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Business
3:03 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Ignition Switch Recall Straddles Old And New GM

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

General Motors is at the center of several investigations involving last month's recall of 1.6 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The recall comes at a pivotal time for the company.

Business
3:03 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Happy National Pi Day

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business: Pi in the Sky.

Today, March 14th, 3-14, is Pi Day. In case you didn't know, it's actually a national holiday - certainly an important day for math lovers. In Austin, festivities started early - with skywriting. A company called AirSign tried to write the long famous ratio across 100 miles of sky. It turned out writing Pi in the Sky was a little easier.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
3:03 am
Fri March 14, 2014

BP Allowed To Seek Oil Leases In The Gulf Of Mexico

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with BP doing business in the Gulf.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The petroleum company is once again allowed to seek oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday lifted a ban that kept BP from bidding on new federal contracts. The suspension had been in effect since 2012, when regulators determined that BP had not corrected problems that led to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill two years before.

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Europe
3:03 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Merkel, EU Struggle To Influence Events In Ukraine

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

With Russia making moves on Ukraine's Crimea region, German leader Angela Merkel has been talking tough, and perhaps no Western leader understands Vladimir Putin's intentions better than Merkel.

The German chancellor has been on the phone with the Russian president more than half a dozen times since the crisis began. Yesterday, she warned that Russia would suffer massive political and economic damage if Russia follows through on annexing Crimea - if, as many expect, Crimeans vote for that this Sunday.

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Sports
3:03 am
Fri March 14, 2014

'Requiem For The Big East' Honors Basketball Rivalries

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Big East basketball tournament is underway at Madison Square Garden in New York City. For many fans it is nothing like it used to be. In the 1980s, even up until recently, this was a marquee event for college basketball and for New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "REQUIEM FOR THE BIG EAST")

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Parallels
1:28 am
Fri March 14, 2014

In Egypt, A New Courtroom Drama Every Day

Australian journalist Peter Greste (center) of Al Jazeera and his colleagues stand inside the defendants' cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo's Tora prison on Mar. 5.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

Not one but two ousted presidents are on trial. In cages. As are a group of journalists from the Al Jazeera satellite channel. Then there are the countless activists facing charges that are widely seen as politically motivated.

If you like courtroom dramas, Egypt is the place to be these days. And while there's no shortage of high-profile trials, analysts say one thing hasn't changed in the three tumultuous years since the overthrow of the autocratic Hosni Mubarak: There's still no guarantee of a fair trial for the accused.

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Parallels
1:27 am
Fri March 14, 2014

'Waiting For Godot' Strikes A Chord In Tehran

Just as characters in the play "Waiting for Godot" wait for someone named Godot, some believe that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is Iran's only politician who can end the country's waiting when it comes to resolving a nuclear deal.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

At the National Theater in downtown Tehran, "Waiting for Godot" seems to have captured the mood of a country.

The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett dramatized endless waiting in vain for someone named Godot. The play, translated into Farsi, got a standing ovation on the night I attended. The characters, in classic white suits, black top hats and black shoes, took endless bows as the audience whistled and clapped.

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Pop Culture
1:26 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Forget Nancy Drew: Thanks To Fans, 'Veronica Mars' Is Back On The Case

In the movie, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is a recent law school grad living in New York when an old flame — Logan Echolls — calls her back to her home town of Neptune, Calif.
Robert Voets Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 3:03 pm

When Rob Thomas created Veronica Mars, his show about a sharp-elbowed girl detective, he had an ulterior motive: He wanted to kill off the reigning queen of teenaged sleuths — one who's been around for more than 80 years.

"Nancy Drew," Thomas says, his soft-spoken affect barely betrayed by a trace of a snarl. "Like, I feel like she had her run."

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Around the Nation
1:25 am
Fri March 14, 2014

A Boom In Oil Is A Boon For U.S. Shipbuilding Industry

A welder at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.
Jonathan Blakley NPR

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 2:58 pm

Scott Clapham peers down into a cavernous dry dock at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. He points to massive pieces of steel, some covered with a light dusting of snow. When assembled, they will form a 115,000-ton oil tanker.

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The Two-Way
7:31 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Obama Orders Review Of Deportation Practices

President Obama in the East Room of the White House, on Thursday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

During a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, President Obama said he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security to review deportation procedures and see if they can be made more humane.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
6:35 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Colo. Court Rules Some Marijuana Convictions Can Be Overturned

A Colorado judge ruled on Thursday that some people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana could have their convictions overturned.

The ruling has to do with the state's legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012.

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The Salt
5:10 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows

States are taking an out provided by Congress to avoid cutting food stamp benefits to families, many of whom already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif.
Antonio Mena Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 11:41 am

When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.

