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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Genealogists Say Obama Likely A Descendant Of First American Slave

President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Washington Convention Center in April.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Genealogists at Ancestry.com have two surprises for us today: After years of studying President Obama's family tree, they have concluded that he was likely John Punch's 11th great-grandson. Punch is considered the first documented American slave.

The second surprise: The experts connected President Obama to Punch not through his African father, but through his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who was white.

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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

24 Murder Counts, 116 Attempted Murder Counts For Colo. Shooting Suspect

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 1:21 pm

Prosecutors in Colorado today charged James Holmes with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the July 20 deaths of 12 people and wounding of 58 during a shooting rampage at a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

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The Torch
12:06 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Olympic Cauldron Is Put Out, Then Relit, In London

In a mostly empty Olympic Stadium, Austin Playfoot lights the Olympic cauldron Monday morning. The cauldron was extinguished Sunday night, so it could be moved to one end of the stadium. Click the enlargement to see a close-up view.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Just when the discussion over the London Olympics' opening ceremony was finally being overshadowed by actual sporting events at the Summer Games, news emerges Monday that the Olympic cauldron was extinguished Sunday night, so it could be moved.

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The Two-Way
11:44 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Colorado Shooting Stories: There Were Many 'Heroes Among Us'

A heart shaped balloon hovered above a memorial for victims outside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last week.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 9:15 am

As they're being 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.

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Law
11:31 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Will Penn. I.D. Law Actually Keep Voters Away?

Voter I.D. laws have been hotly debated this election season. Now, a Pennsylvania case is challenging that state's new Voter I.D. law. The Justice Department also announced that it will investigate whether the law is discriminatory. Host Michel Martin speaks with Columbia Law Professor Nathan Persily for more on the case.

The Torch
11:28 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Overturned Judo Result Called A 'Farce' And Parody

A judo judge waves a blue flag to award victory to South Korea's Cho Jun-Ho Sunday. But moments later, judges raised white flags instead, giving the win to Masashi Ebinuma of Japan.
Franck Fife AFP/Getty Images

Judo is a sport of leverage, strength, tactics and cunning. These attributes can appear to the uninitiated to be two people attempting to grab each other, without success, for five minutes. And then when no points are scored, they try to grab each other for another three minutes of overtime.

One of these gripping contests — the men's quarterfinals at 66 kg — has become the source of international indignation over a perceived injustice. But with the sport of Judo, an apparently firm set of circumstances can flip in an instant.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Romney's Words That Outraged Palestinians Were 'Mischaracterized,' Aide Says

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem's old city on Sunday.
Lior Mizrahi Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 2:00 pm

Reports that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at a fundraiser in Jerusalem that "culture" is among the reasons Israel's economy is much stronger than those in "areas managed by the Palestinian Authority" have led a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accuse Romney of racism.

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The Torch
10:27 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Phelps In Fly, Too Many Tweets, And A Chatty Olympics Greeter

Sam Griffiths of Australia, and his horse Happy Times, compete in the cross country phase of the equestrian eventing competition in London's Greenwich Park.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Good morning. Here's a roundup of London 2012 Olympics news stories that have caught our interest. We also have a highlight list of today's upcoming events, in a different post. You can also check out our main schedule. Here's what's been happening already today:

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Afghan Reconstruction Projects May Be 'Counterproductive,' Report Warns

At a road project in Qalat, Afghanistan, last summer, U.S. forces were providing security.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt.Brian Ferguson Reuters /Landov
  • Former Ambassador Ryan Crocker speaks with Renee Montagne

The rising hopes but still-daunting challenges facing the people of Afghanistan and their allies, most notably the U.S., were underscored again this morning by two new stories:

-- The recently departed U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, told Morning Edition host Renee Montagne that he does not think Afghans will suffer through another devasting, multi-party civil war after U.S. combat forces are gone in 2014.

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The Torch
9:10 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Highlights Of Monday's Events From The London 2012 Olympics

Australia's Jamie Dwyer, who scored three goals against South Africa in field hockey Monday, goes horizontal in London's Riverbank Arena. The South African goalie matched Dwyer's strategy, but Australia won, 6-0.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 10:00 am

Swimming is again the big draw in the London 2012 Olympics today, with four gold-medal races scheduled. But gymnastics also has a big day. Competitions are being held in 22 sports Monday — meaning there are dozens of events vying for your attention. Below, we list the ones we'll be keeping a close eye on.

