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The Torch
12:00 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

For Opening Ceremonies, An Olympic Secret Is Hard To Keep

March of the Nurses: A group of performers waits to rehearse their role in the Olympics Opening Ceremony Friday.
Vickie Walton-James NPR

With the London 2012 Opening Ceremony just days away, armies of costumed performers are rehearsing in Olympic Park.

In the bowels of the stadium, dancers, acrobats and actors wait patiently for their turn on the field. Gentlemen in top hats use cellphones to take pictures of each other. Chimney sweeps step outside to have a smoke. In the stands are thousands of people lucky enough to have scored tickets to watch dress rehearsals.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Ghana's President, John Evans Atta Mills, Is Dead

President John Atta Mills at a campaign event in 2004.
Issouf Sanogo AFP/Getty Images

The president of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills, has died at age 68, the Ghana News Agency reports.

As the AP reports, Mills ran three times for president and finally emerged the victor in 2009, promising to reform the West African country.

The AP adds:

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The Salt
11:43 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Hold The Ice: Rhetoric Gets Hot Over New York's Big Soda Ban

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:11 pm

Ever since New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he plans to ban big sodas from the streets of New York City to address the city's obesity problem, drink companies, soda fans, and libertarians have been wanting to treat him like a Glee kid and give him a big Slushee in the face.

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Feel-Good Photo: Gabrielle Giffords Atop A Mountain In France

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (center) and her husband Mark Kelly (right), at the peak of Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps on Monday. Behind them is mountain guide Vincent Lameyre.
Denis Balibouse Reuters /Landov

After four days of sadly serious news about what happened in Aurora, Colo., here's a photo that may lift your heart.

Reuters explains that former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., rode a two-stage cable car on Monday to the peak of Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps. That's 12,605-feet above sea level.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Peg Perego Recalls 223,000 Strollers Due To Strangulation Risk

The models of strollers being recalled.
Peg Perego

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 12:16 pm

One child strangled to death and another nearly strangled when their heads were caught between the tray and the seat bottom of their Peg Perego strollers. The Italian company is now issuing a recall for 223,000 strollers that were sold in the United States from Jan. of 2004 and Sept. 2007 and

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says:

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Wal-Mart Urgest Retailers To Reject $6 Billion Settlement With Visa, MasterCard

A van covered by a mural sits parked outside a Walt-Mart Super Center in Mexico City.
Dieu Nalio Chery AP

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, says its peers should reject the $6 billion settlement reached over fees charged on credit card purchases.

As we reported, Visa and MasterCard agreed to pay more than $6 billion to settle complaints from retailers that it prohibited them from imposing surcharges on customers using those cards. Those complaints have existed for years.

The AP reports:

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It's All Politics
10:25 am
Tue July 24, 2012

At VFW, Romney Seeks To Dull Obama's National Security Sheen

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars look on Monday as President Obama speaks during the group's national convention in Reno, Nev. Republican Mitt Romney was scheduled to speak to the group on Tuesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 1:23 pm

(Revised @ 3:19 pm ET)

In a result few predicted before he became commander in chief, President Obama exhibits surprising strength with voters on national security issues.

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The Torch
10:18 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Watch The London Olympics Online: A Guide To Online Video And Mobile Apps

The NBC Olympics app will include different levels of streaming video. The network requires registration for access to its live content from London.
NBC

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 1:44 am

If you love to watch the Olympics, this is your year: NBC is pumping out more than 5,500 hours of video for your TV and digital devices. We've covered that before — but how do you go about watching?

Here's a guide to how you can keep up with the Summer Games:

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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Pennsylvania Monsignor Sentenced To 3 To 6 Years In Prison

Monsignor William Lynn exits the Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke AP

Monsignor William Lynn, who became the first Catholic leader convicted in the church sex abuse scandal, was sentenced to three to six years in prison.

The AP reports:

"The former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, handled priest assignments and child sexual assault complaints from 1992 to 2004.

"Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said Lynn enabled 'monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children, to whom you turned a hard heart.'

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:10 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Which Is Bigger: A Human Brain Or The Universe?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 11:46 am

This is one of those fun-to-think-about questions. A brain isn't much to look at, after all. It's about the size of your two fists put together, three pounds to hold, but oh my, what it can do.

