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It's All Politics
4:29 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Logic Behind Obama News Conference Hard To Fathom

President Obama answers questions during his news conference at the White House on Tuesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:03 am

On Tuesday afternoon, President Obama declared May as Older Americans Month, National Foster Care Month, National Building Safety Month, Jewish American Heritage Month and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

The president also issued a statement on the investiture of the new king of the Netherlands.

While small and routine, these moves were all easy to understand, as were the accompanying proclamations from the White House press shop.

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Code Switch
4:27 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

What's New And Not New About Jason Collins Coming Out

Jason Collins, a veteran NBA center, has become the first male professional athlete in the four major American sports leagues to come out as gay. Collins wrote a first-person account posted Monday on Sports Illustrated's website. He finished this past season with the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 4:27 pm

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

That declaration yesterday by the journeyman NBA big man Jason Collins in Sports Illustrated sent shock waves around the sports world. As you've probably heard by now, Collins is the first player in a major professional American team sport to come out of the closet while pursuing a career in his sport.

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Music Interviews
4:04 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Mick Fleetwood On Fleetwood Mac: 'It Would Make A Great Play'

John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks have returned with their first new music as Fleetwood Mac in a decade.
Neal Preston Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:51 am

Not long ago, the idea of Fleetwood Mac ever touring again seemed far-fetched at best. But as of this spring, not only is the band back on the road — according to drummer and founder Mick Fleetwood, they're having an easier time filling seats than in the past.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Video May Show 747 Jet's Last Seconds Before Bagram Crash

A dashcam video purports to show the crash of a civilian cargo 747 in Afghanistan Monday.
LiveLeak

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 10:06 am

Update at 1 p.m. ET, May 1: Victims Identified:

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Reporter's Notebook
3:13 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

New York: A Concrete Jungle And 'City Of Trees,' Too

Tulip
Courtesy of Benjamin Swett

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:26 pm

You expect to find great trees in city parks and botanical gardens. But you might not expect to find ancient or unusual trees in the inner city or smack dab in the middle of a highway.

Benjamin Swett has a love of trees so deep that he's written pamphlets about them, created photo exhibits and now has a new book, New York City of Trees. His book has pictures and stories of some 60 trees in the city.

I took a walk with him to some of the great trees, often in unexpected places.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Mask Recovered From Suspect's Trash Tests Positive For Ricin

Federal authorities wearing hazmat suits walk to the home of J. Everett Dutschke on April 23, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

FBI agents witnessed J. Everett Dutschke trying to get rid of items authorities say would implicate him with the mailing of ricin-laced letters to President Obama and other officials.

As we've reported, the FBI originally arrested Paul Kevin Curtis in the case, but Curtis told them he was being set up by Dutschke, his rival.

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Shots - Health News
1:43 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

How Doctors Would Know If Syrians Were Hit With Nerve Gas

Doctors at a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, treat a boy injured in what the government said was a chemical weapons attack on March 19. Syria's government and rebels accused each other of firing a rocket loaded with chemical agents outside of Aleppo.
George Ourfalian Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:02 am

President Obama affirmed Tuesday that there's evidence Syrians have been attacked with chemical weapons — in particular, nerve gas.

But that's not the same as proof positive.

"We don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them," Obama said. "We don't have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened."

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The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences
12:56 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Sequester Puts Some Needing Housing Aid 'Back To Square One'

Roger Bottomley of Fairfax, Va., has been homeless for 10 years. He expected to get a housing voucher, but then his appointment with the local housing authority was canceled because of sequestration. He keeps his belongings in a locker at a homeless day center.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Congress decided last week to ease the effects of the across-the-board federal spending cuts on travelers upset over airport delays. But low-income Americans who rely on government housing aid are still feeling the pain.

Housing authorities across the country have all but stopped issuing rent vouchers as they try to deal with the cuts known as sequestration. Many newly issued vouchers have been rescinded, leaving some people homeless or doubled up with family and friends.

And the cuts come at a time when there's a severe shortage of affordable housing across the country.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Spanish Judge Orders Bags Of Blood Destroyed In Doping Case

Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, left, arrives at a court house in Madrid on January 28, 2013.
Dani Pozo AFP/Getty Images

By all accounts, it was a less-than-spectacular end to one of Spain's biggest doping cases. El País, the country's biggest newspaper, summed up the trial of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes saying it ended without blood and without a sentence.

Fuentes was convicted of endangering public health and was given a one-year suspended sentence, a $6,000 fine and a four-year ban from practicing medicine. Most people sentenced under two years in Spain skip prison.

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The Salt
12:52 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Caffeine-Laced Gum Has Energized The FDA

Wrigley says its new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum gives consumers the power to control how much caffeine they get.
Wrigley Incorporated

The caffeinated chewing gum has pushed the FDA over the edge.

The federal agency held its tongue when caffeinated potato chips, jelly beans, chocolate, sunflower seeds and energy bars hit the market.

