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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling's Second Crime Novel Coming Out In June

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

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Pussy Riot's Nadya And Masha Detained In Sochi, Then Released

Maria Alyokhina (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot on stage at Amnesty International's "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert earlier this month in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jason Szenes EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 2:38 pm

The two most prominent members of the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot say they were taken into custody Tuesday by police in Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics. Later in the day, there were reports that the women and other activists who were with them had been released.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue February 18, 2014

'A Burnable Book' Is Fragrant With The Stench Of Medieval London

promo image

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 3:35 pm

I fell into a state of dazed puzzlement at the start of this book, whose first chapter includes a remote century's bitter winter, "sour ale" in an "undercroft tavern," the stink of Newgate Jail, French secret agents, a wild-haired preacher and conversations in Italian and French as well as English.

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Around the Nation
4:13 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Woman Arrested For Not Returning Movie Rental

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. Kayla Finley is finally paying for her crime. Back in 2005, the South Carolina woman rented a movie. It was "Monster-In-Law," starring Jane Fonda and JLo on VHS. She never returned it. The movie store is now closed but there was still a warrant out for her arrest and police nabbed her last week. She spent a night in jail. Given the reviews of the movie, she should've been given time served for the 101 minutes she spent watching that film. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
4:00 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Association Warns Of A Possible Clown Shortage

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

Sad clown face, we're headed for a clown shortage. As the head of a clown organization told the New York Daily News: Clowns just aren't cool anymore. Rubber noses and rainbow wigs just can't compete for young talent with tech startups and Wall Street. That's a pie in the face for the World Clown Association and its aging clown population. Its membership numbers have dropped like a pair of oversized polka dot trousers.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Arts & Life
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Classical Music Piece Enhances Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts'

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The children's author Roald Dahl died almost 25 years ago, and yet, today you can find more musical adaptations of his work than ever.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

"Matilda" is a hit on Broadway. A musical version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is running in London's West End.

GREENE: Over the weekend, the London Philharmonic Orchestra debuted the newest adaptation of Dahl's work, a classical piece for children based on a collection of poems called "Dirty Beasts."

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Politics
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Democrats Eye Long-Time GOP Seat In Florida Special Election

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is a midterm election year, and the jockeying for position and the mud-slinging have already begun ahead of the November vote. The calendar is much shorter in one district in Florida. Voters there go to the polls next month in a special election that some pundits see as a good preview for the fall.

The election is to fill a seat held for more than 40 years by one congressman, Republican Bill Young. NPR's Greg Allen reports that Democrats have their best chance of winning this seat in decades.

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Around the Nation
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

California Toasts 2013's Record Wine Grape Harvest

Chardonnay grapes are picked in the Stelling Vineyard at Far Niente winery Wednesday morning, Aug. 28, 2013 in Oakville, Calif.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:03 pm

California may be stricken by drought, but this month it's also celebrating a record wine grape harvest for 2013.

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Business
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Black Market Tobacco Sales Hurt New York Businesses

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When CVS announced it would stop selling tobacco products later this year, industry experts predicted that other drugstore chains might follow suit - which makes you wonder if this means more business for other places that sell cigarettes.

Reporter Kaomi Goetz checked in with some of the grocery stores, newsstands and other small shops in New York City.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER)

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Business
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Japan's Central Bank Tries To Encourage More Lending

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the Bank of Japan.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: This morning, Japan's Central Bank doubled incentives it offers to banks in an effort to encourage more lending. The move is meant to weaken the yen, which would make Japanese goods more affordable - in turn, encouraging Americans and Chinese to buy those goods.

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Asia
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Mega Mall Helps Pakistanis Escape Pressures Of Everyday Life

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We occasionally get postcards from our international correspondents who report and live in various spots around the world. NPR's Philip Reeves is based in Pakistan where violence has killed tens of thousands of people in recent years. Philips says some in the capital, Islamabad, to find ways to escape the pressure.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Islamabad can sometimes seem surprisingly tranquil. My house is a short drive from Parliament and the Supreme Court. The foothills of the Himalayas aren't so far away.

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Health Care
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

More U.S. Companies Switch To High Deductible Health Plans

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

The cost of health care in this country seems to be coming under control. Health care spending, while still on the rise, has increased at historically levels the last few years, which makes you wonder: Why aren't we feeling it?

