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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Existing Home Sales Dip After Hitting 4-Year High

A sold sign in Chicago earlier this year.
Scott Olson Getty Images

There were 1.9 percent fewer existing homes sold in September than in August, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.

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The Two-Way
5:44 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Facebook Users Don't 'Like' This: Status Update Error Messages

Facebook

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 6:51 am

If you tried to post a status update on Facebook or "like" someone else's Monday morning, you probably got a message like this:

"There was a problem updating your status. Please try again later."

You are not alone. The Miami Herald reports:

"Facebook users are reporting trouble logging in and posting updates Monday morning.

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The Two-Way
4:43 am
Mon October 21, 2013

UPDATE: N.J. Gov. Christie Won't Fight Gay-Marriage Ruling

The hands of Beth Asaro, left, and Joanne Schailey after they exchanged vows to become the first same-sex couple married in Lambertville, N.J., early Monday.
Rich Schultz AP

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 9:09 am

"Gov. Chris Christie announced today that he was dropping the fight against same-sex marriage in New Jersey by withdrawing his appeal of a major case that was being heard by the state Supreme Court," The Star-Ledger writes.

Christie's office has released a copy if its court filing, in which it officially withdraws its appeal.

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The Two-Way
4:41 am
Mon October 21, 2013

These Cats Are Mules: Kitties Smuggle Goods Into Prisons

Brazil's General Superintendency of Prisons of Alagoas (SGAP) released this photo last Dec. 31 of a cat caught with contraband taped to its body at a medium-security prison in Alagoas state.
AP

January:

"Cat Caught Smuggling Contraband Into Brazilian Prison." Gothamist

June:

"Cat Caught Smuggling Cell Phones Into Prison" (in Russia). The Moscow Times

Last week:

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The Two-Way
4:38 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Hurricane Raymond Strengthens As it Moves Toward Mexico In Pacific

Hurricane Raymond is seen at 2 p.m. ET Monday, in a photo provided by NOAA. The storm is threatening an area of Mexico that's still coping with the effects of last month's massive rains.
NOAA AP

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 11:53 am

Hurricane Raymond has been upgraded to a Category 3 storm in the Pacific Ocean, as it moves slowly northward toward Mexico's southwest coast. Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center say it could gain more strength before it begins to weaken Tuesday.

Monday morning, the Hurricane Center said that Raymond had maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, with stronger gusts recorded. The storm is moving northward at a 2 mph pace from its current location about 165 miles west-southwest of Acapulco. It was some 100 miles from the coast.

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Shots - Health News
4:27 am
Mon October 21, 2013

First Polio Cases Since 1999 Suspected In Syria

Syrian opposition fighters sit on the front line in the city of Deir Ezzor on Oct. 13. Ongoing violence has ravaged the city since March 2011.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:10 am

The World Health Organization is investigating a cluster of possible polio cases in an eastern province of Syria.

If the cases are confirmed, they'd be the first ones in the war-torn nation in more than a decade. The country eliminated polio in 1999.

Syria used to have one of the highest polio vaccination rates in the region. If the virus has returned, it would be a high-profile example of the ramifications of the collapse of Syria's once-vaunted public health system.

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It's All Politics
3:45 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Monday Morning Political Mix

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 6:55 am

Good morning.

Happy Tech-Surge-To-Fix-Healthcare.gov Day in your nation's capital.

In the wake of a disastrous rollout of his legacy legislation, President Obama will speak in the White House Rose Garden later this morning to declare the problems unacceptable.

And to outline how the White House has dispatched an A-Team to fix glitches that have frustrated many of the 19 million Americans that have gone online to research or sign up for insurance coverage through Healthcare.gov.

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The Two-Way
3:36 am
Mon October 21, 2013

France, Mexico Latest Nations Reportedly Spied On By U.S.

Le Monde has the scoop on allegations about NSA spying on French phone calls.
LeMonde.fr

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 4:42 am

The latest reports based on documents said to have been leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden allege that:

-- France. "The U.S. National Security Agency recorded millions of French phone calls, including those involving individuals with no links to terrorism, Le Monde reported on Monday."

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The Two-Way
2:57 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Cheney Says He Couldn't Overrule Doctors Who Declared Him Fit

Former Vice President Dick Cheney in April.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 4:43 am

Among the newsworthy moments in Dr. Sanjay Gupta's interview of former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday's 60 Minutes is a discussion about how Cheney came to be the 2000 Republican vice presidential nominee even though he had already suffered three heart attacks by that time.