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Music Reviews
12:52 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Marc Ribot Isn't Trying To Comfort Anyone

Ceramic Dog is Marc Ribot, Ches Smith and Shahzad Ismaily.
Barbara Rigon Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:01 pm

After six years as a sideman for many soul veterans, Marc Ribot made his name in 1985 with Rain Dogs, the album that marked Tom Waits' permanent transition from eccentric singer-songwriter to truly weird singer-songwriter. Ribot has held down straight gigs since then, but his work has tended toward the avant-garde. That's much less true on the song-oriented second album by the trio he calls Ceramic Dog.

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

No More Politics For Pakistan's Musharraf, Court Orders

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is escorted from a courtroom on April 20.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:01 pm

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been banned for life from running for political office, a high court ruled on Tuesday.

The move by the Peshawar High Court appears to end the possibility that Musharraf, who returned to the country last month after four years in self-imposed exile, will stand in the May 11 parliamentary elections as he had hoped.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Qatar Covers Nude Statues, Greeks Take Them Back

This ancient Greek statue, from 520 B.C., is one of two nudes that were covered up in a Greek exhibit that went on display in Qatar. The statues were sent back to Greece.
Nimatallah / Art Resource, NY

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 4:43 am

The ancient statues depict young men, naked and muscled, in their physical prime. The two sculptures were supposed to celebrate the purity and kinetic beauty of ancient sport in a traveling exhibit, "The Olympics — Past and Present."

But when the Greek exhibit reached the conservative Muslim emirate of Qatar, the two statues were placed behind a screen of sheer black cloth.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Cyprus Passes Tough Financial Bailout Package

A Cypriot left-wing supporter sits in the shade during a protest outside the Parliament in Nicosia on Tuesday.
Patrick Baz AFP/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Cyprus approved a controversial $13 billion bailout from international lenders that's aimed at keeping the country from a messy default and withdrawal from the eurozone.

The agreement, which totals $30 billion when Cyprus' own contributions are included, passed 29-27 in the 56-seat Parliament.

The ruling center-right Democratic Rally party and its ally, the Democratic party, voted for the measure.

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The Salt
12:16 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Why An Immigration Deal Won't Solve The Farmworker Shortage

American farms like this iceberg lettuce field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods outside Salinas, Calif., are facing a dwindling supply of farmworkers from rural Mexico.
Kirk Siegler

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:01 pm

The Salinas Valley in Northern California grows about 80 percent of the country's lettuce, and it takes a lot of people to pick and pack it. In a field owned by Duda Farm Fresh Foods, a dozen lechugueros, or lettuce pickers, are bent at the waist, cutting heads of iceberg lettuce. They work frantically to stay in front of a line of 12 more packers, who seal them with tape and toss them onto a conveyor belt.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Female Soldier Sentenced To 10 Months Over Desertion

The first female to desert during the Iraq war was sentenced to 10 months in prison after she pleaded guilty late Monday during a court-martial.

The AP reports that Pfc. Kimberly Rivera, 30, deserted during a two-week leave in 2007. Rivera headed to Canada when she was ordered back to Iraq for a second tour.

The AP reports:

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U.S.
11:50 am
Tue April 30, 2013

On California Prisons, It's The Governor Vs. The Courts

Gov. Jerry Brown in January calls for federal judges to return control of California prisons to the state. This month, a federal appeals court denied Brown's request and ordered the state to reduce its prison population immediately.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:32 pm

California Gov. Jerry Brown is locked in a legal battle over control of his state's prison system. Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling ordering the state to drastically reduce its prisoner population. Brown claims the state has made substantial progress, but the governor has stopped short of complying fully with the court order.

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Latin America
11:39 am
Tue April 30, 2013

As Youth Crime Spikes, Brazil Struggles For Answers

A youth smokes crack in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A crack epidemic is one factor contributing to the sharp rise in crime committed by Brazilian minors.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 6:34 am

In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.

Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.

"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Tue April 30, 2013

NBA Player Jason Collins Could Snag Endorsements, Speaking Gigs

Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards rebounds against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center earlier this month in Chicago.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 1:04 pm

For Jason Collins, coming out just might prove a winning career strategy.

Before this week, the NBA center seemed like just another second-tier professional athlete, slouching toward retirement while still in his 30s. But all that changed overnight when Collins acknowledged he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine published Monday.

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NPR Story
11:31 am
Tue April 30, 2013

'Sign Painters': A Close-Up Focus On An Endangered Art

Marquee painted by Norma Jeanne Maloney on "Honky-tonk Row" in Nashville, Tenn.
Faythe Levine and Sam Macon Princeton Architectural Press

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:31 pm

Before the age of computers and vinyl printers, sign painters worked by hand to illustrate storefronts, billboards and banners. Local craftsmen often developed a signature style that could distinguish a neighborhood, or even a city.

But technology made creating signs less expensive — and less expressive. Sign Painters, a new book and documentary written and directed by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, focuses on dozens of artists who are keeping the art alive.

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