World

The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Rubber Ducky, You're (Not) The One. Hong Kong Quacker Spawns Others

The original inflatable duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman floats in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.
Li Peng Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 3:39 pm

Perhaps it was inevitable. Given the huge popularity of the six-story, yellow rubber ducky that's been bobbing around in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, companies in a number of mainland Chinese cities have decided to copy it.

New ducks have popped up in the central city of Wuhan, the ancient city of Xi'an, the northern port city of Tianjin and Hengdian, a town in Zhejiang province that is home to a massive movie studio.

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The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Judge Accepts James Holmes' Insanity Plea In Colo. Shootings

James Holmes in a photo from the Arapahoe County (Colo.) Sheriff's Office.
AP

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 1:14 pm

The judge presiding over the case of James Holmes, who is accused of a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, has accepted a not guilty plea by reason of insanity.

This sets the table for a potentially lengthy mental examination of Holmes. The AP reports:

"The next step is an evaluation of Holmes by state doctors to determine whether he was insane at the time of the shootings. That could take months.

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The Salt
10:50 am
Tue June 4, 2013

The French Learned To Make Wine From Italians 2,400 Years Ago

This French tapestry depicts noblemen and women treading and pressing grapes to make wine circa 1500. By then, the French had already been making wine for at least 2,000 years.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 12:38 pm

The French weren't the first to make wine? Mon dieu! But as anyone who has sipped a Bordeaux, Champagne or Burgundy can tell you, the French got pretty good at it once they learned how. And thanks to some molecular archaeology, researchers can now confirm they picked up these skills as early as 425 B.C.

So who taught the French the art of viniculture? Probably the ancient Italians, says the man with perhaps the coolest nickname in science research — the "Indiana Jones of alcohol," Patrick McGovern.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Tue June 4, 2013

16 Americans Among Nonprofit Workers Convicted In Egypt

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 2:42 am

Sixteen Americans were among 43 people convicted in Egypt on Tuesday for what the transitional government at the time had said was illegal interference in the nation's affairs. The investigation began in 2011 under military rule.

Those judged guilty all worked for foreign non-governmental organizations, including two U.S. groups that have tried to promote democracy in Egypt.

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Planet Money
10:34 am
Tue June 4, 2013

When Patents Attack ... Part Two!

National Archives

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:29 pm

This story from Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR's Laura Sydell aired this weekend on This American Life. A shorter version of the piece is also airing today on All Things Considered. Here's the story.

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Tue June 4, 2013

AP: Top Obama Officials Use Secret Email Accounts

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius speaks during a news conference at the Department of the Treasury on May 31 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 12:39 pm

After months of wrangling with government agencies over Freedom of Information Act requests, The Associated Press has an interesting bit of news today: Some of Obama's most important appointees use non-public email addresses to conduct official business.

The AP calls those email addresses "secret," and they are different from the frowned-upon practice of using personal email addresses to conduct business. These email addresses are set up by the government and intended for official use.

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The Two-Way
9:52 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Lululemon's Pants Return With 'More Fabric Across The Bum'

Some of the clothes at a Lululemon store in Pasadena, Calif., earlier this year.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:19 am

See-through pants brought Lululemon (and some of its customers) unwanted attention back in March, as we reported at the time. They were pulled from shelves.

Now the yoga and running clothier says that thanks to "more fabric across the bum" and other design changes, the black pants are coming back to stores this month.

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Parallels
9:51 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Is Syria's Bashar Assad Getting The Upper Hand?

Syrian President Bashar Assad reiterated his intention to remain in his current position during a television interview last week. The Syrian president and his army have been looking stronger in recent weeks, many analysts say.
SANA AP

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 11:19 am

After more than a year of military stalemate in Syria between the rebels and the government, President Bashar Assad appears to be making political and military gains and is not likely to be pushed aside anytime soon, according to many analysts.

Assad reasserted his plans to stay in power during a recent interview on Al Manar TV, a channel owned by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group, which has openly joined the Syria war on Assad's side.

