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NPR Story
4:04 am
Thu February 27, 2014

NATO Pressures Karzai To Sign Troop Pact With U.S.

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:30 am

Without the deal, Obama told Afghan President Hamid Karzai this week that the U.S. will move ahead with plans to pull all U.S. troops out the country by the end of 2014. NATO plans to follow suit.

Parallels
2:29 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Anti-Abortion Push Has Spain Debating Definition Of 'Progress'

Anti-abortion advocates protest in Madrid on Oct. 17, 2013. Spain's Parliament is expected to approve abortion restrictions in the coming weeks.
Daniel Ochoa de Olza AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:30 am

Born in a tiny pueblo south of Madrid, Esperanza Puente arrived in the Spanish capital fresh out of high school. It was the late 1980s, and Spain was reveling in newfound freedoms after its military dictator Francisco Franco died and democracy took hold.

"The end of the 1980s was a wild time in Madrid β€” alcohol, drugs, nightlife, sex without commitment. When I arrived from a small village, I ate it up, like it was the end of the world!" recalls Puente, now 43, smiling. "But I ended up pregnant, and my boyfriend suddenly didn't want anything to do with me."

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Your Health
2:28 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Good Art Is Popular Because It's Good. Right?

What makes the Mona Lisa β€” or any piece of art β€” successful?
Sergio Velayosf Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:47 am

In July of last year, a man named Sidney Sealine went to see the Mona Lisa in Paris.

The idea was to spend some time with the picture, see for himself the special spark that made the painting so famous.

But Sealine couldn't even get close.

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Hollywood Jobs
2:28 am
Thu February 27, 2014

'Clap!' On Set, The Signature Sound Of The Slate

Milan "Miki" Janicin slates a scene on a location shoot for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Given the crowded location, "I'm actually on the phone with my first assistant, so he could let me know when the camera is rolling," Janicin says.
Sidney Ray Baldwin

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:12 pm

More than the roar of the MGM lion, more than the 20th Century Fox fanfare, the iconic sound of moviemaking is the sharp clap of a slate β€” although film folks have a language of their own to describe it.

"Miki's hitting the sticks on this one," says assistant cameraman Larry Nielsen, pointing to his assistant.

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Politics
2:26 am
Thu February 27, 2014

FEMA Flood Insurance Law Faces Partial Repeal Over Premiums

Levees, like this one in New Orleans, must be certified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before appearing on federal flood maps. This change has resulted in higher flood insurance premiums in some areas.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 9:38 am

The House is expected to vote as early as next week to partially repeal a 2012 law that overhauled the National Flood Insurance Program, which is tens of billions of dollars in debt.

The law was meant to make people living in flood-prone areas foot more of the insurance bill. But lawmakers didn't realize how many homeowners would be affected β€” or how hard they'd be hit.

You can find some of those homeowners in Bayou Gauche, about 30 miles west of New Orleans.

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Parallels
2:25 am
Thu February 27, 2014

As Brazil Gears Up For Olympics, Some Poor Families Get Moved Out

The Terni apartment complex in Rio de Janeiro's far west zone of Campo Grande. Many residents were relocated to this area because their old neighborhoods were knocked down to make way for building projects related to the Olympics.
Lianne Milton for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:16 am

Jeane Tomas scraped all her money together to build a house where she could raise her son. She'd been renting in the favela, or shanty town, of Vila Harmonia and wanted to put down roots in the community where she lived when her child was born.

The house went up β€” only to quickly come down.

"There is this frustration to have worked so hard, dreamed so much to leave everything behind," she said.

Now that the Winter Olympics in Sochi are over attention will be turning to Brazil, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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Heavy Rotation
12:03 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Parker Millsap.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:21 pm

Heavy Rotation is a monthly sampler of public radio hosts' favorite songs. Check out past editions here.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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The Salt
11:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

First Look: The FDA's Nutrition Label Gets A Makeover

The proposed Nutrition Facts label (right) has a few subtle differences from the current label, including bolder calorie counts and added sugar information.
Food and Drug Administration

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:33 am

Ready for a reality check about how many calories you're eating or drinking?

The proposed new nutrition facts panel may help.

The Obama administration Thursday released its proposed tweaks to the iconic black and white panel that we're all accustomed to seeing on food packages.

The most visible change is that calorie counts are bigger and bolder β€” to give them greater emphasis.

In addition, serving sizes start to reflect the way most of us really eat. Take, for example, ice cream. The current serving size is a half-cup. But who eats that little?

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All Tech Considered
11:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

The Web At 25: Hugely Popular, And Viewed As A Positive Force

A 1992 copy of the world's first Web page. British physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:58 pm

For something that's become so ubiquitous in our lives, the World Wide Web is just a youngster. It was only 25 years ago that Tim Berners-Lee first created a rudimentary information retrieval system that relied on the Internet. It's since exploded into a primary means by which we learn, work and connect. (To put things in perspective, the film Die Hard is older than the World Wide Web.)