You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option — a move that could erase the promised savings.

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Around the Nation
4:43 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

A Terrible Winter Wreaks Havoc On Roads, Pipes And City Budgets

Potholes on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, one of which is about half-a-car-length long and at least a foot deep. The city of Chicago says it has filled an estimated 240,000 potholes this winter, 100,000 more than last winter, at a cost of more than $2.8 million.
David Schaper NPR

Bitter cold has returned to parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast, following another heavy snowstorm that left 1 to 2 feet of snow from Ohio to New England.

And when all this snow finally melts, it'll expose the physical toll of this brutal winter: potholes, broken water mains, collapsed catch basins and other infrastructure problems.

"This winter's crazy, crazy busy," says John Polishak, a foreman for the Chicago Department of Water Management. "Everybody's been working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. It's exhausting."

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The Two-Way
4:34 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Takes White House To Task Over Privacy

Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference as part of the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.
David Ramos Getty Images

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg published an open letter on Thursday in which he takes the White House to task over "the behavior of the U.S. government."

While he does not say so explicitly, Zuckerberg is clearly referring to the reports of widespread surveillance undertaken by the National Security Agency.

Zuckerberg, 29, who has built the world's most successful social network, writes that the Internet works because companies like Facebook strive to make it secure. He adds:

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Movie Reviews
4:13 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

In LA's Iranian Set, A Two-Sided Love Triangle With A Side Of Clichés

Nazanin Boniadi (left) occasionally lights up the screen as the lovestruck Shirin, but in the end her performance is hemmed in by the flatness of the film she anchors.
Katrina Wan PR

There's a lot that needs forgiving if you want to enjoy the few simple pleasures offered by Shirin In Love, but the most egregious fault is perhaps too structural to overlook: The love triangle set up for the title character (Nazanin Boniadi) by writer-director Ramin Niami angles too obviously in one direction. The end result is too much of a foregone conclusion even for a predictable romantic comedy.

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History
4:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

A Farewell To Carrot Cake (And Other Things Lost Without World War I)

As one listener points out, we might not have carrot cake today if Germans weren't forced to bake with ersatz materials during World War I. This little girl might have had to settle for chocolate instead.
Fox Photos Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 1:18 pm

This is the conclusion to an All Things Considered series that imagines a counterfactual history of World War I.

This year marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I. What started as a beef between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia unleashed a clash that brought in Russia, Italy, France, Germany, England and eventually the United States.

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Environment
4:02 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Oil Industry Gets An Earful As It Eyes Florida's Everglades

Drilling companies have new interest in southern Florida's Big Cypress preserve. The prospect of large-scale operations and possibly fracking worries environmentalists and residents.
Sue Cocking MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:35 pm

As oil production goes, Florida isn't much of a player. The state produced less than 2 million barrels last year, which is how much oil Texas pumps from its wells each day.

That's about to change as the revolution in oil drilling technology comes to Florida.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Rare Diamond Points To Mass Quantities Of Water In Earth's Mantle

Impurities found in a pea-sized diamond that came from the (very) deep have bolstered evidence for a vast "wet zone" in the Earth's mantle, scientists publishing in the latest issue of Nature say.

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Movie Reviews
3:25 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Twins Or 'Enemy' — And What Could It All Mean?

Jake Gyllenhaal acts with stunning control and specificity in his double role as two lookalikes.
Courtesy of A24

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:27 pm

Strange and stylish and surpassingly dark, Denis Villeneuve's Enemy — especially paired with the same director's recent cop thriller Prisoners — makes a strong case for star Jake Gyllenhaal as maybe our most enigmatic young leading man.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Senators Want Watchdog To Investigate Federal Prosecutorial Misconduct

A new report from the Project on Government Oversight documents 650 ethics infractions including recklessness and misconduct by Justice Department lawyers over the past decade or so.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Pew Study: Many Technophiles Also Love Libraries

Julie Ball at a newly renovated computer lab at Shute Park Branch Library in Hillsboro, Oregon. The new lab is set to open on Saturday.
Benjamin Brink The Oregonian/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:30 pm

You might think that in a world of Google and Wikipedia, people who love technology wouldn't care much about the musty old local public library. But, according to a new report by the Pew Research Internet Project, you'd be wrong.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Middle-Aged Souls Channel Teen Rebellion, Just For A 'Week-End'

A middle-aged British couple (Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent) attempts to re-create the sizzle of their Paris honeymoon in Le Week-End, from director Roger Michell.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:33 pm

Nick and Meg have gotten into a bit of a rut in Le Week-End, and to get out of it they're "celebrating" — if that's the word — their 30th anniversary by heading back to a city they last saw on their honeymoon. Nick has even booked a room in the same hotel — which is not, alas, quite the way Meg remembers it. "Beige," she sniffs.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

With A Spelling-Bee Subversion, Jason Bateman Breaks Bad

In the central relationship of the brisk comedy Bad Words, Guy Trilby's (Bateman) sour runs up against 10-year-old competitor Chaitanya's (Rohan Chand) sweet.
Focus Features

As the star of Arrested Development, Jason Bateman became best known for being the most mature member of the emotionally stunted Bluth family; the roles that followed were largely of the same tone, casting the actor as the affable, mild-mannered, often put-upon nice guy.