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Sports
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

U.S. Women's Bobsled Team Features 2 Summer Olympians

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is one sport in the Winter Olympics you can do with your eyes closed. To be precise, you have to do a few seconds of work, after which you can close your eyes and hope for a gold. I am referring to the brakeman in bobsled. That's the athlete who pushes the sled. Tonight, the woman's two-person bobsled starts in Sochi.

NPR's Robert Smith introduces us to the team.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Let's get this out of the way. The women call themselves brakemen. Not brake women or brake person.

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Asia
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

U.N. Panel Accuses North Korea Of Crimes Against Humanity

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. For years we've been hearing horror stories from North Korea about mass starvation, torture, slavery, political killings. It's a long list that is hard for many of us to imagine. Well, now a new report from the United Nations Human Rights Commission presents almost 400 pages of eyewitness testimony from victims and also at least one perpetrator.

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Food
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Old London Air Raid Shelter Becomes Vegetable Farm

Zero Carbon Food is growing leafy greens, herbs and microgreens in a World War II bomb shelter in London.
Courtesy of Zero Carbon Food

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 9:30 am

During World War II, Londoners would descend spiral staircases into tunnels to escape German bombs. Now one of those long-empty air raid shelters is filled with fresh greens.

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Around the Nation
1:33 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Battling Blight: Detroit Maps Entire City To Find Bad Buildings

A map of Detroit is spread on a table; on laptops, workers see the same map, overlaid with a grid of the city and blue dots representing surveyors in the field.
Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:39 am

Inside one in a series of abandoned homes along a blighted block of Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood, filmmaker Tom McPhee walks through the remnants of a life — broken furniture, scattered knickknacks and a flooded basement.

"This is fresh water that's coming into the basement here," McPhee points out. "All of that plumbing has been ripped away 'cause someone found a value in it, so they don't care that it's running. This is all over the city."

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Movies
1:31 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Getting 'Dallas Buyers Club' Made Took Tenacity And 'Will'

Rayon (Jared Leto) and Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) are fellow AIDS patients smuggling alternative medications into the U.S. in Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.
Anne Marie Fox Courtesy of Focus Features

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

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Around the Nation
1:30 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Mayor Wants To Drive Horse-Drawn Carriages Out Of NYC

Stephen Malone, spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association, gets his rig ready in New York City. Some say horse-drawn carriages are inhumane; if the mayor has his way, the practice will end.
Amy Pearl WNYC

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:33 am

During New York City's mayoral race last year, then-candidate Bill de Blasio promised to fix big-picture problems, like income inequality and universal pre-K.

So he raised some collective eyebrows when he announced what one of his first initiatives as mayor would be:

"We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City," he said. "They're not humane; they're not appropriate to the year 2014; it's over."

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Education
1:29 am
Tue February 18, 2014

College Applicants Sweat The SATs. Perhaps They Shouldn't

Standardized tests are an important consideration for admissions at many colleges and universities. But one new study shows that high school performance, not standardized test scores, is a better predictor of how students do in college.
Amriphoto iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 3:26 pm

With spring fast approaching, many American high school seniors are now waiting anxiously to hear whether they got into the college or university of their choice. For many students, their scores on the SAT or the ACT will play a big role in where they get in.

That's because those standardized tests remain a central part in determining which students get accepted at many schools. But a first-of-its-kind study obtained by NPR raises questions about whether those tests are becoming obsolete.

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Monkey See
3:57 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

The Beauty Of Spilling Your Sad Teenage Guts

I read Pam Ribon's Notes To Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share In Public in a few sittings, but the longest stretch I consumed where one should ideally read this book: in a bubble bath. The calming atmosphere is good for the anxiety that comes from seeing a woman excavate her teenage brain, the vulnerability builds the empathy it takes to understand how terrified all these boys she was writing to must have felt, and if you get too mortified for her, you can always elect to go down the drain with the bathwater just to escape.

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Politics
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

For Boehner And GOP, Path To Immigration Reform Is A Muddle

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

The immigration issue has become a political hot potato for Republicans. Last year, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill, and the House decided not to take it up. But then House Republicans changed their minds briefly until they gave up again. NPR's Mara Liasson explains where things stand now.

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Business
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Demographic Shifts Contribute To The Changing Face Of Retail

Retailers, including Wal-Mart, are trying to adapt their models to suit urban areas, including this mixed-use retail and residential development in Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

So far this year, retail chains have announced some heavy cuts. J.C. Penney said it would close 33 stores. Macy's said it would lay off 2,500 workers. Sears will close its flagship Chicago store in April.

That's creating a glut of excess space. But that's just one of several forces changing the face of retail.

