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1:54pm

Thu May 21, 2015
Parallels

He Calmed Kandahar. But At What Cost?

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 7:07 pm

Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq is the police chief widely credited with bringing much greater security to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. But critics accuse him of human rights abuses including torture and extrajudicial killings.
David Gilkey NPR

The southern Afghan city of Kandahar was the birthplace of the Taliban and has long been considered one the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.

But the city has grown peaceful in recent years, and much of the credit has been given to an American ally: Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq, the provincial police chief.

On a recent day, the most feared man in Kandahar is slumped in a cheap blue plastic chair on a wide patio. He's slight and wiry, with a shy smile. He could be mistaken for a security guard at this palatial home of marble and chandeliers.

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1:50pm

Thu May 21, 2015
It's All Politics

Gyrocopter Pilot On His 'Incredible' Flight Onto Capitol Lawn

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 8:39 am

Doug Hughes said he sees his future as working for "the cause of getting a Congress — not more liberal, not more conservative — but a Congress that is working for the people."
Peter Overby NPR

Florida postman Doug Hughes made headlines last month for landing his gyrocopter on the lawn in front of the Capitol building.

In an interview with NPR, Hughes said he "made every effort to send word ahead" about the flight, but also knew he would be taken into custody. He made the flight anyway, he said, to "get a message to the American people — not that there's a problem with Congress but that there are solutions to the problem."

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1:22pm

Thu May 21, 2015
Shots - Health News

People In Poor Communities Are More Likely To Lose Eyesight

Vision loss and blindness can be devastating, isolating people and increasing their risk of illness and death. And that burden falls hardest on people in poor communities, especially in the South.

More than three quarters of the counties with the highest rates of severe vision loss are in the South, according to an analysis published Thursday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It's the first analysis of severe vision loss at the county level.

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1:21pm

Thu May 21, 2015
The Two-Way

Obama Calls Loss Of Ramadi A 'Setback,' But Denies U.S. Is Losing To ISIS

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:26 pm

President Obama tells The Atlantic that the loss of Ramadi to the self-declared Islamic State is a "setback," but he denies the U.S. is losing to the group.
Kathy Willens AP

President Obama says that while the loss of Ramadi to the self-declared Islamic State is a "setback," he doesn't think the U.S. is losing to the militant group.

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12:59pm

Thu May 21, 2015
Shots - Health News

Map Reveals The Distinctive Cause Of Death In Each State

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 3:31 pm

There's no getting around the strangeness of a map that shows the most distinctive cause of death in each of our 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In Texas, it's tuberculosis. In Maine, it's the flu. And in Nevada, it's the ominous "legal intervention."

But what does it mean to label a cause of death distinctive?

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12:36pm

Thu May 21, 2015
Parallels

Rome's Cinematic 'Dream Factory' Ramps Up Production Once Again

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 8:27 pm

The famous chariot race in Ben-Hur was filmed on a movie set at Cinecittà in 1958.
AP

It's just 15 miles south of Rome, but it looks more like ancient Jerusalem.

Welcome to the vast backlot at Cinecittà, the sprawling movie metropolis where the original Ben-Hur was filmed, and a remake is currently in production.

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11:57am

Thu May 21, 2015
The Salt

Urban Food Forests Make Fruit Free For The Picking

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 1:06 pm

A morning's berry harvest from West Philadelphia's Ogden Orchard includes raspberries, gooseberries, currants, goumis and mulberries.
Courtesy of Philadelphia Orchard Project

To discover the new frontier of urban farming, you'll have to look up — and look sharp — for hanging fruit.

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11:52am

Thu May 21, 2015
The Two-Way

'Fast-Track' Trade Authority Wins Key Test Vote In Senate

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 3:28 pm

The Senate has voted to limit debate on a bill that would grant the White House "fast track" negotiating authority and clear a path for the Obama administration's trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations.

Reuters says the 62-38 vote, which clears a filibuster hurdle, boosts "hopes for a deal that is central to President Barack Obama's strategic shift toward Asia."

