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9:41 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Kill The Messenger: NASA Orbiter Crashes Into Mercury

This image of a "red spot" on Mercury, which is thought to be the result of a volcanic explosion, was sent to Earth by the Messenger probe in 2011.
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 3:36 pm

After 4,104 orbits of Mercury and billions of miles of space travel, NASA's Messenger orbiter ended its mission with a quiet bang on Thursday. Messenger crashed into the planet it has been orbiting for four years.

NASA says the orbiter began the process of lithobraking at 3:26 p.m. ET — meaning that Messenger essentially scraped to a stop after hitting the planet's surface traveling at thousands of miles an hour. The Oxford English Dictionary reminds us that litho is the combining form for the Greek word for "stone."

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The Two-Way
9:38 am
Thu April 30, 2015

France Investigates Claims Its Soldiers Abused Children In Africa

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 1:28 pm

French President Francois Hollande says there will be grave consequences if allegations that French soldiers sexually abused children in the Central African Republic are true.

"There should be no stain on our French forces wherever they're serving," he said. "I will be implacable if any soldiers are shown to have behaved badly."

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Shots - Health News
9:28 am
Thu April 30, 2015

The Great Success And Enduring Dilemma Of Cervical Cancer Screening

Dr. George Papanicolaou discovered that it was possible to detect cancer by inspecting cervical cells. The Pap smear, the cervical cancer screening test, is named after him.
American Cancer Society AP

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 10:29 am

Cervical cancer, which still kills about 4,000 American women every year, is almost entirely preventable. Proper screening can catch early warning signs that could lead to cancer without the right treatment. But how often women should get screened and which tests should be used has been hotly debated by women, doctors and medical researchers for the past decade.

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The Two-Way
9:18 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Dozens Of Writers Join Protest Of Free Speech Award For 'Charlie Hebdo'

This pair of Charlie Hebdo covers from 2012 pokes fun at the magazine's "irresponsible" approach to humor.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 12:28 pm

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

The protest over a free speech award to Charlie Hebdo continues to grow.

Earlier this week, six authors withdrew from the PEN American Center's annual gala in response to the organization's decision to give the French satirical magazine its Freedom of Expression Courage Award.

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Shots - Health News
9:08 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Health Plans Often Fail To Provide Free Coverage For Women's Health

After the conversation about contraception, will there be a copay?
Garo/Phanie Science Source

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 6:31 pm

Many women were thrilled when the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, because it required insurance companies to cover a broad array of women's health services without any out-of-pocket costs.

Five years later, however, the requirement isn't being enforced, according to two new studies. Health insurance plans around the country are failing to provide many of those legally mandated services including birth control and cancer screenings.

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Parallels
8:26 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Is Bashar Assad Just Losing Some Ground ... Or His Grip On Power?

People gather around a helicopter reportedly belonging to Syrian government forces that crashed in March in Jabal al-Zawiya in northwest Syria. Islamist rebels captured four crew members, while a fifth was killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Opposition fighters have made a number of advances in recent weeks.
Ghaith Omran AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 6:19 pm

The past few weeks have brought almost daily news of rebel victories in their 4-year-old battle against Syria's President Bashar Assad.

There was the capture of the crucial Nassib border crossing with Jordan — a key trade route and source of government taxes. And some of the biggest rebel victories have come in the northern province of Idlib, where the opposition recently captured the provincial capital, Idlib City, as well as military bases and other key towns.

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Goats and Soda
8:21 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Safe Surgery Is A Dream In The Developing World

A surgeon and nurse anesthetist a baby by emergency cesarean section at a hospital in Rwanda.
Amber Lucero Dwyer/Courtesy Lifebox Foundation

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 12:21 pm

As you're wheeled down to surgery, nervously waving goodbye to loved ones, it's unlikely that one of your fears is whether your surgeon will have to double up as your anesthesiologist.

But at a hospital in Kenya, Dr. David Barash remembers watching an obstetrician perform a cesarean section while at the same time instructing a nurse on how to deliver anesthesia.

Then at another hospital in Nigeria, Barash saw women left unattended, lying on beds in the hallway, to recover on their own after C-sections.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Thu April 30, 2015

'Charlie Hebdo' Cartoonist Says He Will No Longer Draw Prophet Muhammad

French caricaturist Luz, seen on Jan. 15, says drawing Islam's Prophet Muhammad no longer interests him.
Ian Langsdon EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 2:51 pm

The French cartoonist who drew the Charlie Hebdo cover featuring Islam's Prophet Muhammad after the deadly attack on the magazine in January by Islamist militants says he will no longer draw the figure.

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Parallels
6:26 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Bullfighting For Buddhists: A Less Bloody Alternative In South Korea

The General (right) and his opponent, Dragon, lock horns during this year's Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival in South Korea. There are no matadors and no swords in the South Korean version. The bulls fight until one turns and runs.
Marius Stankiewicz for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 9:19 am

Sitting in a stadium that seats 10,000, I look down at the ring and something I never thought I'd see in Asia: a bullfight.

But instead of pitting matador versus beast, two bulls face off in the South Korean version. And befitting a Buddhist country, the battle ends not in death, but in surrender. In some cases, one of the combatants simply turns and wanders off.

