Bashar Assad's regime has a much different story. It says about 16 people were killed by an explosion at a bomb factory used by "armed terrorist groups," the BBC reports.

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The Two-Way
5:09 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Liberia's Charles Taylor Facing Judgment In War Crimes Case

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, in court on Feb. 8, 2011.
Jerry Lampen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 2:04 pm

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is guilty of "aiding and abetting" forces in Sierra Leone that committed war crimes and other atrocities during a war that lasted more than a decade and left more than 50,000 people dead, the Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled today.

Taylor, the first head of state since just after World War II to be judged by an international tribunal, "knew that his support" would assist and encourage fighters who were committing war crimes, the tribunal ruled. In return, he received so-called blood diamonds from Sierra Leone.

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The Two-Way
6:24 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

U.N. Refugee Chief: 'We Are All Overstretched'

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks to the press during a visit to camp Andalusia for internally displaced people from southern Sudan, some 30 kms south of the capital Khartoum.
Ashraf Shazly AFP/Getty Images

Over the past year and a half, the world has seen crisis after crisis. Today, NPR's Michele Kelemen spoke to António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, mostly about the crisis in Sudan.

But at one point during their talk, Guterres rattled off the crises they've dealt with since the beginning of 2011: The Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria, Yemen, both a famine and conflict in the Horn of Africa, Mali and now Syria is flaring up again.

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The Two-Way
5:56 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Marines Decide To Dismiss Sergeant For Facebook Comments About Obama

Sgt. Gary Stein.
Facebook.com

A U.S. Marine sergeant who posted critical comments about President Obama on his Facebook page will be dismissed with an "other-than-honorable discharge," the Marine Corps said today.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Trayvon Martin's Mother: Committed To Getting Justice, If It Takes 'Rest Of My Life'

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, speaks as Trayvon's father Traci Martin listens.
Alex Wong Getty Images

"My focus is getting justice for Trayvon, if it takes me the rest of my life. I am dedicated and committed to getting justice, so I can wait a year."

That's what Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, told Tell Me More's Michel Martin today, when Michel raised the potential that the trial against George Zimmerman could go on for a year.

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The Salt
4:48 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

The Cuban Sandwich Crisis Has A Winner: Tampa

The winning Cuban from Tampa, in all its cheesy, salty glory.
Scott Finn for NPR

After an admirable effort by the upstart Miami Cuban community, the people have chosen Tampa as the true home of the Cuban sandwich.

More than 7,200 people voted here at The Salt, and the results speak for themselves: 57 percent chose Tampa, 43 percent went for Miami as the first city of the Cuban sandwich.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Bernanke: Fed Remains Ready To Act, If Necessary

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke listens to a question from a reporter during a press briefing at the Federal Reserve building on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 3:17 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed is ready to implement "balance sheet actions if necessary."

That means if the Federal Open Market Committee feels that the economic recovery is in danger, it is ready to implement a third round of quantitative easing, or bond purchases intended to bring down long-term interest rates and spur borrowing and spending.

"If appropriate... we remain entirely prepared to take additional action," the chairman said. "We will not hesitate to use them."

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The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Survey Shows Uncertainty In Reporting Suspicious Activity

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 5:17 pm

At airports, train stations and other public places across the nation, the Department of Homeland Security's "See Something, Say Something" campaign has encouraged people to report suspicious activity in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks. But a recent government survey found citizens are not jumping in to report others.

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The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Women's Rights Group Protests Facebook's All-Male Board

A group of women's rights activists are descending on Facebook's New York offices, today, to deliver what it says is an online petition from 53,000 people that demands Facebook add a woman to its board of directors before the company goes public.

In its petition, UltraViolet says that 58 percent of Facebook users are women, yet "despite the fact that women are responsible for most of Facebook's revenue and activity there currently is not a single woman on their board."

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Justices Signal Support For Arizona Immigration Law

The U.S. Supreme Court building.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

The early analyses of this morning's Supreme Court hearing on parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law are in, and the consensus is that the majority of justices will likely uphold the state's effort to reduce the number of people within its borders who may be there illegally.