Many Democrats oppose the Asia-Pacific treaty, saying free-trade deals cost U.S. jobs, but the White House maintains that U.S. producers need access to foreign markets.

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11:52am

Thu May 21, 2015
Shots - Health News

Overnight Contacts Can Help Kids' Sight During Day, But Also Carry Risks

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:32 pm

Logan Levenson had a cornea transplant to repair an eye after a fungal infection.
Courtesy of Beth Levenson

The sales pitch for contact lenses that help kids see better by reshaping their corneas sounds futuristically appealing. Sleep overnight in the lenses, pop them out in the morning and experience perfect or near-perfect vision for an entire day.

Beth Levenson of Williamsburg, Va., thought the lenses, even at a price of $2,000, seemed ideal for her son Logan, then 9, who played on several sports teams.

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11:25am

Thu May 21, 2015
Code Switch

On 'Menace II Society' And 'Easy Rider': Why All The Talk On Bikers And Thugs Matters

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 1:15 pm

Sgt. Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department speaks to the media as Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper D.L. Wilson (left) stands near a Twin Peaks restaurant where nine members of a motorcycle gang were shot and killed in Waco, Texas, on Tuesday.
Mike Stone Reuters/Landov

In his New York Times column this week, Charles Blow discussed bikers and thugs in the aftermath of the Waco shootout on Sunday.

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10:50am

Thu May 21, 2015
The Two-Way

Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed Against The NFL's Ray Rice

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 3:33 pm

Citing the completion of a pretrial intervention program, a New Jersey judge has dismissed a felony assault charge that was filed against former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice over a now-infamous incident in which Rice struck his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

Rice hit Palmer during an argument while they were visiting Atlantic City, N.J., in February of 2014. A month later, he was indicted on a charge of third-degree aggravated assault. He then entered into a one-year pretrial program that would allow him to avoid a trial.

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10:43am

Thu May 21, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Muddled Messages In America's Past

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:17 pm

Telegraph operator, 1908.
Library of Congress

Do you ever feel like communication — in this Age of Communication — is more confused and confusing than ever? Does anybody even read whole messages anymore — beyond the subject line or the first screen? Do you get tangled up in threads and bewildered by attachments? Do txt msgs n-furi-8 u?

Here's the real question: Are all these communication devices truly improving interaction between humans or just providing more opportunities for miscommunication?

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10:34am

Thu May 21, 2015
The Two-Way

Malaysia Orders Navy, Coast Guard To Rescue Rohingyas At Sea

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 8:08 pm

A newly arrived Rohingya migrant uses a mirror after taking a shower at a temporary shelter in Bayeun, Aceh province, Indonesia, on Thursday.
Binsar Bakkara AP

Malaysia's prime minister has ordered the navy and coast guard to search for stranded Rohingya migrants in the Andaman Sea, a day after Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta agreed to take boatloads of desperate refugees who have been in limbo for weeks since fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

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10:34am

Thu May 21, 2015
Shots - Health News

Heart Risk Factors May Affect Black Women More Than White Women

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 11:31 am

African-American women may be more sensitive to metabolic abnormalities like high triglycerides or low good cholesterol.
iStockphoto

African-American women can be at risk of heart disease even if they don't have metabolic syndrome, a study finds.

That's a problem, because the current thinking is that metabolic syndrome — defined as high triglycerides, bad cholesterol, abdominal fat, high blood pressure and impaired glucose metabolism — is the big risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

The picture with women appears to be a lot more complicated, especially when you compare women in different racial or ethnic groups.

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8:40am

Thu May 21, 2015
The Two-Way

Fears Grow That ISIS Might Target Palmyra's Ancient Treasures

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 12:52 pm

A photo released on Sunday by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows a general view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, northeast of Damascus, Syria. Fears have intensified that the self-declared Islamic State, which captured the city on Wednesday, might raze the ruins.
AP

Following the self-declared Islamic State's capture of Palmyra, concern today is turning to the security of the ancient Syrian city's archaeological sites and fears that the Islamist extremists might try to destroy them, as they have done elsewhere.

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