"In Korean bullfighting there is no mortal end in sight for these beasts of burden," my interpreter says.

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The Two-Way
6:05 am
Thu April 30, 2015

10 Men Sent To Prison Over Shooting Of Pakistani Girl Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, who was 15 when she was shot, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
Hakon Mosvold Larsen EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 6:25 pm

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has sent 10 men to prison for 25-year terms for their roles in the near-fatal attack on activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012. The girl who has since come to be known only by her first name later won global renown for her work promoting education for girls.

From Islamabad, NPR's Philip Reeves reports:

"The 10 were convicted by an anti-terrorism court in a closed hearing in Swat in north-west Pakistan. That's where Malala Yousafzai, then aged 15, was shot and seriously wounded as she returned from school.

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Rescue Brings A Bit Of Good News To Nepal's Capital After Earthquake

Members of Nepal's Armed Police Force carry an officer as they cheer the successful rescue of a teenager who had been trapped by Saturday's earthquake in Kathmandu.
Navesh Chitrakar Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:52 am

There hasn't been much to cheer about in Nepal this week as it copes with a devastating earthquake — but cheers and applause broke out in Kathmandu Thursday after a teenager was pulled alive from a collapsed building.

For five days, the teenager was covered in the rubble of a seven-story building hit by Saturday's powerful quake. Rescue workers who got him out included an American disaster response team that arrived in Nepal this week.

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Around the Nation
5:23 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Will Big-Screen Movies Turn Astronauts Into Couch Potatoes?

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 9:07 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Around the Nation
5:23 am
Thu April 30, 2015

New York Takes Migrating Birds Into Consideration

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 9:07 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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NPR Ed
4:03 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Skip A Grade? Start Kindergarten Early? It's Not So Easy

A.J. Rich iStock

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:36 am

On the first day of school, perhaps the only person more discussed than the "new kid" is the "new kid who skipped a grade."

Words like "gifted," "brilliant" and "genius" get thrown around to describe these students. Education researchers generally refer to them as "accelerated." It's a catch-all term to describe students who have either entered kindergarten early, grade-skipped or taken single subjects above grade level.

Part of the hype comes from how uncommon it is.

Researchers estimate no more than 2 percent of students fall into these categories.

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NPR Story
3:16 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Bipartisan Measure Would Protect Juveniles In The Justice System

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 12:19 pm

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

NPR Story
3:16 am
Thu April 30, 2015

In An Empty Camden Yards, Orioles Beat White Sox 8-2

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 12:17 pm

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

NPR Story
3:16 am
Thu April 30, 2015

With Only One Runway, Kathmandu's Airport Hinders Earthquake Relief

Monks and aid workers walk to the arrival terminal at Kathmandu's international airport. The plane was unable to secure an arrival gate when it landed on Wednesday.
Taylor Weidman LightRocket/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 12:04 pm

There's a lot of aid headed toward Nepal, but it's not getting there as fast as people would like.

The reason: There aren't enough runways.

The country's only international airport is Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. It's tiny. It has just one runway. So it can't accommodate all the planes flying in.

The single runway has been closed several times for earthquake repairs. Also, there are limited places for planes to park. On many days, pilots circled for hours waiting for another plane to take off because there's no room to land.

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Michel Martin, Going There
3:16 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Looting And Rioting? First Responders Remember 1968

Michel Martin's father was a New York City firefighter in 1968, when race riots erupted in neighborhoods across the city and country. His memorial card sits on his dented helmet from those years.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 1:24 pm

Scenes from Baltimore earlier this week have evoked the riots that broke out in many cities after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968. I spoke to two first responders who were on duty at the time, Ed Mattson, a retired sergeant from the Baltimore City Police who was in the tactical squad and riot squad in 1968, and Steve Souder, Director of Communications at Fairfax County Department of Public Safety. He was working in communications for the Washington D.C. Fire Department the day Dr. King died. It also made me think of my own father.

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Parallels
2:42 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Saudi King Salman Reshuffles Line Of Succession

Earlier this month, Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's new deputy crown prince, met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo.
Egyptian Presidency Handout EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 2:42 pm

Things are changing in Saudi Arabia. The new king made a surprising move this week, choosing his nephew to take over as crown prince and his son to take the position of deputy crown prince.

The decision marks a generational shift. For the first time, a grandson of the founder of the kingdom is heir to the throne. And one young prince, the son of King Salman, is emerging as a war hero for many Saudis as the country continues to carry out airstrikes in Yemen.

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Parallels
1:25 am
Thu April 30, 2015

The Frightened Vietnamese Kid Who Became A U.S. Army General

Brig. Gen. Viet Luong of the 1st Cavalry Division came to the United States in the 1970s after his family fled Vietnam in the waning days of the war there. He's now leading the effort to train Afghan soldiers to fight the Taliban.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 9:07 am

Brig. Gen. Viet Luong sits on a case of MREs, the soldiers' daily meals. He's inside a cavernous hanger at an Afghan army base outside the southern city of Kandahar.