With our brains, we can think backwards, imagine forwards, conjure, create things that don't exist, leap vast distances. For example, suppose I say to you, close your eyes and imagine this:

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Around the Nation
9:52 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Will Colo. Shooting Change Gun Debate?

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:47 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. In a few minutes we will remember the first American woman in space, Sally Ride. She died yesterday after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. We will talk with two other trailblazing women in the space program in just a few minutes and they'll tell us about her life and legacy.

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Remembrances
9:52 am
Tue July 24, 2012

The Humility And Determination Of Sally Ride

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:47 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, as sports fans around the world look forward to the start of the Olympics, we'll check in with a star of the U.S. women's soccer team, Sydney Leroux. We'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.

But first, we are taking a closer look at the life and legacy of a pioneering American, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. She died yesterday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61 years old.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:51 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Needle Exchanges Often Overlooked In AIDS Fight

A heroin user keeps a syringe tucked behind his ear at a park in the city of Medan on Indonesia's Sumatra island. Cordita-Caritas Medan, a nongovernmental organization active there, works to reduce HIV infections through rehab of drug users and a needle exchange program.
Sutanta Aditya AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 2:13 pm

There's a lot of buzz at the 19th International AIDS Conference about powerful new strategies to prevent HIV infection.

But a potent old strategy isn't used enough around the world, many researchers say, and is even neglected entirely in places where it's most urgently needed.

It's called needle exchange.

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The Salt
9:46 am
Tue July 24, 2012

A Bartender's Antidote To Sweet And Citrus? Bitter Bark, Myrrh And Secrets

Alexandra Bookless, head bartender at The Passenger, suggests starting off with Fernet in a cocktail like the Hanky Panky.
Bill Chappell NPR

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 4:48 pm

For bartenders, the words "last call" have a hidden meaning: It won't be long before they're enjoying a drink of their own. And after hours of making tonics, flips and fizzes, what does a bartender drink? Often, the answer is short and simple: Fernet.

In a world of citrusy, sugary drinks that can all taste alike, Fernet Branca stands alone. Depending on how your palate responds, the Italian digestif can be called everything from refreshingly bold to an acquired taste to cough syrup that's gone bad.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:55 am
Tue July 24, 2012

When Going Back To The Hospital Is Good News

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has higher rates of readmissions for Medicare patients for some conditions. But its mortality rates for the same conditions is lower than at many hospitals.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

No one wants to be readmitted to a hospital, but it does beat one alternative: death.

As Medicare prepares to start punishing hospitals with higher than expected readmission rates, new government data show that some hospitals with high readmissions are actually doing a better job than most in keeping Medicare patients alive.

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The Two-Way
8:41 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Gun Sales Are Up Sharply In Colorado Since Theater Shootings

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 11:04 am

Sales of guns have risen strongly in Colorado since the early Friday shootings at a movie theater near Denver that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

The Denver Post reports that:

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Nothing To Report Yet, 'Disappointed' Amelia Earhart Searchers Say

Google honors Amelia Earhart today, on her 115th birthday.
Google.com

The team of searchers and scientists who were hoping to find pieces of aviator Amelia Earhart's plane off an island in the mid-Pacific report being "disappointed that we did not make a dramatic and conclusive discovery."

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The Torch
7:51 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Olympic Coaches Won't March; North Korea Wants Games On TV

London Underground employee John Light (!) carries the Olympic torch onto a train at Wimbledon Station.
LOCOG

Good morning. With three days until the official opener of the 2012 London Games, here's a summary of the news coming out of the Olympics:

  • U.S. (and other) coaches will not be walking in Friday's Opening Ceremonies, because Olympic honchos wanted to shorten the ceremony. Some don't even have tickets.
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Shots - Health Blog
7:41 am
Tue July 24, 2012

HIV Testing Goes Mobile In Rural South Africa

A Doctors Without Borders counselor tests a South African woman for HIV.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 9:16 am

Across South Africa there's a push to get more people tested for HIV.

Nationwide, roughly 18 percent of adults are infected with the virus, but many of them don't know it. And that information gap enables the spread of HIV.

In a rural part of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Doctors Without Borders is setting up mobile testing centers in tents. Teams are also going door to door offering HIV tests on the spot.

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The Two-Way
7:19 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Post-Hinckley Changes Make Insanity Defense Hard For Colo. Suspect

James Holmes in a photograph taken by police during his booking.
Arapahoe County Sheriff

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 8:30 am

Whether James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater will mount an insanity defense isn't yet known.

