All Things Considered

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Books News & Features
2:39 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Jamaica Does Literary Fest With A Caribbean Twist

Ethiopian novelist Maaza Mengiste reads from her latest novel on the second night of this year's Calabash festival. Mengiste says the audience at Calabash is one of a kind.
Hugh Wright

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 4:23 pm

There's a stretch of beach in the small Jamaican fishing village of Treasure Beach where booths sell poetry books right alongside jerk chicken, and local villagers mix with international literati. On a weekend in late May, some 2,000 people sit entranced as author and poet Fred D'Aguiar reads them his work from a bamboo lectern.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
2:38 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

At Last, Superheavyweight Finds Her Olympic Niche

Holley Mangold successfully completes the 145 kilogram "clean and jerk" lift at the trials for the U.S. Olympic women's weightlifting team in March. Mangold came to weightlifting after trying her hand at several other sports.
Jamie Sabau Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 7:39 pm

Near the back of the North YMCA in Columbus, Ohio, several men and women line up on a row of beat-up platforms. They take turns practicing the two lifts that make up Olympic weightlifting; the "Snatch," and the "Clean and Jerk."

The goal? To hoist large amounts of weight from the floor into an overhead position.

Among the lifters here is 5-foot-8 inch, 350-pound Holley Mangold. She is the epitome of power, in appearance, attitude and athletic ability.

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Health
1:09 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

An AIDS-Ravaged Nation Turns To Circumcision

Joseph Ochieng, 18, gets circumcised at the Siaya General Hospital in western Kenya.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 4:23 pm

The African nation of Kenya is attempting to get more than 1 million men between the ages of 15 and 49 circumcised by the end of 2013. If successful, this could be a groundbreaking effort in the fight to curb the spread of HIV.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
11:58 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Bull Fights, Bankruptcy And A Damn Dangerous Book

promo image
iStock Photo

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 4:23 pm

Ben Mezrich is the author of Sex on the Moon.

Around the time I turned 12, I figured out exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up: an alcoholic.

I didn't actually know what it meant to be an alcoholic, but I knew that one day, I would drink copious amounts and dash around the streets of Paris, preferably in the company of bullfighters, bankrupts, impotent newspaper correspondents, and morbidly depressed, exotically beautiful divorcees.

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Asia
10:18 am
Thu July 5, 2012

After A Forced Abortion, A Roaring Debate In China

Feng Jianmei and her husband could not pay $6,000 in fines for violating China's one-child policy. In June, when she was seven months pregnant, local officials abducted her and forced her to have an abortion, her family says. The case has provoked widespread outrage.
Quirky China News Rex Features

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 9:09 pm

Deng Jiyuan and Feng Jianmei, a couple from northwest China's Shaanxi province, have a 6-year-old daughter. Under China's complicated birth calculus, they were barred from having another child. But they tried anyway.

"We planned this pregnancy because our parents are old, they want us to have another child," Deng, 30, explained by cellphone last month from his home in Shaanxi.

That decision led to a sequence of events that has ignited a firestorm and renewed debate over the country's one-child policy.

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Business
2:03 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

Fear Of Fires Fizzles Some July Fourth Fireworks Fun

Susan Underwood prices fireworks, while her husband Michael (left) and Clint Simmons pace themselves with a snack and TV last month at their tent along Highway 416 in Sevier County, Tenn. Over in Middle Tennessee, the drought has led city leaders to ban fireworks this year.
Curt Habraken AP

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 2:59 pm

Freddie Bowers and his dad, Larry, have sold fireworks in LaVergne, Tenn., for a lifetime. But, the sparklers are off limits this year since the region has had the hottest streak in recorded history and several small fires in the area have been blamed on fireworks.

For people in the fireworks business, Christmas usually comes in July. Only this year, three-quarters of the country are experiencing some level of drought and from the Mountain West to the Southeast, cities are temporarily banning fireworks.

