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Monkey See
12:20 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

To Be, Or Not To Be (Covered By The AP)

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 2:45 pm

Ever so quietly this week, the national arts scene became a bit more fragmented, a bit more stratified and a lot more invisible. The Associated Press has just spiked a chunk of its opera, dance and off-Broadway coverage. And in this case, no news is bad news.

In an email, AP chief theater writer Mark Kennedy described the decision to me:

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Author Interviews
12:19 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

'The Center Holds' Sees Victory For Moderates In Obama's Win

In his new book, The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter looks at President Obama's re-election campaign.
Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:50 pm

Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.

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Remembrances
12:19 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gandolfini Through The Eyes Of Those He Worked With

Actor James Gandolfini speaks at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in January 2013. He died on June 19.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

As New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, which ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007, James Gandolfini created a character that helped open television to a new era of great and nuanced acting. When he died in Italy on Wednesday at the age of 51, fans around the world were shocked.

And as Fresh Air's television critic David Bianculli noticed, there was an instant online outpouring that celebrated "what an iconic performance he gave us in terms of television."

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Second Reported Miracle Paves Way For Pope John Paul's Sainthood

Cardinal Stanislav Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and former personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, prays in front of the late pope's tomb at St. Peter's Basilica in 2011, in Vatican City.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:53 pm

It's a miracle, though we're not quite sure of the details yet.

A Vatican official confirms that a committee of theologians has approved a second miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II's posthumous intercession — a sine qua non for sainthood.

Italian media say a Costa Rican woman was cured of a severe brain injury after her family prayed to the memory of the late pope. The Vatican is set to release details in the next week or so.

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Politics
12:11 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

4 Facts You Might Not Have Known About The IRS Scandal

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 11:52 am

For a little more than a month now, we've been reporting on the IRS's flagging of Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Through it all, some basic questions remain: Who ordered the targeting? And why?

We don't have any satisfying answers to those questions yet — and it seems neither do the congressional investigators. But along the way, as new revelations have trickled out, we've noticed some surprising and even puzzling facts about the situation that haven't gotten much attention.

Here are four of them:

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Iraq
12:10 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

After A Surge Of Violence, The Threat Of A New Civil War In Iraq

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

Yesterday, seven people were killed and 24 wounded in bomb attacks in Iraq as a surge of violence there continues, 2,000 dead since April; numbers that haven't been seen since the worst days of 2006 and 2007. Then as now, the fighting is largely between Sunnis and Shiites, but this time, inflamed by the civil war raging next door in Syria.

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Shots - Health News
11:46 am
Thu June 20, 2013

MacGyver Says: Don't Mix Teenage Boys And Homemade Bombs

Soda bottles and household chemicals are sometimes used to make low-power bombs.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 7:14 am

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Shots - Health News
11:39 am
Thu June 20, 2013

PTSD Plagues 1 In 4 Survivors Of Stroke

Insomnia, feeling isolated, and bursts of anger are symptoms of the anxiety disorder known as PTSD.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:57 pm

A person having a stroke may not be in a war zone, but his or her life is in danger all the same. That's enough to trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in some stroke survivors, researchers say, with symptoms like panic attacks, nightmares and flashes of anger.

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The Protojournalist
11:24 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Haiku In The News: Obama In Berlin

Sean Gallup Getty Images

"Citizens who choose ...

To be defined by a wall,

or ... to tear it down. "

From Remarks by President Obama at the Brandenburg Gate. June 19, 2013.

****

(If you find examples of Haiku in the News, please send them to: protojournalist@npr.org)

The Two-Way
11:07 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Singapore Endures Record Smog

The sun rises over the Singapore Central Business District as smog shrouds the city-state on Thursday.
Joseph Nair AP

Face mask-clad Singaporeans enduring record-breaking smog got some more bad news from their government on Thursday: The pollution may last awhile.

The choking smog that blanketed the city-state earlier this week, generated by burning clear-cutting fires in Indonesia, has gone well beyond the "hazardous" level on the Pollutant Standards Index, hitting 371 on Wednesday before coming back down to about 250. The previous record was 226, reached in 1997.

