U.S. News

Education
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Energy Companies Step In To Fund STEM Education

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 6:15 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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U.S.
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Often The Butt Of Jokes, S.C.'s Giant Peach Is Ripe For Renovation

The restoration of the landmark, popularized by a House of Cards episode, has some fans wondering whether the giant peach will lose its giggle-inducing appearance.
Michael Tomsic WFAE

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

You can't miss it as you drive down I-85. The Peachoid, as it's called, is a massive peach-shape water tower near the North Carolina border.

When maintenance crews sandblasted the paint off the water tower recently, people were furious.

Just ask Claire Huminski, with the city of Gaffney.

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Shots - Health News
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Maine Bill Aims To Make Abuse-Deterrent Painkillers More Affordable

Sales of prescription opioid painkillers have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

The problem of opiate addiction in Maine is one that state Rep. Barry Hobbins knows something about. "One of my family members has been struggling with this dreaded addiction of opiates for six years," he says.

So when pharmaceutical company Pfizer — which makes opioids that have abuse-deterrent properties — asked Hobbins to sponsor a bill that would require insurance companies to cover these more expensive drugs at the same level as other opioids, he agreed.

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Around the Nation
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Untested Rape Kit Backlog Represents A 'Public Safety Issue' In U.S.

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 10:19 am

NPR's Melissa Block speaks with, Abigail Tracy, a reporter with the news site Vocativ, about the backlog of thousands of rape kits that have yet to be tested around the country.

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It's All Politics
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Immigrant Family's Hope On Hold After Promises From The President

Karla Rodriguez and her family: Evelia Beltran (from left), Aileen Orozco, Cesar Orozco, Karla Rodriguez, Evelyn Orozco, Brandon Orozco and Brenda Orozco.
Courtesy of Karla Rodriguez

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 6:40 pm

Six months ago, when President Obama announced sweeping and polarizing executive actions on immigration, immigrant families all over the country were watching his rare prime-time address.

But those actions have now fallen out of the headlines and the highest-profile changes are on hold.

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

An Author Of Paper About Changing Minds On Gay Marriage Seeks Retraction

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 4:41 pm

Late last year, the journal Science published a study that suggested door-to-door canvassing could increase support for same-sex marriage.

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Shots - Health News
2:47 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Terminally Ill California Mom Speaks Out Against Assisted Suicide

Stephanie and Brian Packer make lunch with their children, Brian, 11, Savannah, 5, Scarlett, 10, and Jacob, 8.
Stephanie O'Neill/KPCC

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 3:32 pm

Stephanie Packer was 29 when she found out she had a terminal lung disease.

That's the same age as Brittany Maynard, who last year was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Last fall, Maynard, of Northern California, opted to end her life with the help of a doctor in Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal.

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National Security
2:37 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

U.S. Releases Documents From 2011 Osama Bin Laden Raid

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Economy
2:37 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Los Angeles City Council Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Ed
2:37 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Is Harvard Showing Bias Against Asian-Americans?

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 1:42 pm

A group of more than 60 organizations has filed a complaint with the federal government claiming Harvard holds higher expectations for its Asian applicants than other minorities.

The coalition is made up of nonprofit organizations, including Chinese, Pakistani and Indian groups, and it claims Harvard uses racial quotas to control the number of Asian-Americans on campus.

"Asian-American applicants shouldn't be racially profiled in college admissions," says Swann Lee, a Chinese-American writer from Brookline, Mass. "Asian-Americans should have the playing field leveled."

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Sports
2:37 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Boxing Fans File Lawsuits After Pacquiao-Mayweather Fight

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 8:28 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Animals
2:37 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Midwest Farmers Rush To Dispose Of Chickens Killed To Contain Avian Flu

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Shots - Health News
11:25 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Looks Good Enough To Smoke: Marijuana Gets Its Glamour Moment

Courtesy of Chronicle Books

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:15 am

When Erik Christiansen started smoking pot, he became fascinated by the look of different marijuana strains. But the photographs of marijuana he saw didn't capture the variety.

So he went to the hardware store and picked up two lights and a cardboard box. "I didn't even have a macro lens — I was shooting through a magnifying glass," he says.

The California-based photographer tinkered with his macro technique until he had created a consistent way to capture highly detailed images of marijuana.

