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2:44 am
Tue March 26, 2013

5 People Jailed In Britain For Movie Tax Scam

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. The movie "Argo" told the story of a fake film that was a cover to get hostages out of Iran. Well, think of this as the "Argo" of tax fraud. Five people have been jailed in the U.K. for orchestrating quite a tax scam. The group pretended to make a movie to secure millions in tax credits from the British Film Commission.

Around the Nation
2:40 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Hey Punxsutawney Phil! Where's Spring?

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

As snow blanketed parts of the country yesterday, many turned their anger towards a weather predictor. Last month, Punxsutawney Phil forecast an early spring. One shivering Ohio prosecutor filed a lighthearted criminal indictment against Phil for fraud. But the president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says it's not Phil's fault. He says he misinterpreted the groundhog's message, which has the prosecutor reconsidering charges.

The Two-Way
2:13 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Book News: Wis. Governor Takes Heat Over His Choice Of Ghostwriter

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Republican National Convention on Aug. 28, 2012.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

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

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The Two-Way
1:34 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Italian Court Orders Retrial For Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox, in March 2011.
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 5:18 am

Amanda Knox, the young American whose murder conviction in Italy captured attention around the world, learned Tuesday that Italy's highest court has overturned a lower court's 2011 decision to dismiss that verdict.

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Business
12:39 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Ford Unit Apologizes For Demeaning Ads

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And out next business story fits in the category of what were they thinking? Ford Motor Company is apologizing for ads sketched up by an agency in India - ads that have been decried as demeaning to women. They are cartoon drawings showing off how spacious a Ford trunk can be. One spoofs Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. He's at the wheel, and in the trunk, three women, tied up.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

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Law
12:39 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Abortion Opponents Gear Up For More Battles

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now to a debate over abortion that has escalated after some recent moves by states. The North Dakota legislature just passed a series of bills, including the strictest abortion ban in the country. And lawmakers there voted to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot next year which would end abortion entirely. Earlier this month, Arkansas passed a 12-week ban. NPR's Kathy Lohr reports that more states are debating stricter laws with hopes of getting one of them before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Business
12:14 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Opposition Blocks Return-Free Tax Filing In U.S.

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Imagine a world with no tax returns.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: OK, it's just a fantasy. But actually, in some countries taxpayers can sign up to receive simply a bill. The government sends you a tax bill, you pay it and, voila, that's it.

Now, there was an effort to bring return-free filing to the United States, but that effort came up against stiff opposition. And to find out why, we called Liz Day of ProPublica. She's been digging into this issue.

Liz, thanks for joining us.

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Shots - Health News
10:28 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Maybe Isolation, Not Loneliness, Shortens Life

People who are socially isolated may be at a greater risk of dying sooner, a British study suggests. But do Facebook friends count? How about texting?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 6:54 am

Loneliness hurts, but social isolation can kill you. That's the conclusion of a study of more than 6,500 people in the U.K.

The study, by a team at University College London, comes after decades of research showing that both loneliness and infrequent contact with friends and family can, independently, shorten a person's life. The scientists expected to find that the combination of these two risk factors would be especially dangerous.

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Shots - Health News
10:27 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Arkansas Medicaid Expansion Attracts Other States' Interest

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks at a rally promoting the expansion of Medicaid in the state in front of the Capitol in Little Rock on March 7.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

Since the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law optional last year, states' decisions have largely split along party lines. States run by Democrats have been opting in; states run by Republicans have mostly been saying no or holding back.

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Around the Nation
10:26 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

'American Winter' Families Struggle To Survive Fall From Middle Class

Pam Thatcher and her family ultimately moved into her mother's two-bedroom apartment because they couldn't make rent.
Courtesy Devon Terrilll Viewfilm productions/HBO

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

It's a visual no parent wants to picture: a child describing what it's like to live in a house with no power for lights, heat or cooking. For many middle-class American parents, it's hard to imagine their family ever facing a situation like that. But a new HBO documentary suggests that many seemingly prosperous parents are only a few misfortunes away from dark houses and empty refrigerators.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
10:25 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

High Court's Decision On Federal Marriage Law Has Tax Implications

While equal rights occupy a large part of the debate over same-sex marriage, federal taxes are also a concern for gay couples. Experts say repealing the Defense of Marriage Act will affect some same-sex couples when they file their taxes.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

When advocates for gay marriage talk about it, they usually focus on the struggle for equality and civil rights.

But how the Supreme Court decides the Defense of Marriage Act case being argued this week could possibly have big implications in another arena — the money same-sex couples owe the Internal Revenue Service.

The case that could throw out a law that defines marriage as between a man and woman started with a tax bill.

