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Shots - Health News
12:37 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Insurers Aren't Keen On Obama's Pledge To Extend Coverage

In a White House news conference Thursday, President Obama said he had thought that "98 percent" of policyholders would see no change in their current policies, or get a better deal.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 1:53 am

Remember when President Obama said, "If you like your health plan you can keep it?" Now it's more like, "If you like your health plan you can keep it — for another year, and only if your insurance company says it's OK."

It's not clear whether the administration's proposal to let insurers extend the policies they've been canceling for the past couple of months will solve the president's political problem. But it's sure not going over very well with the insurance industry.

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Code Switch
12:36 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Code Switch Roundup: Mascots, Nurses And Yellow Dogs

Yellow Dogs, an indie band from Iran, fled to the United States in 2010 to avoid crackdowns on rock music. This past week, the band met tragedy in a murder/suicide.
Danny Krug AP

Here are some stories about race, ethnicity and culture that have been on our radar here at Code Switch. Share what stories have caught your attention. Tell us on Twitter (@nprcodeswitch) or shout us out in the comments below.

Not every Asian knows martial arts, but ...

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Obama To Congress: 'Let's See' Before Any New Iran Sanctions

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 1:26 pm

President Obama on Thursday asked Congress to hold off on imposing any new economic sanctions on Iran to give negotiators more time to forge a deal on Tehran's nuclear program.

"My message to Congress has been that let's see if this short-term, phase-one deal can be completed to our satisfaction," Obama told reporters during a White House briefing.

"Let's test how willing they are to actually resolve this diplomatically and peacefully," he said.

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The Kennedy Assassination, 50 Years Later
12:16 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

JFK's Lasting Economic Legacy: Lower Tax Rates

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 11:00 am

As the young U.S. senator takes the oath to become president, he sets out to fix an economy struggling with rising unemployment, slumping profits and depressed stock prices.

He knows the deep recession could prevent him from advancing his broader domestic and diplomatic agenda. Yes — all true for President Obama.

But that's what John F. Kennedy faced as well. On his frosty Inauguration Day in January 1961, Kennedy had to start fulfilling his campaign pledge to "get America moving again." Like Obama, he would need to win over a deeply skeptical business community.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
12:15 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Roald Dahl Wanted His Magical 'Matilda' To Keep Books Alive

Author Roald Dahl stands with his wife, American actress Patricia Neal, and their newborn daughter, Lucy, outside their home in Buckinghamshire, England, in August 1965. Roald Dahl died in 1990.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:26 pm

Every night, author Roald Dahl told his children a story: "Most of them [were] pretty bad," he admitted in a 1972 BBC4 interview, "but now and again you'd tell one and you see a little spark of interest. And if they ever said the next night, 'Tell us some more about that one,' you knew you had something. This went on for quite a long time with a story about a peach that got bigger and bigger and I thought, 'Well heck, why don't I write it.' "

That bedtime story became Dahl's first children's book, James and the Giant Peach.

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All Tech Considered
12:15 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

For Ridesharing Apps Like Lyft, Commerce Is A Community

A Lyft driver in San Francisco drops off a passenger as a taxi passes by. The smartphone app lets city dwellers hitch rides from strangers.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 2:34 pm

This week on-air and online, the tech team is exploring the sharing economy. You'll find the stories on this blog and aggregated at this link, and we would love to hear your questions about the topic. Just email, leave a comment or tweet.

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All Tech Considered
12:15 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Electric Cars Drive Demand For Cheaper, More Powerful Batteries

A prototype of a flexible battery from Imprint Energy, one of 40 companies working on battery technology in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Imprint Energy

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 2:29 pm

If there's one person you'd expect to have an electric car, it's Venkat Srinivasan. He's in charge of battery research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

"I'm actually in the market for a new car and would love to buy an electric car," he says. "But there are practical problems."

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Denver's Smell-O-Scope Targets Marijuana's Skunky Scent

A man uses the Nasal Ranger to detect smells in the southern U.S., in this photo provided by St. Croix Sensory. In Denver, the device is being used to monitor complaints of strong marijuana smells.
Courtesy of Nasal Ranger

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado. But that doesn't mean residents want the air to smell like a pot rally. Denver is getting more calls to enforce an odor ordinance that can impose a buzz-killing fine on violators. To find them, the city relies on a device called the Nasal Ranger.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Images Of Tacloban: Before And After Typhoon Haiyan

A composite image of Tacloban, Philippines, before and after Typhoon Haiyan.
Google and DigitalGlobe

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:53 am

Typhoon Haiyan caused widespread destruction in parts of the Philippines when it tore through on Friday. One of the hardest-hit areas was the city of Tacloban and its more than 220,000 residents. "Virtually all of the structures, if they were not made out of concrete or steel, are gone," a top U.S. military commander said.

These satellite images from Google and DigitalGlobe show how Tacloban and the Anibong district looked in February 2012 and then two days after Haiyan made landfall.

