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All Tech Considered
2:30 am
Mon September 9, 2013

It's OK To Protest In China, Just Don't March

Security guards stand outside newspaper offices in Guangdong province in January, where banners and flowers were laid in protest of censorship.
AP

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 12:12 pm

Thousands of messages posted on the Internet every day in China get censored. Until now, little has been known about how the Chinese censorship machine works — except that it is comprehensive.

"It probably is the largest effort ever to selectively censor human expression," says Harvard University social scientist Gary King. "They don't censor everything. There are millions of Chinese [who] talk about millions of things. But the effort to prune the Internet of certain kinds of information is unprecedented."

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Parallels
2:29 am
Mon September 9, 2013

How To Build An Afghan Army, In A Million Difficult Steps

Afghan soldiers and contractors are taught about the workings of a diesel-powered electrical generator at Forward Operating Base Nolay in Helmand province.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 11:57 am

It's 8 a.m. on a recent day at Forward Operating Base Nolay, a small Marine outpost in Taliban-infested Sangin District of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. The Marines are in the process of caffeinating and preparing for the day.

Suddenly, explosions and gunfire ring out. The Marines don't run for their weapons or bunkers for that matter. They don't even flinch.

"We can sit here and we can have a cup of coffee when there's booms going on, we're not concerned about it," says Lt. Col. Jonathan Loney.

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Mon September 9, 2013

From Birth, Our Microbes Become As Personal As A Fingerprint

We may not see them, but we need them.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 12:58 pm

Look in the mirror and you won't see your microbiome. But it's there with you from the day you are born. Over time, those bacteria, viruses and fungi multiply until they outnumber your own cells 10 to 1.

As babies, the microbes may teach our immune systems how to fight off bad bugs that make us sick and ignore things that aren't a threat.

We get our first dose of microbes from our mothers, both in the birth canal and in breast milk. Family members tend to have similar microbiomes.

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The Two-Way
2:28 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Obama Presses Lawmakers For Authorization On Syria

Vice President Joe Biden stands in front of his residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, as President Obama arrives at a dinner Biden is hosting for Republican senators.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 11:02 am

President Obama is ratcheting up pressure on lawmakers to support his request for limited U.S. military strikes in Syria. The White House says the Syrian government is responsible for a chemical weapons attack last month near the capital, Damascus.

On Sunday night, the president stopped by a dinner Vice President Joe Biden was holding for Republican senators.

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The Two-Way
12:48 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Football Fan Dies At Candlestick Park

Fans tailgate outside Candlestick Park in 2012.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 9:17 am

An unidentified man fell to his death Sunday during the San Francisco 49ers' home opener at Candlestick Park.

He reportedly fell from the Jamestown walkway, which goes around the outside of the San Francisco area stadium.

Witnesses say the man appeared to be intoxicated.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
5:28 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

How Could A Drought Spark A Civil War?

Farmers ride in their tractor in the drought-hit region of Hasaka in northeastern Syria on June 17, 2010.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:32 pm

The background of the Syrian conflict can seem obscure to outsiders, but the spark that started it all is often traced back to the city of Dara'a, in February of 2011.

A group of young people writing Arab Spring protest slogans on a wall are arrested and beaten.

"When that news broke there was a massive demonstration on the street, and that was the first spark one can call of the Syrian uprising," Nayan Chanda tells NPR's Jacki Lyden.

But long before a single shot was fired in Syria, there was drought in Dara'a, laying the groundwork for social unrest.

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Animals
4:33 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Hired Hog Trapper Has Three Years To Clean Out Dallas

Feral hogs were once just a rural problem in Texas, but now they threaten to turn city parks into sties.
Courtesy City Trapping

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:26 pm

Texas has a pig problem.

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Animals
4:33 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Answering The Cranes' Call: 40 Years Of Preserving Grace

Mated pairs of red-crowned cranes perform a "unison call," a complex and extended series of calls between the male and female that reinforces the pair bond.
Sture Traneving

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:26 pm

Of all the world's birds, perhaps none are more mystical than cranes.

