World

Technology
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Facebook CEO's Internet Crusade Hopes To Bring Billions Online

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has teamed up with other tech giants to pursue the goal of providing Internet service to five billion people in the developing world. The group, called Internet.org, says data can be used more efficiently and participating partners can work cooperatively to make access to the web affordable in emerging economies. Zuckerberg makes the case on his Facebook page for how a global Internet infrastructure can be created. But the document doesn't have tangible commitments from Facebook or other participating companies.

Middle East
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Russia Defends Syria Amid Chemical Weapons Allegations

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The latest reports of chemical weapon attacks in Syria set off a tense debate in the United Nation Security Council. It met this afternoon in an urgent session. The U.N. has long been divided over how to deal with Syria. The United States and its partners are calling for a full investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons, but Russia is casting doubts on the allegations and is defending the Syrian government's position.

NPR's Michele Kelemen has our story.

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Middle East
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Syrian Government Accused Again Of Using Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Anti-government activists in Syria are accusing President Bashar al-Assad's forces of deploying a chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of the capital, Damascus. The government denied the attack, but the allegations have prompted the United Nations to call an emergency meeting. Melissa Block talks to Washington Post reporter Loveday Morris for more.

Parallels
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Israeli Politician Stirs Up The Religious-Secular Debate

Ruth Calderon, a religious scholar, recently became a member of Israeli's parliament and has been a leading voice on issues that often divide the country's religious and secular communities.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 8:19 am

When Ruth Calderon is nervous, she does her nails.

"It helps," she grins. "Did you ever try? It puts you together. If you really are nervous you do bright red."

Calderon, 51, is a scholar and teacher of Jewish religious texts. She is also a novice Israeli politician, part of the new Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party that unexpectedly took 19 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last January.

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The Salt
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Inside The Beef Industry's Battle Over Growth-Promotion Drugs

Beef cattle stand in a barn on the Larson Farms feedlot in Maple Park, Ill.
Daniel Acker Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:39 pm

When the drug company Merck Animal Health announced plans to suspend sales of its Zilmax feed additive last week, many observers were shocked.

Yet concern about Zilmax and the class of growth-promotion drugs called beta agonists has been building for some time. In an interesting twist, the decisive pressure on Zilmax did not come from animal welfare groups or government regulators: It emerged from within the beef industry itself, and from academic experts who have long worked as consultants to the industry.

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Around the Nation
5:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

VA Still Under Pressure To Reduce Disability Claim Backlog

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

For years, the backlog of disability claims for veterans has been fodder for politicians, pundits and even comedians, like Jon Stewart.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

JON STEWART: And paper disability records still undigitized and piled up so high that the floor of one VA field office is going to collapse.

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Shots - Health News
4:53 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Deadly Middle East Coronavirus Found In An Egyptian Tomb Bat

So cute, but not cuddly. The Egyptian tomb bat, Taphozous perforatus, is a likely carrier of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS.
Courtesy of Jonathan H. Epstein/EcoHealth Alliance

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:09 am

For nearly a year, disease detectives around the world have been trying to track down the source of a mysterious new virus in the Middle East that has infected 96 people and killed 47 since September.

Now it looks like they've pinpointed at least one place where the virus is hiding out.

Scientists at Columbia University have detected the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS, in a bat near the home of a man who died from the disease. The team found a small fragment of the virus's genes in the animal that matches perfectly with those seen in the patient.

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The Two-Way
4:52 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Secret Court: NSA Surveillance Program Was Unconstitutional

An image taken from the FISA court opinion released Wednesday. The document reveals instances in which the court saw the NSA overstepping in its surveillance efforts.
NPR

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 8:53 am

A secret federal court found that the National Security Agency violated the civil rights of Americans when it collected thousands of emails and other digital messages between Americans, according to a 2011 opinion released Wednesday.

The FISA court ruled parts of the program to be unconstitutional and ordered them to be revised. The government made changes and the court signed off on the program in November of 2011.

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Book Reviews
4:05 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

'Things Falling' Is A Potboiler, But One That's Set To Simmer

Juan Gabriel Vasquez is also the author of The Informers.
Hermance Triay

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Colombia. The drug trade. Multiple plane crashes, drive-by shootings, Peace Corps hippies who peddle drugs, and an actual hippo on the loose. Despite all of that, there's actually not much plot to this novel. This is more of a metaphysical detective story where cause and effect can be difficult to pin down — a book where the events that matter most occur inside the characters.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
3:54 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Twilight World: Remembering Marian McPartland's Songs

Of Marian McPartland's "Twilight World," the great singer Tony Bennett once said, "Well, that song will last forever. It's a beautiful song."
David Redfern Redferns

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 5:51 pm

Jazz musicians strive for an individual voice. If a listener can tell right away who's playing, that's an achievement. The same is true of composers — and after only a few measures of music, you know it's Marian McPartland. The pianist and host of Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz died Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.

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All Tech Considered
3:25 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Weekly Innovation: Hey, You're Taking Too Long In The Shower

The Uji shower head will be available for sale in early 2014. Its light turns from green to red as the shower progresses.
Courtesy of Brett Andler

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 8:16 am

This week's innovation pick is a shower head that reminds you you're taking too long. The Uji shower head gradually turns from green to red as users linger in the shower.

