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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Federal Agents Accuse Two Of Plotting Deadly X-Ray Weapon

Two men in upstate New York have been arrested for planning to build a "radiation particle weapon" that could be mounted on a vehicle and used to target people, according to a report by the Albany Times-Union Wednesday. The men allegedly planned to sell the device to either the Ku Klux Klan or Jewish groups.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A Day After Making List, One Of FBI's Most Wanted Caught

Just a day after being added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, a former University of Southern California professor was arrested in the Mexican beach resort of Playa del Carmen.

Reporting for our Newscast unit, NPR's Carrie Kahn says 64-year-old Walter Lee Williams had been pursued by the FBI since 2011.

She says the indictment against Williams alleges he used his position as a professor of gender and sexuality studies to travel internationally and prey on underage boys.

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Economy
4:48 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

G-8 Nations Pledge To Crack Down On Corporate Tax Evaders

Leaders take part in the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Their discussions included tax-avoidance issues.
Ben Stansall WPA Pool/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:18 pm

The world's wealthiest nations are promising to fight what they call the scourge of tax evasion. This week's meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries concluded with a pledge to end the use of tax shelters by multinational corporations.

But there are still big questions about how they will make a dent in the problem.

In the aftermath of the global recession, countries all over the world have struggled with budget shortfalls. More and more of them have come to blame part of their revenue problems on one culprit — tax avoidance.

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The Record
4:11 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

The-Dream On Why We All Need R&B

The-Dream performing in New York City in May.
Daniel Zuchnik Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 6:53 am

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The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Pitchman Who 'Guaranteed' Our Look Fired By Men's Warehouse

George Zimmer founded the Men's Wearhouse clothing store in 1973. The company announced Wednesday that he'd been fired.
Thomas J. Gibbons Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:04 pm

He might like the way you look, but may no longer be able to guarantee you will.

Men's Wearhouse Inc. announced Wednesday that George Zimmer, founder and executive chairman of the company, has been fired.

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Around the Nation
4:01 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

To Rebuild NYC's Beaches, A Native Plant Savings And Loan

Heather Liljengren, a field taxonomist with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, examines the seed pods of the Virginia spiderwort at Oakwood Beach, Staten Island. Liljengren collects seeds from across the region for a seed bank of native plants.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:18 pm

Across the New York region, people are still working to rebuild homes and businesses after the havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy. But the storm also devastated the dunes and native flora of New York's beaches.

When the city replants grasses on those dunes, it will be able to draw on seeds from precisely the grasses that used to thrive there. That's because of a very special kind of bank: a seed bank run by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island.

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Around the Nation
3:57 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

After A Marine's Suicide, A Family Recalls Missed Red Flags

have created a shrine to Nick in their dining room." href="/post/after-marines-suicide-family-recalls-missed-red-flags" class="noexit lightbox">
Anna holds the flag that was draped over Nick's coffin at his memorial service. She and her husband, Michael, have created a shrine to Nick in their dining room.
Courtesy of Long Haul Productions

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:18 pm

Last year, more U.S. service members took their own lives than died in combat. And despite the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan, the pullout in Iraq, and hundreds of new programs designed to help troubled servicemen and women, the number of suicides continues to rise.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Snowden Reportedly In 'Informal' Asylum Talks With Iceland

Edward Snowden, the man commonly called "the NSA leaker" for his role in publishing documents that exposed a secret U.S. surveillance program, would reportedly not receive special treatment from the United Nations if he applies for asylum. The AP says Snowden is in "informal talks" with Iceland about applying for asylum there.

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Around the Nation
3:44 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A Dry Reservation Clashes With Its Liquor Store Neighbors

Oglala Lakota activist Debra White Plume (left), tribal president Bryan Brewer (center) and other protesters create a blockade to prevent trucks from delivering beer to a liquor store in Whiteclay, Neb. The town, which borders the Pine Ridge Reservation, has been the site of recurring protests over alcohol.
Charles Michael Ray/SDPB

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:18 pm

At the Pine Ridge Reservation just outside the town of Whiteclay, Neb., an upside-down American flag flies on a wooden pole next to a teepee. About 60 people gathered here Monday to protest as beer truck drivers unloaded cases into a Whiteclay liquor store a few hundred yards away.