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Around the Nation
3:14 am
Wed May 20, 2015

For New Immigrants To The U.S., Ellis Island Still Means A Lot

Tourists meander through the Great Hall in the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. A new exhibition at the museum tells stories of immigrants who have come as recently as the start of this century.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 9:09 am

It's been more than 60 years since Ellis Island closed as a station for inspecting and detaining immigrants. But you can still take a ferry from New York City and cross the Hudson River along the old routes, right to the dock outside a red brick building trimmed with limestone.

"You're sailing in just the way a 1920s immigrant sailed in, only on a little better vessel," says Stephen Briganti, the son of an Ellis Island immigrant from Italy.

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NPR Ed
1:31 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Biology Professor's Calling: Teach Deaf Students They Can Do Anything

Caroline Solomon is a professor of biology at Gallaudet University, the renowned school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
Elissa Nadworny NPR

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 4:04 pm

To get a really good sense of why Caroline Solomon is a great teacher, you have to go into the field with her. On this particular morning, that means a boat on the Anacostia River.

We're about 4 miles from the campus of Gallaudet University, where Solomon is a professor of biology. She and a student — Anna McCall — are heading in a small boat to take water samples.

The Anacostia is no more than 8 miles long, but it meanders through and around Washington, D.C., past a naval yard, a golf course and I-95, the busiest interstate highway on the Eastern Seaboard.

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The Salt
1:30 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Pollinator Politics: Environmentalists Criticize Obama Plan To Save Bees

The White House announced an action plan Tuesday aimed at reversing dramatic declines in pollinators like honeybees, which play a vital role in agriculture, pollinating everything from apples and almonds to squash.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 10:09 am

The buzz around bees has been bad lately. As we've reported, beekeepers say they lost 42 percent of honeybee colonies last summer.

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U.S.
1:21 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Many Native American Communities Struggle With Effects Of Heroin Use

Shannon Rivers, a member of the Akimel O'odham tribe, lights a fire for the purification ceremony at the Coconino County jail. Inmates will help him put blankets over the sweat lodge structure, place heated rocks inside and pour water over them.
Laurel Morales KJZZ

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 12:53 pm

A decade ago, Ken Lewis almost lost his arm to an intravenous (IV) drug addiction. Twice he developed cysts in his veins that exploded in the hospital. When he came out of surgery the doctor prescribed painkillers. So he traded his meth and heroin for the prescribed opiates.

"I was at my wit's end. I mean I was mentally gone, dead," he says. "Spiritually, I didn't believe in a god. Emotionally, didn't realize I was hurting people or hurting myself. Physically, I probably should've been dead."

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Science
6:03 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Earth's First Snake Likely Evolved On Land, Not In Water

The most recent common ancestor of all today's snakes likely lived 120 million years ago. Scientists believe it used needle-like hooked teeth to grab rodent-like creatures that it then swallowed whole.
Julius Csotonyi/BMC Evolutionary Biology

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 10:09 am

Some scientists have speculated that snakes first evolved in water and that their long, slithery bodies were streamlined for swimming. But a new analysis suggests that the most recent common ancestor of all snakes actually lived on land.

This ancestral protosnake probably was a nocturnal hunter that slithered across the forest floor about 120 million years ago. And it likely had tiny hind limbs, left over from an even earlier ancestor, says Allison Hsiang, a researcher at Yale University.

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The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's Son, Hospitalized

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 5:50 pm

Former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's son, is being treated at a military hospital outside Washington, the vice president's office said.

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All Tech Considered
5:06 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Reddit's New Harassment Policy Aimed At Creating A 'Safe Platform'

A Reddit mascot is shown at the company's headquarters in San Francisco. Reddit has published a new policy aimed at harassment on the site.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 6:20 pm

Reddit, billed by its founders as "the front page of the Internet," has long been known as a place of unbridled free speech on the Web where users, known as Redditors, post text, pictures and videos.

But that unbridled free speech sometimes spills over into harassment, sexism and racism. Over the past couple of years, Reddit has been at the center of several controversies concerning harassment, including the release of hundreds of private celebrity photos. It's also become infamous for its unbridled vitriol.

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It's All Politics
4:15 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Would Federal Involvement Actually Change Policing?