Here's how CBS News' website puts it:

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Strange News
12:44 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Scary Halloween Display Prompts Police To Get Involved

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. We are well into Halloween decorating season and police say a British man took it too far. He decorates his front yard each Halloween, raises money for cancer research. Admirable. But police became involved because his display terrified neighborhood children. He was inspired by the movie "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Animals
12:35 am
Mon October 21, 2013

How Did The Chicken Cross The Road? In Style

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

We all know why the chicken crossed the road. A new product wants to make sure they get to the other side safely. As chickens become more popular as pets, British company Omlet is selling high-visibility chicken jackets; tiny fluorescent safety vets when they're out on the street. The jackets also protect the birds against rain and cold. But the website warns that owner should be sure to remove them before bedtime. They are not suitable as pajamas.

Business
12:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

What To Know About The Tentative JPMorgan Deal

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. The Justice Department is on the verge of a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase. That would make it the biggest government fine involving a single company. It involves the allegedly improper sale of mortgage securities that led to the financial crisis of 2008. NPR's Chris Arnold has been following this and he joins us now. Good morning.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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Around the Nation
12:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Ranchers Wonder If U.S. Sheep Industry Has Bottomed Out

The changing landscape of of agriculture is leaving many sheep farms in the dust. Farms are larger and technology makes crops more economically attractive and sheep herds less.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Meida/KUNC

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in the U.S. has plummeted by half. The sheep industry has actually been declining since the late 1940s, when it hit its peak.

The sharp drop in production has left ranchers to wonder, "When are we going to hit the bottom?"

Some sheep are raised for their wool, others primarily for food. Consumption of both products — lamb meat and wool — have been declining in the U.S.

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Television
12:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

New Cable Channels Try To Lure Millennials Back To TV

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, three brand-new cable channels all share the same problem. How do you persuade 20-somethings to look up from their phones long enough to gaze at an old-fashioned, regular TV? In Los Angeles, NPR's Neda Ulaby visited one of the channels that's trying to do that.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: This could be the set of any cable news show about to go live.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TAKE PART LIVE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As character) Three minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: As character) We've got three minutes to air.

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Author Interviews
10:07 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Scott Adams Explains 'How To Fail At Almost Everything' (Except Dilbert)

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

Scott Adams has failed at a lot of things, from investments to inventions to computer programming. But he managed to turn his failure at office work into a giant success: a comic strip which follows a hapless, cubicle-bound engineer working for an unreasonable boss at a nameless company. Dilbert, which is based on Adams' own experience working in corporate America, appears online and in 2,000 newspapers.

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Keys To The Whole World: American Public Libraries
10:06 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Turning A Page Inside A Rural One-Room Library

Luster checks out books for frequent library visitor Phyllis Smith. Luster says she thinks of herself as a book curator.
Jennifer Davidson KSMU

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

There's one state highway running through Myrtle, Mo. It's a sleepy town in the Ozarks, population about 300. There's no bank or restaurant here, but enormous oak and persimmon trees loom over a small stone building right next to the road. Half of it is a post office; the other half, a one-room public library.

Rachel Reynolds Luster took over this branch four months ago with the goal of creating a learning hub. She calls herself a curator, not just a librarian.

Her first task? Filtering out some of the favorites of the previous librarian.

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Shots - Health News
10:05 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Should Severe Premenstrual Symptoms Be A Mental Disorder?

Women's moods can change based on the phases of their menstrual cycle. But does that mean they have a psychiatric disorder?
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

The way Ronna Simmons of Philadelphia describes it, every two weeks a timer goes off.

Simmons, 24, will have been doing just fine, working, taking care of her daughter. And then suddenly everything changes. Normally cheerful, Simmons says she begins to hate herself.

"I tell everybody, 'I'm not myself right now,' " she says. " 'I'll call you back when I'm Ronna again.'"

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StoryCorps
10:04 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Air The StoryCorps Theme, Cue The Tears

Radio documentarian Dave Isay stands next to one of two StoryCorps Airstream trailers outfitted with recording studios a few years after the project was launched. StoryCorps is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

NPR's Steve Inskeep has a confession to make. In order to remain composed as the host of Morning Edition, he sometimes has to turn the volume down in the studio when the StoryCorps segment airs on Fridays.

"I just wait for the clock to run down so I know when to talk at the end because otherwise I know I'm going to lose it if I listen to that story," Inskeep tells StoryCorps founder Dave Isay. "It's deeply moving."

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Shots - Health News
10:03 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Enrollments For Health Care Exchanges Trickle In, Slowly

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:37 am

The Obama administration's hopes ran high that millions would flock to enroll for health insurance on state and federal exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

Those exchanges went online Oct. 1. The administration projected that half a million individuals or families would enroll within 30 days, according to The Associated Press.

But three weeks in, the data suggest the actual number of enrollments is lagging far behind that number.

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Books
1:08 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

For The Ultimate Getaway, Why Not South Sudan?

