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It's All Politics
3:26 am
Wed April 24, 2013

People On Terror Watch List Not Blocked From Buying Guns

Assault weapons and hand guns for sale.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:49 am

Even al-Qaida gloats about what's possible under U.S. gun laws. In June 2011, a senior al-Qaida operative, Adam Gadahn, released a video message rallying people to take advantage of opportunities those laws provide.

"America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms," Gadahn says, explaining that "you can go down to a gun show at the local convention center" and buy a gun without a background check.

Then a faint smile crosses Gadahn's face. "So what are you waiting for?" he asks.

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The Salt
3:25 am
Wed April 24, 2013

For Corn, Fickle Weather Makes For Uncertain Yields

By this time last year, 26 percent of the country's corn crop was already planted. A wet, cold spring means that only 4 percent is in the ground right now.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 9:06 am

Last year's drought wreaked havoc on farmers' fields in much of the Midwest, cutting crop yields and forcing livestock producers to cull their herds. This spring, the rain that farmers needed so badly in 2012 has finally returned. But maybe too much, and at the wrong time.

It's almost the end of April, which is prime time to plant corn. But farmers need a break in the rain so they can get this year's crops in the ground and try to lock in good yields at harvest.

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The Salt
3:24 am
Wed April 24, 2013

How Coffee Influenced The Course Of History

An overseer sits in the shade while workers collect coffee beans on a Brazilian plantation, circa 1750.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 3:49 pm

Coffee is a powerful beverage. On a personal level, it helps keep us awake and active. On a much broader level, it has helped shape our history and continues to shape our culture.

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World
3:21 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Egypt's Jon Stewart Says He Won't Back Down Amid Charges

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef waves to his supporters as he enters Egypt's state prosecutor general's office in Cairo on March 31 to face charges of allegedly insulting Islam and the country's leader.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:19 pm

It's 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night, and Bassem Youssef's show is on TV screens at cafes throughout downtown Cairo.

It's the Egyptian political satirist's first show since he was summoned to the prosecutor general's office to answer questions about the jokes he makes on TV. After the interrogation, he was released on about $2,200 bail.

On this night, the show opens with a joke about Youssef himself.

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The Salt
3:20 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Coffee For A Cause: What Do Those Feel-Good Labels Deliver?

Luis Fernando Vasquez has been a coffee farmer in the central valley of Costa Rica his entire life.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 3:50 pm

What does it take to find guilt-free coffee?

Much of our coffee comes from places where the environment is endangered and workers earn very little — sometimes, just a few dollars for a whole day's work. Coffee farmers have helped cut down tropical forests, and most of them use pesticides.

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Law
7:01 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Charges Dropped Against Man Accused Of Sending Ricin Letters

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Mysterious new developments in Mississippi today in the case of poisoned letters sent to President Obama, a U.S. Senator and a Mississippi judge. Federal authorities are dropping charges against a man arrested last week in connection with the case.

NPR's Debbie Elliott has an update for us. And, Debbie, to start, the initial suspect, Paul Kevin Curtis, is actually free tonight. What happened in this case?

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It's All Politics
6:45 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Budget Cuts Delay Flights But Not Fingerpointing

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and fellow GOP senators accused the Obama administration of creating a "manufactured crisis" by furloughing FAA air traffic controllers and causing delayed flights.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 11:02 am

Blame shifting was in high gear Tuesday on Capitol Hill and at the White House as the first air traffic delays tied to the furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration controllers began to get attention.

The Republicans' message: Delays at some airports this week — a result of automatic spending cuts known as the sequester that took effect in March, but whose resulting furloughs are just kicking in — was a "manufactured crisis," and that the administration wants voters angry enough to force Congress to give President Obama the higher taxes he seeks.

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Around the Nation
6:07 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Thousands Have Applied For 'Deferred Action' Program

Young people wait in line to enter the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles office on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in August.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:05 am

As Congress continues its debate over immigration reform, nearly a half-million young people who are in the U.S. illegally have already applied for deferred action.

The Obama administration started the policy, formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, last year for people who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children. Those who are approved gain the right to work or study and avoid deportation for two years.

