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11:03 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Recurring Dream: Morpheus Returns In Gaiman's 'Sandman' Prequel

The Sandman: Overture explores the back story of the central character, Orpheus, to explain how he wound up in captivity at the start of The Sandman.
Courtesy of DC Entertainment

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 5:54 am

Neil Gaiman started writing the Sandman comic books 25 years ago. Since then, he's written acclaimed fantasy novels, children's books and screenplays — but the pale, star-eyed Lord of Dreams remains one of his most beloved characters. Over the course of 75 issues, the series captivated fans and critics alike.

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Around the Nation
11:02 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

A New Way To Do Halloween: Chocolate Chunks In The Trunk

Cars decorated for Halloween wait for kids to come by for "trunk-or-treating" in New Berlin, Wis. The event is seen as an alternative to sending kids door to door for candy.
Stephanie Lecci WUWM

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:36 am

The parking lot of Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beloit, Wis., is filled with dozens of costumed kids hungry for candy at an early Halloween event.

But the princesses and Iron Men aren't yelling "trick or treat." Instead, it's "trunk or treat" — and that's because these kids, rather than going door to door, are going from car trunk to car trunk. Each car is decorated with a theme.

Pastor Jason Reed says his church likes to focus on the fun — rather than freaky — parts of Halloween.

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
11:02 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

For A New Kind Of Commute, Some Eye The Sky

Orangutans can get exercise and look down their noses at zoo visitors, thanks to cables that stretch from one side of the primate habitat to the other.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:21 am

This story is part of a series on commuting in America.

Orangutans Kiko, Iris and Batang have a short commute — only about 500 feet between the buildings at the National Zoo where they sleep and pass their days. But it's a tricky trip.

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Shots - Health News
11:01 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Congressmen Berate Sebelius For Cancellations, Website Woes

"I apologize," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday at a congressional hearing on problems with HealthCare.gov.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 12:21 pm

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius headed to Capitol Hill Wednesday for a date with lawmakers frustrated by the rocky rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.

What she got at the House Energy and Commerce Committee was four hours of venting from Democrats and Republicands alike.

Like Medicare and Medicaid chief Marilyn Tavenner a day earlier, Sebelius opened her testimony with an apology.

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Business
11:01 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Providence Kindles Love Of Horror Writer H.P. Lovecraft

An artists's rendition of pulp-fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft is just one example of the author's growing popularity.
The Lovecraft Anthology

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 6:42 am

Pulp-fiction writer Howard Phillips "H.P." Lovecraft has for decades terrified an underground following of readers with horror stories about monsters and aliens. He's known to some as a bad writer, and to many as a racist. Even during the author's lifetime, his readership was limited.

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Parallels
11:00 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Case Of Marines Desecrating Taliban Bodies Takes A New Twist

A still frame taken from a YouTube video shows Marines who were later disciplined for desecrating three dead Taliban members in a 2011 incident in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:43 am

In a case that caused a major stir last year, a YouTube video surfaced showing Marines in Afghanistan joking and laughing as they urinated on three dead Taliban fighters. The Marines involved in the July 2011 incident in the southern province of Helmand were disciplined.

It seemed the case was over, but now it has taken a strange twist. There are allegations that the Marines' top officer, Gen. James Amos, illegally interfered with the judicial proceedings in an effort to ensure harsher penalties.

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Science
10:59 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Burn, Bury Or Scorch? Why Destroying Syria's Chemical Weapons Is Hard

Workers in protective suits hold dummy munition during a demonstration at a chemical weapons disposal facility in Muenster, Germany, on Wednesday.
Philipp Guelland AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 7:04 am

International monitors announced Thursday that Syria has completely destroyed its equipment for making and filling chemical weapons. But the destruction of the chemicals themselves — more than 1,000 tons of toxic ingredients — is going to be a far more daunting task.

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The Salt
10:58 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Why Are Kids Who Get Less Candy Happier On Halloween?

Kids might be more satisfied if they get one good treat instead of one good treat and one lesser treat.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:03 am

What makes trick-or-treaters happy is candy. And more candy is better, right?

Well, it turns out that might not actually be the case. A few years ago researchers did a study on Halloween night where some trick-or-treaters were given a candy bar, and others were given the candy bar and a piece of bubble gum.

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Economy
10:58 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

When 'Fixed Income' Means Getting By On Social Security

Gilroy Hain's only source of income is the $1,500 a month he receives from Social Security.
Ina Jaffe NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:23 am

Social Security has long been thought of as just part of a retirement plan — along with pensions and savings — but it turns out a lot of people depend on it for most of their income.

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly a quarter of older married couples and almost half of single retirees count on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income.

