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U.S.
7:17 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Utah Brings Back Firing Squad Executions; Witnesses Recall The Last One

The firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, is shown in June 2010.
Trent Nelson AP

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 2:46 pm

Last month, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill bringing back the firing squad as a method of execution. The state abandoned firing squads in 2004 but now, it has returned as the backup option — partly because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs, the state's default execution method.

Utah is now the only state in the U.S. that authorizes execution by firing squad.

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Environment
6:28 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Will Turning Seawater Into Drinking Water Help Drought-Hit California?

Joshua Haggmark, Santa Barbara's water resources manager, is in charge of getting the city's desalination plant back online.
Becky Sullivan

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:42 am

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown made water conservation mandatory in the drought-stricken state of California. "As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in every way we can," he said.

But if the four-year drought continues, conservation alone — at least what's required by the governor's plan — won't fix the problem.

Across California, communities are examining all options to avoid running out of water. Some, like the coastal city of Santa Barbara, are looking to the past for inspiration.

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Author Interviews
5:08 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Explosive Protests: U.S. Bombings During 'Days Of Rage'

New York City firefighters work to put out a fire caused by explosions at 18 W. 11th St. on March 6, 1970. It was later discovered that the Weathermen, a radical left-wing organization, had been building bombs in the building's basement.
Marty Lederhandler AP

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 7:00 am

In the early 1970s thousands of bombings were taking place throughout the country — sometimes up to five a day. They were targeted protests, carried out by a multitude of radical activist groups: The Weather Underground, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the FALN, the Black Liberation Army.

According to author Bryan Burrough, there were at least a dozen underground organizations carrying out these attacks at the time. He writes that the bombings functioned as "exploding press releases."

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Shots - Health News
6:25 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

When It Comes To Insurance, Mental Health Parity In Name Only?

Mental health care advocates say patients face challenges in insurance coverage.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 4:02 pm

By law, many U.S. insurance providers that offer mental health care are required to cover it just as they would cancer or diabetes care. But advocates say achieving this mental health parity can be a challenge.

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Author Interviews
5:30 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

Florida Teen, War Criminal: The Life Of An 'American Warlord'

Chuckie Taylor in Liberia at an unknown date and location.
Courtesy of Johnny Dwyer and Lynn Henderson

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 3:33 pm

Only one American in history has ever been convicted of torture committed abroad: Chuckie Taylor, the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

His father led militants to take control of Liberia in the late '90s, went in exile after Liberia's Second Civil War and was found guilty of abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone. But young Chuckie Taylor seemed far removed from that warlord life — he lived in America with his mother and stepfather, just another teenager listening to hip-hop and watching TV in his room.

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My Big Break
5:30 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

Salad Ties And Breadsticks: Star Chef Started At The Olive Garden

Stephanie Izard says the Olive Garden helped to reignite a childhood passion for food. She went to Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona and later moved to Chicago where she opened up her first restaurant.
Jonathan Robert Willis Courtesy of Stephanie Izard

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 6:25 pm

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Stephanie Izard is the rock-star chef behind Chicago's award-winning Girl and the Goat restaurant, as well as Little Goat.

But the chain of events that brought her there started at, well, a chain.

"I got my first job at the Olive Garden," Izard says.

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Strange News
8:42 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Pondering The Popularity Of The Pet Rock — And Other Fads

Pet Rock creator Gary Ross Dahl became a millionaire from his rock sales in the 1970s. Each rock came in a special box (bottom left) with a detailed instruction manual.
San Francisco Chronicle AP

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 10:30 am

The Hula Hoop. The pogo stick. The Tamagotchi.

Fads, crazes and must-have toys all sweep the country from time to time. But in the annals of faddish toys, one achievement stands tall — or rather, sits small: the Pet Rock.

It was exactly what it sounds like: a rock (a Mexican beach stone, to be precise) marketed in the mid-'70s as a pet. Each came in its own box with air holes and a detailed owner's manual.

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The Salt
7:07 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Straight Out Of Brooklyn: 'Encyclofoodia' Pokes Fun At Foodies

Bloomsbury Publishing

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 12:55 pm

If you're trying to feed some of the lumberjack hipsters of Brooklyn, you might try serving up some Huevos Machismos. And if you're seeking the next cleanse trend, look no further than the Ultimate Gushy Protein Sewage Blast. Like any balanced smoothie, it incorporates one ounce of "pure, uncut cocaine (for the boost)."

These are the recipes and advice you'd receive from the Mizretti brothers, two fictional restaurateurs who just published an "encyclofoodia" and cookbook called FUDS.

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Author Interviews
5:43 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Searching For Buried Treasure In China, A Writer Discovers Himself

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 2:57 pm

Writer Huan Hsu's great-great-grandfather Liu Feng Shu was a scholar in China's Qing dynasty during the late 1800s and early 1900s. As a patron of the arts, he built up an immense porcelain collection.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese landed near his village on the Yangtze River. As the army approached, Liu and one of his workmen dug a giant hole in their garden, to keep the collection safe.

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My Big Break
5:43 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

For 'Dexter' Star David Zayas, Acting Was A Long Shot Away

Zayas is best known for his role as Sergeant Angel Batista on the Showtime drama Dexter. "The one through line of all 8 years of that character was his integrity and honesty," Zayas says.
Randy Tepper Showtime

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

David Zayas used to dream of being an actor. And he made it: he played Enrique Morales, the infamous inmate on HBO's Oz, as well as his most notable role, Sergeant Angel Batista on the Showtime drama Dexter.