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Business
1:37 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

Ex-CEO: Barclays Isn't The Only Bank At Fault

Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond leaves Parliament amid a crowd of reporters in London on Wednesday. Diamond, who resigned Tuesday, was questioned about a growing interest-rate manipulation scandal.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 3:35 pm

The fallen leader of Barclays Bank got on the hot seat before members of the British Parliament on Wednesday. Robert Diamond, an American, resigned Tuesday as CEO of the bank — the latest executive to lose his job over an interest-rate manipulation scandal.

The scandal has not only consumed Barclays, it also threatens to engulf other international banks — and high-ranking government officials, too.

Diamond started his career at Barclays on Independence Day, exactly 16 years ago. On Wednesday in London, he set off some fireworks all his own.

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Sports
1:01 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

Baseball's Teen Phenom Steals Home, And Hearts

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper walks out of the clubhouse before an interleague baseball game in Baltimore.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 2:03 pm

Bryce Harper was 16 when he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, pictured swinging a bat in the desert and declared "Baseball's Chosen One."

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Middle East
11:55 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Medical Marijuana Use Sprouting In Israel

Moshe Rute smokes cannabis at the Hadarim nursing home in Kibutz Naan, Israel. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, the Tikkun Olam company is distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes to more than 1,800 people in Israel.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 6:33 am

Israel has become a world leader in the use of medical marijuana. More than 10,000 patients have received government licenses to consume the drug to treat ailments such as cancer and chronic pain.

But while the unorthodox treatment has gained acceptance in Israel, it still has its critics.

Susan Malkah breathes in the cloud of smoke from a plastic inhaler especially formulated for medical marijuana use. She has a number of serious ailments and is confined to a wheelchair.

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Arts & Life
10:24 am
Wed July 4, 2012

The Highwaymen: Segregation And Speed-Painting In The Sunshine State

Courtesy of Gary Monroe

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 2:03 pm

In the 1960s and '70s, if you were in a doctor's office, or a funeral home, or a motel in Florida, chances are a landscape painting hung on the wall. Palms arching over the water, or moonlight on an inlet. Tens of thousands of paintings like this were created by a group of self-taught African-American artists, concentrated in Fort Pierce, Fla.

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Science
10:08 am
Wed July 4, 2012

New Subatomic Particle May Be Physics' 'Missing Link'

This graphic depicts a proton-proton collision from the search for the Higgs boson particle.
CERN AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 5:51 am

Scientists have discovered a new subatomic particle with profound implications for understanding our universe. On Wednesday, they announced they've found a particle believed to be the long-awaited Higgs boson. Nicknamed the "God particle," it represents the final piece in a theory that explains the basic nature of our universe.

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It's All Politics
5:31 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Did Roberts Flip On The Health Care Decision?

Since the Supreme Court's health care ruling, there's been a lot of speculation about whether Chief Justice John Roberts changed his mind during the course of deliberations.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 12:00 pm

In the days since the Supreme Court's historic health care ruling, there has been a good deal of speculation about whether Chief Justice John Roberts changed his mind in the course of deliberations, deciding late in the game to uphold the constitutionality of most of the law.

Even before the decision was announced, conservative writers railed that liberals and the so-called mainstream media were trying to intimidate the chief justice.

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Planet Money
3:59 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Does Medicaid Make People Healthier?

Karen Roach iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 3:08 pm

A while back, Robin Boros lost her job, and she and her husband couldn't afford health insurance.

One time, Boros passed out, and her husband called an ambulance.

"The hospital bill, it was atrocious," she says. "We couldn't pay it."

They never figured out why Boros passed out. But after that, she and her husband avoided going to the doctor. At times, she says, she even bought blood pressure medication on the street.

"That was awful," Boros says. "But you do what you got to do."

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Latin America
3:31 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Colombia Relives Escobar's Reign Of Terror, On TV

The TV series Pablo Escobar: Boss of Evil, starring Andres Parra as the eponymous Colombian drug lord, is revisiting a dark period in the country's history.
Caracol Television

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 6:21 pm

A generation ago, he terrorized Colombia with a wave of bombings and assassinations that nearly brought the state to its knees.

