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World
5:27 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Malta's Coast Guard Rescues Migrants — And Feels The Strain

Soldiers in Malta carry coffins during a funeral service for 24 migrants who drowned while trying to reach southern Italy.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 6:34 pm

This week, the bodies of 24 unidentified migrants were laid to rest in Malta, the European island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. They were among more than 800 people who lost their lives last weekend off the coast of Libya when their ship capsized as they were trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach a better life.

Lieutenant Keith Caruana of the Armed Forces of Malta spoke with NPR's Arun Rath about the situation in the Mediterranean — and the toll it has taken on rescuers after more than a decade of trying to save the lives of desperate people seeking safety.

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World
5:27 pm
Sat April 25, 2015

Solving Crimes With Pollen, One Grain Of Evidence At A Time

Dallas Mildenhall, New Zealand's forensic pollen expert, peers at samples through a microscope.
Courtesy of David Wolman

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 6:23 pm

Some murder cases are harder to solve than others. The investigation into the killing of Mellory Manning — a 27-year-old woman who was assaulted and murdered in 2008 while working as a prostitute in Christchurch, New Zealand — confounded police.

They conducted an investigation and interviewed hundreds of people, but months later, they still had no solid leads.

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Author Interviews
10:15 am
Sat April 25, 2015

Imagining The Power Of Edouard Manet's 'Very Active Muse'

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 3:04 pm

Victorine Meurent was just 17 years old when she met the great Impressionist painter Edouard Manet on a Paris street in 1862. The young, poverty-stricken redhead became his favorite model, and Manet painted her reclining nude in Olympia — a work that scandalized the Paris art world in 1865 and now hangs in the Musée d'Orsay.

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Music Interviews
6:41 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

The Nearly Lost Story Of Cambodian Rock 'N' Roll

Cambodian band Baksei Cham Krong.
Mol Kamach Courtesy of Argot Pictures

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 9:25 pm

The tragic story of Cambodia in the '60s and '70s is well-known: It became engulfed in the Vietnam War, then more than a million Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge regime. Doctors, lawyers, teachers — educated people — were targeted in the communist takeover. So were artists and singers.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
12:39 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Debate: Is It Time To Abolish The Death Penalty?

Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, with teammate Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 2:10 pm

The death penalty is legal in more than 30 states, but the long-controversial practice has come under renewed scrutiny after a series of botched executions in several states last year.

Opponents of capital punishment argue that the death penalty undermines the fair administration of justice, as wealth, geography, race and quality of legal representation all come into play, with uneven results.

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It's All Politics
5:16 am
Mon April 20, 2015

O'Malley: America's Economy Needs 'Sensible Rebalancing,' Not 'Pitchforks'

"There are two ways to go forward from here, and history shows this," Martin O'Malley said of the two parties' approaches to fixing the economy. "One path is a sensible rebalancing that calls us back to our tried and true success story as the land of opportunity. The other is pitchforks."
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 10:09 am

Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, says he'll decide by late May whether he's running for president. Running would put him — even he seems to acknowledge — in an uphill battle against Hillary Clinton, currently the only Democrat who has declared.

O'Malley is positioning himself to Clinton's left, and even President Obama's left.

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Health
6:49 pm
Sun April 19, 2015

Transgender Man Leads 'Men's Health' Cover Model Contest

Aydian Dowling is currently leading the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins, he will be the first trans man to appear on the cover.
Jason Robert Ballard FTM Magazine

Aydian Dowling of Eugene, Ore., is ripped. He has sharply defined muscles, piercing eyes and European-playboy-on-the-Riviera tousled hair.

It's not just striking good looks that distinguish Dowling, who is leading the voting in the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins the contest (which is ultimately determined by judges), Dowling will be the first transgender man to appear on the cover of Men's Health.

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Music
5:20 pm
Sun April 19, 2015

System Of A Down, Armenia's Favorite Sons, On Facing History

System of a Down is made up of four Los Angelenos of Armenian descent. This spring, they'll play their first-ever concert in their ethnic homeland.
Frank Maddocks Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 6:33 pm

Here's a quotation about prison overcrowding: "All research and successful drug policies show that treatment should be increased and law enforcement decreased, while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences." That's not from some stodgy think tank. That's metal.

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Author Interviews
5:20 pm
Sun April 19, 2015

Unsettling Tales Of Strange Suburbia Echo Through 'The Night'

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 8:16 pm

A town that experiences a sudden suicide epidemic, a mysterious traveling salesman who sells a magical mirror polish, a mermaid who washes up on shore: What happens to a small town when something strange and supernatural takes over?

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser explores that intersection of familiar life and disturbing, often bizarre events in his new short story collection, Voices in the Night.

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The Salt
5:20 am
Sun April 19, 2015

This Robot Chef Has Mastered Crab Bisque

These robotic arms are part of a modular kitchen that's been set up so that the robot chef can find exactly what it needs.
Moley Robotics

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 11:00 am

Step aside, home chefs! The kitchen of the future draws near.

No, there's no hydrator from Marty McFly's kitchen in Back to the Future II. Right now, the chef of the future looks like a pair of robotic arms that descend from the ceiling of a very organized kitchen. And it makes a mean crab bisque.

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Pop Culture
6:49 pm
Sat April 18, 2015

After Fan Pressure, Netflix Makes 'Daredevil' Accessible To The Blind

Netflix's original series Daredevil, which stars a blind superhero, was originally hard for blind audience members to understand. The series was released without audio description that would make it accessible to the visually impaired. TV broadcasters are required to release such descriptions for some content, but Netflix, as an Internet streaming service, faces no such requirement.
Netflix

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 12:20 am

Netflix's original series now have a superhero among them. Comic fans know Daredevil as a crusader. He's a Marvel character who, in addition to his superhuman abilities, has a very human disability: blindness.

