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Middle East
4:11 am
Sat February 25, 2012

Clinton Steps Up Calls For A Halt To Violence In Syria

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a press conference at a conference on Syria in Tunis, Tunisia, on Friday. The participants were united in their calls for a ceasefire and for Syrian President Bashar Assad to allow humanitarian aid into his country.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 3:18 pm

Syrians are looking to the world in their hour of need and "we cannot let them down," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday at an international conference on Syria held in Tunisia.

The dozens of countries represented at the conference, Clinton said, are united in their demands: Syrian President Bashar Assad must allow much-needed aid to his people and silence his guns or face more isolation and pressure.

But debate continues over what other steps countries in the region could take.

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Arts & Life
4:10 am
Sat February 25, 2012

Athena's Library, The Quirky Pillar Of Providence

Chilean artist Magaly Ponce looks out from the mezzanine at the Oscar Wilde party at the Providence Athenaeum.
NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:02 am

With a bit of reverence, librarians carefully wind an antique library clock near the circulation desk in a temple of learning called the Providence Athenaeum.

This is one of the oldest libraries in the United States, a 19th-century library with the soul of a 21st-century rave party. In fact, the Rhode Island institution has been called a national model for civic engagement.

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Education
4:10 am
Sat February 25, 2012

Saving Kansas City Schools Means Rescuing A City

Kansas City public schools have lost accreditation. The city is struggling with how to move forward, especially since education impacts many aspects of the area's development.
Tom Bullock NPR

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 3:18 pm

The entire public school system in Kansas City, Mo., has flunked.

The state board of education revoked its accreditation on Jan. 1. Public schools met just three of the 14 standards set by the board for basic proficiency. They received failing grades for attendance, graduation rates, plus math and reading and writing scores.

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Presidential Race
4:09 am
Sat February 25, 2012

On Romney's Michigan Tour, A Change Of Pace

Mitt Romney greets patrons at a restaurant called The Mitt in Mount Clemens, Mich., on Friday. The candidate hasn't done as much handshaking lately, given the size of the recent primary states.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 3:18 pm

Mitt Romney is on a bus tour across Michigan, hoping to win the votes of the state where he grew up. With primary day on Tuesday, Romney seems to have closed the gap in polls with Rick Santorum.

This trip has the feel of those early days campaigning back in New Hampshire, before any votes were actually cast: the long bus rides, the snowy landscape, even the impromptu restaurant drop-ins.

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A Blog Supreme
2:00 am
Sat February 25, 2012

Shannon Powell: New Orleans Rhythm, Straight From The Source

Shannon Powell performs with the Palm Court Jazz Band at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Clayton Call Redferns

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 3:18 pm

It is said of Shannon Powell that he's part of New Orleans' musical DNA — that he knows things only local drummers know.

Powell, 49, is the A-list drummer in town. He's played with Dr. John, Harry Connick Jr., Nicholas Payton, R&B guitarist Earl King and Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

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Music Interviews
5:46 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Robert Glasper: A Unified Field Theory For Black Music

Robert Glasper leads his band through experiments in jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock on his new album, Black Radio.
Mike Schreiber

Originally published on Sat February 25, 2012 4:31 pm

When some of the biggest names in R&B and hip-hop are clamoring to be on a jazz record, you know you're dealing with a special kind of jazz musician.

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The Two-Way
4:46 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Gadhafi's Compound, Slowly Being Erased From History

Libyans attend the Friday market the gardens inside the Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, on Oct. 28, 2011.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

"I don't know why the traffic is like this," he said. "It's Friday just before prayers; where are all these people going?"

My friend Emad and I had been driving around the perimeter of Bab al-Azizia, Gadhafi's notorious compound just outside downtown Tripoli. It was here that NATO concentrated many of its bombing runs, as did President Reagan in the 1980s. Now the outer walls are a crumbling mess, covered with anti-Gadhafi graffiti.

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Around the Nation
4:01 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

N.J.: NYPD Crossed The Line In Monitoring Muslims

Mohamed El filali, of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, gathers with Muslim students and community leaders in Newark on Friday to address the monitoring of New Jersey Muslims by the NYPD.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 6:37 pm

Ever since Sept. 11, the New York Police Department has been aggressively gathering intelligence to help prevent another terrorist attack.

Now, those tactics are provoking new controversy in New Jersey after The Associated Press published a confidential, 60-page NYPD report from 2007 containing detailed information on dozens of mosques and Muslim-owned businesses in nearby Newark.

