12:34pm

Wed April 23, 2014
Parallels

China And Beyond: NPR's Frank Langfitt Answers Redditors' Questions

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 4:49 pm

Frank Langfitt is NPR's international correspondent based in Shanghai.
Wright Bryan NPR

From his home base in Shanghai, Frank Langfitt keeps track of a wide swath of North and East Asia. He's recently back from Myanmar, where he went for (mostly) fun.

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12:14pm

Wed April 23, 2014
The Two-Way

After Bitter Split, Palestinian Factions Pledge To Reconcile

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 10:26 am

Palestinians march Wednesday in Gaza City in support of an attempt to reconcile the two main factions. Those factions, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization, have been bitterly divided since 2007. They hope to form a unity government within five weeks.
Said Khatib AFP/Getty Images

Seven years after a violent split, the two main Palestinian factions said Wednesday that they are attempting to reconcile and form a national unity government within five weeks.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas have tried several times to resolve their feud, but those efforts quickly unraveled.

So will this attempt fare any better?

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11:53am

Wed April 23, 2014
All Tech Considered

Weekly Innovation: An Inflatable Car Seat That Comes In A Backpack

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 4:32 pm

Volvo's inflatable car seat is a concept and not a marketable product right now.
Courtesy of Volvo

Forget wearables, let's talk about inflatables.

Volvo's new child safety seat concept is a fully inflatable device designed to make what's normally a clunky and heavy seat both lighter and more portable.

So compact is this prototype that it goes from a stylish-looking backpack into a rear-facing car seat in less than a minute. You can pump it in the car — the seat comes with its own pump — and it's Bluetooth-connected so you could pump it remotely.

When inflated, the seat weighs just under 11 pounds.

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11:33am

Wed April 23, 2014
Krulwich Wonders...

Music That Burns, Literally

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:49 pm

Veritasium/YouTube

11:25am

Wed April 23, 2014
The Two-Way

Obama Assures Japan Of U.S. Security Commitment

President Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe depart Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant in Tokyo, on Wednesday. Obama met with Abe on the first stop of a four-nation visit to Asia.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama, at the start of a four-stop trip to Asia, sought to reassure Japan that the U.S. is on its side in a dispute with China over the tiny Senkaku islands chain, which has led to bluster and naval jockeying between the two countries in recent years.

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11:23am

Wed April 23, 2014
The Salt

Bake Bread Like A Pioneer In Appalachia ... With No Yeast

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:10 am

Salt rising bread is a yeastless Appalachian soul food.
Susan Brown and Jenny Bardwell

Growing up in West Virginia in the 1960s and '70s, Susan Brown would have a slice of salt rising bread, toasted, for Saturday morning breakfast. Her grandmother baked the bread with the mysterious and misleading name.

There's little or no salt in the recipe. No yeast, either. The bread rises because of bacteria in the potatoes or cornmeal and the flour that goes into the starter.

The taste is as distinctive as the recipe. Salt rising bread is dense and white, with a fine crumb and cheese-like flavor.

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11:13am

Wed April 23, 2014
It's All Politics

A Path Out Of Prison For Low-Level, Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:44 pm

The new guidelines are part of the Obama administration's effort to address long mandatory minimum sentences. Antwain Black (left) was released early after sentencing laws were first eased in 2010.
Seth Perlman AP

Thousands of nonviolent drug offenders serving time in federal prison could be eligible to apply for early release under new clemency guidelines announced Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Details of the initiative, which would give President Obama more options under which he could grant clemency to drug offenders serving long prison sentences, were announced by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

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10:55am

Wed April 23, 2014
The Two-Way

American Journalist Kidnapped By Ukraine's Pro-Russia Insurgents

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:34 pm

In a photo taken earlier this month, U.S. reporter Simon Ostrovsky stands with a pro-Russian gunman at a seized police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk. Ostrovsky has reportedly been seized by the pro-Russian insurgents.
Efrem Lukatsky AP

An American journalist operating in eastern Ukraine has been kidnapped by pro-Russian gunmen, the separatists said Wednesday.

