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Environment
1:35 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Shake It Off: Earth's Wobble May Have Ended Ice Age

A wobbling of the Earth on its axis about 20,000 years ago may have kicked off a beginning to the end of the last ice age. Glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland began to melt, which resulted in a warming of the Earth, a new study says. Above, Greenland's Russell Glacier, seen in 1990.
Veronique Durruty Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 7:25 am

The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans.

But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet.

Ice tells the history of the Earth's climate: Air bubbles in ice reveal what the atmosphere was like and what the temperature was. And scientists can read this ice, even if it's been buried for thousands of years.

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U.S.
1:33 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Ohio Tears Through Blighted Housing Problem

The remains of a Cleveland house after demolition in February. Ohio has set aside $75 million to raze abandoned homes across the state.
Joshua Gunter The Plain Dealer

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 8:33 am

Cleveland resident Cedric Cowan was asleep on an overcast spring morning when the roaring sounds of splintering wood and falling rubble jolted him awake.

Cowan lives in a neighborhood hit hard by foreclosures. He initially thought someone was moving into the house on the other side of Fairport Avenue.

Instead, he woke that morning to find a crew tearing down the two-family house.

Over the course of three hours, an excavator smashed, crushed and ripped apart the abandoned house while a worker sprayed the rubble with a hose to keep the dust down.

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Election 2012
1:32 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Longtime GOP Sen. Lugar Faces Stiff Tea Party Fight

Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (right) speaks with potential voters on March 31 in Evansville, Ind.
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 7:03 am

Six-term Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana is facing his first primary challenge since winning the job in the 1970s. The race is attracting big money from outside groups and superPACs, and is seen as a test of the strength of the Tea Party movement versus the power of incumbency.

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Governing
1:31 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Boycotts Hitting Group Behind 'Stand Your Ground'

Selina Gray of Sanford, Fla., shows her sign at a rally protesting the death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teen shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Authorities have cited the state's "stand your ground" law as a reason charges have not been filed in Martin's death.
Julie Fletcher AP

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 8:37 am

Two of America's best-known companies, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have dropped their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a low-profile conservative organization behind the national proliferation of "stand your ground" gun laws.

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Religion
1:29 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Vatican, Israel Spar Over Disputed Last Supper Site

This room, known as the Cenacle on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, is venerated as the site of Jesus' Last Supper. Jews and Muslims also consider the building to be a holy site, and it has been a source of contention for years. Israel and the Vatican may be nearing an agreement.
Richard T. Nowitz Corbis

If there's one building in Jerusalem that represents the city's tangle of religions, this is it. The ground floor is a Jewish holy site said to house the tomb of the biblical King David. The second floor is the Cenacle, a Christian holy site, the room believed to be the site of Jesus' Last Supper. On the roof, there's an old minaret from when this place was marked a Muslim holy site.

One building, three religions, decades of property disputes. And the fight isn't over.

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Europe
1:28 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Two Decades After Siege, Sarajevo Still A City Divided

Twenty years ago this week, the Bosnian war began with the siege of Sarajevo, the capital. In this photo, smoke billows from a building in downtown Sarajevo, April 22, 1992, after a Serbian mortar attack.
H. Delich AP

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 8:30 am

April 6 marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Bosnian war and the siege of Sarajevo. It was the longest siege of a capital city in modern history, and produced the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.

Over three-and-a-half years of war, 100,000 people were killed, and half of Bosnia's population of 4.4 million — made up of a plurality of Muslims — fled their homes.

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Starting Up: Silicon Valley's Origins
1:20 am
Thu April 5, 2012

America's Magnet For Innovation, And Investments

Virginia Klausmeier (left) makes her pitch for Garage Technology Ventures to invest in her clean diesel fuel company, Sylvatex, to Bill Reichert and Joyce Chung, two of the firm's general partners.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Part 2 of our Silicon Valley history series

Think of the most technologically innovative companies of the past 50 years, such as Intel, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter. Each company has a Silicon Valley address — and each one got backing from venture capitalists. Over the past decade, more than 35 percent of the nation's venture capital has gone to Silicon Valley startups.