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Energy
5:28 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Could An 'Artificial Leaf' Fuel Your Car?

Miguel Modestino, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, is part of the team working to create a solar fuels generator at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis.
Roy Kaltschmidt Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

It's easy to feel dispirited about climate change because the challenge of dealing with it seems so overwhelming. But Miguel Modestino is actually excited about the challenge. He's part of a large team hoping to make an artificial leaf — a device that would make motor fuel from sunlight and carbon dioxide rather than from fossil fuels.

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Law
5:27 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Justices Say U.S. Improperly Deported Man Over Marijuana

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a longtime legal resident of the United States was improperly deported for possession of a small amount of marijuana. By a 7-2 vote, the justices said that it defies common sense to treat an offense like this as an "aggravated felony" justifying mandatory deportation.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
5:13 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Clues Suggest Boston Suspects Took A Do-It-Yourself Approach

Investigators in protective suits examine material on Boylston Street in Boston on April 18, three days after the deadly bombings. The explosive devices were relatively simple to make and law enforcement officials come across them on a regular basis, officials say.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

As investigators look into the Boston Marathon bombings, one crucial question is whether the suspects, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, acted alone or had help. The clues might be found in the bombs used.

From what is now known, it appears the brothers assembled a whole arsenal of explosives. Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau told CNN last weekend that the suspects had at least six bombs, including the two used in the attack and one thrown at police during a shootout.

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The Two-Way
4:58 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Bill Gates' Handshake With South Korea's Park Sparks Debate

This handshake between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Microsoft founder Bill Gates sparked debate over whether the American — who kept his left hand in his pocket — had been rude. Other photos clearly show Gates' hand in his pocket.0
Lee Jin-man AP

Microsoft founder Bill Gates met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye Monday, part of a visit to build business ties and boost nuclear energy plans. But it was the handshake they shared that created the biggest stir in Korean society, after Gates greeted Park with a smile — and his left hand jammed into his pants pocket.

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Business
4:42 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Online Retailers Take Opposite Sides On Sales Tax Bill

Humberto Manzano Jr. moves a pallet of goods at an Amazon.com fulfillment center in Phoenix in 2010. Amazon has endorsed a bill making its way through the Senate that would require more online retailers to collect sales tax.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

More online retailers would have to collect sales tax under a bill making its way through the U.S. Senate this week. The measure won strong bipartisan backing on a procedural vote Monday, and President Obama has said he would sign it.

The political battle over the bill pits online retailers against brick-and-mortar stores — and, in some cases, against other online sellers.

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The Salt
4:32 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

When Cheeseburger = Walking, Will We Eat Less?

Would you like that burger with a side of exercise?
iStockphoto.com

Nutrition labeling has been required on packaged food since 1990, and the new federal food safety law will require calorie counts to be posted for restaurant food — all in an effort to get the American public to eat healthier.

But most studies on calorie count labels show they don't do much to nudge people toward better food choices. If I want that oh-so-delicious Chunky Monkey ice cream, knowing that a half-cup serving delivers 300 calories and 18 grams of fat isn't going to stop me.

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The Two-Way
4:16 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Allan Arbus, Who Played Psychiatrist On TV's 'M.A.S.H.,' Dies At 95

Allan Arbus on the left, with fellow M.A.S.H. stars Loretta Swit, Mike Farrell, Burt Metcalfe, Alan Alda, Kellye Nakahara Wallet and Wayne Rogers at an awards ceremony in 2009.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

Allan Arbus, best known for his recurring role as psychiatrist Sidney Freedman on the hit television comedy M.A.S.H., has died at age 95, his family says.

Arbus died Friday due to congestive heart failure, his daughter said in a statement. His second wife, Mariclare Costello Arbus, told Reuters that her husband "just got weaker and weaker and was at home with his daughter and me" when he passed away.

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World
4:04 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Routine On U.S. Racetracks, Horse Doping Is Banned In Europe

French jockey Olivier Peslier celebrates a win at Longchamps racecourse near Paris in 2012. While many drugs can legally be used on horses in U.S. racing, they are barred in Europe.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:30 pm

At the famous Hippodrome de Longchamp just outside of Paris this month, crowds came to cheer and bet on the sleek thoroughbreds that opened horse racing season by galloping down the verdant turf course.

