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NPR's up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary and coverage of news, politics, arts, sports, and more from around the world and in and around Pittsburgh, hosted locally by 90.5 WESA's Josh Raulerson.

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Pittsburgh Promise
7:10 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Is the Pittsburgh Promise Delivering?

A recent policy brief from conservative think tank Allegheny Institute for Public Policy states that the Pittsburgh Promise is falling well short of its goals, and that its mission should be completely re-focused. But this isn’t the first time the Allegheny Institute has taken on the Pittsburgh Promise.

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World
6:17 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Biden Escapes Monkey Business On Trip To India

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

Security for Joe Biden's trip to India is tight, but agents couldn't do much about some rowdy troublemakers during a stop at the Gandhi Memorial. About a dozen monkeys took over a tree above a statue where the vice president would be posing. The Wall Street Journal says they swung on branches and threw half-eaten mangoes to the ground. Photographers held their breath as Biden and his wife approached - luckily, no falling mangoes or other monkey business.

NPR Story
4:51 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Manning Trial Heads Into Closing Arguments

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Closing arguments in the Bradley Manning trial are scheduled for tomorrow. The Army private first class admitted to perpetrating the largest leak of classified data in U.S. history. That's when he sent secret government documents to Wikileaks in 2010. The U.S. government has charged Manning with 22 offenses. The most serious is aiding the enemy, and he could face life in prison if he's convicted.

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NPR Story
4:51 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Tucson Revives Mexican-American Studies Program

The Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) is resurrecting its Mexican-American studies program.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:59 am

Three years after it was banned by the state of Arizona, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) is resurrecting its Mexican-American studies program due to a federal court order. The courses are now known as culturally-relevant classes and are set to begin in a couple of weeks, when the school year begins. And they hold the same potential for controversy.

The TUSD board's decision to bring back the ethnic studies program was a whole lot less contentious than its decision to end the Mexican-American studies classes three years ago.

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NPR Story
4:51 am
Wed July 24, 2013

House To Vote On Defunding NSA Phone Surveillance

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The U.S. House of Representatives is taking up the issue of domestic spying. Lawmakers are expected to vote today on an amendment that would reign in the National Security Agency program that collects the phone records of millions of Americans. This would be the first vote on the matter since the scope of the NSA program was made public in a series of leaks. As NPR's Tamara Keith reports, at issue is an amendment to the defense appropriations bill.

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All Tech Considered
3:23 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Online Marketers Take Note Of Brains Wired For Rewards

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:59 am

Ask yourself: Are you addicted to technology — any technology? Do you check email obsessively, tweet without restraint or post on Facebook during Thanksgiving dinner? Or perhaps you are powerless in the face of an iPad loaded with Angry Birds?

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Sports
3:06 am
Wed July 24, 2013

'Beep Baseball' A Homerun With Blind Players

Ryan Strickland takes a practice swing. Even though most players are legally blind, batters, basemen and outfielders all wear blindfolds in Beep Baseball so that people who can see shadows, for example, don't have an advantage.
Jessica Robinson for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:59 am

The air smells like cut grass and barbecue at Friendship Park in north Spokane, Wash. And Bee Yang is up to bat. The outfielders get ready. Yang is known as a power hitter.

But this is not your usual baseball game. There's a twist: most of the athletes on the field are visually impaired. Players know where the ball is by listening for it. It's called Beep Baseball, named for the beeping sound the balls make.

Yang listens for the pitch.

He swings.

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Music News
3:05 am
Wed July 24, 2013

In Hollywood, The Actor Who Gives The Call To Prayer

"The bottom line is my Muslim friends have no idea what it's like to be an actor, and my actor friends have no idea what is it like to be a Muslim," Ben Youcef says.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 10:05 am

For the next year, NPR will take a musical journey across America, which is one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. We want to discover and celebrate the many ways in which people make spiritual music — individually and collectively, inside and outside houses of worship.

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Sweetness And Light
10:03 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

NCAA Should 'Bolster And Reinforce' African-American Players

Jaimie D. Travis iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:59 am

"And this is a long-term project: We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement." President Obama

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Asia
6:29 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Japanese Commuters Save A Life During Rush Hour

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. At a station in Japan, a bunch of rush-hour commuters kept the train running on time and saved a life. When a woman stepping off the train fell between the stopped car and platform, about 40 commuters went into action. Along with transit workers, the passengers pushed the 32-ton train far enough away that the woman could be pulled up, pretty much unhurt. And the train? It left only eight minutes late. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Pop Culture
5:56 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Seventh Try's The Charm For Hemingway Look-Alike

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene.

I mean, isn't it every white haired, husky, bearded man's ambition to look like Hemingway? Sure seemed that way at the annual Papa Hemingway Look-Alike Contest. The annual event was just held at Sloppy Joe's, a favorite Hemingway watering hole on Key West. The winner: software developer Stephen Terry. He beat out more than a hundred hopefuls, including the husband of chef Paula Deen. Those who didn't win, take heart, it was Terry's seventh try. Now that's one earnest effort.

NPR Story
5:23 am
Tue July 23, 2013

What's Different About The Latest Push For Middle East Talks

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 8:28 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to bring Israeli and Palestinian officials to Washington to discuss a possible resumption of peace talks. Kerry announced on Friday that the two sides have tentatively agreed to preliminary talks but when and if actual peace negotiations will occur is uncertain. White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday he hopes the parties will be in Washington in the coming weeks.

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NPR Story
5:23 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Political Reporters Hit The (Bike) Trail In Iowa

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Okay. Political stories often come from the White House and they often take our political correspondents, say, to Iowa. That's where three of them are right now. But not for an election cycle, but actually to cycle. NPR's Don Gonyea, Scott Horsley and Brian Naylor are all on vacation together, pedaling across the state of Iowa, hundreds of miles with thousands of other cyclists. It's an annual summertime ritual known as RAGBRAI.