Needless to say, Daredevil has quite a few fans with visual impairments — and they were looking forward to the show.

But until this week, Netflix had no plans to provide the audio assistance that could have helped those fans follow the show.

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The Salt
5:39 pm
Sat April 18, 2015

Late Chicago Chef Sought To Open 'A New Page In Gastronomy'

Chef Homaro Cantu holds a tomato in the kitchen of his Chicago restaurant Moto in 2007. Haute cuisine and extreme science collided in the kitchen of Chef Cantu, who took his own life Tuesday.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 10:19 am

The culinary world lost a visionary this week. Homaro Cantu, a specialist in the avant-garde approach to cooking known as molecular gastronomy, died Tuesday in Chicago at the age of 38. The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled Cantu's death a suicide.

Every visit to Cantu's flagship restaurant, Michelin-starred Moto, was a trip down the rabbit hole.

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Fine Art
7:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Wordless Ads Speak Volumes In 'Unbranded' Images Of Women

Come out of the Bone Age, darling....1955
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 11:00 am

Advertisements don't need any words to say a lot about a culture.

That's one of the messages that shines through in the work of artist Hank Willis Thomas. In 2008, Thomas removed the text and branding from ads featuring African-Americans, creating a series he called Unbranded, which illustrated how America has seen and continues to see black people.

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Goats and Soda
3:43 am
Fri April 17, 2015

When The World Bank Does More Harm Than Good

In the 1950s, the World Bank funded the creation of the world's largest man-made dam, the Kariba Dam, which sits on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The construction of such dams can have dire consequences for poor people living near a river, an investigation found.
Jekesai Njikizana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:17 am

The World Bank's goal is to end extreme poverty and to grow income for the poorest people on the planet.

The bank does this by lending money and giving grants to governments and private corporations in some of the least developed places on the planet. For example, money goes to preserving land, building dams and creating health care systems.

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Parallels
3:46 am
Thu April 16, 2015

An American Journalist Explains Why He Had To Flee Iraq

American journalist Ned Parker (foreground) is the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad. He fled Iraq last week after receiving threats in response to reports on human rights abuses by Shiite militias allied with Iraq's government. He's shown here at Iraq's Foreign Ministry in 2007.
Courtesy of Ned Parker

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 12:17 pm

When the U.S. withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, many American news organizations followed suit, scaling back or shutting down their bureaus. Ned Parker was among a handful of American journalists who continued to report from the country.

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History
3:34 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Who Was John Wilkes Booth Before He Became Lincoln's Assassin?

John Wilkes Booth was the son of prominent, wealthy actors. He, too, became an actor and was so popular, he was one of the first to have his clothes ripped off by fans.
Hulton Archive Getty

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:33 pm

John Wilkes Booth was the man who pulled the trigger, capping off a coordinated plot to murder President Abraham Lincoln.

But historian Terry Alford, an expert on all things Booth, says that there's much more to Booth's life. His new biography, Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth, delves deep into his life — before Booth went down in history as the man who assassinated a president.

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Goats and Soda
3:33 am
Wed April 15, 2015

From Horses To High-Rises: An Insider 'Unmasks' China's Economic Rise

As China continues its massive economic growth, especially in cities, the government continues to severely limit people's rights. Is that system sustainable?
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 8:11 am

When Henry Paulson first visited Beijing in 1991 as a banker, cars still shared major roads with horses.

"I remember getting into a taxi that drove too fast on a two-lane highway ... [that was] clogged with bicycles and horses pulling carts," says the former secretary of treasury under George W. Bush. "You still saw the hutongs — the old neighborhoods [with narrow streets] — which were very, very colorful and an important part of life."

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Author Interviews
5:40 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Take It From David Brooks: Career Success 'Doesn't Make You Happy'

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 11:38 am

The day after Japan surrendered in 1945, and World War II ended, singer Bing Crosby appeared on the radio program Command Performance. "Well it looks like this is it," he said. "What can you say at a time like this? You can't throw your skimmer in the air — that's for a run-of-the-mill holiday. I guess all anybody can do is thank God it's over."

New York Times columnist David Brooks cites this and other aspects of that 70-year-old radio program as evidence that America once marked triumph without boasting.

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Author Interviews
6:05 pm
Sun April 12, 2015

From Harpies To Heroines: How Shakespeare's Women Evolved

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 6:43 pm

Tina Packer has spent a lifetime researching Shakespeare and his plays, both as an actress and as a director. And as she focused on the role that women play in his works, she noticed a progression.

Consider Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, one of his earliest plays, which centers on a man breaking a defiant woman's spirit. Strong-willed Kate is a harridan; her compliant sister, meanwhile, says things like, "Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe."

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History
5:25 pm
Sun April 12, 2015

Discovery Gives New Ending To A Death At The Civil War's Close

An engraving depicts Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Va.
Library Of Congress

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 8:02 pm

For decades, the story of Hannah Reynolds' death read like a tragedy of historical circumstance.

In 1865, Reynolds was a slave in the household of Samuel Coleman in the Virginia village of Appomattox Court House. And as Union and Confederate troops fought the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, a cannonball tore through the Coleman house.

The Coleman family had left the day before, but Reynolds had stayed behind. The cannonball struck her in the arm and, it was thought, she died that same day, as the battle's only civilian casualty.

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