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4:52pm

Fri April 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Grandmother In High-Profile Shaken Baby Case Has Sentence Commuted

Shirley Ree Smith, whose prison sentence was commuted by California Gov. Jerry Brown, began creating greeting cards for her grandchildren while she was incarcerated. While she was out of custody after a series of legal appeals, until today, she still faced the possibility of returning to prison.
Courtney Perry for NPR

A California grandmother convicted of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death will not return to jail, because Gov. Jerry Brown has commuted her sentence.

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4:49pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Law

Faith In Seattle Police 'Shaken' By DOJ Investigation

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 6:23 pm

Protesters demonstrate at City Hall in Seattle on Feb. 16, 2011, after the announcement that police officer Ian Birk would not face charges for the fatal shooting of John T. Williams.
Ted S. Warren AP

Police departments have come under increased scrutiny from the Obama administration as the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division steps up investigations of corruption, bias and excessive force.

Some of the targeted law enforcement agencies have had ethical clouds hanging over them for years — the New Orleans Police Department being the prime example — but others, like the Seattle Police Department, aren't exactly usual suspects.

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4:42pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Movie Reviews

To Be Or Not To Be (The Pope) Is The Question

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 7:01 pm

IFC Films

When the College of Cardinals gathers in the Vatican to choose a new church leader — formally the Bishop of Rome — it announces its selection with the Latin phrase "Habemus papam" ("We have a pope").

But suppose that, when a cardinal steps out onto a balcony in St. Peter's Square to utter those fateful words, the gentle soul in white sitting behind him, out of sight of the crowd, develops stage fright.

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4:37pm

Fri April 6, 2012
It's All Politics

When It Comes To Delegates, Santorum May Have A Math Problem

Rick Santorum speaks in Mars, Pa., on Tuesday, after Mitt Romney swept primaries in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. In his speech, Santorum declared that it's "halftime" in the race for delegates and the GOP nomination.
David Maxwell EPA/Landov

In presidential nominating contests, the delegate count really matters — right up until the moment where it doesn't.

Unfortunately for Rick Santorum, that moment seems ever more imminent in this spring's Republican presidential race.

Mitt Romney's overwhelming wins this week in three states (including Wisconsin, where Santorum not too long ago had been leading in the polls) seem to have reconfirmed the sense that he has cleared all the major hurdles, and the rest is mere formality.

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4:23pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Music Interviews

Gotye: 'Less Of A Musician, More Of A Tinkerer'

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 10:47 am

Australian pop singer Wouter "Wally" De Backer is better known as Gotye.
Courtesy of the artist

The Australian artist Gotye has been big in his home country for several years, but this winter, one particular song started an avalanche. "Somebody That I Used to Know," from the album Making Mirrors, has been a massive hit everywhere it's landed: the U.K., Germany, South Africa, Israel and now here in the U.S. It even inspired a YouTube cover that's become a runaway hit all its own.

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4:16pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Strange News

Small Town's Police Blotter Is A Riot

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Unalaska's Sgt. Jennifer Schockley has earned fans worldwide for her local police blotter.
Alexandra Gutierrez KUCB

In one Alaskan fishing village, crime is a laughing matter. It's not the crimes that have residents chuckling so much as how they're written about. The Unalaska crime report is full of eagle aggression and intimate encounters gone awry in the Aleutian Islands.

When Sgt. Jennifer Shockley heads out on patrol each day, she's got the police blotter on her mind. Her goal is to paint a detailed picture of the town's often ridiculous crimes.

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4:12pm

Fri April 6, 2012
The Salt

Indian Engineers Build A Stronger Society With School Lunch Program

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:54 am

The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a nonprofit based in Bangalore, partners with the government to make close to 1.3 million nutritious meals a day for schoolchildren throughout India.
Ryan Lobo for NPR

At a government-run public middle school in Bangalore, the blackboard's cracking, the textbooks are tattered and most of the students are barefoot.

But with all those challenges, the biggest obstacle that teachers face in keeping kids in school is hunger. Many students show up at school having had nothing to eat for breakfast.

On mornings one student comes to school hungry, the thought of school makes her break down, she says.

"When I had to get on the bus, I would start crying," says K. Suchitra, 13.

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3:24pm

Fri April 6, 2012
The Two-Way

With Some Profanities Edited, 'Bully' Receives PG-13 Rating

Alex, one of the kids who struggles with bullies in Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully.
Lee Hirsch The Weinstein Company

The Motion Picture Association of America and The Weinstein Co. have finally come to an agreement: After editing some profanities, the MPAA walked back its R-rating and Bully, a documentary about school bullying, will be released on April 13 with a PG-13 rating.

