U.S. News

The Two-Way
4:27 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Explosion At Florida Jail Kills 2, Injures Dozens Of Inmates

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 2:10 pm

An apparent gas explosion at a jail in Pensacola, Fla., has killed at least two inmates and injured more than 100 people, including some corrections officers, according to local reports. But it's not clear yet whether the incident at the Escambia County Jail has anything to do with the extensive flooding in the region.

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Around the Nation
3:11 am
Thu May 1, 2014

D.C. Metro Combats Sexual Harassment, Urges Riders To Speak Up

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 7:37 am

Sexual harassment is a chronic problem for transit systems, and it's consistently underreported. Metro transit officials have kicked off a serious effort to fight harassment on buses and trains.

Around the Nation
3:11 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Torrential Rains Latest Severe Weather To Strike The South

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 7:35 am

After days of storms that dropped massive amounts of rain on the South, floods are sweeping across the Florida Panhandle and the Alabama Gulf Coast.

U.S.
4:23 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

States Struggle To Find An Execution Method That Works

The gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is pictured in McAlester, Okla., in 2008. Legal pressures and concerns from European manufacturers have made traditional execution drugs unavailable to states.
AP

States have always struggled to find humane ways to carry out the death penalty. For a generation, they have favored lethal injection, but that method has become increasingly problematic.

It's coming under increased scrutiny following the death of Clayton Lockett, who died Tuesday of a heart attack after writhing visibly during an execution attempt in Oklahoma.

The execution "fell short" of humane standards, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday.

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It's All Politics
4:06 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Nino's No-No: Justice Scalia Flubs Dissent In Pollution Case

Whether the error in Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's recent dissent was originally his fault or a clerk's doesn't make it less cringeworthy.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:28 pm

All of us who write for a living know what it's like to completely forget something you wrote 13 years ago.

But when a Supreme Court justice pointedly cites the facts in a decision he wrote, and gets them exactly wrong, it is more than embarrassing. It makes for headlines among the legal cognoscenti.

I'm not sure I rank as one of the cognoscenti, but here's my headline for Justice Antonin Scalia's booboo: "Nino's No-No."

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NPR News Investigations
3:57 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Campus Rape Reports Are Up, And Assaults Aren't The Only Reason

After the University of Michigan increased its efforts to prevent sexual assaults on campus, reports increased by 113 percent.
Erin/Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:04 pm

The number of "forcible rapes" that get reported at four-year colleges increased 49 percent between 2008 and 2012. That's the finding of an analysis by NPR's Investigative Unit of data from the Department of Education.

That increase shows that sexual assault is a persistent and ugly problem on college campuses. But there's also a way to look at the rise in reports and see something positive: It means more students are willing to come forward and report this underreported crime.

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All Tech Considered
3:07 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

High-Tech Maker Spaces: Helping Little Startups Make It Big

A member works in the electronics lab at NextFab Studios in Philadelphia. Members pay for access to computers and high-end machines like laser cutters and 3-D printers.
Jon Kalish

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 3:20 pm

Around the country, there are lots of tinkerers working on what they hope will be the next brilliant idea — but who don't have the tools in their garage to build it.

In dozens of cities, those innovators can set up shop in a "maker space" — community workshops where members have access to sophisticated tools and expertise.

Maker spaces have become hotbeds of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Now, governments, universities and big corporations are taking notice — and beginning to invest in them.

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The Salt
3:06 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Renegade Cider Makers Get Funky To Cope With Apple Shortage

Nat West, owner of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider in Portland, Ore., uses sweet apples to make cider, and gives it an extra kick with ginger juice, herbal tonics, coffee and hops.
Courtesy of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:31 am

For centuries, hard apple cider has been made with the fermented juice of apples — nothing more, nothing less. And a lot of cider drinkers and makers — let's call them purists — like it that way.

But a new wave of renegade cider makers in America is shirking tradition and adding unusual ingredients to the fermentation tank — from chocolate and tropical fruit juices to herbs, chili peppers and unusual yeasts. Their aim — which is controversial among the purists — is to bring out the best, or just the weirdest, flavors in the ciders.

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Politics
2:53 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Minimum Wage Raise: Blocked For Now, May Live Again In Campaigns

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 9:20 pm

Senate Republicans blocked a vote Wednesday on a bill to raise the nation's minimum wage. But don't expect that to be the end of the story.

For more than a year now, Democrats, including President Obama, have been pushing to boost the minimum wage. Their latest target is $10.10 an hour.

GOP critics argue that would depress hiring in an already weak job market.

But raising the wage is popular with voters, and Democrats plan to make the issue a rallying cry between now and the November elections.