Gilroy Hain proves that's not an easy life.

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The State Of The American Small Business
10:57 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

What Happens When The Pace Of Startups Slows Down

Is this coffee shop going to grow to be the next Starbucks?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 7:45 am

Since the financial crisis hit five years ago, there aren't as many Americans starting new businesses. In uncertain economic times, it's harder for entrepreneurs and investors to take the risk.

And if you look back over the past 25 years, it turns out the overall trend is toward fewer new businesses getting started, too — and that's not good at all when the country needs more jobs.

The Next Google

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

U.S. Budget Deficit Falls Under $1 Trillion; Lowest Since 2008

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:19 pm

The U.S. government ran a deficit of $680 billion in the financial year that ended last month — the first time since 2008 that the annual shortfall has been under $1 trillion. It represents a fall from $1.09 trillion in 2012, but as the AP reports, "It's still the fifth-largest deficit of all time."

The Treasury Department announced the news along with the White House budget office Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Obama Vows HealthCare.gov Problems Will Be Fixed 'ASAP'

President Obama speaks Wednesday at Boston's Faneuil Hall about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

President Obama on Wednesday said he takes full responsibility for the troubled HealthCare.gov website and is determined to make sure it gets fixed "ASAP."

"The website hasn't worked the way it's supposed to in these past few weeks," he told an audience in Boston. "There's no denying it. The website is too slow ... and I'm not happy about it."

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NPR Story
1:04 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Read 'Matilda' With NPR's Backseat Book Club

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 9:59 am

The hardest part about choosing a Roald Dahl book for NPR's Backseat Book Club is deciding which one to read! His imagination was so free-ranging — from a magical chocolate factory to a giant peach to quick witted fox — he gave us a lot to choose from.

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Shots - Health News
1:00 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Notices Canceling Health Insurance Leave Many On Edge

One person who got a letter canceling his health insurance was Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. He holds up the letter during a congressional hearing Wednesday on insurance problems. He says his family chose to buy private insurance rather than use the congressional plan.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

President Obama repeated this line or a variation of it many times during the campaign to pass his landmark health care bill: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period."

But while that might be true for people who get health insurance through their employer, it's not true for many people who buy their policies in the individual market — about 5 percent of the nation's policyholders.

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U.S.
12:46 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Police, Community Relations Strained After Teen's Death

Hundreds of protesters march toward the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office in response to the death of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa.
Noah Berger Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:43 am

Sonoma County, Calif., is probably best known for its good wine, green sensibilities and otherwise healthy and peaceful living. But that peace was shattered last week when a county sheriff's deputy shot and killed a young teenager carrying a toy gun.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Game 6 Of The World Series: What You Need to Know

For Game 6, the World Series returns to Boston's Fenway Park, where the home team hasn't clinched a championship since 1918. Here, Red Sox players warm up in front of the Green Monster.
Jared Wickerham Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 4:33 pm

Only one team has a chance of winning the World Series tonight in Game 6 at Fenway Park: the Boston Red Sox. The St. Louis Cardinals have a chance to lose the series — or they can kick off a two-game sweep to win it all on the road. For Boston fans, this is the first time they would be able to celebrate a home World Series win since 1918.

Game 6 begins at 8:07 p.m. ET; it's being televised by Fox. Here are the big storylines we're seeing:

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The Salt
12:44 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Soylent: An Offbeat Food Idea Investors Are Taking Seriously

There are people who'd rather not eat food? Yes. And Silicon Valley investors are betting they'll buy Soylent.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 10:18 am

Back in April, we described Rob Rhinehart's experiment concocting something that could give him all the nutrition and none of the hassle of food.

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Police: 'Jihadists' Detained In Tiananmen Square Car Crash

Police cars block off the roads leading into Tiananmen Square as smoke rises into the air after a vehicle crashed in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on Oct. 28.
AFP/Getty Images

Police in China have arrested five men described as Islamic jihadists in connection with a deadly car crash and fire that killed two tourists and injured 40 others this week in Tiananmen Square.

The incident on Monday, in which a car crashed into a bridge near the Forbidden City before three occupants set the vehicle and themselves ablaze near the iconic portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong, was described by police for the first time as a "violent terror attack" that was "carefully planned and organized."

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Television
12:22 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Medicinal Laughs: Could 'Daily Show' Sour Millennials On ACA?

Jon Stewart, shown here interviewing President Obama on The Daily Show in October 2012, has been lampooning the problems with the Affordable Care Act website in recent episodes.
Brad Barket PictureGroup

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 1:00 pm

Problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act have been all over the news — and the not-quite news. Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart has been one news-ish outlet that hasn't been too kind in its coverage.

