U.S. News

The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Illinois Lawmakers Send Medical Marijuana Bill To Governor

A sign outside a medical marijuana evaluation clinic in Los Angeles.
David McNew Getty Images

The Illinois Senate has approved a measure to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, sending the bill to the governor for his signature.

The bill would be the strictest in the nation. According to The Chicago Tribune:

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U.S.
1:11 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

After Deadly Chemical Plant Disasters, There's Little Action

The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using "inherently safer" design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 4:52 pm

You might think that everything would have changed for the chemicals industry on April 16, 1947. That was the day of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. A ship loaded with ammonium nitrate — the same chemical that appears to have caused the disaster last month in West, Texas — exploded. The ship sparked a chain reaction of blasts at chemical facilities onshore, creating what a newsreel at the time called "a holocaust that baffles description."

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Shots - Health News
10:47 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Doctors Confirm Black Lung In Victims Of Mine Blast

A memorial at the entrance to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine represents the 29 coal miners who were killed in an explosion in 2010.
Jeff Gentner AP

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 3:20 pm

The tragic deaths of 29 coal miners in a massive explosion in 2010 have provided new evidence of a resurgence of the disease known as black lung.

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Shots - Health News
9:43 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Biking To Work: Healthful Until You Hit A Pothole

Bartender Matt Carucci told NPR in 2012 that he rarely feels safe biking in the city but often rides without a helmet anyway. "There are a lot of other ways to hurt yourself," he said.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 11:19 am

There's a lot to love about biking to work: the exercise, the fresh air, the cost savings and the benefits for the environment.

But does it make you healthier?

That's a question that's not as easy to answer as you might think. But since today is Bike to Work Day, we'll give it a try.

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Law
3:22 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Weighing Freedom Of The Press Against Public Safety

The Justice Department has been scrutinized this week for secretly obtaining phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors while investigating the disclosure of a CIA operation to thwart a terrorist attack. Steve Inskeep talks to Floyd Abrams, a leading First Amendment lawyer, about how the Constitution and the law treat press freedom.

The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Head Of Sexual-Harassment Program At Fort Campbell Arrested

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:48 pm

The manager of the sexual-assault response program at Fort Campbell, Ky., has been arrested in a domestic dispute and has been relieved of his post.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
5:38 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Bipartisan House Group Says It's Reached Immigration Deal

Texas Republican Rep. John Carter (right), a member of the bipartisan group, with House Speaker John Boehner in January.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:53 pm

Members of a bipartisan group of House lawmakers say they've overcome disagreements and have reached a tentative deal to overhaul the nation's immigration system.

Eight Democratic and Republican House members left a two-hour closed-door meeting Thursday evening, saying they would be working on drafting the measure, The Associated Press reports.

"We have an agreement in principle. We're now going to work on finishing up the drafting of the bill," said Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, a member of the group.

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Who Are The Terrorism Informants In Witness Protection?

Michael Fortier, who spent time in federal prison for knowing about the Oklahoma City bomb plot, is one of several terrorism informants in the federal witness protection program.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 5:59 pm

Known or suspected terrorists who cooperated with federal investigators in at least six major terrorism investigations over two decades were granted protection under the federal witness protection program –- and two of them temporarily could not be found by federal authorities, according to a report from the Justice Department's inspector general.

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It's All Politics
4:48 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

A New Front In The War On Obamacare: Twitter

Few things likely please the Obama White House as a political battle fought on social media. Above, President Obama participates in a "Twitter Town Hall" in 2011.
Charles Dharapak AP

A simple idea: attack Obamacare tersely.

On the same day House Republicans scheduled their latest symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare, as part of their full-court press against the law they also took to Twitter to say, in three words, why they oppose the legislation.

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The Two-Way
4:46 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Federal Prosecutors Arrest Uzbekistan National On Terrorism Charges

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:15 pm

Authorities in Idaho have arrested an Uzbekistan national on federal terrorism charges, the Justice Department announced Thursday evening.

Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, was arrested in Boise on Wednesday, prosecutors say. He is being charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

There's No Ignoring This 800-Pound Gator

A photo provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shows Braxton Bielski with the 800-pound alligator he killed.
Troy Bielski AP

You've heard of the 800-pound gorilla in the room that everyone ignores? Well, here's an 800-pound alligator that's getting some attention.