High-tech and venture capital go hand and hand in the valley where technology and venture capital grew up together.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Coroner Says White Powder, Spoon Found In Whitney Houston's Hotel Room

Pop diva Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room on the eve of the 54th Grammy Awards.
Getty Images Getty Images

A final report from Los Angeles coroner is shedding some light on Whitney Houston's last hours.

According to the report, the pop super star complained of a sore throat and an assistant suggested she take a bath. By the time the assistant got back to the room after running an errand, she found Houston lying face down on in the tub "in approximately 13-inches of water," People Magazine reports.

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The Salt
4:21 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Milk Not Jails Makes Partners Out Of Farmers And Ex-Cons

A dairy farmer drives some of his Holstein cows out to pasture in the Madison County, N.Y. town of Lenox.
Jim Commentucci The Post-Standard /Landov

What's plentiful in upstate New York? Cows and prison inmates, to name a few things.

Reformists in the two communities don't make natural allies, but organizer Lauren Melodia is trying to do just that.

"I was living in this prison town, and at the same time, the dairy industry was in a lot of turmoil," Melodia tells The Salt. "We thought this [dairy] might be the perfect ally in trying to build a different economy in upstate New York, and shift some of the economic dependency away from the prison system."

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It's All Politics
4:08 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Santorum Adviser Says Calls To Exit GOP Race Are Premature

Rick Santorum at Bob's Diner in Carnegie, Pa., Wednesday.
Jae C. Hong AP

Much of the Republican political establishment, many GOP voters and political analysts were telling Rick Santorum that the time had come for him to end his quest for his party's presidential nomination even before Tuesday when he failed to win any of three primaries.

Those calls had only increased by Wednesday as Santorum fell further behind Romney in the delegate count.

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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Play Ball: On Opening Day, A Look A The Quirky New Marlins Park

A mechanical sculpture by Red Grooms will animate everytime a home run is hit yb a Marlin.
Mike Ehrmann Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 9:22 pm

Growing up in Miami, there seemed to be two eternal debates: When Castro would finally kick the bucket and when the city would get its act together and strike a deal for Los Marlins to finally get their own stadium. The franchise spent its first 19 years sharing a stadium with the Miami Dolphins. For baseball, the stadium was cavernous and uninviting.

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Race
4:02 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Data Reveals Complex Picture Of Hispanic Americans

A Hispanic woman walks down a street in Union City, N.J. In a new study, the Pew Hispanic Center asked Hispanic-Americans how they identify themselves.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Just over half of Americans of Spanish-speaking origin have no preference between the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino," according to new data from the Pew Hispanic Center.

Of those with a preference, 33 percent preferred "Hispanic," versus the 14 percent who said "Latino" better describes them.

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Environment
3:25 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Pollution Playing A Major Role In Sea Temperatures

This NASA map shows the size of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Green areas indicate larger, more naturally occurring particles like dust. Red areas indicate smaller aerosol particles, which can come from fossil fuels and fires. Yellow areas indicate a mix of large and small particles.
NASA Earth Observations

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 4:20 pm

The Atlantic Ocean, especially the North Atlantic, is peculiar: Every few decades, the average temperature of surface water there changes dramatically.

Scientists want to know why that is, especially because these temperature shifts affect the weather. New research suggests that human activity is part of the cause.

Scientists originally thought that maybe some mysterious pattern in deep-ocean currents, such as an invisible hand stirring a giant bathtub, created this temperature see-saw.

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Around the Nation
3:05 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Meet The New Official Cab Of New York City

Nissan's NV200 taxi model features expanded headroom and passenger USB chargers.
Courtesy of Nissan

The "Taxi of Tomorrow" has arrived in New York City. On Tuesday night, officials unveiled the Nissan-designed cab that, over the next 10 years, will gradually replace the country's largest taxi fleet. It's the first New York taxi to be designed for the job since the city's iconic Checker cab.