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The Message Machine
3:57 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

2012 Political TV: Ads, Lies And Videotape

An image from a superPAC ad attacking Newt Gingrich, whose campaign called on TV stations to pull the ad off the air.
Restore Our Future

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:37 pm

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All Tech Considered
3:19 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Google's Goggles: Is The Future Right Before Our Eyes?

What would the world look like seen through Google's eyes?
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Like flying cars and time travel, eye glasses with computing power have long been sci-fi fantasy, relegated to Terminator movies and the like. Now it appears that Google may be a few months from selling a version of their own.

Google glasses — which may be released as a "beta" product — could put smartphone capabilities such as GPS maps, weather, time, Web streaming and more inches from your eyeball.

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NPR Story
3:13 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

One Of Last Movie Theater Organs Pipes On

Seattle has one of the country's few working movie theater organs. Jim Riggs plays the theater's Wurlitzer organ while silent movies are screened. Recently he performed during a screening of 1927's Wings, the only silent film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The Two-Way
3:10 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Syrian Official: Army Is Protecting Syrian People From Armed Groups

Zouheir Jabbour says many of the videos and images coming out of Syria are a fabrication. Here, a badly injured man lies in a bed at a makeshift clinic in the Syrian city of Idlib on Friday.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

The charge d'affaires of the Syrian Embassy in Washington says all the reports coming out of Syria are "absolutely wrong."

Zouheir Jabbour told All Things Considered's Melissa Block that even the reports issued by the United Nations and the Arab League are wrong.

"In the time of computers, you can fabricate whatever you like and go to Al Jazeera and go to Al Arabiya and you can see all that fabrication," Jabbour said.

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The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Monsanto Agrees To Pay Up $93 Million In Agent Orange Settlement

We are getting more details about that preliminary agreement to settle an "Agent Orange" related class-action lawsuit filed against the Monsanto Company. We reported yesterday that Monsanto agreed to settle a case over pollution claims made on behalf of current and former residents of the small town of Nitro, West Virginia.

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The Salt
2:42 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Menu Math: When Counting Fast Food Calories Requires A Calculator

Calorie counts like the one on this McDonald's drive-thru in New York are intended to help people make healthier choices. But researchers say they're often too confusing.
Ed Ou AP

It's a simple enough idea: Know how many calories are in those fast food meals, and you'll make a better choice between them.

But when students at the Columbia University School of Nursing tried to nail down the calories on 70 menus at 12 eateries in New York's Harlem neighborhood, they found it pretty much impossible, even with a calculator.

One big problem: Many items are listed with a calorie range, but with no clues as to how those ranges are determined. For example:

  • A bucket of chicken was 2,200 to 5,860 calories.

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It's All Politics
2:36 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Fred Who? He's Republican, He's Gay, And He's Competing For Michigan Delegates

GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger hopes Michigan's primary rules will allow him to pick up a few delegates to the national convention. He's focusing on just one congressional district in the center of the state.
Rick Pluta for NPR

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:36 pm

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Middle East
2:25 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Syrian Official Says Media Coverage Is Manipulated

Melissa Block talks to Zouheir Jabbour, Chief of Mission of the Syrian Embassy in Washington, DC, about the call for a ceasefire in Homs and the allegations of atrocities by the Syrian regime.

The Two-Way
1:44 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

U.N. Report: Iran Has Ramped Up Production Of Enriched Uranium

A new report by the United Nations' nuclear agency claims that Iran has ramped up production of a purer form of enriched uranium over the past few months. The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency was obtained by The Associated Press and other news outlets and it's likely to further suspicions from Western countries that Iran might be working on a nuclear weapon.

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National Security
1:29 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Hezbollah Suspect May Face U.S. Military Commission

U.S. Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner speaks in Baghdad in July 2007 near a poster of Ali Musa Daqduq. Daqduq was captured in Iraq in March 2007, and is accused of orchestrating the killings of five U.S. soldiers. The U.S. left Daqduq in Iraqi custody when U.S. troops formally withdrew in December. But the Obama administration is seeking to try him before a military commission.
Wsthiq Khuzaie AP

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:18 pm

The Obama administration is seeking to try a Lebanese man linked to Hezbollah in a military commission, expanding the reach of the military tribunal beyond al-Qaida and Taliban suspects for the first time.

The man at the center of the case is Ali Musa Daqduq. He was the last detainee held by American forces in Iraq and had been turned over to Iraqi custody when U.S. forces formally withdrew from Iraq in December.

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Syria: Red Cross Begins Evacuating Injured From Homs

The International Committee of the Red Cross said today that its crews had reached the restive city of Homs in Syria and they have begun evacuating some of those injured by the shelling.

