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12:10 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

In China, A Persistent Thorn In The State's Side

Although Ai Weiwei's art is internationally recognized, much of his worldwide fame comes from his political activism in China. The latter is the focus of Alison Klayman's documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.
Ted Alcorn IFC Films

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:05 am

A couple of months ago, I visited Beijing, and like so many before me, I was stunned by how hypercapitalist Communist China has become — the hundreds of glossy highrises, the countless shops selling Prada and Apple, the traffic jams filled with brand new Audis. You felt you could be in L.A. or Tokyo — until you wanted some information. Then you discovered that Facebook was permanently blocked, certain words in Google searches always crashed your browser, and, as my wife joked, it was easier to buy a Rolls-Royce than a real newspaper. Here was a country at once booming — and repressive.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:02 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

How A 'Google Bomb' Improved Russia's HIV Drug Supply

Activist Alexandra Volgina (right) accepts the Red Ribbon Award at the 19th International AIDS Conference for her grassroots group Patients in Control, which has worked to improve HIV treatment programs in Russia.
Ryan Rayburn IAS

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 3:25 pm

In countries where censorship is part of daily life, speaking out against the government often requires innovative tactics. No one knows this better than Russian activist Alexandra Volgina.

A few years ago, Volgina, an HIV-positive mother from St. Petersburg, wanted the Russian Ministry of Health to fix their floundering HIV treatment program. So she launched a "Google bomb."

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Raúl Castro Says Cuba Is An Island Seeking Friendship, Even With U.S.

Cuba's President Raúl Castro speaks during celebrations marking Cuba's Revolution Day in Guantanamo, Cuba on Thursday.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Today, while Cuba celebrated Revolution Day, the 59th anniversary of an initial attack on the Moncada military baracks, President Raúl Castro made a rather surprising admission during his remarks.

According to Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist party, Castro said he was ready to mend relations with the United States.

Here's how Granma reports it:

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The Torch
11:26 am
Thu July 26, 2012

The Olympics Meet A Mall, And Make A Nightmare

The interior of London's Westfield Stratford City Mall measures some 1.9 million square feet. Many of them were recently walked by NPR's Tom Goldman.
Tom Goldman NPR

Y'know your local mall? The one you drive to whenever, or just as easily drive past? What would happen if you didn't have a choice — if you couldn't avoid going there? Would you walk right through without stopping and shopping? Or, a darker question: What if you could never get out?

Welcome to my Olympic nightmare.

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The Two-Way
11:12 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Justice Department Employees Cited For Nepotism In Hiring

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 2:37 pm

The Justice Department inspector general has uncovered what he calls illegal hiring practices at the federal agency. In a new report he cites eight employees for trying to find jobs for their children and other relatives.

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The Two-Way
10:03 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Oakland Police Radios Failed During Obama's Visit To City

A protester yelling at a line of police officers guarding an intersection near a fundraiser for President Obama at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Monday.
David Yee UPI /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 10:48 am

"A major portion of Oakland's troubled police radio system failed shortly after President Obama's visit on Monday, leaving many of the 100 officers assigned to handle presidential security unable to communicate as protesters roamed the streets, police said Wednesday,"

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Asia
9:23 am
Thu July 26, 2012

China Charges Bo Xilai's Wife In British Man's Killing

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

China announced today that it is prosecuting the wife of a disgraced party official for the murder of a British man. It's the latest sensational twist in the country's biggest political scandal in decades. NPR's Louisa Lim joins us now from Beijing. Louisa, could you bring us up to speed on this scandal and what the latest news is?

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Guilt First, Trial Later: Murder Charge For Chinese Politician's Wife

Gu Kailai, left, and her husband, Bo Xilai, in 2007. She's been charged with murder.
Kyodo Reuters /Landov
  • Louisa Lim, reporting for the NPR Newscast

China's Xinhua news agency ends its report this morning on the murder case against a prominent politician's wife with this remarkable passage:

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Shots - Health Blog
9:18 am
Thu July 26, 2012

'Calling My Children' And The Faces Of AIDS

David Binder

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 9:06 am

Photographer David Binder began documenting stories about AIDS in the late 1980s and became well known for humanizing the epidemic for various publications, including Life magazine and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:52 am
Thu July 26, 2012

A Know-It-All's Guide To Olympic Music

Among all things official at the Olympics, like the flag, is music composed for the opening and closing ceremonies.
Tony Duffy Getty Images

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

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The Torch
8:34 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Egypt Rocks Pirate Brands, And Flag-Gate

Good morning, and welcome to "Day -1" of the 2012 Summer Olympics. That NASA-like designation is due to events already having begun in the soccer competition, before Friday's Opening Ceremony. Men's soccer begins play today.

