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Afghanistan
9:36 am
Mon March 11, 2013

With Withdrawal Looming, U.S. Troops Shift Their Aim

An Afghan policeman stands guard near the scene of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 27
Musadeq Sadeq AP

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 3:36 pm

The NATO campaign is now in a new phase. After years of fighting the Taliban and bolstering anemic local governance, NATO troops are handing those responsibilities over to the Afghans. NPR's Sean Carberry recently embedded with U.S. troops in the southern province of Kandahar as they worked on this new mission.

The fertile Arghandab Valley in Kandahar province is considered one of Afghanistan's breadbaskets. For years it was also a valley of death for NATO troops.

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Mon March 11, 2013

A Rough Guide To The Papal Conclave

Cardinals gathered in Vatican City on Monday, a day before the papal selection process known as the conclave begins.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 6:34 pm

The stage is now set for the opening act of one of the more spectacular and intriguing theatrical dramas on the planet: the election of a pope.

In Rome, TV camera crews have set up their positions on big platforms overlooking St. Peter's Square and the Vatican, where the secretive process will begin Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Add Its Own Demise To Intrade's List Of Blown Calls

Intrade

Who could have predicted this?

Well, apparently not "the world's most famous predictions market."

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The Two-Way
8:26 am
Mon March 11, 2013

While U.S And South Korea Militaries Drill, 'Bombast Continues' From The North

In this image released by North Korea's Central News Agency, leader Kim Jong Un is said to be using a pair of binoculars to look south during an inspection of a front-line army unit.
Xinhua /Landov
  • From 'Morning Edition': Louisa Lim reports

As NPR's Louisa Lim reported Monday on Morning Edition, a week of inflamed rhetoric from North Korea — including talk of a preemptive nuclear strike on the U.S. — is being followed by word that the North has carried through on its threat to annul the 1953 armistice that ended open warfare on the peninsula and has stopped answering calls on the telephone hotline to the South.

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The Two-Way
8:01 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Pakistan Begins Construction of Pipeline Link With Iran

Iranians work on a section of the pipeline on Monday.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 11:57 am

Iran and Pakistan are moving closer to completion of a nearly 1,000-mile natural gas pipeline linking the two countries, despite U.S. objections that it could become a source of hard currency for Tehran in defiance of international sanctions.

Monday marks the beginning of construction on Pakistan's part of the pipeline, which will consist of a 485-mile run. Iran has already completed most of its 760 miles of the link, which will stretch from Assaluyeh along Iran's Persian Gulf coast to Nawabshah in Pakistan's Sindh province.

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The Two-Way
6:52 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Book News: Amazon Tries To Claim '.book' Domain; Publishers Fight Back

Seattle-based Amazon wants control over new Internet domains such as ".book," ".author" and ".read."
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

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

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All Tech Considered
6:48 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Controlling Your Computer With A Wave Of Your Hand

Festival attendees experiment with Leap Motion technology.
Elise Hu NPR

If you've had wrist and shoulder pain from clicking a mouse, relief may be in sight. This spring, a new motion sensing device will go on sale that will make it possible for the average computer user to browse the Web and open documents with a wave of a finger.

The Leap Motion Controller is on display at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, for the first time. It's one of the most talked about startups at the conference, where some 26,000 people have gathered to see emerging tech companies.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Thousands of Dead Pigs Clog Shanghai's Main Water Source

Dead pigs collected by sanitation workers from Shanghai's main waterway on Monday.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 11:52 am

Authorities have pulled more than 2,800 dead pigs out of Shanghai's main source of tap water — the Huangpu River. And they're still counting, according to reports on Monday.

The discovery has raised fears of drinking water contamination in China's most populous city, although state media reports that officials have run tests and determined that so far there's nothing to fear.

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Mon March 11, 2013

In Ohio, Town Mourns Death Of Six Teens Killed In Crash

Friends and family of the six teenagers killed in a car crash brought stuffed animals and other memorials to the site Sunday in Warren, Ohio.
Scott R. Galvin AP

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 9:42 am

Warren, Ohio, is in mourning after the deaths of six teenagers who died Sunday when the SUV they were in ran off a highway, flipped over a guardrail and landed in a small pond.

"It's going to be a rough week, a rough rest of the school year," said Michael Notar, Warren school superintendent, as NBC News reports.

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Strange News
5:23 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Widow Sues Church Over Sports-Themed Headstone

An Indiana woman wanted to honor her late husband with a headstone shaped like a couch, and featuring Indianapolis Colts and NASCAR logos. St. Joseph's Catholic Church said the headstone is completely inappropriate — so the widow sued.

