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Asia
5:35 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Hijacking Reveals Strains In China-North Korea Ties

A Chinese paramilitary guard gestures outside the North Korean Embassy in Beijing on May 17. Tensions between the two countries are rising after unidentified North Koreans hijacked three Chinese fishing boats and demanded ransom, before releasing the vessels and their crew.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 10:00 am

New strains are emerging between China and its old ally, North Korea, six months after the death of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The recent North Korean hijacking of Chinese fishing boats has shaken those ties considerably, leading to public pressure on China to stand up to North Korea.

Fishing boats returning to their home port in China don't normally make the news. But they did last month, because three boats — and 28 fishermen — had been detained for almost two weeks in North Korea.

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Science
5:35 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Summer Science: The Perfectly Toasted Marshmallow

Joe Palca's perfectly toasted marshmallow.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 8:18 am

It's the epic quest of campers everywhere: How do you get the perfectly toasted marshmallow? In our inaugural installment of NPR's Summer Science series, we gave some guidance on the first key ingredient: how to build the campfire. (Later this summer, we'll attempt to answer the vexing question of how to stave off brain freeze.)

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Monkey See
5:35 am
Tue June 12, 2012

The Old With The New: Generations Clash In New 'Dallas'

Bobby (Patrick Duffy, top left), J.R. (Larry Hagman, top center left) and the rest of the Ewing family are back, including a new generation, for TNT's reboot of Dallas.
Mark Seliger TNT

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 12:08 pm

In 1980, the world was transfixed by the question of "Who shot J.R.?" Of course, we're talking about the archvillain from the nighttime soap opera Dallas. Three hundred fifty million people worldwide tuned in to find out. Now the TNT cable network is rebooting the show and hoping for even a fraction of that passion.

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Tue June 12, 2012

10,000 People Called Human Trafficking Hotline In 2011

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 10:14 am

A national hotline for human trafficking victims received calls from about 10,000 individuals last year, from every state in the union.

A new report out today by the Polaris Project, which runs the 24-hour hotline through a federal grant, says the volume of calls for help is on the rise, as awareness of the problem grows.

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U.S.
5:03 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Loud Debate Rages Over N.Y. Library's Quiet Stacks

The New York Public Library's Rose Reading Room sits atop seven floors of book stacks, all closed to the public. Under a controversial renovation plan, many of those books would be moved to New Jersey.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 8:18 am

Enter the glorious Rose Reading Room on the third floor of the New York Public Library on a weekday afternoon, and you'll find almost every chair filled.

Scholars and researchers still submit their book requests on slips of paper and wait for their numbers to appear on two large boards.

The stacks, filled with some 3 million volumes, are closed to the public, so books are retrieved from seven floors of shelving below. Still other volumes are stored off-site.

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Revolutionary Road Trip
5:00 am
Tue June 12, 2012

After Libya's War, Acts Of Vengeance

A destroyed apartment building in Tawargha, south of the Libyan coastal city of Misrata. Rebels from Misrata destroyed Tawargha, accusing residents of supporting Moammar Gadhafi and committing atrocities.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 12:05 pm

NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep is taking a Revolutionary Road Trip across North Africa to see how the countries that staged revolutions last year are remaking themselves. Steve and his team are traveling some 2,000 miles from Tunisia's ancient city of Carthage, across the deserts of Libya and on to Egypt's megacity of Cairo. Near the Libyan coastal city of Misrata, he looks at violence that took place after the revolution.

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National Security
2:58 am
Tue June 12, 2012

As Drone Strikes Grow, So Do Concerns Over Use

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan on Jan. 31, 2010. Drones have become the U.S. weapon of choice in the fight against terrorism. But as the technology of this new form of warfare improves, so do concerns about how others will use it in the future.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 10:28 am

Without question, drones have become the U.S. weapon of choice in the fight against terrorism. Counterterrorism officials say they've come to rely on the pilotless aircraft for their surveillance capability and what officials say is precision targeting. That reliance has led to greater use in the past couple of years, especially in Pakistan and Yemen.

John Bellinger, a State Department legal adviser during the George W. Bush administration, says there are increasing concerns about the frequency of drone attacks.

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Author Interviews
2:50 am
Tue June 12, 2012

What Animals Can Teach Humans About Healing

When wildfires swept across Australia in February 2009, this photo of a firefighter sharing his water with an injured koala captured hearts around the world. The koala later died — not of fire-related injuries, but of chlamydia. Koalas in Australia are suffering from an epidemic of chlamydia, says Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz. "There's no such thing as safe sex in the wild."
Mark Pardew AP

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 8:18 am

When Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz was asked to treat an exotic little monkey with heart failure at the Los Angeles Zoo, she learned that monkeys can suffer heart attacks from extreme stress — just like humans. That's when the cardiologist realized she'd never thought to look beyond her own species for insights into disease.

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The Record
12:23 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Egypt's Underground Wakes Up

Noor Noor performs with his band El-Zabaleen, which makes many of its instruments out of recycled materials.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:42 pm

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The Two-Way
6:38 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

From Our Readers: Don't Be That Guy (Fawkes)

When we asked whether the Occupy movement has "crashed or just begun," "Rock Trimlove" took issue with our image of a protester in the Guy Fawkes mask, pointing out that the mask was worn by hacker group Anonymous "long before the 'Occupy' movement began." Ultimately, however, the commenter found the picture to

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It's All Politics
6:38 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Obama's Deportation Policies Have Failed, Immigrant Advocates Say

Audience members listen to President Obama speak about immigration reform in El Paso, Texas, in May 2011. The Obama campaign is wooing Hispanics ahead of the November elections, but the president's deportation policy is being criticized by immigrant advocates.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 8:16 pm

Criticism of the Obama administration's deportation policies continues to pour in as previously supportive groups called the latest government effort a failure.