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Shots - Health News
11:12 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Oregon Shines On Medicaid, As Texas Stalls On Sign-Ups

Kyle Thompson and his family are all going to have health coverage in Oregon, thanks to the state's successful effort to enroll people in Medicaid.
Kristian Foden-Vencil

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 2:29 pm

Oregon might be seen as a complete failure or a surprising success when it comes to its health insurance exchange.

One the one hand, the state's website has yet to allow a single person to enroll. That's a big problem for the folks who are hoping to qualify for subsidies and buy insurance that will start Jan. 1.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Police Arrest Hundreds In Global Child Porn Sting

Toronto police say they've cracked a massive child porn network, rescuing 386 children around the world and nabbing hundreds of suspects, including teachers, clergymen and doctors.

Of the 348 people arrested worldwide, 108 were in Canada and 76 in the U.S. Project Spade, as the sweep is known, is described by Canadian police as one of the largest-ever child porn busts.

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Shots - Health News
9:44 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

The plate on the left contains about equal numbers of colonies of two different bacteria. After the bacteria compete and evolve, the lighter ones have taken the lead in the plate on the right.
Courtesy of Michael Wiser

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 5:49 am

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

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The Salt
9:41 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Philadelphia Children's Hospital Bars Herbs And Supplements

Dietary supplements are generally defined as vitamins, minerals, herbs and extracts. They're regulated as a unique category of food by the Food and Drug Administration.
iStockphoto.com

One of the nation's largest and oldest children's hospitals is cracking down on parents who bring their kids herbs, extracts or other dietary supplements.

In what it describes as a break from other hospitals, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP, last month removed most dietary supplements from its list of approved medicines, and established new policies for administering them.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Google Says It's Getting Far More User-Data Requests From Government

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:11 am

Google says the number of requests it gets from the U.S. government for user information is rising — fast.

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Animals
9:02 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Old Dogs, New Data: Canines May Have Been Domesticated In Europe

A dog burial in Greene County, Ill. This fossil dates back to about 8,500 years ago.
Courtesy of Del Baston, Center for American Archaeology

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 3:34 pm

Scientists have used some new tricks and old dogs to show that thousands of years ago, wolves may have first become man's best friend in Europe.

Researchers extracted DNA from ancient wolf or dog fossils and compared it with DNA from modern dog breeds and wolves. Until recently, labs didn't have the kind of genetic tools they'd need to work with such old dog DNA and do this kind of detailed comparison.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Federal Reserve Nominee Yellen Navigates Confirmation Hearing

Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee to become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, is sworn in Thursday on Capitol Hill for her confirmation hearing.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:58 pm

Janet Yellen cleared a key hurdle Thursday, as her confirmation hearing to become the next chair of the Federal Reserve went smoothly. There were only a few snags in roughly two hours of questions and discussions between Yellen and members of the Senate banking committee.

Many of the senators lauded Yellen's extensive experience, as well as her adherence to views they heard her discuss in private meetings on Capitol Hill in recent weeks.

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Health Care
8:23 am
Thu November 14, 2013

The Road Ahead For Obamacare

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we're in the thick of football season but increasingly, fans are worrying about how their favorite players are faring after their playing days are over. Now, there's a new plan to address that, and the head of the NFL Players Association will be joining us later in the program to tell us more about that - as well as, of course, his take on the allegations of bullying in the Miami Dolphins locker room. That's later.

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It's All Politics
8:15 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Democrats Try To Stanch Political Bleeding From Obamacare

President Obama speaks about his signature health care law Thursday at the White House.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 10:21 am

Among the Affordable Care Act's accomplishments is that it took the remarkable Democratic Party unity that existed during the government shutdown and smashed it to smithereens in near record time.

In sharp contrast to the image of Democrats standing shoulder to shoulder with President Obama during the recent fiscal fight, it's distance from Obama, not proximity to the president, that many Democrats are now seeking.

The problems of the HealthCare.gov site and the poor first-month enrollment numbers released Wednesday are bad enough.

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Parallels
8:05 am
Thu November 14, 2013

What Links Magellan, Gen. MacArthur And Imelda Marcos?

These statues depict the historic return of U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur (in front) to Tacloban, the Philippines, during World War II. The typhoon last week toppled one of the statues of a Filipino official, as shown in this photo taken Tuesday.
Aaron Favila AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:49 am

Perhaps you had never heard of Tacloban before last week's monster typhoon pummeled the provincial capital in the central Philippines.

Yet it has a rich history that includes Ferdinand Magellan's stop nearby in 1521 as his ship circumnavigated the globe, bringing with him Spaniards who would ultimately colonize and influence the Philippines for centuries.

U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur famously returned to the Philippines in World War II when he confidently strode ashore a beach near Tacloban in 1944. The statue honoring him survived the latest storm.

