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7:43am

Sat April 18, 2015
Fine Art

Wordless Ads Speak Volumes In 'Unbranded' Images Of Women

Come out of the Bone Age, darling....1955
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Advertisements don't need any words to say a lot about a culture.

That's one of the messages that shines through in the work of artist Hank Willis Thomas. In 2008, Thomas removed the text and branding from ads featuring African-Americans, creating a series he called Unbranded, which illustrated how America has seen and continues to see black people.

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3:43am

Fri April 17, 2015
Goats and Soda

When The World Bank Does More Harm Than Good

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:17 am

In the 1950s, the World Bank funded the creation of the world's largest man-made dam, the Kariba Dam, which sits on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The construction of such dams can have dire consequences for poor people living near a river, an investigation found.
Jekesai Njikizana AFP/Getty Images

The World Bank's goal is to end extreme poverty and to grow income for the poorest people on the planet.

The bank does this by lending money and giving grants to governments and private corporations in some of the least developed places on the planet. For example, money goes to preserving land, building dams and creating health care systems.

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3:46am

Thu April 16, 2015
Parallels

An American Journalist Explains Why He Had To Flee Iraq

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 12:05 pm

American journalist Ned Parker (foreground) is the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad. He fled Iraq last week after receiving threats in response to reports on human rights abuses by Shiite militias allied with Iraq's government. He's shown here at Iraq's Foreign Ministry in 2007.
Courtesy of Ned Parker

When the U.S. withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, many American news organizations followed suit, scaling back or shutting down their bureaus. Ned Parker was among a handful of American journalists who continued to report from the country.

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3:34am

Wed April 15, 2015
History

Who Was John Wilkes Booth Before He Became Lincoln's Assassin?

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:33 pm

John Wilkes Booth was the son of prominent, wealthy actors. He, too, became an actor and was so popular, he was one of the first to have his clothes ripped off by fans.
Hulton Archive Getty

John Wilkes Booth was the man who pulled the trigger, capping off a coordinated plot to murder President Abraham Lincoln.

But historian Terry Alford, an expert on all things Booth, says that there's much more to Booth's life. His new biography, Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth, delves deep into his life — before Booth went down in history as the man who assassinated a president.

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3:33am

Wed April 15, 2015
Goats and Soda

From Horses To High-Rises: An Insider 'Unmasks' China's Economic Rise

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 8:11 am

As China continues its massive economic growth, especially in cities, the government continues to severely limit people's rights. Is that system sustainable?
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

When Henry Paulson first visited Beijing in 1991 as a banker, cars still shared major roads with horses.

"I remember getting into a taxi that drove too fast on a two-lane highway ... [that was] clogged with bicycles and horses pulling carts," says the former secretary of treasury under George W. Bush. "You still saw the hutongs — the old neighborhoods [with narrow streets] — which were very, very colorful and an important part of life."

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5:40pm

Mon April 13, 2015
Author Interviews

Take It From David Brooks: Career Success 'Doesn't Make You Happy'

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 11:38 am

The day after Japan surrendered in 1945, and World War II ended, singer Bing Crosby appeared on the radio program Command Performance. "Well it looks like this is it," he said. "What can you say at a time like this? You can't throw your skimmer in the air — that's for a run-of-the-mill holiday. I guess all anybody can do is thank God it's over."

New York Times columnist David Brooks cites this and other aspects of that 70-year-old radio program as evidence that America once marked triumph without boasting.

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5:53pm

Sun April 12, 2015
Author Interviews

From Harpies To Heroines: How Shakespeare's Women Evolved

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 6:43 pm

Tina Packer has spent a lifetime researching Shakespeare and his plays, both as an actress and as a director. And as she focused on the role that women play in his works, she noticed a progression.

Consider Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, one of his earliest plays, which centers on a man breaking a defiant woman's spirit. Strong-willed Kate is a harridan; her compliant sister, meanwhile, says things like, "Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe."