Here are some stories that popped up overnight:

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Cheer Up Toronto, 16-0 Loss Isn't A Major League Worst

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 innings Wednesday night. It was a "complete embarrassment," he told the Toronto Star afterward. His team lost 16-0.
Brad White Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 2:03 pm

As bad as the players on the Toronto Blue Jays must feel about losing to the Oakland Athletics by a score of 16-0 Wednesday night, they can at least take comfort in knowing that other teams have suffered worse losses in the past.

As Yahoo Sports recounted:

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Jobless Claims Drop, Previous Week's Increase Erased

The number of people filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell by 35,000 last week, to 353,000, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

That brings the level about back to where it was three weeks ago and down near a four-year low — but also keeps claims in the range where they've been trending for about the last year.

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The Torch
7:39 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Olympic Glitch Riles North Korean Players Before Soccer Match [VIDEO]

Supporters of North Korea's women's soccer team were dismayed to see the start of Wednesday's match delayed, after a video screen displayed the South Korean flag next to photos of the North Korean players.
Graham Stuart AFP/Getty Images

It didn't take long for politics to enter the fray of Olympic sports. On Day One of preliminary competition, members of the North Korean women's soccer team staged a short protest after a mix-up with their national flag.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Reports: Notebook From Colo. Shootings Suspect Arrived At School After Attack

A medical building on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo.
Joshua Lott Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 1:48 pm

A "suspicious package" that the University of Colorado's medical school in Aurora says was delivered to the school on Monday was "a notebook sent through the mail by suspected killer James Eagan Holmes before [last] Friday morning's massacre," The Denver Post reports.

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Strange News
6:28 am
Thu July 26, 2012

It's State Fair Season; What's On The Menu?

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

It's the start of state fair season, which means lots of weird and fried food. The Indiana State Fair decided on spaghetti and meatballs ice cream as the fair's official food. The noodles are made of gelato, the sauce is strawberry tomato, and the meatballs are chocolate. It's topped with shredded white chocolate cheese. Yummy. At the Iowa State Fair you can try a double bacon corndog. Last year, Iowa featured deep fried butter. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Strange News
6:28 am
Thu July 26, 2012

'Lucky Larry' The 17-Pound Lobster Goes Free

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Lucky Larry is a 17-pound lobster estimated to be at least 70 years old. He was not so lucky when he was trapped and sold to a restaurant in Connecticut. But Don MacKenzie stepped in. He bought Lucky Larry, but not for a dinner date. He sent him back out to sea. For a lobster to live this long and avoid traps, MacKenzie said, he does not deserve a bib and butter. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Middle East
6:28 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Fight For Syria's Big Cities Intensifies

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Environment
6:28 am
Thu July 26, 2012

In Drought-Stricken Midwest, It's Fodder Vs. Fuel

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

In the Midwest, the drought is doing a number on the nation's biggest agricultural crop, corn. The USDA says half of the country's cornfields are in poor or very poor condition, and the short supply is driving up the price. Now, a fight between livestock farmers and ethanol producers over the high priced corn crop. Farmers say ethanol factories have an unfair advantage.

NPR's Dan Charles reports.

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Asia
6:28 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Beijing Flooding Compared To Katrina

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In China, authorities are still counting the cost of heavy weekend flooding in Beijing. Officials now say 37 people died and more than 60,000 homes were damaged. Loses are estimated at nearly two billion dollars, but as NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing, some of the damage is to the government's credibility.

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Thu July 26, 2012

'China's Katrina': Second City Flooded; Corruption, Incompetence Blamed

Residents look at a submerged bus on a flooded street amid rainfall in the Tianjin on Thursday. A much expected downpour bypassed Beijing Wednesday but battered the neighboring city of Tianjin instead, flooding many downtown streets and submerging vehicles.
China Daily Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 12:48 pm

  • Louisa Lim on 'Morning Edition'

Outrage in China about the dozens of deaths last weekend when Beijing's drainage system couldn't cope with heavy rains and much of the city was flooded has been followed by more frustration and anger today.

