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StoryCorps
1:39 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Once Hidden In Shame, 2 Mothers 'Don't Have To Lie Anymore'

Susan Mello Souza (left) and Mary Moran Murphy met as teenagers at a home for unwed mothers in Massachusetts. Decades later, the women are still friends.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 4:51 am

In 1968, Susan Mello Souza and Mary Moran Murphy were teenagers — and both were pregnant. To keep that a secret, their families sent them to St. Mary's Home for Unwed Mothers in Massachusetts, where they lived until they gave birth.

Then, their children were placed for adoption.

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Theater
12:26 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Broadway's 'Spider-Man' Musical Turns Off The Lights At Last

Reeve Carney (right) handed off the lead role in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark to successor Justin Matthew Sargent in September 2013. The show closes Jan. 4, and the Smithsonian Institution announced today that it's acquiring Carney's costume.
Rob Kim Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:23 am

Regardless of how critics and audiences eventually responded, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was always going to be one of the most-discussed shows in Broadway history. It had songs by U2's Bono and the Edge; it was directed by The Lion King's Julie Taymor; it was based on a hit Marvel franchise; there were going to be flying stunts right over the audience's heads.

And then somehow it all went very wrong, from injured actors to huge cost overruns.

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Architecture
12:25 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Bjarke Ingels: An Architect For A Moment Or An Era?

Ingels stands in the middle of what will become a giant, twisted wedge of an apartment building in New York City.
Dan Bobkoff For NPR

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 5:25 am

In a business that's often poorly paid and anonymous, 39-year-old Bjarke Ingels has become something rare, especially at his age: a "starchitect" in demand.

Now, the Danish architect, who has museums, apartment buildings and parks around the world, is taking his talents to New York City.

'Cracks In The Asphalt'

Models fill his firm's New York City office, including a design for a public pier in Brooklyn that looks like a sea creature.

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Shots - Health News
12:24 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Why Ending Malaria May Be More About Backhoes Than Bed Nets

Yonta, 6, rests with her brother Leakhena, 4 months, under a mosquito bed net in the Pailin province of Cambodia, where deaths from malaria have decreased sharply in the past two decades.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:16 am

Wiping out malaria is a top goal for many leaders in global health.

Fewer people are dying now from the mosquito-borne disease than at any other time in history. "And there's a very, very strong belief now that malaria can be eliminated," says Joy Phumaphi, who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

But when you look at the overall numbers on malaria, eradication almost seems like a pipe dream.

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Law
11:24 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

DOJ Expected To Defend Health Law's Contraceptive Mandate

The health care law's requirement that workplace insurance policies include free birth control has been controversial from the get-go.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:08 am

The Justice Department will answer a challenge Friday morning to a controversial provision in the new health care law. It requires most employers that offer health insurance to include birth control at no cost.

A group of Catholic nuns has objected to that, and this week they won a temporary reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It's an unusual test case, but it won't be the last one.

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Economy
3:13 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

For The Unemployed, Ideas To Help Bridge The Gap To Work

Job seekers line up to talk to recruiters during a job fair held in Atlanta in May.
John Amis AP

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:01 pm

When members of Congress return to work next week, at the top of the "to-do" list is whether to renew emergency unemployment benefits. An extension of the benefits expired at the end of 2013, which means 1.3 million out-of-work Americans are no longer getting unemployment checks.

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Art & Design
3:02 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Tiny Museum Preserves Proof Of Creators' Crazy Stories

Other exhibits on display at the Museum include "Silicon Body Part Piercing Displays," "Cambodian Menu Photo Rejects" and "New York City Tip Jars."
Naho Kubota for Mmuseumm

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:38 pm

Imagine a museum that's only 6 square feet. It's called, simply, Museum and it's housed in an old elevator shaft in an alley near New York City's courts. It has some odd exhibits on 18 small shelves, and only about four people can fit into the space at a time.

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Around the Nation
3:01 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

A Sharp Rise In Earthquakes Puts Oklahomans On Edge

Chad Devereaux cleans up bricks that fell from his in-laws' home in Sparks, Okla., in November 2011, after two earthquakes hit the area in less than 24 hours.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 4:29 am

For the past three decades, Oklahoma averaged about 50 earthquakes a year. But that number has skyrocketed in the past few years. In 2013 — the state's most seismically active year ever — there were almost 3,000.

The quakes are small, and they're concentrated in the central part of the state, where the Erwins live.

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Book Reviews
3:01 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

'Before I Burn' Uses Autobiography To Tell A Crime Story

Burning House
John Rich iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 4:14 am

My favorite crime novels always combine more than one genre. Like a detective mystery that's really psychological. Or a police captain who happens to be a gourmet. Honestly, most travel books don't even get going until a body or two is discovered.

In the case of Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll, the mashup is suspense meets memoir. It sounds a little gimmicky, but I promise it's absolutely not. Instead we have a semi-autobiographical novel that's poetic, gripping and at times even profound.

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It's All Politics
2:54 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Partisan Evolution Gap? Politically Insignificant, GOP Says

A display of a series of skeletons showing the evolution of humans at the Peabody Museum, New Haven, Conn., circa 1935.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:45 pm

A new national survey showing that the share of Republicans who believe in evolution has tumbled from 54 to 43 percent over the past four years comes at an inopportune time.

