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The Two-Way
5:53 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Book News: Will Your Book Sell? There's An Algorithm For That

The study "reveals an intriguing and unexpected observation on the connection between readability and the literary success — that they correlate into the opposite directions."
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:38 am

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

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Chemical Leak Causes Water Emergency In West Virginia; Plant Shut Down

In Charleston, W.Va., the shelves of this Kroger supermarket had been nearly stripped of bottled water on Thursday. Residents rushed to buy water after a chemical spill led officials to warn that they not use what's coming out of their taps.
Tyler Evert AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:13 pm

More than 100,000 customers of one water company in West Virginia have been warned not to drink, cook or wash with the water coming from their taps because of chemicals that seeped into the Elk River near Charleston on Thursday.

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It's All Politics
5:02 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Bitcoin Takes Stage In Texas Senate Campaign

One man produced physical versions of bitcoins (before he realized he was angering the feds). Bitcoin is a virtual currency that has been the subject of a recent Federal Election Commission discussion.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:33 am

When Texas Rep. Steve Stockman announced recently that he'll accept donations in bitcoins, he raised some eyebrows.

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Business
3:18 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Safety Group Sues Buckyballs Founder In Product Recall Case

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A federal government agency has taken and unusual step. They are suing the founder of a toy company over product safety concerns - and recently, he filed a countersuit. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says Buckyballs - if you're not familiar with them - these are clusters of magnetized balls, are a serious danger to children.

Ilya Marritz from member station WNYC has the story.

ILYA MARRITZ, BYLINE: Call them brainteasers, amusements, or gifts for dad, just don't call these little magnetic beads a toy.

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Business
3:16 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Alcoa To Pay $384 Million Penalty For Bahrain Bribes

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's keep talking about international trade here. The American aluminum giant Alcoa and one of its subsidiaries will pay $384 million in fines to the United States government for engaging in corrupt practices overseas.

The payment is part of a settlement in a bribery case involving the royal family of Bahrain.

NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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Afghanistan
3:15 am
Fri January 10, 2014

'Pious Spy' Article Casts Doubt On Taliban Chief's Death

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It really wasn't that many years ago, the 1990s, when a power struggle waged by warlords in Afghanistan ended up bringing the Taliban to power in that country. Journalist Mujib Mashal was just a boy when the Taliban marched into Kabul. And in the January issue of Harpers he writes about one of the more memorable characters in that repressive regime: The Minister of Intelligence.

Renee Montagne reached him in Kabul.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Africa
3:13 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Fighting In South Sudan Forces Residents To Seek Safety

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Friday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

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Technology
3:08 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Startups Often Focus On Data Security Too Late, If At All

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas includes companies that promise to revolutionize medicine as we know it. They're using sensors and systems like Wi-Fi Internet connections and Bluetooth to monitor the human body on a constant, real-time basis. Critics say this high-tech medicine is leaving security concerns behind.

Aarti Shahani reports from member station KQED.

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Middle East
3:05 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Turkish Scandal Shines Light On 'Shadowy' Muslim Leader

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Politics
3:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

U.S. Slow To Allow Syrian Refugees To Emmigrate

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. As listeners to this program know, the Syrian civil war has created a vast refugee crisis. More than two million people have fled the country. Many have fled their homes inside that country. People are overwhelming the countries around Syria where they often live in crowded makeshift camps or fan out among the population.

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Around the Nation
3:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Christie 'Heartbroken' Circle Of Trust' Was Violated

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave an epic press conference yesterday. It went on for almost two hours, almost as long as the traffic jams that prompted him to meet with the press in the first place. Governor Christie denied knowing about the plan carried out by members of his staff to deliberately clog traffic going from Fort Lee, New Jersey over a bridge to Manhattan.

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Economy
3:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Minimum Wage Loses Ground Since Its Banner Year In 1968

Protesters rally outside of a Wendy's in Brooklyn, New York, on Dec. 5 in support of raising fast food wages from $7.25 to $15 per hour.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

This week, we've been looking back at the legacy of the "War on Poverty," launched by Lyndon Johnson 50 years ago. The arsenal included government programs such as Head Start, food stamps and a push to increase the nation's minimum wage.

"We must extend the coverage of our minimum wage laws to more than 2 million workers now lacking this basic protection of purchasing power," Johnson said.

Low-wage workers actually saw their purchasing power peak while Johnson was in office. Adjusting for inflation, minimum wage workers earn less today than they did in the late 1960s.

