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3:32 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Shifting Retail Landscape Tilts Support For Online Sales Tax

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (left), leads a news conference about the Marketplace Fairness Act on Tuesday. The legislation would provide states with the authority to require out-of-state retailers to collect and remit taxes on purchases shipped into the states.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

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

The U.S. Senate may vote this week on the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that would allow states to collect sales tax from more online retailers. And as the political and retail landscape has shifted from the last time around, the Senate is expected to approve the measure.

The proposal to require online sellers to collect out-of-state sales tax has been kicked around for many years. For a decade, Amazon was a fierce opponent.

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Shots - Health News
3:31 am
Thu April 25, 2013

A Tale Of Mice And Medical Research, Wiped Out By A Superstorm

In this Jan. 18 photo provided by the NYU Langone Medical Center, a technician examines mice to determine their health at the hospital's complex in New York.
New York University AP

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

When Superstorm Sandy inundated lower Manhattan last year, thousands of lab animals drowned and many scientists lost months or even years of work. One of those scientists is Gordon Fishell, a brain researcher at New York University.

Just hours before Sandy reached New York, Fishell says, he began to worry that animals housed in a basement below his lab were in danger. "I realized Hurricane Sandy and high tide were going to coincide at Battery Park, which is right where my lab is," he says.

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Planet Money
3:30 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Lady Gaga Writing A New Song Is Like A Factory Investing In A New Machine

But is it GDP?
Charles Sykes AP

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

I spoke yesterday with Dan Sichel, a Wellesley economist and a Lady Gaga fan. Both of these facts are relevant for this story.

The U.S. government is about to tweak the way it measures the economy, and some of the biggest changes will affect the entertainment industry.

Under the current system, Sichel told me, Lady Gaga's sales of concert tickets, online songs and CDs all count toward gross domestic product. But the value of the time she spends in the studio working on new songs isn't counted. That's about to change.

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Shots - Health News
3:29 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Family Doctors Consider Dropping Birth Control Training Rule

The federal health law is supposed to increase access to prescription birth control. But will doctors of the future be ready?
iStockphoto.com

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

One of the more popular provisions of the federal health law requires that women be given much freer access to prescription methods of birth control. That includes not only the pill, but implants and IUDs as well.

But what happens if there are not enough doctors to prescribe those contraceptives?

That's exactly what worries some reproductive health advocates, as efforts are underway to rewrite rules governing the training of the nation's family doctors.

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The Salt
3:28 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Step Aside, Gents. Witness The Rise Of Women In Coffee

Three women in coffee leading the way: Stephanie Backus of Portland Roasting, coffee farmer Miguelina Villatoro of Guatemala, and coffee exporter/processor Loyreth Sosa. Here they discuss coffee prices as they survey beans ready for milling.
David Gilkey NPR

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

The inspiration for NPR's Coffee Week arrived in an email last summer. I had just reported on the growing Third-Wave Movement in Coffee, and the burgeoning interest in coffee cuppings.

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Asia
3:25 am
Thu April 25, 2013

These Days, More And More Chinese Have Driven A Ford Lately

Ford, the No. 12 passenger-car seller in China, is showing off 23 vehicles at its exhibit at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition this week.
Frank Langfitt NPR

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

General Motors has been the American car company in China. Even when GM was in bankruptcy, the Chinese continued to view Buick as a high-status, luxury brand.

But now Ford, an also-ran in the market for years, is making a push to change all that. Last year, Ford's sales were up more than 30 percent in China, and the Ford Focus was the best-selling car in both the world and China.

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Music
9:52 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Jittery Jams: 10 Songs For Coffee Lovers

Frank Sinatra's "The Coffee Song" makes light of a perceived Brazilian coffee glut.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

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

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The Two-Way
6:37 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Hagel: Claims Syria Used Chemical Weapons Are 'Suspicions'

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stands with an Egyptian army official as he salutes before laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 28, 2013 9:53 am

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday tried to tone down Israeli claims that the Syrian government has been using chemical weapons.

Chemical weapons use is important, because the United Staes has repeatedly said their use marks a "red line" in the conflict. President Obama and the United Nations have warned President Bashar Assad not to use them.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

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It's All Politics
6:18 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

The Meaning Of Boston: Depends On Your Angle, Literally

Signatures and messages adorn a Boston Marathon poster on Tuesday near the site of the April 15 bombings.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 7:31 pm

The opportunistic political sentiment of never letting a crisis go to waste (see: Rahm Emanuel, among others) has been reframed since the Boston bombings by those seizing on the attack as certain evidence of their positions.

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All Tech Considered
6:18 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

As Its Influence Grows, Twitter Becomes A Hacking Target

After high-profile accounts have been attacked β€” including AP's, NPR's and the BBC's β€” Twitter considers how to thwart hackers and protect users.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

In recent weeks, the Associated Press, NPR and the BBC have all had their Twitter accounts hijacked. Hacks of high-profile accounts have real-world consequences, and the security at Twitter is coming under increased scrutiny.

As the social media platform has become an essential news and communication platform globally, it has also become a honey pot for hackers. It's so deliciously attractive, they can't seem to resist.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
6:18 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Investigators Trace Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Activities Abroad

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

The investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing continues. Investigators have spoken with the parents of the suspects in Russia. Audie Cornish talks to Dina Temple-Raston about the latest developments.

The Two-Way
6:06 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Bolivia Takes Chile To Court Over Access To Sea

Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks last month at an event in La Paz to mark Sea Day, when the country lost access to the coast in a war with Chile more than 100 years ago. On Wednesday, Bolivia filed a lawsuit against Chile at the International Court of Justice to reclaim access to the Pacific Ocean.
Juan Karita AP

Landlocked Bolivia is turning to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to reclaim access to the sea that it lost to Chile in the 19th century.

