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Music News
3:19 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Duke Ellington's Lost Opera, Forever A Work In Progress

Karen Marie Richardson (right) plays the title role in the Long Beach Opera's staging of Queenie Pie, the jazz opera Duke Ellington left unfinished when he died in 1974.
Bryan Frank Long Beach Opera

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 4:42 pm

Duke Ellington added more than 3,000 songs to the American music vault before his death in 1974. He also started composing what he hoped would be a great American street opera — which composers have spent 40 years adapting, trying to figure out what the Duke wanted for his unfinished opus.

But before you imagine soothing arias or boisterous trills and vibrato, let me stop you: Ellington's opera is very much a work of jazz.

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Movies
3:18 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

A Century Ago Today, Chaplin Made His Film Debut — In A Dud

Silent-film icon Charlie Chaplin, in character as the Little Tramp, takes aim with his walking stick circa 1925.
Edward Gooch Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 4:42 pm

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The Edge
3:17 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

After Decade-Long Fight, Ski Jumper Lindsey Van Is 'Ready To Fly'

Lindsey Van at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships last year, in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Mike Hewitt Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 4:34 pm

For more than a decade, ski jumper Lindsey Van dreamed of making the U.S. Olympic team, but one thing held her back: Female ski jumpers weren't allowed to compete. Until this year.

This month, the 29-year-old from Park City, Utah, will be one of the athletes competing at the Olympics on the U.S. women's ski jumping team. For Van, that competition marks the end of a very long road.

"Honestly, I don't really have words for it," she said at a press conference announcing the team. "I'm just completely overwhelmed and happy to be representing my sport."

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The Salt
2:10 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Marijuana-Laced Treats Leave Colorado Jonesing For Food-Safety Rules

Truffles are among the many foods infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — already for sale in Colorado.
Luke Runyon/KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 10:00 am

Where there's pot, there's pot brownies. But how do you make sure those high-inducing sweets are safe to eat?

Colorado regulators are wrestling with that question now that the state has legalized recreational marijuana. From sodas and truffles to granola bars and butter, food products infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — are already for sale.

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Oscar-Winner, Found Dead At 46

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 5:51 am

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won a best actor Oscar for the title role in the 2005 film Capote, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment at the age of 46.

A New York Police Department spokesman tells NPR that authorities are "investigating Hoffman's death as a possible drug overdose."

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Shots - Health News
11:25 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Poll: Support For High School Football, Despite Concussion Risks

Most Americans are aware that football carries a risk of concussions. An NPR poll found a large proportion of people believe safety improvements are needed for football to remain a high school sport.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 12:26 pm

Making sure that children are active often means getting them interested in sports. But parents have to weigh the health risks of those sports, including hits that can cause concussions.

Concussions are brain injuries. Most people, including kids, recover from a concussion. But concussions, particularly repeated ones, can lead to serious, lasting health problems.

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Parallels
11:05 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Race Toward Afghan Election Starts, With Skepticism In The Lead

A campaign banner is posted in Kabul, Afghanistan, for presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday.
Omar Sobhani Reuters/Landov

With the campaign for Afghanistan's April 5 presidential election officially underway, three questions are commonly asked around Kabul: Do you think the presidential election will be held on April 5? Will the election be held at all this year? Who do you think will win?

Right now, 11 men are vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai, who is term-limited. If the election goes well, it would mark the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan's history.

The Issue Of Timing

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Ukraine Protests Set To Widen As President Ends Sick Leave

Opposition supporters take part in a rally in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, in Ukraine, on Sunday.
Sergei Chuzavkov AP

Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych says he will return to work on Monday after a brief sick leave, likely setting the stage for a new round of anti-government unrest.

As many as 30,000 protesters gathered in the capital, Kiev, on Sunday, renewing calls for Yanukovych to step down.

The president had announced his sick leave on Thursday, prompting concern that, as The Associated Press writes, "he may have been taking himself out of action in preparation for declaring a state of emergency."

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It's All Politics
10:19 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII: A Political Guide

New York and national politicians join the NFL Super Bowl host committee in New York's Times Square Saturday. When it comes to political contributions, the owners of Sunday's Super Bowl contenders are plenty active.
Christopher Gregory Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 10:43 am

Pro football prognosticators are divided over who's the favorite to win Sunday's Super Bowl. Some give the edge to Peyton Manning and the high-flying Denver Broncos. Others believe the stifling Seattle Seahawks defense will carry them to victory.

Here at the It's All Politics blog, we can't help with any game-day analysis or offer any insights into how the two teams match up against each other.

But we can tell you a little about the politics surrounding each team.