For Nissan's designers, the process of putting the new cab together involved months of riding in taxis and talking to cab owners, drivers and passengers about what they did and didn't like.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:51 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Drug Spending Levels Off, But Not For The Usual Reasons

The one group for whom prescription drug spending rose last year was young adults ages 19 to 25.
Roel Smart iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 4:10 pm

U.S. spending on prescription drugs grew just barely in 2011, according to the annual report from IMS Health, which keeps track of these things.

But the reason for the barely discernible increase of 0.5 percent, to $320 billion, was not the expected one.

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Theater Bombing In Mogadishu Breaks Tenuous Calm In Somalia

Ambulances are parked outside the Mogadishu National Theatre on Wednesday after a suicide attack in the Somali capital. A young woman strapped with explosives blew herself up on at a ceremony in the Somali national theater attended by the prime minister and other officials.
Abdurashid Abdulle AFP/Getty Images

Just as things had begun to seem peaceful in the Somali capital, a bomb exploded in the newly reopened National Theater. And it happened as the prime minister gave an address.

The New York Times reports that the bombing shattered what had been a tenuous calm in Mogadishu, which has been the center of a fierce civil war for the past 21 years.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:50 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Speaking Multiple Languages May Help Delay Dementia Symptoms

Because these Chicago second-graders are bilingual, they may be better protected later in life against the ravages of dementia.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

The brains of people who grow up speaking two languages are wired differently, and those differences protect them from dementia as they age.

That's the news from two studies out this month from a scientist in Canada who has spent decades trying to figure out whether being bilingual is bad or good. "I've been doing this for 25 years," Ellen Bialystok, a distinguished research professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, tells Shots. "Suddenly people are interested. I figure it's because everybody's scared about dementia."

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Monkey See
1:45 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Fred Savage: A Child Star Makes Good, With Less Than Wholesome Comedies

The face you may remember: Fred Savage cuddles up with a puppy on The Wonder Years, in a photo from December 1989.
ABC Photo Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 4:05 pm

Former Child Star Fatigue. Many of us have suffered it, given the drug problems, the meltdowns, the awful nude photos.

But then there's Fred Savage, who starred in the ABC show The Wonder Years from 1988 through 1993. Now he's a successful, slightly offbeat 35-five-year-old television producer and director. He works on wicked, slightly warped comedies including Party Down, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and as of today, Best Friends Forever. His first network sitcom premieres tonight on NBC.

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The Salt
1:42 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Panel: To Safeguard Food Imports, It's Not Just About Inspections

A worker monitors the loading of containers on to a ship at a harbor in China's Shandong province. Under a new U.S. law, Chinese food exporters will now have to share more food safety information with American food importers.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Locavores, a word with you. Local food may be gaining traction in all kinds of ways, but a report out today from the Institute of Medicine serves as a stark reminder of just how globalized our food system truly is.

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Planet Money
1:35 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Where Money Meets Power In Washington

iStockphoto.com

"Political fundraiser" has a fancy ring to it — tuxedos, famous singers, billionaires. In fact, most political fundraisers aren't that glamorous.

Think instead of a dozen lobbyists eating breakfast with a Congressman in a side room at some DC restaurant. Off in a corner, someone who works for the Congressman is holding the checks the lobbyists brought to get in the door.

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Around the Nation
1:28 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Fewer Tribal Ironworkers Reaching For The Sky

Kaniehtakeron Martin's work site at 54th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, which will someday be an office building.
Stephen Nessen for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:54 am

Since the 1900s, the country's most iconic bridges and skyscrapers have been put up by men who risked life and limb to connect steel beams hundreds of feet in the sky. Ironworkers come from all backgrounds, but a small Indian reserve outside Montreal has supplied the U.S. with a proud lineage of Mohawk ironworkers.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:22 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

More Fake Cancer Drugs Found In The U.S.

The FDA says so far it hasn't gotten any reports of patients receiving the fake Altuzan.
U.S. Food And Drug Administration

Another batch of phony cancer drugs has made its way into the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says.

U.S.-based medical practices purchased vials of counterfeit medicine labeled as Altuzan from a foreign supplier, FDA spokesperson Shelly Burgess tells Shots. She said the agency doesn't have any reports of patients having received the counterfeit drugs.

