U.S. News

The Two-Way
4:53 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Desegregation Pact Gets Judge's Approval In Arkansas

A long-running school desegregation fight in Arkansas is over, after a federal judge accepted a settlement reached by the state, lawyers for black students, and three school districts in and around Little Rock. Under the deal, the state will no longer have to send payments — around $70 million this year — to aid desegregation.

According to the terms of the deal, those payments can stop after the 2017-2018 school year. They had been mandated by a court-ordered program that also included forming magnet schools and shifting students between school districts.

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All Tech Considered
3:36 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Google Buys Nest, May Soon Know How Cool You Like Your Home

The Nest Learning Thermostat. The four-year-old company is now owned by Google.
Courtesy of Nest

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:14 pm

As further evidence that this is perhaps the year the Internet of everything really becomes a thing, Google paid $3.2 billion in cash for Nest, the home automation company that pioneered smart thermostats and lately,

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Law
3:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Arizona Abortion Law Remains Ruled As Unconstitutional

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 4:01 pm

A new class of restrictive abortion laws, passed in recent years in a swath of states, hinges on the argument that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation.

But the fetal pain assertion, viewed skeptically by many scientists, hit a bump Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling striking down an Arizona law that criminalized abortions at 20 weeks.

The state's ban asserted that "unborn children feel pain during an abortion at that gestational age." Federal courts last year also blocked similar "fetal pain" laws in Idaho and Georgia.

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Health Care
3:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Young People Account For A Quarter Of Health Care Enrollees

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:53 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We have more details now on just who is signing up for insurance through the government's new healthcare marketplace. About a quarter of the people signing up are under the age of 35. As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, the Obama administration released its first demographic breakdown of the insurance customers today.

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Around the Nation
3:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

West Virginia Tap Water Ban Awaits A Good Flush

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Faucets in parts of West Virginia are running drinkable water again. This after a chemical spill leaked into the Elk River and tainted the local water supply. After a five-day ban on tap water in and around Charleston, Governor Earl Tomblin today announced the results of days of testing.

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World
3:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

An American Diplomat In Paris — And A Russian One, Too

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:53 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

In just a week, the U.N. plans to hold Syrian peace talks in Switzerland. In the meantime, the U.S. is leaning hard on opposition leaders to attend and talk face-to-face with a government they've been fighting hard to topple. Secretary of State John Kerry has been in meetings for the past two days in Paris, laying the groundwork for the conference.

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It's All Politics
2:40 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

High Court's Pass On 'Fetal Pain' Abortion Case Unlikely To Cool Debate

Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 12:02 pm

A new class of restrictive abortion laws, passed in recent years in a swath of states, hinges on the argument that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation.

But the fetal pain assertion, viewed skeptically by many scientists, hit a bump Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling striking down an Arizona law that criminalized abortions at 20 weeks.

The state's ban asserted that "unborn children feel pain during an abortion at that gestational age." Federal courts last year also blocked similar "fetal pain" laws in Idaho and Georgia.

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Shots - Health News
2:33 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Older Folks Get Modest Memory Boost From Brain Boot Camp

Study participants were trained in practical reasoning skills like managing medications.
Jorge Salcedo iStockphoto

Older people who took a few weeks of classes to train their brains say their ability to perform everyday tasks declined less than people who hadn't had the training, even years later.

But the difference between them was modest at best, and wasn't independently verified. So it's impossible to know if the people were really doing better at tasks like reading bus schedules or completing order forms, or if they just thought they should be.

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Law
10:19 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Supreme Court Declines To Consider Arizona Abortion Law

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And some news from the Supreme Court this morning: The justices have decided not to intervene in a legal battle over abortion in the state of Arizona. Earlier, an appeals court said the state's law banning most abortions after 20 weeks was unconstitutional. The high court's decision today not to review the case effectively blocks that ban from coming into place in Arizona.

NPR's Julie Rovner joins us to talk about the implications of this. Hi, Julie.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: Hey, David.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Supreme Court Ends Arizona's Bid To Reinstate 20-Week Abortion Ban

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 11:59 am

The United States Supreme Court on Monday refused to revisit a lower court ruling that struck down Arizona's ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The AP reports:

"The justices on Monday declined to reconsider a lower court ruling that the law violates a woman's constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb.

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Gates Says He Wept Each Evening Over Troops' Deaths

Robert Gates in June 2011 during his final official news conference as secretary of defense.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:08 am

The news from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' interviews with NPR and other news outlets — notably, how he uses a new book to criticize many in the White House — has now been widely reported.

But we also want to point to two passages in his conversation with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that particularly struck us.