The 14-foot beast, the heaviest ever recorded in Texas, was bagged by a Houston-area high school student last week at a wildlife management area near Choke Canyon State Park, about 90 miles south of San Antonio.

Braxton Bielski, 18, is credited with the kill. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials, the gator could be 30 to 50 years old.

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The Two-Way
3:12 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Report: Problems At Justice Allowed Terrorist Suspects To Fly

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 3:22 pm

Officials at the Department of Justice didn't share crucial information on some terrorist suspects in the federal witness protection program with the agency that maintains the "no fly" list, allowing an unknown number of them to board commercial flights, a new report says.

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NPR Story
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Emails Track How Erroneous Benghazi Talking Points Emerged

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're going to take a closer look now at the trove of Benghazi-related emails that the White House made public late yesterday. The emails offer a behind-the-scenes look at how various agencies within the federal government worked to craft the talking points used to describe that attack last September. The talking points were initially developed for members of Congress, but they also provided a script for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, as she made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows, including on ABC.

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Law
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

DOJ Report Details Lapses In Witness Protection Program

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:24 pm

A new report from the Justice Department's watchdog points to several lapses in the government's witness protection program. The most significant are that U.S. Marshals at one point lost track of two known or suspected terrorists; and that some witnesses inadvertently were not placed on a no-fly list and flew using new identities. The FBI says there are no known current threats from any witnesses.

U.S.
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Senators Lead Push To Change Military's Sexual Assault Policy

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:24 pm

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is sponsoring legislation cracking down on sexual assault in the military.

U.S.
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Strict Firewall Exists Between IRS And White House

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:24 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We wanted to know more about how the IRS normally vets applications for tax-exempt status; how groups qualify and what the red flags might be.

Through the 1990s, Marcus Owens was the director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, overseeing these very issues. As he explained, 501c4 groups must prove to the IRS that their primary purpose is not politics but social welfare - the betterment of community over private interest.

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The Two-Way
1:49 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

U.S. Airlines Forecast A Sunnier Summer

More passengers are expected to fly on U.S. airlines this summer, an industry group said Thursday.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:53 pm

After a long bumpy ride that started five years ago, the domestic airline industry seems to be pulling up and smoothing out.

The number of passengers planning to fly this summer will tick up 1 percent from 2012, climbing back to the highest level since 2008, an industry group said Thursday.

The airlines' profit outlook is also brighter, as jet fuel prices have settled down a bit. Passenger complaints are quieting down, too.

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

How Families Cope With Notorious Relatives

Keith Jesperson was arrested in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison for killing eight women.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:49 pm

What is it like to be suddenly and irreversibly thrust into the public spotlight for something truly horrible done by a relative?

"I could hear my last name being whispered in the hallway, and I heard 'murder,' just under people's breath," says Melissa Moore, daughter of Keith Hunter Jesperson, who was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of at least eight women over a five-year period.

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Shots - Health News
11:04 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Everybody In The Pool! But Please Leave The Poop Behind

Is it safe? The water in many public pools is contaminated with E. coli, a study finds.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:53 am

Perhaps you've noticed a toddler's sagging swim diaper and wondered if it's really keeping the poop out of your neighborhood pool.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the answer for you: no.

Last summer, researchers at the federal public health agency collected 161 filter samples from public swimming pools in the Atlanta area. More than half of those samples, 58 percent, were contaminated with E. coli.

That, the CDC reported today, "signifies that swimmers introduced fecal matter into pool water."

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Thu May 16, 2013

After Daughter Is Taken, Mother Rams Abduction Suspect's Car

Police in Albuquerque say they want to question David Jesus Hernandez, 31, about the brief abduction of a little girl Wednesday.
Albuquerque Police

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 1:41 pm

Police in Albuquerque, N.M., are interviewing a man they say is a "person of interest" in the abduction of a five-year-old girl. After the girl was taken Wednesday evening, her mother chased down and rammed the car she had been in; a suspect fled on foot. Authorities say the girl is safe; she was pushed out of the car shortly after being taken.