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Parallels
3:42 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

U.S. Wants Global Trafficking Report To Hit Home

Prostitutes arrested in Guatemala City in 2012, as part of an operation against human trafficking.
Johan Ordonez AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. State Department releases its report on human trafficking every year, naming the countries it believes aren't doing enough to combat modern-day slavery.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Infections From Contaminated Injections Can Lurk Undetected

Spinal MRIs similar to these found infections that many patients hadn't realized they had.
Stefano Raffini iStockphoto.com

People who think they didn't get sick from a nationwide meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections used to treat back pain may want to think again.

Doctors at hospitals in Michigan did MRI scans of people who had been given tainted injections but didn't report symptoms of meningitis afterwards.

About 20 percent of the 172 people tested had suspicious-looking MRIs, and 17 ended up needing surgery to treat fungal infections in or around the spine.

The patients had gotten steroid injections about three months before the MRI, in mid to late 2012.

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It's All Politics
2:50 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Nina Totenberg Answers Your Supreme Court Questions

This artist rendering shows Supreme Court Justices (from left) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan in 2012.
Dana Verkouteren AP

With the Supreme Court expected to hand down big decisions this month — including rulings on voting rights, affirmative action and

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The Salt
2:41 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

And The Winner Of The World Food Prize Is ... The Man From Monsanto

James Finley AP

Ever heard of the World Food Prize? It's sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for food and agriculture," but it has struggled to get people's attention. Prize winners tend to be agricultural insiders, and many are scientists. Last year's laureate, for instance, was Daniel Hillel, a pioneer of water-saving "micro-irrigation."

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Tropical Storm Barry Heads Toward Mexico, Forecasters Say

Tropical Storm Barry, the second named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, is expected to hit Mexico's southeastern coast.
NOAA

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:58 pm

The National Hurricane Center has issued coastal warnings in the Gulf of Mexico regarding Tropical Storm Barry. The second named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, Barry is currently in the southwest corner of the gulf; it is expected to make landfall in Mexico Thursday morning.

The center says an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft determined Wednesday that the storm, formerly called Tropical Depression Two, had strengthened. Barry is currently about 75 miles east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico.

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Monkey See
2:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

From Classic Toys To New Twists, Kids Go Back To Blocks

Legos and other interlocking toys are only one kind of blocks that remain popular with kids.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 12:39 pm

I visited Toy Fair in New York City hunting for ideas for our summer series about kids' culture. One of the big takeaways was the increasing popularity of construction games such as Legos. Sales shot up nearly 20 percent last year. Now, it seems, every major toy manufacturer is scrambling to add new games geared toward kids building things.

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Shots - Health News
2:10 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Vaccine Against HPV Has Cut Infections In Teenage Girls

A 13-year-old girl gets an HPV vaccination from Judith Schaechter, a pediatrician at the University of Miami, in 2011.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:18 pm

A vaccine against human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and the cause of almost all cervical cancer — is dramatically reducing the prevalence of HPV in teenage girls.

The first vaccine against HPV, Merck's Gardasil, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. Cerverix, from GlaxoSmithKline, was approved in 2009.

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Around the Nation
2:07 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

'The Watchers' Have Had Their Eyes On Us For Years

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

The revelations about secret National Security Agency programs, leaked by Edward Snowden earlier this month, have stirred great controversy, but this type of surveillance is not entirely new, according to journalist Shane Harris.

In his 2010 book, The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, Harris traced the evolution of these surveillance programs in the U.S.

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Wanna Be A Rock Star? NASA Needs Help Tracking Asteroids

Actor Bruce Willis appears on the surface of an asteroid in a scene from the movie Armageddon.
Frank Masi AP

It won't be quite like Bruce Willis in Armageddon, but maybe you'll feel just as much a hero.

The White House and NASA are seeking the public's help in hunting for asteroids that could someday smash into Earth. They're also looking for a perfect space rock to capture so that astronauts could go there and study it.

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Fed Leaves Interest Rates And Bond Purchase Plan Untouched

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that a fall in the unemployment rate would not automatically trigger a rise in interest rates. He spoke to the media after the central bank issued a policy update.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 2:57 pm

The Federal Reserve will continue its program of purchasing $85 billion in securities and will leave the target interest rate for federal funds untouched to support the U.S. economy, the U.S. central bank said in a policy update issued Wednesday afternoon.

Here's a summary of the state of the U.S. economy from the Fed, which concluded two days of meetings today:

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Country Singer Slim Whitman, Known For His Yodel, Dies

Slim Whitman arriving at Heathrow Airport in 1976.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:18 pm

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From Our Listeners
1:04 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Letters: Researching Rare Diseases, Only Children

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. James in Laurel Hill, Fla., emailed during our conversation about research into rare diseases. "I would like to affirm the comment made by your guest about rare disease research leading to help for more common diseases," he wrote. "My nephew has brittle bone disease. Some aspects of his treatment have been used to help mend broken bones in accident victims, so research into rare disorders can definitely lead to treatment for others."

