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Research News
1:37 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Shall I Encode Thee In DNA? Sonnets Stored On Double Helix

William Shakespeare, depicted in this 17th century painting, penned his sonnets on parchment. Now his words have found a new home ... in twisting strands of DNA.
Attributed to John Taylor National Portrait Gallery

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

English critic Samuel Johnson once said of William Shakespeare "that his drama is the mirror of life." Now the Bard's words have been translated into life's most basic language. British scientists have stored all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny stretches of DNA.

It all started with two men in a pub. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, both scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, were drinking beer and discussing a problem.

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Planet Money
1:35 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Why Is The Government In The Flood Insurance Business?

Hurricane Betsy hit the Gulf Coast in 1965.
Horace Cort AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.

Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.

This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Not flood.

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Author Interviews
1:33 am
Thu January 24, 2013

'Insurgents' Hoped To Change Military From Within

Barbara Sax AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:30 am

National security reporter Fred Kaplan was the first to publicly link Paula Broadwell to Gen. David Petraeus in last fall's affair scandal, but that's not the topic of his new book. In fact, it's barely an addendum. Instead, Kaplan focuses in depth on counterinsurgency — a cornerstone of Petraeus' legacy.

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Music Interviews
12:01 am
Thu January 24, 2013

The 'True Story' Inside Aaron Neville's Doo-Wop World

Aaron Neville's latest album, My True Story, is a collection of the doo-wop songs he grew up singing in New Orleans.
Sarah A. Friedman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

At 72, the prince of R&B has reverted to childhood. Aaron Neville has a new album called My True Story, and it's a collection of the songs he sang growing up in the projects of New Orleans in the 1950s and '60s, back when doo-wop was king.

"I've been into every doo-wop there is," Neville says. "I think I went to the university of doo-wop-ology."

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Law
4:42 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Lawsuit Questioned Constitutionality Of Ban On Women In Combat

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now for some reaction to that decision, we turn to Anne Coughlin. She's a professor at the University of Virginia Law School, and her research inspired a lawsuit brought by two women in the Army Reserve seeking to reverse that ban. The suit argues the ban is unconstitutional. Anne Coughlin, welcome to the program.

ANNE COUGHLIN: Thank you so much, Melissa. I'm happy to be here.

BLOCK: And first, your thoughts when you heard this decision from Secretary Panetta today.

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Business
4:06 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Dreamliner Woes Expose FAA's Potential Weak Spots

National Transportation Safety Board investigators inspect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Japan's Takamatsu Airport. A Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the plane's troubles has widened into a review of the agency's certification process for new airliners.
Jiji Press AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

One week after Federal Aviation Administration officials grounded Boeing's newest jet, the world's entire 787 Dreamliner fleet remains parked. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Tuesday he couldn't speculate on when a review of the plane would be complete.

Investigators in the U.S. and Japan remain perplexed as to why batteries on two planes suffered serious failures. Now Boeing, its flagship jet and the certification process for the 787 are under intense scrutiny.

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The Two-Way
3:57 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Transportation Secretary: Duration Of Dreamliner Review Is Unknown

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood speaks during a news conference at the Transportation Department in Washington in January.
Susan Walsh AP

If you were dreaming of flying soon in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you have to wake up: Federal Aviation Administration isn't rushing its review of the grounded aircraft.

"We need to get to the bottom of the recent issues with the batteries in the 787 and ensure their safety before these aircraft can be put back in service," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today at an Aero Club luncheon in Washington.

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Stunning Photos: In Chicago, Firefighters Battle Huge Flames In Arctic Cold

Firefighters spray down hot spots on an ice covered warehouse that caught fire Tuesday night in Chicago.
John Gress Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 4:24 pm

Firefighters in Chicago responded to the largest fire in years last night. According to The Chicago Tribune, at one point a third of the city's firefighters were battling the blaze at a vacant warehouse.

Luckily no one was hurt, but the arctic temperatures the area is experiencing meant the firefighters faced issues like frozen hydrants.

The pictures of the action, however, are made simply stunning because of the ice.

