1:18am

Tue April 30, 2013
It's All Politics

ATF Allies Say Agency Handicapped By Lack Of Director

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 1:27 pm

ATF agents search last week for evidence at the site of the fire and explosion in West, Texas.
Tom Reel/The San Antonio Express-News AP

It's one of the smallest law enforcement agencies in the federal government, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has sure had a busy couple of weeks.

Dozens of its agents raced to Boston, where they analyzed bombs left near the finish line of the marathon. Others went south to Texas, where a fertilizer plant exploded under mysterious circumstances. Members of the ATF's national response team are still on the scene in tiny West, Texas, sifting through rubble at the blast site, near a crater that's 93 feet wide.

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1:17am

Tue April 30, 2013
Latin America

Brazil Seeks To Avoid Own Goal Ahead Of World Cup

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 9:19 am

The renovated Maracana stadium hosts a game by the teams "Friends of Bebeto" and "Friends of Ronaldo" during the stadium's inauguration in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Soccer isn't just a sport in Brazil, it's a religion, and the main temple is the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

The venue is not only the biggest stadium in Brazil but the biggest in South America. Over the weekend, the newly renovated complex reopened to great fanfare, with stirring musical numbers, a light show and dignitaries including Brazil's president.

The headlines in the local media, however, focused not on the fanfare but on the many problems, from flooding in the VIP area to malfunctioning seats and turnstiles. The stadium was also four months late reopening.

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1:09am

Tue April 30, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Calif. Doesn't Want Smokers To Pay More For Health Insurance

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 1:27 pm

Californian State Assemblyman Richard Pan (center) is the author of legislation that would bar higher prices for health insurance sold to smokers.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Smoking has its risks, but in California higher prices for health insurance probably won't be among them.

The federal health law allows states to charge smokers up to 50 percent more for a health plan, but a bill moving forward in the California Legislature would prevent that from happening.

The Affordable Care Act is supposed to remove discrimination in the pricing of health insurance for things like gender and medical condition. Critics say a tobacco surcharge creates a new category of discrimination against smokers.

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1:07am

Tue April 30, 2013
All Tech Considered

When It Comes To Productivity, Technology Can Hurt And Help

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 1:27 pm

With instant messages buzzing, emails pinging and texts ringing, how can employers increase productivity in the workplace? Software companies are tackling the problem, tracking employees' computer time to find ways to improve their efficiency.
iStockphoto.com

Even when people think they're buckling down, studies show the average office worker wastes over a third of the day. There's Facebook, of course, and the email from a friend with a YouTube link. After all that, is it time to go get coffee?

Worker pay is the most expensive line item in the budget for most businesses, which means billions of dollars are going to waste.

But here's the silver lining: It turns out lack of productivity presents a big business opportunity.

Joe Hruska is pretty blunt about how much work anyone does in a typical day.

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1:04am

Tue April 30, 2013
Environment

He Helped Discover Evolution, And Then Became Extinct

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 1:27 pm

Poacher-turned-conservationist Karamoy Maramis, who works at Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park in Sulawesi, holds a maleo, a bird that exists in nature only on the Indonesian island.
Rebecca Davis NPR

Ask most folks who came up with the theory of evolution, and they'll tell you it was Charles Darwin.

In fact, Alfred Russel Wallace, another British naturalist, was a co-discoverer of the theory — though Darwin has gotten most of the credit. Wallace died 100 years ago this year.

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5:17pm

Mon April 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Saturn Shows Off A Massive Spinning Vortex: 'The Rose'

A mammoth spinning vortex is seen on Saturn, in this "false-color" photograph released by NASA Monday. The image was captured by the Cassini spacecraft. A related image, presenting what a human eye would see, is farther down this page.
NASA

NASA is calling it "The Rose." By any other name, it's a mammoth storm on Saturn's north pole. Its eye spans an estimated 1,250 miles — 20 times the size of an average hurricane's eye on Earth. Winds in the Saturn storm's eye wall are believed to be four times as fast.

The stunning image of the spinning vortex was given "false colors" to emphasize low clouds (in red) versus high clouds (in green). NASA estimates that the clouds at the outer edge are moving at up to 330 miles per hour.

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4:00pm

Mon April 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Cargo Plane Crash In Afghanistan Kills 7

A civilian cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members, the U.S. military said Monday.

NPR's Tom Bowman is reporting on it for our Newscast team. He says:

"Officials say the crash killed all seven crew members. And there is no word yet on their nationalities.

"Emergency responders are still on the scene of the crash, at the sprawling base north of Kabul. Officials are still trying to determine the reason for the crash but say there's no indication of hostile fire.

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3:51pm

Mon April 29, 2013
All Tech Considered

How One College Is Closing The Computer Science Gender Gap

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 5:48 pm

Harvey Mudd President Maria Klawe often uses her longboard to get around campus and chat with students like senior Xanda Schofield.
Wendy Kaufman NPR

This story is part of our series The Changing Lives of Women.

There are still relatively few women in tech. Maria Klawe wants to change that. As president of Harvey Mudd College, a science and engineering school in Southern California, she's had stunning success getting more women involved in computing.

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3:32pm

Mon April 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Medics Arrive At Guantanamo As Hunger Strikers Increase

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 3:58 pm

About 40 medical personnel have arrived at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay amid an increase in the number of hunger strikers at the facility.

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NPR correspondent Alix Spiegel works on the Science desk and covers psychology.

Arriving at NPR in 2003, much of Spiegel's reporting has been on emotion mental health. She has reported on everything from the psychological impact of killing another person, to the emotional devastation of Katrina, to psycho-therapeutic approaches to transgender children.

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