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Education
2:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

U.S. Tests Teens A Lot, But Worldwide, Exam Stakes Are Higher

Students in Manchester, England, celebrate the results of their college entrance exams.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:06 pm

High school students in the U.S. take lots of standardized tests. There are state tests, new Common Core-aligned field tests, and an alphabet soup of others like the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) and NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) exams, the SAT, ACT, AP and IB.

It's a lot by any objective measure. Parents and teens often charge that America tests its students more than any other nation in the world. But really, how does the U.S.'s test tally compare with what kids are taking elsewhere in the world?

England

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News
2:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Botched Oklahoma Execution Mobilizes Death Penalty Opponents

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett's execution was botched on Tuesday, when a relatively new combination of drugs failed to work as expected. The incident, the second of its kind in recent months, is renewing questions of what constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment."

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Science
2:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Facing Execution Drug Shortage, States Struggle To Get Cocktail Right

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

A botched execution in Oklahoma is only the latest issue since states started having trouble obtaining the drugs used to execute inmates. They've been trying new combinations and new drugs, which often had never been used before for that purpose.

Energy
2:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Widening Sanctions On Russia Rattle Some In Western Oil Industry

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The new sanctions that the U.S. and the EU imposed on Russia this week have done little to quell the violence in eastern Ukraine, but they have shaken Western oil and gas companies that have ongoing projects in Russia. The sanctions didn't specifically target Russia's energy sector, but as NPR's Jackie Northam reports, they're coming close to a largely state-owned oil giant.

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Sports
2:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

What About Donald Sterling's Right To Privacy?

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (center) has been banned by the NBA; he is seen here watching a Clippers game with V. Stiviano in 2011.
Danny Moloshok AP

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 6:46 am

You can't forget what you've heard with your own ears.

Thanks to the widespread broadcast of his beliefs on race, the disgrace of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is now cemented, and the NBA is seeking to force him to sell the team.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged as much at a news conference Tuesday, during which he announced that Sterling was banned from the league for life for his remarks on race.

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Education
2:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

As Testing Season Opens In Schools, Some Ask: How Much Is Too Much?

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

If you're a high school student or you have one at home, then you know it's testing season. America's teenagers spend countless hours taking standardized state and district tests, not to mention the alphabet soup of SAT, ACT, AP, and the list goes on.

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The Salt
1:07 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Smiting The Mite To Save The Bees (And The Crops They Pollinate)

Wild bees, such as this Andrena bee visiting highbush blueberry flowers, play a key role in boosting crop yields.
Left photo by Rufus Isaac/AAAS; Right photo courtesy of Daniel M.N. Turner

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 3:05 pm

How do you like them apples, apricots, blueberries, almonds and peaches? They all depend on bees for pollination.

But over the last several years, a massive number of bee colonies have died, putting beekeepers, farmers and scientists in a bit of a panic.

They've come up with a lot of reasons why colonies are collapsing and dwindling.

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Shots - Health News
12:23 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Cancer Plus Chemo Might Put Your Job At Risk

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:47 pm

Imagine that you've just been told you have cancer. The good news is that it's early stage. Still, your doctor believes a course of chemotherapy would boost your survival odds.

Then this week you read the headline, "Chemo for breast cancer increases unemployment risk."

What are you supposed to do now?

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Education
10:17 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Lawmakers, Educators Target Sexual Assault On Campus

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to start our program today with an issue that has been in the news of late, but it has been on the minds of many college students and their families long before that. And that issue is sexual assault on college campuses. The Department of Justice says 1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted while in college. So the Obama administration is out with new guidelines for colleges about how to stop this behavior.

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Shots - Health News
10:08 am
Wed April 30, 2014

To Get Help From A Little Kid, Ask The Right Way

Need a hand with those dishes?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 5:31 am

Motivating children to stop playing and help out with chores isn't exactly an easy sell, as most parents and teachers will attest. But how you ask can make all the difference, psychologists say.

If you say something like, "Please help me," the kids are more likely to keep playing with their Legos. But ask them, "Please be a helper," and they'll be more responsive, researchers report Wednesday in the journal Child Development.

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U.S.
9:18 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Gays In Cincinnati: From Second-Class Citizens To Fully Accepted

Gay rights issues led Ryan Messer (left) to move away from Cincinnati. It also led to Mike Moroski losing his job. Today, both men agree that gays are more accepted in the city than they've ever been.
Alan Greenblatt NPR

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 2:18 pm

Ryan Messer decided he could go home again.

Messer was one of a number of gay men of his generation who packed up and left Cincinnati, a city with a history of official discrimination, for friendlier cities on the coasts.

"They still have this Cincinnati group in San Diego," he says. "They're doing great things, and we lost that talent."

But the city charter, which blocked legal protections for gays and lesbians up until a decade ago, has since been amended.

"When I was 23, we were such a novelty," Messer says. "Now, there is no issue."

