4:02am

Mon May 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Sophomoric? Members Of Congress Talk Like 10th Graders, Analysis Shows

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 3:30 pm

Congress, shown gathered for President Obama's State of the Union in January, is speaking at about a grade level lower now than in 2005, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Members of Congress are often criticized for what they do — or rather, what they don't do.

But what about what they say and, more specifically, how they say it? It turns out that the sophistication of congressional speech-making is on the decline, according to the open government group the Sunlight Foundation. Since 2005, the average grade level at which members of Congress speak has fallen by almost a full grade.

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Nancy Pearl is a regular commentator about books on NPR's Morning Edition and NPR affiliate stations KUOW in Seattle and KWGS in Tulsa.

The New York Times calls her “the talk of librarian circles.” Readers can’t get enough of her recommendations while bookstores and libraries offer standing room only whenever she visits. Since the release of the best-selling Book Lust in 2003 and the Librarian Action Figure modeled in her likeness, Nancy Pearl has become a rock star among readers and the tastemaker people turn to when deciding what to read next.

3:01am

Mon May 21, 2012
Middle East

Change Comes To Saudi Arabia, In Slow Motion

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 9:13 am

In the Saudi capital Riyadh, two women stroll into a cosmetics shop in a luxury mall. The desire for greater personal freedoms has prompted Saudi rulers to relax some restrictions.
Chuck Holmes NPR

The shock waves of the Arab Spring continue to reshape countries like Egypt and Syria. But the kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains largely unaffected. King Abdullah and the Saudi ruling family are in firm control of the country's massive oil wealth and Islam's two holiest sites — Mecca and Medina.

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2:59am

Mon May 21, 2012
Asia

Mineral-Rich Mongolia Rapidly Becoming 'Minegolia'

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:47 am

The mine at Oyu Tolgoi, Turquoise Hill in Mongolian, will be one of the world's largest copper mines in about five years. An employee holds up a small sample of the oxidized copper that gave the mine its name.
John W. Poole NPR

Mongolia, the land of Genghis Khan and nomadic herders, is in the midst of a remarkable transition. Rich in coal, gold and copper, this country of fewer than 3 million people in Central Asia is riding a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade. The rapid changes simultaneously excite and unnerve many Mongolians, who hope mining can help pull many out of poverty, but worry it will ravage the environment and further erode the nation's distinctive, nomadic identity.

First of four parts

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2:55am

Mon May 21, 2012
Books

Nancy Pearl Unearths Great Summer Reads

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 9:38 am

Harriet Russell

Unlike a lot of people I know, my summer reading doesn't differ significantly from the reading I do the rest of the year. I'm always looking for new authors, older titles I might have missed, books I want to reread, and a nice mixture of fiction and nonfiction. While I understand the concept of beach reading, for me it doesn't mean light reading, but rather choosing books whose ultimate destruction by sand and water won't concern me overly much because I know that I can easily replace them.

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2:35am

Mon May 21, 2012
Election 2012

Secret Donors Still Find Ways To Remain Anonymous

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 11:00 am

The latest deadline for the presidential candidates and the major superPACs to disclose their finances was Sunday night. The public and the media can find out who has been giving to the candidates, and how that money was spent. But there's a lot of political spending that isn't being reported.

Outside money groups are spending millions of dollars, and the donors remain anonymous. Two recent court rulings could force those groups to file public disclosures, but there already seems to be a way around that.

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Joe Neel is NPR's deputy senior supervising editor and a correspondent on the Science Desk.

As a leader of NPR's award-winning health and science coverage, Neel focuses on stories about medical research and health-care delivery. Neel assigns stories to reporters and correspondents, helps them produce the stories and edits the pieces for broadcast or publication on NPR.org. He is a frequent guest or contributor to NPR's programs, blogs, and podcasts.

12:33am

Mon May 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Poll: What It's Like To Be Sick In America

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 8:21 pm

In the lull between the Supreme Court arguments over the federal health overhaul law and the decision expected in June, we thought we'd ask Americans who actually use the health system quite a bit how they view the quality of care and its cost.

Most surveys don't break it down this way.

When the results came back, we found that people who have a serious medical condition or who've been in the hospital in the past year tended to have more concerns about costs and quality than people who aren't sick. No big surprise there.

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12:03am

Mon May 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

A Dire Sign Of The Obesity Epidemic: Teen Diabetes Soaring, Study Finds

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 8:30 am

Paris Wood, 14, has her measurements taken as part of a Chicago anti-obesity program.
M. Spencer Green AP

Karlton Hill was only 12 years old when when he found out he had diabetes. Even though he was only in seventh grade, Karlton knew what diabetes was; he had watched the disease destroy his great-grandmother's life.

"I was really upset. I cried," he says. "I didn't want any of this to happen to me. I was like, 'Why is this happening to me?' "

Public health experts have been worrying for years that the obesity epidemic would lead to an epidemic of Type 2 diabetes among kids.

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10:47pm

Sun May 20, 2012
Music News

Bee Gee Robin Gibb Dies Of Cancer At 62

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 8:35 am

Robin Gibb performs at the Dubai International Jazz Festival in 2008.
Tracy Brand AP

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees has died.

Gibb died Sunday after a long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery, according to a statement on his official website.

"The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time," the statement said.

Robin and his brothers Barry and Maurice Gibb racked up dozens of hit songs in their five decade career. Robin Gibb, who had cancer, was 62.

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