The Denver Broncos

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Sun February 2, 2014

WATCH: Breathtaking New Video Of Felix Baumgartner's Record Jump

Felix Baumgartner taking the plunge from 24 miles up in his record-breaking 2012 jump.
Felix Baumgartner

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:21 am

You might recall Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner's 2012 jump from a 24-mile-high balloon capsule, a height of 127,852 feet. He broke not only an altitude record, formerly set by a U.S. Air Force pilot, Col. Joe Kittinger, in 1960, but also a record for speed of descent, breaking the sound barrier on his plummet to the New Mexico desert.

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The Salt
8:56 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Sap Discovery Could Turn Syrup-Making Upside Down

Buckets collect sap on maple trees in Vermont. A new discovery means that sap doesn't have to be collected from mature trees out in the wild.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:51 am

Last year researchers at the University of Vermont announced something that could change the way we think about Vermont — or at least how it produces its famous maple syrup.

The time-honored method calls for inserting a tap near the bottom of a tall, mature maple tree. At the end of February, the tree thaws, and voila: Sap starts flowing out the spigot at the bottom.

But in 2010, these researchers were testing ways to gather sap from mature trees when they noticed something unusual.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Christie's Office Blasts Latest Bridgegate Accusations

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie waves to guests as he attends the Super Bowl Hand-Off Ceremony in New York on Saturday.
Eduardo Munoz Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 10:17 am

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political team is going on the offensive against charges that he knew more than he admits about a plan to use lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as part of a political vendetta.

In an email to donors and journalists headlined "5 Things You Should Know about the Bombshell That's Not a Bombshell," on Saturday, political aides to the governor pushed back on accusations by David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official who oversaw the lane closures.

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All Tech Considered
7:57 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Should Uber Be Responsible For Driver Recklessness?

The transportation app Uber matches ride-seekers with drivers. Drivers must keep checking their phones to catch customers, and critics say that may have dangerous consequences on the road. Is Uber responsible for the risk?
Lucy Nicholson Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:04 am

A man named Syed Muzaffar drove for Uber, the San Francisco-based company that makes money selling car rides. He lives in a suburb of San Francisco and on New Year's Eve, he says, he was in the city for the sole purpose of picking up partygoers who needed a ride.

His night ended early and tragically, around 8 p.m., when he turned a corner and hit a family in a crosswalk.

"The mother sustained facial fractures," says Police Sgt. Eric Mahoney, who is investigating the case. "The 4-year-old boy suffered abrasions on his face, and the 6-year-old girl was fatally injured."

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The Two-Way
7:18 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Thai Election Largely Peaceful, Despite Fears Of Violence

Protesters demanding the right to vote argue with security and election officials at a district office in Bangkok on Sunday after anti-government protesters shut down the station.
Damir Sagolj Reuters/Landov

Fears of election-day violence in Thailand went largely unrealized on Sunday as efforts by anti-government protesters to block voting stations fell short of their goal of disrupting the parliamentary polls.

A few hundred polling stations in the capital were shut down by protesters, but the vast majority of them across the country remained open.

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Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Despite Scars Of War, Karachi Holds Onto Its Chutzpah

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. When you hear us say Karachi, Pakistan, you might assume we're going to bring you're a story about terrorism or a bombing or a kidnapping - and you would often be right. It is the most violent city in all of Pakistan. But NPR's Philip Reeves found that isn't all there is to the city. In fact, there's often a gap between Karachi's reputation and the reality of the place, as he explains in this letter from Pakistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISE)

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Books News & Features
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Amazon Plunges Into Christian Publishing With Waterfall Imprint

Amazon Publishing

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 8:13 am

The online superstore Amazon got its start selling books — and it's been getting into the publishing business as well, with imprints for genres like science fiction, romance and mystery.

Until now, though, it hasn't had its fingers in one of the biggest slices of the publishing pie: Christian books. That changed this past week, with the introduction of the Waterfall Press imprint.

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Author Interviews
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

American Muslim Men Balance Faith And Love In 'Salaam'

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 12:16 pm

What exactly do Muslim men want? That's the theme of a new book of essays called Salaam, Love. It's the companion volume to one that came out last year called Love, InshAllah, which focused on the lives of American Muslim women.

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Author Interviews
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Gothic Thriller Takes Two Young Girls Down A 'Dark Road To Mercy'

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Twelve-year-old Easter Quillby has learned to keep her expectations low in order to protect herself from more disappointment in life. It's a coping mechanism she developed to keep her and her 6-year-old sister, Ruby, safe after their mom unexpectedly passed away. But when their estranged dad kidnaps them from foster care, they're forced to live in the middle of his past and present mistakes — all the while trying to figure out what family is supposed to mean.

