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Author Interviews
9:31 am
Fri July 27, 2012

In '1493,' Uncovering The World Columbus Discovered

Charles C. Mann is a journalist and contributing editor for Atlantic Monthly and Science.
J.D. Sloan

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 11:47 am

This interview was originally broadcast on August 8, 2011. 1493 is now available in paperback.

"In fourteen-hundred-and-ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue," goes the old elementary school rhyme.

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The Torch
9:15 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Place All Metal Objects In The Tray, Please... Oh, Hi Kobe!

As Team USA basketball player Kobe Bryant passed through a security checkpoint Friday, British soldiers were moved to relax a ban on photography in the area.
Vickie Walton-James NPR

We ran into USA Men's basketball at the security sweep today. Yes, even big-time basketball players and coaches must suffer the indignity of the magnetometer. We were all making our way through security into the Main Press Center, where the team was about to meet journalists.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, coach Mike Krzyzewski and much of the rest of the team seemed to have little trouble getting screened. Assistant coach Nate McMillan may have forgotten to empty his pockets, because he got the pat-down.

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Stories Of The Colorado Victims: Young Artist Was 'Ball Of Joy'

Alexander "AJ" Boik in an undated photo provided by his family.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 5:02 pm

As they're told, we're pointing to some of the stories about the 12 people who died and the 58 who were wounded when a gunman opened fire on July 20 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Click here to see more. As you see others, please share the links in the comment threads.

-- "AJ" Boik, Wanted Everyone To Be Happy:

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The Torch
8:25 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Lighting The Olympic Cauldron, And Angry Fans

This sculpture of a skeletal gymnast stands in London's Olympic Village, where athletes are preparing for today's Opening Ceremony. If you think it's weird, you're not alone.
Alexander Hassenstein AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:57 pm

Good morning. Today's lone public Olympic event is the Opening Ceremony, which begins at 4 p.m. EDT. NBC will not air the broadcast until the evening, however, at 7:30 p.m. in all time zones. We'll have a post later about that issue, and how you can watch. For now, here's a rundown of news items:

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The Two-Way
7:22 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Derecho, The Sequel: Storm Roars Over Pennsylvania And New York

Broken trees lying across a truck in Elmira, N.Y., after Thursday's storm.
Heather Ainsworth AP

It didn't leave behind as much destruction or as many downed power lines as the storm that rolled over states from the Midwest through the Mid-Atlantic on June 30, but some news outlets are saying the summer's second derecho struck on Thursday.

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Strange News
6:44 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Freed Inmate Re-Incarcerated For Refusing To Leave

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:44 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer with the opposite of a jailbreak. Rodney Dwayne Valentine was released from jail. He asked police officers for a ride to a motel and the officers said no. They told him to call a cab. Instead, Valentine decided to stay put. He refused to leave the jail. The Greensboro News and Record reports that Valentine was then arrested for trespassing. He's back in the slammer. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sports
6:44 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Olympic Gymnasts Take The (Hot Pink) Floor

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:44 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

As the U.S. men's gymnastics team struggles to adjust to the London arena, where they will compete, they're thinking more about pink than gold. That's because the competition floor is covered in hot pink. In a room Barbie would love, the men's team says it's not about gender norms but rather an array of colors making it hard to spot the high bars. As one gymnast put it, real men do compete on pink floors.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

The Two-Way
6:38 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Did Economy Slow Further In Second Quarter? We Find Out Today

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 9:01 am

The economy grew at a sluggish 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported this morning, down from a 2 percent pace in the first quarter.

This is the bureau's first estimate of GDP growth in the spring months. It will revise the figure twice in coming months. It's now 8:33 a.m. ET. We'll have more about the report shortly.

Update at 10 a.m. ET. The White House Points To String Of Positive Quarters:

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri July 27, 2012

In London, The Games Are Afoot

The Olympic Flame as it passed through London on Thursday.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 6:47 am

You've almost surely heard by now:

The London Summer Olympics officially begin today. The opening ceremony, with — we hear — a song from Sir Paul McCartney, some farm animals and "helmeted cyclists wearing giant silvery-blue flapping wings, pedaling around in two huge circles" — is to start just after 4 p.m. ET.

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It's All Politics
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Obama Would Pay More — Romney, A Lot More — If Bush-Era Tax Cuts End

President George W. Bush signs tax cut legislation on June 7, 2001. The cuts from this and a subsequent bill are set to expire at the end of 2012.
Stephen Jaffe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 2:42 pm

An occasional series, Fiscal Cliff Notes breaks down the looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and deep automatic spending cuts set to hit around the first of year.


About 80 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up if all the tax cuts signed into law by President George W. Bush were to expire as scheduled at the end of this year. And nearly 100 percent of the highest income earners would have to pay more — including both the Obamas and the Romneys.