Immigrant advocates on Monday condemned the administration's recent findings that a policy designed to reduce the deportations of otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants has had almost no effect.

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The Two-Way
6:11 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Scientists Back Off, Neutrinos Were Not Clocked At Speeds Faster Than Light

A 2009 London art installation, Super K Sonic Booum, by Nelly Ben Hayoun replicated a neutrino detector, allowing the public to ride in a boat accompanied by the physicists working on the Super-Kamiokande in Japan.
Nick Ballon

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 7:11 am

We're a few days late on this news, but because we've focused on neutrinos that may have moved faster than the speed of light before, we thought it only fair to bring you the news:

The team of Italian scientists running an experiment called OPERA, who said they had clocked neutrinos moving faster than light, have come to terms with their findings: Their experiment does not challenge a very basic tenant of physics.

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Election 2012
5:25 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Arizona Voters Choosing Gabby Giffords' Replacement

Democrat Ron Barber (left) and Republican Jesse Kelly during a May 23 debate in Tucson. They are running Tuesday in a special election to replace retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Kelly Presnell Arizona Daily Star

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 8:10 pm

Voters in southeastern Arizona go to the polls Tuesday in a special election to fill the rest of the congressional term of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords, a Democrat, resigned in January, a year after she was critically wounded in a shooting rampage. Running to fill the remaining six months of her term are her former aide, Ron Barber, and Republican Jesse Kelly, a businessman and Iraq War veteran.

The special election has echoes of the 2010 congressional campaign in the Tucson-based 8th Congressional District.

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World Cafe
5:25 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Next: Broncho

Broncho.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 12:27 pm

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Politics
5:18 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Harlem Icon Faces 'Perfect Storm' In Re-Election Bid

Rep. Charles Rangel greets supporters after a press conference at Frederick Douglass Circle in New York on May 3.
Andy Jacobsohn MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 6:29 pm

In Harlem, a legendary congressman — one of the most influential black politicians in modern history — faced a difficult re-election as allies backed his younger opponent in demanding a changing of the guard.

That was in 1970, when challenger Charles Rangel defeated Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a mythic figure undone by scandal and frustrated constituents.

Now, 42 years later, Rangel is the iconic lawmaker contending with perhaps his toughest re-election against challengers from within his own party who say his time has passed.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:08 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Thaw At Brain Bank Deals Setback To Autism Research

Unrefrigerated brains in preserving solution are stacked high on shelves at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center at McLean Hospital.
Olin College of Engineering Flickr

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 8:35 am

The details sound like something out of a bad science-fiction movie.

A freezer storing human brains for research went on the fritz, and nobody at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center knew for days. Two separate alarms that should have alerted staff to the problem failed to sound late last month.

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Middle East
5:08 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Lebanese Fear Spillover Violence From Syria

Syria's turmoil has been spreading into Lebanon, where residents say Syrian soldiers have crossed the border and killed civilians. Here, Lebanese army soldiers patrol in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, earlier this month, where clashes broke out between pro- and anti-Syria gunmen.
Bilal Hussein AP

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 8:10 pm

A rash of kidnappings in Lebanon over the weekend, coupled with deadly cross-border attacks by the Syrian army, are all worrying signs that Syria's troubles are continuing to spill over into its smaller and weaker neighbor.

In the most recent incidents, a Sunni sheik known to support the Syrian uprising was abducted. In retaliation, several Alawites aligned with the Syrian government were taken. Days before that, the Syrian army shot several people on Lebanese territory.

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

U.S. Families' Wealth Plunges 40 Percent, Fed Says

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 5:08 pm

In a study (pdf) released today, the Federal Reserve reports that Americans saw a record drop in their wealth between the years 2007 to 2010. Driven primarily by plummeting home values, families' median net worth dropped 38.8 percent, to levels last seen 18 years ago.

Reuters reports:

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Music Reviews
4:45 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Sidi Touré And The Sonic Heritage Of The Sahara

Sidi Touré plays guitar and sings in the Songhaï tradition.
Jonathan Crawford

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 1:42 pm

It's easy to romanticize the Sahara — a vast expanse of sand organized around the northern reaches of the Niger River. Part of that romance is captured in the music of singer and guitarist Sidi Touré, who composes songs in the folkloric tradition of the Songhaï people.

His new album of desert chamber music, Koïma, harkens back to the glory days of the Songhaï Empire, which ruled much of the region from the city of Gao in the 15th and 16th centuries.

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Europe
4:44 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Spain's Leader Calls It A 'Victory,' Not A Bailout

Protesters rally against a bailout package for Spain in front of a Bank of Spain building in Barcelona on Monday. The demonstrators think the bailout will bring only greater hardship.
Josep Lago AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 8:10 pm

A day after getting approval for a financial rescue he vowed Spain would never need, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said it was his idea all along.

"No one pressured me into this. I pushed for it myself, because I wanted a line of credit," Rajoy said. He refused to call it a "bailout." He called it a "victory" instead.

Most Spaniards don't buy that. In a poll published Sunday, 78 percent of respondents said they have "little or no" faith in Rajoy and his ruling conservatives. That's just six months after they won elections in a landslide.

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