Horse racing in Europe is different from the sport in the U.S., from the shape and surface of the track to race distances and the season itself. Another big difference is doping.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
3:34 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Boston Search Shines Spotlight On Surveillance Cameras

An investigator inspects the area near a surveillance camera on the roof of the Lord & Taylor store near the Boston Marathon finish line on Thursday. That camera provided the first glimpse of the men who allegedly planted the bombs.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:04 pm

Footage from surveillance cameras along the Boston Marathon route gave the FBI early clues about the bombing suspects. And prosecutors say they'll use some of those images to try to prove their criminal case against 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But the proliferation of cameras in America's big cities is raising some tricky questions about the balance between security and privacy.

It was pictures of two brothers taken by a camera outside the Lord & Taylor department store that provided the first glimpse of the men who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Breaking Tradition, Cooper Union Will Charge Undergrads Tuition

The new Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art academic building is seen in Manhattan's Cooper Square in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 2:52 pm

Citing financial strain, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art announced that beginning in the fall of 2014, it would begin charging its undergraduate students tuition.

The college is one of the few institutions that doesn't charge students tuition.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
2:41 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Debate: Will The GOP Die If It Doesn't Seize The Center?

Laura Ingraham and Ralph Reed argue against the motion "The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die" in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

Following the Republican Party's losses in the 2012 elections, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about what the party should do to improve its electoral fortunes.

Some argue that the GOP should moderate its positions on social issues, as well as policies that affect income inequality and social mobility, and that it should embrace compromise as a way to attract more voters. But others say that changing its positions risks alienating the core Republican base and diluting the party's conservative message — doing more damage in the end.

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The Salt
2:27 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Want To Forage In Your City? There's A Map For That

Falling Fruit tells you where you can pick peaches and other foods free for the taking around the world.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 11:25 am

If you really love your peaches and want to shake a tree, there's a map to help you find one. That goes for veggies, nuts, berries and hundreds of other edible plant species, too.

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The Two-Way
2:14 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Suspect In Ricin Letters Is Released On Bond

An image from a video on a YouTube channel where Paul Kevin Curtis has posted clips of his performances — in this case, as Elvis.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 7:40 pm

Update at 6:02 p.m. ET. Charges Dropped:

Federal prosecutors have dropped charges against a Mississippi man they accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and two other public servants, according to a court order obtained by the AP.

"In a court order calling for the charges to be dismissed, prosecutors said the 'ongoing investigation has revealed new information' without providing any additional detail," Reuters reports.

Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody earlier Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Boston Carjacking Victim Thought He Would Be Killed

Though they told him he wouldn't be hurt, the man who was allegedly forced by the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings to hand over his SUV and go with them says he was convinced the gunmen would "kill me later."

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It's All Politics
2:12 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Bush Sees Approval Hike, But Trumanesque Recovery? Unlikely

Former President George W. Bush gives a tribute for Van Cliburn at his March 3 funeral in Fort Worth, Texas. This week, Bush's presidential library will open in Dallas.
Joyce Marshall AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 12:45 pm

A poll released days before the opening of George W. Bush's presidential library in Dallas is serving as fodder for some sequestered GOP nostalgia about his two terms in the White House.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Court Approves Anheuser-Busch InBev Deal To Buy Grupo Modelo

A federal court has approved a settlement agreement between the Department of Justice and Anheuser-Busch InBev that will allow the mammoth beer company to complete its purchase of Grupo Modelo, a Mexico-based brewer that produces Corona, Pacifico and other beers.

The deal, which requires AB InBev to sell all of Modelo's U.S. business, clears the way for the $20.1 billion acquisition of the remaining portion of Modelo that AB InBev did not yet own. Terms of the deal were announced Friday.

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The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Pew: Wealthiest Experience Big Boost In Post-Recession Worth

Falling home prices from 2009-2011 contributed to the disparity.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 5:40 pm

Some 93 percent of Americans saw their mean net worth fall in the first two years of the post-recession recovery, while the remaining 7 percent increased net worth by nearly a third, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

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