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. testified before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Policing Strategies for the 21st Century Tuesday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 5:06 pm

David Clarke, the sheriff in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin doesn't think federal involvement in policing is going to change much. His reaction to the new White House report on 21st century policing, and what he told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, is that it's "heavy on federal involvement, federal control" but "it's not going to change the behavior of many law enforcement agencies or the behavior of many of the individuals of color that we come in contact with on the street that end up in deadly confrontations."

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It's All Politics
4:14 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

After A Month, The 7 Questions Hillary Clinton Answered From The Media

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks at a small-business forum at Bike Tech bicycle shop Tuesday in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Until Tuesday, it had been almost a month since Hillary Clinton had answered a question from the press.

After taking questions from Iowans in Cedar Rapids, where she spoke about small business, the former secretary of state then answered six questions from reporters. She also took an awkwardly timed one about whether she'll answer questions from media in the middle of the event. The questions after the event ranged from the release of her emails when she was secretary of state and criticism over foreign donations to the Clinton foundation to the state of Iraq and more.

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Business
3:54 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Pressure To Act Unethically Looms Over Wall Street, Survey Finds

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 5:06 pm

A new survey of financial professionals tends to confirm the widely held belief that the financial industry has an ethics problem.

Among the more than 1,200 financial professionals in the U.S. and Britain who were surveyed, about half the respondents believe their competitors in the industry have behaved unethically or illegally to gain an advantage in the market.

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Politics
3:54 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Foundations To SEC: Force Corporations To Disclose Political Giving

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 6:51 am

Secret money in politics, especially the corporate variety, has been controversial ever since the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case. Now, about 70 charitable foundations are asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to end that secrecy.

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Religion
3:54 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Rabbis Diversify To Connect To Students; Just Don't Bring Up Israel

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 8:46 pm

Rabbi Evan Goodman runs Hillel, the campus Jewish center, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In recent years, he's had to rethink his job.

"Years past, when I was in college," he says, the Jewish organization "was a rabbi at a campus that put up a schedule of classes ... and drew the same 10 students to everything all year."

These days, chances are good that half the Jewish students he works with have a parent who's not Jewish. One in three of them says Judaism isn't his or her religion.

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

FTC And States Sue Sham Cancer Charities

Four cancer "charities" and their operators have been charged with bilking more than $187 million from consumers. The Federal Trade Commission, along with each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, says the charities claimed to be providing assistance to cancer patients, but the donations were in reality benefiting only "the perpetrators, their families and friends, and fundraisers."

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli's report on the suit:

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The Salt
3:11 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

What Does 'Raw' Mean? When It Comes To Almonds, You Might Be Surprised

Lesley McClurg Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 4:15 pm

When you're talking about almonds, "raw" may not mean what you think.

All California almonds — which would be virtually all the almonds in the country — are either heat-pasteurized or treated with a fumigant. The processes, which have been required by law since 2007, are intended to prevent foodborne illness. But almond aficionados say the treatments taint the flavor and mislead consumers.

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NPR Ed
2:39 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful ... This Great Teacher Abides By The Scout Law

Romy Vasquez leads the boys in drills ahead of an upcoming Eagle Scout ceremony.
Shereen Marisol Meraji/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 9:32 am

Only a small number of Boy Scouts make Eagle Scout.

The feat is even harder when you come from inner-city poverty.

Yet for 27 years, Romy Vasquez has successfully encouraged boys from South Central Los Angeles to become Scouts, and he has seen more than a dozen members of Troop 780 go on to reach scouting's highest rank.

His pitch: You want to be in a gang? Scouting is the biggest gang in the world.

"It's global," he tells the Scouts. "We got some in Japan, China, Israel, all over. So guess what? You belong to BSA!"

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Around the Nation
2:30 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Clinical Psychologist To Head Chicago's Cook County Jail

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 5:06 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
1:42 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Dense Breasts Are Just One Part Of The Cancer Risk Calculus

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 11:00 am

Almost half the states now require doctors to tell women if they have dense breasts because they're at higher risk of breast cancer, and those cancers are harder to find. But not all women with dense breasts have the same risks, a study says.

Those differences need to be taken into account when figuring out each woman's risk of breast cancer, the study says, and also weighed against other factors, including family history, age and ethnicity.

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