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Parallels
12:00 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

A Small Farming Town Becomes Ground Zero In Syria's War

Syrian soldiers stand in the main square of the western city of Qusair. Government troops recaptured the town on Wednesday after rebels had held it for more than a year. It's seen as a significant victory for President Bashar Assad's government.
STR AFP/Getty images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 12:50 pm

Qusair is a sleepy farming town not far from my hometown. I passed through it many times as a child and never imagined it would one day make international headlines as the focal point of Syria's civil war.

I wish it had remained a quiet place defined by the many agricultural fields of wheat and barley, along with apricot and apple trees, all of them well-watered by the Orontes River.

Less than 10 miles from the Lebanese border, Qusair was a mixed town of Christians, Sunnis and Shiites. Not anymore.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Death Toll In Philadelphia Building Collapse Rises to 6

Firefighters and rescue workers at the site of Wednesday's building collapse in Philadelphia.
Clem Murray MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:04 am

(Most recent update: 12:05 a.m. ET Thursday)

Firefighters have pulled a 14th survivor from the rubble of a building that collapsed Wednesday in Philadelphia, and from an adjacent store that was heavily damaged. According to The Associated Press, rescuers found a woman late Wednesday and she was taken to a nearby hospital. Deputy Fire Chief Robert Coyne said early Thursday that 61-year-old Myra Plekam was pulled from the debris more than 12 hours after a building collapsed and that she was awake and talking to rescuers.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Hilarious: Israeli Education Minister Can't Stop Laughing

Shai Piron.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 1:14 pm

Tuesday was a funny day in the Israeli Knesset. According to Haaretz, Education Minister Shai Piron stood before the parliament set to deliver a speech about prison contraband.

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Shots - Health News
11:28 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Will A Pedometer Get You Off Your Duff?

Pedometer, an app, keeps track of your steps, distance traveled and calories burned.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:27 am

Are you more likely to sit less and exercise more if you've got a little device tracking you every step of the way?

Quite a few people think so. But public health do-gooders bent on getting Americans out of their chairs and off their couches want to know for sure.

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The Salt
11:14 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Let Them Eat Wood! (If It's Turned Into Starch)

Scientists have figured out out how to turn cellulose from wood, bushes and grasses into edible starch.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 4:52 pm

For Percival Zhang, growing up in China meant learning to appreciate just how critical a stable food supply is to avoiding social unrest and disasters like famine.

When he became an associate professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, he got to thinking just how risky growing food has become because of the finite resources it requires: land, water, seeds and fertilizer.

Plenty of other plants on Earth, on the other hand, aren't so demanding.

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Chrysler 'Puts Reputation At Risk' By Rejecting Recall

Mike Blake Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 12:47 pm

As The Associated Press writes, "a defiant Chrysler is refusing to recall about 2.7 million Jeeps the government says are at risk of a fuel tank fire in a rear-end collision."

The Detroit Free Press says the company has "put its reputation for safety and quality on the line" by initially saying "no" to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's request.

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Shots - Health News
10:57 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Komen Foundation Scales Back Fundraising Walks

The Susan Komen for the Cure Foundation is pulling back from some high-profile fundraising walks.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 4:36 pm

Fallout from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's controversial and short-lived decision to halt funding for Planned Parenthood projects appears to still be piling up.

The group is pulling the plug on three-day events featuring fundraising walks in Washington, D.C., and six other cities in 2014. The Washington Post reported on the change Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Syrian Government Seizes Control Of The Key City Of Qusayr

Syrian army's soldiers walk in a street left in ruins on Wednesday in the city of Qusair in Syria's central Homs province.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 1:52 pm

The Syrian government claimed an important victory today, wresting control of Qusair, a key city near the Lebanese border, from rebel fighters.

CNN reports:

"State-run TV credited an offensive 'that led to the annihilation of a number of terrorists,' the government's term for rebels.

" 'Our heroic armed forces are always determined to confront any aggression that our beloved homeland may face in the future,' an anchor on Syrian state television said.

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Science + Technology
10:42 am
Wed June 5, 2013

MIT's Magic Bag Of Sand

NMANewsDirect You Tube

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 10:48 am

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Literature
10:39 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Start Storing Up: Indie Booksellers Pick Summer's Best Reads

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:06 pm

NPR's Susan Stamberg asked three of our go-to independent booksellers — Rona Brinlee of The BookMark in Neptune Beach, Fla.; Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Co. in Milwaukee; and Lucia Silva, former book buyer at the now-closed Portrait of a Bookstore in Studio City, Calif. — to help fill our beach bags with good reads. What they came up with is a summer book list that's full of youth and ritual.