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5:52pm

Sun April 12, 2015
History

Discovery Gives New Ending To A Death At The Civil War's Close

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 8:02 pm

An engraving depicts Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Va.
Library Of Congress

For decades, the story of Hannah Reynolds' death read like a tragedy of historical circumstance.

In 1865, Reynolds was a slave in the household of Samuel Coleman in the Virginia village of Appomattox Court House. And as Union and Confederate troops fought the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, a cannonball tore through the Coleman house.

The Coleman family had left the day before, but Reynolds had stayed behind. The cannonball struck her in the arm and, it was thought, she died that same day, as the battle's only civilian casualty.

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5:27am

Sun April 12, 2015
The Salt

Adventures In Vietnam — Street Food, Love And Taking Chances

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 11:01 am

Courtesy of Ecco Publishing

When English journalist Graham Holliday got tired of his office job in the U.K., he knew he wanted a change — a big one.

So he packed up and moved to Asia, first to Korea to teach English and ultimately, to the place that would be his home for nine years: Vietnam. As soon as he arrived, he was determined to immerse himself in Vietnamese culture — and for him, that meant food.

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6:09pm

Sat April 11, 2015
Middle East

Trapped In Yemen's 'Armageddon,' An American Made A Dangerous Escape

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:04 pm

A "getaway selfie," as Mokhtar Alkhanshali calls it: Alkhanshali (left) makes his way across the Red Sea with this boat driver — and without navigation equipment.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali

Businessman Mokhtar Alkhanshali was used to the complications of traveling to Yemen. He'd been traveling there and back for years; sometimes the American Embassy would close for a few days amid turmoil, but it always opened back up.

But on March 27, the situation changed dramatically. "Overnight, the country went to war," he says.

The Yemeni-American coffee importer had been in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, on business when the city was rocked by explosions. He stepped outside at 2 a.m. to find anti-aircraft guns lighting up the night sky.

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8:06am

Sat April 11, 2015
Law

Colorado Deals Inmates A New Deck Of Cards

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 10:54 am

Colorado is the latest state to produce the cold case cards.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation

There's not a whole lot to do in prison, so inmates spend a fair amount of time playing cards.

For several years, law enforcement officials around the country have been putting that prisoners' pastime to good use. They've been putting facts and photos from unsolved crimes in front of prisoners' eyes by printing them on decks of cards, hoping to generate leads.

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12:30pm

Tue April 7, 2015
Intelligence Squared U.S.

Debate: Has The President Exceeded His War Powers Authority?

Two teams face off in a debate over the extent of the president's war powers at the latest debate from Intelligence Squared U.S.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

President Obama has launched a sustained, long-term military campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. But did he have constitutional power to do so?

Article I of the Constitution gives some war powers to the Congress — namely, the power to declare war — while Article II gives the president the power of commander-in-chief. But the U.S. Congress has not declared war since World War II, even as the nation has engaged in numerous military actions across the globe in the intervening decades.

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12:45pm

Mon April 6, 2015
Music

'The Man From Muscle Shoals' On Shame And FAME

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

Producer and FAME Studios founder Rick Hall, left, with R&B singer Clarence Carter.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

For more conversations with music-makers, check out NPR's Music Interviews.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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4:20am

Mon April 6, 2015
All Tech Considered

Is Cash-Free Really The Way To Be? Maybe Not For Millennials

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:20 pm

More Americans are ditching traditional cash and plastic, opting instead for new mobile payment applications. But new research indicates cash isn't completely dead.
Amy Sancetta AP

Smartphones have new, seamless ways to purchase stuff lightning fast, with just a tap. With these new digital technologies available for mobile payment, many young people are ditching cash and plastic altogether.

But is traditional payment dead? According to Doug Conover, an analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, not exactly.

"The perception that young people rarely use cash is just not correct," he says.

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7:17pm

Sun April 5, 2015
U.S.

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

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

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

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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