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5:06am

Fri July 3, 2015
All Tech Considered

How Personal Should A Personal Assistant Get? Google And Apple Disagree

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 8:17 am

Google's upcoming "now on tap" feature will let smartphone users ask a question within an app like Spotify.
Google Inside Search

The smartphone has become a staple of life. But what about the personal assistant inside that phone? Not so much.

Maybe you turn to Apple's Siri or Google Now for a quick search or a snarky answer to a question. But imagine a world where your phone actually gets you. You, personally. Turns out two tech giants — Google and Apple — disagree on whether that's a worthy goal.

Introducing 'Now On Tap'

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6:39pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Virginia's Pamunkey Tribe Granted Federal Recognition

The federal government Thursday granted recognition to the Pamunkey Indian tribe of Virginia. The tribe, whose members encountered the first permanent English settlers some 400 years ago, had long sought the recognition.

The Pamunkey tribe has just over 200 members, about a quarter of whom live on a reservation near Richmond.

The announcement by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that it would recognize the tribe is "vindication," said tribal Chief Kevin Brown.

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6:13pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Salt

White House: We Have A Beef With GMO Regulations

About 90 percent of America's soybeans are genetically modified.
iStockphoto

The U.S. government's system for regulating the products of biotechnology, including GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, was born in 1986, and it has been controversial from the start. Now, it will be getting a makeover — in part to assure the public that GMOs really are adequately regulated.

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5:52pm

Thu July 2, 2015
National Security

Deputy Secretary Of State: Iran Needs Nuclear Deal 'More Than We Do'

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:35 pm

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

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5:52pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Around the Nation

Busy Travel Weekend Raises Concerns About Transportation Infrastructure

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:35 pm

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

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5:52pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Sports

Royals All Star Voting Echoes Last Time MLB Fans Stuffed The Ballot Box

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:35 pm

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

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5:52pm

Thu July 2, 2015
U.S.

New Rules Could Create A New Class Of Overtime Workers

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 7:22 pm

As President Obama promised, a new rule would make 5 million more Americans eligible for overtime pay.

Many workers say it's a welcome change. But businesses say employees could see negative, unintended consequences.

Barrett Zenger has managed a music store in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the past seven years, where he oversees two dozen employees, stocks inventory and fills in for sales clerks who call in sick.

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5:38pm

Thu July 2, 2015
It's All Politics

Small Donors Fueled Sanders' $15 Million Fundraising Haul

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:08 pm

A supporter registers for a town hall meeting Thursday in Rochester, Minn.
Jim Mone AP

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, running in the Democratic presidential primaries, has raised about $15 million, his campaign said Thursday.

His campaign emphasized the grass-roots strength of his fundraising: 250,000 donors making nearly 400,000 contributions of $250 or less.

The numbers come from a quarterly disclosure report being filed at the Federal Election Commission, and are measured from when Sanders launched his campaign April 30.

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5:34pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Goats and Soda

Yes, There Really Is A Town In Liberia Called 'Smell No Taste'

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 8:19 am

This is a photo taken in the town of Smell No Taste, where a teenager died of Ebola this past week. The home where he passed away is now under quarantine.
Abbas Dulleh AP

A curious detail appeared in stories about the death this week of a 17-year-old boy from Ebola.

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5:31pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Maria Leaves Sesame Street After 44 Years On The Block

Gordon (played by Roscoe Orman), Maria (played by Sonia Manzano), and The Count on Sesame Street's 42nd season. Manzano is closing out a Sesame Street career that began in 1971.
Zach Hyman Sesame Street

For the last 44 years, you could ask Maria how to get to Sesame Street, but not any more. Sonia Manzano, the actress who has played the character since 1971, is retiring and won't be part of the next season.

Manzano, 65, announced the news earlier this week at the American Library Association Annual Conference.

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4:45pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Economy

So Far, So Good For The Economy. But What About The Second Half?