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Middle East
10:24 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Syrian Aid Groups Train An Army Of Activists

Workers prepare hundreds of food baskets to be distributed by the NGO Watan to needy refugees from Syria now living in Reyhanli, Turkey.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 3:57 pm

At a border crossing, Mulham al-Jundi directs aid vehicles from southern Turkey into Syria. The Turkish border officials know him; they quickly stamp his papers and wave him through.

Jundi is with Watan, a private Syrian aid group that collects donations from abroad and delivers support to some of the hot spots inside Syria — places that international aid agencies have been unable to reach.

The group has seven ambulances that help support field hospitals that have been established inside Syria, says Jundi, 28, who heads the aid operation from an office in southern Turkey.

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All Tech Considered
10:23 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Why Are TV Remotes So Terrible?

The buttons, symbols and signs on many modern TV remotes make for one confusing user interface.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 5:25 am

Let's call it the baby sitter's dilemma.

If you go to someone's house and pick up the TV remote, chances are, you won't know how it works. You know the situation's bad when even a tech writer who also majored in physics at an Ivy League school is confused by her own TV remote.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
2:39 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

In First Of 2 Gay-Marriage Cases, Court Turns To Proposition 8

Snow covers flowers in front of the Supreme Court building on Monday in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the justices hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

Outside the Supreme Court, lines began forming nearly a week ago. By Monday, the line had snaked down the court steps and to the corner, with people braving freezing temperatures and snow in anticipation of the historic arguments on same-sex marriage on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The justices are first hearing a constitutional challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. A second day is devoted to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married in the nine states where such unions are legal.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

New York's Met Museum Is Sued Over 'Deceptive' Entrance Fees

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 8:21 am

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit that alleges the world-class museum has deceived patrons over the years.

Under an agreement with the city, patrons are allowed to pay whatever they want to visit the museum. But the lawsuit alleges that patrons are misled into believing that admission is $25.

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Economy
1:50 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

As Cardinal, New Pope Walked Fine Line On Economic Issues

The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio walks outside the chapel during a Mass at the Barracas neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2003. Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis, is said to have the same position as his predecessors on economic matters.
AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:59 pm

He took his name from a 13th century saint who gave up his wealth and threw in his lot with the poor. As cardinal in Argentina, he eschewed the trappings of power and privilege, taking public transportation and even cooking his own meals.

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The Salt
1:23 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Are Agriculture's Most Popular Insecticides Killing Our Bees?

Workers clear honey from dead beehives at a bee farm east of Merced, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:42 am

Environmentalists and beekeepers are calling on the government to ban some of the country's most widely used insect-killing chemicals.

The pesticides, called neonicotinoids, became popular among farmers during the 1990s. They're used to coat the seeds of many agricultural crops, including the biggest crop of all: corn. Neonics, as they're called, protect those crops from insect pests.

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All Tech Considered
12:55 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

For Some, Resistance To Google Glass Is Not Futile

Google co-founder Sergey Brin wears Google Glass glasses at an event on the University of California, San Francisco's Mission Bay campus on Feb. 20.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:47 pm

The time of Google Glass is almost upon us. The tech giant's much touted wearable computer is almost certain to usher in a new era of social and computer interaction, as well as a huge wave of first-person cat videos.

It sounds amazing, and almost too science fiction to be true, but a lawmaker in West Virginia is concerned that the technology will also be the next thing to distract us on the road.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Supreme Court Will Hear Michigan Case On Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court added another controversial case to its docket today: The court agreed to hear a case about a Michigan ballot initiative that banned racial preferences in the admission practices of the state's public university.

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Shots - Health News
12:34 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Spring Break Alert: 'Black' Henna Tattoos May Not Be Safe

Hairdresser Paramjit Kaur paints a traditional Indian henna design on a client's hand in Kent, Wash.
Ralph Radford AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:59 pm

A henna tattoo looks like a fun beach souvenir — until you break out in a rash and blisters.

The dyes used for the popular temporary tattoos aren't always natural or safe, the Food and Drug Administration warned today. "Black henna" used to make the intricate designs darker often doesn't come from a plant, but from a harsh chemical that causes allergic reactions.

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Law
12:12 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Supreme Court To Examine State Ban On Affirmative Action

A scene outside the Supreme Court on Monday, as the justices announced they would hear another case involving affirmative action in higher education. Many of those waiting in line at the court in a late-season snowfall were hoping to attend oral arguments on gay-marriage cases being heard Tuesday and Wednesday.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:59 pm

As the national spotlight turns to the U.S. Supreme Court this week with two historic arguments on same-sex marriage, the court on Monday made headlines on another high-profile issue: affirmative action.

Just 10 years ago a narrow court majority upheld affirmative action programs in higher education in an opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But ever since O'Connor retired and was replaced by the more conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the court has been on a steady march to get rid of all race-conscious programs.