Now, nearly 20 years after Pablo Escobar was shot dead following a long manhunt by Colombian and American agents, the flamboyant chief of the Medellin cocaine cartel is being resurrected by Colombian television.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
2:48 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Bordellos, Bandits And One Big Mississippi Adventure

cover detail
cover detail

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time and The House at the End of the Road. He is director of publishing at the Library of Congress.

The work of William Faulkner looms as a mountain too high to climb for many readers, with his long, complex sentences and shifting point of view. But Faulkner's famously tangled mix of literary techniques meant nothing when I was about 12 years old and picked up a copy of The Reivers.

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Humans
2:30 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Common Parasite May Influence Human Behavior

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Scientists say a parasite carried by cats appears to influence the behavior of humans, in this case, women infected with the parasite were slightly more likely to attempt suicide.

NPR's Jon Hamilton reports this is just the latest study suggesting that parasites can cause subtle changes in our brains.

JON HAMIILTON, BYLINE: This parasite is called Toxoplasma and its primary home is in the intestine of a cat. People can get infected when they eat under-cooked meats or sometimes when they change the litter in a cat box.

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Health
2:04 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Treating HIV: From Impossible To Halfway There

Francois St. Ker, 55, was on the brink of dying from AIDS in the spring of 2001. Today, he's a successful farmer and is in good health, thanks to treatment for his HIV.
John Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:20 pm

This story begins 11 years ago. It was a time when many, if not most, experts said it was unthinkable to treat people with AIDS in developing countries using the triple-drug regimens that were routinely saving the lives of patients in wealthier countries.

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Music Reviews
1:49 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Serbia's Markovic Orkestar Breaks Boundaries With Brass

Boban and Marko Markovic are the father and son behind Serbia's Markovic Orkestar.
Michael Mann Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

If you're planning a wedding, and looking for music that's fresh, irresistible and completely unexpected, you might want to consider The Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar, a cutting-edge Gypsy brass band from southern Serbia. A new best-of compilation called Golden Horns puts the group's wild, genre-bending flair on full display.

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U.S.
1:00 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Illinois Services Threatened As Pension Hole Grows

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says the pension system is putting a grip on the state's budget. As a result, other services may lose funding.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 12:16 pm

Fallout from the recession continues to hobble state finances, particularly in states crippled by pensions they can't afford to pay.

Chief among them is Illinois, which has racked up the largest unfunded liability in the nation. Politicians there pledge to fix it.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
12:55 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Oakland Turns A Corner As Calif. Faces Budget Woes

Ryan Curtis leans in for a kiss from Love Kovtun on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood in April. New businesses and investment have helped revitalize the city's downtown over the past decade.
Laura Morton for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 12:17 pm

The city of Oakland, Calif. has long been associated with crime, poverty, urban decay and, more recently, violent protests tied to the Occupy movement.

So it may have been a surprise to New York Times readers when the newspaper listed Oakland as No. 5 among its top "places to go" in 2012.

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Remembrances
11:12 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith: A TV Icon From Mayberry To 'Matlock'

In the drama Matlock, Kene Holliday (top left), Nancy Stafford, Julie Sommars, Griffith and Kari Lizer played a criminal defense team that often came out on top.
NBCU Photo Bank

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

In a career that spanned half a century, actor and comedian Andy Griffith starred in five different television series, made more than 30 movies and even recorded a Grammy Award-winning gospel album. He died Tuesday morning in North Carolina at the age of 86.

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Movie Reviews
10:07 am
Tue July 3, 2012

A Lanky Teenager On The Path To (Super) Power

Andrew Garfield stars in The Amazing Spider-Man, in which the nerdy, web-slinging superhero gets an overhauled origin story.
Jaimie Trueblood Sony Pictures

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:06 pm

I know you're skeptical. Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man was last slinging webs just five years ago. Broadway's Spider-Man started singing about webs less than two years ago. Now here comes another Spider-dude: This Andrew Garfield guy. So he'd better be really something, right? Well, as it happens, he is.