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Middle East
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Some Jordanians Say Gerrymandering Makes For An Unfair Election

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There's also an election in Jordan this week. It's today. And joining us now is Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. Welcome to the program, Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER NASSER JUDEH: Thank you. Great to talk to you, Robert.

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Europe
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

David Cameron: EU Membership Should Be Up To British People

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a long-awaited speech on Britain's relationship to the European Union on Wednesday. Cameron is under pressure from the growing U.K. Independence Party to pull Britain out of the EU and he has said he is seeking "fresh consent" from the British public to continue in the EU on "renegotiated" terms. He promised to hold a referendum on whether Britain should withdraw if his party retains power after elections in 2015. If the U.K. pulls out, it would weaken the EU significantly.

Africa
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Algeria Offers No Apologies For Its Tactics During Hostage Crisis

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

The Algerian government was criticized for its handling of the gas plant hostage crisis which left 37 foreigners dead, including three Americans. But Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told a press conference he was proud of how the security forces handled the crisis.

Fine Art
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

In 'According To What?' Ai Weiwei Makes Mourning Subversive

Grapes, a spiky cluster of wooden stools from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is part of Ai Weiwei's repurposed furniture series.
Cathy Carver Courtesy Hirshhorn Museum

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 2:48 pm

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Politics
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

House Pushes Off Debt Ceiling Deadline For Three Months

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Politics
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Durbin: 'We're Buying What We Can Get' With Debt Ceiling Extension

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Joining us now is the Senate Majority Whip, the number two Democrat in the leadership, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Welcome to the program once again.

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Good to be with you.

SIEGEL: You and other Senate Democratic leaders seem to regard the House deferring action on the debt ceiling as an olive branch. Meanwhile, House Democrats like George Miller say they're tied to a three-month leash. What's the good part of this deal that House Democrats don't get?

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

In Lower Manhattan, Sandy Still Keeping Businesses Dark

People walk past a closed business affected by Hurricane Sandy in the heavily damaged South Street Seaport in New York City in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

When compared with its neighbors Coney Island and the Rockaways, Manhattan seemed hardly touched by the waters and winds of Superstorm Sandy in late October. But almost three months later, areas of lower Manhattan are still laboring to recover.

Earlier this month, a museum devastated by Sandy finally reopened. About 800 people packed the lobby and upstairs galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan as Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the crowd.

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Middle East
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

An Israeli Political Newcomer, Who May Soon Be An Insider

Yair Lapid and his new political party, There Is a Future, got the second-most votes in Israel's election on Tuesday.
Oliver Weiken EPA /Landov

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 7:17 am

Israel's surprisingly close parliamentary elections Tuesday have brought political attention to a man accustomed to the bright lights of television: former journalist and media personality Yair Lapid.

His Yesh Atid — or There Is a Future — Party got 19 seats in parliament, making it the second-largest voting bloc behind Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, which won 31 seats.

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Africa
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Nomadic 'Blue Men' Of Sahara Receive New Attention With Mali Fighting

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Ever since the Libyan rebellion that ousted Moammar Gadhafi, and more recently with the fighting in Mali, we've heard occasional mention of the Tuareg people, nomadic people of the Sahara, who are sometimes called the Blue Men of the Sahara. Last year, a Tuareg group seized a large section of Mali and declared it an independent Tuareg country they call Azawad.

Who are the Tuareg? And how do they fit into the tapestry of peoples and movements in that troubled part of Africa?

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U.S.
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Clinton: U.S. Can't Retreat From Regions In Turmoil

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

On Capitol Hill today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was both emotional and angry. Testifying before a Senate committee, she spoke passionately about the attack last September that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. She said she's taking seriously the recommendations of her review panel to better protect U.S. diplomats around the world.

But as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, Clinton insisted the U.S. can't retreat, especially from a region now in so much turmoil.

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U.S.
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Rand Paul Calls Out Hillary Clinton Over Indian Comedy Tour

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Sen. Rand Paul asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday if she knew that the State Department sent three comedians on a tour of India. We talk to one of the comedians about what it's like to be a political football.

World
2:28 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

U.S. Military Seeks Its Role In Troubled North Africa

Gen. Carter Ham, who heads the U.S. Africa Command, meets with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last September. Amid upheaval in the region, AFRICOM is still attempting to define its mission.
Farouk Batiche Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

The recent crises in northern Africa, from Libya to Mali to Algeria, have raised a host of questions about the role of the American military command responsible for the entire continent.