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:36 pm

A worker welds parts in fans for industrial ventilation systems at the Robinson Fans Inc. plant in Harmony, Pa., in February. Hourly wages in the U.S. remained unchanged last month.
Keith Srakocic AP

Maybe it seems like just yesterday that you were storing away your holiday decorations.

Maybe it actually was yesterday because life gets busy and tasks get put off, and before you know it, half the year is over and you're scrambling to catch up.

So in case you have been too busy to pay close attention, here's what we now know about the just-ended half of this year's economy:

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4:43pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Parallels

In Data Breach, Reluctance To Point The Finger At China

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:35 pm

Adm. Michael Rogers, NSA director and head of the U.S. Cyber Command, has avoided singling out China for blame in the OPM hack, which may affect as many as 18 million federal workers.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Adm. Michael Rogers is among the American officials most likely to know which country perpetrated the Office of Personnel Management's massive data breach, possibly the biggest hack ever of the U.S. government. He's not only director of the National Security Agency, but also heads the U.S. Cyber Command.

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4:42pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Code Switch

Coping While Black: A Season Of Traumatic News Takes A Psychological Toll

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 8:12 pm

Raymond Smith of Charleston, S.C., kneels in prayer in front of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston before a worship service on June 21.
Stephen B. Morton AP

Can racism cause post-traumatic stress? That's one big question psychologists are trying to answer, particularly in the aftermath of the shooting at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and the recent incidents involving police where race was a factor.

What's clear is that many black Americans experience what psychologists call "race-based trauma," says Monnica Williams, director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville.

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4:42pm

Thu July 2, 2015
It's All Politics

5 Things You Should Know About Jim Webb

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:29 pm

Former Sen. Jim Webb speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association annual conference last month in Baltimore.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

4:30pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Environment

BP Settlement To Address Ecosystem Damage Caused By Oil Spill

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:35 pm

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

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4:30pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Book Reviews

Book Review: 'The Uses Of The Body,' Deborah Landau

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:35 pm

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

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Instead of ignoring the strange things a woman's body does through motherhood and aging, Deborah Landau's new collection revels in them. It's called "The Uses Of The Body." Tess Taylor has our review.

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4:30pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Parallels

In Secular French Schools, One Group Wants To Talk Religion

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:35 pm

A student attends a course on religion at a middle school in Metz, in eastern France, on June 5. French schools teach basics, like the history of religion, but discourage any displays of religious identity.
Jean-Christophe Verhaegen AFP/Getty Images

For the past several years, the group Coexister has been going into secular French schools to break down religious stereotypes in the classroom.

Since January's attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, the demand for their interventions has skyrocketed.

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4:24pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

ISIS Reportedly Destroys Ancient Statue In Captured City Of Palmyra

The self-declared Islamic State has released photos purportedly of its fighters destroying an ancient artifact in the Syrian city of Palmyra weeks after the Islamist extremists captured the city.

A "priceless" 2,000-year-old statue of a lion dating from the city's Roman heritage is seen being smashed in what Syrian antiquities director Maamoun Abdelkarim tells Agence-France Press is "the most serious crime [ISIS has] committed against Palmyra's heritage."

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4:13pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Science

Checking DNA Against Elephants Hints At How Mammoths Got Woolly

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 7:55 am

Mammoths had a distinctive version of a gene known to play a role in sensing outside temperature, moderating the biology of fat and regulating hair growth. That bit of DNA likely helped mammoths thrive in cold weather, scientists say.
Courtesy of Giant Screen Films, 2012 D3D Ice Age, LLC/Penn State University

Scientists say they've found a bit of DNA in woolly mammoths that could help explain how these huge beasts were so well-adapted to live in the cold of the last ice age.

Woolly mammoths had long shaggy fur, small tails and ears to minimize frostbite, and a lot of fat to help stay warm as they roamed the tundra more than 12,000 years ago.

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3:16pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Salt

Do Organic Farmers Need Special Seeds And Money To Breed Them?

