Environment
4:45 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Feds Say "No Water This Summer" For Central Valley Farmers

The Delta Mendota Canal is used to bring water to thousands of acres of valley farmland in a normal year (file photo)
Credit Credit www.usbr.gov

Central Valley Farmers received the news today that they had been fearing for months. Due to the drought Central Valley Project contractors will receive an unprecedented “zero allocation.”

Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau says the allocation will force farmers to fallow huge portions of land across Central California.

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The Edge
3:38 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Alcoholics Learn To Make Their Own Beer In Canadian Program

Tyler BigChild, a board member of Vancouver's Drug Users Resource Center, is also part of its Brew Co-Op. The group teaches alcoholics how to make beer and wine, in the hopes that they'll stop risky behavior such as drinking rubbing alcohol.
Portland Hotel Society

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:59 pm

Call it a new twist on the old "teach a man to fish" adage. A group in Vancouver, British Columbia, is teaching inveterate alcoholics to brew their own beer and make their own wine, in an attempt to keep them from drinking unsafe liquids to get an alcoholic high.

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Health
2:57 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

In California, Researchers Uncertain If Drought Will Increase Valley Fever Risk

Wit the right 'grow and blow' conditions, valley fever might thrive after a drought, experts say.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

This year, you’re likely to hear a lot of predictions about how the drought will impact our health, environment, and food.

But one thing you won’t hear is whether the dry conditions will – without a doubt - increase the risk of valley fever in California. Sure, it makes sense. Even microbiologist Antje Lauer expects that drought conditions, and drier soil, would increase the risk of valley fever.

“If we want to have less of the valley fever fungus in the soil, you would pray for more rain,” Lauer says. 

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The Edge
2:06 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Same Banned Substance Fells German Biathlete, Italian Bobsledder

Germany's Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle has left her country's Olympic contingent — and Sochi — after testing positive for a banned stimulant. She's seen here in the biathlon earlier this week; Sachenbacher-Stehle finished fourth.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Germany's Sochi 2014 contingent is reeling from the news that Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, a former Olympic medalist in cross-country skiing who took fourth place in the biathlon Monday, has tested positive for banned substances at the Sochi Winter Olympics. An Italian athlete also tested positive, officials said Friday.

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The Salt
1:36 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

How Tracing The Oil In Your Pop-Tarts May Help Save Rain Forests

Kellogg, maker of Pop-Tarts, announced Feb. 14 that it will buy palm oil — an ingredient in Pop-Tarts — only from companies that don't destroy rain forests where palm trees are grown.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:57 pm

If you think a small shareholder can't get the attention of the multibillion-dollar palm oil industry, think again.

Lucia von Reusner lives half a world away from the palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia that have become notorious for environmental, labor and human rights abuses.

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Shots - Health News
1:31 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Overdiagnosis Could Be Behind Jump In Thyroid Cancer Cases

An ultrasound test is used to look for nodules on the thyroid gland at the front of the throat.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 1:05 pm

You go in for a checkup. The doctor feels your throat. Hmm, she says, there's a lump in your thyroid gland. We better check that out.

And that might be the start of a painful, costly and unnecessary treatment for thyroid cancer, a study says.

The number of people diagnosed with thyroid cancer has tripled since 1975, but many of those cases are probably due to small, slow-growing tumors that would never cause problems, the researchers say.

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NPR Story
1:10 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Business Wire Stops First Access To High-Speed Traders

Business Wire, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, has decided to stop giving high-speed trading firms direct access to its service.

The firm gave traders a split-second lead on business press releases and, while the practice is legal, critics say it gave high frequency traders an edge over other investors.

Winnie O’Kelley of Bloomberg News joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to explain.

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NPR Story
1:10 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Navigating Obstacles For Wheelchair Users

Disabled persons often face limited mobility in the winter months when people neglect to shovel their sidewalks. (Knight725/Flickr)

When snow piles up, property owners don’t always shovel their sidewalks, and that can make it nearly impossible for some people to get around safely, especially those who use a wheelchair or have problem vision.

Kelly Buckland knows what it’s like to try to make it along winter sidewalks and roads. He broke his neck in a diving accident when he was 16 in Idaho, and has been using a wheelchair ever since. He also knows what it’s like to advocate and lobby to improve conditions for people with disabilities.

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NPR Story
1:10 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Dick Button Judges Sochi Skating

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, centre, Yuna Kim of South Korea, left, and Carolina Kostner of Italy stand on the podium during the flower ceremony for the women's free skate figure skating final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Sotnikova placed first, followed by Kim and Kostner. (Ivan Sekretarev/AP)

Sadly, it seems the Olympics wouldn’t be the same without a figure skating judging controversy.

This time it’s yesterday’s surprise gold medal by the four-time Russian national champion Adelina Sotnikova, who as skating great Brian Boitano said, literally “jumped her way” to the top of the podium, beating the artistically better skater, South Korea’s Kim Yu-na, who won the gold four years ago.

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Politics
1:05 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Texan's Final Campaign May Act As National Barometer

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In northeast Texas, from the Dallas suburbs to Texarkana, Republican Ralph Hall is seeking an 18th term in Congress. Hall is 90 years old and the oldest member of Congress. At a time of deep voter anger with Washington, Hall's long incumbency and his age have drawn a crowded field of primary challengers. He's assuring his constituents that it will be his last campaign, but if there's an anti-incumbent wave building, his east Texas district may be an early barometer.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

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