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The Two-Way
9:51 am
Thu September 12, 2013

New FBI Chief Says Budget Cuts Threaten Agency's Mission

Newly minted FBI Director James Comey speaks at a swearing-in ceremony last week at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 11:10 am

In his first full week on the job, new FBI Director Jim Comey is already expressing "intense concern" about budget cuts hitting the bureau as part of sequestration.

Comey used his first visits to FBI field offices in Virginia and New York, where he once served as a federal prosecutor, to sound an alarm about the ability to fulfill the agency's mission in a time of belt tightening.

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The Two-Way
9:43 am
Thu September 12, 2013

J.K. Rowling To Write Screenplay For 'Harry Potter' Spinoff

Remember the frenzy when Harry Potter books and movies came out? Fans may be cast under a similar spell now that J.K. Rowling has agreed to write the screenplay for a Potter spinoff. (This 2005 photo was taken in London when the book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released.)
Paco Serinelli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 7:00 am

Hold on to your sorting hats, everyone, there's exciting news today for muggles everywhere:

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The Salt
9:28 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Doctors Lean Toward Introducing Allergenic Foods To Kids Early

SafetyTat, the inventor of children's safety tattoos, offers a line of allergy tattoos to help children with food allergies.
Courtesy of SafetyTat

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 8:31 am

It's an anxiety that lots of us parents live with: With all the talk about the high rates of food allergies, will my baby or toddler be next?

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Parallels
9:25 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Next Door To Syria, Iraq Slowly Boils

Mourners carry the coffin of a car bomb victim during the funeral in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, Iraq, last week. Violence is on the rise in Iraq, but it is receiving little international attention.
AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 10:56 am

With the current focus on Syria it's easy to miss that things are getting worse again in Iraq. Since the spring, the country has been pounded by waves of attacks on civilians and security forces by extremists with links to al-Qaida. Three car bombs in the Iraqi city of Baquba killed 10 people Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Missouri Vote Fails On Measure To Invalidate Federal Gun Laws

George Sherer and his son, Jeff, look at a SIG Sauer 716 patrol rifle during the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits last April in St. Louis.
Whitney Curtis Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 10:30 am

Missouri lawmakers failed to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation aimed at invalidating certain federal firearms restrictions.

Senators voted 22-12 Wednesday night to override the veto, falling a single vote short of the required two-thirds majority. The override had already passed the Republican-controlled House.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Massive Molasses Spill Devastates Honolulu Marine Life

video shot by diver Roger White for Hawaii News Now shows how the molasses spill has affected the water in part of Honolulu Harbor and killed many creatures." href="/post/massive-molasses-spill-devastates-honolulu-marine-life" class="noexit lightbox">
An image from video shot by diver Roger White for Hawaii News Now shows how the molasses spill has affected the water in part of Honolulu Harbor and killed many creatures.
Hawaii News Now

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 2:20 pm

"Everything down there is dead."

That's one stunning quote from Hawaii News Now's latest report about the devastating damage that's been done to the marine life off Honolulu's Sand Island by 233,000 gallons of molasses that were spilled into Honolulu harbor on Monday.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Thu September 12, 2013

UPDATED: U.S. Rejects Assad's Timetable For A Chemical Weapons Deal

In Washington, D.C., this week, there have been demonstrations both in favor of and against a military strike on targets in Syria. Outside the White House on Monday, supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad waved a Syrian flag with his face on it.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:44 pm

Thirty days after his regime signs the international Chemical Weapons Convention that bans their use he will start handing over data about Syria's stockpile, President Bashar Assad told a Russian TV channel Thursday.

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Jobless Claims Hit 7-Year Low, But Data Weren't Complete

At a Target store in San Francisco last month, job seekers waited in line.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

A plunge in the number of first-time claims for jobless benefits last week — to a 7-year-low 292,000 — can be partly explained away by "technical problems," Reuters writes:

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Thu September 12, 2013

You May Not Want To Look: Blobfish Named 'Ugliest Animal'

The blobfish: world's ugliest animal?
NOAA.gov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 8:47 am

At first glance, we thought it was a Star Wars character.

But, no, the blobfish is a real creature that bobs around in the waters off Australia.

And now it's the "winner" of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society's online vote to choose a mascot.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Thu September 12, 2013

'Massive Flooding' In Colorado's Boulder County

A city worker talks on his phone while surveying high water levels on Boulder Creek following overnight flash flooding in downtown Boulder, Colo. today. Flash flooding in Colorado has left two people dead and the widespread high waters are keeping search and rescue teams from reaching stranded residents and motorists in Boulder and nearby mountain communities.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:28 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: KGNU's Maeve Conran on the flooding

A huge overnight downpour that brought 4 to 7 inches of rain to the area around Boulder, Colo., has already produced "massive flooding" in the streets there, The Denver Post writes.

