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11:57 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Too Weird To Be True? In China, You Never Can Tell

A zoo in central China's Henan province swapped a dog — a Tibetan mastiff like the one shown here — for a lion, in another story that recently swept Chinese cyberspace.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:47 pm

Here are some of the recent news stories that went viral in China that you may have missed:

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All Tech Considered
11:45 am
Thu August 29, 2013

The Fast-Food Restaurants That Require Few Human Workers

The Febo snack bar is open all night.
Adam Jackson Flickr

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:11 pm

In perhaps the largest nationwide fast-food strike in history, the employees who make your 99-cent burgers and tacos were planning strikes in 50 U.S. cities Thursday. Workers are calling for a $15 minimum wage and hoping to raise attention to the fast-food industry's low pay and limited prospects. The current federal minimum wage standard is $7.25 per hour.

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Federal Prosecutors Told Not To Focus On Marijuana Users

A customer rolls a joint made of half marijuana and half tobacco to smoke inside of Frankie Sports Bar and Grill in Olympia, Wash., in December 2012.
Nick Adams Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:58 pm

Federal prosecutors are being told by Attorney General Eric Holder to focus on cartels, criminal enterprises and those who sell the drug to children, not on casual marijuana users, a Justice Department official tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.

Holder today informed the governors of Washington and Colorado — two states that recently legalized the sale of marijuana for personal use — about the new guidelines for prosecutors, the official adds.

Bu the new guidelines will apply to all states, not just Washington, Colorado and those where "medical marijuana" is legal.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Thu August 29, 2013

NFL, Retirees Reach $765M Settlement On Concussions Suits

Junior Seau sustained many concussions during his career and was suffering from a degenerative brain disease when he killed himself in May 2012.
Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:45 pm

The NFL and more than 4,500 retired players have reached an agreement calling for the league to contribute $765 million to a fund that will pay "medical and other benefits, as well as compensation" to those who suffered concussions and related injuries during their careers.

Details of the agreement, which would settle concussion-related lawsuits by former players and still needs a judge's OK, were released by the league early Thursday afternoon.

According to that statement:

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Judge Hints At Helping American Airlines Out Of Bankruptcy

American Airlines aircraft sit on the tarmac at Miami International Airport last week.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:41 pm

A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Thursday indicated that he's leaning in favor of a allowing American Airlines to emerge from bankruptcy, clearing a major obstacle to the carrier's planned merger with US Airways.

Judge Sean H. Lane said he is "finding the arguments in favor of confirmation fairly persuasive" to allow American, which filed for Chapter 11 in November 2011, to emerge from bankruptcy.

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Ask Me Another
11:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Really Hard Edition: Part 2

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 8:06 am

The hour continues as host Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle editor Art Chung unearth notorious stumpers from the Ask Me Another archives. How well do you know your "qwertyuiop"? We ask contestants to create words using letters found on the "Top Row" of a computer keyboard. Mental math meets pop music in "Algebraic Music" (with an assist from house musician Jonathan Coulton) and the names of esteemed world leaders get reduced to animal-related puns in "Imperial Pets."

Ask Me Another
11:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Really Hard Edition: Part 1

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 8:06 am

This hour, revisit some of Ask Me Another's hardest games with host Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle editor Art Chung. If Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were actually hacky comedians, their jokes might sound a little like those told by puzzle guru John Chaneski in "The Philospher's Comedy Club." Find out from Art the original conceit of this game (hint: it involved people in tights), then try mashing up notable names in "Presidential Middle Names"--it may prove to be more brain-melting than enlightening.

The Two-Way
10:35 am
Thu August 29, 2013

President To Issue New Executive Orders On Guns

A weapon is used on the indoor firing range at the National Armory gun store in Pompano Beach, Fla., in April.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:12 am

The White House says President Obama will issue two new executive orders on guns — one to curb the import of military surplus weapons and another that closes a loophole allowing some felons to get around background checks.

The two actions — to be announced by Vice President Joe Biden at the swearing-in of Todd Jones, the new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — will join 23 others that the president has issued in an effort to reduce gun violence.

They are part of a set of recommendations from the vice president unveiled in January.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Spain's Tomato Festival Shrinks, As Town Pares Crowd Size

Ammunition in the form of tomatoes are thrown to a crowd gathered for the annual Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain, near Valencia, Wednesday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

The Tomatina Festival, the famous free-for-all in which partiers pelt one another with ripe tomatoes, was held in Bunol, Spain, Wednesday. The big party that has become an international sensation in recent years was smaller than usual in 2013 — for the first time, the town sold a limited number of tickets for 10 euros (about $13.25) to indulge in the huge food fight.

