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Energy
1:59 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

EPA: Tar Sands Pipelines Should Be Held To Different Standards

An oil sheen appears along the shore of the Kalamazoo River in August 2012. In July 2010, more than 800,000 gallons of tar sands oil entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Heavy rains caused the river to overtop existing dams and carried oil 30 miles downstream.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 3:57 pm

Up until now, pipelines that carry tar sands oil have been treated just like pipelines that carry any other oil. But the Environmental Protection Agency now says that should change. That's because when tar sands oil spills, it can be next to impossible to clean up.

The agency made this argument in its evaluation of the State Department's environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline project, which, if approved, would carry heavy crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States.

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It's All Politics
1:59 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Obama Says New Abortion Laws Turn Back The Clock

President Obama addresses the Planned Parenthood national conference in Washington on Friday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 2:33 pm

President Obama on Friday became the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood's annual meeting, delivering a strongly worded speech defending the embattled organization.

"We shouldn't have to remind people that when it comes to women's health, no politician should get to decide what's best for you," said Obama, who was greeted by sustained applause when he took the stage.

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Code Switch
1:58 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Why Does Wisconsin Lock Up More Black Men Than Any Other State?

About 1 in 8 black men of working age (13 percent) are in state prisons or jails. The national average is 6.7 percent.
Dan Bannister iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 3:39 pm

What is going on in Wisconsin?

A new study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that looked at the prison population there found that the state has the highest percentage of incarcerated black men in the country. About 1 in 8 black men of working age (13 percent) are in state prisons or jails. The national average is 6.7 percent.

According to census figures, African-Americans make up 6.5 percent of the state's population.

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Monkey See
1:57 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Tribeca Diary: 'The Kill Team'

U.S. Army Spc. Adam Winfield is the subject of the documentary The Kill Team, which focuses on his ongoing legal struggles after being accused of the premeditated murder of an unarmed Afghan in 2010.
Tribeca Film Festival / ITVS

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 11:18 am

Writer Joel Arnold is surveying the scene at the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs in New York City through April 28. He'll be filing occasional dispatches for Monkey See.

At Tribeca over the weekend, I was initially reluctant to seek out The Kill Team, a documentary focused on American soldiers charged in the 2010 murders of three Afghan civilians — this, after a week when senseless violence felt especially close to home.

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Midwest Rivers Crest As Towns Wait To See Some Relief

National Weather Service Significant Flood Outlook for the week of April 23 - 28, 2013.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 1:02 pm

Flooding continues to plague the upper Midwest, as waters crested at record highs in places and weary river-town residents watched the flood markers for signs of relief.

NPR's David Schaper, reporting from Chicago, tells our Newscast Unit that the Mississippi River continues to rise, overtopping small levees north of St. Louis. But he says some of the bigger problems are in Illinois, near the town of Peoria, where "many roads, homes and businesses are flooded, and dozens of Peoria-area residents have been evacuated."

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Middle East
1:47 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

U.S. Wary As Qatar Ramps Up Support Of Syrian Rebels

President Obama meets with the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in the Oval Office on Tuesday. The emir is among a series of visiting Middle East leaders urging the U.S. to take a greater role in the Syrian conflict.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 3:47 pm

President Obama has been hosting a series of visitors from the Middle East, and all of them have been urging the U.S. to get more involved in Syria.

They have included the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, whose country has been arming rebel forces in Syria. Obama wants to see such aid go to moderates — but that requires more cooperation with partners like Qatar. Problem is, they don't always see eye to eye.

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Will Chemical Weapons Change U.S. Policy Toward Syria?

The White House said this week that it believes Syria has been using chemical weapons, but President Obama has not said how the U.S. might respond. Here, rebel fighters in Syria prepare to launch of a rocket in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on April 21. The rebels have also accused the Syrian government of employing chemical weapons.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. has remained at arm's length during two years of bloodletting in Syria that has claimed some 70,000 lives. But when the White House said Thursday it believed Syria has used chemical weapons, even in small quantities, it immediately set off a renewed debate on whether the U.S. might pursue a more aggressive policy.

Here are some of the key issues now under discussion:

-- Is the U.S. sure that Syria used chemical weapons?

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Planet Money
1:13 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Nervous Parents In One Country Clear Supermarket Shelves In Another

A sign limiting the purchase of baby formula powder hangs on a shelf in a London supermarket April 10.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 3:47 pm

Liyan Chen, a grad student in New York, was chatting online recently with her cousin in China.

"He said, 'I want Abbott milk powder,' " Chen told me. " 'I want you to buy it and ship it back.' "

Her cousin wanted her to buy three boxes of Abbott baby formula, sold under the brand name Similac, and ship it to him in China. She did some research and found out the shipping alone could cost $80. "They're not from a very well-off family, and that really surprised me," she said — especially because they can buy Abbott baby formula in stores in China.

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Dutch Authorities Nab Suspect In 'Unprecedented' Cyberattack

Authorities say they have arrested a Dutch national in Spain in connection with a March cyberattack widely described as the largest in Internet history.

According to The Associated Press, Dutch prosecutors say the 35-year-old suspect, who is identified only by his initials, S.K., was taken into custody on Thursday.

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The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences
12:53 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Flight Delays Push Congress To End Controller Furloughs

Travelers stand in line at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday. Congress moved quickly this week to give the Federal Aviation Administration flexibility to end air traffic controller furloughs that resulted in flight delays at several airports.
Damian Dovarganes AP

The U.S. Congress — a body not exactly known for its swift feet — raced Friday to complete legislation to help travelers avoid delays at airports.

The House voted 361-41 to approve legislation that the Senate passed without objection late Thursday. The bill gives the Federal Aviation Administration more spending flexibility to cut its budget while avoiding furloughs of air traffic controllers.

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