Art & Design
5:23 am
Mon March 11, 2013

For John Baldessari, Conceptual Art Means Serious Mischief

Courtesy the artist/John Baldessari Studio

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 12:14 pm

There are certain creations that have defined beauty for generations: Renoir's pudgy, pink nude; Rothko's brilliant blocks of color that seem to vibrate; Michelangelo's naked young man in marble, with a slingshot on his shoulder.

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All Tech Considered
5:20 am
Mon March 11, 2013

The Most Talked About Tech And Culture Trends At SXSW Interactive

The feline known as Grumpy Cat.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 6:40 pm

Everywhere you walk in downtown Austin, Texas, new names compete for the attention of the tens of thousands wandering the SXSW Interactive festival. Which of this year's emerging ideas and brands — MakerBot, Leap Motion, Geomagic — will break into mainstream consciousness? Here's a quick rundown of the conversation topics in coffee lines, and some notes on appearances and panels that caught our attention:

Beyond The Keyboard And Mouse

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Strange News
4:08 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Tattoo Gets Man Free Netflix For A Year

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:23 am

Myron Robinson managed to score a year of free Netflix videos and online streaming by tweeting a photo of his new Netflix tattoo. The company tweeted back, "No way! Free year for you!"

Shots - Health News
3:10 am
Mon March 11, 2013

New Voices For The Voiceless: Synthetic Speech Gets An Upgrade

Samantha Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, and has never been able to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 11:23 am

Ever since she was a small child, Samantha Grimaldo has had to carry her voice with her.

Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, which means that though she's physically capable in many ways, she's never been able to speak. Instead, she's used a device to speak. She types in what she wants to say, and the device says those words out loud. Her mother, Ruane Grimaldo, says that when Samantha was very young, the voice she used came in a heavy gray box.

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Shots - Health News
3:10 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Depression And Anxiety Could Be Fukushima's Lasting Legacy

A road leading back to the Togawas' old home in the seaside village of Namie is closed due to radioactive contamination.
Geoff Brumfiel NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:23 am

Two years ago today, an earthquake and tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Hundreds of thousands of people living near the plant were forced to flee. The World Health Organization recently predicted a very small rise in cancer risk from radioactive material that was released. For the nuclear refugees, though, anxiety and depression could be the more persistent hazard. Correspondent Geoff Brumfiel traveled to Fukushima prefecture and met victims of the accident to see how they are coping.

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Shots - Health News
3:10 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Aspirin Vs. Melanoma: Study Suggests Headache Pill Prevents Deadly Skin Cancer

A doctor checks for signs of skin cancer at a free cancer screening day in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 8:22 am

It's not the first study that finds the lowly aspirin may protect against the deadliest kind of skin cancer, but it is one of the largest.

And it adds to a mounting pile of studies suggesting that cheap, common aspirin lowers the risk of many cancers — of the colon, breast, esophagus, stomach, prostate, bladder and ovary.

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It's All Politics
7:51 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

For Some Conservatives, It's Homecoming Week

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., last year.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 5:23 am

The American conservative movement has its homecoming this week: the Conservative Political Action Conference, where everyone from politicians to peddlers is out to inspire the faithful.

Last year, one of the headline speakers was former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who harked back to the second-ever CPAC in 1975, when Ronald Reagan laid out a vision for a conservative Republican Party.

She invoked his image of a banner of bold colors, not pale pastels.

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Law
5:35 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Once On Death Row, He Now Fights To Defeat The Death Penalty

Kirk Bloodsworth was the first person in the U.S. to be exonerated by DNA evidence after receiving the death sentence. Convicted in 1985 of the rape and murder of a young girl, he was released in 1993.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Maryland is about to become the 18th state to abolish the death penalty.

A bill has passed the state Senate and is expected to pass the House of Delegates easily with the governor's ardent support. The strongest advocate to end the death penalty in Maryland is Kirk Bloodsworth, who was convicted of murder in that state in 1985 and was the first person in the U.S. to be sentenced to death row then exonerated by DNA evidence.

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Around the Nation
3:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Solitary Confinement: Punishment Or Cruelty?

A hallway at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The prison, opened in 1829 and closed in 1970, pioneered the use of solitary confinement.
Jacki Lyden NPR

An estimated 80,000 American prisoners spend 23 hours a day in closed isolation units for 10, 20 or even more than 30 years.

Now, amid growing evidence that it causes mental breakdown, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has decided for the first time to review its policies on solitary confinement.

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Theater
3:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

'The Last Five Years' Returns To New York

Adam Kantor and Betsy Woolfe star in the current off-Broadway revival of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years.
The Hartman Group / Second Stage Theatre

The Last Five Years originally ran off-Broadway in 2002. Cited as one of Time magazine's "Ten Best of 2001," it won Drama Desk awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics.

