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NPR Story
1:02 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Senator Bob Corker: Action Is 'Imminent' In Syria

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is pictured April 2, 2013. (Kristin M. Hall/AP)

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 7:43 am

There are now four United States Navy destroyers positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea — each equipped to fire cruise missiles at targets up to 1,500 miles away.

In a speech yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry called the use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians “a moral obscenity,” signaling a toughening stance by the Obama administration on the Assad regime.

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NPR Story
1:02 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

U.S. Faces October Deadline On Debt Ceiling

Not being able to pay your bills is never a good thing — especially when you’re the United States government.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has announced that the U.S. will hit its $16.7 trillion borrowing limit in mid-October.

In 2011, the White House and congressional Republicans feuded over raising the debt ceiling, spending weeks trying to come to an agreement. Those talks failed and the financial markets roiled in reaction.

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NPR Story
1:02 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Saudi Prince's Goal: Topple Assad

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan is seen at his palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 4, 2008. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

As the U.S. weighs its options on Syria, there’s an effort underway by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, a longtime power player with a Washington scandal in his past, to topple the Assad regime by training Syrian rebels in Jordan.

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NPR Story
1:44 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Juliana Hatfield And Matthew Caws Unite As 'Minor Alps'

Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws are Minor Alps. (Minor Alps)

This week, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson introduces us to the band Minor Alps.

The band is made up of singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws, the lead singer of the power-pop band Nada Surf.

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NPR Story
1:44 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Retiring To The Farm Anything But Quiet

Jim Schulte and his wife, Rita, bought their 450-acre farm near Columbia, Mo., in 1991, but didn’t start farming full time until Jim finished working in the mortgage business. (Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media)

It’s not just lifelong farmers who feel the pull of the land as they get older. For some Americans, retirement is an opportunity to begin the farming dream.

“I wanted to be able to be active and have a pastime that ensured physical activity,” said beginning farmer Tom Thomas, who at 65 still has the physical fitness to wrestle and brand steers at his son’s ranch in Oklahoma.

Thomas retired two years ago after teaching exercise physiology for 35 years and he knew what he wanted to do next.

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NPR Story
1:44 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

How Far Have We Come Since The March On Washington?

Demonstrators march towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial during the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Thousands of people streamed onto the National Mall in Washington this past weekend, as part of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

On Wednesday, the actual anniversary of the event, thousands will gather at the Lincoln Memorial for what organizers are calling a “commemoration and call to action.”

So what has and hasn’t been achieved between 1963 and now, particularly for black Americans?

NPR’s Gene Demby has been thinking about this. He writes about race, ethnicity and culture as part of the network’s Code Switch team.

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NPR Story
12:58 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Fans Relish The Replacements Reunion

The Replacements are reuniting, briefly, for three shows. (The Replacements)

The Replacements were an unruly rock band that emerged from Minneapolis in the ’80s. They broke up in 1991 but are still much-beloved. This weekend they are playing their first show in more than 20 years. Here & Now producer Alex Ashlock is one of those devoted fans and he helps us understand why “Mats” fans are so excited about this.

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NPR Story
12:58 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

The Future Of Women's Rights In Afghanistan

An Afghan woman peers through the the eye slit of her burqa as she waits to try on a new burqa in shop in the old town of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 11, 2013. (Anja Niedringhaus/AP)

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 4:20 pm

As U.S. and NATO troops look to wind down operations in Afghanistan, some of the gains made in women’s rights there appear to be under increasing threat.

Two female parliamentarians and a female senator were attacked this month alone. And in July, a female police officer was shot dead in the southern province of Helmand.

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NPR Story
12:58 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

ESPN Drops TV Project On NFL Brain Injuries

This hit, Oct. 3, 2010, left the Cincinnati Bengals' Jordan Shipley (center) with a concussion, and the Cleveland Browns' T.J. Ward (right) with a fine. (Amy Sancetta/AP)

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 4:20 pm

ESPN is dropping its collaboration on a TV project about football league head injuries.

According to a New York Times report, the network is said to have received pressure from the NFL to withdraw from the Frontline documentary called “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” about the risks of football injuries on the brain.