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Planet Money
3:45 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Meet The Drug Dealer Who Helps Addicts Quit

Suboxone is used in the treatment of opiate dependence.
Drugs.com

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 6:56 am

A prescription drug called Suboxone helps wean people off of heroin and pain pills, but addicts have a hard time getting prescriptions. So they're turning to the black market.

An Albuquerque man who goes by the name Mystery Man has stepped in to fill the void. He says he illegally sells Suboxone every day.

To get Suboxone, Mystery Man has to find a patient with a Suboxone prescription, and give that person the $50 co-pay to fill it. He gets that money by selling, among other things, crack and guns.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:16 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Treating Everybody With HIV Is The Goal, But Who Will Pay?

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

The big question hanging over the International AIDS Conference this week is whether all 34 million people in the world with HIV can possibly get antiviral drug treatment.

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Television
3:10 am
Thu July 26, 2012

At Bravo, A Pop-Culture Kingpin Works Day And Night

Andy Cohen on the set of his nightly Bravo talk show, Watch What Happens: Live. Cohen is also Bravo's executive vice president of development and talent, and has helped make Bravo a pop-culture heavyweight.
Heidi Gutman Bravo

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Andy Cohen has been yakking for most of his 44 years. He has a book titled Most Talkative — a title he earned in high school.

"My mouth has been my greatest asset and also my biggest Achilles' heel," he says.

Most days, it's an asset.

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Business
3:09 am
Thu July 26, 2012

For Temp Workers, 'Temp' Looking More Permanent

Job applicants outside the Staffmark temp agency in Cypress, Calif., in 2005. Temp hiring is usually a harbinger of an improving job market, but some analysts say more employers may be considering temps as a more permanent staffing solution.
Ric Francis AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:11 pm

While the job market remains sluggish, temporary work is one area that's done very well in the economic recovery. Companies are keeping their temps longer and are even using them to fill professional and high-ranking positions.

The average daily number of temporary workers employed during the first quarter of 2012 was more than 2.5 million. That's up from a low of 2.1 million in early 2009, according to the American Staffing Association.

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Asia
3:09 am
Thu July 26, 2012

In Pakistan, Sounds Of A Different Kind Of Drone

Ibrahim Ahmad, the son of the owner of the Imperial Bagpipe Manufacturing Co., tests a bagpipe at a factory in Sialkot, Pakistan. The Pakistani city is the largest producer of the instruments most commonly associated with Scotland.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:35 am

Bagpipes and Scotland? Aye, it's a natural association: Played for centuries, the instrument is especially identified with the Scottish military and traditional Scottish dress, tartan kilts and shawls.

But bagpipes and Pakistan? Nae, you say? Think again.

Turns out no place in the world manufactures more bagpipes than Pakistan. And no city in Pakistan makes more of them than Sialkot.

Bagpipe Central

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Latin America
3:09 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Acid Attacks A Rising Menace For Colombian Women

Maria Cuervo, 41, poses at her home in Bogota March 5 with a photo of herself before a stranger threw acid at her face in 2004.
Luis Acosta AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:55 am

A brutal crime more commonly associated with Pakistan or India is now on the rise in South America: Jealous husbands, spurned lovers and, in a few cases, even perfect strangers are dousing women with sulfuric or nitric acids, literally burning off their faces.

In Colombia, the horrific trend is terrorizing women and alarming officials.

Among those disfigured by such an attack is Consuelo Cordoba, 51, who was assaulted a decade ago by her former partner and lives a life of endless physical and psychological pain.

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Inside Rebel-Held Syria
3:08 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Unspinning The Narrative Of A Syrian Massacre

In this image provided by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network, a woman holds a child in front of their destroyed home in Tremseh, Syria, on July 14. The authenticity, content, location and date have not been independently verified.
AP

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 9:12 pm

Fourth of five parts

At least 100 people were killed earlier this month in a Syrian village called Tremseh. Activists called the deaths a massacre of innocent civilians by government forces, but later reports suggested it was something different. After spending a week with rebel fighters in the country, I discovered some previously untold details about the killings.

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The Two-Way
5:58 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Farewell, Buckyballs: Consumer Agency Files Suit Against Magnetic Toys

Buckyballs.
CPSC

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued its first stop-sale order in 11 years, saying the magnetic toys called Buckyballs "pose a substantial risk of injury to the public," Reuters is reporting.

The CPSC has been trying to curb injuries with this toy since 2010, when it issued a recall of Buckyballs intended for those 14 years and younger. But those efforts haven't helped, the agency said when it announced that it has filed a complaint seeking to stop the company from selling the product.

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