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Food
10:23 am
Wed June 5, 2013

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Michele Kayal for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 3:19 pm

My husband's cousin, Milind, stops the car alongside Mumbai's famous Chowpatty Beach, and I think it's because we're going to take in the scene: the cavorting clowns, the camels, the balloon sellers, the people thronging the sand as though it's noon instead of midnight. I begin walking toward the beach, but Milind pulls me in the other direction. Toward the New Kulfi Center.

"Milind, please," I moan. The ice cream stand is just the latest stop on an hours-long eating odyssey that took us from street food to a juice shop to grilled cheese.

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Business
9:54 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Jobs Outlook Is Brighter For Class Of 2013

Graduates of Bowie State University wave to friends and family at the school's graduation ceremony in College Park, Md., on May 17. This year's graduates are finding better job prospects than at any time since 2008.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

For the last five years, graduation day has been as much a time for apprehension as for celebration.

Even now, with the Great Recession over, many recent graduates are still struggling to turn their high school and college diplomas into tickets for a better life. The unemployment rate for Americans under age 25 remains more than double the overall rate of 7.5 percent.

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The Two-Way
9:26 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Job Growth Stayed Slow In May, Report Signals

The scene at a jobs fair in Gainesville, Fla., on April 27.
Matt Stamey Gainesville Sun /Landov

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 10:04 am

There were 135,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in May, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report, which was released Wednesday morning.

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U.S.
9:20 am
Wed June 5, 2013

National Security Adviser Donilon Resigns; Rice To Take Over

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The Whitehouse has announced that President Obama's National Security Advisor is resigning and he will be replaced by Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. NPR's Ron Elving is here to tell us more. Ron, some months ago, Ms. Rice was rumored to be nominated Secretary of State - that, of course, did not happen. So why don't you give us a quick fill on the back story.

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Wed June 5, 2013

British Phone Hacking Scandal: Rebekah Brooks Pleads Not Guilty

Rebekah Brooks, left, the former Chief Executive of News International, and her husband Charlie Brooks leave Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday in London, England.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 1:04 pm

Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive and former top editor at the tabloid News of the World, pleaded not guilty to five charges related to the phone hacking scandal that has rocked England.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Wed June 5, 2013

First Lady Gets Face-To-Face With Heckler

First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House on May 9.
John Stillwell / pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 9:27 am

Update at 9:15 a.m. ET, May 6. Video:

CNN has posted clips from a video taken by GetEQUAL in which you can see and hear some of what happened when one of its activists heckled First Lady Michelle Obama at a private fundraiser this week.

Our original post and an earlier update:

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Shakeup: Susan Rice To Be Obama's National Security Adviser

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Mark Garten / U.N. UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 8:42 am

United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, a lightning rod for Republican critics of the Obama administration's handling of the September 2012 attack on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, is moving into the post of national security adviser at the White House.

That's what a White House official tells NPR's Ari Shapiro — echoing reports earlier Wednesday morning from The Associated Press and other news outlets.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Book News: Germany's Longest Word Gets The Ax

Cuts of beef and pork lie in a display counter at a supermarket in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Around the Nation
7:32 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Young Bicyclists Rewarded For Wearing Helmets

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 9:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It seemed like an odd move. An Ohio police chief publicly directed his officers to target a certain group for ticketing. He set a quota for the officers of Brimfield Township: at least one ticket per shift. And the targeted group? Kids under the age of 12 riding their bikes wearing helmets. Ah, but the fine was a free ice cream cone. Just bicycle safely over to Frank's Drive-In. Tickets good for the summer. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sports
7:30 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Reports: 20 Major League Baseball Players May Be Suspended

Dark clouds hang over Major League Baseball. There are reports that about 20 players may be suspended because of their connections to a Miami clinic that dispensed performance-enhancing drugs. (Photo taken Sunday at Yankee Stadium.)
Jason Szenes EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 11:27 am

"Major League Baseball will seek to suspend about 20 players connected to the Miami-area clinic at the heart of an ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, possibly within the next few weeks," ESPN's Outside the Lines reports.

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