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Around the Nation
3:29 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Drought Brings Misery To Arkansas River Basin

A deer carcass lies on the dried riverbed of the Arkansas River in Lakin, Kan.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 6:19 pm

Drought has set in early and hard across the Midwest, parching the Arkansas River basin. The river trickling out of the mountains is dry before it reaches some of the major agricultural uses downstream. And the drought is torching crops, sapping tourism and threatening supplies of drinking water.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Using Hubble, Astronomers Spot Oldest Spiral Galaxy Ever Seen

An artist's rendering of galaxy BX442.
Joe Bergeron Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 4:29 pm

Astronomers made a surprising announcement today: They have found a spiral galaxy that existed very early in the universe — the oldest spiral galaxy ever seen.

The galaxy is special because such a well-formed spiral wasn't thought to have existed this early on, when the universe was tumultuous.

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It's All Politics
2:48 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

John McCain Tells Michele Bachmann To Lay Off Hillary Clinton Aide

Sen. John McCain defended Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, against accusations by several House GOP members that she has ties to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
C-SPAN screenshot

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 9:09 am

(Updated at 5:14 pm ET)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor Wednesday in an apparent attempt to shame Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and other House GOP lawmakers who recently questioned whether a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a fifth columnist for the Muslim Brotherhood.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
2:40 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

City Life Snapshot: A.J. Auto Accessories

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Transcript

DAVID ORTIZ: This is A.J. Auto Accessories. You people are welcome any time you want.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A different take on car culture now in this City Life Snapshot.

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World
2:30 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

U.N. Delays Vote On Syria Resolution After Bombing

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today's violence in Syria has prompted the U.N. Security Council to delay a vote on a new resolution on the crisis. Kofi Annan, the international envoy to Syria, requested the delay so that the deeply divided Security Council would have more time to reach a consensus. NPR's Jackie Northam has that story.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
1:55 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Motorists To Urban Planners: Stay In Your Lane

A cyclist rides in the the bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Cities and cars share a conflicted relationship these days. Environmental concerns, growing traffic congestion and an urban design philosophy that favors foot traffic are driving many cities to try to reduce the number of cars on the road. In cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Toronto and Boston, some people go so far as to claim there is a "war on cars."

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Arts & Life
1:48 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Seinfeld Hits The Web, Still Talking About Nothing

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Jerry Seinfeld's new series is called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and the promos promise exactly that. The comic toodles around in his vintage wheels, drinking java with his pals Alec Baldwin, Michael Richards and Larry David, and discussing (among other things) the effrontery of ordering herbal tea when invited out for coffee.

But the next act from the man behind the most popular sitcom on television won't be on television. It's a webseries.

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The Salt
1:42 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Discarded Food Cans Turn Into Canvas For British Street Artist

mydogsighs

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 1:32 am

Those eyes grab you first. Only after a couple of beats do you realize you're looking at the painted bottom of a flattened metal can left on the street, and not some mysterious fairy.

These can art people come from the imagination of a British artist known as My Dog Sighs, who has left a piece of art on the street for someone to find every Friday for the last 10 years.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
1:21 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Drive Time: Commuting In American Cities

CurvaBezier iStockphoto

Americans' methods for commuting to work vary by city. Some drive alone or carpool, while others use mass transportation. Use this map to explore the geographic differences in how residents in cities with more than 100,000 workers get to work.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

To Help Dissidents, YouTube Introduces Face-Blurring Tool

A screenshot of how the face-blurring technology works.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:58 pm

In an effort to make posting video on YouTube safer for activists, YouTube has announced a new tool that automatically obscures faces.

"Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old's basketball game without broadcasting the children's faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube," Amanda Conway, a policy associate at YouTube wrote in a blog post.

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Human Tissue Donation
12:43 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Am I A Tissue Donor, Too?

Organ and tissue donation forms vary from state to state. Some are very general, while others allow people to choose or restrict what they want to donate.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:20 pm

Part 3 in a four-part series

Maybe you've agreed to be an organ donor. There might be something on your driver's license — a red heart, a pink dot or the word "Donor" — to show it. That also means you've very likely agreed — even if you don't realize it — to donate more than just your organs.

