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Parallels
2:20 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Couple Spends Millions To Save Migrants In The Mediterranean

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) carries out its first rescue in the Mediterranean in August 2014. The Malta-based private rescue service founded by a wealthy American and his Italian wife has rescued more than 3,000 migrants since its launch in August 2014.
Barcroft Media /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 9:23 am

Christopher Catrambone, a wealthy businessman from Lake Charles, La., docks his boat these days in Malta, the Mediterranean island he now calls home. That boat, called the Phoenix, has been getting outfitted for a series of trips set to begin in May.

But Catrambone and his crew don't intend to use the Phoenix for luxury cruises. He and his Italian wife, Regina, invested about $8 million of their own money to buy the ship and hire a crew for an entirely different purpose: to save lives at sea.

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U.S.
2:19 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Remote Jailing Cuts Off Inmates From Real-World Support System

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 9:02 am

On weekdays, the visitation room at Yakima County Jail in central Washington state buzzes with the sounds of 20 simultaneous conversations between inmates and their friends and family.

Preston Bighead is nearing the end of a seven-month sentence for a DUI conviction, but he hasn't seen his family once.

"It's two-and-a-half hours for my girlfriend to come visit — five hours round trip," he says.

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The Salt
2:19 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Vanilla, Nutmeg Spice And Everything Nice On A Zanzibar Farm

Vanilla is seemingly a prima donna spice because its pods have to be hand-pollinated and then boiled and dried in the direct sun for only one hour.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:21 am

Let's start with a spice quiz. One is a bean discovered in Mexico. One's a tree native to India. One's the seed of a fruit discovered in Indonesia.

Today vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg can all be found in any spice farm in Zanzibar — the East African archipelago that was used as a spice plantation by the 18th century Omani Empire.

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It's All Politics
2:03 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Obama Administration Emissions Rules Face Supreme Court Test

Steam from a coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the sun near St. Marys, Kan. Industry groups say there should be a far more aggressive consideration of costs of regulation than the Obama administration took into account.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 5:20 pm

The Supreme Court hears a challenge Wednesday to Obama administration rules aimed at limiting the amount of mercury and other hazardous pollutants emitted from coal- and oil-fired utility plants. The regulations are being challenged by major industry groups like the National Mining Association and more than 20 states.

The regulations have been in the works for nearly two decades. Work on them began in the Clinton administration, got derailed in the George W. Bush administration, and then were revived and adopted in the Obama administration.

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Code Switch
6:35 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Retired Oakland Police Officer Recruits Locals To Police Their Own City

File photo of the Oakland Police Department as they salute at the public memorial service for slain Oakland police officers.
Michael Macor-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 10:40 am

Police departments around the county are under more and more pressure to diversify. In Oakland, Calif., officials say police-community relations also might be improved by increasing the number of cops who actually live in the city.

Margaret Dixon, a fiery retired Oakland police officer, grew up in a rough part of this city of 400,000. These days she's teaching classes at Merritt College, an Oakland community college — including one on policing and community relations.

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Obama Says U.S., Israel Face 'Clear, Substantive Challenge'

President Obama speaks during a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday in the East Room of the White House.
Susan Walsh AP

A significant disagreement between the United States and Israel was on full, public display at the White House on Tuesday.

During a news conference, President Obama said he took Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his word that there would not be a two-state solution in the Middle East as long as he is in power.

If you remember, Netanyahu made waves after he seemed to write off a two-state solution on the eve of parliamentary elections.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Do-Si-Don't: China To Regulate Outdoor Square-Dancing

Chinese women holding toy guns dance to a revolutionary song during their daily exercises at a square outside a shopping mall in Beijing. The Chinese government is beginning to regulate public square-dancing, after the practice drew complaints about noise.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 10:50 pm

China.org.cn, China's national online news service, is reporting that the country's General Administration of Sport and Ministry of Culture are planning to regulate outdoor square-dancing in China. The news website says the government has introduced 12 "choreographed practices" for dancers.

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Politics
3:22 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

U.S. Reconsiders Troop Withdrawal Plan In Afghanistan

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 10:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And we're going to talk more now about the decision to keep about 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of this year. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is here in the studio.

Welcome, Tom.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Hey, Audie.

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Food
3:22 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

'The Katering Show' Reflects The Plight Of Food Intolerance

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 10:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Good news for the food intolerant and their best friends - there's now an online cooking show to help you cope.

(SOUNDBITE OF "THE KATERING SHOW")

KATE MCCARTNEY: I'm Kate McCartney.

KATE MCLENNAN: I'm Kate McLennan.

