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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Have Your Picture Taken With Hong Kong's (Smog-Free) Skyline

Tourists from mainland China take photos in front of a large outdoor banner showing what Hong Kong looks like on a clean air day, in Hong Kong on Aug. 21.
Alex Hofford EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:26 pm

It's not news that Hong Kong, which brags one of the world's most stunning skylines, has been gradually losing it behind a curtain of smog.

But the Chinese territory's latest solution is new: To placate camera-clicking tourists unable to get those iconic shots of the skyscraper-studded waterfront, Hong Kong has set up a panoramic backdrop with clear, blue skies.

The Chinese website Netease published a series of pictures of tourists posing in front of the backdrop.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Israeli Soldiers Go 'Gangnam Style' With Palestinians; Incur Wrath

An image taken from an amateur video shows an Israeli soldier dancing atop a Palestinian man's shoulders to the song "Gangnam Style." The soldier and his colleagues have been suspended.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:34 am

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Economy Was Stronger Than Thought In Second Quarter

Stronger-than-thought exports produced stronger-than-thought economic growth in the spring. (2010 file photo from the Port of Miami.)
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday.

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The Two-Way
8:47 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Assad Is To Blame For Chemical Weapons Attack, British Say

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday as he left 10 Downing Street in London.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:28 am

Saying that there are "no plausible alternative scenarios," the U.K.'s Joint Intelligence Organisation released a statement Thursday to support the conclusion reached by U.S. and British officials that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for what's said to have been a chemical weapons attack last week near Damascus.

That attack, U.S. and British officials say, killed more than 300 people and may have injured several thousand more.

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Favorite Sessions
8:29 am
Thu August 29, 2013

KCRW Presents: Daughn Gibson

Daughn Gibson performs live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Larry Hirshowitz KCRW

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:23 pm

With his distinctive baritone voice and his art-rock spin on contemporary country music, Daughn Gibson didn't have a hard time grabbing our attention. Clad in a ripped-up Garth Brooks shirt he'd acquired the night before, this one-time truck driver took us along for the ride with songs like "You Don't Fade" from his new album, Me Moan.

Watch Daughn Gibson's entire Morning Becomes Eclectic session at KCRW.com.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Largest Strike So Far By Fast-Food Workers Set For Thursday

Outside a Taco Bell restaurant in Warren, Mich., early Thursday, supporters of the push by fast-food workers to raise the minimum wage were marching.
Jessica J. Trevino MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:45 am

Organizers say workers at fast-food restaurants in cities across the nation will walk off their jobs Thursday in what's expected to be the largest such strike so far, The Associated Press writes.

As the wire service adds:

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A Blog Supreme
8:03 am
Thu August 29, 2013

How One Singer Made Four Debut Albums

Sathima Bea Benjamin in 1974.
Ian Bruce Huntley Courtesy of Matsuli Music

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 8:31 am

About a month before she died last week at age 76, Sathima Bea Benjamin finally properly celebrated her debut album. That's a bit of a complicated claim, of course, because depending on how you count, the South African vocalist either made her debut album in 1959, 1963, 1976 or 1979.

In 1959, as Beatty Benjamin, she recorded the LP My Songs for You. It was produced by the pianist Dollar Brand, who was later known as Abdullah Ibrahim; he was also her boyfriend and later became her husband. However, it was never released.

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Thu August 29, 2013

First Watch: Zola Jesus, 'Fall Back'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 8:25 am

I suppose it would be natural, if you grew up relatively isolated in a Wisconsin forest, to find yourself fascinated by cities. And so it is for the 24-year-old Russian-American singer Nika Roza Danilova, best known as Zola Jesus. In the video for her song "Fall Back," from the new album Versions, we see Nika in two settings: the vast coldness of urban concrete and the nature of the forest. "Shooting in the forest was very important," Nika writes. "The forest is raw and naked, which is in line for my intent for Versions.

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The Two-Way
7:46 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Three More Weeks Needed To Surround California's Rim Fire

Flames from the Rim Fire in the hills behind Tuolumne City, Calif., on Wednesday.
David McNew Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:32 am

The massive "Rim Fire" around California's Yosemite National Park is now about 30 percent contained and it's hoped that cooling temperatures and more moderate winds will continue to work in firefighters' favor.

