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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Thu March 21, 2013

United Nations Will Investigate Possible Use Of Chemical Weapons In Syria

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations is launching an investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the announcement during a media briefing on Thursday.

"I have decided to conduct a United Nations investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria," Ban said according to Reuters. He said the investigation will focus on "the specific incident brought to my attention by the Syrian government."

The use of chemical weapons is a big deal because the United States has declared that its "red line" in the conflict.

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Thu March 21, 2013

CIA Drone Operations Could Be Handed To Pentagon

A Predator drone taxis in after a sortie over Iraq in 2004.
U.S. Air Force Getty Images

The responsibility for counterterrorism operations involving unmanned drones could soon begin shifting from the CIA to the Pentagon as part of Obama administration efforts to mollify critics who say the program lacks transparency, says NPR's Tom Gjelten.

A senior U.S. official tells NPR that while no decision has been made, the change is a "distinct possibility." The Daily Beast broke the story on Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Thu March 21, 2013

South Korea Says Cyberattack That Paralyzed Computers Was Traced To Chinese IP

A man walks past the Cyber Terror Response Center at National Police Agency in Seoul, South Korea.
Chung Sung-Jun Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 10:27 am

South Korea has traced a cyberattack that paralyzed more than 30,000 computers on Wednesday to a Chinese Internet protocol address, the Korean Communications Commission said Thursday.

Of course, as soon as the attacks happened, suspicion centered on Pyongyang. North Korea, of late, has been increasingly belligerent, threatening a nuclear attack on the United States and South Korea.

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Gaza Militants Fire Rockets, As Obama Heads To West Bank

President Barack Obama arives for a joint press conference with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the Muqataa, the Palestinian Authority headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 7:22 am

Militants in Gaza fired rockets into Israel on Thursday, just as President Obama travelled from Israel to the West Bank, where he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

NPR's Larry Abramson filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Two of the rockets reached the southern town of Sderot, but one fell in an open area. The other caused some damage to a building, according to Israeli police."

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Animals
5:37 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Broadway Understudy Is Less Than 'Purrfect'

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:23 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

Last night was opening night for the Broadway show "Breakfast at Tiffany's," but The New York Times reports it was also curtains for one of the actors. Montie Corelli was fired. He had been the main understudy for Vito Vincent in the role of a cat. The black-and-white feline apparently refused to follow stage directions. But hey, he's a cat. And likely the casting process to replace Monti was a lot like herding cats.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:36 am
Thu March 21, 2013

TSA Finds Sword Hidden In Cane At Dulles Airport

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:23 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Guards at Dulles Airport outside Washington have a sense of humor. I once asked a guy at a checkpoint in the basement how he was doing, and he answered: Living that dream. Too bad we don't now what Dulles guards said when a woman put her cane in the scanner. There was a sword inside. It was a sword cane. The woman had no idea.

The Two-Way
5:32 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Book News: Is Amazon Building A CIA Cloud?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils new Kindle reading devices at a press conference in 2012.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 11:44 am

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

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Pop Culture
3:49 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Bracket Frenzy Moves Beyond College Basketball

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:23 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's always interesting to see what's trending on Twitter. Last night, there were all sorts of tweeted opinions about President Obama's NCAA bracket, that he took the time to fill one out, what teams he picked.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Glad to see that he picked Indiana to win it all. Oh, the bracket drama. Now the thing about March Madness is that everyone is in on the bracket frenzy.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIO CLIPS)

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Politics
3:10 am
Thu March 21, 2013

House, Senate Budget Plans Offer Different Future

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds a copy of his budget plan during a news conference last week. On Thursday, the Republican-controlled House narrowly passed the measure. The Senate is not expected to follow suit.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 11:36 am

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's House GOP budget balances in a decade and re-shapes Medicare. That is, it would if the measure passed by the House on Thursday ever became law — which it won't.

Washington Sen. Patty Murray's Democratic budget raises almost $1 trillion in taxes by closing loopholes and adds $100 billion in new spending on infrastructure. But it won't become a reality, either.

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National Security
3:10 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Pentagon May Take Over CIA's Drone Program

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:23 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

We're learning this morning of a possible change in the American use of unmanned drones. The change, if it happens, would affect who gives the orders and possibly how much the public learns.

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History
3:03 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Timeline: Gay Marriage In Law, Pop Culture And The Courts

Mike McConnell (left) and Jack Baker --€” the couple in the Baker v. Nelson case — attempt to get a marriage license in Minneapolis in May 1970. The AP reported in December 2012 that the two are still together.
R. Bertraine Heine/Minnesota Historical Society AP

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:35 am

  • Actor Wilson Cruz
  • Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean
  • Mike Bowers, prosecutor in 'Bowers v. Hardwick'
  • Missouri state Rep. Kevin Engler

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Poetry
1:06 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Revisiting Iraq Through The Eyes Of An Exiled Poet

Dunya Mikhail is an Iraqi-American poet who teaches in Michigan. She has published five books in Arabic and two in English.
Michael Smith Courtesy of Dunya Mikhail

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 7:45 am

Poet Dunya Mikhail fled her homeland, Iraq, a few years after the first Gulf War. She had been questioned by Saddam Hussein's government, and state media had labeled her writing and poetry subversive. Mikhail escaped to Jordan and eventually reached the United States, where she made a home for herself — marrying, raising a daughter and becoming a U.S. citizen.

