NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
11:22 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Here's What Putin Didn't Tell Snowden About Russia's Spying

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who appears not to have told the whole story about his nation's surveillance programs.
Alexei Nikolsky AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 11:53 am

"Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?" former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

"We don't have a mass system of such interception, and according to our law it cannot exist," the Russian leader responded.

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Monkey See
11:15 am
Fri April 18, 2014

So, 'Scandal' Writers, How Did You Write That Awful Wrist Thing?

Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Jim Rash chat about how Scandal is written on Sundance's The Writers' Room.
JC Dhien Sundance Channel

Sundance has been making strides in scripted television with series like Rectify and Top Of The Lake, but Friday night also brings back a charming little interview show they have — sort of a perfect Friday night show, actually.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Pakistani Madrassa Names Its Library For Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden is referred to as a shaheed, or martyr, on a sign outside the library at a girls' school in Islamabad.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:54 am

A sign now outside the small library at a religious school for girls in Pakistan's capital says the room has been named for a martyr — Osama bin Laden, whose al-Qaida terrorist network was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

"For us he was a hero of Islam," a school spokesman tells Agence France-Presse.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:00 am
Fri April 18, 2014

How Do We Explain The Evolution Of Religion?

Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 11:56 am

Religion is a cross-cultural universal, even though not every human being professes faith in God or some other supernatural being. Those of us who are atheist or agnostic make up 6 percent of the American population. A further 14 percent say they are not affiliated with any particular religion.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Deal In Doubt As Separatists Refuse To Budge In Ukraine

A masked pro-Russia gunman looks through a window of a regional administration building seized earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:49 am

"Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said Friday that they were not bound by an international deal ordering them to disarm and were looking for more assurances about their security before leaving the public buildings they are holding," Reuters reports.

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Monkey See
9:16 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Orphan Black' And Dream Sequences

We're all in agreement that Alison (Tatiana Maslany) is our favorite Orphan Black character. Here, she hangs out with Felix (Jordan Gavaris) and Donnie (Kristian Bruun).
BBC America
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First things first: It's hard to figure out exactly how to talk about the BBC America series Orphan Black in any way that's remotely meaningful without revealing at least the premise, which takes a couple of episodes to develop in the first season. So while we — including Petra Mayer of NPR Books — did our best not to spoil you on the season that's past, and while we say nothing at all about the opening of the second season (which we watched in preparation), understand that the basic What's Going On? question that arises in the pilot is the premise of our conversation.

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Tragedy Atop The World: Everest Avalanche Kills At Least 12

The sun shines on the peak of Mount Everest in this October 2011 photo. On Friday, an avalanche killed at least 12 Sherpas on the mountain.
Kevin Frayer AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:58 pm

At least 12 Sherpa guides died Friday on Nepal's side of Mount Everest when an avalanche buried them on the world's tallest mountain.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Book News: The Celebrity Of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez appeared in public during a celebration marking his 87th birthday on March 6 in Mexico City. He died Thursday.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

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

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Captain Of Korean Ferry Arrested As Vessel Sinks Below Surface

Cranes, ships and other rescue equipment are on the scene off the southern coast of South Korea, where a ferry capsized Wednesday. About 270 people, most of them high school students, remain missing.
Kim Hong-Ji Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 4:28 pm

The captain of the South Korean ferry that sank earlier this week in the Yellow Sea, leaving at least 28 dead and hundreds missing, has been arrested, along with two other crew members, South Korea's Yonhap news agency says.

The 69-year-old captain, Lee Jun-Seok, faces five counts including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law, Yonhap says.

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Shots - Health News
6:33 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Why Mumps And Measles Can Spread Even When We're Vaccinated

Potent but not perfect: Medical assistant Elissa Ortivez prepares a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at a clinic in Walsenburg, Colo.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 1:25 pm

More than two months ago, a nasty mumps virus triggered fever, headache and painfully swollen glands among a handful of students at Ohio State University. Now the outbreak has ballooned to 234 cases at last count, and has spilled into the surrounding community in Columbus, Ohio.

"Columbus officials are calling it the city's biggest outbreak since the development of the mumps vaccine in the 1940s," WOSU reporter Steve Brown tells Shots. "It even pushed them to open a new clinic."

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Monkey See
3:36 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Tatiana Maslany On Looking Herself In The Eye

Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah, as well as some other characters, on BBC America's Orphan Black.
Steve Wilkie BBC America

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 11:10 am

Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah — and some other people — on BBC America's sci-fi show Orphan Black. On Friday's Morning Edition, she speaks to Kelly McEvers about how she manages to play all those different women from different cultural backgrounds, not to mention women with different mixes of malevolence and likability. Technically, it's no picnic: Just ask the tennis ball that sometimes plays her head.

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Monkey See
9:10 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Is 'Heaven' Real, Or Just A Place On Earth?

Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) tells Todd (Greg Kinnear) about heaven in Heaven Is for Real.
Allen Fraser Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 8:20 am

Heaven Is for Real has an earnestness and an inertness that make it something of a bulletproof fish in a barrel. It's easy to take shots at because it's utterly artless and corny, but it's immune to criticism because it's not intended to be otherwise. It's simply intended to be affirming to people who go to church a lot, encouraging to people who go to church a little, and inoffensively irrelevant to people who don't go to church at all.

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The Two-Way
8:46 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

'Completely Unique': Cave-Dwelling Female Insects Have Penises

Made for a tight grip: The female penis of an insect species newly discovered in Brazil has spines on it.
Courtesy of Current Biology, Yoshizawa et al.

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:51 am

Four new insect species found in Brazil have rather strange sex lives — to say the least. Their sex organs are reversed: Females have penises and males have vaginas, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

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The Two-Way
6:31 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Even Chimps Know That A Firm Bed Makes For Quality Sleep

A chimpanzee hangs from a tree trunk in Kibale National Park in Uganda. A new study indicates that chimps prefer a specific tree for sleeping.
James Akena Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 7:14 pm

In the wilds of Africa, chimpanzees consistently choose to make their sleeping nests in a particular tree that offers the "just right" kind of comfort that Goldilocks famously preferred.

That's according to a new study in the journal PLOS ONE that could also bolster a theory that solid shut-eye may have been a key to human evolution.

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