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Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Homs Is Birthplace Of Syrian Protest

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That was NPR's Steve Inskeep reporting last summer. And that piece he referenced still feels very far off to the people of Homs. The city has now been under siege for nearly 600 days. In that time, tens of thousands of people have fled or been displaced from their homes.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul is the president of the Syrian-American Medical Society. He's originally from Homs. He described what the situation is like now.

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Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Ancient Syrian City A Wasteland Of Modern Violence

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Talks in Geneva have ended without any concrete action on Syria. In fact, even without a concrete promise from the Assad government that it will show up for another round of talks next week. The two sides had lengthy discussions about sending aid into the Syrian city of Homs, Syria's third-largest city. But they couldn't agree on passage for an aid convoy. And that means hundreds are still stranded without food or medicine.

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Strange News
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

After Crushing Bad Luck, A Free Bungee Jump

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Asia
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Violence Gives Way To Calmer Thai Elections

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Voters went to the polls in Thailand today in a snap election called by the ruling party. The elections seem to have gone off fairly peacefully, but they were proceeded by violent clashes between government supporters, known as Red Shirts, and protesters backing the opposition. Last night, at least seven people were injured in Bangkok by gunfire and grenades. Reporter Michael Sullivan is with us now from Bangkok to tell us more. Hi, Michael.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN: Hi, Rachel.

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Sports
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Seahawks, Broncos Fans Mingle In D.C. Watering Hole

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In living rooms and sports bars across the country later today, football fans -and yes, just those of us who want to watch the budget commercial and dig into nachos - will sit down to watch the Super Bowl. In Denver and Seattle living rooms, there will be less casual viewing, of course, and that goes for anywhere else that fans of the Broncos and Seahawks gather.

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Energy
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Oil Train Derailments Spur Calls For Safety Measures

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:24 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Sunday Puzzle
6:00 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Drop The Zero And Get With The Hero

NPR

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

On-air challenge: For each single letter given, recombine it with the letters in the word "ZERO" to spell a new word. For example, ZERO plus F would be "FROZE."

Last week's challenge: What word, containing two consecutive S's, becomes its own synonym if you drop those S's?

Answer: Blossom, bloom

Winner: Trey Moody of Killeen, Texas

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Politics
5:53 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Why A Do-Nothing Immigration Strategy Might Work For GOP

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Shadow Seen! Groundhog Predicts 6 More Weeks Of Cold

Punxsutawney Phil is held by handler John Griffiths after emerging from his burrow to see his shadow and forecast six more weeks of winter weather.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 6:36 am

Punxsutawney Phil, the "prognosticator of prognosticators" saw his shadow after being roused from hibernation just long enough to make his annual prediction.

That means ... six more weeks of winter.

The famous groundhog's handler, Bill Deely, made the pronouncement atop Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, at about 7:25 a.m. ET.

As The Associated Press reports:

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PG-13: Risky Reads
5:02 am
Sun February 2, 2014

A Suburban Teen Saw The Sparkle Of 'Edie' — But Not The Pain

Donald Bowers Getty Images

At 13, I was a girl frantically itching to get out of her own skin. Growing up in Grosse Pointe, a sleepy suburb of Detroit, a place for which the word "serene" seems coined, I was a perpetual yearner. I became a compulsive reader of biographies as a way of imagining myself into lives more dramatic than my own.

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Author Interviews
4:05 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Anna Quindlen Spins A Tale Of Middle-Aged Reinvention

Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:58 am

Rebecca Winter is at a crossroads. The famous photographer had been living off of sales of one particular photograph for years. When the money stream starts to dry up, she reluctantly decides to rent out her Manhattan apartment and move to a small, rural town far from her seemingly fabulous New York life. It is here that she tries to map out her next chapter. No longer married, no longer needed as much by her grown son, no longer as successful as she used to be.

That's where we meet the main character in Anna Quindlen's newest novel, Still Life with Bread Crumbs.

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The Two-Way
3:30 am
Sun February 2, 2014

5 Points To Help Simplify Sunday's Super Bowl

Fans gather on the Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square on Friday in New York. The Seattle Seahawks will play the Denver Broncos on Sunday in NFL football's Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 6:31 am

The chatter, hype and jargon in the weeks leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII is more impenetrable than the Seahawk's secondary.

Perhaps you've heard the Seattle Seahawks have a running back who enters "Beast Mode." Maybe you've heard that the Denver Broncos' counter to Beast Mode is a defensive lineman nicknamed "Pot Roast."

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