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The Salt
12:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Forget Fish Fridays: In Louisiana, Gator Is On The Lenten Menu

Tastes like chicken, but it's OK for Lent: Fried alligator, as served at New Orleans' Cochon restaurant.
Chris Granger Courtesy of Cochon

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:59 pm

Is it OK to eat alligator on Fridays during Lent? That question isn't just rhetorical in Louisiana, which has large populations of both Catholics and gators.

"Alligator's such a natural for New Orleans," says Jay Nix, owner of Parkway Bakery, which serves a mean alligator sausage po boy sandwich. "Alligator gumbo, jambalaya. I mean, it's a wonder that alligator isn't our mascot, you know?"

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Around the Nation
12:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

In Teen AIDS Activist's Hometown, Old Tensions Remain

Ryan White gets a hug from Dr. Cory SerVaas after testifying to a presidential commission on AIDS in 1988. He told the panel of his battle with the disease and the taunts and jeers he endured from classmates.
Nanine Hartzenbusch Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:59 pm

An oral history project that checks in on the Indiana town split in the 1980s by teenager Ryan White's AIDS diagnosis is finding that the topic still hits a raw nerve.

More than 25 years ago, Kokomo, Ind., was reluctantly thrown into the national spotlight when resident White, then 13, was barred from going to school after getting AIDS from a tainted blood transfusion. The decision to keep White out of school sparked national outrage and quickly divided this community.

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Mon March 25, 2013

China Reportedly To Buy Russian Subs, Fighter Jets

Russian MiG-29 (top), MiG-35 (left) and Su-35 (right) perform at an air show outside Moscow, in 2011.
Dmitry Kostyukov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 11:59 am

China has reportedly signed a deal to buy new submarines and Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, the first such arms deal in nearly a decade.

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NPR Story
11:34 am
Mon March 25, 2013

In One Alabama County, Nearly 1 In 4 Working-Age Adults Is On Disability

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

In the past three decades, the number of Americans who get a monthly disability check from the federal government has skyrocketed. It's now up to 14 million people. That's due in part to our aging workforce. But in many pockets of the country, there's much more to the story. Factories and mills have closed and the U.S. economy has left behind millions of workers who now find themselves unfit or unqualified for the jobs that remain.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
11:25 am
Mon March 25, 2013

How Ellen DeGeneres Helped Change The Conversation About Gays

Ellen DeGeneres during a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2011 in Burbank, Calif.
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:59 pm

In 2008, during the brief window when it was legal for same-sex couples to get married in California, perhaps no couple drew more attention than Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.

After their wedding, photos of the couple were everywhere; DeGeneres, beaming, in a white suit and holding hands with de Rossi, the very picture of the princess bride so many young girls dream of being one day. It was a cultural touchstone, and Dietram Scheufele, a communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, says it was neither the first nor the last time DeGeneres has played that role.

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The Two-Way
11:03 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Rebels Rain Down Mortars On Damascus

Rebels from the Free Syrian Army walk on a street in Damascus in this picture provided by Shaam News Network and taken March 23. The Syrian capital came under mortar fire on Sunday and Monday.
Ward Al-Keswani/Shaam News Network Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:05 pm

The author is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus who is not being further identified out of safety concerns.

Syrian rebels carried out mortar and rocket attacks on Sunday and Monday in what appeared to mark a new escalation in the fighting over the Syrian capital.

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Heavy Rotation
10:55 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Tame Impala.
Maciek Pozoga Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:57 am

Our panel of public-radio music obsessives has five more favorites to share. KCRW music director Jason Bentley can't get enough of the new Frightened Rabbit album. Alisa Ali, a DJ for New York's The Alternate Side indie-rock channel, picked a great new track by the promising Glasgow act CHVRCHES. Baltimore's Friday-night hip-hop show Strictly Hip Hop highlighted the new jam by Joey Bada$$.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Sen. Rob Portman's Son: 'I'm Proud Of My Dad'

This undated photo provided the office of U.S. Senator Rob Portman shows, from left to right, son Will Portman, wife Jane Portman, Sen. Portman, daughter Sally Portman, and son Jed Portman.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 11:16 am

In an editorial for the Yale student newspaper, Will Portman says he is "proud" of his dad for his evolution on gay marriage.

Will Portman told his family he was gay two years ago, leading Rob Portman, the prominent Republican senator from Ohio, to have a change of heart on the issue of gay marriage.

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Shots - Health News
10:40 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Gates Foundation Says It's Time For A Snazzier Condom

An estimated 15 billion condoms are manufactured each year and 750 million people use them.
ederk iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 7:02 am

Last summer Bill Gates and his foundation held a competition to reinvent the toilet. Now he's hoping to do the same for condoms.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is putting up $100,000 to the best proposal for a more fun and pleasurable condom.

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