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The Two-Way
8:44 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Mapping Differences In America's Musical Tastes, State By State

A map of the U.S. lists the musical acts that set states apart from each other. It's not a matter of an artist's popularity, says Paul Lamere, who made the map, but of a state's distinct preferences.
Paul Lamere, Director of Developer Platform at The Echo Nest

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:24 pm

Are you streaming music right now? If you're in America's Pacific region, there's a much better chance you're nodding along with Cat Power rather than grooving to Fantasia, which you'd be more likely to be doing if you were across the country in the South Atlantic. Those observations come from a map titled "Regionalisms in U.S. Listening Preferences."

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Shots - Health News
6:56 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

More Hints That Dad's Age At Conception Helps Shape A Child's Brain

Boy meets girl, sperm meets egg β€” how much does the age of each matter?
James Steidl/Kyle Gruba iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 4:05 pm

Traditionally, research has focused on women's "biological clock." But in recent years, scientists have been looking more and more at how the father's age at conception might affect the baby, too.

A study published Wednesday hints that age really might matter β€” in terms of the child's mental health.

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Code Switch
6:02 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk β€” In Chinese

Chinese billionaire Xander Feng, played by Terry Chen, shakes hands with Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, in Netflix's House of Cards.
Nathaniel E. Bell Courtesy of Netflix

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

The success of the Netflix series House of Cards lies in the details.

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The Two-Way
5:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Robot Swarm: A Flock Of Drones That Fly Autonomously

An image from a video by the COLLMOT Robotic Research Project shows a group of drones flying autonomously across a field.
COLLMOT Robotic Research Project

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:31 pm

Can drones, the small unmanned aircraft that are at the forefront of fields from warfare to commercial delivery systems, fly without human intervention? A team of Hungarian researchers answers yes, having created 10 drones that self-organize as they move through the air.

The team based its creation on birds such as pigeons, which fly in tight bunches while making adjustments and decisions. They fitted quadcopters β€” drones with four rotors β€” with GPS, processors and radios that allow them to navigate in formation or while following a leader.

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The Far Reach Of The West's Drought
5:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

The Search For Drinking Water In California Has Led To The Ocean

Extreme drought conditions in California have state officials looking for alternative sources of water, including desalinated ocean water.
Richard Vogel AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

California is getting some much needed rain this week, but more than two-thirds of the state is still in extreme drought conditions, and that has the state thinking about alternative ways of getting water.

On the coast in Carlsbad, Calif., construction workers are building what will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. When finished in early 2016, it is expected to provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water every day.

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Shots - Health News
4:42 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Blood Test Provides More Accurate Prenatal Testing For Down Syndrome

The new test scans a mother's blood for bits of a fetus's DNA.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:24 am

A new blood test offers pregnant women a safe and much more accurate way to screen for Down syndrome.

A study that evaluated the test in 1,914 pregnancies found that the test, which checks DNA, produces far fewer false alarms than the current screening techniques.

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The Salt
4:41 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Maybe That BPA In Your Canned Food Isn't So Bad After All

Should you fear a chemical inside metal food containers like the ones that hold beans? Government scientists say no.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 11:39 am

Maybe BPA isn't so bad after all.

The plastic additive has been vilified by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are reporting in the journal Toxicological Sciences.

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Parallels
4:35 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Ask Me Anything: Reporting From Ground Zero In Ukraine

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
NPR

NPR's Berlin Correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has covered four revolutions in the last three years, including the Arab Spring.

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The Record
4:28 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Paco De Lucia, Modern Superstar Of Flamenco, Dies

Paco de Lucia in 1982.
Paco Junquera Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

Paco de Lucia, considered by his fans and critics to be the world's greatest flamenco guitarist, died Wednesday in Mexico of a heart attack. The 66-year-old musician was a modern superstar in a Roma, or Gypsy, tradition that is hundreds of years old.

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Parallels
3:49 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

U.S. Has Little Leverage To Stop Political Violence In Venezuela

A demonstrator confronts riot policemen during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, on Feb. 22.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

The escalating political crisis in Venezuela has set off alarms in Washington. But there's little the U.S. has been able to do, aside from criticize the jailing of opposition figures or the rising death toll as protesters continue to take to the streets, blaming the government for high inflation and crime.

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All Tech Considered
3:48 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

With Tech Outsourcing, The Internet Can Be 'A Scary Place'

When it comes to Internet security, many experts agree outsourcing can create added risks, even if they disagree on the merits of outsourcing in the first place.
Igor Stevanovic iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

When you hear the word outsourcing, you might think of threats to American jobs. To cyber experts, there's another threat: to our data.

