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7:39 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Amid Dropping Test Scores, Teen Writers' Creativity Soars

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 8:58 am

NPR correspondent Joseph Shapiro and his daughter Eva spent the weekend at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Eva, 15, won the "Best in Grade" award, one of two for ninth-grade writers, for a short story. She takes writing classes with Writopia Lab in Washington, D.C.

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All Songs Considered
7:27 am
Thu June 13, 2013

First Watch: Low, 'Plastic Cup'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 8:01 am

"Plastic Cup," the moody opening cut to Low's latest album, The Invisible Way, recalls a friend's substance abuse, a lifetime of dependence on others and a soul-crushing future of pointless drug tests. But in a strange new video for the song, director Ryley Fogg takes those themes in a dark and curious direction. Creepy, hooded figures intercut with black-and-white images of the band performing in period costumes.

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The Two-Way
7:08 am
Thu June 13, 2013

At Least 93,000 Syrians Have Died During Conflict, U.N. Says

Mourners carry the body of a man killed last fall in the northern Syrian town of Azaz.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 8:53 am

"The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels," the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said Thursday as her office reported there have been at least 92,901 conflict-related deaths in Syria since March 2011.

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The Two-Way
6:07 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Colorado Fires: Two Deaths Reported; 5 Percent Containment

The Black Forest wildfire is burning near Colorado Springs, Colo. As Thursday dawned it was "zero percent contained," authorities said.
Chris Schneider Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:31 pm

Update at 7:15 p.m. ET. Two Deaths Reported:

The El Paso County Sheriff says that two bodies were recovered Thursday in the burn area of the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs. A "coroner investigation is ongoing," the department says.

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The Two-Way
5:36 am
Thu June 13, 2013

VIDEO: Gov. Christie Slow Jammin' The News With Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during their slow jap on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
Theo Wargo Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 7:38 am

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Book News: Inmate Fights For His Right To Read Werewolf Erotica

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

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The Two-Way
5:19 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Top Stories: Powerful Storms Lumber East; 1st NHL Final Is Gripping

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 7:37 am

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The Two-Way
5:14 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Thriller On The Ice: Blackhawks Beat Bruins In Triple OT

The thrill of victory; the agony of defeat: Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks (right) celebrates after the game-winning goal goes in. Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask looks back toward the puck that's now in his net.
Mike Wulf CSM/LANDOV

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Around the Nation
5:09 am
Thu June 13, 2013

U.S. Navy To Make Its Communications Less 'Rude'

The Navy has been issuing orders and messages in capital letters since the 1850s when teletype machines didn't have lower case. But to young sailors, raised on texting, "all CAPS" signifies shouting.

Book Reviews
5:04 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Reader Advisory: 'Shining Girls' Is Gruesome But Gripping

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 4:18 pm

Borrow from Stephen King a house with a wormhole that somehow allows for time travel, re-create the monstrous chilliness of scenes between a serial killer and his female victims in The Silence of the Lambs, and you could easily end up with a pretty derivative thriller. But talented Cape Town writer Lauren Beukes has managed to turn such borrowing and theft into a triumph in her new novel, The Shining Girls. It's her third book, and a marvelous narrative feat that spans the history of Chicago from the 1930s to the 1990s.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
5:04 am
Thu June 13, 2013

The Complete List: What NPR's Backseat Book Club Has Read So Far

Carina Jaffe, 3; Larissa Jaffe, 9; Denali Jaffe, 10; Zahra Jaffe, 6; and their friend Christina Tonnu, 8, read The Phantom Tollbooth together in Philadelphia.
Courtesy the Jaffe Family

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:22 pm

Ever since we launched NPR's Backseat Book Club in 2011, our young listeners have been busy reading — classics like The Wizard of Oz, Black Beauty and The Phantom Tollbooth, and newer tales, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Graveyard Book. If you know a kid age 9-14 who's looking for a great read, look no further: Here are all the books we've read so far. (And here's the list in printable form.)

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Around the Nation
5:03 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Rare 'Superman' Comic Sells For Big Bucks

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer. A rare copy of the comic book featuring Superman's first appearance sold for $175,000 this week. Considered the "Holy Grail" of comics by many collectors, it is one of about 100 copies. Published in 1938, the comic was found by David Gonzalez in the insulation of a house that he was restoring in Minnesota. The selling price is ten times what he paid for the house. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
4:26 am
Thu June 13, 2013

So Far Not So Bad As Storms Head East, But Threat Remains

Quite a show in Chicago: Lightning struck the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower, at right) on Wednesday as the storm system moved through.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 6:56 am

The good news is that "a massive storm system originally forecast to affect one in five Americans from Iowa to Maryland surged Thursday toward the Mid-Atlantic after largely failing to live up to its billing in ferocity through the Upper Midwest."

