Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:44 pm
If you're so inclined, and able, you could soon speak Tlingit, Inupiaq, or Siberian Yupik in Alaska with the knowledge that those and 18 other languages, including English, are officially recognized by the state. Alaska's Legislature approved a bill giving them that status Monday.
Millionaire Chinese gamblers, high-class Mongolian escorts, drunken Englishmen — these are the kind of characters who populate Lawrence Osborne's hypnotic new novel, The Ballad of a Small Player. Set in the hotels and casinos of Macau, a former Portuguese colony where ostentatious 21st century glamour meets the faded charms of old Asia, the novel traces the trajectory of a compulsive gambler, the self-styled "Lord" Doyle, a man who seems addicted to failure. "Everyone knows that you are not a real player until you secretly prefer losing," he asserts at the beginning of the novel.
From the outside, Jan Cole's recreational marijuana store in Boulder, Colo., just feels welcoming. Big glass windows let in natural light, and the walls are painted in soothing earth tones. Cole used her background in spa management to build a "warm and inviting" pot shop that puts customers at ease.
In fact, the store's name, The Farm, is so inconspicuous, "we have a lot of people who come in think that we might be an organic food grocer or something," she says.
Several bio-tech companies are developing exoskeletons that give people superhuman abilities. These robotic suits are also doing something simpler: They're helping people who are paralyzed, including many veterans, stand up and walk. As Erin Toner of WUWM reports, the technology helps improve patients' mental and physical health, but it's far from changing their lives entirely.
When celebrity chef Paula Deen got in trouble for maybe being racist last year, I couldn't help but think about The Boondocks. The Deen controversy, and all of the comedic potential it provided, seemed to be perfect fodder for an episode of the Peabody Award-winning show that airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
The skirmish continues between Sriracha and Irwindale, Calif. Irwindale's city council declared that owner David Tran must curb his hot sauce factory's smelly fumes or they'll do it themselves. Tran is considering relocating, and he has already received several offers.
Reno, Nevada is trying to change its image. It wants to move beyond its reputation as a wannabe Las Vegas or the home of quickie divorces. And people there say the city has turned a corner. As Will Stone of Reno Public Radio reports, they want outsiders to see that too.
Many commercial fishermen in Florida faced a tough decision 20 years ago: retire or find another way to make a living. That reality set in after voters passed a constitutional amendment intended to prevent overfishing. It banned the use of gill nets in state waters. Gill nets are large nets that are suspended vertically in the water. NPR's Greg Allen went to an island where former fishermen have found new careers since the ban.
Pregnant women addicted to illegal narcotics or prescription pain pills could soon be jailed in Tennessee under a bill awaiting the governor's signature. The strict proposal enjoys bipartisan support — despite objections from doctors.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. A court case in Silicon Valley has brought some juicy emails to light. The correspondence involved some of the valley's biggest stars including the late Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe are accused in a class action suit of suppressing the wages of their developers and engineers.
The FBI is saying that a 16-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after he hid in the wheel well of a flight from San Jose to Maui. Severe temperatures and low oxygen would make survival difficult. Investigators are examining the case.
The violent clashes in Ukraine between protesters and military police have overwhelmed hospitals there and some of the patients who need intensive treatment are arriving in the U.S. WHYY's Emma Jacobs reports on an international effort to treat Ukrainian patients. It's organized out of a Philadelphia suburb.
Chinese couples who are unable to have children are turning to a surprising place for help these days: America. By hiring American surrogates, Chinese couples get around a ban on surrogacy in China, as well as the country's birth limits.
It also guarantees their children something many wealthy Chinese want these days: a U.S. passport.
Tony Jiang and his wife, Cherry, live in Shanghai and couldn't have children naturally. First, they turned to underground hospitals in China for surrogacy.
Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 1:33 pm
Authorities announced Monday that the death toll from last month's mudslide near Oso, Wash., had risen to 41. Four people are still listed as missing.
Tuesday marks one month since the devastating landslide that caught the small community in the Cascade foothills by surprise. A rain-soaked hillside collapsed, setting in motion a massive flow of mud and debris.
At first, Hari Kondabolu's comedy was mostly about catharsis: "I was doing some work in detention centers and meeting families who had family members who were going to be deported," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was really powerful work ... but it was incredibly hard and performing at night was a relief. It was cathartic. It was just a way to get things out."
The renegade Islamist group known as ISIS now controls swaths of Syria and Iraq, and it's partly because the fighters are so rich. ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is known for having the biggest guns and paying the highest salaries.
While kidnapping, oil smuggling and donations from sympathizers have been well-known sources of money, the groups also run complex and brutal protection rackets, according to analysts.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:03 am
America is less religious than ever before. The number of Americans who reported no religious affiliation has been growing rapidly, doubling since 1990. That kind of rapid change matches another societal trend — growth in Internet use. The percentage of Americans who say they used the Internet went from nearly zero in 1990 to 87 percent this year.
Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 4:09 pm
In the men's field of the 118th Boston Marathon, American Meb Keflezighi ended a 31-year drought for U.S. runners, after holding off Wilson Chebet of Kenya in a race that came down to the final mile.
According to race officials, Keflezighi, 38, ran a 4:56 split at mile 23, when he built a 20-second lead. That lead dwindled as the runners neared the finish line, but Keflezighi held off all challengers to win the race with an unofficial finishing time of 2:08:37.
Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 1:23 pm
Disturbing news from Nigeria about girls kidnapped last week from their school by Islamist extremists grew even more distressing on Monday when parents told authorities that 234 of the young women are still missing.
That's nearly triple the number — 85 — that officials have been reporting.
Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 5:36 pm
When University of Connecticut star basketball player Shabazz Napier told reporters right after winning the NCAA Division I men's basketball national championship he sometimes went to bed hungry, you could almost hear the collective gasp from mothers around the country.