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The Torch
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

'Tremendous Honor': Dancing For The World At Olympics Opener

Sasha Feachem (right) will be performing in an urban street dance during the London Olympics' opening ceremony Friday.
Tom Goldman NPR

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:44 am

The London Summer Olympics officially begin today with the opening ceremony. Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire has put together the latest Olympic kickoff spectacle. As NPR's Philip Reeves reported yesterday, a preview video has been released.

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Around the Nation
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

L.A. Council Bans Pot Shops After Regulation Struggle

Pedestrians walk past a medical marijuana dispensary in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles Tuesday. The City Council voted that day to ban marijuana shops outright.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:44 am

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to shut down all of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. That's no easy task. There are more than 800 of them — more than the number of Starbucks coffee shops in Los Angeles. But after years of struggling to regulate pot shops, city officials have decided to prohibit them altogether.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

GOP Says Coverage For The Uninsured Is No Longer The Priority

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says covering the uninsured shouldn't be Republicans' top health priority.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:44 am

For decades, the primary goal of those who would fix the U.S. health system has been to help people without insurance get coverage. Now, it seems, all that may be changing. At least some top Republicans are trying to steer the health debate away from the problem of the uninsured.

The shift in emphasis is a subtle one, but it's noticeable.

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Inside Rebel-Held Syria
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

In Syrian Conflict, Both Sides Vie To Control Message

Most civilians have fled the Syrian town of Derat Azza after protracted shelling by Syrian troops. Shops are closed, and rebels are trying to tightly control any information flowing out of the town.
Bunny Coleman for NPR

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 7:17 pm

Last of five parts

The most striking thing you see when you drive into the Syrian town of Derat Azza is that it's devoid of ordinary people. Shops are closed, shuttered.

The only people you see seem to be rebels.

It seems like the only difference between this town and others in the area is that the regime made up its mind to target it. And once the regime did, there was nothing the people could do.

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StoryCorps
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

'I Didn't See The Gun, And I Didn't Hear The Bullet'

Edith Green and her granddaughter visited a StoryCorps booth in 2005, where Edith shared her story of surviving a shooting.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:59 am

In 1980, Edith Green, a divorced school teacher, lived alone in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., just north of New York City.

One night, she struck up a friendship with a young man she had met at a friend's house — a relationship that would change her life forever.

"It was a very platonic relationship," she told her granddaughter. "I just didn't see this coming at all."

Edith, 54 at the time, told the man that she would be attending a play with a friend one evening.

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AIDS: A Turning Point
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Greece's Latest Crisis: Rising HIV Cases

Nurse Maria Vatista draws blood from a Greek drug addict for an HIV test in a mobile testing van in Athens last year. HIV infection rates are rising, as Greece's financial crisis has led the government to cut health and social services, including a successful needle exchange program.
Yannis Behrakis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:58 am

One of the alarming consequences of the financial crisis in Greece appears to be a sharp rise in the rate of HIV infection.

The country, which is struggling through a historic debt crisis and a deep recession, still has one of the lowest HIV infection rates in Europe. But budget cuts to health and social services seem to be driving a recent and dramatic increase, especially among injecting drug users.

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Planet Money
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

How To Set Up An Offshore Company

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 1:51 pm

Setting up an offshore company in a tax haven is surprisingly easy. A simple Google search offers up thousands of companies willing to help you do it.

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Poetry
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Honoring The Games, And The Past, With Poetry

Ron Tanovitz

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:34 pm

In the days of the ancient Greeks, poetry and sport went hand in hand at athletic festivals like the Olympics. Poets sang the praises of athletic champions and, at some festivals, even competed in official events, reciting or playing the lyre. Here at NPR, we're reviving that tradition with our own Poetry Games.

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The Two-Way
6:01 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Picking Up The Pieces: Family Remembers Shooting Victim Micayla Medek

Grandma Marlene Kenobbe (L) comforts consoles Kailyn Vigil during Micayla Medek's funeral at the New Hope Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 8:12 pm

The families of the Aurora, Colo. shooting victims continued to pick up the pieces today.

The Denver ABC affiliate reports that the family of Micayla Medek, 23, who was killed in the theater, held a funeral service today.

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The Veepstakes
5:42 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

As A VP Option, Christie's Star May Burn Too Hot

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Des Moines, Iowa, on Dec. 30, 2011.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:52 pm

What people in New Jersey like about Gov. Chris Christie is his candor — the sense that he's speaking from his heart, instead of a script.

Last summer, as Hurricane Irene barreled toward the Jersey shore, the Republican governor offered a particularly memorable moment during a press conference: "Get the hell off the beach in Asbury Park and get out," he said. "You're done. It's 4:30. You've maximized your tan. Get off the beach."

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World
4:49 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Latest Target For Palestinians' Protest? Their Leader

Abbas attends a meeting of his Fatah movement at its headquarters in Ramallah on Jan. 29.
Atef Safadi EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 8:20 am

The Kalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank is best known as a flashpoint between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces. Images of masked youths throwing rocks by the painted concrete wall here are ubiquitous.