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Shots - Health News
7:25 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Common Test For Bladder Infections Misses Too Many Cases

Urine tests are the gold standard for diagnosing bladder infections. But one common test, the urine culture, can easily miss infections.
Ian Hooton http://www.sciencesource.com/

Most women know all too well the pain and discomfort of a urinary tract infection. They also know they'll probably have to trek to the doctor for a urine analysis so they can get a prescription for antibiotics.

Surely there's got to be a better way.

The first step for women with a history of urinary tract infections may be skipping a standard test isn't that good at spotting bladder infections anyway.

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Thu November 14, 2013

What Amazing Thing Did Toronto's Mayor Say Today?

Mayor Rob Ford was wearing a Toronto Argonauts football jersey when at City Hall on Thursday. He was also making some rather crude comments in response to some of the latest allegations about his behavior.
Mark Blinch Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:59 am

After admitting to smoking crack, to buying illegal drugs and to more than once being in a drunken stupor, it would seem like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford couldn't say anything else that would really shock anyone.

Well ...

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Obama Moves To Delay Cancellations Of Insurance Plans

President Barack Obama speaking at the White House on Thursday.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:18 am

  • LISTEN: The president's news conference and NPR coverage of it

President Obama announced Thursday that Americans who have had their health insurance plans canceled because of his Affordable Care Act can keep those plans for another year if they wish.

Those cancellations — most effective on Jan. 1 — have sparked intense criticism of the ACA, in part because the president pledged many times that if Americans liked the health plans they had, they wouldn't have to give them up under the terms of his program.

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The Protojournalist
6:12 am
Thu November 14, 2013

How It Sounds: To Be 31

Kai McMurtry

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:16 am

Kai McMurtry, 31, is a marketing specialist for a bicycle company. He lives with his wife, Elizabeth, in San Francisco. "I work mostly from home," Kai says, "cook vegan dinners with my wife and ride a bicycle everywhere I go."

**

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The Two-Way
6:04 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Judge Sentences 'Whitey' Bulger To Two Life Terms In Prison

James "Whitey" Bulger, in a 2011 U.S. Marshals Service photo, has been sentenced to two life terms in prison for his role in 11 killings.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:32 am

James "Whitey" Bulger has been sentenced to two terms of life in prison, to run consecutively, plus five years for his role in the murder of 11 people. Bulger, 84, is also being punished for racketeering and other crimes. Before announcing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Denise Casper read aloud the names of Bulger's victims.

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Thu November 14, 2013

JPMorgan's Payments To China's Elite Being Probed: Report

Wen Jiabao, when he was China's premier, at a banquet in 2010.
Barbara Walton/pool AFP/Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn, N.Y., are looking into $1.8 million that JPMorgan Chase paid to a two-person firm in China from 2006 to 2008, The New York Times reports.

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It's All Politics
4:51 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Obamacare Fallout Hits Senate Democrats, But Not Equally

Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:18 am

The Republicans have dubbed them the "Obamacare Dozen," the 12 Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014, all of whom voted for the president's health care and insurance overhaul law.

In GOP world, each one of those senators managed to provide the "deciding vote" for the Affordable Care Act.

And each one, in the wake of the law's online rollout debacle, is in a "panic" — the GOP buzzword of the week — over its political implications.

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The Two-Way
4:41 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Secret Service Shaken By New Report Of Misconduct

Secret Service agents stood watch earlier this month as President Obama arrived at Dallas Love Field airport.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:35 am

A Secret Service supervisor has been removed from his post on the team that protects President Obama and another supervisor has been shifted to a different position after allegations of misconduct that have "sent tremors through an agency still trying to restore its elite reputation," The Washington Post reports.

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The Two-Way
4:07 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Yellen To Say Economy Needs Support, New Data Seem To Agree

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:28 am

As Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen prepares to tell the Senate Banking Committee that she supports continuing the central bank's policy of buying billions of dollars' worth of bonds to boost the economy, there's fresh evidence that the relatively slow economic recovery continues to be ... relatively slow.

The Employment and Training Administration said Thursday that there were 339,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits filed last week, down by just 2,000 from the week before.

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It's All Politics
4:01 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Thursday Political Mix: Obamacare's Data Dump Fallout

Insurance agents in Miami, Fla. help people with information about policies that are available to them under the Affordable Care Act on Nov. 5, 2013.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:25 am

Good morning, fellow political junkies.

Well, the Obama administration warned us that the enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act would be low and (surprise!) they were.

Still, it's one thing to get an abstract, data-free warning, another to see actual numbers, 27,000 people enrolling for private insurance through the federal portal, 106,185 overall if you throw in the states.

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Parallels
4:00 am
Thu November 14, 2013

With Echoes Of France, Debate On Religion Divides Quebec

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois stands to support a motion regarding the controversial values charter at the Parti Quebecois Convention in Montreal on Sunday.
Christinne Muschi Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:56 am

The government in Canada's Quebec province has proposed a "secularism charter" that would, among other things, ban government workers from wearing religious symbols.

A similar debate played out in France nearly a decade ago and has now traveled across the Atlantic to the French-speaking Canadian province.

Here's more from Al-Jazeera:

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