The Pew Research poll suggests that the GOP, already struggling with an identity crisis and facing ferocious internal battles, is out of sync on the issue with independents and young voters, who are far more likely to believe in the science of evolution than their forebears.

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It's All Politics
2:52 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Defying GOP Leaders, Rep. Trey Radel Won't Resign After Rehab

U.S. Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel, R-Fla., at a Capitol news conference on July 9.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:32 am

It was November when Republican Trey Radel, a first-term congressman from Fort Myers, Fla., was charged with cocaine possession — a misdemeanor in Washington, D.C. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year's probation.

A few days before Christmas, fresh from a month in rehab, Radel held a news conference with his wife by his side. He apologized and said that alcohol, not cocaine, is his main problem, and that's what he was treated for.

But the main point of his news conference was to say that he would not step down from Congress.

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The Two-Way
2:33 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Newspapers: 'Whistle-Blower' Snowden Deserves Clemency

An advertisement thanking NSA leaker Edward Snowden appears on the side of a Metrobus in downtown Washington, D.C., in November.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA /Landov
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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Using Sound To Levitate Objects And Move Them Midair

An image shows particles levitating in space between four sets of speakers. A Japanese team says they have used the system to manipulate items in mid-air.
Yoichi Ochiai

Researchers in Tokyo have put a new twist on the use of sound to suspend objects in air. They've used ultrasonic standing waves to trap pieces of wood, metal, and water – and even move them around.

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Asia
1:41 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Lure Of China's Gray Economy Reaches Rich And Poor

Chinese 100 yuan bank notes being counted at a bank in Huaibei, in eastern China's Anhui province, in 2013. Undeclared income — sometimes the proceeds of corruption, often just of unclear provenance — is estimated to make up a staggering 12 percent of China's GDP.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:27 pm

The income gap is growing dramatically in China and the rich are getting exponentially richer — the richest 10 percent of China's population are more than three times wealthier than the official figures.

Much of that undeclared wealth is what Chinese people call "gray income," including proceeds from corruption and other ethically "gray" areas of the economy.

Living on the margins of the "gray economy" are people like migrant laborer Wang Haichuan. He rents a room far below street level in a dark, former air-raid shelter inhabited by other migrants.

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Shots - Health News
1:27 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Obamacare Brings Medicaid To Skid Row's 'Ugly Reality'

Martha Castro lives on the streets in Los Angeles' Skid Row neighborhood. She's still resistant to the idea that she can now get health coverage because of California's expansion of Medicaid.
Anna Gorman Kaiser Health News

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:47 pm

If you were led blindfolded a few blocks east from Los Angeles' grand City Hall, you would know instantly when you entered Skid Row.

There is the pungent smell of urine and marijuana smoke, and the sound of music and easy laughter — a carnival rising out of misery.

This is the chaos that Chris Mack plunges into on most days. Once homeless himself, Mack is an outreach worker for the JWCH Institute's Center for Community Health, a free clinic in the heart of Skid Row.

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World
1:27 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Berlin Clinic Aims To Make Genital Cutting Survivors Feel Whole

The Desert Flower Center, created by Somali model Waris Dirie, opened in Berlin in September. The medical center provides victims of female genital cutting with reconstructive surgery, counseling and other treatment.
Stephanie Pilick DPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:46 pm

At a recent sewing class held in Berlin at Mama Afrika, which helps immigrants adjust to life in Germany, most of the African and Middle Eastern students feign ignorance when founder Hadja Kaba asks them about female genital mutilation.

Turning to one young woman wearing a veil she asks, "Have you been cut?"

"Yes," the woman answers, holding up the cloth she is sewing.

Kaba tries again. "No, not the cloth — down there!"

The veiled woman shakes her head and turns back to her fabric.

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Economy
1:27 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

The Widening Wealth Gap: Bringing Income Inequality Into Focus

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:18 pm

The widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. has become a central touch point for economists, pundits and politicians across the U.S. New York City's newly sworn-in mayor, Bill deBlasio, was elected after campaigning against a city divided between the haves and have-nots. President Obama has called tackling inequality the defining challenge of our time, saying that growing inequality and a lack of upward mobility jeopardizes the American dream. But what, exactly, is income inequality?

Around the Nation
1:27 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Midwest, Northeast Brace For First Major Snow Storm In 2014

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:18 pm

The first major snow storm of the new year is expected to hit 22 states Thursday and Friday. About 100 million people are expected to be affected.

The Salt
12:49 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Cork Versus Screw Cap: Don't Judge A Wine By How It's Sealed

Winemakers are increasingly turning to screw caps. Now consumers are learning to get over their prejudice for cork, too.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:18 pm

Step aside, cork.

If you're a wine drinker, you've probably noticed that screw caps are no longer considered the closure just for cheap vino. Increasingly, bottles of very good wines are unscrewed, rather than uncorked.

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NPR Story
11:56 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Antarctic Explorer's Failure Becomes His Greatest Success

Recently recovered cellulose photos recovered by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust. Pictured, Iceberg and land, Ross Island. (New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 2:14 pm

A helicopter has rescued all 52 passengers from a research ship that’s been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve.

The group was stuck in the ice for 10 days, but imagine being stuck there for 15 months – with no communication with the outside world.

That’s what happened to Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton and his team in their attempt to make a land crossing of Antarctica in 1914.

Their ship got stuck in the ice, and they never reached their goal. But that journey is now remembered for Shackleton’s journey to rescue his crew.

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