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The Salt
11:04 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Why Slave Labor Still Plagues The Global Food System

Workers process shrimp at a factory in Thailand in 2009.
Chumsak Kanoknan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:01 am

When the State Department released its annual report on human trafficking Wednesday, we got a chilling reminder that even in 2013, slave labor is still embedded in the global food system.

As many as 27 million men, women and children are estimated to be trafficking victims at any given time, according to the report. And some of those victims, the State Department says, are later forced to work in agriculture and food processing (though no one has a good idea how many).

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National Security
10:13 am
Thu June 20, 2013

At A Texas Base, Battling Army's Top Threat: Suicide

Soldiers approach armored vehicles after a training exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, in January.
Juan Carlos Llorca AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:42 pm

Suicide killed more American troops last year than combat in Afghanistan, and that is likely to be the case again this year.

According to the Pentagon, there were at least 349 confirmed suicides in 2012, compared with 310 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan in the same period.

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
10:07 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Dee Dee Bridgewater On JazzSet

Dee Dee Bridgewater (right) smiles big with pianist Edsel Gomez.
Richard Conde

Dee Dee Bridgewater's smile says it all: she's singing this week on JazzSet from the Caramoor Jazz Festival.

All summer, Caramoor presents chamber music, opera, Latin music, a resident orchestra and more — rain or shine. And it did rain in 2012, though the audience stayed dry under the Venetian Theater roof with Bridgewater and her awesome band.

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The Two-Way
10:01 am
Thu June 20, 2013

He's An Impostor, The Navy Says About Cap'n Crunch

Say it ain't so, Cap'n.
Quaker Oats Company PepsiCo

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:53 am

We don't know how, but we missed a major scandal brewing in the Navy for decades. It's important, so even if we're a little late to the story we still wanted to point it out: Cap'n Crunch is an impostor.

The Cap'n was unmasked on June 14 by a food blogger, who noticed the uniform he wears on cereal boxes had the stripes of a commander, not a captain. That is: A captain has four stripes on his sleeve, while a commander has three.

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Ask Me Another
9:53 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Game Of Many Thrones

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:03 am

In the battle-scarred land of Westeros, there exist esteemed kings, queens and knights. But they have got to sit somewhere. While this round actually has nothing to do with the HBO series Game of Thrones, it is indeed a game of thrones. House musician Jonathan Coulton doles out clues to different types of chairs.

Plus, Coulton concludes the game with a royal cover of Dave Edmunds' "Queen of Hearts."

Ask Me Another
9:53 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Ham Sandwiches

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:03 am

We're sure you're champing at the bit for this game, led by host Ophira Eisenberg, in which contestants must make word "sandwiches" that contain the letters h-a-m. A round of cHAMpagne for the winner.

Ask Me Another
9:53 am
Thu June 20, 2013

TV Time Machine

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:03 am

How well do you know your television history? In 1926, NBC was created as a radio network, moved toward television in the thirties, then aired Today, followed by The Tonight Show and eventually, Saturday Night Live. We're sure other important things happened in between. In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg offers up the names of three similar-sounding TV show titles, and you have to put them in chronological order.

Ask Me Another
9:53 am
Thu June 20, 2013

With The Beatles

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:03 am

Do you identify as a Beatles fan? Thought so. Listen as house musician Jonathan Coulton takes some of Fab Four's most beloved hits and transforms them into trivia questions about famous people. Is nothing sacred?

Ask Me Another
9:53 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Phrase Anatomy

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:03 am

You don't need a medical license to solve these clues. Host Ophira Eisenberg offers literal interpretations of phrases that involve parts of the body--"I'm so awkward and clumsy, I'm entirely pollical digits!" You may think this game is a real pain in the cervical vertebrae (but not literally).