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The Record
10:29 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Today Would Have Been Michael Jackson's 55th Birthday

Michael Jackson in New York City, New York on January 1, 1990.
Kevin Mazur WireImage

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:28 am

Happy Birthday To The King Of Pop

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
10:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Seth Meyers' Prime-Time Political Parody

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 8:36 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's late-night week on FRESH AIR. One of the big late-night changes scheduled for early next year is Seth Meyers moving to NBC's "Late Night," replacing Jimmy Fallon when Fallon moves to "The Tonight Show." Seth Meyers has been the head writer and co-anchor or anchor of "Weekend Update" since the fall of 2006.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
10:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Late Night 'Thank You Notes' From Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon says he spends almost 12 hours each day at the Late Night offices, which makes the rest of his life difficult. "If I want to play video games now, I have to schedule it," he tells Terry Gross.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2011.

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Oberlin Students Behind 'Hate Postings' Say They Were Joking

More than 1,000 people turned out on March 4 for a Demonstration of Solidarity at Oberlin College. Classes were cancelled after a string of what appeared to be racist incidents on campus.
Gus Chan The Plain Dealer/Landov

An update on a story we posted about back in March:

Two Oberlin College students who are said to have been responsible for a series of "hate-related incidents" that went on for weeks earlier this year at the northern Ohio school are not going to face criminal charges.

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Africa
10:01 am
Thu August 29, 2013

In Egypt's Political Turmoil, Middle Ground Is The Loneliest

The protesters who opposed Hosni Mubarak two years ago, like these demonstrators in Cario's Tahrir Square on Feb. 8, 2011, have been pushed to the sidelines in the current confrontation.
Emilio Morenatti AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Egypt is quieter these days. Protests against the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi have subsided for now. And the military-appointed interim government is firmly in charge.

Yet, Egypt remains deeply polarized. And the middle is a lonely place to be.

Some of the young revolutionaries who led the 2011 uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak feel they are back to square one, battling authoritarian forces on both sides.

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Pop Culture
9:58 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Was Miley Twerking Or Just Trying?

Miley Cyrus' provocative performance at the MTV Video Music Awards got some people clapping, but many more fingers wagging. Host Michel Martin talks about the cultural implications of twerking.

Education
9:58 am
Thu August 29, 2013

HBCU President: Students Hurt By Federal Loan Policy

Tighter lending standards for certain student loans have left many people looking for other ways to pay for school. Critics say historically black colleges and universities are hit particularly hard. Host Michel Martin speaks with David Wilson, President of Morgan State University, about the situation.

Race
9:58 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Self-Described 'Hypocrite' Photographs Black Men

When President Obama asked Americans to examine their own racial biases, photographer Jane Critchlow took that to heart. She approached black men in her neighborhood and asked to take photos with them. Host Michel Martin talks with Critchlow about her project, and the men's reactions.

Around the Nation
9:58 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Does 'Marching' Digitally Send A Message?

As thousands of people gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, many more activists participated online. Host Michel Martin talks about social justice in the digital age with Michael Skolnik of Global Grind and Corey Dade of The Root.

Parallels
9:39 am
Thu August 29, 2013

The Drums Of War, Poolside Edition

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, center, chains his hands with his counterparts from Vietnam, right, and Thailand before the ASEAN meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, on Thursday. The trip's message: The U.S. is committed to its "rebalance" toward the Asia-Pacific region.
Vincent Thian AP

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:11 pm

NPR's Larry Abramson is traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus, or ASEAN Plus. Larry sent us this dispatch:

You cannot hear the drums of war here in Brunei, but you can hear the surf from the Brunei coast, or the sounds of splashing from the humongous pools here at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.

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Shots - Health News
9:31 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Politician And Health Quality Guru Berwick Consults For U.K.

Gubernatorial hopeful Dr. Donald Berwick speaks at the Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform Convention in July.
Aram Boghosian Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 10:23 am

Even as Dr. Donald Berwick runs for governor of Massachusetts, he's got a firm foothold in his former life as an expert on health quality.

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Are We Martians? Scientist Says We Just Might Be

Mars: Our "home" planet?
NASA Getty Images

As Adam Frank has said over on the 13.7 blog, "Earth and Mars have been swapping spit (astrobiologically speaking) for eons ... [and] it is entirely possible we were Earth's first alien invasion."

