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The Two-Way
2:11 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Book News: World's Oldest Torah Scroll Found, Italian Scholar Says

This sheepskin scroll found in the University of Bologna archives dates from 1155 to 1225, according to carbon testing.
AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
2:07 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Arizona Mom Released From Mexican Jail

Yanira Maldonado talked to reporters late Thursday after her release from a prison on the outskirts of Nogales, Mexico.
Cristina Silva AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 5:20 am

This is our first, and possibly last, mention of a story that's been getting lots of play on cable news:

"Mexican Court Frees Arizona Mom Accused Of Drug Smuggling." (CNN.com)

"I'm free now ... and I'm very grateful," Yanira Maldonado told reporters early Friday.

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The Two-Way
1:42 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Reports: Texas Man Questioned About Latest Ricin Letters

None of the possibly ricin-tainted letters mailed to President Obama have reached the White House, authorities say. They were intercepted at a remote mail handling facility.
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 5:19 am

"Authorities, including the FBI, questioned a New Boston, Texas, man Thursday night in connection with an investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to government officials, including President Barack Obama," KSLA-TV in Shreveport, La., reports.

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Business
1:38 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Moto X: First Smartphone To Be Assembled In U.S.

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 3:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now let's go to Texas for another follow-up - where Motorola Mobility's new smartphone, Moto X, is set to become the first smartphone ever assembled in the U.S.

As Lauren Silverman of member station KERA reports, the Google-owned company has already begun hiring for its new plant in Fort Worth.

LAURA SILVERMAN, BYLINE: There are more than 130 million smartphones in the U.S. But none of them say assembled in the USA. When Motorola debuts its Moto X this summer, it will be the first.

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The Deadly Tornado In Moore, Okla.
1:14 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Hurricane Sandy Aid Bill Hot Topic In Oklahoma

Rep. Cole speaks as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and others listen during a news conference in Moore last week.
Brett Deering Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 8:39 am

When Congress voted on federal relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey earlier this year, five of the seven Oklahoma representatives and senators voted no. Rep. Tom Cole, one of the two who voted yes, warned that someday Oklahoma would be asking for help — and that day came last week after a massive tornado.

The storm ripped through the city of Moore, in Cole's home district, killing 24 people and destroying thousands of homes.

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Business
12:57 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 3:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with Japan's wheat ban.

Japan has suspended wheat imports from the Pacific Northwest states. This comes after the U.S. Agricultural Department found genetically modified wheat growing on an Oregon farm - as we reported on this program yesterday. GMO wheat has not been approved for U.S. farming, and it's not clear how the wheat found its way onto the farm.

Planet Money
12:22 am
Fri May 31, 2013

How Recalculating GDP Can Help App Designers In Nigeria

AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:34 am

If you're trying to grow a business in Nigeria and you want investors, you want Nigeria's economy to look as big as possible.

Bayo Puddicombe and Zubair Abubakar own a company called Pledge 51, which creates applications for Nigeria's low-tech cellphones. One of their most popular games lets players pretend to drive the notoriously wild buses crisscrossing the Nigerian city Lagos. It's called Danfo, after the buses.

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Animals
12:16 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Big-Mouthed Toucans Key To Forest Evolution

Channel-billed toucans are important seed dispersers in rain forests.
Courtesy of Lindolfo Souto AAAS/Science

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 3:34 am

Brazil is a paradise for birds; the country has more than 1,700 species. Among them is the colorful toucan, a bird with an almost comically giant bill that can be half as long as its body. There are lots of different types of toucan — red-breasted, channel-billed, keel-billed, saffron toucanet — each with its own color-scheme and distinctive call.

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Europe
12:16 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Mired In Recession, EU Eases Some Austerity Measures

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:39 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

While there are many signs that the American economy is picking up steam, in much of the European Union, the opposite is true. Austerity programs aimed at reducing national debts have been blamed for crushing growth and sending unemployment in the eurozone nations to a record high of 12 percent.

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It's All Politics
10:23 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Obama Presses Congress On Student Loan Rates

President Obama, with Education Secretary Arne Duncan at his side, calls on Congress on June 21, 2012, to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling. He is going to make that appeal again Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 6:25 am

President Obama surrounded himself with college students at the White House on Friday and warned that the cost of student loans is about to go up.

Interest rates on government-backed college loans are set to double July 1 — unless Congress agrees on a fix before then. Obama has threatened to veto a House-passed bill that would let the cost of student loans go up and down with the market.

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Shots - Health News
10:22 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Proton Beam Therapy Sparks Hospital Arms Race

A construction worker paints walls at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center in Baltimore. Each of the center's five rooms will contain a massive piece of equipment that will rotate around a cancer patient to deliver a special kind of radiation.
Jenny Gold Kaiser Health News

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 5:41 am

When it comes to reining in health care spending, it still seems like each hospital administrator thinks the guy at the other hospital should do it.

Hospitals are still racing to offer expensive new technology — even when it hasn't been proved to work better than cheaper approaches. Case in point: proton beam therapy, a high-tech radiation treatment for cancer.

