Arts & Culture
5:53 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Selma's New Arts Center Makes A Bold Statement

The new Selma Arts Center is a striking addition to the city's quaint downtown.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

The City of Selma opens the doors of its new Arts Center Wednesday evening with a ribbon cutting ceremony. And while the building's striking architecture is creating a buzz, its mission as a cultural center has captured the community's imagination. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports.

Dozens of painters, plasterers, and electricians were hard at work today in downtown Selma, putting the finishing touches on a new jewel in the city's downtown - the $2.5 million Selma Arts Center. 

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Soldier Who Admitted To Massacre Hears From Afghan Survivors

A courtroom sketch shows an Afghan man named Faizullah testifying in a courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., on Tuesday. His father and brother were shot and wounded when Staff Sgt. Robert Bales attacked their village in Kandahar province last year.
Peter Millett AP

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 3:11 am

Details of the massacre of 16 Afghans by a U.S. soldier last spring are emerging in a courtroom near Tacoma, Wash., where survivors of that attack traveled to confront Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. A six-member military jury is hearing testimony at a sentencing hearing for Bales.

At least seven people made the trip from Afghanistan to Washington state to speak at the hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where Bales' Army unit is based.

The AP describes the night in question:

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It's All Politics
3:17 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Gender Gap Doesn't Budge In Virginia Governor's Race

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for Virginia governor, (left), is trailing Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe (right) among female voters.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:05 pm

Here's one takeaway from a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday: Republicans have their hands full if they hope to close the gender gap in the Virginia governor's race.

The poll of likely voters reports that Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a 6-percentage-point overall lead in his contest with Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

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It's All Politics
2:50 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Obama Heads Back To School To Talk College Affordability

President Obama steps off his bus, nicknamed "Ground Force One," as he arrives for breakfast at the Ossorio Bakery and Cafe in Cocoa, Fla., during a two-day bus tour last year.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 3:51 pm

It's back-to-school season for college students — and President Obama plans to be right there with them.

The president will spend the next two days on a bus tour of New York and Pennsylvania that includes stops at three colleges and a high school. At each stop, he'll be talking about ways to make college more affordable.

The president's big black bus will make its first stop at the University at Buffalo on Thursday — the same day incoming freshmen will be moving in, hauling suitcases and mini-refrigerators.

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Commentary
2:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

What's Behind Romania's Church Building Spree?

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

In Romania, new churches are popping up at the rate of 10 a month. That's one every three days, according to a BBC report. It also includes a vast cathedral under construction in the capital city, Bucharest.

This building boom is taking place in one of Europe's poorest countries, and it has Romanian-born commentator Andrei Codrescu wondering what's really going on.

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Around the Nation
2:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

VA Still Under Pressure To Reduce Disability Claim Backlog

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 3:38 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.

For years, the backlog of disability claims for veterans has been fodder for politicians, pundits and even comedians, like Jon Stewart.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

JON STEWART: And paper disability records still undigitized and piled up so high that the floor of one VA field office is going to collapse.

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Parallels
2:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Israeli Politician Stirs Up The Religious-Secular Debate

Ruth Calderon, a religious scholar, recently became a member of Israeli's parliament and has been a leading voice on issues that often divide the country's religious and secular communities.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 5:19 am

When Ruth Calderon is nervous, she does her nails.

"It helps," she grins. "Did you ever try? It puts you together. If you really are nervous you do bright red."

Calderon, 51, is a scholar and teacher of Jewish religious texts. She is also a novice Israeli politician, part of the new Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party that unexpectedly took 19 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last January.

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The Salt
2:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Inside The Beef Industry's Battle Over Growth-Promotion Drugs

Beef cattle stand in a barn on the Larson Farms feedlot in Maple Park, Ill.
Daniel Acker Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:39 pm

When the drug company Merck Animal Health announced plans to suspend sales of its Zilmax feed additive last week, many observers were shocked.

Yet concern about Zilmax and the class of growth-promotion drugs called beta agonists has been building for some time. In an interesting twist, the decisive pressure on Zilmax did not come from animal welfare groups or government regulators: It emerged from within the beef industry itself, and from academic experts who have long worked as consultants to the industry.

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NPR Story
2:36 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

UN Investigating Alleged Chemical Attacks In Syria

This citizen journalism image, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens mourning over the dead bodies of Syrian men after an alleged poisonous gas attack fired by regime forces, according to activists in Arbeen town, Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (Local Committee of Arbeen via AP)

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 9:05 am

Syrian activists allege that Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against rebels today, killing hundreds of civilians.

The allegations come just after United Nations chemical weapons experts arrived in the country to investigate earlier alleged uses of these weapons.

Amy Smithson of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, explains what the UN team will be looking for and the challenges they face in determining chemical weapons use.

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NPR Story
2:36 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Is It Time To End The 'Diet Debates'?

Shoppers peruse the produce section at The Fresh Grocer supermarket in West Philadelphia. (Coke Whitworth/AP)

Comparing diets is something of a national pastime in America: pitting the Atkins Diet against the Paleo Diet against the South Beach Diet. It also extends into medical research.

But a provocative new paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association says researchers should stop comparing diets altogether.

Instead, it suggests researchers shift their focus to how to change behavior — forever.

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