World

The Two-Way
6:44 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Scientist Stephen Hawking To Boycott Israeli Conference

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 8:28 am

British physicist Stephen Hawking has stepped into a political black hole.

He announced this week that he was withdrawing from a conference in Israel to protest that country's treatment of Palestinians, throwing his weight behind an academic boycott of the Jewish state. The Guardian reports:

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This Is NPR
6:35 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Burt Bacharach Hearts NPR

Melissa Kuypers NPR

First off, a warning: If you're like us, you'll find yourself singing Burt Bacharach tunes for the rest of the day after you listen to his interview with Weekend Edition Saturday. But it's pretty hard to be in a bad mood while singing about raindrops falling on your head, so listen away.

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The Two-Way
5:31 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Enron's Jeffrey Skilling May See Sentence Reduced

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling laughs outside the federal courthouse on April 24, 2006, in Houston. Under a deal announced Thursday, Skilling could have as many as 10 years cut from his 24-year prison sentence.
Pat Sullivan AP

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling could have his more than 24-year prison sentence reduced by as many as 10 years under a deal announced Wednesday by the Justice Department.

The agreement with Skilling's lawyers, which still needs the approval of a federal judge, would reduce the former Enron chief's sentence to between 14 and 17 1/2 years.

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The Two-Way
5:23 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Homebrewing: Soon To Be Legal In All 50 States

Home brewing will become legal in all 50 U.S. states, if Alabama's governor signs a recently passed bill. In March, Mississippi approved a bill that will take effect this summer.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 8:13 pm

The Alabama Legislature has approved a bill making it legal to brew beer at home, a practice that had been forbidden in the state. If Gov. Robert Bentley signs the bill, as is expected, home brewing will soon be legal in all 50 states.

Alabama lawmakers voted on the bill to legalize home brewing months after it was first introduced. And while it met with earlier debate and resistance, the arrival of the legislation — House Bill 9 — for a vote Tuesday night seems to have come to its supporters as a pleasant surprise.

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Africa
5:07 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

U.S. Diplomat Reports Little Help During Benghazi Attacks

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 5:55 pm

A congressional committee on Wednesday heard testimony from three witnesses about the events that led to deaths of four Americans at Benghazi in September, 2012. The Benghazi attack has become a political controversy — Republicans accuse the Obama administration of mishandling security there and of misleading the American public after the attack. One new allegation: that a four-person team set to deploy to Benghazi the night of the attack was told not to go.

It's All Politics
5:05 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Census: Black Voting Surpassed White in 2012

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at Cleveland Avenue Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 6, 2012.
Julie Denesha Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 10:46 pm

Black voters showed up at the polls at higher rates than whites in last year's presidential election, driving the rate of minority participation to historic levels, a new government report shows.

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The Two-Way
4:57 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Jodi Arias Found Guilty In Murder Of Boyfriend

Jodi Arias reacts during the reading of the verdict at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on Wednesday.
Associated Press

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 6:36 pm

Jurors on Wednesday found Jodi Arias, accused of killing her onetime boyfriend in a fit of rage, guilty of first-degree murder.

Arias, 32, initially denied involvement in the June 4, 2008, shooting death of Travis Alexander, blaming his death on two masked intruders. Two years later, she changed her story, saying she had killed him in self-defense.

Testimony began in January in the four-month trial in Phoenix that became a cable television sensation, with details of the couple's sexual escapades and photos of Alexander after his death presented as evidence.

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The Two-Way
4:56 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Teen Charged With Homicide After Death Of Soccer Referee

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 5:34 pm

The 17-year-old soccer goalie who allegedly punched and killed a referee during a game in Utah last month faces a charge of "homicide by assault" and may be tried as an adult.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill sought the charge in a petition filed with a juvenile court Wednesday. Gill is also seeking to have the unidentified suspect certified as an adult.

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Political Junkie
4:46 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Disgraced but asking for redemption.

I'm describing me, of course, after a spate of uneven ScuttleButton puzzles. Though, I must admit, I liked last week's offering.

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Witnesses Relate Frustration Over Response To Benghazi Attack

Gregory Hicks testifies Wednesday about the Benghazi attack before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, while Mark Thompson, left, and Eric Nordstrom, listen.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 5:56 pm

Three witnesses billed as whistle-blowers appeared before a House committee Wednesday to challenge the Obama administration's explanation of what transpired on Sept. 11, 2012, as the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked and the ambassador and three others killed.