A couple dozen American and Australian soldiers lounge on green cots lining the sides. Banners of U.S. military units hang on the walls. Between the troops is a 6-foot-tall shipment of Girl Scout cookies.

Luong's job is to train the Afghan military to fight a guerrilla force, the Taliban. But he's willing to talk about another guerrilla war, long ago.

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History
1:24 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Founder: Monument Almost Never Got Built

Jan Scruggs gazes up at the names of fellow military service members inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 9:07 am

On a perfect spring morning, Jan Scruggs walks along the site overlooking the wall of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, D.C. Contrasting the bright colors of blooming trees and flowers is the black granite carved with the names of more than 58,000 Americans who served during the war.

Scruggs, a veteran himself, is credited with getting the memorial built. He's now preparing to retire. Morning Edition met Scruggs to learn the story of how the memorial was built, honoring the dead from a war that ended 40 years ago, on April 30, 1975.

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Parallels
1:23 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Learning About The Quran ... From A Catholic Archbishop

Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald is one of the Catholic Church's top experts on Islam. He has served the Vatican in places such as Tunisia, Uganda and Egypt, and now is promoting interfaith understanding by teaching Jesuit students in Cleveland about the Quran.
Rob Wetzler

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 1:11 pm

As a 12-year-old Catholic boy growing up in England, Michael Fitzgerald decided he wanted to be a missionary in Africa. Eight years later, he was studying theology and learning Arabic in Tunisia.

He went on to devote his priestly ministry to the promotion of interfaith understanding between Muslims and Christians, and became one of the top Roman Catholic experts on Islam. He has served as the archbishop of Tunisia, the papal nuncio — effectively a Vatican ambassador — in Cairo, and the Vatican's delegate to the Arab League.

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The Two-Way
11:38 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Photos: Baltimore Quiet For 2nd Night; New York, Denver Protests Noisier

Demonstrators snarl traffic as they try to block an entrance to the Holland Tunnel during a solidarity protest Wednesday in New York City.
Michael Abbott Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 9:10 am

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

For the second night in a row, people in Baltimore appear to have mostly heeded a citywide curfew.

But solidarity protests resulted in dozens of arrests in New York, and police used pepper spray on demonstrators near the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. Other large protests were held in Seattle, Houston, Washington, Boston and Minneapolis.

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Shots - Health News
5:10 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Your Tough Job Might Help Keep You Sharp

Engaging, mentally stimulating work is good for the brain, scientists say, whether you get paid to do it or not. Running a household can be as mentally demanding as running a company.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 2:40 pm

It's just Wednesday, but maybe you're already crashing. You've got three deadlines to juggle, your boss is breathing down your neck and Lillith from Finance is being a total pain.

Here's a bit of research that might reassure you it's all worth it.

Challenging work that involves lots of analytical thinking, planning and other managerial skills might help your brain stay sharp as you age, a study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology suggests.

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It's All Politics
5:05 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

It's Sotomayor V. Roberts In Supreme Court Death Penalty Drama

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor grilled lawyers arguing the constitutionality of new lethal-injection cocktails.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 5:13 pm

Lethal injection was the grim subject before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. Specifically at issue: whether the drug combinations currently used to execute convicted murderers in some states are unconstitutionally cruel.

The issue comes to the court after three botched executions over the past year.

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Goats and Soda
5:05 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Israeli Dads Welcome Surrogate-Born Baby In Nepal On Earthquake Day

Now this is an international baby: Born to a surrogate mom in Nepal (who was implanted with an egg from a South African donor) and now living in Israel with his parents, Amir Vogel Greengold (left) and Gilad Greengold.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 10:19 pm

The sperm came from Israel. It was frozen and flown to Thailand, where a South African egg donor awaited. After the egg was fertilized, the embryo traveled to Nepal and was implanted in the Indian woman who agreed to serve as the surrogate mother.

And roughly nine months later, there was a big, bouncing earthquake.

The world of international surrogacy is ... pretty complicated.

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It's All Politics
4:58 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Court: Corporations May Be People, But 'Judges Are Not Politicians'

David Barrows, of Washington, D.C., waves a flag with corporate logos and fake money during a rally against money in politics outside the Supreme Court in 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 7:11 pm

If there's one thing that today's Supreme Court doesn't like, it's governmental overreach in regulating political money.

But if there's something the court likes even less, it's the increasing prominence of money in electing America's judges. That's how five justices came to uphold a rule in Florida that prevents judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign cash.

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Sports
4:01 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Floyd Mayweather's Brash Style Has Split Fan Loyalties

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 5:05 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Games & Humor
4:01 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Palindrome Champ Sees The World Backwards And Forwards

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 5:05 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Mark Saltveit sees the world backwards and forwards. He's got to. He is a competitive palindromist - that is, he's won a contest creating a sentence that read the same from either end. Mr. Saltveit, what was that sentence?

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The Two-Way
3:52 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

SEC Rule Would Link Executive Pay To Performance

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-2 today to propose a rule to link the pay of top corporate executives to their companies' financial performance.

NPR's Jim Zarroli, reporting on All Things Considered, says: "The rule grew out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill. And it simply says that companies have to disclose whether executive pay is in line with their financial performance.

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