Altuzan is the Turkish brand name for Avastin, the FDA-approved blockbuster cancer drug from Swiss drugmaker Roche's Genentech unit. Altuzan is approved for use in Turkey — but not in the U.S.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

More Violence, As U.N. Mission Races Toward Damascus

The peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan and backed the United Nations has yet to curb the violence in Syria.

Reuters reports that even though a U.N. team of peacekeepers is scheduled to arrive in Damascus, today or tomorrow, opposition activists said government forces continued their attack. They said about 80 people have been killed since Tuesday.

Reuters adds:

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Europe
1:11 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Italian Law Pits Older Workers Against Younger Ones

Members of the Italian metalworkers trade union Fiom-CGIL hold a placard reading "Enough now!" during a protest in Rome on March 9.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 7:06 am

Italy's technocrat prime minister, Mario Monti, came to office less than five months ago as the country's finances were in a tailspin. And now he could be facing his toughest challenge yet — pushing through changes to labor regulations.

Italian labor rules ensure job security for older workers but can condemn the younger generation to a series of insecure, temporary jobs.

Since taking office, Monti has pushed through a round of tough austerity measures, budget cuts, pension reform and some deregulation.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

After 567,000 Miles And 48 Years, Florida Woman Parks Her 'Chariot'

Rachel Veitch and "Chariot," her 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente.
Katie Ball

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 4:05 pm

When 93-year-old Rachel Veitch picked up the newspaper on March 10 and realized that the macular degeneration in her eyes had developed to the point where she couldn't read the print, she knew it was time to stop driving.

But there's much more to the Orlando, Fla., woman's story.

The decision meant she would no longer be getting behind the wheel of her beloved 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente, a car she calls "The Chariot." Veitch has pampered her ride for nearly five decades and 567,000 miles.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Wed April 4, 2012

'The Dog Ate My Tickets': This Time, The Mother Of All Excuses Was Real

One of the pieced-together tickets.
Russ Berkman via KJR

Imagine you've scored hard-to-get tickets to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Now, imagine you're so excited that you make big a deal out of this: You buy plane tickets, you schedule some golfing of your own, you invite three buddies. And then, one day you get home to find only chewed pieces of the tickets attached to the strings that came with them.

Suddenly, it dawns on you: "The dog ate my tickets."

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Business
10:58 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Yahoo Cuts 2,000 Employees

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with layoffs at Yahoo.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Economy
10:37 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Private Hiring Signals Another Strong Jobs Report

Joanely Carrero restocks shelves at a Target store in Miami. Two reports Wednesday indicated that private hiring grew in March.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Jobs at U.S. businesses increased by 209,000 in March, according to a report released Wednesday by the payroll processing firm ADP. That's in line with expectations for the monthly jobs report due out Friday.

Analysts expect Friday's official employment report from the Labor Department to show that employers added 215,000 in March and that the unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent, according to Bloomberg News.

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The Two-Way
10:33 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Military Proceeds With Guantanamo Trial Of Sept. 11 Mastermind

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:24 pm

The U.S. military announced today that it was ready to proceed with the war crimes tribunal of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo prisoners suspected of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attack on the United States.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports this is important because it means that Mohammed must be arraigned within 30 days. This step is basically a military grand jury agreeing that there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

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Africa
10:26 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Mali's Rebellion Stirs Fear Of Wider Saharan Conflict

Tuareg rebels eat a meal last month near the Malian city of Timbuktu, which they recently captured. The rebels have taken control of northern Mali, raising concerns about stability in the broader region.
Ferhat Bouda DPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 11:26 am

Rebels from the Tuareg ethnic group now control most of northern Mali, a territory as big as France on the edge of the Sahara desert.

A column of trucks loaded with Tuareg fighters rolled into the ancient desert town of Timbuktu on Sunday, taking over the positions abandoned by fleeing government soldiers.

They include an Islamist faction that wants to impose Shariah law throughout Mali and are believed to include elements with links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

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