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Afghanistan
8:43 am
Sun March 29, 2015

Afghan Chief Executive: Leaders Set Aside Egos To Rally For Nation

Afghanistan's Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah (left) stands with President Ashraf Ghani, Vice President Joe Bidden, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Tuesday.
Andrew Harnik AP

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 10:33 am

Afghanistan's leaders were in Washington last week asking for more assistance from the U.S. They got what they wanted: President Obama announced he would postpone the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops this year. Those forces are needed to help Afghanistan troops battle the Taliban as the spring
fighting season heats up.

President Ashraf Ghani was accompanied on this trip by Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of the Afghan government. They were bitter rivals in Afghanistan's presidential election last year and are now sharing power in a unity government.

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Sports
6:35 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

The Cautionary Tale Of A Big-Time Bracket Bust

Oklahoma's Buddy Hield (right) and Denzel Valentine of Michigan State played in Friday's East Regional Semifinal of the 2015 NCAA tournament in Syracuse. If you've got money riding on this year's NCAA tournament, you might want to hear about what happened to John Bovary's football pool.
Maddie Meyer Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 8:22 pm

About 25 years ago, John Bovery started a modest football pool out of his home in New Jersey. It had 57 participants, all friends and co-workers.

But thanks to word of mouth — and the multiplying factor of email — Bovery's pool grew to staggering proportions. At one point, it got too large for Bovery to handle himself, so he contacted a software company to custom-build something suited to his needs.

By 2009, it included more than 8,000 entries from people around the globe, with a total payout of more than $800,000.

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The Salt
4:44 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Was Your Seafood Caught By Slaves? AP Uncovers Unsavory Trade

A 3,000-ton cargo ship at Thajeen Port in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, 15 days after it set sail from Benjina, Indonesia. The company that owns the ship said it is not involved with the fishermen. "We only carry the shipment and we are hired, in general, by clients," said owner Panya Luangsomboon. "We're separated from the fishing boats."
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 7:16 pm

Some of the seafood that winds up in American grocery stores, in restaurants, even in cat food may have been caught by Burmese slaves. That's the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press.

The AP discovered and interviewed dozens of men being held against their will on Benjina, a remote Indonesian island, which serves as the base for a trawler fleet that fishes in the area.

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Arts + Life
4:41 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Her Instagram Feed Finds The Fun In Long-Suffering Somalia

Ugaaso Boocow is back — and instagramming — in her homeland of Somalia.
Courtesy of Ugaaso A. Boocow

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 10:23 am

Ugaaso Abukar Boocow has become an Instagram sensation by sending out stunning visual messages from an unlikely place: poor, suffering Somalia.

She was just a toddler when her grandmother fled with her to Canada to escape Somalia's civil war, leaving her mother behind.

Then last year, she decided to go back, moving to the capital, Mogadishu, and reuniting with her mother, whom she hadn't seen in over two decades.

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Shots - Health News
3:38 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Critic Faults Alcoholics Anonymous For Lack Of Evidence

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 9:34 am

Founded by two men in Akron, Ohio, in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous has since spread around the world as a leading community-based method of overcoming alcohol dependence and abuse. Many people swear by the 12-step method, which has become the basis of programs to treat the abuse of drugs, gambling, eating disorders and other compulsive behaviors.

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The Salt
6:22 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Heinz And Kraft: Before They Were Food Giants, They Were Men

Henry J. Heinz
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:00 pm

Heinz and Kraft.

When we hear those names we think ketchup and Velveeta, right?

But before they were products and companies that will merge to become a giant with $28 billion in revenue, Heinz and Kraft were men.

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It's All Politics
5:22 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Lessons In Moving Forward On Race From A 40-Year Mayor

"It's an intense job, you give it all, everyday, and I just don't want to get into another term where I say 'Gee, it would be nice to take it a little bit easier,'" Mayor Joe Riley says.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 12:40 pm

It might not sound newsworthy that Charleston, S.C., is getting a new mayor next year. But the last time the city elected a new mayor was 40 years ago, in December 1975.

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Author Interviews
6:58 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

'Cheated' Out Of An Education: Book Replays UNC's Student-Athlete Scandal

UNC basketball fans storm the court after a win over Duke in 2014.
Grant Halverson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 10:47 am

March Madness is college basketball's annual shining moment, and few schools have shone as bright or as long as the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have been in 18 Final Fours and won the national championship five times, most recently in 2009.

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U.S.
6:15 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

Understanding Skid Row's Tensions After A Fatal Police Shooting

Many of LA's Skid Row residents live in makeshift tents.
Kelly McEvers

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:32 pm

Skid Row, in downtown Los Angeles, has long been known for its high concentration of homeless, drug- or alcohol-addicted and mentally ill residents. They live on the streets, in boxes and tents or in subsidized one-room apartments.

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SXSW Music Festival
6:15 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

From Kate Tempest To Torres, Female Artists Shone At SXSW

The crowd was all smiles during NPR Music's showcase at this year's South By Southwest music festival. We can't send you back in time to hear the shows, but you can listen to some of Bob Boilen's favorite performers from the festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:16 pm

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