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Law
2:49 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Faith In Seattle Police 'Shaken' By DOJ Investigation

Protesters demonstrate at City Hall in Seattle on Feb. 16, 2011, after the announcement that police officer Ian Birk would not face charges for the fatal shooting of John T. Williams.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 4:23 pm

Police departments have come under increased scrutiny from the Obama administration as the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division steps up investigations of corruption, bias and excessive force.

Some of the targeted law enforcement agencies have had ethical clouds hanging over them for years — the New Orleans Police Department being the prime example — but others, like the Seattle Police Department, aren't exactly usual suspects.

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Movie Reviews
2:42 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

To Be Or Not To Be (The Pope) Is The Question

IFC Films

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 5:01 pm

When the College of Cardinals gathers in the Vatican to choose a new church leader — formally the Bishop of Rome — it announces its selection with the Latin phrase "Habemus papam" ("We have a pope").

But suppose that, when a cardinal steps out onto a balcony in St. Peter's Square to utter those fateful words, the gentle soul in white sitting behind him, out of sight of the crowd, develops stage fright.

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It's All Politics
2:37 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

When It Comes To Delegates, Santorum May Have A Math Problem

Rick Santorum speaks in Mars, Pa., on Tuesday, after Mitt Romney swept primaries in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. In his speech, Santorum declared that it's "halftime" in the race for delegates and the GOP nomination.
David Maxwell EPA/Landov

In presidential nominating contests, the delegate count really matters — right up until the moment where it doesn't.

Unfortunately for Rick Santorum, that moment seems ever more imminent in this spring's Republican presidential race.

Mitt Romney's overwhelming wins this week in three states (including Wisconsin, where Santorum not too long ago had been leading in the polls) seem to have reconfirmed the sense that he has cleared all the major hurdles, and the rest is mere formality.

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Music Interviews
2:23 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Gotye: 'Less Of A Musician, More Of A Tinkerer'

Australian pop singer Wouter "Wally" De Backer is better known as Gotye.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 8:47 am

The Australian artist Gotye has been big in his home country for several years, but this winter, one particular song started an avalanche. "Somebody That I Used to Know," from the album Making Mirrors, has been a massive hit everywhere it's landed: the U.K., Germany, South Africa, Israel and now here in the U.S. It even inspired a YouTube cover that's become a runaway hit all its own.

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Strange News
2:16 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Small Town's Police Blotter Is A Riot

Unalaska's Sgt. Jennifer Schockley has earned fans worldwide for her local police blotter.
Alexandra Gutierrez KUCB

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 10:16 am

In one Alaskan fishing village, crime is a laughing matter. It's not the crimes that have residents chuckling so much as how they're written about. The Unalaska crime report is full of eagle aggression and intimate encounters gone awry in the Aleutian Islands.

When Sgt. Jennifer Shockley heads out on patrol each day, she's got the police blotter on her mind. Her goal is to paint a detailed picture of the town's often ridiculous crimes.

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The Salt
2:12 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Indian Engineers Build A Stronger Society With School Lunch Program

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a nonprofit based in Bangalore, partners with the government to make close to 1.3 million nutritious meals a day for schoolchildren throughout India.
Ryan Lobo for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:54 am

At a government-run public middle school in Bangalore, the blackboard's cracking, the textbooks are tattered and most of the students are barefoot.

But with all those challenges, the biggest obstacle that teachers face in keeping kids in school is hunger. Many students show up at school having had nothing to eat for breakfast.

On mornings one student comes to school hungry, the thought of school makes her break down, she says.

"When I had to get on the bus, I would start crying," says K. Suchitra, 13.

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

With Some Profanities Edited, 'Bully' Receives PG-13 Rating

Alex, one of the kids who struggles with bullies in Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully.
Lee Hirsch The Weinstein Company

The Motion Picture Association of America and The Weinstein Co. have finally come to an agreement: After editing some profanities, the MPAA walked back its R-rating and Bully, a documentary about school bullying, will be released on April 13 with a PG-13 rating.

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Europe
1:20 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Homelessness Becomes A Crime In Hungary

Two homeless men lie on mattresses in central Budapest in 2010. Hundreds of people live on the streets in the Hungarian capital; many refuse to stay in night shelters for fear of having their goods stolen.
Karoly Arvai Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 8:25 pm

Hungary's new anti-vagrancy laws — the toughest in Europe — now mean that homeless people sleeping on the street can face police fines or even the possibility of jail time.

Advocacy and human-rights groups are alarmed by the new efforts to crack down on and effectively criminalize homelessness, where the ranks of the needy have increased during the country's dire financial crisis.