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Business
7:08 am
Tue July 24, 2012

'News Of The World' Editors Charged In Hacking

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We've been following some big developments today in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in Britain. Prosecutors are charging eight people - including a former top aide to Prime Minister David Cameron - and a woman who was Rupert Murdoch's top lieutenant. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

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The Two-Way
6:01 am
Tue July 24, 2012

VIDEO: After Trade, Ichiro Says Sayonara To Seattle With Hit As A Yankee

Now batting for the Yankees, Ichiro Suzuki.
Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images

Baseball fans love perfect moments.

-- Babe Ruth hitting his "called shot."

-- Ted Williams homering in his last at-bat (and not tipping his cap).

-- Willie Mays and "the catch."

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The Two-Way
5:22 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Former Murdoch Editors Face Criminal Charges In U.K. Phone Hacking Scandal

Rebekah Brooks, who has now been charged in the phone hacking scandal.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 6:05 am

Two former top editors at News Corp.'s now defunct News of the World tabloid in the U.K., including a man who later became a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron, now face criminal charges related to the so-called hacking scandal.

The BBC writes that "eight people, including Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, will face a total of 19 charges relating to phone hacking, the Crown Prosecution Service" announced today. Coulson, after leaving Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., worked for Cameron.

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Strange News
5:02 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Pittsburgh-Area Mall Gets A Second Bear Visitor

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with continuing coverage of the Pittsburgh Mills shopping mall. Yesterday, we told you of a bear that strolled into Sears, had to be tranquilized and taken away. Now a second bear has appeared at the same mall near the Olive Garden. Didn't stick around but later returned, backing up traffic on the highway. State game officials say they now plan to set a bear trap. In case the bear is listening, they plan to set that bear trap on Monday. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Strange News
4:57 am
Tue July 24, 2012

'Thomas Jefferson' Running For U.S. House

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

Remembrances
4:48 am
Tue July 24, 2012

The Space Trip That Made Sally Ride A Folk Hero

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're remembering this morning the first American woman to go into space: Sally Ride. She died yesterday in San Diego. Ride made her historic trip into space in 1983 aboard the space shuttle Challenger, a trip that made her an instant folk hero. NPR's Joe Palca has our report.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Sally Ride was born on May 26th, 1951. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley, just outside Los Angeles, where she went to Westlake High School.

SUSAN OKIE: She prided herself on being an underachiever.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:28 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Bird Flu Researchers To Meet About Research Moratorium

Chickens are under quarantine in Tepatitlan, Jalisco State, Mexico. The Mexican government declared a national animal health emergency July 2 in the face of an aggressive bird flu epidemic that has infected nearly 1.7 million poultry.
Hector Guerrero AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Top influenza researchers around the world published a statement back in January saying they would temporarily hold off on any work with contagious, lab-altered forms of a particularly worrisome form of bird flu.

The unusual voluntary moratorium was supposed to last only 60 days, but it's been more than six months. And scientists don't agree on what should happen next.

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U.S.
2:45 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Despite Crop Insurance, Drought Still Stings Farmers

Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.

Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.

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The Veepstakes
2:22 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Budget Hawk Ryan Offers Romney Risk, Reward

Rep. Paul Ryan (left), R-Wis., and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign stop in Appleton, Wis., on March 30.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Among those on Mitt Romney's list of potential running mates, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has youth and experience, he's a conservative from a swing state, and he has big ideas and the policy chops to back them up.

But the chairman of the House Budget Committee would not be the safest of choices.

Back in February, when the Republican primary was still in full swing and the party's right wing was conspicuously unhappy with the idea of Romney, tax hawk Grover Norquist spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

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Middle East
2:07 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Border Battles A Cat-And-Mouse Game In Syria

Battles on the Syria-Turkey border, like the one at the Bab al-Hawa border post, are a cat-and-mouse game for Syrian rebels.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:30 am

Second of five parts

I'm standing next to a ridge, looking at the Syrian town of Salaqin. Just up on the ridge you can see the silhouettes of a mosque and couple of water towers. It looks like a very small, inconsequential town, but because it's on the Syrian-Turkish border it's very important to the rebels.

What the Syrian rebels are trying to do right now is carve out a kind of safe zone, a buffer zone where they can gather, assemble and plan attacks against the Syrian regime's army, and also a place where they can move weapons and money into Syria.

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