Always playing the straight man amid casts of clowns must have created some built-up performance envy, because in his directorial debut he trades in Mr. Nice Guy for Mr. Guy Trilby, finally getting to play an apparent case of severely arrested development himself.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Sex, Smokes, And Deneuve On The Move

In a twist of sorts on the typical male- or youth-driven road movie, Catherine Deneuve plays an older woman playing young.
Cohen Media Group

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 3:13 am

Unhinged by crises both monetary and amorous, a provincial Frenchwoman tells the employees at her restaurant, "I'll be back." Then she takes off in her ancient rattletrap with no escape plan beyond an illicit smoke and a drive to clear her addled head. Turns out she'll be gone a while.

Yes, there's a road movie in Bettie's cards. Yes, there will be formative ordeals. And yes, the payoff will be uplift, along with one of those toothsome al fresco country lunches where Mediterranean types wave their arms around and argue in friendly fashion.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

'Big Men,' Doing Big Business In Africa's Oil Fields

The big men at the center of Big Men are public, private and everything in between.
Jonathan Furmanski Abramorama

There are three categories of schemers in Big Men, Rachel Boynton's illuminating documentary about the oil business in West Africa: businessmen, politicians and bandits. Sometimes, though, it's hard to tell the types apart.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Boy Scouts, Bad Girls And The Hitler Youth

Teenage is composed almost entirely of archival footage, including images of American and British flappers of the 1920s.
Oscilloscope

Painted lips, slicked-back hair and pumping fists form the core of Matt Wolf's documentary Teenage, an impressionistic history of how our concept of the teenager came to be. Composed almost entirely of dazzling archival footage — young people laboring, exercising, fighting, dancing, drinking and playing — the film traces the history of the teenager from the late 19th century to 1945.

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Book Reviews
2:47 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

When You Befriend A Killer, You Can't Not Write About It

In addition to Blood Will Out, Walter Kirn is the author of four works of fiction and one other work of nonfiction.
Beowulf Sheehan Courtesy of Liveright Publishing

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:07 am

Nonfiction writers often have to go scrounging for their dream subject. They may buy themselves a ticket to some far-flung place, or join an Iditarod team, or start researching a historical figure who seems to have led a colorful life. Sometimes, writers are fortunate enough to already have a personal passion for one subject, and writing a book about it seems only natural.

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Business
2:47 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Report: Target Missed Its Chance To Prevent Data Breach

Target missed security warnings about a data breach, which resulted in 40 million customer credit and debit cards numbers being stolen.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:42 am

Late last year, during the holiday season, hackers somewhere in Europe stole 40 million credit and debit card numbers and tens of millions of other pieces of personal information from Target customers in the United States. As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek's Michael Riley, the malware attack wasn't particularly sophisticated or unique, and Target's security systems were extensive and ready for such an attack — and yet Target missed the early security warnings.

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It's All Politics
2:46 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Will Democrats Change Their Health Law Message After Florida Loss?

Democrats may have lost the battle in a Florida special election, which Republican Rep. David Jolly (right) won and in which the Affordable Care Act figured prominently. But they don't think they have lost the health-law messaging war.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 8:35 am

Congressional Democrats' messaging on the Affordable Care Act obviously didn't work as they had hoped in the Florida special election for a vacant House seat, since Republican David Jolly won the Tuesday vote.

But does that mean Democrats should abandon the "fix it, don't nix" it message delivered by Democrat Alex Sink, who narrowly lost a race that Republicans sought to nationalize and turn into a referendum on the health law?

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., certainly isn't saying so.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Electronic Headband Prevents Migraines With Tiny Jolts

The sci-fi Cefaly headband puts an electrode firmly against the forehead to help reduce the frequency of migraines.
Cefaly

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 5:15 am

The latest treatment to prevent migraines is a headband that looks more like something you'd expect to see in Star Trek than the doctor's office.

But don't let the slick design fool you. The basic pain-stopping technology inside the Cefaly headband has been around for decades.

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