There are only two characters in the musical, Jamie and Cathy. Jamie is a young novelist and Cathy is a struggling actress. Told in reverse chronological order, the drama shows what happens when an artistic couple's romance fizzles out.

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Environment
3:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Remembering Aldo Leopold, Visionary Conservationist And Writer

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 8:13 am

"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now, we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free." — A Sand County Almanac

A Sand County Almanac, a collection of essays and observations, was written decades ago by Aldo Leopold, the father of the American conservation movement.

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Author Interviews
3:01 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

A Twin Carries On Alone In 'Her: A Memoir'

Christa and Cara Parravani were identical twins. When they were 28, Cara died of a drug overdose, and Christa spiraled into depression.

In her new book, Her: A Memoir, Christa explores their bond of sisterhood, which went beyond blood into the elliptical world of twinhood.

Both were artists, one a writer and the other a photographer. Both married young. Both lived through a hardscrabble childhood with a troubled mother. But Cara's path diverged after she was attacked and raped at age 24.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Militants In Nigeria Kill Seven Hostages, Including Westerners

A man in Kano, Nigeria, reads a local newspaper Sunday that carries a story about the killing of seven hostages by a militant group.
Sunday Alamba AP

Militants in Nigeria have killed seven hostages, including three Westerners, in an act the British foreign secretary called "pure, cold-blooded murder."

The seven hostages — four Lebanese and one British, one Greek and one Italian citizen – worked for the Setrapo construction company. They were kidnapped Feb 16 from Jama'are, a town about 125 miles north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state. Ansaru, a group that's an offshoot of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement, claimed responsibility for the killings.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Afghan President Karzai Claims Taliban, U.S. Colluding

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a nationally televised speech on Sunday that the U.S. and the Taliban are holding talks.
Ahmad Jamshid AP

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai claims the U.S. is holding talks outside Afghanistan with the Afghan Taliban.

The allegations come as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continues his first visit to the nation as Pentagon Chief – and after a deadly explosion in Kabul on Saturday that the Taliban called a message to the new defense secretary.

Karzai made his claims in a nationally broadcast address just hours before he was to meet with Hagel, reports NPR's David Welna, who is traveling with Hagel.

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The Salt
9:20 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Poi: Hawaii's Recipe For Revitalizing Island Culture

Historians think poi, a sticky, nutritious food made from pounded taro root, has been eaten in the Hawaiian islands since the time of the ancient Polynesians.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 10:00 am

There are only about 1,000 people of pure Hawaiian descent left in the world, but island residents are cooking up an idea to keep native island culture from fading away. The key ingredient? Reviving a starchy food called poi.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Sun March 10, 2013

The Queen Takes A Stand For Women, And Maybe Gay Rights, Too

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will sign a new charter for the 54-member Commonwealth on Monday.
Ian Gavan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 1:59 pm

With a stroke of her pen, Queen Elizabeth II is giving royal support to equal rights.

Her majesty is expected to sign a new charter for the Commonwealth on Monday. The charter declares the core values for the 54 member states, most of which were once under British rule. It's getting attention for statements on gender equality and what it may imply for gay rights.

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The Two-Way
3:53 am
Sun March 10, 2013

In Ancient Aleppo, Plotting The Future

Syrians carry a large revolution flag and chant slogans during a protest in Aleppo, Syria, where young people and children sang songs against President Bashar Assad and the Syrian regime, Dec. 21, 2012.
Virginie Nguyen Hoang AP

A soft-spoken, clean-shaven, 31-year-old aid worker hopes to determine, in part, the future of Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

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National Security
3:39 am
Sun March 10, 2013

When Rand Paul Ended Filibuster, He Left Drones On National Stage

Code Pink activists deliver flowers, candies and other objects of thanks to Sen. Rand Paul's Capitol Hill offices Thursday for filibustering John Brennan's CIA nomination.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 11:21 am

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky launched a nationwide conversation last week with his 13-hour filibuster of the president's nominee to lead the CIA.

Paul vowed to keep talking until the White House clarified whether it has authority to kill U.S. citizens on American soil with drones.

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Afghanistan
3:39 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Sniffing Out Bombs In Afghanistan: A Job That's Gone To The Dogs

Military Police Sgt. Joshua Hancock and Nero, his Dutch shepherd, play at Forward Operating Base Frontenac in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. Nero is trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and to attack.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 10:42 am

Lucy is a stereotypically giddy black labradoodle. She's not what you picture when you think of a military dog serving on the front lines in Afghanistan. She wiggles around the room chasing her tennis ball and thinks my microphone cover is a chew toy.

But her handler, Spc. Heath Garcia, says when Lucy is on a mission, she's all business. She's highly trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which are the No. 1 killer of civilians and troops in Afghanistan.

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