This week, thousands of the industry's leading minds from around the world are discussing the Internet and security at their annual powwow in San Francisco, the RSA Conference. These topics matter more and more to us non-experts, especially as people become the victims of cybercrime.

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Microphone Check
3:38 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

ScHoolboy Q: 'I Call Myself All-American'

ScHoolboy Q onstage at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City two days before his major label debut dropped.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:21 pm

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NPR Story
3:37 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Renowned Flamenco Guitarist Paco de Lucia Dies At Age 66

Spanish guitarist Paco de LucΓ­a is pictured in 2007. (Cornel Putan Alin/Wikimedia Commons)

Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia died suddenly of a heart attack today in Cancun, Mexico, while on the beach with his children.

The 66-year-old guitarist vastly expanded the international audience for flamenco music and helped to legitimize flamenco in Spain itself, during a time when the music was largely being ignored by mainstream popularity.

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NPR Story
3:37 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

After Stabbing, Fears Grow About Hong Kong Media Freedom

Pro-democracy activists hold a sign with an image of former chief editor of the Ming Pao daily Kevin Lau Chun-to as they attend a candlelight vigil at a hospital, to urge the police to solve the stabbing incident involving Lau, on February 26, 2014 in Hong Kong. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

The former editor of the Hong Kong daily newspaper Ming Pao is fighting for his life after being stabbed in Hong Kong this morning by an assailant on a motocycle.

Kevin Lau Chun-to was editor of the newspaper when it took part in an investigation published last month that exposed offshore tax havens that have helped the relatives of Chinese leaders hide wealth.

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NPR Story
3:37 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Average Age Of Farmers Keeps Climbing

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture takes a head count of who is farming the land. The latest census is out and it shows that there’s been a slight uptick in the number of young people getting into farming, but not enough to stop the average age of American farmers from climbing.

That has observers of rural America worrying. Without new blood, the existence of many small communities is at risk. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media has our story.

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Shots - Health News
3:24 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

You Got What In The Mail? Home Test Boosts Colon Cancer Screening

Instructions for the colon screening test were devised so they can be understood in any language.
Courtesy of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 am

Everybody's supposed to get screened for colon cancer starting at age 50, but many of us haven't gotten around to it. That's especially true in the Latino community, where about half of people are up to date on screening, compared to 66 percent of non-Latino whites.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Scientists Question Safety Of Genetically Altering Human Eggs

Up till now, all babies have had two genetic parents. That could soon change.
KlΓΆpper & Eisenschmidt GbR iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

A panel of government advisers has expressed serious concerns about a controversial proposal to allow scientists to try to make babies using eggs that have been genetically altered to include DNA from another woman.

Members of the Food and Drug Administration panel said they were worried that not enough research has been done to know whether the experiments would be safe.

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Education
3:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Teachers Unions Mobilize To Delay The Common Core

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The nation's largest teachers union is calling for a delay in the adoption of the Common Core. That's the name of new math and language arts standards that are supposed to be in place next fall in 45 states. The 3 million-member National Education Association has been a strong supporter. But as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports, the NEA now says teachers and students haven't had enough time to prepare.

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Education
3:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Fed Up With Zero Tolerance In Schools, Advocates Push For Change

De'angelo Rollins got into a fight with a fellow student at their middle school in Bryan, Texas. He was sent to the principal's office β€” and, later, adult criminal court.
Laura Isensee KUHF

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 2:34 pm

In 2010, De'angelo Rollins got into a fight with a bully at his new middle school in Bryan, Texas. His mother, Marjorie Rollins Holman, says her shy son reported the bullying, but the teacher didn't stop it.

Then it came to blows.

"The boy ended up hitting my son in the face first," Holman says. "My son hit him back, and they got in a little scuffle."

That scuffle landed her then-12-year-old son in the principal's office β€” and in adult criminal court after the school police officer wrote the sixth-grader a ticket.

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Shots - Health News
3:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Massachusetts Launches Health Care Shopping Experiment

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed the law enacting the state's latest phase of health care on August 6, 2012.
Eric Haynes/Governor Deval Patrick's Office

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

To shop for health care, it would help to know what childbirth or a CT scan will cost ahead of time. But is it possible to actually list prices for medical procedures? And will patients armed with the information look for bargains when they seek care?

Massachusetts is trying to find out. Since Jan. 1, hospitals and doctors there have been required to tell patients how much things cost, if they ask. It's part of the state's health care cost control law. We set out to run a test.

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Music Reviews
3:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

The Spotlight Shines Bright On A Consummate Sideman's Debut

Benmont Tench has a reputation in rock as the guy you want playing on your album. You Should Be So Lucky is his solo debut.
Sam Jones Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

If you ever form a band, you'll be very lucky to find a collaborator like Benmont Tench. You may know him as the consummate sideman, keyboardist and co-founder of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Or as a renowned session musician who has played with Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and dozens of other artists.

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