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The Salt
10:20 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Michigan Tracks Cattle From Birth To Plate

Whenever a steer or cow leaves a farm in Michigan or goes to a slaughterhouse, it passes by a tag reader, and its ID number goes to a central computer that keeps track of every animal's location.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 5:54 am

When you pick up a cut of beef at the store, would you like to know that animal's life history? The technology to do this does exist — at least in Michigan, where the state requires all cattle to carry electronic ear tags. It's the only state that requires such tags.

Michigan's cattle-tracking system was forced on farmers because of a crisis. Fifteen years ago, cattle in part of the state started catching tuberculosis from wild deer.

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Parallels
10:19 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Battling Deforestation In Indonesia, One Firm At A Time

This photo shows a heavily logged concession affiliated with Asia Pulp and Paper, or APP, one of the world's largest papermakers, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, in 2010.
Romeo Gacad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 3:57 pm

On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a backhoe stacks freshly cut trees to be made into pulp and paper. Asia Pulp and Paper, or APP, is Indonesia's largest papermaker, and the company and its suppliers operate vast plantations of acacia trees here that have transformed the local landscape.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
9:22 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Field Trip! 10 Books That Will Send Kids Exploring

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 3:34 am

When I recommend books to kids or grown-ups, I can almost always get them interested if I add "Oh, and after you read this book, you could go on a field trip to the museum/zoo/baseball stadium/library ... or just take a little road trip!" Spring 2013 has been a very good year for children's books that spark the imagination and make kids (and grownups) want to do a little more exploring.

Books like these can be the start of amazing adventures. Enjoy!

Mara Alpert is a librarian in the Children's Literature Department at the Los Angeles Public Library.

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StoryCorps
9:20 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Cherishing The Gift Of Friendship Through A Cancer Bout

Peter Obetz (left) and Jeff Jarrett met in 1998 and are still close friends. Peter was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer in 2004. He was declared cancer-free in 2009. They visited StoryCorps in Kansas City, Mo.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 3:34 am

In 2004, Peter Obetz was in the middle of a divorce when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

"Food would get stuck down my throat, and it got worse and worse, so I met with my doctor. I had a tumor on my esophagus wall," says Peter, 48, during a visit to StoryCorps in Kansas City, Mo.

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

TSA: No More Graphic, Full-Body Airport Scans

A U.S. Transportation Security Administration employee demonstrates the less intrusive Automated Target Recognition software in 2011.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 2:40 pm

The Transportation Security Administration has told Congress that it's finished retrofitting airport scanners to blunt a widely criticized technology that shows graphic detail of a passenger's body as he or she goes through security checkpoints.

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It's All Politics
1:32 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

War Zone Visit A McCain Trademark

In this photo provided by Mouaz Moustafa and the Syrian Emergency Task Force, Sen. John McCain, accompanied by Moustafa (right) visits rebels in Syria on Monday. McCain, who slipped into the country for a surprise visit, favors providing arms to rebel forces in Syria.
Mouaz Moustafa AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 2:02 pm

There are risks aplenty for a U.S. lawmaker who makes a surprise visit to a war zone, as Sen. John McCain recently did when he crossed the border from Turkey into Syria.

The perils to life and limb go without saying. But there are also other risks: trying to tell the good guys from the bad guys; or being victimized by disinformation from unfriendly Middle Eastern interests.

While McCain got out unscathed from Syria, where he visited rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, he may have had less success navigating the other risks.

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

A Kiss Is But A Kiss, But To French Kiss Is 'Galocher'

French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault kisses his wife, actress Salma Hayek, in Paris in 2009.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 3:29 pm

It might come as a surprise that for centuries the French have been sans a term for "French kiss."

But, voila! The newest edition of the Petit Robert 2014 dictionary has rectified that with a new verb — "galocher," meaning "to kiss with tongues." It's a clever derivation of la galoche, a word for an ice-skating boot, and so evokes the idea of sliding around the ice — or the lips and tongue.

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U.S.
12:47 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Will Ill. Legalize Gay Marriage Before Legislature Adjourns?

Activists rally in support of gay marriage on March 25 in Chicago. The Illinois Senate has approved legislation that will legalize same-sex marriage, but it has stalled in the state House.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 2:04 pm

The clock is ticking for those who hope Illinois will become the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its spring session Friday night, and the marriage equality bill still has not been called for a vote in the state House, where supporters are struggling to round up the 60 votes necessary to pass it.

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Shots - Health News
12:30 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Administration Touts Competition In Insurance Exchanges

The Obama administration is countering criticism that the new health insurance exchanges will be lacking in competition, though it's doing so a bit quietly.

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Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities
11:55 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Baton Rouge's Corroded, Overpolluting Neighbor: Exxon Mobil

An evening view of the Exxon Mobil oil refinery complex in Baton Rouge, La.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 4:50 am

If you stand in front of Almena and Sidney Poray's house in Baton Rouge, La., and look straight down the street, past the other houses and the shade trees, you see more than a dozen plumes of exhaust in various hues of gray and white.