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Another Report Shows Home Prices Taking A Big Jump

A sale pending sign in front of a home in San Francisco on May 28.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:18 am

One week after the S&P/Case-Shiller indices showed a 10.9 percent jump in U.S. home prices from March 2012 to March 2013 — the biggest year-over-year gain in that data since April 2006 — there's another report showing a similar jump in April.

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The Two-Way
9:12 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Pistorius Murder Trial Postponed Until August

South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius stands in the Magistrate Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:16 am

After a brief 15-minute hearing today in a courthouse in Pretoria, South Africa, a magistrate agreed to postpone the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius until August.

Pistorius, if you remember, is the so-called blade runner who made history during the London Olympics. He became the first double-amputee to compete in the Games.

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The Picture Show
9:03 am
Tue June 4, 2013

100 Words: The Life Of A Sibling With Disability

Monia is my sister. She has been disabled since birth. My mother takes care of her every day, every hour, always. Monia's world is a world away from everything else: solitary, confined, but not empty, where time is made up of moments, a present that does not need to project into the future.
Giovanni Cocco

Being the sibling of a person with disability is a crucial experience. It is hard to explain the importance and intensity of this special bond made of codes, silence, looks, old games and new ways of living as grown-ups.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Top Stories: 'Deacon' Jones Dies; IRS Hearings Resume

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:10 am

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Afghanistan
8:11 am
Tue June 4, 2013

U.S. Worries Afghan Forces Will Divide Along Ethnic Lines

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

When the American combat mission in Afghanistan ends next year, one concern for U.S. officials is the possibility that the Afghan security forces will then splinter along ethnic lines, and the warlords of the past will reemerge.

From Kandahar, here's NPR's Tom Bowman.

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Live in Concert
8:03 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Rhye, Live In Concert

NPR

This is some of the sexiest music I've heard in years, with seductive sounds that are subtle and fragrant. Rhye is the music of Danish songwriter-producer Robin Hannibal and Toronto-born Mike Milosh, a man with an androgynous and mysterious voice. In fact, when the band's music first surfaced — with no press photos or posted lineup — many thought a woman was singing these songs.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue June 4, 2013

'Becoming Traviata': A Look At Opera From Behind The Curtain

Soprano Natalie Dessay, with tenor Charles Castonovo, in Philippe Béziat's documentary Becoming Traviata.
Distrib Films

It's easy to think of opera as little more than an affected flock of singers warbling onstage in lacy brocade with pancake makeup, chandeliers and champagne.

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Book News: Neruda's Death? Experts Say The Assassin Didn't Do It

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda arrives in Capri, Italy, in 1952.
Keystone Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Reports: American Woman Gang-Raped In India

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:09 am

"Indian police say that a 30-year-old American woman has been gang-raped in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh," the BBC writes. "Police said that the woman had been attacked after she accepted a lift by a group of men in a truck in Manali, a resort town in the state."

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Food For Thought In Shriver's 'Big Brother'

iStockphoto.com

Lionel Shriver tackles a whopper of an issue in her new novel, Big Brother: obesity and the emotional connection between weight, consumption, guilt and control. She comes at this huge subject through a sister torn between saving her morbidly obese older brother, who has "buried himself in himself," and an unsympathetic, belligerently fit husband — a situation that raises questions about divided loyalties and whether blood is thicker than water. In this book, diet protein shakes are thicker than both.

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Political Junkie
6:48 am
Tue June 4, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

It's time to solve this week's ScuttleButton puzzle.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Tuesday or Wednesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Tue June 4, 2013

'Deacon' Jones, The NFL's Original Sackmaster, Dies

Football great David "Deacon" Jones in 2010.
David Livingston Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:05 am

David "Deacon" Jones, a hall of fame defensive lineman credited with coining the term "sack" for how he would tackle opposing teams' quarterbacks, has died.

He was 74.

According to the NFL's Washington Redskins, the last team Jones played for, he "passed away [Monday] from natural causes at his home in Southern California."

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