"Who Gets Kissed" corn is a variety bred in Wisconsin specifically for organic farmers. It's named for an old game. At corn husking time, a lucky person who found a rare ear of corn with red kernels had the right to kiss anyone that he or she chose.
Courtesy of Adrienne Shelton

Rearranging veggie genes is big business, and we're not even talking about biotechnology. Private companies and university researchers spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year breeding better genetic varieties of food crops.

But organic farmers say those programs have a big blind spot when it comes to figuring out which new varieties are truly better. Few companies or researchers test those varieties under organic conditions.

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3:10pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Shots - Health News

Don't Get Your Kids' Genes Sequenced Just To Keep Up

You can now order genetic tests off the Internet and get your child's genome sequenced for less than the cost of a new car. The question is, should you?

Almost certainly not, according to the American Society for Human Genetics, which released a position paper Thursday intended to give parents some help navigating the dizzying world of genetic tests.

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2:48pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Former Sen. Jim Webb Announces Run For Democratic Nomination

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 4:21 pm

Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association presidential forum in Baltimore on Tuesday. Webb announced Thursday that he is running for president.
Patrick Semansky AP

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has become the fifth Democrat to announce he is seeking the party's nomination for president.

"[Our] country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us," Webb said in a statement. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."

Webb, 69, joins former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee in the 2016 contest.

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2:47pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Taiwan Airliner's Black Box Shows Pilot May Have Shut Off Wrong Engine

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 2:59 pm

The mangled fuselage of a TransAsia Airways commercial plane is dragged to the river bank after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, in February.
AP

"Wow, pulled back wrong side throttle."

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2:33pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Afghan Court Commutes Death Sentences In Mob Killing Of Woman

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:19 pm

An appeals court in Afghanistan has overturned the death sentences handed to four men who were part of a mob that attacked and killed a 28-year-old woman falsely accused of burning the Quran.

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2:33pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Goats and Soda

How Salt + Car Battery = Clean Water

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 7:27 pm

A woman in Yatta, Kenya, explains how to make clean water using a car battery and just the right mixture of salt and water.
Jane Mauser Courtesy of MSR

It's easy to take clean, safe water for granted. It just flows out of taps continuously — even in drought-ridden California.

But for hundreds of millions of people around the world, clean water is a luxury. In many places, even patients in hospitals and kids at school don't have water that's safe to drink.

Now, an unlikely partnership of an outdoor equipment manufacturer and a global health NGO is trying to change that.

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1:47pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Movie Reviews

Not All Sequels Are Equal: Following Up To 'Terminator', 'Magic Mike'

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

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1:47pm

Thu July 2, 2015
Politics

Was This Past Supreme Court Session 'A Liberal Term For The Ages'?

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 12:42 pm

A man holds an American and a rainbow flag outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court legalized gay marriage nationwide.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

The Supreme Court term that just ended included historic rulings in support of same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. "Political scientists will say that this is a liberal term for the ages," Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent at The New York Times, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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1:37pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Russian Rocket Poised For Crucial Supply Run To Space Station

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:45 pm

On Friday, a Russian Soyuz rocket will send an unmanned cargo ship with more than 3 tons of food, water and fuel for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Russian Federal Space Agency

The stakes are high for a routine cargo mission to the International Space Station, after a string of failures has left the orbiting outpost running somewhat low on supplies.

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1:28pm

Thu July 2, 2015
It's All Politics

Bernie Sanders Just Drew A Huge Crowd. How Does It Measure Up?

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 2:28 pm

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday.
Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Call it the latest sign of "Bernie-mentum" — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' latest event in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday drew an estimated 10,000 supporters. He packed the arena at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the liberal college town.

Sanders said last month that he was "stunned" by the large crowds showing up for him. Organizers were once shocked by 300 in Iowa, then 5,000 in Minnesota.

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1:27pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Why We Shouldn't Be Surprised By Greece's Impasse With Europe

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends an emergency Parliament session for the government's proposed referendum in Athens on June 27.
Petros Karadjias AP

This is what has unfolded in Greece in the past week:

June 26: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announces a July 5 referendum on terms put forward by the strapped country's creditors and urges his people to vote "no."

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