From Asia to North America, these tall birds with haunting cries have been woven into paintings, literature and folk tales. But today, 10 of the world's 15 crane species are threatened, and some are on the brink of extinction.

Their grass and wetland habitats are devastated all over the world. The International Crane Foundation, based in Wisconsin, has been studying and advocating for the birds for 40 years. George Archibald founded it with another young ornithologist on a family farm near Baraboo.

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Humans
4:33 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

From The Fall Of Failure, Success Can Take Flight

Members of S. A. Andrée's 1897 journey survey their downed vessel. This photo was recovered from a camera when their remains were found 33 years later.
Courtesy of Grenna Museum, Andréexpeditionen Polarcenter/Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography/National Geographic

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:26 pm

Diana Nyad's successful swim from Cuba to Key West on Monday was made all the sweeter because she had tried — and failed — four times before.

She learned you should "never, ever give up," but she also learned some practical lessons to help beat the elements in those earlier attempts. Out of failure, she innovated. And out of innovation, she succeeded.

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NPR Story
3:52 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

After Years Of War, Rebuilding Iraq's Libraries

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:26 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

If you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Coming up, the art of embracing failure.

But first, reading and learning have been enshrined in Baghdad's storied libraries for centuries. Some were destroyed by Mongol invaders hundreds of years ago, but more recently, the war in Iraq savaged the country's libraries. Looting and burning left many of them emptied of books and patrons.

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NPR Story
3:52 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Wrestling Keeps Hold On Olympics And Avoids Cut

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:26 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

If you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

The ancient Olympic sport of wrestling will be the future Olympic sport of wrestling. Wrestling was the winner of a vote by members of the International Olympic Committee earlier today. It beat out squash and a combined bid by baseball and softball for inclusion in the 2020 and 2024 games.

NPR's Mike Pesca has been covering the IOC meetings in Buenos Aires, and he joins us now. Hello there, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

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The Two-Way
2:38 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Police Challenge Prince Andrew During Walk At Palace

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, seen here at Ascot Racecourse in June, was confronted by police in a garden at Buckingham Palace, who ordered him to identify himself.
Chris Jackson Getty Images

For Prince Andrew, a stroll in the garden of Buckingham Palace turned into a confrontation with police, after officers ordered the prince to show ID. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is the son of Queen Elizabeth II; Buckingham is her most famous residence.

"We are grateful to the duke for his understanding and have apologized for any inconvenience caused," Scotland Yard says.

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Book Reviews
2:38 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

'Five Days' Of Ambiguous Morality At Katrina-Hit Hospital

An aerial view of Memorial Medical Center surrounded by floodwaters on Sept. 9, 2005.
Kathy Anderson The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 5:26 pm

If we didn't experience Hurricane Katrina ourselves, we saw it: the ominous red pinwheel on the radar, the wrecked Superdome, the corpses. And certainly we saw our shame — America's inequality, negligence and violence were all laid bare by the storm.

But one tragedy went largely unwitnessed. And this is the subject of Sheri Fink's provocative new book, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer examines what happens when people make life-and-death decisions in a state of anarchy.

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Shots - Health News
12:36 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Treatment For Middle East Coronavirus Works In Monkey Tests

The source? Signs of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus have been detected in camels on the Arabian Peninsula. But it's still a mystery how people catch the disease.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 9:18 am

A mysterious disease in the Middle East has triggered international alarms for two big reasons. The virus is often deadly: It has killed almost half of the 114 people known to have caught it. And there's no clear treatment for it.

Now scientists might have made some progress toward fixing that second problem.

A combination of two drugs commonly used for other viral infections reduced the symptoms of the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, in monkeys, virologists report Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine.

