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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Ex-U.S. Army Sniper Instructor Nabbed In Thai 'Hit Squad' Sting

Joseph Manuel Hunter (center) is escorted by Thai police commandos to Police Aviation Division after being arrested, in Bangkok on Thursday.
Sakchai Lalit Associated Press

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:53 pm

Two former U.S. Army sergeants are among those facing charges in connection with an alleged international hit squad after their extradition from Thailand in a case the prosecuting U.S. attorney says reads like a Tom Clancy novel.

Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, nicknamed "Rambo," was arrested by Thai authorities after a sting operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Timothy Vamvakias and at least three others on the resort island of Phuket on Thursday.

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Movie Reviews
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

'Don Jon': Smooth Move There, Mr. Gordon-Levitt

Wonder where he gets that: Gordon-Levitt's Jon, looking a lot like a chip off the old block (Tony Danza).
Relativity Media

Once a child actor on TV, then an indie sensation, then an honest-to-God movie star going head-to-head with the likes of Bruce Willis in Looper and Leo DiCaprio in Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt hardly needs to burnish his LinkedIn resume at this point. But that's not kept him from adding a couple of skills — writing and directing — with his latest picture.

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Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

States Face Language Barriers To Health Exchange Sign Up

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

For millions of uninsured people, Tuesday is a big day. That's when they can start signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But for people who speak little or no English, it may be a difficult process. Illinois, which has one of the country's largest immigrant populations, is working to make sure that language is not a barrier to enroll in. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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Economy
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Is The Fed Chair Succession Too Politicized?

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. There was once a time when naming a new Federal Reserve chairman was a non-event. Well, not this time. The competition between supporters for former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the current vice chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen has been a highly public affair.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there's concern that the high profile discussion could politicize the Fed succession in a way that could ultimately hurt the economy.

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Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Week In Politics: Shutdown Showdown, Obama At The UN And Iran

Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review magazine. They discuss Congressional wrangling over a continuing resolution to stave off a government shutdown, President Obama's speech at the UN and U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations.

Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Senate OKs Stopgap Spending Bill, Leaving Obamacare Intact

Tea Party-backed Republican senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee failed to block the Senate from removing language defunding Obamacare from a stopgap spending bill. Democrats proceeded to replace the House spending bill that took away money for Obamacare with their own version that funds the government through Nov. 15, but leaves the Affordable Care Act alone. A federal government shutdown starts Tuesday if both chambers don't agree on a spending plan by then.

Your Money
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Nixed Flood Insurance Subsidy Drowns Coastal Home Values

In Florida, Louisiana, New York and other coastal states, many homeowners are in shock at new flood insurance rates that are rapidly approaching. After Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy left the National Flood Insurance Program $24 billion in the red, Congress revamped the program--phasing out subsidies. One group especially upset are new homeowners--people who bought a property and are now seeing their flood insurance costs skyrocket, making the property no longer affordable.

Sports
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Cuban Athletes Can Finally Go Pro (Outside Of Cuba)

For the first time in over 50 years, Cuba is letting its athletes sign professional contracts in other countries. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks to Robert Siegel about the historic announcement.

Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Amb. Power: Security Council Draft Plan On Syria Has Teeth

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:22 pm

The United Nations Security Council is considering a legally binding resolution that would require the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons.

Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says the U.S. is getting what it wants in the Security Council's draft plan, which calls for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons or face consequences.

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Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Aid Groups Say Relief Should Be Part Of UN Deal On Syria

UN Security Council diplomats are working on a resolution that focuses on ridding Syria of chemical weapons. Aid groups want the UN to go further and help them open up routes to get desperately needed assistance to Syrians uprooted by the civil war. They say the paralysis on the security council has had a real costs on the ground and has added to donor fatigue.

Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Obama Speaks To Iranian President Rouhani

In a press conference Wednesday, President Obama said he had spoken with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by telephone, the first such contact between the leaders of the two nations since 1979.

Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Gaza Strip Proves Uneven Refuge For Syrian Refugees

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:48 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Some two million Syrians have fled the war in their homeland. Most have sought refuge in neighboring states - Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. But some have gone farther afield to a place few would consider a safe haven, the Gaza Strip. Emily Harris has that story.

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Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Egypt Foreign Minister: Elections And Constitution By Spring

Robert Siegel speaks with former Egyptian ambassador to the U.S. and the current foreign minister for Egypt's interim government, Nabil Fahmy, about some of the crises facing his country.

Around the Nation
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Report To Detail What Led To Deaths Of 19 Ariz. Firefighters

In Arizona, the state Forestry Division will release its official report Saturday regarding the the Yarnell Hill fire, where 19 elite firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hot Shots were killed. The deaths shook firefighters across the country. They and others hope the report addresses problems they see in current firefighting policies.

Movie Interviews
2:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

A Brutal Movie From China, Ripped From The Headlines

In one of the four intertwining storylines of the brutal Chinese drama A Touch of Sin, a young receptionist (Zhao Tao) must resort to violence to defend herself.
Kino Lorber

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:29 pm

If you want to see modern Chinese life at its darkest, consider A Touch of Sin.

The film is a series of loosely knit vignettes that revolve around themes of violence, greed, sex, power and crime. And there's nothing subtle about the imagery.

In one scene, a corrupt businessman tries to force a receptionist at a massage parlor to have sex with him by beating her with wads of cash — until she stabs him to death.

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Obama Says He Spoke On The Phone With Iranian Leader

President Barack Obama talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2013.
Pete Souza White House

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:28 pm

During an address at the White House, today, President Obama said that he spoke on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

That detail is important in understanding just how serious the negotiations between the two countries have gotten. That talk was the first time the heads of states of the two countries have spoken directly since 1979.

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All Tech Considered
2:01 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Record Label Picks Copyright Fight — With The Wrong Guy

Law professor Lawrence Lessig, shown here in 2009, is suing an Australian record label for threatening to sue him over an alleged YouTube copyright violation.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:32 pm

An Australian record label may have picked a fight with the wrong guy. The label sent a standard takedown notice threatening to sue after YouTube computers spotted its music in a video.

It turns out that video was posted by one of the most famous copyright attorneys in the world, and Lawrence Lessig is suing back.

Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, has lectured around the world about how copyright law needs to adapt to the Internet age. In his lecture, he shows examples of people who have used the Internet to "share their culture and remix other people's creations."

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Police Arrest Six People For Trashing Ex-NFL Player's Home

Former NFL offensive lineman Brian Holloway in front of his home in Stephentown, N.Y., which teens trashed earlier this month.
Michael Hill AP

Police in Stephentown, N.Y., arrested six people in connection with the vandalism that occurred during a party at the vacation home of former NFL player Brian Holloway.

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

New Jersey Judge Rules State Must Allow Gay Couples To Marry

A New Jersey judge says the state must allow gay couples to marry, because the current system of civil unions is unconstitutional.

To deny couples the right to marry runs afoul the New Jersey constitution and the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution, the court found.

Reuters reports:

"Judge Mary Jacobson in Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton issued the order as part of long-running litigation brought by a group of gay couples against the state.

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All Tech Considered
12:58 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Tech Week That Was: Online Comments, iPad Hacks And The ACC

What to do about trolls in comments sections? It's part of a big conversation in tech this week.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 1:12 pm

It's time for your NPR All Tech Week in Review! Here's a rundown, in case you missed any of the technology and culture coverage on the airwaves and around the interwebs this week.

ICYMI

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All Tech Considered
12:09 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Phantom Phone Vibrations: So Common They've Changed Our Brains?