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Shots - Health News
3:58 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Why Bill Gates Thinks Ending Polio Is Worth It

There's no better deal than getting polio cases down to zero, philanthropist Bill Gates says.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 4:28 pm

Some critics say that ending polio has become Bill Gates' "white whale."

Why not just settle for the huge drop in polio cases that we've seen over the past decade and then spend money on other things that kill so many more kids, like diarrhea and malnutrition?

"Polio is special," Gates tells NPR's Robert Siegel on All Things Considered. "Once you get it done, you save $2 billion a year that will be applied to those other activities. There's no better deal economically to getting to zero."

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Music Reviews
3:57 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

On Two New R&B Albums, An Old Soul Sound That Glows

Charles Bradley was signed by Daptone Records partly because of a James Brown act he used to perform. His new album is Victim of Love.
Darren Bastecky Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 5:55 pm

It's tempting to describe the voices of Charles Bradley and

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All Songs Considered
3:29 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

First Watch: Telekinesis, 'Empathetic People'

Scene from the Telekinesis video "Empathetic People."
Courtesy of the artist

In the latest video from Seattle-based pop masters Telekinesis, for the song "Empathetic People," frontman Michael Benjamin Lerner ambles into an abandoned record-pressing factory and gets it running again. It's a curious glimpse into one of the last gasps of industry keeping music tethered to the physical world.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Several Dead After Ship Crashes Into Dock In Italy

Rescuers search what is left of the control tower of the port of Genoa, northern Italy, on Tuesday.
Francesco Pecoraro Associated Press

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 3:42 pm

A cargo ship slammed into a dock in Genoa, Italy, on Wednesday, killing at least seven people and toppling the control tower at one of the country's busiest ports.

The Associated Press reports that divers had found seven bodies in the wreckage. Four others have been hospitalized and two were still unaccounted for, Luca Cari, a spokesman for the fire rescue teams at the scene, told The Associated Press.

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World Cafe
3:05 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Phosphorescent On World Cafe

Phosphorescent.
Steve Gullick Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:44 pm

It's easy to hear the steady growth in the music of Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck since the release of his band's 2009 Willie Nelson tribute album, To Willie. In 2011, Here's to Taking It Easy was a sprawling, languid epic written with his road band's performances in mind.

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A Blog Supreme
2:41 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

A Look Back At Jazz Fest, Where Ages Were Made

Allen Toussaint performs during the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Music Festival. He would also play a small club after the festival finished for the day.
Rick Diamond Getty Images

Some music festivals are known for certain specific things; others are known for a broad assortment. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is known for everything. The city's arms are just that wide.

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Music
2:27 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Randy Newman Becomes A Rock Star

Inductee Randy Newman performs on stage at the 28th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 18, 2013.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 4:05 pm

Randy Newman never considered himself a rock star. He's had his hits like, "I Love LA" and "Short People," but may be better known for his work in TV show themes and film scores. His unmistakable voice has graced the soundtracks of dozens of films, including the Toy Story films, A Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc.

When the singer and composer got a call saying he'd be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was shocked. He told Rolling Stone, "I really thought maybe I'd have to die first."

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Politics
2:22 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Iowa's Open Senate Seat And Rumbles About 2016

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In the end, it's not close in South Carolina. Polls show it could be in Massachusetts. And the president studies up on Korean culture. It's Wednesday and time for a...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Gangnam style...

CONAN: Edition of the political junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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Favorite Sessions
2:19 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

KCRW Presents: Hanni El Khatib

Hanni El Khatib performs live on KCRW.
Brian Lowe KCRW

Hanni El Khatib plays a style of rock 'n' roll that keeps company with late nights, drag races and bar brawls. With his second album, Head in the Dirt, the L.A. musician enlisted Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach to help flesh out a fuller, richer sound. Watch as El Khatib plays a single off the album, "Penny," with a bigger band — and, of course, more amps.

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Hospital Costs Go Public: What Changes In Health Care?

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. One hospital outside Dallas charges a little over 14 grand for pneumonia treatment. Another hospital a few miles down the same street charges more than twice as much, over $38,000. Why? Why has it taken so long for those prices to be made public? And now that they're out, how is that going to change health care?

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