Mikhail never physically returned to Iraq. But she revisits her homeland again and again in her poetry — line by line, stanza by stanza.

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America's Woman Warriors
1:05 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Sexual Violence Victims Say Military Justice System Is 'Broken'

Myla Haider (shown at a press conference in Washington, D.C., in 2011) says she initially decided not to report that she'd been raped because she'd "never met one victim who was able to report the crime and still retain their military career."
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:51 am

Myla Haider took a roundabout route to becoming an agent in the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, or CID. Wars kept interrupting her training.

"My commander wanted to take me to Iraq as the intelligence analyst for the battalion, so I gave up my seat in CID school," Haider says.

She speaks in a steady, "just the facts ma'am" tone. Once a cop always a cop, the 37-year-old says.

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U.S.
1:04 am
Thu March 21, 2013

As Gay Marriage Heads To Court, A Look Back At The Bumpy Ride

David Wilson (left) and Rob Compton embrace after being married by a Unitarian minister at the Arlington Street Church in Boston on May 17, 2004. They were one of the first couples in Massachusetts to be legally wed.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 2:28 pm

Gays and lesbians have adopted the phrase "it gets better" as a kind of slogan to assure young people that life won't always be so tough.

Looking back, life has gotten dramatically better for LGBT people in the United States in a very short period of time. The modern gay rights movement began less than 50 years ago. Today, supporters of same-sex marriage outnumber opponents.

Now, the Supreme Court is about to hear two big cases that could shift the landscape for gay rights again.

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All Tech Considered
12:58 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Samsung's On A Roll, But Can It Beat Apple?

The new Samsung Galaxy S4 has been the subject of buzz in the tech media.
UPI /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:32 am

Samsung has been on a roll. The hype surrounding its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, created a buzz in the tech media — and chatter that Samsung was poised to eat Apple's lunch. But Samsung's long-term position in the smartphone market is more complicated.

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All Tech Considered
12:57 am
Thu March 21, 2013

On Its 7th Birthday, Is Twitter Still The 'Free Speech Party'?

Egyptians use their mobile phones to record celebrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the popular revolt that drove Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011. Twitter was often used to record happenings during the Arab Spring.
Mohammed Abed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:23 am

It's hard to believe, but seven years ago no one had ever heard of a tweet. Thursday is the anniversary of the first tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. It wasn't profound. He wrote:

Since then the social media company has been an important communication tool in everything from the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, to its use as a megaphone for celebrities. Over the years, its relationship to its free speech principles has changed.

From Trivial To Global Town Hall

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Environment
4:43 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Massive Sinkhole In Louisiana Baffles Officials

After the collapse of a salt mine in south Louisiana last year, a 9-acre sinkhole has flooded the area. It also caused gas and oil leaks, and local residents are fed up.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Louisiana officials are grappling with a giant sinkhole that's threatening a neighborhood. A salt mine collapsed last year, creating a series of problems regulators say they've never seen before, including tremors and oil and gas leaks and a sinkhole that now covers 9 acres.

Residents have been evacuated for more than seven months now and are losing patience.

Ernie Boudreaux lives in a trailer on Jambalaya Street in Bayou Corne, La. Strange things have been happening to his home, he says.

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The Two-Way
4:09 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

'Tonight Show' Reportedly Moving To New York In 2014 With Fallon As Host

Jimmy Fallon, right, and Jay Leno at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 4:58 pm

Jimmy Fallon is on track to replace Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show on NBC in 2014, according to unnamed sources in The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter.

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The Two-Way
3:56 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Critics Wait To See How Pope Francis Deals With Sex Abuse Scandal

David Clohessy, the head of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, holds a recent news conference in Rome. Clohessy says the newly installed Pope Francis needs to address the issue of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.
Jonathan Blakley NPR

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 5:05 pm

Pope Francis has now been installed and the world's Catholics are looking to see where he will lead the church. But one man in Rome has been trying to make sure the Vatican also deals with the church's troubled past.

David Clohessy, who says he was a victim of sexual abuse at a young age by a Catholic priest, is the director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. By his count, he held 15 news conferences in Rome in the weeks leading up to the conclave at the Vatican.

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Around the Nation
3:06 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Forensic Advances Raise New Questions About Old Convictions

After a forensic dentist used software to correct a distortion in the image a decade later, the original expert witness recanted his testimony.
Courtesy of Jan Stiglitz

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 5:48 pm

Advances in forensic technology are showing that what used to be considered clear-cut proof of guilt may be nothing of the kind. A California case highlights a growing problem facing courts: what to do when an expert witness changes his mind because of better science and technology.