Protesters gathered at Kalandia again last week, but their focus wasn't Israeli soldiers: It was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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The Two-Way
4:47 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Ohio Valley, Northeast Brace For Severe Weather

Radar image of the United States at 5:44 p.m. ET.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:46 pm

Severe thunderstorms are moving east, this hour. As the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center says, parts of the Ohio Valley and interior southern New England can expect some wild weather this evening, including "widespread damaging winds."

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It's All Politics
4:38 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Romney In London: Not A Smashing Success So Far

Mitt Romney leaves London's 10 Downing Street after meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:27 pm

The first stop — Britain — in Mitt Romney's foreign tour certainly is starting out rockier than nearly anyone expected.

First there was the kerfuffle over remarks, attributed by a British newspaper to an anonymous campaign adviser, that Romney understood the shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" between the U.S. and Britain in a way President Obama didn't. Those comments were viewed as racist by some and were disowned by the Romney campaign.

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The Two-Way
4:15 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Could Ice Cream Trucks Finally Roam Scottsdale?

A Mister Softee ice cream truck makes its way through the streets of Brooklyn, New York in 2007.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 4:47 pm

Ice cream trucks are to summer what apple pie is to America. But residents of Scottsdale, Ariz. haven't heard the tell-tale sign of summer since the 1970s, when the city council banned the trucks.

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The Salt
3:58 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Where Did All The Watermelon Seeds Go?

Watermelon with seeds is getting harder to find at the supermarket.
iStockphoto.com

Many people think of the seedless watermelons popping up at grocery stores and markets everywhere in the last few years as a marvel of modern scientific technology. In fact, more than 60 percent of watermelon shoppers seek this smoother pink flesh, and the numbers are increasing every year, according to a recent survey done for the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

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Election 2012
3:50 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Romney Aims Tough Talk At China, And Obama

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday. In the speech, Romney attacked the Obama administration's approach to China.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:24 pm

President Obama's national security adviser visited China this week, just as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was attacking the administration's approach to that country.

"The cheating must finally be brought to a stop," Romney said Tuesday in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev. "The president hasn't done it and won't do it, and I will."

China is the world's largest economy after the United States. It is one of the most important — and complicated — foreign relationships the U.S. has.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:50 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Amid An AIDS Epidemic, South Africa Battles Another Foe: Tuberculosis

A mobile clinic set up to test students for HIV is parked near Madwaleni High School in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on March 8, 2011. Parts of the South African province have HIV rates that are more than twice the national average.
Stephane de Sakutin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:24 pm

The province of KwaZulu-Natal has emerged as the epicenter of South Africa's HIV epidemic. South Africa already has more people infected with HIV than any other country in the world, but parts of KwaZulu-Natal have HIV rates that are more than twice the national average.

Now in addition to HIV and AIDS, the province is also dealing with a major tuberculosis epidemic.

In the northeastern part of KwaZulu-Natal, dusty dirt tracks wind through pastures and fields of sugar cane. The hillsides are dotted with small huts made of cinder blocks and field stones.

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U.S.
3:50 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Bypassing College Dreams, A Different Road To Work

Kelly Thompson, a mentor at Siemens, gives apprentices an orientation of the factory. The program provides on-the-job training in manufacturing.
Courtesy of Siemens Energy Inc.

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 4:10 pm

Rebeca Espinal admits with a shy smile that she's a straight-A math student. She's a high school graduate who dreamed of going to college.

Instead, Espinal, 17, is working in a Charlotte, N.C., factory that makes gas turbines and generators. She is an apprentice with the German company Siemens.

"I was planning on getting a degree in international relations, but with financial aid and how difficult it is to pay for college and everything," she says. "So when Siemens came along and gave me the offer, it was too good of an opportunity to just let it go.

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The Torch
3:24 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Maroney Says She'll 'Make The Best' Of Competing On Broken Toe

"It was really fun to get out there and do my vault," McKayla Maroney said, after trying out the apparatus at the North Greenwich Arena in London Thursday. Maroney is coping with the lingering effects of a broken right toe.
John Cheng USA Gymnastics

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 4:42 pm

U.S.gymnast McKayla Maroney will compete in the London Summer Games, despite the lingering effects of a broken toe. Maroney, a gold medal contender, is the reigning world champion in the vault. Early reports suggested that Maroney broke her toe in London. But it appears that she merely tweaked an earlier injury.

On Twitter, NBC producer Alexa Ainsworth clarified that Maroney's toe "was broken before Classic and she just aggravated that here."

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Shots - Health Blog
3:23 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Feds And Health Insurers Partner To Fight Fraud

Insurers and the federal government are teaming up to fight health fraud.
iStockphoto.com

The Obama administration is enlisting new allies to fight health care fraud: insurers.

Today the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice announced a partnership with more than a dozen health insurers and industry groups to nip fraudulent schemes in the bud, instead of tracking down bad guys after the fact.

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