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Economy
3:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Labor Department's December Report Shows Jobless Rate Dipped

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Supporters of a minimum wage say it can be especially important at a time of relatively high unemployment, when workers have little bargaining power. This morning we'll get a fresh snapshot of unemployment in the U.S. when the government releases new jobs numbers. NPR's Yuki Noguchi came by to talk about what to expect. Yuki, good morning.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So where does the job market seem to be going right now?

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Business
3:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Court Rules Yelp Must Release Names Of Reviewers

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Our last word in business today is: Anonymous Reviews.

You know, those product reviews people write on Amazon or Yelp. Many customers rely on them and some people have even dramatized them online - like the actor who read this review by Shelley S. from the ratings website Yelp.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The food was sub-par for such a highly-rated restaurant. Overcooked fish, undercooked noodles, and one dish that wasn't labeled spicy was so hot that my father refused to eat it. I won't be going back to this particular PF Chang's.

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Business
3:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

China Releases 2013 Trade Figures

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Today's business news starts with trading places.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: China might have just dislodged the United States from a position it held for decades as the world's top trading nation. The latest Chinese figures put the value of its overall trade at $4.6 trillion last year.

The United States will release its own 2013 data next month. But for the first 11 months of the year, its trade was worth $3.5 trillion. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

StoryCorps
1:02 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Spalding Gray's Family Remembers A Man Who Was 'Never Boring'

Kathleen Russo (right) and daughter Marissa Maier visited StoryCorps to remember Russo's late husband, writer Spalding Gray.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

It's been 10 years since the writer and monologist Spalding Gray went missing from his home in New York. Two months later, his body was found in the East River in an apparent suicide.

The day he disappeared, his wife, Kathleen Russo, was leaving for work when Gray told her, "OK, goodbye, Honey."

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Art & Design
1:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Picture This: Illustrator Gets Inspired By The Morning News

Maria Fabrizio

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

People don't often think of the news as a source of inspiration — and certainly not a source of daily inspiration. But that's what it's turned into for Maria Fabrizio, an illustrator based in Columbia, S.C.

For about a year, Fabrizio has been working on a project called Wordless News, in which she draws one image a day based on a story she hears or reads that morning. Starting Monday, she'll spend a week creating images inspired by what she hears on Morning Edition.

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Parallels
1:00 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Despite Dim Prospects, Syrian Exodus To Germany Continues

Syrian refugees arriving at the transit camp in Friedland, Germany, stand in line at the registration desk on Sept. 11. Germany has deported asylum seekers on the basis of an EU treaty that requires migrants seeking entry to Europe to be processed by the first EU country they arrive in. Many Syrians in Germany have come from other countries such as Bulgaria or Greece.
Swen Pfortner DPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Human rights officials say the Syrian civil war is creating Europe's biggest refugee crisis in decades, but that countries across the continent are doing little about it.

Most European nations are refusing to take in Syrian refugees, choosing instead to send money to the United Nations and other international agencies. The few EU countries like Germany that are welcoming Syrians only offer refuge to a few thousand out of the more than 2 million Syrians who have fled their homeland.

But the cool reception isn't stopping Syrians from risking their lives to get to Europe.

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Science
1:00 am
Fri January 10, 2014

When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit

Ask not for whom the wolf stalks ...
Holly Kuchera iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Big, fierce animals — lions and tigers and bears, for example — are relatively scarce in nature. That's normal, because if you have too many, they'll eat themselves out of prey.

But top predators are now so rare that many are in danger of disappearing. That's creating ripple effects throughout the natural world that scientists are still trying to figure out.

What they're exploring is ecology — the interplay of animals and plants in nature. It's not rocket science. It's harder.

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Movie Interviews
12:59 am
Fri January 10, 2014

A 'Wolf' On The Loose, And Loving The Carnage

Other people's money: Leonardo DiCaprio plays high-living stock swindler Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:44 am

Leonardo DiCaprio was born in Los Angeles, an only child whose father worked in comics and named him after artist Leonardo da Vinci. DiCaprio began his career as a child actor, appearing in TV commercials and shows before transitioning to films.

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The Two-Way
7:32 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Sportswriter Who Let Readers Fill Out Hall Of Fame Ballot Is Banned

After it was revealed that he used his Baseball Hall of Fame voter ballot to pass along the suggestions of readers of the sports site Deadspin, Dan Le Batard has been stripped of his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is also banned from all future Hall of Fame votes.