Even worse:

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Europe
5:25 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Pope Accepts Hand-Me-Down Car

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Picture now a boxy little 1984 four-door Renault with 190,000 miles. The perfect hand-me-down car for a teenager maybe, but the Pope? Well, Pope Francis accepted the keys to one over the weekend - a gift from a 70-year-old priest, Renzo Zocca of Verona. Pope Francis has famously shunned luxury items, including the popemobile, but he plans to drive this car himself around the Vatican grounds. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Texting Driver Ends Up All Wet

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Two kinds of news stories seem to come up again and again. The first is the guy who writes a text message about a drug deal and inadvertently sends it to the cops. This story, too, seems like it's happened more than once. A driver in Waldorf, Maryland lost control of her car while texting and landed in a lake. She was not hurt. She faces criminal charges. We do not know if her cell phone contract allows her a replacement when the phone gets wet.

The Two-Way
5:00 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Russian Plan 'Is Just A Lie,' Syrian Rebel General Says

A Free Syrian Army fighter in eastern Syria on Wednesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 8:13 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris

As Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to sit down with his Russian counterpart Thursday to discuss whether the Assad regime's chemical weapons can be handed over to international monitors, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army was telling NPR that "the Russian initiative is just a lie."

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Around the Nation
3:27 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mill Closing Is 'Major Setback' For Ala. Town

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The world's largest paper producer says it's closing a mill in Alabama that employs 1,100 people. International Paper Company blames the closure in the town of Courtland on a decline in the demand for paper. Stan Ingold of Alabama Public Radio reports.

STAN INGOLD, BYLINE: The small town of Courtland, Alabama is reeling after the announcement by Memphis-based International Paper to close their mill. Diane Scanland is the executive director of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

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Around the Nation
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Two Years On, Protesters Still Fighting Wisconsin Governor

Members of a loosely organized, anti-Walker group known as the Solidarity Singers sing outside the Wisconsin Capitol in July.
Michelle Johnson AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 12:34 pm

It's been more than two years since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill stripping collective bargaining rights from most public employees. The new law sparked massive protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol because many saw it as an attack on unions.

While most demonstrators eventually went away, a small group did not. They arrive at the building most weekdays to sing anti-Walker and pro-union songs.

On a recent day, more than 100 people were gathered in a circle on the Capitol lawn, tapping cowbells and singing a localized version of "This Land Is Your Land."

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All Tech Considered
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Long Before Most, Intel Chased The Smart Watch

The Microma watch was the first watch with a liquid crystal display, but the limited technology of the time prevented Intel from achieving much else with it.
Courtesy of Intel

In the past couple of weeks, several major companies — Samsung, Sony, Qualcomm — have announced they will release smart watches this fall. As the name suggests, the gadgets do more than keep time.

The latest spate of computerized watches promise to do everything from working as a phone to taking photos and fielding emails. Smart watches have actually been around for a long time, but they've never really taken off as a product.

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Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

A Check On The Housing Industry

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:51 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is, of course, a lot of attention being paid about what's happening in Richmond because millions of other American homeowners around the country are also underwater - again, homes that are worth less than their mortgages. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold, who's been following all of this. Good morning.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: How many homeowners are still underwater? I gather with the housing market coming back, this is changing - for the better.

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Around the Nation
2:55 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Missouri Tax Posturing May Influence Other States

Republican lawmakers in Missouri on Wednesday failed to override a tax veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. The controversial measure would have lowered state income taxes for the first time in decades.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:50 am

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon used some fancy footwork to ensure his veto of a tax cut stayed in place — even though it faced a supermajority of Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate

Nixon said he vetoed the tax cut because the $700 million price tag was "unaffordable." But he knew in doing so, he was up against a lion of a legislature, with a veto-proof majority in both chambers.

Lawmakers on Wednesday failed to override Nixon's veto.

Dan Ponder, a political scientist at Drury University, says the governor had a decidedly uphill battle.

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Business
1:46 am
Thu September 12, 2013

5 Years After Financial Crisis, Are Big Banks Still A Threat?

The headquarters of Lehman Brothers in Times Square in 2008, the year the financial services firm filed for bankruptcy.
Hiroko Masuike Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:30 am

It's been five years since Lehman Brothers collapsed and touched off a banking crisis that is still being felt by the global economy. Today, the banking industry is a lot stronger than it was, but some critics say efforts to reform banking regulations have fallen short of their potential.

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Shots - Health News
1:45 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better

Physician Jim Olson cares for children with brain cancer in Seattle. His laboratory studies the gene expression programs controlling neural differentiation, brain tumor genesis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:58 am

Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.

Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Now, a medical researcher in Seattle thinks he has a way to eliminate some of the inevitable ones.

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Author Interviews
1:43 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Tired Of Inequality? One Economist Says It'll Only Get Worse

Economist Tyler Cowen believes that income inequality in America is only increasing. His new book is called Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.
Szasz-Fabian Ilka Erika iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:57 am

Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:

"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."

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Code Switch
12:58 am
Thu September 12, 2013

For Native Americans, Mental Health Budget Cuts Hit Hard

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:49 am

Native American tribes gave up millions of acres to the federal government in the 19th century in exchange for promises of funded health care, education and housing. But time and again, those funds have been cut.

The recent across-the-board federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, are no exception. They came with a 5 percent reduction in funding for mental health services, including suicide prevention. That's especially troubling for Native Americans, whose suicide rate are four times the national average.

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Media
11:36 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Tina Brown To Leave The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown plans to leave the website to produce live forums on news topics.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:41 am

Celebrity editor Tina Brown announced Wednesday that she's leaving The Daily Beast to launch her own media company. She has been a regular guest on Morning Edition. Brown, 59, plans to produce live forums on news topics.

Brown has edited some of the most prestigious publications: Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Tattler. Five years ago, she helped found The Daily Beast — a news and opinion website. Now, the editor-in-chief says she's leaving to do what she calls "theatrical journalism" before live audiences.

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Code Switch
5:19 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

'Baby Veronica' Custody Battle Continues

Veronica, the child at the center of an adoption dispute, smiles in the bathroom of the Cherokee Nation Jack Brown Center in Oklahoma.
Mike Simons/Tulsa World AP

The U.S. Supreme Court may have decided almost three months ago the case known as Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. But the young Native American girl known as "Baby Veronica," who turns 4 years old on Sunday, is still stuck in legal limbo.

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World Cafe
4:31 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Treetop Flyers On World Cafe

Treetop Flyers.
Sam Ford Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 12:28 pm

We welcome British band Treetop Flyers to the World Cafe. They are a folk-rock five-piece that initially turned heads on the main stage of the 2011 Glastonbury Festival. They won the spot through an "emerging artist" competition. From there, they were signed to Loose Music in the U.K. and to Partisan Records in the U.S. and put out their debut full-length record, The Mountain Moves, in June of this year. Their music is very much inspired by California in the '70s, so it was not much of a stretch to decamp to Malibu to record their debut.

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World
4:20 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

What's Driving Russia's Tactical Change On Syria?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to avoid a strike by the U.S.
Michael Klimentyev/Ria Novosti Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:14 pm

For months, Russia has been playing a defensive game on Syria, blocking U.N. resolutions that could have led to the ouster of its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Russia is now on the offense, running with a plan that could avert U.S.-led strikes against Syria by having Syria place its chemical weapons under international control.

So why the change in tactics?

There are several different strands in Russian thinking on the issue.

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Congress Looks Beyond Syria To Its Next Fight

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (right) leads members of Congress as they step outside the Capitol on Wednesday to attend a ceremony in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With him are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Now that Congress' extraordinary Syria debate is on hold, at least for now, the next upcoming drama is really a return to much more familiar territory: how will congressional leaders get enough votes to pass legislation to keep the government from going off yet another metaphorical cliff.

Until Wednesday, it looked like Congress was moving toward a vote this week to fund the government past September, when the fiscal year ends, and into December — thus avoiding a shutdown. But that vote was postponed until next week at the earliest.

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Politics
4:18 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Conservatives Use Budget Deadline To Revive Obamacare Debate

Linda Norman (right) and Joanna Galt, both from Florida, hold their banners during a rally against the health care law Tuesday outside the U.S. Capitol.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:03 pm

With the pause button pushed on the congressional debate over Syria, the House is turning its attention back to the issue that is expected to dominate the fall: the budget.

The long-running fight over spending and the debt is back. The House was supposed to act this week to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, and leaders had hoped to avoid drama. But the vote has been delayed, and drama is brewing.

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Satellite Image Suggests North Korea Is Restarting Reactor

This is a DigitalGlobe image of the 5-megawatt (electric) reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon facility, Aug. 31, with steam seen coming from the electrical power generation building.
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 4:46 pm

North Korea appears to be in the process of restarting a nuclear reactor used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, five years after shutting the facility down as part of international disarmament efforts.

New satellite imagery appears to reveal that the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, which experts believe can produce enough plutonium for one to two bombs a year, shows signs of being operational.

Analysts Nick Hansen and Jeffrey Lewis, writing for the website 38 North, say the satellites show:

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The Two-Way
4:09 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Protesters Hound David Petraeus Before Lecture At CUNY

David Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA in November, citing an extramarital affair.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 9:10 pm

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