I know that I'm an organ donor. I signed up years ago, when I renewed my driver's license. But I had no idea that I'd also signed up to donate my tissue. That is, until Laura Siminoff, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's medical school, explained it to me.

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The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Netanyahu Points At Iran After Explosion In Bulgaria Kills Israelis

One bus was largely destroyed and others nearby were damaged by today's explosion in Bulgaria.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 7:42 am

Reports vary on the number of deaths in Bulgaria today from an explosion that tore apart a bus carrying Israeli tourists, most of them reportedly young people in the Black Sea city of Burgas on vacation.

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

In First Enforcement, Consumer Watchdog Fines Capital One

People use an ATM at a Capital One Bank branch in Washington in April 2012.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Capital One Bank has agreed to refund two million of its customers $140 million over allegations that it used deceptive marketing tactics to pressure or mislead customers into buying add-on products, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today. The bank and credit-card lending company will also pay a $25 million penalty.

This is the consumer watchdog agency's first public enforcement action.

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The Two-Way
11:27 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Has Syria Reached A Tipping Point?

Video taken from Syrian TV purportedly shows government forces taking up position during clashes with rebels Wednesday in the Al-Midan district of Damascus.
AFP/Getty Images

In most every uprising that topples a government, there's a pivotal moment when the momentum swings dramatically to the opposition and a regime that once seemed sturdy suddenly appears extremely vulnerable.

That moment may have come with Wednesday's bombing inside the National Security building in Damascus, the most powerful blow the Syrian opposition has yet delivered to President Bashar Assad's regime since the uprising began in March 2011.

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Drought Disasters Declared In More Counties; 1,297 Affected So Far

A corn plant that was struggling to survive this week in a drought-stricken farm field near Shawneetown, Ill.
Scott Olson Getty Images

With the addition of 29 counties in eight states today, there are now 1,297 counties across the nation so stricken by drought and heat that they've been declared natural disaster areas, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just announced. That's about one-third of all U.S. counties, he said.

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The Salt
10:47 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Hot Or Not? Potato Board Tries To Un-Dud The Spud

Tiny spuds decked out with cheese fondue sauce and a sprinkling of broccoli shavings at a dinner sponsored by the U.S. Potato Board.
Benjamin Morris/NPR

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 4:21 pm

It may not be obvious to the average shopper or diner, but the potato is an embattled vegetable. Yes, the simple spud, so ubiquitous, so unassuming, may be in need of a makeover.

That's at least the view of the U.S. Potato Board, the organization responsible for marketing American potatoes here at home and abroad.

"The potato has been in a rut," Meredith Myers, spokeswoman for the U.S. Potato Board, tells The Salt.

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The Two-Way
10:38 am
Wed July 18, 2012

ACLU Sues U.S. Government Over Targeted Killing Of Three Citizens

In this image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group, Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites in November, 2010.
SITE Intelligence Group AP

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 3:30 pm

In a lawsuit filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights allege the United States violated the Constitution's gurantee of due process when it ordered the targeted killing of three United States citizens.

The groups filed the suit against top military and intelligence officials on behalf relatives of the three Americans who were killed in drone strikes in Yemen last fall.

NPR's Carrie Johnson filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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Anti-Government Protests Roil Egypt
10:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

A Reporter Looks At Where Egypt May Be Headed

Demonstrators chant slogans supporting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during a rally in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday.
Khalil Hamra AP

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 10:03 am

Reporter David Kirkpatrick covered Washington's political scene for many years for The New York Times. But early last year, he decided that he was ready for a change of scenery. Kirkpatrick volunteered to move to Egypt to become the Times' Cairo bureau chief — and boy, was his timing good.

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The Two-Way
10:28 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Reports That Gov. Christie Will Give Keynote Tamp Down Veep Talk

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

News that first broke in the New York Post would seem to signal that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn't going to be the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee.

The Post reports that "the word is going out quietly to Republican activists across New Jersey. ... Gov. Chris Christie is going to be giving the keynote speech" at the GOP convention in Tampa next month.