Debt, joblessness and poverty are on the rise. The country's bonds have been downgraded to "junk" status, and the nation's currency, the forint, has dropped sharply against the euro.

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Pop Culture
1:00 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Toy Companies Debut Bald Dolls For Cancer

A lineup of the bald Bratz and Moxie Girlz dolls that are scheduled to hit store shelves this summer.
MGA Entertainment

Barbie is best known for her curvy figure and long blond hair — but Mattel plans to produce a doll that's a dramatic departure from that classic image.

This Barbie will be bald.

Mattel decided to make the doll after a campaign by Jane Bingham, a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Philadelphia. She started a Facebook group with her friend called "Beautiful and Bald Barbie." She tells Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered, that they wanted the toymaker to create a doll for kids who have cancer or have lost their hair for medical reasons.

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The Salt
12:44 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Guerrilla Grafters Bring Forbidden Fruit Back To City Trees

Guerrilla grafter Tara Hui grafts a fruiting pear branch onto an ornamental fruit tree in the San Francisco Bay Area. She doesn't want the location known because the grafting is illegal.
Lonny Shavelson for NPR

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 5:00 am

Spring means cherry, pear and apple blossoms. But in many metropolitan areas, urban foresters ensure those flowering fruit trees don't bear fruit to keep fallen fruit from being trampled into slippery sidewalk jelly.

But a group of fruit fans in the San Francisco Bay Area is secretly grafting fruit-bearing tree limbs onto those fruitless trees.

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Book Reviews
12:03 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

100 Years Later, Titanic Lives On In Letters

The ill-fated Titanic rests at Harland and Wolff's shipyard, Belfast, in February 1912.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 4:23 pm

When I hear the word "Titanic," I picture a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio, waiting at the bottom of a gilded staircase while the voice of Celine Dion swells in my mind. It's all Edwardian glitz and glamour, decadence and passionate love, the kind best enjoyed in a dark theater with plenty of popcorn. And then I quickly remember that the ship sinks, and that Titanic is more than just an epic film from my youth. On April 15, a century will have passed since the ship plummeted into the icy Atlantic, and it is the tragedy we should remember, not just the mythology surrounding it.

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Economy
11:49 am
Fri April 6, 2012

For Long-Term Unemployed, Help Is Running Out

Job seekers line up to enter a career fair in Los Angeles. Both Congress and states are cutting back on unemployment benefits.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Diane Turner can't find work. She spent 30 years managing dental practices in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, but lost her last job in that field a couple of years ago.

She worked for a while greeting customers at an auto body shop, but lost that job a year ago. "It was very depressing," Turner says. "I always worked, and I was always able to get a job."

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Photography
11:46 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Your Adorably Awkward Prom Photos

A user-submitted photo of getting ready for prom, circa 1980s.
Photographer

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:53 am

We asked, you delivered. Take a walk down memory lane and look back at all of those awkward prom memories you tried so hard to forget. (Some of you cheated and actually sent nice photos. We'll let it go just this once.)

Shots - Health Blog
11:19 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Spotting Dyslexia May Be Possible Even Before Kids Learn To Read

How to test reading ability in children who can't read has been a problem for researchers.
f_ iStockphoto.com

For people with dyslexia, problems recognizing words can make life difficult. Children usually aren't diagnosed until elementary school, when it becomes clear they're struggling with reading. But scientists say it could be possible to diagnose and help kids much earlier by identifying problems with visual attention — long before they learn to read.

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The Two-Way
11:02 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Reports: F-18 Fighter Jet Crashes In Virginia Beach

The burning fuselage of an F/A-18 Hornet lies smoldering after crashing into a residential building in Virginia Beach, Va. on Friday.
AP

A Navy fighter jet crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon. Television images showed thick, black smoke billowing near a row of apartment buildings.

Update at 8:24 a.m. ET April 7. No Fatalities, Officials Confirm

Fire officials say they have accounted for everyone who lived at an apartment complex in Virginia where a Navy fighter jet crashed on Friday.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Fri April 6, 2012

VIDEO: Rapping Federal Worker Adds To Evidence Of Waste And Excess

From the GSA employee's rap video.
House Oversight & Reform Committee

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Poll: Opinion On Trayvon Martin Case Divided Along Racial Lines

Shirley Jackson (right), a teacher in Miami Dade school system, joins hundreds of other people in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood during a rally on Wednesday in Miami, Florida.
Angel Valentin Getty Images

Opinion about the Trayvon Martin shooting is sharply divided by race, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds.

The divide is clear, when pollsters asked if George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot and killed the black, unarmed teenager, was guilty of a crime.