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National Security
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

NSA Head Reassures Senate That Surveillance Programs Are Legal

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:14 am

NSA Director Keith Alexander told a Senate panel that his agency's program did indeed protect American's privacy while gathering data on terrorist activity. Alexander told lawmakers he wants to declassify more details to reassure everyone the programs are legal and effective.

Business
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:43 am

Just three weeks ago, Japanese stocks were at a multi-year high — raising hopes for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to revitalize the world's third-largest economy. Since then, the market has dropped more than 20 percent.

Race
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Economic Improvement Remains Stagnant For Poor Blacks

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:52 am

In 1965, sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who would later become a U.S. senator from New York, authored a controversial report. It concluded the decline of the black nuclear family was a major component to black poverty. Nearly 50 years later, the Urban Institute has released a follow-up to Moynihan's study that looks at the current barriers poor black families continue to face, and compares those findings to the country's other ethnic groups.

Business
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Gamers Converge On L.A. For Electronic Entertainment Expo

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The biggest players in the video gaming are gathered here in Los Angeles this week for E3, the industry's annual trade show. Gamers have been anticipating the unveiling of new products from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and other companies.

NPR's Laura Sydell has spent the past few days with zombies, assassins and one little plumber. Good morning.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Good morning.

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Business
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:48 am

The museum in Paris has unveiled new, sophisticated LED lighting for the painting. They want to bring out her colors — the way Leonardo da Vinci might have seen them.

Business
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Will A Kill Switch Stop Cellphones From Being Stolen?

People use cellphones in downtown San Francisco. The city's district attorney and New York's attorney general plan to meet with major cellphone manufacturers, as they push the industry to do more to protect consumers from violent street crimes connected to cellphone thefts.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 12:05 pm

Cellphone thefts are now the single biggest source of property crime in many American cities. A recent study found that lost and stolen phones cost consumers close to $30 billion a year. And 10 percent of smartphone owners say they've had a phone stolen.

Almost everyone has a story about losing their phone; even tech reporters are not immune.

NPR's Laura Sydell lost her phone and spent over three hours skulking around San Francisco using an app and an iPad to track her phone thief.

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Business
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

French Air Traffic Controllers Strike Disrupts Flights

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:56 am

French air traffic controllers are back in their towers. They had been on strike for two days — forcing the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights. But the issues at stake remain unresolved and affect the entire continent. They center on plans to reorganize and streamline the control of European airspace.

Parallels
3:53 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Iran's Election May Not Really Be About Picking A President

Female supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, hold up posters and national flags at a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, on May 24. Jalili advocates for traditional roles for women and resistance against the U.S.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 7:55 am

When Iranians vote Friday for president, it will be an election unlike any other.

Clerics who hold supreme power in the Islamic Republic have allowed elections for decades.

But while the people vote, clerics and their allies make the rules. Those already in power choose who can run for office and limit what they do if elected.

Restrictions are tighter than ever after massive protests that followed a disputed election in 2009. In fact, the country has come to redefine the whole purpose of an election.

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Animals
2:34 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Fancy Feet: Wild Cheetahs Excel At Acceleration

Moyo, a 3-year-old male cheetah from South Africa, chases a lure during the Cheetah Dash event at the Animal Ark in Reno, Nev.
Kevin Clifford AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:02 am

Nature documentaries always go on and on about how fast a cheetah can run. Cats in captivity have been clocked at 65 miles an hour, the highest speed recorded for any land animal.

And yet, scientists know very little about how the animal runs in the wild, especially when on the hunt.

"You can look at it and say, 'Oh that's fast,' " says Alan Wilson, a veterinarian at the Royal Veterinary College, London. "But you can't actually describe what route it follows, or how quickly it's gone, or the details of [the] forces it has to exert to do that."

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Digital Life
2:33 am
Thu June 13, 2013

From Seinfeld, A Second Season Of 'Coffee' Talk

Jerry Seinfeld won a 2013 Webby Award for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Bryan Bedder Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 9:01 am

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is exactly what it sounds like — a show about three things Jerry Seinfeld loves.