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Politics
12:41 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

The Penultimate Edition Of The Political Junkie

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The speaker clamps the Hastert Rule on immigration reform. Three Republican senators now support gay marriage. And the Bay State Senate race goes into its last week. It's Wednesday and time for a penultimate edition of the political junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

"Suffering On A Huge Scale": World Refugee Numbers Swell

Afghan refugee children collect items of use from a pile of garbage on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 1:24 pm

The United Nations Refugee Commission says more than 45.2 million people were in "situations of displacement" around the world as of last year — the most since 1994.

A report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there were 15.4 million refugees in other countries, 937,000 people seeking political asylum and 28.8 million people forced out of their homes but still inside their own countries.

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NPR Story
12:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Deadpan Humor And Childhood Fears Collide In 'The Dark'

In The Dark, a boy name Laszlo is visited one night by his biggest fear.
Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 1:26 pm

If there's one thing kids are scared of, it's the dark. In his latest children's book, The Dark, Daniel Handler — who writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket — takes on darkness itself, with the story of a young boy who confronts his biggest fear. Handler is known for his dry wit and matter-of-fact take on the mysterious and macabre.

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Business
12:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Will Work For Free? The Future Of The Unpaid Internship

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. With school out, many college - and even some high school students - will spend the summer working as interns. It's a chance to beef up their resumes, gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts. Last week, a federal district court judge in New York issued a ruling that could change the system.

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Oops. Wrong Birth Year Fixed On NYC Mayor Koch's Tombstone

Look closely: Ed Koch's tombstone had the wrong birth date. It's fixed now, but the error had the late New York City mayor born in 1942, rather than 1924.
Andrew Savulich NY Daily News via Getty Images

"You could call it a 'grave' mistake," says WNBC-TV of New York City.

The tombstone of Edward I. Koch, the city's colorful, three-term mayor who died in February, listed an incorrect birth date for him. Instead of showing Dec. 12, 1924, the year mistakenly read 1942 — until yesterday.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

FBI Director Says Agency Is Using Drones Over The U.S.

A Predator drone
General Atomics Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 3:55 pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is using drones on United States soil for surveillance purposes, the agency's director, Robert Mueller, told a Senate committee today.

"Our footprint is very small, and we have very few and of limited use, and we're exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use," said Mueller , answering a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Mueller, who was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said they were used in a "very, very minimal way and very seldom."

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Fine Art
11:40 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Art Of Life: Claes Oldenburg At MOMA

Oldenburg's fascination with simple, everyday objects often led him to food as a subject, as with Pastry Case, I, 1961-62.
Claes Oldenburg Museum of Modern Art

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 3:05 pm

The sculptor Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm but grew up in Chicago, went to Yale and came to New York in 1956, where he became a key player in the pop art movement — the major counter-reaction to the abstract expressionism that dominated the 1950s. So much for art history.

Although Oldenburg is a serious artist, probably no artist in history ever created works that were more fun. In a new show at the Museum of Modern Art — really two shows — practically everyone, including myself, was walking through the galleries with a huge grin.

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The Salt
11:26 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Women And Children Caught In Middle Of Potato War

Fresh white spuds aren't allowed in a government supplemental nutrition program for women and children because, unlike other fruits and vegetables, potatoes aren't lacking in the typical diet.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 12:01 pm

We didn't plan it, but somehow, it has turned into Potato Week here at The Salt. The latest twist in the tater tales takes us to Capitol Hill.

Americans love to pile on the potatoes – we consumed a whopping 112 pounds per capita last year. But lately, the potato industry has been playing the part of jilted lover and taking its heartache to Congress.

According to the National Potato Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture "discriminates" against fresh, white potatoes.

Huh?

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Wed June 19, 2013

It's Beach Time... In Alaska, Where Heat Wave Breaks Records

In this photo taken on Monday, people swim and sunbathe at Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska.
Rachel D'Oro AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 12:44 pm

Taking advantage of an intense heat wave that broke long-standing records yesterday, residents of Anchorage, Alaska, headed to the beach at Goose Lake.

As the Anchorage Daily News reports, the National Weather Service recorded a high temperature of 81 degrees in the city, beating the previous record of 80 degrees set in June of 1926.

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