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Michigan Beats Notre Dame, Plays 'Chicken Dance' Song

The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Saturday night, 41-30 — and then celebrated by playing some polka. Here, the Irish's Chris Brown is tackled by Michigan's Delonte Hollowell after making a catch.
Gregory Shamus Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 2:51 pm

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The Two-Way
11:16 am
Sun September 8, 2013

Wrestling Gets A New Hold On Olympics, Avoids Being Cut

The delegation of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles celebrates as its sport is voted to be included in the 2020 and 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
Scott Halleran Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 12:16 pm

Wrestling, which was bounced from the Olympics' permanent roster of sports earlier this year, has been given a reprieve: It will be part of the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. In a vote held Sunday, the International Olympic Committee chose it over squash and a combined bid from baseball and softball.

Wrestling was cut from the list of 25 core Summer Olympic sports in February. As NPR's Mike Pesca reported, the cut came as a shock.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Sun September 8, 2013

Syria Developments: Debate In Washington; Assad Speaks To Rose

The Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Takla in the Syrian Christian town of Maaloula is seen on Sept. 7. The town is now controlled by a rebel group with al-Qaida ties.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 4:05 pm

We're following several stories regarding Syria Sunday, including new comments from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. There are also reports that an Islamist group with ties to al-Qaida has seized a town with a large Christian population. Elsewhere, officials in the U.S. and its allies are debating how to respond to the conflict that began in 2011, as President Obama's administration tries to shore up support for military action.

We'll update this post with news as it emerges today.

Update at 5 p.m. ET: Sampling Of Political Debate

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The Two-Way
8:14 am
Sun September 8, 2013

France Leads Europe In Hunting, Newspaper Says

Hunters gather prior to a wild boar hunt in Pietrosella, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, in August.
Pascal Pochard Casabianca AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 9:46 am

French sports fans are known for their love of soccer. But according to Le Figaro, the country's "second sport" is hunting. The newspaper cites the National Federation of Hunters, which says that among all European countries, France has the most hunters.

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Sun September 8, 2013

Man, 107, Dies In Shootout With Police

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 9:43 am

A 107-year-old Arkansas man who held off police is dead after a SWAT team stormed a house during a reported exchange of gunfire on Saturday afternoon.

Police officers had arrived at the house in Pine Bluff, Ark., to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. They spoke with two people, who said Monroe Isadore had pointed a gun at them. Isadore was in his bedroom, they said.

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Middle East
6:14 am
Sun September 8, 2013

'The Family House Was Hit': Syrian Attack Kills Palestinians

Ahmed al-Hurani, left, and his son, Bassam, live in the West Bank. Eleven members of their family living in Syria died in the chemical attack on Aug. 21.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 9:38 am

The U.S. says more than 1,400 people were killed by chemical weapons in Syria on Aug. 21. Other sources have cited lower figures.

Not all victims were Syrian. A Palestinian family in Jenin, in the northern West Bank, is mourning the loss of 11 members.

'Everyone Inside Had Died'

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Science
6:14 am
Sun September 8, 2013

'Memory Pinball' And Other Reasons You Need A Nap

On the surface, sleep may seem like an evolutionary disaster, but its benefits have come to outweigh its potential downsides.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 12:40 pm

We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, but much of that function remains a mystery. Weekend Edition Sunday is asking some pretty fundamental, yet complicated, questions about why we do it and why we can't seem to get more of it.

Dr. Matthew Walker says the question of why we sleep remains "that archetypal mystery."

Walker, the principal investigator at the sleep lab the University of California, Berkeley, works with patients who suffer from sleep abnormalities. He says the complexity of sleep makes the research that much more fascinating.

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Environment
4:32 am
Sun September 8, 2013

Climate Change Leaves Hares Wearing The Wrong Colors

A white snowshoe hare against a brown background makes the animal easy prey.
L.S. Mills Research Photo

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 12:40 pm

The effects of climate change often happen on a large scale, like drought or a rise in sea level. In the hills outside Missoula, Mont., wildlife biologists are looking at a change to something very small: the snowshoe hare.

Life as snowshoe hare is pretty stressful. For one, almost everything in the forest wants to eat you.