"That's something you see every day, the same thing if not more," says Almena Poray. "Sometimes it's a darker gray; sometimes it's a black smoke coming out."

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All Tech Considered
11:54 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Online College Courses Get A Big Boost, But Doubts Persist

The University of Tennessee became one of 10 state university systems teaming up with Coursera, a for-profit tech company.
Flickr Creative Commons

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 1:01 pm

From New Mexico to New York, 10 state university systems have announced they are joining the ranks of elite institutions embracing the massive open online course, or MOOC, system.

On Thursday, they unveiled a landmark partnership with Coursera, a for-profit tech company with 3.5 million registered students. It's the biggest effort to catapult degree-granting institutions into the world of global education.

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The Salt
11:53 am
Thu May 30, 2013

No, Frosted Mini-Wheats Won't Make Your Kids Smarter

YouTube

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 12:23 pm

  • Hear Robert Siegel's Interview With Attorney Tim Blood

If you thought sugar-coated pockets of shredded wheat could boost your brain power, we're here to break it to you gently: No, they can't. But a check in the mail may soon ease your disappointment.

Breakfast foods purveyor Kellogg has agreed to a $4 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging it ran a deceptive marketing campaign for the sugary cereal.

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It's All Politics
11:46 am
Thu May 30, 2013

The Survivor: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Outlasts Political, Legal Trouble

Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America," is best-known for aggressively enforcing immigration laws.
Laura Segall Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 6:52 am

Update at 7:12 p.m. ET Recall Fails

The Associated Press reports that organizers of a petition to recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio fell short of Thursday's deadline to collect 335,000 signatures.

Our original post:

Once again, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is at the center of political and legal controversies. Once again, it appears he will survive.

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Business
11:33 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Drive-Ins Soon Face Hollywood's Digital Switch

Many drive-ins and mom and pop theaters will soon have to make the switch from film to digital after putting it off because of the high cost of new projectors.
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 12:48 pm

Pull into the Bourbon Drive-In just off U.S. Highway 68 near Paris, Ky., and it's like stepping back in time. Patricia and Lanny Earlywine own the 7-acre drive-in. It's been connected to the family since the theater opened in 1956. Even the popcorn machine is original.

"To do a drive-in, it sort of gets in your blood. You have to love it," Patricia says.

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Remembering Heroes Of The Second World War
11:33 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Public Servant Herman Boudreau, Heroic Under Enemy Fire

Herman Boudreau served in the U.S. Army in World War II, then rose to the rank of command sergeant major in the Maine Army National Guard.
Courtesy of the Boudreau family

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 12:51 pm

When Herman Boudreau joined the U.S. Army in 1941, he set in motion a lifetime of public service. Boudreau, who died in April at age 93, served in the Army in New Zealand and the South Pacific during World War II.

He spent more than two years fighting the Japanese, and years later shared many of his war experiences with his daughter, Nancie Smith. In one incident, she says, he had to secure an airfield while removing the last Japanese resistance on three occupied islands.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Thu May 30, 2013

U.S. Shot Putter Awarded Gold, Years After 2004 Olympics

Adam Nelson (left), has been awarded the gold medal in the men's shot put, after original winner Yuriy Bilonoh of Ukraine was found to have violated doping rules.
Nick Laham Getty Images

U.S. shot putter Adam Nelson has been awarded a gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics, after his rival at those games, Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine, was stripped of the victory last December for violating doping rules. The International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Olympic Committee made the change official Thursday.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Father Of Chechen Killed In Florida Says His Son Was Executed

Abdul-Baki Todashev, father of Ibragim Todashev, shows pictures he says are of his son's bullet-riddled body, at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.
Andrey Smirnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 12:18 pm

The father of the Chechen immigrant who was killed in Florida during an FBI interrogation over his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says his son was killed execution-style.

At a news conference in Moscow, Abdul-Baki Todashev showed reporters 16 photos he said were of his son, Ibragim, in a Florida morgue.

"I want justice. I want an investigation," Todashev said. "They come to your house like bandits, and they shoot you."

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Four Men In A Small Boat Face The Northwest Passage

A European Space Agency photo of the McClure Strait in the Canadian Arctic. The McClure Strait is the most direct route of the Northwest Passage and has been fully open since early August 2007.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 10:23 am

Only a few years ago, even large commercial vessels wouldn't take on the ice-bound Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific via the Canadian north — but climate change has changed all that.

Now, a group of hearty adventurers hopes to be the first to row the 1,900-mile route this summer.

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The Two-Way
10:02 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Ubuntu Marks 'Bug No. 1' As Fixed, After Nearly Nine Years

Since it was first filed in August of 2004, Ubuntu's Bug #1 attracted many comments. With comment number 1834, Mark Shuttleworth declared the issue fixed today.
Launchpad

In the more than eight years since it was written, the open-source operating system Ubuntu's "Bug #1" has been seen as a rallying call. After all, the bug's title is "Microsoft has a majority market share."

But the entry was officially closed Thursday, partly because the "broader market has healthy competition" as Ubuntu leader Mark Shuttleworth writes in his comments on closing the bug today.

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