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Sports
3:22 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Bowling's First 900 Score Still Disputed After 30 Years

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 10:40 am

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Jeff Richgels, who writes the blog, "The 11th Frame," about when bowler Glenn Allison rolled 36 strikes in 1982. His score was disallowed because of an alleged performance enhancing lubricant.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Parallels
3:22 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Foreign Carmakers Shift Into Reverse In Russia

Cars drive past the Kremlin along the Moscow River last December. Foreign automakers had been ramping up production in Russia, but the country's economic woes have caused car sales to drop sharply. Several foreign automakers have cut back production, and General Motors is pulling out of Russia.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 10:40 am

General Motors announced last week that it's closing its auto plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Volkswagen says it will lay off workers and reduce shifts at a plant in central Russia.

The latest auto industry troubles highlight a dismal picture for foreign investment in Russia, which could see a 35 percent drop in sales this year.

Seven years ago, GM was looking at a bright future in the Russian market. Cars sales were taking off and would eventually grow at a rate of more than 10 percent a year.

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It's All Politics
3:22 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Lessons In Moving Forward On Race From A 40-Year Mayor

"It's an intense job, you give it all, everyday, and I just don't want to get into another term where I say 'Gee, it would be nice to take it a little bit easier,'" Mayor Joe Riley says.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 10:40 am

It might not sound newsworthy that Charleston, S.C., is getting a new mayor next year. But the last time the city elected a new mayor was 40 years ago, in December 1975.

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The Salt
2:00 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

A Top Weedkiller Could Cause Cancer. Should We Be Scared?

Central Illinois corn farmer Jerry McCulley refills his sprayer with the weedkiller glyphosate on a farm near Auburn, Ill. A new assessment of the chemical finds that the (uncertain) risks mainly affect the people who work with it or who come in direct contact with areas where it's applied.
Seth Perlman AP

An international committee of cancer experts shocked the agribusiness world a few days ago when it announced that two widely used pesticides are "probably carcinogenic to humans." The well-respected International Agency for Research on Cancer published a brief explanation of its conclusions in The Lancet and plans to issue a book-length version later this year.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Russia Loses Bid To Deny Benefits To Spouses Of Gay U.N. Staff

Flag of the United Nations
Steve Allen Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 4:04 pm

The United Nations has approved a plan to give family benefits to the spouses of same-sex employees if they are legally married.

Russia had led an effort to derail the plan, which was announced by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in July. But the U.N. General Assembly budget committee voted 80-43 against Russia's proposal.

There were 37 abstentions, and 33 countries did not vote. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria and China were among the countries that supported Russia.

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The Two-Way
1:39 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

U.S. Will Slow Down Withdrawal Of Troops From Afghanistan

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:14 am

President Obama says the U.S. will slow the drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan.

In a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday, Obama said the U.S. will maintain about 9,800 troops through the end of 2015, instead of cutting the U.S. force to 5,500 as planned.

The Associated Press adds:

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Notorious Mexican Criminals Say Prison Conditions Are Inhumane

Reproduction of a letter to the National Commission of Human Rights from criminals, drug dealers, murderers and kidnappers in "El Altiplano," Mexico's highest-security prison.
Ronaldo Schemidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:13 am

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission is dealing with a new case of alleged violations by federal officials. This complaint, however, comes from the country's most vicious and notorious criminals — more than 100 of them.

Nearly 140 prisoners at Mexico's maximum security prison say they're being housed in unsafe and inhumane conditions.

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Monkey See
12:53 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

James Corden Nods To Talk Show Tradition With CBS's 'Late Late Show'

James Corden (left) talks to Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks on Monday's debut of The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Monty Brinton AP

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 1:44 pm

Looks like it took a 36-year-old comic actor from a small British town no one has heard of to bring back the oldest of old-school American TV talk show traditions.

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Parallels
12:50 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

With Improved Relations, Are The U.S. And Cuba Ready To Play Ball?

Yoan Francisco, a rookie for the Havana Industriales, warms up before a game at Havana's Latin American Stadium. Cuban baseball has been facing hard times, but improved diplomatic relations with the U.S. have raised the possibility of increased cooperation and new opportunities.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 3:57 pm

It has already been a messy game at Havana's Latin American Stadium, the premier baseball stadium in Cuba. The home team, the Industriales, has given up five runs in the first inning; a shortstop fumbled a ball, an outfielder failed to hustle and an easy out became an extra-base hit.

The home crowd isn't deterred. The vuvuzelas, those ear-splitting plastic horns, still swell when an opposing batter reaches two strikes.

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Code Switch
12:48 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

From A Congresswoman To A 'Queen,' Girl's Dress-Up Photo Series Rolls On

Lily Bushelle (right) dressed up as Shirley Chisholm. In 1968, Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to Congress.
Courtesy of Marc Bushelle

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 2:18 pm

Janine Harper and Marc Bushelle's photo series of their daughter Lily dressed up as different African-American heroines started as a Black History Month project.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Tue March 24, 2015

House Panel Releases Video Of Secret Service Barricade Incident

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 1:19 pm

A congressional panel on Tuesday released a video surveillance tape of an incident near the White House in which a government car driven by Secret Service agents appears to brush a barrier in an area where a suspicious package was being investigated.