The Telegraph reports that the Red Cross said two wounded Western journalists were were evacuated, as well as the body of two others. The Telegraph adds:

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Why Woody Allen Is Always MIA At Oscars

Filmmaker Woody Allen is notorious for not attending the Oscars each year, despite his numerous nominations.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

'Friends Of Syria' Group Calls For Ceasefire

Representatives from some 70 countries met in Tunis on Friday and issued an ultimatum to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, demanding an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian access to cities like Homs that have been under bombardment by the Syrian army. Audie Cornish talks to Michele Kelemen about the news.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Correcting A National Record Literally Set In Stone

The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial isn't the only monument in Washington, DC, that has grappled with how to make a correction. At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, there are more than 58,000 names inscribed on the wall. More than 100 of them have been misspelled, but 62 have been fixed. Memorial fund president Jan Scruggs explains how they've made the corrections.

Middle East
1:00 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Some Evacuated From Syrian City Under Siege

In Syria, medics working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are evacuating the injured from a neighborhood of Homs. The area known as Baba Amr has been under a long and heavy bombardment from Syrian government forces. Melissa Block talks with Saleh Dabbakeh, a spokesman for the ICRC who is in Damascus.

Shots - Health Blog
12:11 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Chemical Used For Stripping Bathtubs Kills 13

Sure, gussy it up. But be careful.
iStockPhoto.com

We've all seen those bathtub refinishing ads that promise a glossy new surface on the dingy old tub.

But a solvent used to make that transformation has killed at least 13 people who used it to strip bathtubs from 2006 to 2011, according to a new study. The chemical, methylene chloride, is sold as a solvent and paint stripper both to professionals and in dozens of do-it-yourself products sold at home improvement stores.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Fri February 24, 2012

In Orlando, Another Melee Caused By Shoes

The shoes in question: Nike's Foamposite.
Nike

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:01 pm

Last night at midnight, Nike released a pair of expensive glow-in-the-dark basketball shoes. And as has happened before for big shoe releases, a melee broke out among the hundreds of people who waited outside of an Orlando, Fla. mall to buy them.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the release of the shoes was timed with Orlando's hosting of the NBA All-Star Game and by 9:45 p.m., police in riot gear were called in to control the crowd.

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Technology
11:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Reaching For The Limits of Tiny Transistors

Computer chip makers have long struggled to build ever-smaller transistors to allow faster, more powerful computers. Writing in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, a team of scientists describes what may be the ultimate limit of that struggle — a transistor made of a single atom. Michelle Simmons, a physicist at the University of New South Wales in Australia and leader of the project, discusses the work.

News
10:57 am
Fri February 24, 2012

How Lawmakers Lost Their Sense Of Shame

Outside the state Capitol in Annapolis, Md., last year: Someone who'd had enough of what has been going on.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:01 pm

Connie Johnson is not afraid to be outrageous. The Democratic state senator from Oklahoma has watched in frustration for several years now as colleagues have rammed through bills limiting women's reproductive rights.

She tried debating and making speeches. Finally, earlier this month, she thought of something that made her point more clearly, or at least more graphically.

She introduced an amendment that would define life as beginning not at conception, but at "ejaculation."

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Television
10:24 am
Fri February 24, 2012

25 Years Later, 'The Singing Detective' Still Shines

Gambon's character slips in and out of feverish dreams in which his doctors and nurses start to sing and dance.
BBC

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 12:15 pm

The Singing Detective is the story of a writer of pulp-fiction novels, hospitalized for a horrible skin condition that has his entire body flaking and raw, and his mind slipping in and out of fever dreams.

Some of those hallucinations have the people around him breaking into song, or shifting into other places and times and characters, or both. He tries to maintain his sanity by rewriting, in his head, one of his old novels into a Hollywood screenplay — and, in his mind, he's the healthy, good-looking protagonist — the singing detective.

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The Two-Way
10:21 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Doesn't Endorse Philly Conference

Occupy Wall Street tells The Associated Press that a national conference being planned in Philadelphia this summer was not approved by its General Assembly, meaning the group does not endorse it.

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The Salt
10:19 am
Fri February 24, 2012

In Rice, How Much Arsenic Is Too Much?

Brown rice syrup, which can be high in arsenic, is sometimes used in vegan recipes like this caramel corn.
iStockphoto.com

The news that some rice-based foods are surprisingly high in arsenic has left rice lovers wondering how the heck we're to know what's safe to eat.

Since Dartmouth College researchers reported last week that a toddler formula and energy bars sweetened with organic brown rice syrup tested high for arsenic, readers of The Salt have had lots of questions about how one might find out the arsenic content of rice-based foods, and figure out what's safe.

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