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All Tech Considered
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Hurting For Cash, Online Porn Tries New Tricks

Porn has a distinct problem that less racy media companies don't have: Users are afraid of leaving a digital record. Paid sites are trying to lure viewers out of the shadows and into credit card payments.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

I hit the streets of San Francisco to ask strangers their favorite search terms for online pornography. It was not hard to get answers, even on the record.

"Teacher porn, student-teacher fantasy," Jason Ravel says at a coffee shop. "That's who I was around most often in grade school. I was a really good student."

Chanelle Dorton, who's passing by a train station, is into ebony lesbian sex. "I don't like straight porn," she says.

Cab driver Neel Bell likes "heterosexual porn that doesn't involve porn stars. It lets you think that it's a real-life situation more."

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Parallels
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Olympics Set To Transform Rio — But For Better Or Worse?

Local authorities celebrate a demolition explosion that's part of Rio's Porto Maravilha urbanization project, in Rio de Janeiro, on Nov. 24, 2013. The state- and federal-supported project is part of the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Pilar Olivares Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 6:36 pm

Rio de Janeiro is set to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and there are two starkly different visions of what that will mean for the "marvelous city," as it is known.

"I would love to be born in Rio in 2020. The babies that are born here in 2020 will be born in a marvelous city ... because of the games," says Leonardo Gryner, the chief operating officer of Rio's Olympic Organizing Committee.

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Parallels
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

A Heinrich Himmler Documentary, In His Own Words

Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler and his daughter Gudrun. Vanessa Lapa, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, has made a documentary called The Decent One, based on Himmler's letters to his wife and other personal documents.
Realworks

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

The film's protagonist is Heinrich Himmler, the merciless Nazi leader and a key architect of the Final Solution. The film's director is Vanessa Lapa, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors. Her family recently came into possession of long-lost private letters, diaries and photographs belonging to Himmler.

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All Tech Considered
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

DIY Houses In The Internet Age: Some Assembly Required

Good things come in small packages. Lacy Williams, an architecture student, and her boyfriend, Patrick Beseda, built a WikiHouse to live in during a field project in Utah.
Patrick Beseda and Lacy Williams

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 7:19 am

If you can barely swing a hammer, you can still build your own home.

Builders at the Maker Faire in New York City proved this point last fall, with something akin to an old-fashioned barn-raising.

The event celebrates the do-it-yourself aesthetic, particularly when it comes to digital fabrication and open-source construction plans. Using wooden mallets cut from plywood, a crew of eight banged together the slotted frame of a WikiHouse without a single nail.

The result: a livable home.

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Technology
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Cold War Technology Sought By Spy Is In Your Pocket — Sort Of

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

And now to All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

CORNISH: Today is a tricky business of keeping some American technologies out of foreign hands. When a man from Hong Kong met with an aerospace company in Seattle last week, he was really dealing with an undercover Homeland Security agent. See Kee Chin allegedly tried to buy $85,000 worth of highly specialized accelerometers. He was arrested and charged with trying to smuggle the parts to China.

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Around the Nation
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Digging Graves The Old-Fashioned Way: 'This Ain't No Easy Job'

Everard Hall estimates he's dug about 2,500 graves over nearly 50 years. Some have been special: "I buried my mother, my father, my grandfather, and two aunts and two uncles. And I buried my sister Marilyn."
Jennifer Mitchell Maine Public Broadcasting Network

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:54 am

It's windy. It's winter. There's a funeral in three days, and the churchyard in rural Addison, Maine, is frozen solid. Everard Hall is hard at work, digging graves.

"No, this ain't no easy job, tell ya. You've got to have a lot of determination, a lot of willpower. And you can't be lazy," he says.

In his nearly 70 years, no one has ever accused him of that.

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Sports
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Longtime Pair Take Home First American Ice Dancing Gold

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

Ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal Monday night in ice dancing. They earned a silver medal in the last Winter Games in Vancouver, and they entered competition favored to win in Sochi.

Sports
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Bronze In Bobsled For A Team Of Steves

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Team USA has been struggling to win gold. There were some hope today. Two pairs of American athletes went into their events as the best in the world. And we're going to hear now how they did, starting with two-men bobsled. America driver Steve Holcomb and his brakeman Steve Langton sounded like this on the bobsled course.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOUTING)

CORNISH: The Steves were going 82.7 miles per hour. The Russian sled, piloted by Alexander Zubkov, sounded like this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOUTING)

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