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The Salt
11:22 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Why There's A Big Battle Brewing Over The Lean Meat In Your Diet

Never underestimate the power of a footnote.

When a panel of nutrition scientists tasked with updating the government's guidelines on healthy eating released its 500-plus-page tome on Feb. 19, one particular 52-word footnote threw a wrench into the conventional wisdom on lean meat. It caught the meat industry's eye, and it's created a controversy.

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Monkey See
10:58 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Here Comes 'The X-Files,' Back For More Mulder, More Scully, And More

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny will reprise their roles as Dana Scully and Fox Mulder in The X-Files limited series.
Fox Broadcasting Getty Images

Everything old really is new again. Even aliens.

Fox announced today that The X-Files, which ran on television from 1993 until 2002 and was accompanied by feature films in 1998 and 2008, will be back as a six-episode "event series," with production beginning this summer. Creator and Executive Producer Chris Carter will be in charge once again, and yes, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) will be, too.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Tue March 24, 2015

U.S. Providing Reconnaissance Flights Over Booby-Trapped Tikrit

A volunteer fighter with a Shiite militant group known as Jihad Brigades fires his weapon during clashes with Islamic State militants outside Tikrit, Iraq, on Saturday.
AP

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 12:01 pm

The U.S. is providing surveillance flights over the besieged Iraqi city of Tikrit, where militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State remain holed up, protected by a defensive network of explosives and snipers.

NPR's Alice Fordman reports that a senior military official from the U.S.-led coalition against the militants, also known as ISIS, says the U.S. has been conducting reconnaissance missions over Tikrit since Saturday.

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It's All Politics
9:50 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Calif. Lawyer Proposes Ballot Initiative To Kill Gays And Lesbians

Rainbow flags fly in front of San Francisco City Hall in 2013 after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California.
Noah Berger AP

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 10:35 am

California's system of direct democracy — the voter initiative process — has produced landmark laws reducing property taxes, banning affirmative action and legalizing medical marijuana.

Now there's a bid to declare that "the people of California wisely command" that gays and lesbians can be killed.

You read that right.

The "Sodomite Suppression Act," as proposed, calls sodomy "a monstrous evil" that should be punishable "by bullets to the head or any other convenient method."

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Shots - Health News
9:31 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Feds Claim Obamacare Launch Is Hindering Government Transparency

Unfilled requests for public records are piling up as the government claims it is being overwhelmed by Obamacare.
Bjorn Rune Lie Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 2:53 pm

A heavy workload caused by the Affordable Care Act, government technology limits and staff shortages are causing unusually long delays in filling public records requests, federal health officials say.

The waits in some cases could stretch out a decade or more.

The Freedom of Information Act requires federal agencies to respond to records requests in 20 working days, though providing documents often takes much longer. The FBI, for instance, recently reported that complex requests could average more than two years to fill.

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Shots - Health News
9:22 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Quality-Testing Legal Marijuana: Strong But Not Always Clean

Andrey Saprykin iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 2:52 pm

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in four states, but that doesn't mean it's a tested consumer product. Some of those potent buds are covered in fungus while others contain traces of butane, according to an analysis of marijuana in Colorado.

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Shots - Health News
9:01 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Even In Nursing, Men Earn More Than Women

If he's a nurse anesthetist, he could be making $17,290 a year more than his female counterparts.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 2:52 pm

Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by more than 10 to 1. But men still earn more, a new study finds.

Even after controlling for age, race, marital status and children in the home, males in nursing outearned females by nearly $7,700 per year in outpatient settings and nearly $3,900 in hospitals.

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Goats and Soda
8:41 am
Tue March 24, 2015

TB Patients That The World Writes Off Are Getting Cured In Peru

Maria Carmen Castro, 46, of Lima, Peru, is a survivor of MDR-TB — multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Partners In Health treated her and loaned her money to open a small store. "Because of my TB and thanks to God and Partners In Health, now I have my own business," she says.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:23 am

You sure don't want to get tuberculosis. You'll cough a lot, maybe cough up blood, have fever, chills and chest pain. But most cases of the bacterial disease are curable after taking the two first-line drugs for four to six months.

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NPR History Dept.
8:18 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Old-Timey Slang: 'Polking' Was A Vulgar Word

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 11:48 am

"All slang words are detestable from the lips of ladies," Eliza Leslie said in 1867. She was the author of the Behavior Book, a 19th century etiquette manual published in Philadelphia.

How times have changed. Men and women in contemporary America sling slang around like hash — or like weed. From txt msgs to the Twitterverse, the jargon can be jarring.

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News
8:10 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Germanwings Jet Crashes In The French Alps

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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