As always, we'll be reporting results and stories as they happen. So if you're someone who worries about spoilers and prefers to watch on tape-delay, steer clear of our Twitter feed... and possibly the entire Internet.

All times are EDT:

Swimming

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Syrian Conflict: Refugees Race To Escape; Battle Goes On In Aleppo

Syrian refugee children at the refugee camp in Jordan on Sunday.
Khalil Mazraawi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 12:03 pm

  • Anthony Kuhn reporting about Aleppo for 'Morning Edition'

The focus of the battle between the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and opposition fighters remains on the city of Aleppo, where it could be a long, deadly fight before either side can claim victory.

Meanwhile, a refugee crisis continues to build:

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The Salt
8:18 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Fun — And Olympic Games — On National Cheesecake Day

There's evidence the first Olympic athletes ate cheesecake, but it probably looked a lot different than this.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:23 am

It turns out to be easier to find out when and where the original Olympic Games were held (776 BC, in Olympia, Greece) than to nail down the story behind National Cheesecake Day.

Yes, in case it had passed you by, today is National Cheesecake Day.

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The Two-Way
8:02 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Grid Failure In India Cuts Power To 370 Million

Passengers in New Delhi were waiting for trains that couldn't run because of Monday's power outage.
Prakash Singh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 10:31 am

An estimated 370 million people — about 60 million more than live in the U.S. — were without power for at least part of today in northern India because of a massive failure in the country's power grid.

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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
7:39 am
Mon July 30, 2012

In New Mexico, A Brittle Treat That Smolders

Nut brittles from the Las Cruces Candy Company are studded with pecans, pistachios and almonds, and infused with New Mexico's signature chili peppers — both green and red.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 11:20 am

New Mexicans can get a little carried away with their chile peppers. There's chile beer, chile pizza, chile ice cream — you can find the smoldering flavors of chile peppers in just about anything.

And then there's chile brittle. Luis Flores, owner of chili brittle purveyor Las Cruces Candy Company, beats the summer heat by getting up at 3 a.m. to prepare his specialties.

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Monkey See
7:36 am
Mon July 30, 2012

The Opening Ceremonies In London: From The Industrial Revolution To Voldemort

The Olympic Flame is lit during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 10:25 am

The opening ceremonies at any Olympics are tasked with doing quite a bit: providing a splashy experience to kick off the games for those watching both on site and at home, representing the national identity of the home country, and offering stirring entertainment while maintaining the stiff formality with which the Olympics still want so badly to be about something important — not just flashy spectacle, but real pageantry.

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Europe
7:35 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Traffic In London Not So Jammed

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 8:24 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Time now for traffic on the 30. London's moving well despite fears the games would clog the city. The M1 highway is busy, but somewhere between normal and nice. And the AP reports inside London no problems at all. The commute to the Houses of Parliament five minutes shorter than normal and bike riders are loving roads cleared of cars for the Olympic races. Wish we were there. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Strange News
7:35 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Japan Plucks Sweden's Ukelele World Record

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 12:25 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

Japan has edged out Sweden for a world record. No, not the Olympics but the Guinness Record for largest ukulele ensemble. More than 2,000 people in Yokohama went to the street to strum their tiny Hawaiian instruments. Trying to top the record is becoming a sport in its own right. Earlier this month in Cairns, Australia, people took on the Swedish record, but they missed the mark by a 150 strummers.

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

The Two-Way
7:33 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Long Legal Process Begins For Colorado Shooting Suspect

James Holmes, in an Arapahoe County, Colo., court on July 23.
AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 8:46 am

  • Kirk Siegler on 'Morning Edition'

Months of pre-trial legal arguments begin in earnest this morning when James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others in a July 20 shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., appears in an Arapahoe County, Colo., court.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
7:05 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Olympic Swimming Records Smashed, Hopes Dashed

American Dana Vollmer celebrates after her gold medal win Sunday in the women's 100-meter butterfly swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:16 pm

The opening weekend of the Summer Olympics was marked by highs and lows, of course, and the swimming pool had its share of both. World records, a stunning loss and a medal for the home team — and that was all in just one afternoon.

Before American Dana Vollmer answers how a 55.98-second 100-meter butterfly — the fastest time ever, and worth a gold medal — feels, consider this: Vollmer was diagnosed as a teenager with two life-threatening heart conditions that prompted her mom to carry a defibrillator to Dana's races.

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