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1:14 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Tank Movement Increases Tensions In Eastern Ukraine

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:33 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Tensions remain very high this morning in Eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia demonstrators stormed the city hall in the city of Donetsk. And there are now reports this morning of several Ukrainian armored personnel carriers on the move in some cities flying Russian flags. To try and sort out what's going on, we have NPR's Ari Shapiro on the line. He is in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. Ari, good morning.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Hi, David.

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NPR Story
12:08 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Tremendously Gratifying To Win 2 Pulitzers, 'Post' Editor Says

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:33 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Washington Post is celebrating a pair of Pulitzer Prizes this week. One is for a series on Americans who rely on food stamps. The other, a Public Service medal for stories based on the documents from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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NPR Story
12:08 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Ex-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Criticizes Tax System

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:33 am

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And our last word in business today is: Tax Confusion.

Yesterday, of course, was the deadline for filing. And today, you're maybe feeling some uncertainty over whether you got everything right.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A lot of people complain that the tax code is just too complex, but usually not directly to the IRS. After all, you could be asking for an audit if you file that complaint. This does not seem to be the concern of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

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NPR Story
12:08 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Minority Tartars Consider Pragmatic Approach To Crimea Annexation

People in the newly annexed territory of Crimea are trying to figure out how to deal with their new status as part of Russia, rather than Ukraine. Tatars were vocal in their opposition to the Russian takeover of Crimea. That's because they remember their history of maltreatment under the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.

Science
10:43 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame

Pat Leiggi (right) of the Museum of the Rockies prepares to move a leg bone of the T. rex at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:33 am

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

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Paying For College
10:41 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

How One Michigan City Is Sending Kids To College Tuition-Free

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:33 am

Paying for college presents a tremendous hurdle to many families, from wading through paperwork and navigating financial aid to understanding the long-term implications of college debt.

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Shots - Health News
10:40 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While

Hundreds in California rushed to get health insurance just before the deadline.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:33 am

After months of focusing on how many people have or haven't signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone's keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? And just how big has the drop been in the number of uninsured people?

Unfortunately, the answers to some of these questions simply aren't knowable — or, at least, not knowable yet.

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Around the Nation
10:40 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

As La. Coast Recedes, Battle Rages Over Who Should Pay

Man-made canals built for the oil and gas industry cut through wetland. The industry argues those canals aren't to blame for coastal erosion.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:33 am

Louisiana's coast is disappearing at the rate of about a football field an hour. Since the 1930s, the Gulf of Mexico has swallowed up an area the size of Delaware.

You can see the water encroaching in Delacroix in St. Bernard Parish, less than an hour southeast of New Orleans. Here, a narrow crescent of land known locally as the "end of the world" is where the road abruptly comes to a dead end; in the distance, you see the tops of now-submerged trees.

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Around the Nation
10:37 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

After Losing A Leg, Woman Walks On Her Own — In 4-Inch Heels

Heather Abbott of Newport, R.I., shows off her "high-definition" prosthetic leg, which allows her to wear high heels and skirts.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:33 am

Returning to watch the Boston Marathon was never a question for Heather Abbott. After losing her leg in the bombing last year, watching the race is just one item on a long list of things she did before and intends to do again. Also on that list: wearing 4-inch heels.

"Sometimes, I think: Why am I doing this to myself? Because I could just wear regular flat shoes," Abbott says. "I don't want to give things up that I love to do, so I'm going to get used to it and figure it out."

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

NYPD Shuts Down Controversial Unit That Spied On Muslims

Men pray on the street before the start of the American Muslim Day Parade in 2010 in New York.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The New York Police Department said Tuesday it would disband a special unit charged with detecting possible terrorist threats by carrying out secret surveillance of Muslim groups.

The squad that conducted the surveillance, known as the Demographics Unit, was formed in 2003. It brought the NYPD under fire from community groups and activists who accused the force of abusing civil rights and profiling.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration has promised "a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair.

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

In India, Landmark Ruling Recognizes Transgender Citizens

An Indian eunuch in the eastern city of Bhubaneswar dances Tuesday to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling recognizing a third gender category.
Biswaranjan Rout AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 1:08 am

India now has a third gender.

The Supreme Court has recognized the country's transgender community as being in a third neutral category — neither male nor female.

In handing down the ruling, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said, "Transgenders are citizens of this country ... and recognition as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue."