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Al Gore Put In Internet Hall Of Fame

Former Vice President Al Gore.
Joe Kohen Getty Images for Current TV

We're sorry to be a day late — you'd think in the Internet age we would have been more on top of this.

Former Vice President Al Gore (D) is among the inaugural inductees in the Internet Hall of Fame.

He's been lauded by the Internet Society for being "a key proponent [as a senator and vice president] of sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion of and greater public access to the Internet."

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The Two-Way
12:31 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

U.K. Back In Recession, After First Quarter Contraction

After its economy shrunk by 0.2 percent in the first three months of the year, Britain was officially dragged backed into recession. As the AP reports, " two consecutive quarters of negative growth are required for a country to be officially deemed to be in recession."

What does this mean? It depends on which economist you talk to.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:10 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

The Crooked Way To Knowledge

Looking for signs of Dark Matter at the ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Iztok Bončina ESO

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 12:22 pm

The way science is usually taught in schools, one would think that knowledge grows at a linear rate, always accumulating, always going forward. However, a cursory look at the history of science shows that the truth couldn't be more different: the road toward knowledge is crooked and, sometimes, may even go backward when a wrongheaded notion persists well beyond its time.

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The Two-Way
11:52 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Two Videos, Two Amazing Basketball Shots

Armands Skele (at bottom, in the center of this screen grab) flipped the ball backhand toward the basket. And in it went.
BCKalevCramo TV

For fans of incredible feats:

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The Salt
11:34 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Buying Sustainable Fish Is Getting Easier, But It's Still Hard

Fish on display at a Whole Foods Market in Hillsboro, Ore., in 2010.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 5:20 pm

This week, Whole Foods, the upscale grocer, said it is eliminating 12 wild fish species from its seafood section as part of its commitment to ocean conservation. The fish, rated "red" by conservation groups that evaluate overfishing and other problems, include popular choices like Atlantic halibut, octopus, and some tuna.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Wed April 25, 2012

He's 'Never Asked A Prime Minister For Anything,' Rupert Murdoch Says

This video grab from pooled footage shows Rupert Murdoch testifying earlier today in London.
AFP/Getty Images

Among the highlights so far today during Rupert Murdoch's testimony in London before an inquiry into the ethics of the British news media, and his News Corp. tabloids in particular, is this quote from the media mogul:

"I've never asked a prime minister for anything."

NPR's David Folkenflik, who is live-tweeting, and NPR's Philip Reeves, who has been filing radio reports, will have more as the inquiry continues.

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The Two-Way
8:57 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Orders For Durable Goods Drop Sharply

Orders for equipment, appliances, aircraft and other so-called durable goods fell 4.2 percent in March from February, the Census Bureau reports.

It's the second decline in the past three months and the biggest monthly dip in three years. Much of the drop in March was due to a decline in orders for aircraft. "But companies also ordered less machinery and other equipment, a sign manufacturing output may slow," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Wed April 25, 2012

NBA's World Peace Gets Seven-Game Suspension For Elbowing Opponent

After Metta World Peace's elbow connected with James Harden's head, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard (behind World Peace) crumpled to the floor. He was later able to walk off on his own power.
Reed Saxon AP

The basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest has been suspended for seven games for swinging his left elbow hard into the head of an opponent on Sunday.

Metta World Peace, as the Los Angeles Lakers forward is now known, will miss the team's last regular season game on Thursday. The Lakers then move into the playoffs, where each round is "best-of-seven." So he could miss most or all of the first round (if the Lakers extend that matchup beyond four games) and even a game or two in the second round (if the Lakers advance after just four or five games).

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Wed April 25, 2012

VIDEO: Obama Slow Jammin' The News With Jimmy Fallon

President Obama took to the mic with Jimmy Fallon (at left) to slow jam the news about student loans.
LateNightWithJimmyFallon.com

President Obama took his push to keep the cost of student loans from rising to NBC-TV's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show early today, and in the latest of his crossovers into the music world was part of Jimmy's latest "slow jammin' the news" series.

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