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It's All Politics
4:11 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Budget Politics Forcing Congress To Pick Favorites

Call it the Whac-a-Mole approach to budgeting.

Congress restored budget flexibility so the FAA can keep air traffic controllers working, just days after their furloughs had started and flight delays began stacking up.

With spending cuts caused by sequestration rolling throughout the government, the question becomes which programs Congress might address next — and why.

"That's the parlor game in Washington," says Scott Lilly, a former staff director of the House Appropriations Committee. "There are dozens and dozens of candidates."

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The Salt
3:37 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Why Caffeine In Coffee Is A Miracle Drug For The Tired

Many believe that humanity's caffeine addiction has wrought a lot of good.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 3:46 pm

NPR's Coffee Week is winding down, but we'd be remiss if we didn't give some space to caffeine, the most widely used stimulant drug in the world.

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Shots - Health News
3:33 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Freaky Friday: Autonomous Tissue Grabbers Are On Their Way

A miniature ninja throwing star or a surgical device? The microgripper, shown here coming out of a catheter tube, is activated by body heat. The sharp appendages fold up when the device warms up.
Evin Gultepe, Gracias Lab, Johns Hopkins University.

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 10:54 am

When we first heard about researchers using tiny freely floating tools to grab tissue samples deep inside the body, we were scared.

But our fears quickly turned to fascination.

Johns Hopkins engineers are testing out what they call "untethered microgrippers" as a better way to investigate hard-to-reach places. They have launched hundreds of these things, which look like miniature ninja throwing stars, inside the body of animal to retrieve tiny pieces of tissue for biopsies.

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It's All Politics
2:40 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Obama Says New Abortion Laws Turn Back The Clock

President Obama addresses the Planned Parenthood national conference in Washington on Friday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 3:33 pm

President Obama on Friday became the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood's annual meeting, delivering a strongly worded speech defending the embattled organization.

"We shouldn't have to remind people that when it comes to women's health, no politician should get to decide what's best for you," said Obama, who was greeted by sustained applause when he took the stage.

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Planet Money
2:13 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Nervous Parents In One Country Clear Supermarket Shelves In Another

A sign limiting the purchase of baby formula powder hangs on a shelf in a London supermarket April 10.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:47 pm

Liyan Chen, a grad student in New York, was chatting online recently with her cousin in China.

"He said, 'I want Abbott milk powder,' " Chen told me. " 'I want you to buy it and ship it back.' "

Her cousin wanted her to buy three boxes of Abbott baby formula, sold under the brand name Similac, and ship it to him in China. She did some research and found out the shipping alone could cost $80. "They're not from a very well-off family, and that really surprised me," she said — especially because they can buy Abbott baby formula in stores in China.

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The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Dutch Authorities Nab Suspect In 'Unprecedented' Cyberattack

Authorities say they have arrested a Dutch national in Spain in connection with a March cyberattack widely described as the largest in Internet history.

According to The Associated Press, Dutch prosecutors say the 35-year-old suspect, who is identified only by his initials, S.K., was taken into custody on Thursday.

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Middle East
1:52 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

U.S. Wary As Qatar Ramps Up Support Of Syrian Rebels

President Obama meets with the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in the Oval Office on Tuesday. The emir is among a series of visiting Middle East leaders urging the U.S. to take a greater role in the Syrian conflict.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:47 pm

President Obama has been hosting a series of visitors from the Middle East, and all of them have been urging the U.S. to get more involved in Syria.

They have included the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, whose country has been arming rebel forces in Syria. Obama wants to see such aid go to moderates — but that requires more cooperation with partners like Qatar. Problem is, they don't always see eye to eye.

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The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

On-The-Job Deaths Continue At Steady, Grim Pace

A construction site in San Mateo, Calif., earlier this month. There were 738 deaths of construction workers in the U.S. during 2011, the most of any single industry. The fatality rate per workers was higher, when taken together, in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Dying on the job continues at a steady pace according to the latest statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The fatal injury rate for American workers dropped slightly in 2011 — the most recent year with reported numbers — from 3.6 to 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers.

