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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Book News: 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Sales Top 100 Million

Copies of Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James at the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

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

  • E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey series has now sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, Vintage Books announced on Wednesday. The erotica series, which began as Twilight fanfiction, features shy Anastasia Steele, her handcuff-happy lover, businessman Christian Grey, and Anastasia's "inner goddess," who is prone to impromptu Latin dancing. About 45 million of the copies have been sold in the U.S.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: New Government Takes Shape As Crimea Simmers

Flags fly outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol on Thursday during a rally by pro-Russian protesters. Gunmen seized government buildings in the city.
David Mdzinarishvili Reuters/Landov

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

  • On the NPR Newscast: Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.

Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.

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Animals
5:46 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Koala Escapes From Zoo, Naps And Then Gets Hungry

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene with a wild story of adventure and escape. OK, not that wild. Mundu, two year old koala, went missing from his exhibit at the San Diego Zoo on Tuesday. Not to worry, he's been found. He escaped his enclosure and fell asleep, spending the day in a tree nearby. Zookeepers lured him back with eucalyptus.

Animals
5:34 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Team USA Hockey Player Adopts 2 Stray Dogs From Sochi

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene. Team USA hockey player David Backes did not bring home gold this year. But he did bring home two stray dogs from Sochi. The stray animal population in the Russian resort town received a good bit of attention during the games, and Backes hopes these animals will help raise awareness. The dogs will be monitored in an animal shelter for 30 days, where one caretaker says they'll be getting them ready for adoption, and also teaching them English.

Business
4:15 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Sriracha-Maker Given More Time To Contain Spicy Fumes

Sriracha chili sauce bottles are produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:40 pm

The saga over the darling of the condiment world, Sriracha, continues.

The popular hot sauce in the rooster bottle is made by Huy Fong Foods in the Los Angeles suburb of Irwindale. The city has had to balance its need for business success against complaints from some residents about spicy fumes from the plant.

Wednesday night, after a contentious hearing, Irwindale's city council decided to give Huy Fong a bit more time to figure out how to contain those fumes.

The Sauce America's Hot For

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Movies
4:12 am
Thu February 27, 2014

FBI's Abscam Videos Are As Unbelievable As 'American Hustle'

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

The Oscar contender is loosely based on the Abscam sting, which nailed a senator and six House members on corruption charges. The FBI videotaped some Hollywood-worthy scenes.

Food
4:04 am
Thu February 27, 2014

From Aztecs To Oscars: Popcorn's Beautiful, Explosive Journey

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:06 pm

Popcorn is a truly ancient snack. Archaeologists have uncovered popcorn kernels that are 4,000 years old. They were so well-preserved, they could still pop.

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NPR Story
4:04 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Violence In South Sudan Targets Hospitals

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

Doctors Without Borders says patients have been shot, medical supplies looted and a hospital destroyed. David Greene talks to Sarah Maynard, a program director for the group, about the violence.

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 — 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 — or any piece of art — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — drones with four rotors — 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 Lucía 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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