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The Two-Way
5:04 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Slowly, Water Is Flowing Again In West Virginia

On Saturday in South Charleston, W.Va., Cathy Mabe was one of many who came to get water from a temporary filling station.
Lisa Hechesky Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:20 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Ashton Marra reports from West Virginia

Relief is finally arriving for the 300,000 or so people in nine West Virginia counties who haven't been able to drink, cook or clean with their tap water for more than four days.

Officials announced at noon Monday that tests show the level of a potentially harmful chemical have fallen to the point where the water can be turned back on. But, they cautioned that the process of bringing customers back on line will take several days and has to be done systematically.

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Around the Nation
2:56 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Tap Water Still Unsafe To Drink In Charleston, W.Va.

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 10:18 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. In and around Charleston, West Virginia there are some 300,000 people who are still waiting to be able to use their tap water. The water was ruled too dangerous for anything other than flushing down the toilet after a chemical leaked into the system Thursday.

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Shots - Health News
1:09 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Pain In The Back? Exercise May Help You Learn Not To Feel It

Janet Wertheimer does a back hyperextension exercise at Boston Sports Club in Wellesley, Mass. Regular exercise has helped control her chronic back pain.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:56 pm

More than 1 in 4 adult Americans say they've recently suffered a bout of low-back pain. It's one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor. And more and more people are being treated for it.

America spends more than $80 billion a year on back pain treatments. But many specialists say less treatment is usually more effective.

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Code Switch
1:07 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Decades Later, Desegregation Still On The Docket In Little Rock

Eight of the nine black students who integrated Little Rock Central High School walk from school to their waiting Army station wagon on Oct. 2, 1957.
Ferd Kaufman AP

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 11:23 am

In Little Rock, Ark., on Monday, a federal judge is considering a deal that would end one of the longest-running and most notorious school desegregation cases in the country. The state, its largest school districts and lawyers representing black students have agreed to settle a complex lawsuit over unequal education.

Little Rock has long been the symbol of the South's violent reaction to Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that declared school segregation unconstitutional.

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Religion
2:57 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Former Pastor Decides To Spend A Year Without God

Minister Ryan Bell has decided to "try on" atheism for a year. The former Seventh-day Adventist pastor was asked to leave his congregation in March.
Natalie Gee

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 4:50 pm

Former Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Ryan Bell made an unusual New Year's resolution: to live for one year without God.

He used to lead a congregation in Southern California, but in March, he was asked to step down after voicing some of the doubts that led to this decision to "try on" atheism.

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Race
12:25 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

The Globes Will Be Golden, But Hollywood Remains Mostly White

Sunday's Golden Globes celebrate a diverse group of actors. Even so, very few shows feature minorities in leading roles on screen or off.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 11:57 am

Sunday night is one of the biggest nights in Hollywood, as stars from film and television gather for the Golden Globe Awards.

This year's awards, which celebrate the best writing, acting and production of the year, are being hailed as the most diverse yet, with a significant number of minority actors up for awards.

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It's All Politics
8:59 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Nation's New Mayors Revive Big-City Liberalism

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks after being sworn in during the public inauguration ceremony at City Hall in New York on Jan. 1.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 1:22 pm

Like all newly elected politicians, the class of mayors being sworn in as the year begins has made many grand promises.

From New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's pledge to provide universal pre-kindergarten classes, financed through taxes on wealthy individuals, to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's push for a $15 minimum hourly wage, their agenda looks decidedly liberal.

New mayors in cities such as Boston, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh have also been talking about the importance of racial inclusion and the need to address income inequality.

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Sports
7:56 am
Sun January 12, 2014

The Brawl Over Baseball Hall Of Fame Voting

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 9:41 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And it is time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: The Baseball Hall of Fame's new class of inductees was announced this past week and it caused quite a stir. The biggest controversy may not even be about who got in, but the actual voting. Also in baseball, A-Rod's suspension - the longest ever for doping in baseball history, although it has been reduced. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us to mull all of this over. Good morning.

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Music News
7:56 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Insane Clown Posse Sues FBI For Targeting Fans

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:02 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSANE CLOWN POSSE: (Singing) If magic is all we've ever known, then it's easy to miss what really goes on.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Strange News
7:56 am
Sun January 12, 2014

A Virtually Genuine Facebook Friendship With Applebee's

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 9:41 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Social media has become a form of customer helpline, allowing us to compliment and complain. And increasingly, enormous global companies, that would probably keep you on hold for hours on the phone, respond. But what about creating an ongoing Facebook friendship with an Applebee's? Seem a little crazy? Well, that's exactly what Steve Murray did. He goes by the name Chip Zdarsky as a comic artist and on his online profiles. And we had to ask him why, so we called him up in Toronto. Thanks so much for being with us, Chip.