Founded in 2007, the United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM, was created to train African militaries so U.S. troops would not be called upon in times of crisis.

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Shots - Health News
1:35 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Scientists Put An End To Moratorium On Bird Flu Research

Health workers in Nepal culled chickens and destroyed eggs following an outbreak of bird flu in Kathmandu in October 2012.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Controversial experiments on bird flu could resume within weeks because leading influenza researchers around the world have finally called a halt to an unusual moratorium that has lasted more than a year.

The voluntary pause in the research started back in January 2012. Scientists had genetically altered the bird flu virus H5N1, changing it in ways that allowed it to spread through the coughs and sneezes of ferrets — the lab stand-in for people.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Panetta Lifts Ban On Women In Combat Roles

In a May 9, 2012 photo, Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. Female soldiers are moving into new jobs in once all-male units as the U.S. Army breaks down formal barriers in recognition of what's already happened in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kristin M. Hall AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 6:04 am

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decided to lift a ban that prohibited women from serving in combat, a congressional source tells NPR's Tom Bowman. The move opens up thousands of front-line positions.

Panetta is expected to announce the decision along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.

Citing "senior defense officials," the AP adds:

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Junior Seau's Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against NFL

Junior Seau, seen here playing for the New England Patriots toward the end of his career, suffered from a degenerative brain disease, scientists say.
Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 4:40 pm

The family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL, the Associated Press is reporting.

According to the wire service, Seau's family accuses the NFL of "acts or omissions" that "hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head."

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Deceptive Cadence
12:55 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Back Off The Bach To Drive Safely

A new study claims that listening to classical music makes for unsafe driving.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 10:54 am

Researchers in London claim that listening to classical music makes for unsafe driving — in fact, that it caused more erratic driving than hip-hop, heavy metal or not listening to music at all.

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Politics
11:55 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Punting The Debt Ceiling Debate Down The Road

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:21 pm

NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin recaps the week in politics, from Obama's inaugural address to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony on Benghazi. Jack Pitney, political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, discusses the Republican decisions on the debt ceiling and the future of the Republican party.

It's All Politics
11:54 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Don't Expect States To Cooperate

States are moving further apart on hot-button issues such as abortion and health care — and many may resist laws set in Washington.
Frankljunior iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 1:01 pm

Blue states and red states are moving further apart.

That's one of the clear lessons from the annual "State of the States" report, which the Pew Center on the States is rolling out in a string of assessments this week.

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The Two-Way
11:47 am
Wed January 23, 2013

A Tennis Tale: Once Famous, 'Gorgeous Gussie' Dies In Obscurity

Gertrude Moran, "Gorgeous Gussie," playing at Wimbledon in 1949. Her attire, which included a bit of lace, shocked some.
George W. Hales Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 8:10 am

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Middle East
11:45 am
Wed January 23, 2013

After Israel's Elections, Reshuffling Political Alliances

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 7:17 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

After yesterday's election in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu will remain prime minister but with sharply diminished leverage and new coalitions to calculate. Opinion polls made Netanyahu an overwhelming favorite after his Likud bloc aligned with another right wing faction, but that alliance emerged with fewer seats than expected and with a new centrist rival.

Joining us now from Israel is Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times. Good to have you with us today.

JODI RUDOREN: Thanks for having me, Neal.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Wed January 23, 2013

London Police Arrest Two In 'Muslim Patrol' Incidents

A screen grab taken from a video posted on YouTube.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 3:58 pm

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Shots - Health News
11:23 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Why Some Hospices Turn Away Patients Without Caregivers At Home

Some hospices require patients to have a caregiver at home. But for many families, that's just not an option.
Guven Demir iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:56 am

Choosing hospice care is never an easy decision. It's an admission that the end is near, that there will be no cure.

But even after a family has opted for this end-of-life care, some still face an unexpected hurdle: Twelve percent of hospices nationwide refuse to accept patients who don't have a caregiver at home to look after them, according to a recent survey of nearly 600 hospice providers published in Health Affairs.

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