Alex Kumar, a graduate student at the University of Montana, lists the animals that are hungry for hares.

"Lynx, foxes, coyotes, raptors, birds of prey. Interestingly enough, young hares, their main predator is actually red squirrels."

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Code Switch
12:15 am
Sun September 8, 2013

The Internal Debates That We Don't See

Roiling debates and criticism within minority communities don't often bubble up into the mainstream media, which is most focused on the fascinations of the majority.
iStockPhoto

Note: This post discusses and includes a racial slur. Be warned.

At a church near Charlotte, N.C., a pastor recently sent out a note to her congregants asking for greeters — but only greeters of a certain kind.

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Shots - Health News
5:55 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

E-Cigarettes May Match The Patch In Helping Smokers Quit

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 9:18 am

Electronic cigarettes are sparking lots of skepticism from public health types worried they may be a gateway to regular smoking.

But the cigarettes, which use water vapor to deliver nicotine into the lungs, may be as good as the patch when it comes to stop-smoking aids, a study finds.

Smokers who used e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit the old-fashioned kind of cigarettes did about as well at stopping smoking as the people who tried the patch.

After six months, 7.3 percent of e-smokers had dropped cigarettes, compared to 5.8 percent of people wearing the patch.

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Author Interviews
4:33 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

'Be Mine': Love And Identity Tangled In Tehran

How far would you go for love? In Sara Farizan's debut novel, a studious 17-year-old girl named Sahar finds herself deeply, head-over-heels in love with her childhood best friend and neighbor — another teenage girl named Nasrin.

Their story takes place in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal, making their love that much more forbidden. When Nasrin is engaged to be married to a man, Sahar is crushed. In order to openly be with Nasrin, Sahar considers gender-reassignment surgery, which is more accepted in Iran than homosexuality.

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All Tech Considered
4:10 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Baltimore Officials Want To Unplug Phones-For-Cash Kiosks

EcoATM kiosks dispense cash in exchange for used cellphones, MP3 players and tablets.
ecoATM

EcoATMs take old cellphones, MP3 players and tablets in exchange for cash. But the automated kiosks, operating 650 machines in 40 states, are getting bad reviews from police, who are concerned the machines are a magnet for thieves.

The transaction is fairly simple. The machine walks you through the process, scanning your ID to certify you're over 18 and verify your identity. An ecoATM employee inspects the transaction remotely in real time. Once the seller's identity is verified, the kiosk takes the device and assesses its value. You get the cash, and the device is recycled.

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World
4:10 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

In China, Avoiding The 'Great Firewall' Internet Censors

In China, the Internet isn't the free-for-all that it is in the United States. China's communist government censors what's published and some of what's shared online. But some citizens are working around government censors by using agreed-upon "public" code.

Sports
4:10 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Tokyo Chosen To Host 2020 Summer Olympics

The International Olympic Committee chose Tokyo over Istanbul and Madrid to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Summer Games in 2020. This will be a repeat for Tokyo, which hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964.

World
4:10 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Would Failure To Strike Syria Invite More Chemical Weapons Use?

Ivo Daalder, who was U.S. ambassador to NATO during the 2011 military intervention in Libya, says the United States should conduct military strikes against Syria, even if it can't get the backing of the United Nations. He argues that Syrian President Bashar Assad would interpret inaction as an invitation to use chemical weapons in the future. He also says that despite asking for congressional approval for military action, this is ultimately President Obama's call. "This is a lonely place for presidents to be. It will be up to him to make that decision."

World
4:10 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Former U.S. Ambassador Cautions Against Attack on Syria

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

As we said earlier, 11 G-20 member nations signed a resolution yesterday supporting a strong international response to the use of chemical weapons. Nine, including Russia, China and Germany, did not sign. They're calling instead for a diplomatic response.

Today, European Union foreign ministers endorsed a clear and strong response in Syria, but they urged the U.S. to hold off until the U.N. inspectors report the findings of evidence they collected near Damascus.

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