But 4,693 men, women and teenagers died at work. That's three more than the total number of lives lost on the job in 2010.

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U.S.
1:24 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Flight Delays Push Congress To End Controller Furloughs

Travelers stand in line at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday. Congress moved quickly this week to give the Federal Aviation Administration flexibility to end air traffic controller furloughs that resulted in flight delays at several airports.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:53 pm

The U.S. Congress — a body not exactly known for its swift feet — raced Friday to complete legislation to help travelers avoid delays at airports.

The House voted 361-41 to approve legislation that the Senate passed without objection late Thursday. The bill gives the Federal Aviation Administration more spending flexibility to cut its budget while avoiding furloughs of air traffic controllers.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Will Chemical Weapons Change U.S. Policy Toward Syria?

The White House said this week that it believes Syria has been using chemical weapons, but President Obama has not said how the U.S. might respond. Here, rebel fighters in Syria prepare to launch of a rocket in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on April 21. The rebels have also accused the Syrian government of employing chemical weapons.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 2:46 pm

The U.S. has remained at arm's length during two years of bloodletting in Syria that has claimed some 70,000 lives. But when the White House said Thursday it believed Syria has used chemical weapons, even in small quantities, it immediately set off a renewed debate on whether the U.S. might pursue a more aggressive policy.

Here are some of the key issues now under discussion:

-- Is the U.S. sure that Syria used chemical weapons?

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The Two-Way
12:16 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

House OKs Bill To End Air Traffic Controllers' Furloughs

The furloughs of air traffic controllers that have slowed air travel in the past week and frustrated thousands of fliers should soon come to an end.

By a vote of 361-41, the House of Representatives just passed legislation that would allow the secretary of transportation to shift up to $253 million in funds so that controllers no longer have to be furloughed to meet the requirements of sequestration (the mandated, across-the-board spending cuts that began taking hold March 1).

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Shots - Health News
12:04 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Failure Of Latest HIV Vaccine Test: A 'Huge Disappointment'

The green dots are HIV virus particles on a human white blood cell.
CDC

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:14 pm

The largest current study of an AIDS vaccine, involving 2,500 people, is being stopped.

After an oversight committee took a preliminary peek at the results this past Monday, they concluded there was no way the study would show that the vaccine prevents HIV infection.

Nor would the vaccine suppress the wily virus among people who get infected despite being vaccinated.

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Faith Matters
12:03 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:23 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we take a closer look at reports from Detroit that local police officers are taking homeless people off the streets only to abandon them outside the city's border.

But first, it's time for Faith Matters, our weekly conversation about religion and spirituality. Today, we focus on the complex relationship between faith and mental health.

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Barbershop
12:03 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Has Time Been Kind To 'Dubya?'

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:23 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. And it is time for a visit to the Barbershop. That's where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds.

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Politics
12:03 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Why Can't Traumatic Events Bring Politicians Together?

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:23 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Coming up, an unexpected death can be a test of faith for just about anyone, but what happens when that death is a suicide? We'll talk about that in just a few minutes, but first when it comes to politics it's become something of a cliché to say 9/11 changed everything. And in the immediate days following those terrorist attacks, Republicans and Democrats came together.

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Around the Nation
11:56 am
Fri April 26, 2013

ACLU Says Detroit is Dumping its Homeless

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:23 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Now we turn to Detroit, where police have been reportedly using a pretty controversial method to deal with vagrancy. Allegedly, police are taking homeless people off city streets - particularly in high tourist areas - then driving them outside of the city limits and leaving them there. The American Civil Liberties Union recently sent a letter to city officials and the Detroit Police Department demanding an end to this practice, and the group also filed a complaint with the Department of Justice, requesting an investigation.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Honoring Film Critic Roger Ebert — With A Conga Line

Ebertfest.com

It's not been a full month since Roger Ebert passed away, but his annual Ebertfest continued this month in Illinois with screenings, lectures and guest visits by artists.

