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It's All Politics
4:50 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Obama Heads Back To School To Talk College Affordability

President Obama steps off his bus, nicknamed "Ground Force One," as he arrives for breakfast at the Ossorio Bakery and Cafe in Cocoa, Fla., during a two-day bus tour last year.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 5:51 pm

It's back-to-school season for college students — and President Obama plans to be right there with them.

The president will spend the next two days on a bus tour of New York and Pennsylvania that includes stops at three colleges and a high school. At each stop, he'll be talking about ways to make college more affordable.

The president's big black bus will make its first stop at the University at Buffalo on Thursday — the same day incoming freshmen will be moving in, hauling suitcases and mini-refrigerators.

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Parallels
4:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Israeli Politician Stirs Up The Religious-Secular Debate

Ruth Calderon, a religious scholar, recently became a member of Israeli's parliament and has been a leading voice on issues that often divide the country's religious and secular communities.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 7:19 am

When Ruth Calderon is nervous, she does her nails.

"It helps," she grins. "Did you ever try? It puts you together. If you really are nervous you do bright red."

Calderon, 51, is a scholar and teacher of Jewish religious texts. She is also a novice Israeli politician, part of the new Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party that unexpectedly took 19 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last January.

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Around the Nation
4:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

VA Still Under Pressure To Reduce Disability Claim Backlog

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 5:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

For years, the backlog of disability claims for veterans has been fodder for politicians, pundits and even comedians, like Jon Stewart.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

JON STEWART: And paper disability records still undigitized and piled up so high that the floor of one VA field office is going to collapse.

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The Two-Way
4:09 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Secret Court: NSA Surveillance Program Was Unconstitutional

An image taken from the FISA court opinion released Wednesday. The document reveals instances in which the court saw the NSA overstepping in its surveillance efforts.
NPR

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 7:53 am

A secret federal court found that the National Security Agency violated the civil rights of Americans when it collected thousands of emails and other digital messages between Americans, according to a 2011 opinion released Wednesday.

The FISA court ruled parts of the program to be unconstitutional and ordered them to be revised. The government made changes and the court signed off on the program in November of 2011.

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NPR Story
4:03 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

An Adult Spin On A Childhood Favorite: The Tree House

A company in Ohio, Mohican Cabins, lets visitors live in luxury treehouses. (Mohican Cabins)

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:36 pm

When you hear “tree house,” you may picture kids perched in a tall oak, inside a patchwork fort of crudely nailed together construction scraps — maybe a rope ladder dangling from the trap door.

Well, a new cottage industry has emerged, putting a grown-up spin on this childhood refuge.

From Here & Now Contributors Network, Brian Bull of WCPN has the story.

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NPR Story
4:03 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Is It Time To End The 'Diet Debates'?

Shoppers peruse the produce section at The Fresh Grocer supermarket in West Philadelphia. (Coke Whitworth/AP)

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:36 pm

Comparing diets is something of a national pastime in America: pitting the Atkins Diet against the Paleo Diet against the South Beach Diet. It also extends into medical research.

But a provocative new paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association says researchers should stop comparing diets altogether.

Instead, it suggests researchers shift their focus to how to change behavior — forever.

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NPR Story
4:01 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

UN Investigating Alleged Chemical Attacks In Syria

This citizen journalism image, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens mourning over the dead bodies of Syrian men after an alleged poisonous gas attack fired by regime forces, according to activists in Arbeen town, Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (Local Committee of Arbeen via AP)

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 11:05 am

Syrian activists allege that Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against rebels today, killing hundreds of civilians.

The allegations come just after United Nations chemical weapons experts arrived in the country to investigate earlier alleged uses of these weapons.

Amy Smithson of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, explains what the UN team will be looking for and the challenges they face in determining chemical weapons use.

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Shots - Health News
3:55 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Deadly Middle East Coronavirus Found In An Egyptian Tomb Bat

So cute, but not cuddly. The Egyptian tomb bat, Taphozous perforatus, is a likely carrier of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS.
Courtesy of Jonathan H. Epstein/EcoHealth Alliance

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 6:09 am

For nearly a year, disease detectives around the world have been trying to track down the source of a mysterious new virus in the Middle East that has infected 96 people and killed 47 since September.

Now it looks like they've pinpointed at least one place where the virus is hiding out.

Scientists at Columbia University have detected the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS, in a bat near the home of a man who died from the disease. The team found a small fragment of the virus's genes in the animal that matches perfectly with those seen in the patient.

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Book Reviews
3:05 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

'Things Falling' Is A Potboiler, But One That's Set To Simmer

Juan Gabriel Vasquez is also the author of The Informers.
Hermance Triay

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 5:38 pm

Colombia. The drug trade. Multiple plane crashes, drive-by shootings, Peace Corps hippies who peddle drugs, and an actual hippo on the loose. Despite all of that, there's actually not much plot to this novel. This is more of a metaphysical detective story where cause and effect can be difficult to pin down — a book where the events that matter most occur inside the characters.

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Animals
2:29 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

On A Rocky Maine Island, Puffins Are Making A Tenuous Comeback

A puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock, off the Maine coast in July. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 7:12 pm

Rocky, windswept Eastern Egg Rock, about 6 miles off the coast of Maine, was once a haven for a hugely diverse bird population. But in the 1800s, fishermen decimated the birds' ranks — for food and for feathers.

When ornithologist Stephen Kress first visited 40 years ago, the 7-acre island was nearly barren, with only grass and gulls left. Not a puffin in sight. Not even an old puffin bone.

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