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET. 'Person Of Interest' Found:

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Health Care
10:32 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Gosnell Verdict Raises Questions About Access To Abortions

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 12:32 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program family members of both the suspects in the Cleveland kidnappings and the Boston Marathon bombings have denounced them. And that made us wonder about the family members of other people who have been accused of horrible acts. So we reached out to two of them - the daughter of a serial killer and the brother of the Unibomber will both be with us in just a few minutes.

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Mental Health
10:32 am
Thu May 16, 2013

When Your Dad Is A Killer, How Do You Cope?

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 12:32 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program we will speak with writer and scholar Mark Anthony Neal about his new book, "Looking For Leroy." It's about how black men on stage, screen and on the radio shape and reshape how we think about black men in everyday life. That's in just a few minutes.

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Race
10:32 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Ivy Leaguers Broaden Minds With New Race Center

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 12:32 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to spend the last few minutes today talking about some new ideas about race and ethnicity in this country. In a few minutes, we'll hear about a new book that examines how pop culture figures like Jay-Z and Denzel Washington play with and possibly change our ideas about what it means to be a black man in America.

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The Two-Way
5:08 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Texas Tornado Leaves 6 Dead, Dozens Hurt, Hundreds Homeless

Jose and Antonio Angudo were among those evacuated from Granbury, Texas, late Wednesday after a tornado devastated the area.
Joyce Marshall / Fort Worth Star-Telegram MCT / Landov

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 6:38 am

"A massive emergency response" is underway in North Texas, where tornadoes blew through Wednesday night, The Dallas Morning News says. A twister that hit Granbury, about 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth, left at least six people dead, more than 100 injured and even more homeless, The Associated Press adds.

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The Two-Way
4:56 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Obama Announces Resignation Of Acting IRS Commissioner

President Obama makes a statement Wednesday about acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller's resignation.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 7:39 am

President Obama announced late Wednesday that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Miller, has resigned in the wake of a report that employees at the agency engaged in partisan scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

The president, appearing for a brief statement at the White House, said he had directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "to accept the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS."

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The Two-Way
4:51 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Jury Finds Jodi Arias Eligible For Death Penalty

Jodi Arias reacts during the reading of the verdict at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on May 8.
Associated Press

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 7:36 pm

A jury has found Jodi Arias, the Arizona woman found guilty last week of first-degree murder for killing her onetime boyfriend in a fit of rage, eligible for the death penalty.

The Associated Press reports: "The decision came after a day of testimony Wednesday during which prosecutors had to prove the murder was committed in an especially cruel and heinous manner."

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Politics
3:57 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

White House Addresses Benghazi Emails, IRS Audits

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 5:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: And I'm Audie Cornish.

The Obama administration is doing some intensive damage control this evening. Tonight, the president announced that the acting commissioner of the IRS, Steven Miller, is being pushed out over heightened scrutiny given to Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations.

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U.S.
3:32 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

L.A. Schools Throw Out Suspensions For 'Willful Defiance'

When Garfield High School in Los Angeles stopped suspending students for "willful defiance" several years ago, it saw suspensions drop from more than 600 to just one. Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District board voted to follow suit in all LA schools.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 6:50 pm

School suspensions are a big issue in California. Last year, schools handed out 700,000 of them. But the Los Angeles Unified School District took a step to change that this week when it voted to ban suspension of students deemed "willfully defiant."

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The Two-Way
3:26 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Leaks, Bombs And Double-Agents: More On That AP Story

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 4:45 pm

The Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records as part of an investigation into what Attorney General Eric Holder has called "a very grave leak" to the news agency has set off a political firestorm on Capitol Hill, but there's a lot to the AP story published a year ago that started it all.

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It's All Politics
3:19 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

10 Things We Learned From the IRS Inspector General Report

The John Weld Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati, where many of the missteps by IRS workers who targeted conservative groups occurred.
Al Behrman AP

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 4:29 pm

Scintillating isn't how you'd describe the report issued by the Treasury inspector general's report on the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups.

It was written, after all, by government bureaucrats for government bureaucrats. Enough said.

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