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Education
9:01 am
Wed April 30, 2014

What Are Education Tests For, Anyway?

The all-too-familiar No. 2 pencil.
Josh Davis Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 2:30 pm

Pay attention to this piece. There's going to be a test at the end.

Did that trigger scary memories of the 10th grade? Or are you just curious how you'll measure up?

If the answer is "C: Either of the above," keep reading.

Tests have existed throughout the history of education. Today they're being used more than ever before — but not necessarily as designed.

Different types of tests are best for different purposes. Some help students learn better. Some are there to sort individuals. Others help us understand how a whole population is doing.

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National Security
8:57 am
Wed April 30, 2014

What's The NSA Doing Now? Training More Cyberwarriors

Col. Sam Kinch, of the Delaware Air National Guard, is leader of the Linux team of the NSA's red cell. He's looking at a Web page featuring a photo of Justin Bieber — confirmation that his team has successfully hacked into a U.S. Naval Academy network.
David Welna NPR

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

The U.S. needs more cyberwarriors, and it needs them fast, according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. He plans to more than triple the size of the Pentagon's Cyber Command over the next two years.

But where will they come from? These are not the kind of skills you can teach in basic training.

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The Two-Way
5:38 am
Wed April 30, 2014

After Tornadoes, States Now Brace For Flooding

A severe thunderstorm wall cloud is seen over the area of Canton, Miss., on Tuesday. At least 35 people in six states have been killed by tornadoes unleashed by a ferocious storm system this week.
Gene Blevins Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:18 pm

The weather system that spawned tornadoes that killed at least 35 people this week throughout the South and Midwest is dumping heavy rain, triggering fears of major flooding.

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Around the Nation
3:20 am
Wed April 30, 2014

U.S. Border Patrol Scrutinized For Increasing Fatalities

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:22 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For people near the U.S. border with Mexico, the Border Patrol is part of life. You pass agents on the highway, or parked quietly by the border fence. Along with the security has come criticism for violence. In numerous incidents, agents are accused of shooting unarmed Mexicans, some of them said to be throwing rocks. The incidents are a sensitive subject for the agency. NPR's John Burnett learned just how sensitive.

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Around the Nation
3:08 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Drug Protocol Goes Wrong In Oklahoma Execution

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 6:22 am

A death-row inmate died of a heart attack after the state attempted to execute him by lethal injection. Renee Montagne talks to Ziva Branstetter, a reporter for Tulsa Word, who covered the execution.

Around the Nation
1:31 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Training Men And Women On Campus To 'Speak Up' To Prevent Rape

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced the release of the first report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The report calls the intervention of bystanders one of the "most promising prevention strategies."
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 7:53 am

A White House task force on Tuesday recommended ways to reduce rape and relationship violence on college campuses, pointing to, among other things, programs designed to teach students to intervene before an assault happens.

One of the programs, known as "bystander intervention," is based on the idea that both men and women can interrupt behaviors to prevent sexual violence.

The training is designed to change social norms and encourage people to find ways to intervene.

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Shots - Health News
4:50 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Obamacare Enrollees Emboldened To Leave Jobs, Start Businesses

Mike Smith, of Long Beach, Calif., now pays $200 for his family's health insurance policy, compared with the $3,000 a month he would have had to pay on the individual market last year.
Stephanie O'Neill for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:10 am

Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.

He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.

"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.

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Around the Nation
3:43 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

If You Want Flextime But Are Afraid To Ask, Consider Moving

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 9:23 am

More companies than ever before say that they're offering flexible hours or telecommuting to their workers. Still, San Francisco and the state of Vermont are trying a new approach to push businesses to do more: They're using the law.

Starting this year, employees in both places have the right to ask for a flexible or predictable work schedule, without fear of retaliation.

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It's All Politics
2:57 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Poll: Young Voters Uninterested In November 2014 Elections

A young Miami voter wears her "I voted today" sticker in October 2012.
J Pat Carter AP

Youth is a time of idealism and energy, except, perhaps, when it comes to voting in the midterm elections.

A new Harvard Institute of Politics poll finds that interest in voting in the November 2014 elections among 18- to 29-year-old voters is lower now than just several months ago — and even lower than it was at a similar point in 2010.

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The Two-Way
2:45 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Reactions To NBA's Ban Of Clippers Owner Donald Sterling

Former and current NBA players (from left) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Roger Mason, along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Lakers' Steve Nash and former Laker and Clipper Norm Nixon, welcome the NBA's ban of Clippers owner Donald Sterling Tuesday.
Noel Vasquez Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 9:24 pm

Current and former NBA players praised the league's decision to punish LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban over racist remarks he made in an audio recording. Commissioner Adam Silver announced the punishment Tuesday, days after the audio emerged.

In addition to the lifetime ban, the NBA also fined Sterling $2.5 million.

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