Article 15 of India's Constitution guarantees that no state can discriminate against citizens on the basis of religion, caste, race or sex.

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NPR Story
12:34 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

In Portugal, A Sales Receipt May Be Your Ticket To Win Big

A customer pays a vendor for her purchases at Feira da Ladra flea market in Lisbon, Portugal, in October 2013. The government has introduced a "Lucky Receipts" lottery to encourage people to ask for receipts — which will automatically be entered into a national lottery for fancy new cars. It's an effort to curb tax evasion and raise revenue.
Mario Proenca Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 12:51 pm

On Lisbon's cobblestone lanes, the Portuguese economy is hobbling along as it always has — in cash.

In a tiny, 100-year-old bar, Nuno Goncalves pours out glasses of ginja — a Portuguese sweet cherry liqueur — for his customers, mostly old men in flat caps. A small shot-glass full costs 50 cents — cash only. There is a cash register, but it doesn't print receipts.

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Economy
12:29 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Sending Money On An Overseas Round Trip To Avoid Taxes

Round-tripping occurs when American citizens open bank accounts in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, funnel money into the accounts and then use it to buy stocks and bonds back in the U.S.
David McFadden AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 1:03 pm

Some investors avoid paying taxes in a move called round-tripping — sending money offshore, then investing it in U.S. stocks or bonds. A study estimates it costs the U.S. billions in lost revenues.

Recently, MIT professor Michelle Hanlon and two colleagues set out to find out all they could about round-tripping.

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Shots - Health News
12:29 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Risks Of Popular Anxiety Drugs Often Overshadowed

Xanax and Valium, prescribed to treat anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia, can be deadly when mixed with other sedatives.
Dean812 Flickr

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 1:40 pm

When actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an overdose in February, the New York City medical examiner ruled that his death was the result of "acute mixed drug intoxication." Heroin, cocaine and a widely prescribed class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or benzos, were found in his system.

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Music Interviews
11:15 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Perennial Co-Writer Returns With An Album Of His Own

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 12:29 pm

Dan Wilson is your favorite songwriter's favorite co-writer, lending a pen to artists from Nas to Adele. But he also writes music for himself — and he joins the program to talk more about it.

Around the Nation
11:15 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Months Of Training And A Moment Of Silence As Marathon Draws Near

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 12:29 pm

Even as Boston pays tribute to the victims of the marathon bombing, runners are preparing to run in the race next week. NPR is following the stories of eight of these participants, dubbed the "NPR 8."

Around the Nation
11:15 am
Tue April 15, 2014

The Long Wait On Safety Rules For The 'Soda Can' Of Rail Cars

Safety advocates have been pressuring Canadian and U.S. officials to create new safety standards for tank cars and to make old DOT-111s like this one more puncture-resistant.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 12:29 pm

Freight trains roll through the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Ill., every day, many pulling older tank cars known as DOT-111s. They're known as the "soda can" of rail cars, says village President Karen Darch, because their shells are so thin.

Many of the DOT-111s are full of heavy Canadian tar sands crude oil. Some carry ethanol. And more and more of them are loaded with light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.

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News
11:15 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Boston Mourns A Tragic Anniversary With Voices Of Victims

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 12:29 pm

One year has passed since bombs rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The city honored victims of the tragedy Tuesday with a tribute, including speeches from three of the victims themselves.

News
11:15 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Ukraine's Army Launches Campaign Against Eastern Militants

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 12:29 pm

Ukraine's army began a "special operation" in the east of the country Tuesday, moving against pro-Russian militants who are occupying government offices across the region.

It's All Politics
11:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Obama's Tax Rate Rose — And He Can't Blame Anyone But Himself

President Obama meets with faith leaders in the Oval Office on Tuesday — also known as Tax Day 2014.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama, like many wealthy Americans, is paying more of his income to the IRS.

The White House released the president's tax return last week. It shows he and the first lady paid $98,169 in taxes for 2013 on income of $481,098. That's an effective tax rate of 20.4 percent.

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The Salt
10:35 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Behold Ukrainian Easter Art: Incredible, Inedible Eggs

Ukrainians have been crafting elaborately decorated eggs for thousands of years.
Konstantin Chernichkin Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 11:50 am

As Nancy Shute reported in 2012, Ukrainians have for centuries practiced an ancient form of art, drawing intricate patterns on eggs using a traditional method that involves a stylus and wax.

It's called pysanky, and it's alive and well in Ukraine and Ukrainian immigrant communities around the world.