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3:20pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Europe

Homelessness Becomes A Crime In Hungary

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 10:25 pm

Two homeless men lie on mattresses in central Budapest in 2010. Hundreds of people live on the streets in the Hungarian capital; many refuse to stay in night shelters for fear of having their goods stolen.
Karoly Arvai Reuters/Landov

Hungary's new anti-vagrancy laws — the toughest in Europe — now mean that homeless people sleeping on the street can face police fines or even the possibility of jail time.

Advocacy and human-rights groups are alarmed by the new efforts to crack down on and effectively criminalize homelessness, where the ranks of the needy have increased during the country's dire financial crisis.

Debt, joblessness and poverty are on the rise. The country's bonds have been downgraded to "junk" status, and the nation's currency, the forint, has dropped sharply against the euro.

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3:00pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Pop Culture

Toy Companies Debut Bald Dolls For Cancer

A lineup of the bald Bratz and Moxie Girlz dolls that are scheduled to hit store shelves this summer.
MGA Entertainment

Barbie is best known for her curvy figure and long blond hair — but Mattel plans to produce a doll that's a dramatic departure from that classic image.

This Barbie will be bald.

Mattel decided to make the doll after a campaign by Jane Bingham, a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Philadelphia. She started a Facebook group with her friend called "Beautiful and Bald Barbie." She tells Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered, that they wanted the toymaker to create a doll for kids who have cancer or have lost their hair for medical reasons.

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2:44pm

Fri April 6, 2012
The Salt

Guerrilla Grafters Bring Forbidden Fruit Back To City Trees

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 7:00 am

Guerrilla grafter Tara Hui grafts a fruiting pear branch onto an ornamental fruit tree in the San Francisco Bay Area. She doesn't want the location known because the grafting is illegal.
Lonny Shavelson for NPR

Spring means cherry, pear and apple blossoms. But in many metropolitan areas, urban foresters ensure those flowering fruit trees don't bear fruit to keep fallen fruit from being trampled into slippery sidewalk jelly.

But a group of fruit fans in the San Francisco Bay Area is secretly grafting fruit-bearing tree limbs onto those fruitless trees.

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2:03pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Book Reviews

100 Years Later, The Titanic Lives On In Letters

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 6:23 pm

The ill-fated Titanic rests at Harland and Wolff's shipyard, Belfast, in February 1912.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

When I hear the word "Titanic," I picture a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio, waiting at the bottom of a gilded staircase while the voice of Celine Dion swells in my mind. It's all Edwardian glitz and glamour, decadence and passionate love, the kind best enjoyed in a dark theater with plenty of popcorn. And then I quickly remember that the ship sinks, and that Titanic is more than just an epic film from my youth. On April 15, a century will have passed since the ship plummeted into the icy Atlantic, and it is the tragedy we should remember, not just the mythology surrounding it.

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1:59pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems

Company Ties Shoes And Ethics Together

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Gideon Shoes co-founder Matt Noffs with youth from The Street University, the nonprofit youth center that launched the fair trade company.
John Burnett NPR

You don't go through corporate communications to meet the executive steering committee at Gideon Shoes.

Instead, you walk through a basketball court with graffiti-covered walls and into a sound studio. There, Gideon employees are warming up their talking points: rap lyrics.

"There's no excuses in this life, so I'm fighting on. ... The flame inside my heart is more like a firestorm," they rap.

The team is made up of Suhkdeep Bhogal from India, Thane Poloai from Samoa and Allan from New Zealand, who doesn't want to give his last name.

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1:49pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Economy

For Long-Term Unemployed, Help Is Running Out

Job seekers line up to enter a career fair in Los Angeles. Both Congress and states are cutting back on unemployment benefits.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Diane Turner can't find work. She spent 30 years managing dental practices in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, but lost her last job in that field a couple of years ago.

She worked for a while greeting customers at an auto body shop, but lost that job a year ago. "It was very depressing," Turner says. "I always worked, and I was always able to get a job."

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1:19pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Spotting Dyslexia May Be Possible Even Before Kids Learn To Read

How to test reading ability in children who can't read has been a problem for researchers.
f_ iStockphoto.com

For people with dyslexia, problems recognizing words can make life difficult. Children usually aren't diagnosed until elementary school, when it becomes clear they're struggling with reading. But scientists say it could be possible to diagnose and help kids much earlier by identifying problems with visual attention — long before they learn to read.

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