Each individual episode of the stand-up comic's Web series features him talking to a fellow comedian while driving across town to get a cup of coffee.

While the premise is simple enough, and the celebrity interview as familiar as any late-night talk-show, the format of C3 allows for a more relaxed and personal tone than the typical sofa-chat format.

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Parallels
2:28 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Once Home To A Dreaded Drug Lord, Medellin Remakes Itself

Colombian army soldiers patrol Medellin's Loma de Cristobal neighborhood after warring gangs forced dozens of families to flee. Medellin used to be the most dangerous city in the world, but officials embarked on innovative projects designed to make life better in tough neighborhoods.
Paul Smith for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 3:03 pm

Of all the violent cities of Latin America, one stands out as a great success story: Medellin, a metropolis nestled in the mountains of northwest Colombia.

Once the home of the cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, it recorded more than 6,300 homicides in 1991, making it the world's murder capital. Then, one city government after another built schools and libraries, parks and infrastructure. The police also received an overhaul and became more adept at going after violent trafficking groups.

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Monkey See
2:27 am
Thu June 13, 2013

How To Introduce Kids To Tough Topics? Art And TV Can Help

Sue Glader wrote Nowhere Hair after finding many children's books about cancer that were too depressing or scary.
Courtesy Sue Glader

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:31 am

Parents steer their kids to media for all kinds of things: as a distraction so they can make dinner, to teach letters and numbers, and for pure entertainment. There are also times when parents rely on books, TV, museums and other media when they aren't quite sure how to approach a difficult topic by themselves.

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Dollar For Dollar: Adventures In Investing
2:26 am
Thu June 13, 2013

How To Invest In Real Estate Without Being A Landlord

NPR's Uri Berliner discovers that among his REIT holdings is one that owns the Washington, D.C., site where, until recently, NPR had its headquarters. The building is being torn down and a new building with law offices will go up in its place.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:32 am

NPR's Uri Berliner is taking $5,000 of his own savings and putting it to work. Though he's no financial whiz or guru, he's exploring different types of investments — alternatives that may fare better than staying in a savings account that's not keeping up with inflation.

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The Two-Way
4:53 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

U.S. Olympic Skater's Sabotage Gets Day In 'Court'

American short track speedskater Simon Cho (center) admitted last October that he sabotaged the skate blade of Canadian athlete Olivier Jean (left). The two are pictured here in 2011, at a different event.
Alex Livesey Getty Images

Months of claims and counterclaims come to a head in a hotel conference room in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, when the International Skating Union considers the deliberate sabotage of a speed skate involving an American Olympic medalist and, allegedly, his former coach.

The ISU's disciplinary commission is scheduled to hear testimony behind closed doors from Simon Cho, a Vancouver Olympic bronze medalist in short track speedskating, former American short track coach Jae Su Chun, and at least two witnesses.

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It's All Politics
4:42 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Mass. Senate Race May Be Feeling Washington Scandal Fallout

Recent polls suggest Massachusetts Republican Gabriel Gomez (left) is within striking distance of Rep. Ed Markey (right) in a contest for a U.S. Senate seat.
AP

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 6:12 pm

With two weeks until the Massachusetts special Senate election, the obvious question is: Can Republicans pull off another stunning upset like they did three years ago?

Back then, in the very blue Bay State, Republican Scott Brown won the seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy's death by riding a Tea Party and anti-Obamacare wave amplified by voter distress over a sour economy.

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All Tech Considered
4:16 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Net Giants Try To Quell Users' Jitters About Their Data

Google, like Facebook, Microsoft and other Internet companies, is concerned that data requests from U.S. surveillance agencies could ultimately damage its reputation in the U.S. and overseas.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 5:00 pm

Companies like Google and Facebook are very much caught in the middle of the current debate about national security and privacy. Press reports have said the companies are required to turn over huge amounts of customer data to government agencies like the National Security Agency, but the companies are often barred from saying anything publicly about the requests they receive.

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Egyptian Author Sentenced To Prison For Book 'Where Is God?'

Egyptian author and human rights activist Karam Saber has been sentenced to five years in prison, after a court found his writings to have insulted religion, reports the Egyptian news website Aswat Masriya.

The complaint against Saber and his book Ayn Allah (Where Is God?) was initially filed in 2011, months after the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak's regime. Saber's was reportedly the first blasphemy case of its kind after Egypt's revolution.

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