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Planet Money
3:51 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Scandal That Cost Barclays Chairman His Job Threatens To Spread

London-based Barclays Bank agreed to pay a $453 million fine over charges it manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate — LIBOR — a key global interest rate.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 10:24 am

Every day at 11 a.m., a few big banks tell the British Bankers' Association what it costs them to borrow. Out of that comes LIBOR — the London Interbank Offered Rate, a dull but vital interest rate that underpins trillions of dollars of transactions globally, from home mortgages and personal credit cards to major corporate lending.

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Election 2012
3:29 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Obama's 'Clean Coal' Fighting Words To W.Va. Dems

A sign outside the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce in Williamson, W.Va., welcomes visitors to "Hatfield McCoy Country," referring to a legendary family feud that played out in the Appalachians.
Noah Adams NPR

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 9:34 am

Mingo County, deep in the southwest corner of West Virginia, has sent a "protest vote" to the attention of President Obama. In the May 8 Democratic primary, voters chose a man named Keith Judd to run for president. He got 61 percent of the vote.

Judd won't be available. He's serving a 17-year sentence for extortion. From prison in Texas, he managed to file the papers, pay the fee and get on the West Virginia ballot.

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Economy
3:00 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Factories Scaling Back Amid Economic Slide

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 4:35 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In what could be a troubling sign for the U.S. economy, manufacturing activity started contracting last month. U.S. manufacturing has been a much-needed bright spot, with companies adding jobs and selling more products.

But today, as NPR's Chris Arnold tells us, we got evidence that things might be changing.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
2:25 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Filling In New Orleans' Future, One Blank At A Time

Candy Chang, co-founder of the website Neighborland, writes on an art installation in New Orleans in April. As part of a public street art project that later became Neighborland, Chang put nametag-like stickers on empty New Orleans storefronts for residents to write ideas for improving the city.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 7:19 pm

New Orleans became a blank slate after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. And ever since, entrepreneurs have rushed in to experiment with new ideas for building and running a city.

Among them is a startup called Neighborland.com, a social media tool for sharing ideas to make your neighborhood better. After signing in to Neighborland, you can find your neighborhood and post your idea. The posts all start with "I want," and you fill in the rest.

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NPR Story
2:25 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Tech Week Ahead: Another Nail In Kodak's Coffin

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 4:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block and it's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

BLOCK: In this week's Look Ahead with NPR's Laura Sydell, another nail in the coffin for Kodak.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: You know, I feel like you should bring on the violins for that one.

BLOCK: Cue the sad music.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SYDELL: Today begins this very sad process. It's really the end of an era.

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Afghanistan
1:12 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Lack Of Electricity Dims Afghan Economic Prospects

Afghanistan produces about half the power it currently uses and imports the other half from neighboring countries. But that total still doesn't meet the country's demands. This photo shows Kabul at night in January.
Jawad Jalali EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 3:38 pm

Afghanistan desperately needs to jump-start its economy if it hopes to stand on its own after NATO's drawdown in 2014. But there's a major constraint for a country trying to build a modern economy: electricity shortages.

Afghanistan ranks among the countries with the lowest electricity production per capita in the world. Despite billions of dollars in projects over the past decade, at best one-third of the population has access to regular power.

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The Two-Way
7:37 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Word Of The Day: 'Derecho'

Where you're most likely to be in the path of a derecho, and how often.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 4:35 pm

We learned a new word on Saturday, thanks to Korva's post about the devastating storm that has left millions without power from Ohio east through the mid-Atlantic states:

Derecho.

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Business
3:05 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

An Abbey's Run-In With Law On Who Can Sell Caskets

Deacon Mark Coudrain, bottom left, Rev. Charles Benoit, top left, Abbot Justin Brown, top right, and attorney Evans Schmidt carry a casket built by Benedictine monks down the steps of the U.S. federal district courthouse on Aug. 12, 2010.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Sun July 1, 2012 3:53 pm

Monks set up St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana more than 100 years ago. They've been there so long, they have 1,100 acres and their own town, St. Benedict.

For all those years, when one of the brothers died, the monks would painstakingly craft a flawless pine casket in their woodwork shop.

Over the years, many clergy members and high-ranking church officials would request the the beautiful caskets. Soon, members of the public wanted see if they might be able to buy one.

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