The big hit was actress Tilda Swinton, who closed out last Friday night with this touching tribute to the longtime movie critic: a conga line.

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It's All Politics
11:36 am
Fri April 26, 2013

FEC: DOMA Limits Political Donations By Gay Married Couples

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Winslow of Massachusetts wants same-sex married couples to have the same right to pool their money for political donations as other married couples. But the Federal Election Commission says the Defense of Marriage Act won't allow it. The constitutionality of DOMA is now before the Supreme Court.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 3:46 pm

Maybe it's not your first thought after saying "I do," but federal election law gives married couples some advantages in making political contributions. The Federal Election Commission tried Thursday to make those same breaks available to couples in same-sex marriages — but commissioners said they're thwarted by the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

True, President Obama's Justice Department no longer defends DOMA, and the Supreme Court is weighing whether to get rid of it. But the FEC didn't want to get too far out in front. The vote was a reluctant 5-0.

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Country Star George Jones Dies

George Jones in the late 1980s.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 12:13 pm

Country superstar George Jones, known for "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and a long string of other hits, has died.

He was 81.

According to Webster & Associates, the Nashville public relations firm that represented Jones, he died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was hospitalized there on April 18 for treatment of a fever and irregular blood pressure, the p.r. firm adds.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Fri April 26, 2013

South Korean Workers To Leave Industrial Zone In North

South Korean soldiers stand beside barricades as cars drive on the road leading to North Korea's Kaesong industrial complex on Friday.
Jung Yeon-je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:44 pm

South Korea has ordered the withdrawal of its workers from a jointly run industrial zone in North Korea, in a further sign of how relations have gone from bad to worse between the two countries in recent weeks.

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Around the Nation
10:06 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Presidents Overlook Differences At Bush Center Opening

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 6:59 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The president's appearance at that memorial service came on the same day he joined with all his living predecessors. He met with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, whose presidential library was dedicated in Texas.

A photograph, sent out on Twitter incidentally, by former President Clinton, shows the five men in a circle, chatting. Three Democrats joined two Republicans on a day when political differences were overlooked.

Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.

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Around the Nation
10:06 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Mourners Pack Arena To Honor Victims Of Texas Explosion

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 6:59 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Nearly 10,000 mourners gathered yesterday to honor the men who died fighting a fire in a fertilizer plant in Texas. They packed the basketball arena on the campus of Baylor University in Waco. At least 14 people died when that fire led to an explosion in the little town of West - which is just north of Waco.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MARCHING)

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Business
10:06 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Samsung Rings Up Sales

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 6:59 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Samsung ringing up sales.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Samsung said this morning its first quarter profit is at a record high - net profit surged 42 percent. The company has now seen six straight quarters of growth, thanks to strong smartphone sales. Tomorrow, it's launching a new smartphone in the United States - the Galaxy S4 - which is aimed at taking on Apple's iPhone. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Economy
10:06 am
Fri April 26, 2013

U.S. Economic Growth Regained Speed In First Quarter

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 6:59 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Accelerating economic growth is at the top of NPR's business news.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: U.S. economic growth regained speed in the first quarter of this year, although not as much as economists had hoped. The Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent. Consumer spending is up and home construction rose, but government spending fell and tax increases, as well as federal budget cuts, are expected to slow economic growth later in the year. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
9:25 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Rescuers Still Hope For Survivors In Bangladesh Collapse

Bangladeshi volunteers and rescue workers at the site of the factory on Friday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 10:20 am

Rescue workers are still hoping to find survivors from the collapse of an eight-story garment factory in Bangladesh that has killed more than 300 people and left hundreds missing.

Meanwhile, angry relatives of the missing have clashed with police, blaming authorities for the catastrophe at Rana Plaza in Savar, an industrial suburb of the capital, Dhaka.

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