Le Batard is a columnist for The Miami Herald who is also on ESPN radio and TV. He said Thursday that he worked with Deadspin to turn his ballot over to sports fans for many reasons, emphasizing a need for reform in Hall of Fame voting.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Alcoa Will Pay $384 Million Penalty For Bahrain Bribes

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:05 am

In what's being called one of the largest U.S. anti-corruption settlements on record, Alcoa and an affiliate it controls have agreed to pay millions in fines and criminal and civil penalties. The companies acknowledge paying bribes to royal family members in Bahrain.

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The Salt
6:04 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Food Firms Trim Trillions Of Calories From Packaged Treats

To make a more healthful version of Edy's Grand Ice Cream, Nestle developed a technology that could cut half the fat and two-thirds of the calories from the frozen treat.
Erik S. Lesser Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:30 am

It sounds impressive: Major food companies have slashed 6.4 trillion calories from packaged foods they sold in 2012 compared with 2007, a study reported Thursday.

But for each American, that number translates to about 78 fewer calories purchased each day, or the equivalent of cutting out one apple or 3 1/2 Hershey's Kisses.

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It's All Politics
5:24 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

A Newly Potholed Bridge Pops Up On Christie's Road To 2016

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie conducts a lengthy news conference Thursday about his administration's role in traffic tie-ups on the George Washington Bridge.
Jeff Zelevansky Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has found the George Washington Bridge in his way on the road to a potential 2016 presidential run. Right now, it's still an open question whether he'll get over it.

Thursday's marathon news conference was certainly an important moment in that journey. The heretofore 2016 Republican frontrunner apologized and took responsibility for members of Team Christie exacting political revenge on the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., by closing lanes to the nation's busiest bridge in September, causing major traffic snarls.

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Movie Interviews
4:13 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Not-So-Cheery Disposition: Emma Thompson On Poppins' Cranky Creator

In Saving Mr. Banks, Emma Thompson plays Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, who, Thompson says, hated the whole idea of having her book made into a film.
Francois Duhamel Disney Enterprises

Emma Thompson grew up in London, the daughter of two actors. She went to Cambridge University, then began performing in sketch comedy on stage and television before getting into dramatic roles.

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Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

In A Past-Plagued Laos, A Youth Chases A Future

Kia (Loungnam Kaosainam) and Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe) bond when they encounter each other in a Laotian refugee village in The Rocket.
Tom Greenwood Kino Lorber

To help his struggling family and escape his own status as an outcast, a plucky young boy enters a competition. Yes, The Rocket is a sports movie, with an outcome that's easily foreseen. The cultural specifics of this Laos-set tale, however, are far less predictable.

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Code Switch
3:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

White House Picks Choctaw Nation To Fight Poverty In Oklahoma

Chief Gregory Pyle (left) and Assistant Chief Gary Batton stand in front of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's Capitol building in Tuskahoma, Okla.
Larissa Copeland Courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared his "War on Poverty," President Obama issued his own plan to combat poverty Thursday with the nation's first five "Promise Zones."

All "Promise Zones" will receive a competitive advantage when applying for federal grants, on-site support from federal officials, and, pending congressional approval, tax incentives for businesses hiring and investing in the community.

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Environment
3:52 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Natural Gas Boom Cuts Into Pennsylvania's State Forests

An oversized truck load slowly moves equipment along an icy mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest.
Marie Cusick WITF

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:36 pm

On the side of a mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest, I'm trying to avoid a steady stream of heavy truck traffic. Acres of freshly cut tree stumps stretch out in front of me.

Kevin Heatley lives in the area and has come to these woods for years to hike. He's an ecologist by trade and he's concerned about what he's seeing.

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Music
3:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Kenny Clarke, Inventor Of Modern Jazz Drumming, At 100

Kenny Clarke in 1971.
Wikimedia Commons

Jan. 9 marks the 100th birthday of drummer Kenny Clarke. One of the founders of bebop, Clarke is less well-known than allies like Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, but his influence is just as deep.

That thing that jazz drummers do — that ching-chinga-ching beat on the ride cymbal, like sleigh bells? It gives the music a light, airy, driving pulse. Clarke came up with that, and that springy shimmer came to epitomize swinging itself.

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Book Reviews
3:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Empty Nester In 'The Woods': A Modern Dantean Journey

drbimages iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:27 pm

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Allowing for translation, those are the immortal opening lines of Dante's Divine Comedy. Here, some seven centuries later, are some of Lynn Darling's opening lines from her new memoir, Out of the Woods: "The summer my only child left home for college, I moved from an apartment in New York City, to live alone in a small house at the end of a dirt road in the woods of central Vermont."

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