Ask Me Another
9:53 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Dot Dot

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:03 am

Those two little dots that get placed over vowels are known either as umlauts or diaereses. They're used to indicate that the vowel is pronounced in an unusual way, and sometimes they're used in people's names because they're foreign. Or pretentious. (Just ask Anaïs Nin or Chloë Sevigny.) Puzzle guru Art Chung leads this final round full of double-dotted words.

The Two-Way
9:51 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Justices: Federal Funds Can't Infringe Groups' Free Speech

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:02 am

The Supreme Court has struck down a law mandating that nonprofit organizations adopt a policy opposing prostitution as a condition for receiving federal funds for HIV/AIDS programs abroad, saying such a requirement violated the groups' free-speech rights.

In the 6-2 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts led the majority, with Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself.

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Music
9:48 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Free Music? Yes Please!

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:42 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Now we want to talk about the way people are getting new music across the globe. Earlier this week, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z announced he's teaming up with Samsung to release his next album "Magna Carta Holy Grail." Here he is advertising that release.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAY-Z COMMERCIAL)

JAY-Z: The idea is to really finish the album and drop it, giving it to the world at one time and then letting them share it when it goes out.

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World
9:48 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Will Brazil's About-Face Drive Back Protests?

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:42 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, music may often get Brazil into the move for a carnival, but it's also inspiring and being inspired by protests going on in that country. We'll hear some of it in just a few minutes.

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Music
9:48 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Music, An Underlying Force Behind Protests

Music has influenced - and been influenced by - many social movements. As protesters flood the streets in Brazil, NPR's Alt Latino co-host Jasmine Garsd discusses popular Brazilian protest songs with guest host Celeste Headlee.

Books
9:48 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Author Risks Life To Report On His Native Mexico

Reporter and author Alfredo Corchado covers a political rally in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in 1986.
Billy Calzada

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:42 pm

Alfredo Corchado, the Mexico bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News, has dedicated his life to investigating government corruption, murders and ruthless drug cartels in his native Mexico.

He received death threats multiple times, and doesn't feel safe, but he says he has "learned to embrace the fear." Corchado, an American citizen, has written a memoir about the complicated relationship he has with the country of his birth, entitled, Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter's Journey Through a Country's Descent into Darkness.

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The Two-Way
9:37 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Tropical Storm Barry Makes Landfall In Eastern Mexico

Tropical Storm Barry's position as of 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
National Hurricane Center

The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Barry washed ashore just north of Veracruz, Mexico, at about 8 a.m. Central Time.

According to the latest data, Barry's top sustained winds were about 45 miles per hour as it headed inland. The storm is expected to lose strength rapidly and fall to tropical depression status by tonight. But, the Center warns, "Barry is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches, with maximum amounts of 10 inches over southern Mexico."

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All Songs Considered
9:03 am
Thu June 20, 2013

The Good Listener: How Do You Pick The Songs For Your Wedding?

Don't let a slow, introspective song crash your wedding reception.
Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:11 am

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Chicago Defeats Boston, Evens NHL Stanley Cup Series

The Chicago Blackhawks mob Brent Seabrook after his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins in overtime of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night in Boston.
Charles Krupa AP

So there was another overtime last night in the Stanley Cup series, except this time the Chicago Blackhawks outlasted the Boston Bruins, defeating them 6-5 and tying the NHL championship series.

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Shots - Health News
7:35 am
Thu June 20, 2013

WHO Finds Violence Against Women Is 'Shockingly' Common

Young women listen to a talk on domestic violence and HIV prevention near Lome, Togo, in April. Abused women in sub-Saharan Africa and India are at higher risk for HIV than women who haven't experienced violence.
Darrin Zammit Lupi Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 7:15 am

Thirty-five percent of women around the world have been raped or physically abused, according to statistics the World Health Organization released Thursday. About 80 percent of the time this violence occurs in the home, at the hands of a partner or spouse.

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Rise Slightly

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 9:31 am

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 18,000 last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. At 354,000, the number remained at a level consistent with modest job growth.

According to the agency, the four-week moving average, a less volatile indicator, rose 2,500, to 348,250.

The AP reports:

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