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It's All Politics
9:23 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Romney's 'Crony Capitalism' Charge May Ring True For Leaders Of Both Parties

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 12:25 pm

Crony capitalism is a term very much in vogue because of Mitt Romney's accusations that President Obama has engaged in the practice, allegedly rewarding the business interests of political supporters with federal taxpayer dollars.

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The Two-Way
8:46 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Heir To Billions Charged With Preventing Wife's Burial, Not Murder

Hans Kristian Rausing as he arrived at court earlier today.
Facundo Arrizabalaga EPA /Landov

Though he had been arrested on suspicion of murder, the son of a Swedish billionaire has only been charged with "preventing the lawful and decent burial of the body of his wife," The Guardian reports.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:59 am
Wed July 18, 2012

FDA Approves Second Diet Drug In A Month

The range of Qsymia doses approved by the Food and Drug Administration Tuesday.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:14 pm

After a 13-year hiatus, the Food and Drug Administration gave its OK to the second weight-loss drug in a month.

This time it's Qsymia, previously called Qnexa, from Vivus. The pill contains two active ingredients: topiramate, an anti-seizure medicine, and phentermine, a stimulant.

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World
7:57 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Syrian Regime Hit By Deadly Blast In Damascus

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's follow up now on what appears to be a serious blow to the regime in Syria today. A blast repeatedly killed the country's defense chief, the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad and wounded other top officials. This explosion, we're told, occurred inside the tightly guarded national security headquarters in Damascus. To sort out what we know, or don't know, about this incident so far, we've called Neil MacFarquar. He's a correspondent for the New York Times. He's in Beirut. Welcome back to the program.

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Housing Starts Hit Four-Year High; Bernanke Heads Back To Capitol Hill

In Phoenix earlier this month, workers were framing this new home.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

There's more evidence that the housing sector is on the mend and may be the sector of the economy that's got the most going for it these days.

According to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development there was a 6.9 percent increase in "housing starts" last month. At an annual rate of 760,000, ground-breaking for construction of single-family homes, apartments and condominiums the pace hit a four-year high, The Associated Press says.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Iceberg Twice The Size Of Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier In Greenland

A view of the glacier taken Tuesday. Inside the square: the iceberg that broke off.
NASA Earth Observatory

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:30 am

A huge iceberg that's about twice the size of Manhattan has broken off the Petermann Glacier in Greenland — the same sheet of ice that just two years ago "calved" another massive berg.

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Around the Nation
5:56 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Following Up On Tuesday's Feline Mayor Story

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Media
5:48 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Gotcha Story Idea Backfires On Conservative Blogger

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
5:30 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Syrian Defense Minister Killed In Explosion, State TV Says

Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha last September.
Syrian Arab News Agency AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:49 am

The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad took a dramatic turn today when an explosion at a government building in Damascus killed the country's defense minister and a brother-in-law of the president.

Syrian state TV, which is reporting the deaths, has blamed a suicide bomber. There have been at least two claims of responsiblity from groups opposed to the Assad regime. There are also reports that the bomber was a member of the Assad inner circle's security team.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
4:59 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Athletes In India Work Part-Time Government Jobs

India's Sandeep Sejwal swims his way to gold in the 100-meter men's breaststroke at the 2006 South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. Sejwal, who competed in the Beijing Olympics two years later, has a government job with India's railway that accommodates his heavy training schedule.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 6:18 pm

For athletes anywhere, just qualifying for the Olympics can be a full-time job. But in India, training full-time is a luxury few can afford. That means many athletes work part-time government jobs. And for some, it can result in a job for life.

In return for putting in an appearance at the office, athletes like shooter Suma Shirur get a monthly salary and time to train.

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Economy
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Economic Update

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:58 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

If Ben Bernanke is frustrated by the economy, as he seems to be, he might look at a recent issue of The Economist magazine. Editors there see enough strength that they saw fit to print an illustration of Uncle Sam as a bare-chested muscleman.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk about that and more with regular guests on this program, Zanny Minton Beddoes of The Economist. Welcome back to the program.

ZANNY MINTON BEDDOES: Nice to be here.

INSKEEP: And David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal. Hi, David.

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