Most people associate the Nile with Egypt, but the river also flows through South Sudan, where much of it is bordered by jungle. That makes it a excellent destination for rafting and wildlife enthusiasts, says travel guide author Max Lovell-Hoare.
Courtesy of Levison Wood/Secret Compass

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 3:02 pm

With cooler temperatures approaching, you might be in the market for a perfect wintertime vacation. Maybe someplace sunny and warm, unspoiled by tourists, with beautiful views and rich culture.

To find all that, you might consider South Sudan. That's the suggestion from Sophie and Max Lovell-Hoare, authors of the Bradt Travel Guide to the young country.

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All Tech Considered
12:10 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

What's Creepy, Crawly And A Champion Of Neuroscience?

The RoboRoach device allows users to influence the movements of cockroaches with a smartphone.
Backyard Brains

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 3:02 pm

Soon you'll be able to direct the path of a cockroach with a smartphone and the swipe of your finger.

Greg Gage and his colleagues at Backyard Brains have developed a device called the RoboRoach that lets you control the path of an insect.

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Science
12:10 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Climate Watcher Says He's Done With Flying

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 3:02 pm

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus has made his career monitoring the Earth's climate, and he's alarmed at what he sees. After reading a new, bleak international report on climate change, Holthaus has decided one important way to reduce his carbon footprint is to give up airplane travel for good.

Around the Nation
12:10 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

World's Eyes On Washington's New Recreational Pot Rules

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 3:02 pm

Washington State has finalized rules for recreational marijuana sales, joining Colorado in beginning to create a legal framework for the pot industry. Randy Simmons, deputy director of the Washington Liquor Control Board, says other states and even other countries are watching Washington's developing system very closely.

Science
12:10 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

To Fix Climate Change, Scientists Turn To Hacking The Earth

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 9:52 am

In the summer of 2012, a small group of the Haida people, a native community in Canada, had a problem. The salmon they rely on were disappearing. So the Haida took matters into their own hands.

They partnered with an American businessman, drew up plans and then took a boat full of iron dust into the waters off their home island and put the dust in the ocean.

When they spread the iron dust, it created a big algae bloom. They hoped the algae would soak up carbon dioxide and bring back the fish.

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Music Interviews
12:10 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Anoushka Shankar And Norah Jones: Half-Sisters Collaborate At Last

Anoushka Shankar's new album, Traces of You, comes out Tuesday.
Harper Smith Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 3:02 pm

Anoushka Shankar began playing sitar with her famous father, the late Ravi Shankar, when she was 4. But until recently, she'd never entered a studio with her other famous relative, half-sister Norah Jones.

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Movie Interviews
12:10 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

'Captain Phillips': A First-Time Actor, Opposite Tom Hanks

Barkhad Abdi (center) learned to swim, navigate small skiff boats, handle weapons — and act — for the film Captain Phillips.
Jasin Boland

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 3:02 pm

Before landing a role opposite Tom Hanks in the film Captain Phillips, Barkhad Abdi had never acted.

"This was my first time acting, or even thinking about acting," Abdi tells NPR's Arun Rath.

Captain Phillips is based on a true story: the hijacking of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama. Hanks stars as the title character, Capt. Richard Phillips, and Adbi plays Muse, the man who leads the charge against ship and crew.

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Sun October 20, 2013

SEE: Banksy's Month (So Far) In New York City

A man takes a photograph while another poses in front of Banksy's latest work depicting a pre-Sep. 11 New York City skyline.
Daniel Pierce Wright Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 10:16 am

The reclusive British street artist Banksy has unleashed an interesting experiment on New York City.

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Sun October 20, 2013

As Strike Continues, Two Bay Area Transit Workers Killed By Train

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains sit idle at a BART maintenance facility on the first day of the BART strike on October 18, in Richmond, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 8:58 am

Two Bay-Area transit workers performing a track inspection were killed by an out-of-service train on Saturday, the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency said.

The accident comes amid a strike that has paralyzed the system. The New York Times reports:

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Sun October 20, 2013

Obama Administration Addresses Health Care Website Fumbles

A woman looks at the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange internet site.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration has started to confront the many technological problems that have hampered the roll out of the new health care law.

"I think that there's no one more frustrated than the president at the difficulty in the website," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Meet the Press this morning.

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The Two-Way
5:52 am
Sun October 20, 2013

Wildfires In Australia Destroy 200 Homes, May Get Worse

The charred headland at Catherine Hill Bay near Wyong on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia.
Dean Lewins EPA /LANDOV

Authorities in Australia say major wildfires that have already scorched about 200 homes and 269,000 acres, could get worse.

CNN reports:

"'These conditions that we are looking at are a whole new ballgame and in a league of their own,' said the commissioner of rural fire services, Shane Fitzsimmons. 'The predictive charts indicate that there will be a significant impact on populated areas should all these forecasts materialize.'

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