Politics
5:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

The Death Penalty's Slow But Seemingly Sure Decline

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks with reporters at the Capitol in 2011 after signing legislation abolishing the death penalty in the state.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:00 pm

The death penalty has become a bit like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. It may never fade away entirely, but capital punishment is certainly less visible or actively pursued than it used to be.

In May, Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to abolish the death penalty. Across the nation as a whole, fewer criminals are being put to death. Last year, 43 were executed, down significantly from the peak of 98 back in 1999.

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Movie Interviews
3:50 am
Fri June 21, 2013

'The Attack' Depicts Opposing Sides In Middle East Violence

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 8:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Politics
3:34 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Compromise Deal Speed Immigration Bill Through Senate

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 4:27 am

The chances of an immigration overhaul bill getting through the Senate greatly improved on Thursday. A deal was reached on a border security plan. Steve Inskeep talks about the deal with two of the senators in the so-called "Gang of Eight," who are working on a bipartisan approach to immigration, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin.

Planet Money
3:34 am
Fri June 21, 2013

How Brush Factories Survive In America

Fourth-generation owner of Braun Brush, Lance Cheney, stands next to a special-order brush his company made for the artist Richard Artschwager.
Marianne McCune NPR

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 2:46 pm

Brushes are pretty simple: a bunch of flexible fibers sticking out of something stiff. Not surprisingly, Chinese manufacturers have grabbed a big share of the U.S. brush market. But several hundred small U.S. brush factories are still hanging on. Here are three strategies they're using to survive.

1. Compete On Quality

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
2:05 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Nancy Pearl Scours The Shelves For Books You Might Have Missed

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 3:06 pm

If you'd like your summer reading to take you beyond the beaten path, librarian Nancy Pearl is here to help. NPR's go-to books guru joins us regularly to reveal "under the radar" reads — books she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting. Pearl talks with NPR's Steve Inskeep about some of the titles she picked out for the summer reading season.

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Shots - Health News
2:04 am
Fri June 21, 2013

With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny

In San Jose, Calif., on June 6, President Obama encouraged people to sign up for insurance in the nation's largest health insurance market.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 8:07 pm

This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.

But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.

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National Security
2:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Obama's Pick To Lead FBI Adds New Layer To Privacy Debate

Jim Comey, then deputy attorney general, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in 2005.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:34 am

President Obama will formally nominate Jim Comey to be the country's next FBI director on Friday.

Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.

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StoryCorps
2:02 am
Fri June 21, 2013

For A Boy With Little, Learning To Love A Castoff Trombone

On a visit to StoryCorps in Phoenix, Gilbert Zermeno told his wife, Pat Powers-Zermeno, about what it was like to grow up poor while yearning to join the school band.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 9:57 am

Gilbert Zermeno came from a big family who didn't have much. They lived on the plains of West Texas and got by on the $100 a week that Gilbert's father made working the cotton fields.

So when Gilbert wanted to join the school band in sixth grade, his parents had to get creative, as he explained to his wife, Pat Powers-Zermeno, during a recent visit to StoryCorps in Phoenix.

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The Two-Way
6:02 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Six-Woman Jury Selected For Trial Of George Zimmerman

Six women have been selected for the trial of George Zimmerman, right, on second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was in court Thursday with his defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.
Pool Getty Images

A jury has been settled upon in the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The six-member panel is made up entirely of female jurors; five of them are white women, according to reports.

Attorneys in the trial finished questioning potential jurors around mid-day Thursday; they are also selecting four alternate jurors for the trial.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Jury Sworn In:

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The Salt
5:59 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

How Circadian Rhythms Give Vegetables A Healthy Boost

Researchers at Rice University conducted lab studies using light-dark cycles to try to coax more beneficial compounds out of fruits and vegetables.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:56 pm

Just as we have internal clocks that help regulate the systems in our bodies, fruit and vegetable plants have circadian rhythms, too.

And a new study published in Current Biology finds there may be a way to boost some of the beneficial compounds in plants by simulating the light-dark cycle after crops are harvested.

So, how does it work?

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