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Parallels
9:06 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Dutch Migration Fears Mirror Sentiments Across Europe

A chocolate cake is shaped like Europe, with new EU members Romania and Bulgaria (far right), at a welcoming ceremony for their entry into the bloc on Dec. 14, 2006. Curbs on the movement of citizens of the two countries end on Jan. 1, raising fears in Western Europe of an influx of Bulgarian and Romanian workers.
Thierry Charlier AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:51 pm

The Netherlands is a famously tolerant and welcoming place. But the Dutch social affairs minister says he's worried about too many immigrants coming from Bulgaria and Romania, and he's tapped into wider fears in the European Union about foreign workers.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Thu August 29, 2013

India Nabs Top Terrorism Suspect

A poster of Yasin Bhatkal, an alleged founder of the Indian Mujahideen, burns after being set on fire by demonstrators celebrating his arrest in Bangalore on Thursday.
Manjunath Kiran AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:41 pm

India says it has nabbed the co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen, a terrorist organization that has been blamed for attacks throughout the country.

NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi that Yasin Bhatkal was arrested near India's border with Nepal. He's wanted in connection with several attacks, including a 2010 bombing at a bakery that killed 17 people in the western Indian city of Pune.

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Venus Williams Bounced From U.S. Open In Second Round

Venus Williams waves to tennis fans as she leaves the court after a three-hour loss to Zheng Jie of China in the U.S. Open's second round.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 10:56 am

For Venus Williams, a three-hour tennis match came down to a third-set tiebreaker against Zheng Jie of China at the U.S. Open Wednesday night. But the world's former No. 1 player couldn't get past 44 unforced errors, and Zheng outlasted her in a rain-delayed match. Williams lost 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5).

In the match's final two points, Williams misfired on successive shots after coming back to even the tiebreaker at 5-5, sending Zheng into the third round. Williams is currently ranked 60th in the world.

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Have Your Picture Taken With Hong Kong's (Smog-Free) Skyline

Tourists from mainland China take photos in front of a large outdoor banner showing what Hong Kong looks like on a clean air day, in Hong Kong on Aug. 21.
Alex Hofford EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:26 am

It's not news that Hong Kong, which brags one of the world's most stunning skylines, has been gradually losing it behind a curtain of smog.

But the Chinese territory's latest solution is new: To placate camera-clicking tourists unable to get those iconic shots of the skyscraper-studded waterfront, Hong Kong has set up a panoramic backdrop with clear, blue skies.

The Chinese website Netease published a series of pictures of tourists posing in front of the backdrop.

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Economy Was Stronger Than Thought In Second Quarter

Stronger-than-thought exports produced stronger-than-thought economic growth in the spring. (2010 file photo from the Port of Miami.)
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday.

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The Two-Way
7:19 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Israeli Soldiers Go 'Gangnam Style' With Palestinians; Incur Wrath

An image taken from an amateur video shows an Israeli soldier dancing atop a Palestinian man's shoulders to the song "Gangnam Style." The soldier and his colleagues have been suspended.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:34 am

A group of Israeli soldiers who diverted their patrol into a dancehall earlier this week are facing their bosses' displeasure, after video captured the men — armed, wearing helmets and other gear — dancing with dozens of Palestinians in a club in Hebron. They were drawn into the building by hearing "Gangnam Style," the iconic dance hit song by South Korean rapper Psy.

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Assad Is To Blame For Chemical Weapons Attack, British Say

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday as he left 10 Downing Street in London.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 9:28 am

Saying that there are "no plausible alternative scenarios," the U.K.'s Joint Intelligence Organisation released a statement Thursday to support the conclusion reached by U.S. and British officials that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is responsible for what's said to have been a chemical weapons attack last week near Damascus.

That attack, U.S. and British officials say, killed more than 300 people and may have injured several thousand more.

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All Songs Considered
6:25 am
Thu August 29, 2013

First Watch: Zola Jesus, 'Fall Back'

Courtesy of the artist

I suppose it would be natural, if you grew up relatively isolated in a Wisconsin forest, to find yourself fascinated by cities. And so it is for the 24-year-old Russian-American singer Nika Roza Danilova, best known as Zola Jesus. In the video for her song "Fall Back," from the new album Versions, we see Nika in two settings: the vast coldness of urban concrete and the nature of the forest. "Shooting in the forest was very important," Nika writes. "The forest is raw and naked, which is in line for my intent for Versions.

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