William Richards was convicted of brutally murdering his wife and is serving 25 years to life. The evidence against him was mostly circumstantial and two different juries were unable to reach a verdict. A third trial was aborted because the judge recused himself.

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It's All Politics
3:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Administration Still Fighting For Assault Weapons Ban, Biden Says

Vice President Biden at a December 2012 meeting of police chiefs on gun control, held in Washington, D.C.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 10:00 am

Vice President Joe Biden told All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block in an interview Wednesday that he and the Obama administration plan to continue to fight for a ban on assault weapons to be included in a larger bill in Congress.

That despite signs that such a ban doesn't have enough support, even from members of Biden's own party, to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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All Tech Considered
2:46 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Yes, Your New Car Has A 'Black Box.' Where's The Off Switch?

Detective Dave Wells plugs his laptop into a car's event data recorder. A large portion of new cars are equipped with the device, and the government is considering making them mandatory in all vehicles. But some say there should be an "off" option.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 4:43 pm

If you're a vehicle owner and happen to have a car accident in the near future (we hope you don't), it's likely the crash details will be recorded. Automotive "black boxes" are now built into more than 90 percent of new cars, and the government is considering making them mandatory.

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Music Reviews
2:15 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Kacey Musgraves: A Millennial Musician Reframes Country

Kacey Musgraves' major-label debut is titled Same Trailer Different Park.
Kelly Christine Musgraves Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 3:48 pm

Country singers generally romanticize small-town life. But in her hit single, "Merry Go 'Round," from her major-label debut Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves does nothing of the sort. It's a remarkable song, but it actually pales alongside others on her great new album.

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It's All Politics
2:09 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pew Poll: For Many Who've Changed Same-Sex Marriage Views, It's Personal

Frank Capley (left) and Joe Alfano protest the San Francisco county clerk's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Feb. 14.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio conservative Republican who recently said he now supports same-sex marriage because he has a gay son, evidently has plenty of company.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press suggests that many Americans have changed their minds — going from opposing to supporting same-sex marriage — because they personally know someone who is gay.

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Scientists: 'No Options' To Stop Massive Asteroids On Collision Course

Actor Bruce Willis on the surface of an asteroid from the movie Armageddon. Lawmakers are questioning the likelihood of the movie's plot becoming reality.
Frank Masi ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 2:40 pm

Without "a few years" warning, humans currently have no capacity to stop an asteroid on a collision course with the planet, scientists told a Senate panel Wednesday.

"Right now we have no options," said former astronaut Ed Lu. "If you dont know where they are, there's nothing you can do."

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The Salt
1:24 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Recipes, Not Rockets: Cookbook Offers New Lens On Gaza

Fatema Qaadan prepares fatta, a meal of buttery rice and griddle bread served with roasted meat.
Courtesy of Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 7:21 am

When you think about the Gaza Strip, do you think "organic farming"? How about "family dairy"? Would you expect California pistachios to flavor made-in-Gaza baklava? Have you heard that Hamas has a 10-year plan to develop sustainable local agriculture?

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Shots - Health News
1:19 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

How A Patient's Suicide Changed A Doctor's Approach To Guns

Dr. Frank Dumont at his clinic in Estes Park, Colo.
Barry Gutierrez for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 7:11 am

Dr. Frank Dumont knew one of his favorite patients was getting depressed.

When Dumont first started seeing him in his family practice, the man was in his 70s. He was active and fit; he enjoyed hiking into his 80s. But then things started to change.

"He started complaining of his memory starting to slip," Dumont says. The man would forget where he had placed objects, and he'd struggle to remember simple words and phrases.

Dumont prescribed antidepressants and saw him every eight weeks or so.

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It's All Politics
12:47 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Voter Cast Off Charlie Crist Tops Florida Governors's Race Poll

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 1:33 pm

Democrats who haven't controlled the governor's mansion in Tallahassee in 14 years could have a good opportunity to win it back next November.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Wed March 20, 2013

We Have Liftoff: Apollo Rocket Engines Reportedly Pulled From Ocean Floor

Apollo 11 climbs toward orbit after liftoff on July 16, 1969. In 2 1/2 minutes of powered flight, the S-IC booster lifts the vehicle to an altitude of about 39 miles, some 55 miles downrange.
NASA

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 2:41 pm

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Wed March 20, 2013

When It Comes To Cyberwarfare, North Korea Is No Newbie

Members of the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA) check on cyberattacks Wednesday.
Jung Yeon-je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 12:25 pm

Who or what caused a takedown of computer systems at banks and broadcasters in South Korea on Wednesday is still a matter of speculation, but suspicion immediately and unsurprisingly fell on Seoul's archenemy to the north.

If true, it wouldn't be the first time that North Korea, often regarded as technologically backward, has successfully wielded the computer as weapon.

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