But The Associated Press cautions that officials say it will likely still be three weeks before the fire is surrounded and that the blaze likely won't be out until many weeks after that.

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Business
7:35 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Hello Kitty: Updated Monopoly Game Available

The Monopoly game hitting store shelves contains a sleek kitty, which will join the classic Scottie dog and top hat. Fans adopted the cat in an online vote earlier this year. The company shelved the iron after a 78 year run.

Animals
7:12 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Cat Sets Record For Long Hair

A Persian long hair in Seattle named Colonel Meow set the record. His hair stretches 9 inches. It's not that crazy for that breed of cat. His owners swear that Colonel is not using any product.

Crime In The City
7:02 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Mystery Series' Portly P.I. Peels Back The Layers Of Delhi Society

In Tarquin Hall's novels, Vish Puri's detective office is located in Khan Market, near shops like this one.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 3:55 pm

For an introduction to India's cultural and culinary delights, you might hop a flight to Delhi or book a trip to Mumbai. But to meet the country sans passport free of airport indignities, you could just curl up with the crime novels of Tarquin Hall.

Vish Puri, Hall's opinionated private investigator, is a 50-something Punjabi super sleuth with a fondness for family and food. The mustachioed detective cracks open India's underbelly with a caseload that delves into forbidden love, corruption in Indian cricket and the deadly clash between science and superstition.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama Hasn't Made Case For Striking Syria, Rumsfeld Says

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2011.
Michael Reynolds EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 8:02 am

As the U.S. and its allies seemingly move closer to some type of military action in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons to kill hundreds of his own people, one of the policymakers who led the U.S.

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It's All Politics
6:03 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Maine Governor's Rough And Rude Style Clouds His Future

Gov. Paul LePage speaks to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget on June 26 in Augusta.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

He's called state workers "corrupt." He's joked about blowing up a local newspaper office and used a rape-sans-Vaseline analogy to describe a Democratic legislator's actions.

In his most recent flap, Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage may or may not have accused President Obama of hating white people. Accounts vary.

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It's All Politics
6:03 am
Thu August 29, 2013

How California Is Turning The Rest Of The West Blue

Newcomers from California are helping to shake up the politics in the Mountain West.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:15 pm

Colorado's politics have become positively Californian lately. There are new restrictions on guns. Pot is legal. The legislative agenda featured an expansion of alternative-energy use requirements for rural consumers. Gay couples can now enter into civil unions.

There's a reason for all this.

Lots of Californians have moved to Denver and its environs, bringing a progressive strain of politics with them and angering more conservative parts of the state — so much so that 10 northeastern counties are planning symbolic but serious votes on secession this fall.

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Race
5:04 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama Encourages Next Generation To Carry On King's Vision

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:06 am

Freedom bells rang out in Washington and across the country on Wednesday, as Americans marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. President Obama, who's often noted his own debt to the civil rights leader, praised the tens of thousands of Americans who marched with Dr. King in 1963. He also challenged a new generation to continue to press for racial and economic justice.

Europe
4:45 am
Thu August 29, 2013

British Prime Minister's Call For Action In Syria Stalls

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:25 am

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron had planned to get backing from Parliament Thursday – approving a possible military intervention. Instead, he's been forced to back down. The Labour Party announced it would vote against military action in Syria.

Middle East
4:45 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Obama 'Concluded' Syrian Regime Conducted Chemical Attack

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

This morning in Syria, U.N. inspectors continue their investigation into last week's chemical weapons attack, which apparently killed hundreds of civilians. The U.N. plans for the inspection team to be in Syria's capital, Damascus, until Saturday.

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Business
4:45 am
Thu August 29, 2013

In Colombia, Starbucks To Take On Juan Valdez

Drew Angerer AP

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:07 pm

Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks has announced it's going to expand to Colombia.

The country is known for its Arabica beans and for the mythical coffee farmer Juan Valdez. He's helped sell Colombia's coffee for 50 years. Starbucks has cafes in 50 countries. And now, it's coming to perhaps the country most associated with coffee.

Howard Schultz, the company's chief executive, announced that the first shop will open in Bogota in 2014, followed by 50 more cafes and in other cities over five years.

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