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans spoke with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about why negative coverage on The Daily Show might be worse for the Obama administration than negative coverage on the nightly news.

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Shots - Health News
12:15 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Online Advice Can Hurt Teens At Risk For Suicide, Self-Harm

Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 11:54 am

If you're wondering how to conceal the wounds caused by cutting, a form of self-harm, the Internet can tell you how.

"Those long gloves, the cool stripey ones that cover half your arms, could help," advises one post on an online forum.

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Politics
11:49 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Texas' Voter ID Law Creates A Problem For Some Women

Marta Rangel Medel vacuums the stage in preparation for the Texas Democratic Party 2012 election watch party in Austin. The state's controversial voter ID law is unexpectedly hindering women at the polls.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 4:03 pm

In 2012 a federal court struck down Texas' ID law, ruling it would potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority voters.

But that federal decision was invalidated when the Supreme Court last year ruled part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. So now Texas is test-driving its voter ID law — one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation.

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Parallels
11:49 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Ottoman Dream Come True: Train Links East And West In Istanbul

A Marmaray Project train awaits its inauguration ceremony in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Ozan Kose AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 4:04 pm

The Marmaray Project, Turkey's new underwater rail link between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, is open for business. It's the first of its kind, a modern feat of engineering that realizes the 150-year-old dream of an Ottoman sultan.

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Environment
11:49 am
Wed October 30, 2013

In Sandy's Wake, Flood Zones And Insurance Rates Re-Examined

An emergency responder helps evacuate two people with a boat after their neighborhood in Little Ferry, N.J., was flooded.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 1:00 pm

When Sandy blew into East Coast communities a year ago, it was flooding that did the most damage.

That's in part because the average sea level has risen over the past century — about a foot along the mid-Atlantic coast. That made it easier for the storm to push the ocean onto the land.

And scientists say there will be many more Sandy-style storms — that is, torrential rain and wind that create heavy coastal flooding — and they'll be more frequent than in the past. But preparing people for that means changing the way they live, and that's proving politically difficult.

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Around the Nation
11:49 am
Wed October 30, 2013

On Capitol Hill, A Statue And A Rock God Bring Politicians Together

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 1:00 pm

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, an unlikely scene unfolded as a bust of Winston Churchill was unveiled in Statuary Hall Wednesday. The entertainment: Roger Daltrey. Who? Yes, Roger Daltrey of the 1960s rock band The Who.

Media
11:49 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Prosecutors Press Case In 'News Of The World' Phone-Tapping Trial

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 1:00 pm

At the Old Bailey Courthouse in London Wednesday, the prosecution laid out the case against former journalists of the now-defunct British tabloid News of the World.

The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Priceless Italian Treasure Is Shown Off In Rare Exhibition

A necklace of Saint Januarius, in gold, silver and precious stones, is displayed in Rome. The riches are from a treasure trove in Naples that is said to be worth more than the British crown jewels.
Gabriel Buoys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 12:07 pm

Dazzling with diamonds, emeralds and gold, 70 pieces of treasure — said to be some of the most valuable in the world — have been transported from a vault in a Naples cathedral to a museum in Rome. They'll stay there until February, marking the first time they've ever been displayed outside of Naples.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Wed October 30, 2013

For Now, Fed Will Stand Firm On Bond Buying

The Fed pointed to a somewhat weaker housing market in recent months.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The Federal Reserve's message, at least for now, is to take a wait-and-see approach to the economy before tapering off on its bond-buying program.

In a statement issued after Wednesday's meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee said that while it has seen signs of "growing underlying strength in the broader economy" it awaits "more evidence that progress can be sustained."

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Economy
10:27 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Why The Fed Decided Not To Change Course

Citing continued signs of weakness, the Federal Reserve said it will keep aiming for low interest rates.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Look around. Do you see much inflation?

Gas prices are down more than 7 percent from last year. Grocery costs haven't budged lately. And — just in time for Halloween — the price of candy is down 2.3 percent from last year, according to the government's consumer price index released Wednesday.

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Shots - Health News
10:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

The Long List Of Health Apps Features Few Clear Winners

He's not checking your blood glucose levels. He's playing Words with Friends.
Anna Zielinska iStockphoto.com

Here at Shots we get all kinds of pitches about the latest smartphone app that promises a profound improvement in our health. But truth be told, Candy Crush gets a lot more exercise than all those medical apps we've downloaded. And it turns out we're not alone.

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Education
9:08 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Teachers Share Their Top Safety Concerns

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, we'll head into the Beauty Shop, where our panel of women commentators and journalists take on some hot topics of the week, including adult Halloween costume dilemmas. And we'll ask if Jay-Z has another problem to add to his 99 - we promise we'll explain all that.

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