Phantom Vibration Syndrome: That phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating when it's not.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 8:09 pm

Phantom vibration — that phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating but it's not — has been around only since the mobile age. And five years ago, when its wider existence became recognized, news organizations, including ours, covered the "syndrome" as a sign of the digital encroachment in our lives. Today, it's so common that researchers have devoted studies to it.

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The Two-Way
12:03 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Will Qatar's World Cup Games Be Played Over Workers' Bodies?

Will Qatar get a red card (a soccer official's way of signaling a player has been ejected) for labor practices at World Cup-related construction sites?
Alessandro Di Marco EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:17 pm

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Freighter Makes First-Of-Its-Kind Transit Of Northwest Passage

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:17 pm

A Danish shipping company announced Friday the first-ever voyage of a large commercial freighter through the Northwest Passage — a journey made possible by the disappearance of Arctic ice due to global warming.

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Parallels
10:47 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Around The World, Notions Of Beauty Can Be A Real Beast

"Today society accepts the idea of improving one's image," says Dr. Ivo Pitanguy, Brazil's most famous plastic surgeon. Here a patient receives an injection of hyaluronic acid to plump up her lips at the Brazilian Society for Aesthetic Medicine in Rio de Janeiro in 2008.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:54 am

Chinese-American TV personality Julie Chen reveals she had plastic surgery to make her eyes look less "Asian" to advance her career. Korean women are getting surgeries for permanent smiles.

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Song Travels
10:24 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Johnny Mathis On 'Song Travels'

Johnny Mathis.
Jeff Dunas Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 2:57 am

Singer Johnny Mathis started out with a string of hits in the 1950s and quickly became a household name. A two-time inductee into the Grammy Hall of Fame, Mathis has one of the most popular albums of all time with Johnny's Greatest Hits, which spent almost 10 years on the Billboard Top Albums chart.

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Interviews
10:16 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Vijay Iyer: Self-Taught Jazz Pianist Goes 'Solo'

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 14, 2010.

Jazz musician Vijay Iyer started playing the violin when he was 3, but when he was 4 or 5, he wanted to play another instrument: the piano.

"The piano was around because my sister was taking lessons, and so I just started messing on it and figuring things out little by little," Iyer tells Terry Gross. "I can't really pinpoint the beginning of it."

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Interviews
10:16 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Jeremy Denk: Playing Ligeti With A Dash Of Humor

The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review." href="/post/jeremy-denk-playing-ligeti-dash-humor" class="noexit lightbox">
Jeremy Denk has recently written for The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review.
Courtesy of the artist

This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2012.

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Kenyan Mall Attack Update: 3 Who Were Suspects Are Released

Friends and relatives of Mbugua Mwangi and his fiancee Rosemary Wahito attended their funeral service Friday in Nairobi, Kenya. Mwangi, who was Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's nephew, and Wahito died in the Westgate Mall attack.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 11:27 am

Here are some of the latest developments in the aftermath of last weekend's attack by terrorists on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya:

-- Suspects. Kenyan police are now holding eight people, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku told reporters Friday. "Three others were interrogated and released," he said, according to Reuters.

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It's All Politics
10:04 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Women Donors Helped Fuel Obama Campaign

Supporters look on as President Obama speaks about the choice facing women in the upcoming election at an October 2012 campaign event.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama was more dependent on female campaign contributors in 2012 than any presidential candidate in recent history.

According to a new report from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, female donors accounted for more than 44 percent of Obama's campaign contributions, the most for any White House hopeful since at least 1988.

The GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, received just 28 percent of his campaign cash from women.

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Movie Reviews
9:55 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon' Is An Openhearted Directorial Debut

Joseph Gordon-Levitt --€” in his writing and directing debut --€” plays Jon, a porn addict with no interest in relationships until Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) changes things.
Relativity Media

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 12:15 pm

In phe last decade, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has worked hard to establish himself as a serious actor, and he's been so successful it's easy to forget he came of age in the '90s sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. The guy has comedy chops, and he's exercising them again in a smart new movie he wrote and directed called Don Jon.

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