"It encourages [people] to take shorter and more energy efficient showers," said one of the co-inventors, Brett Andler. "By letting people become aware of how long they're in the shower, we've actually been able to cut shower time by 12 percent."

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Parallels
2:36 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Panning For Gold In South Sudan, A Gram At A Time

South Sudanese pan for gold in Nanakanak, in the eastern part of the impoverished country. Tens of thousands of informal miners are looking for gold, and the government is trying to attract international mining companies to carry out the search on an industrial scale.
Hannah McNeish AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 7:08 pm

Digging a trench under the punishing midday sun, Thomas Lokinga stops only when he needs to wipe the sweat from his face. He is determined to find a nugget of gold amid the hard-baked ground in Nanakanak, in the eastern part of South Sudan, the world's newest nation.

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Journey Of The Ring: Lost In WWII, Now Back With POW's Son

The ring that finally found its way home after nearly 70 years. David Cox, an American pilot, traded it for some food while he was a prisoner of war in Germany.
Courtesy of Norwood McDowell

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 6:11 am

  • David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about the journey of his father's ring
  • David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about how his father would have loved getting his ring back

"I can't touch it or pick it up without thinking about him and I can't pick it up without thinking about this journey of the ring."

That's David C. Cox Jr. of North Carolina talking Wednesday about the rather amazing saga of the ring his father had to trade for food in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II — a ring that has now made it back to the Cox family after seven decades.

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The Picture Show
2:22 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Hard Work, Squared: Selections From Our First Instagram Assignment

Marisha Camp/@marisharocks Instagram

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:21 pm

Earlier this month we launched our new Instagram project with KPCC called "Public Square": We make the assignment, you take the photos! Our first theme was "Hard Work." The task: Find someone with a thankless job, take a portrait and tag it #PSHardWork. Here are a few of our favorites — not only great photos but also interesting stories.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Ebola Treatment Works In Monkeys, Even After Symptoms Appear

The Ebola virus forms threadlike structures under the microscope.
Cynthia Goldsmith CDC

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 8:58 pm

Ebola, your days as one of the world's scariest diseases may be numbered.

A team of U.S. government researchers has shown that deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever can be vanquished in monkeys by an experimental drug given up to five days after infection — even when symptoms have already developed.

An antibody cocktail aimed at Ebola's outer surface rescued three of seven macaques infected with lethal doses of the hemorrhagic virus in the U.S. Army's high-security labs at Fort Detrick, Md.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:50 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

'Why This Compulsion To Run Long Distances?' A Runner's Beautiful Confession

From Racing the Antelope

Biologist Bernd Heinrich was in Zimbabwe, in the field, eyes down, looking for beetles, when for no particular reason he looked up and saw ... well, at first he wasn't sure what it was, so he stepped closer, leaned in, and there, painted on the underside of large protruding rock, were five human figures "running in one direction, from left to right across the rock face." They weren't very detailed, just "small, sticklike human figures in clear running stride" painted by a Bushman, two, maybe three thousand years ago.

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The Two-Way
1:41 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

New Zealand Passes Law That Allows Domestic Spying

Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom, left, leaves court after he was granted bail in the in Auckland, New Zealand.
Michael Bradley AFP/Getty Images

Saying it was vital to the country's national security, New Zealand passed a controversial law today that allows the Government Communications Security Bureau — the country's NSA equivalent — to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of law enforcement.

The law was approved by a razor-thin — 61-59 — margin and comes in the shadow of a worldwide discussion of just how much spying governments should be allowed to conduct on their own citizens.

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Parallels
1:37 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

India And Other BRIC Economies Now Facing Headwinds

The Indian rupee has fallen nearly 16 percent against the dollar since May. The drop comes amid a slowdown in the country's economy. India's troubles are mirrored in other emerging economies that drove global growth for the past decade.
Zheng Huansong Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 5:21 pm

High food prices, a currency in free fall, battered investors and slowing growth: India is facing a host of problems that have taken away the sheen from an economy that's had a decade of mostly stron

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The Salt
12:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Forget Cronuts: London's 'Townies' Take On Hybrid-Dessert Craze

American baker Bea Vo, who runs Bea's of Bloomsburg, a string of bakeries in London, came up with this answer to the cronut: the townie, a tartlet-brownie with a gooey center and a crisp outer shell.
Courtesy Bea's of Bloomsburgy Helena Marie Fletcher

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 1:45 pm

What's a baker to do when all foodies can talk about, on both sides of the Atlantic, is the cronut craze, a croissant-doughnut that NPR reported on earlier this year? Simple: Come up with an equally addictive hybrid dessert.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

No Positive Tests For Doping At This Year's Tour De France

There were no positive doping tests during the 2013 Tour de France, officials say. Here, Chris Froome, the overall winner, steps into the anti-doping control bus after a stage in the race.
Pascal Guyot AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of samples taken from riders in this summer's Tour de France found no signs of doping, officials say. The epic race, which was put on for the hundredth time in 2013, has been at the center of recent doping scandals.

Anti-doping officials say they took 202 blood and urine samples before the race began, and an additional 419 during competition. Nearly 200 of those samples were taken with the goal of creating a "biological passport" for riders, to establish a baseline of their body chemistry.

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