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Shots - Health News
10:14 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Despite Worries, Boston Survivor Heads Back To The Start Line

Carol Downing is still haunted by memories of last year's marathon. But she's excited about reuniting with other survivors.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:24 pm

At last year's Boston Marathon, Carol Downing was just a half a mile from the finish line when bombs exploded and injured two of her daughters. This year, she's going back to complete the race.

More than 36,000 runners hope to cross the finish line for the Boston Marathon this year. Downing plans to be among them. But she's worried.

"There's definitely some fear of going back," Downing says. "I know that for the whole time of the 26.2 miles, I'm going to be wondering if my family is safe."

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The Two-Way
10:12 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Saturn Might Have A New Baby Moon Named Peggy

The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft results from gravitational effects on ring particles by an object that may be replaying the birth process of icy moons.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 1:54 pm

It's not like Saturn needs another moon to look after — it's already got 53 officially, with nine more labeled as "provisional" (and those are just the ones we know about). But the tiny, icy object nicknamed "Peggy" could prove hard to resist.

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It's All Politics
9:26 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Gingrich 2012 Campaign Still Owes $4.7 Million

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich waves after addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting in National Harbor, Md., on March 8.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 10:13 am

Newt 2012, the presidential campaign vehicle for Newt Gingrich last time around, couldn't bag the Republican nomination for him.

And now, the former House speaker's committee still owes $4.7 million from the attempt.

The campaign tells the Federal Election Commission that its debt on April 1, 2014, was just $14,507 less than the amount owed on May 31, 2012 — the month Gingrich officially suspended his White House bid.

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Shots - Health News
7:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Details On Abortion Coverage Still Elusive In Some Health Plans

Abortion coverage was a key sticking point during the congressional debate on the new health law. Lawmakers eventually agreed to let states decide.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 11:29 am

If you bought health coverage through one of the online insurance marketplaces, you might have a tough time determining whether your plan covers abortion services.

Though Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius got an earful from members of Congress about the problem at a hearing last November, little's been done yet to clear up the confusion in some states.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Think You Can Mail Your Taxes At Midnight? Think Again, Gramps

Mailing your taxes in just before midnight: That's so 2002.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 11:42 am

One of the least imaginative, but always popular, stories for an editor to assign in years past was the annual Tax Day frenzy at the local post office.

Younger Two-Way readers may not know this, but before e-filing was the thing to do, many procrastinators would wait until the last possible moment to finish their federal tax returns. And many post offices would keep staff on hand until midnight so that those returns could be postmarked before April 15 turned into April 16.

Now?

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Tue April 15, 2014

WATCH: Israel's New Low-Cost Airline Has Catchy Safety Video

UP, El Al's new budget carrier, has a catchy, and cheesy new safety video.
UP/El Al

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 9:55 am

El Al, Israel's national airline, wants you to get down when you fly UP, its budget carrier that took to the skies just two weeks ago. UP has joined the list of airlines doing away with the boring safety video in favor of something more lively and, at least in this case, delightfully cheesy.

The website FlightClub says:

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Tue April 15, 2014

TurboTax Maker Linked To Fight Against 'Return-Free' Tax System

Proposals that would simplify the filing process for many Americans are under fire from tax preparation company TurboTax. Here, a 2013 IRS Estimated Tax form.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 8:33 am

Proposals to let U.S. taxpayers get a statement from the government that's already filled in with their financial information have been under attack by Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, according to ProPublica. The nonprofit newsroom says several people took a stand against the proposal in a grass-roots campaign that Intuit orchestrated.

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The Two-Way
7:08 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Giant South American Bird On The Run In The U.K.

A greater rhea grazes in a canola field near Utecht in northern Germany in 2012. A similar bird has been loose in the English countryside for the past month.
DPA AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 2:55 am

An ostrich-size South American rhea that's reportedly capable of "seriously injuring humans" escaped from a farm in Hertfordshire, U.K., last month and has been on the lam in the English countryside ever since.

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All Tech Considered
6:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Apple Upgrade Tracks Customers Even When Marketing Apps Are Off

iPhone geotracking gets better. Or is it worse?
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 5:50 am

The people who design marketing apps are celebrating a change in the way iBeacon works on iPhones. That's the Bluetooth-based system that lets a store track a customer's movements, and capitalize on them. For instance, if iBeacon detects you lingering in the shoe department, it might send you a digital coupon for socks.

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