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Business
7:56 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Neiman Marcus Credit Card Breach Heightens Consumer Concerns

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 9:41 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. If you use a credit card - and most of us do - it's hard not to be a little concerned. Discount retailer Target continues to apologize for a massive security breach over the holidays. And just yesterday, the high-end retailer Neiman Marcus disclosed that shoppers at its stores have been compromised as well. Independent investigative reporter Brian Krebs was the first to report on both these security breaches. He joins us to talk more. Welcome to the program, Brian.

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The Salt
3:22 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Prison Gardens Help Inmates Grow Their Own Food — And Skills

Prisoners build an organic vegetable garden in the prison yard of the medium security unit at San Quentin State Prison in December.
Kirk Crippens Insight Garden Program

Last week, we reported on the correctional industry's enduring practice of punishing certain inmates with a bland, lumpish food known as "the loaf."

Fortunately, there are also more encouraging stories to tell about prison food.

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Main Contractor Behind HealthCare.gov To Be Replaced By Accenture

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:08 am

Updated 8:50 p.m.

The main contractor behind the embattled Affordable Care Act enrollment site, which suffered major technological issues after its Oct. 1 debut, will be replaced early this year.

Accenture will replace CGI Federal, the IT contractor that built HealthCare.gov, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Saturday. CGI Federal's contract expires on Feb. 28.

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Religion
3:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

When The Right To Religion Conflicts With A Changing Society

Little Sisters of the Poor runs the Mullen Home for the Aged in Denver, Colo. The group is seeking exemption from an Affordable Care Act requirement.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 4:40 pm

As the White House continues dealing with well-publicized problems with the HealthCare.gov website, there's at least one big question related to the Affordable Care Act that's outside the president's control: Can employers with religious objections be compelled to provide access to contraception coverage for their workers?

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has granted a temporary injunction while she considers a challenge to the contraception requirement by a group of nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Catholic organization serves the poor elderly.

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Around the Nation
3:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

McDonnell Douglas DC-9 Flies Into Retirement

The Trans World Airlines Douglas DC-9, a twin jet aircraft designed to take off and land on runways of less than 6,000 feet, is shown in this 1966 photo, less than a year after its first commercial flight.
AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 4:48 pm

It's the end of an era in aviation. The McDonnell Douglas DC-9, a plane that once ruled the skies, is finally retiring.

The DC-9 first took flight in 1965 and production stopped in 1982. While most airlines phased the planes out in the '90s, Delta overhauled its fleet and kept them in the air, until now.

On Monday, Delta Flight 2014 from Minneapolis to Atlanta marked the last scheduled commercial flight for a DC-9 on a major U.S. airline.

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It's All Politics
1:48 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Lieutenant Governors Make Headlines — For All The Wrong Reasons

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and his wife Kim give an interview at the Arkansas Capitol building on Monday. After weeks of pressure to step down from both sides of the aisle, Darr announced his resignation on Friday.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 3:26 pm

In the end, Mark Darr had to give in.

Darr, the Republican lieutenant governor of Arkansas, announced Friday that he will resign Feb 1. Earlier this month, he agreed to pay the state ethics commission $11,000 in fines for making personal use of campaign funds and receiving improper expense reimbursements from the state.

Darr called his errors "careless and lazy," but said they were not intentional violations of the law. In a series of interviews with Arkansas news outlets Tuesday, Darr said he would refuse to resign.

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Politics
10:22 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The War Over Poverty: A Deep Divide On How To Help

Homeless women sit amid their belongings in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. Democrats and Republicans say income inequality is a problem, but they disagree over a solution.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 4:51 pm

All this week, Majority Leader Harry Reid declared over and over on the Senate floor that there's a downside to the recovering economy.

"It's true," he said. "The rich are getting a lot richer, and the poor are getting poorer."

That observation may not be surprising, coming from a Democrat. Less expected, perhaps, is a similar lament made the same day by the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

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Sports
9:27 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Will The Colts Run Out Of Luck Against Patriots?

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 10:53 am

Saturday's NFL playoffs pits Tom Brady's Patriots against the Colts and the Seahawks against the Saints. Over on the other side of the world, will Serena serve herself into history — again? NPR's Scott Simon talks with Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, about the sports stories of the week and sports to come.

Health
9:27 am
Sat January 11, 2014

The Cigarette's Powerful Cultural Allure

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 10:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So people still smoke in spite of the many good reasons not to. It certainly is addictive, but the cigarette also has a certain allure. Think of a man leaning into to light a lady's cigarette, or the pack preferred in a tense moment. Cigarettes are part of our culture. Richard Klein has written a book about that, "Cigarettes are Sublime." He joins us from New York City. Thanks so much for being with us.

RICHARD KLEIN: It's my pleasure.

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