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NPR Story
5:23 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Republicans Pin Hopes On Senate Turnover In 2014

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Washington, D.C. the next election always seems just around the corner, even in the middle of summer when it seems a long way away to everyone else. Republicans are in the Senate minority today, but about now they're feeling confident about their prospects to pick up seats and maybe even regain the majority in 2014. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports.

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Parallels
3:02 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Despite Many Threats, Afghan TV Satire Mocks The Powerful

Zang-e-Khatar, or Danger Bell, makes fun of government officials and other powerful figures in Afghanistan. Cast members are shown performing a skit during a taping of the show.
Sultan Faizy NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 9:10 pm

Saturday Night Live. The Daily Show. Zang-e-Khatar.

OK, maybe you haven't heard of that last one. But the comedy-sketch television show is well known in Afghanistan, where Zang-e-Khatar, or Danger Bell, is one of the most watched programs.

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Race
3:01 am
Tue July 23, 2013

In The Summer, Univision Is Numero Uno

Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez recently performed on Univision's Premios Juventud.
Rodrigo Varela Univision

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 9:32 am

For three consecutive weeks this summer, Spanish-language TV network Univision won the prime-time ratings among young adult viewers. The network is bragging about its prime-time ratings domination with full-page ads in the LA Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Its English-language video exclaims: "For the first time ever, Univision is now the number one network in any language."

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The Salt
3:00 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Why Skipping Breakfast Might Raise Risk Of Heart Disease

Skipping breakfast is risky.
iphoto

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 3:18 pm

Breakfast has long gotten a good rap for everything from aiding weight loss to improving focus in the classroom.

And ever since the Alameda County study in California back in the 1960s linked breakfast — along with a host of other habits — to a longer lifespan, there's been a societal push towards breaking the fast.

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Shots - Health News
10:29 am
Mon July 22, 2013

State Laws Limiting Abortion May Face Challenges On 20-Week Limit

Becca Besaw of Austin, Texas, and Christopher Robertson of Fort Worth, Texas, protest the state's new law restricting access to abortion at a rally in Dallas on July 15.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 4:57 pm

Banning abortions after a specific point in pregnancy has been a popular trend in the states this year. Last week, GOP Gov. Rick Perry made Texas the 12th state to ban most abortions after 20 weeks.

But how states define the starting point for that 20 weeks may cause headaches for women and their doctors — and ultimately affect whether these laws pass constitutional muster.

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Sports
6:44 am
Mon July 22, 2013

In The Tour De France, Even The Loser Is A Winner

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 7:30 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The winner of the Tour de France gets a yellow jersey but let's focus now on the lanterne rouge. That's the term for the guy who finishes last. It translates to red lantern, like that found on the caboose of a train. Yesterday, 36-year-old Canadian Svein Tuft took the honor with his 169th place finish. It turns out that the lanterne rouge is hotly contested. Just finishing brings glory and lucrative appearances. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

World
6:33 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Septuagenarian Superhero? Man Lifts Car Off Son-In-Law

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 7:30 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene with a tale of neither a bird nor a plane. Cecil Stuckless was fixing a Jeep in Salvage, Newfoundland with his son-in-law, who was working under the car. Stuckless told the CBC he was getting a tool when the car suddenly fell. He summoned all his strength and lifted the Jeep just enough to save his son-in-law. Impressive for anybody, let alone a 72-year-old.

Asked if he was Superman, Cecil said: No, I'm not super. I just did what I could.

NPR Story
4:48 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Encore: The Many Musical Careers Of Katie Crutchfield

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 8:04 am

Alabama-born singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield broke through to a bigger audience last year by releasing an aching, bare-bones solo album. Her follow-up album came out in March. (This story originally aired on Weekend Edition Sunday on June 23, 2013.)

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NPR Story
4:48 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Energy Standards For Ceiling Fans Spin Up D.C. Debate

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 11:48 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In these dog days of summer, a ceiling fan still offers an inexpensive way to cool down - except maybe in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., where a partisan battle is heating up over efficiency standards proposed by the Obama administration. The Energy Department is in the early stages of crafting new rules to encourage the spread of ceiling fans that use less electricity, but House Republicans want to put that idea on ice. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

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NPR Story
4:48 am
Mon July 22, 2013

State Abortion Laws Differ From Doctors In Defining 20 Weeks

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 10:30 am

Texas last week became the 12th state to ban most abortions after 20 weeks. But most of the state laws don't define 20 weeks the same way doctors do.

Parallels
3:34 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Brazil's Evangelicals A Growing Force In Prayer, Politics

Evangelical Christians pray during the "March for Jesus" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Nelson Antoine AP

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 2:32 pm

Pope Francis arrives Monday evening in Rio de Janeiro for a weeklong visit celebrating World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics have made the pilgrimage to see the Argentine-born pontiff, and he is expected to receive a rapturous welcome.

Still, Pope Francis's visit comes at a delicate time for the church in Brazil. Catholicism — the nation's main religion — is facing a huge challenge from evangelicals.

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The Salt
3:33 am
Mon July 22, 2013

New York Toasts Long-Awaited Revival Of Its Distilleries

Tuthilltown Spirits in New York makes a clear corn whiskey, and the first legal aged whiskey in the state since Prohibition, among other products.
Joel Rose/NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 11:30 am

A century ago, New York could claim that much of its liquor was local, thanks to distilleries large and small that supplied a lot of the whiskey, gin and rum that kept New York City (and the rest of North America) lubricated. Then Prohibition arrived and the industry largely dried up, before trickling back to life in the 21st century.

Now, distillers in New York state are toasting a revival 80 years in the making.

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