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NPR Story
1:25 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

New Wave Of New Orleans Artists Blend Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock

Christian Scott is one of the jazz musicians coming out of New Orleans who combines rock and hip hop influences. (christianscott.tv)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:10 pm

New Orleans is often called the birthplace of jazz, famous for musicians from Louis Armstrong to Jelly Roll Morton.

The Big Easy is still central to the jazz music scene, and Sondra Bibb, host of “Jazz from the French Market with Sandra Bibb” on WWOZ, says that a number of new young artists are blending the hip hop and rock rhythms they grew with into their jazz.

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NPR Story
1:25 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Thoughts From A Former Teacher As School Year Begins

Jeremy Glazer is a former high school teacher in Miami, Florida. (WLRN)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:10 pm

Teaching is the hardest job I’ve ever had.

In the midst of all the talk about schools and education policy, ultimately the classroom doors close and we, the teachers, are the ones in there with the children. We are the ones who think every day about those kids for the whole school year, and for years after.

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NPR Story
1:24 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Obama Proposes New System For Rating Colleges

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 in Buffalo, N.Y., where he began his two day bus tour to speak about college financial aid. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:10 pm

At the State University of New York’s Buffalo campus today, President Barack Obama outlined a plan to make colleges more affordable and more accountable.

His proposal includes a new system for rating colleges based on a series of factors, including affordability, graduation rate and the average earnings of graduates.

Today is the latest leg of the president’s economy tour — this time by bus — and the speech today is the first in a series about education.

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NPR Story
12:10 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Nuclear Fusion Research Enters 'Critical Phase' In France

The foundations for Iter's tokamak -- which will contain the hot plasma -- have been laid. (BBC)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:10 pm

The world’s most ambitious attempt to harness fusion as a source of nuclear power is taking shape in the south of France.

Fusion is the process that drives the sun — atoms are forced together to release energy. Repeating it here on Earth could, in theory, offer an almost endless supply of electricity.

The BBC’s David Shukman reports.

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NPR Story
12:10 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

College Athletes Test New Head Impact Sensor

The University of New Haven Chargers in practice. (Harriet Jones/WNPR)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:10 pm

Concussions are a hot topic across all levels of sports, as more coaches and players start to recognize the long-term debilitating effects of repeated head trauma.

Despite the lawsuits against both the NFL and the NCAA, there’s not much data on what kinds of head impacts are dangerous.

One Connecticut school is testing a new head sensor this season that aims to change that.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Harriet Jones of WNPR reports.

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NPR Story
10:31 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Should We Get Paid For Our Online Data?

(Kevin McShane/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:10 pm

In the digital economy, data is the most valuable form of currency.

Companies mine it to learn about consumers and sell their products more effectively.

But what about the tension between ownership and the ubiquity of data?

Computer scientist and author Jaron Lanier says fortunes are made from the data that companies access about us.

His proposal to fix the digital economy: we should all own our own data, and companies — whether it’s Google or Citibank — should pay us every time any bit of our data is used.

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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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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

An Adult Spin On A Childhood Favorite: The Tree House

A company in Ohio, Mohican Cabins, lets visitors live in luxury treehouses. (Mohican Cabins)

When you hear “tree house,” you may picture kids perched in a tall oak, inside a patchwork fort of crudely nailed together construction scraps — maybe a rope ladder dangling from the trap door.

Well, a new cottage industry has emerged, putting a grown-up spin on this childhood refuge.

From Here & Now Contributors Network, Brian Bull of WCPN has the story.

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NPR Story
12:32 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Renee Graham On The New, Blue-Eyed R&B

Allen Stone is one of Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham's favorite R&B singers. (Lonnie Webb)

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 3:13 pm

Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham has noted a trend recently: for the most part, the biggest acts in mainstream R&B music are white men.

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NPR Story
12:32 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

National Helium Reserve Faces Shutdown

(Bureau of Land Management)

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 3:13 pm

The National Helium Reserve is facing shutdown. The giant well of crude helium provides more than one-third of the world’s crude helium.

“It’s not a cave, it’s layers of rock, and the helium is stored in one layer of the rock,” Sam Burton, assistant field manager of helium operations at the Bureau of Land Management, told Here & Now.

The reserve isn’t just for nationally important party balloons. Helium is used in MRIs, computer chips and fiber-optic cable.

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