Simon Ostrovsky, working for Vice News, was seized at gunpoint early Tuesday by masked men in the restive eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.

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10:13am

Wed April 23, 2014
The Two-Way

7 Weeks Before World Cup, Rio Is Rocked By Riot

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:12 am

An officer from Brazilian Police Special Forces took aim Tuesday during the violent protest that broke out in one of Rio de Janeiro's slums. People there blame police for a young man's death, and say authorities are clamping down too hard in advance of this June's World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympics, both of which will be held in Brazil.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

"A Rio de Janeiro slum erupted in violence late Tuesday following the killing of a popular local figure, with angry residents setting fires and showering homemade explosives and glass bottles onto a busy avenue in the city's main tourist zone," The Associated Press writes.

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10:13am

Wed April 23, 2014
The Protojournalist

The Joys Of Spoiling

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Game of Thrones: spoiler magnet.
Courtesy of HBO

In the age of the Internet, the act of spoiling is easier than ever before. Through live-tweeting and message boards and comments sections, the information is out there and spreads quickly.

But why do some people enjoy revealing certain information about stories — surprises and finales and more — before others have had the opportunity to experience it?

We could tell you what we think now. But that would spoil the rest of this story.

Spoliation Nation

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9:15am

Wed April 23, 2014
The Two-Way

Government Will Try To Persuade Sherpas To Stay On Everest

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:17 am

The sun shines on the peak of Mount Everest in this October 2011 photo. On Friday, an avalanche swept away 16 Sherpas.
Kevin Frayer AP

The news from high up the world's tallest mountain continues to be confusing, with some reports implying that a boycott by Sherpas means there will be no climbs to the summit this year and others indicating that there will still be attempts to reach the top.

Based on what we can glean from various news accounts, it appears that some expeditions have indeed canceled their climbs. But it also seems that at least some of the estimated 400 Sherpas on the mountain may be willing to continue on — meaning there will be summit attempts in coming weeks.

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8:04am

Wed April 23, 2014
The Two-Way

Death Toll Rises, Hopes Fade At Site Of Korean Ferry Disaster

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:52 am

As the sun set Wednesday in Jindo, South Korea, a woman kept watch on the waters where the Sewol ferry sank. It's feared the death toll will reach 300.
Nicolas Asfouri AFP/Getty Images

The already slim hope that anyone might still be alive aboard the South Korean ferry that sunk a week ago was all but extinguished Wednesday with the news that divers have found no air pockets in key areas of the ship.

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6:43am

Wed April 23, 2014
Shots - Health News

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 6:23 am

Even some euro bank notes may need a good scrubbing. Like dollar bills, these notes are made from cotton and they harbor an array of bacteria.
Thomas Leuthard The Preiser Project/Flickr

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

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6:42am

Wed April 23, 2014
The Two-Way

Stowaway Teen May Have Been Trying To Reunite With His Mom

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 6:58 am

The latest word about the teenager who survived a ride Sunday from California to Hawaii in the frigid wheel well of a jet is that he may have hoped to eventually get to Somalia to be with his mother.

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6:38am

Wed April 23, 2014
U.S.

In Illinois, A Town That's Half-Destroyed But Filled With Hope

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Washington, Ill., is full of both optimistic signs and lots of construction crews as the town rebuilds after a half-mile-wide tornado devastated the area in November.
Alan Greenblatt NPR

Washington is just starting to rebuild.

Much of the central Illinois town was wiped away by a half-mile-wide tornado in November. In all, 1,108 homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable — a huge share of the housing stock in a city of 15,000.

"Early on, people were asking me how long it was going to take to rebuild the city, and I said we'll do it in a year," says Mayor Gary Manier. "That was wishful thinking."

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