A little more than half of the African Americans polled said he was "definitely guilty," while only 15 percent of non-blacks shared the same opinion.

The poll also found:

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Economy
10:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

March Jobs Report Offers Mixed Messages

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 9:44 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Governing
10:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Deal Might Be The Key To Save Detroit

The city's leaders agreed to a compromise with state officials this week, that may save Detroit from bankruptcy. But Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley tells host Michel Martin that a lot more work needs to be done to save the struggling city. They're also joined by NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.

'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
9:48 am
Fri April 6, 2012

It's All Politics, April 5, 2012

Steven Senne ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Listen to the Roundup

Mitt Romney's sweep in Tuesday's primaries essentially signals the beginning of the general election campaign. And President Obama joins the fray, attacking Romney by name in a speech to news editors; the former Massachusetts governor returns the favor a day later. Paul Ryan draws attention from the president as well as those speculating on the GOP ticket. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin have the latest in this week's political roundup.

The Two-Way
9:35 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Check It Out: St. Louis Keeps Adding To Its Chess Prowess

When it comes to chess, St. Louis is in the game.
Tom Gannam AP

We're seeing headlines today about an entire college championship team moving from one school to another. And though the story's about two months old, it's still so unusual and has enough interesting angles to warrant passing along.

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The Salt
9:34 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Lust, Lies And Empire: The Fishy Tale Behind Eating Fish On Friday

Did the pope really make a secret pact to sell more fish? No, but the real story of eating fish on Fridays is much more fantastical.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:07 pm

It sounds like the plot of a Dan Brown thriller: A powerful medieval pope makes a secret pact to prop up the fishing industry that ultimately alters global economics. The result: Millions of Catholics around the world end up eating fish on Fridays as part of a religious observance.

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Education
9:10 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Fractions Curriculum Strikes Right Note In California

A student at Allen Elementary fills out a worksheet where music notes are converted into fractions.
Caitlin Esch KQED

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 6:03 am

Math teachers know that fractions can be hard for the average third-grader. Teachers at a public school in San Bruno, Calif., just south of San Francisco, are trying something new. They're teaching difficult math concepts through music, and they're getting remarkable results.

At Allen Elementary School, a roomful of third-graders sits facing music instructor Endre Balogh, their backs straight, eyes ahead, beating a mouse pad with drumsticks. As Balogh taps a rhythm, the students follow.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

No Need For The Knife? Antibiotics May Suffice In Some Appendicitis Cases

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 10:04 am

Acute appendicitis generally means a speedy trip to the hospital for surgery. But British researchers say antibiotics might be a safe and effective alternative in uncomplicated cases.

"The general consensus was that the appendix has to be taken out the moment you feel it was inflamed," Dr. Dileep Lobo, professor of gastrointestinal surgery at the University of Nottingham and Queen's Medical Centre, tells Shots.

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Life In Prison For Man Who Planted Pipe Bomb In Colorado Mall

An undated photo, released by the Denver FBI, of Earl Albert Moore.
AP

Earl Albert Moore, who in April 2011 on the 12th anniversary of the Columbine school shootings placed a pipe bomb in a nearby Colorado shopping mall, has been sentenced to life in prison.

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Economy
7:12 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Jobless Rate Slips; Fewer New Jobs Than Expected

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's talk about the surprisingly weak jobs report that came out from the Labor Department today. The numbers for March show just 120,000 new jobs were added to U.S. payrolls. That's considered a disappointment, even though the unemployment rate did decline slightly, to 8.2 percent.

NPR's John Ydstie is here to talk with us about what all this means. Hi, John.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

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The Two-Way
6:34 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Just 120,000 Jobs Added, But Jobless Rate Dips To 8.2 Percent

The changes in payroll employment over the past two years.
NPR

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 8:37 am

The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.2 percent in March from 8.3 percent in February, but only 120,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning in a report that was less positive about the labor market's health than economists had expected.

Prior to the news, forecasters had predicted BLS would say about 200,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Coast Guard Sinks Japanese 'Ghost Ship' Set Adrift By Tsunami

The Ryou-Un Maru after being fired upon and before it sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Alaska.
U.S. Coast Guard

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Planet Money
5:35 am
Fri April 6, 2012

The Most (And Least) Lucrative Committees In Congress

Lam Thuy Vo The Sunlight Foundation

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 9:19 am

This story is part of Planet Money's series on money in politics. This post was originally published on March 30. It was updated on April 6.

Most of the nitty-gritty action in Congress happens in committees.

Not surprisingly, campaign contributions flow to members of the committees that big donors are really interested in — like, say, the ways and means committee, which oversees the tax code.

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