The Santiago Times reports:

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Shots - Health News
6:01 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Gut Bacteria's Belch May Play A Role In Heart Disease

More than just a tenant: Enterococcus faecalis thrives in the human intestine with a varied jumble of other bacteria that help us digest food.
National Institutes of Health

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 10:38 am

Scientists have discovered what may be an important new risk factor for heart disease. And here's the surprising twist: The troublesome substance seems to be a waste product left behind by bacteria in our guts as they help us digest lecithin β€” a substance plentiful in red meat, eggs, liver and certain other foods.

Doctors say the research further illustrates the complicated relationship we have with the microbes living inside us, and could lead to new ways to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

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Explosions At Boston Marathon
5:35 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Boston Response Praised, But Intelligence-Sharing Questioned

First responders aid injured people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon after the bombing on April 15.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

In the days since the Boston Marathon bombings, local law enforcement officials have been given high marks for their response to the attack and the coordination among numerous federal, state and local agencies involved.

But at the same time, questions are being raised about the coordination among federal agencies handling intelligence they had about the suspects in the months before the attack.

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Code Switch
5:35 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

'Yo' Said What?

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

The Code Switch team loves thinking, talking and hearing about language and linguistics β€” see our launch essay, "When Our Kids Own America," and "How Code-Switching Explains The World." So we wanted to share this report from NPR's Arts Desk that's about the use of "yo" as a gender-neutral pronoun.

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It's All Politics
5:33 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Giffords Group's Radio Ads Hit McConnell, Ayotte On Gun Vote

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, at an April 16 ceremony naming a Capitol Hill conference room for her aide Gabe Zimmerman. Zimmerman died in the same Tucson, Ariz., shootings that Giffords wounded.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 5:58 pm

After the Senate failed to pass bipartisan legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases, the superPAC created by shooting victim and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, onetime astronaut Mark Kelly, vowed to remind voters of which lawmakers voted against the plan.

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The Two-Way
4:44 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Redesigned $100 Bill To Go Into Circulation After Long Delay

The new Ben Franklin.
Newmoney.gov

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:30 pm

The redesigned U.S. $100 bill will begin appearing after October with new security features that will make it "easier for the public to authenticate but more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate," the U.S. Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

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World
4:42 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

As Myanmar Reforms, Old Tensions Rise To The Surface

A Myanmarese girl carries away a tin roof in Meiktila, Myanmar. Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in March destroyed large areas of the town and left thousands of Muslims homeless.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

The town of Meiktila in central Myanmar presents a tranquil scene on a hot April day: A woman presses juice from sugar cane while customers loll around in the midday heat. The town is right in the center of the country, on a broad and arid plain where white cows graze among palm trees and pointy pagodas. It's a bustling trading post on the road between the capital, Naypyidaw, and the country's second-largest city, Mandalay.

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It's All Politics
4:37 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

How Obama's Response To Terrorism Has Shifted

President Obama makes a statement in the White House briefing room just a few hours after the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:57 pm

President Obama's time in office has not been defined by terrorism as President George W. Bush's was. Yet incidents like the one in Boston have been a regular, painful through line of his presidency.

When a new administration walks into the White House, nobody provides a handbook on how to respond to a terrorist attack. So the Obama administration has been on a steady learning curve.

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It's All Politics
4:00 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Rand Paul Elaborates: Armed Drones Not OK For 'Normal Crime'

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 4:12 pm

Remember when Rand Paul held the Senate floor for 13 hours last month because of his concern that President Obama would use drones to target alleged terrorists on American soil?

That concern, apparently, does not always extend to alleged common criminals on American soil.

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Shots - Health News
3:43 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Philadelphia Case Exposes Deep Rift In Abortion Debate

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is an abortion provider who was charged with killing a patient and seven babies.
AP

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:15 pm

This is the sixth week of the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the physician charged with five counts of murder in the deaths of a woman and infants at the Philadelphia abortion clinic he owned and operated.

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Code Switch
3:33 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Home Sweet Home Costs More For Blacks And Latinos

A "sold" sign is posted outside a home in Carmel, Ind. Black and Latino homebuyers pay about 3.5 percent more for housing than whites and Asians, according to a study released this week by Duke University.
Michael Conroy AP

Black and Latino homebuyers pay more for housing than whites and Asians, according to a study released this week by Duke University. The price difference is about 3.5 percent.

That may not sound like a lot. But Patrick Bayer, a Duke economics professor who led the study, says when you do the math, that percentage can translate to about $5,000 or $10,000 per housing sale.

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The Two-Way
3:22 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Another Boston Bombing Mystery: Who Is @Al_FirdausiA?

The twitter account of @Al_firdausiA
Twitter

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 8:31 pm

(Andy Carvin, NPR's senior strategist for social media, sends us this dispatch about a Twitter account that may hold clues in understanding the surviving Boston bombing suspect.)

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

1960s Satellite Images Add To Evidence Of Shrinking Sea Ice

An artist's rendering of the Nimbus 1.
NASA

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:30 am

Scientists have digitized and analyzed imagery taken by one of the first U.S. weather satellites to create a montage showing the extent of polar sea ice in 1964 so they can compare it to more recent satellite photos.

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The Two-Way
2:49 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

WATCH: Nevada Lawmaker Comes Out During Gay Marriage Debate

Democrat Kelvin Atkinson represents North Las Vegas in the Nevada Senate.
Cathleen Allison AP

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 4:19 pm

With all the other news demanding our attention in the past week, we missed an interesting dispatch from Nevada: Just as the state Senate began moving toward repealing a ban on same-sex marriage, a state senator surprised his colleagues with an announcement.

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