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Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest
1:30 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Why Forest-Killing Megafires Are The New Normal

Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of ecology from Spain, sips water in the shade of a burnt tree in New Mexico's Bandelier Wilderness area, adjacent to the Bandelier National Monument. This site was devastated by last year's Las Conchas fire.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 8:46 am

Second of a five-part series

Fire scientists are calling it "the new normal": a time of fires so big and hot that no one can remember anything like it.

One of the scientists who coined that term is Craig Allen. I drive with him to New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument, where he works for the U.S. Geological Survey. We take a dirt road up into the Jemez Mountains, into a landscape of black poles as far as you can see.

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It's All Politics
5:34 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Cut Off From Party's Purse Strings, Rep. Akin Plans Next Move

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., says Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP vice presidential candidate, asked him to end his Senate bid after recent comments he made referring to "legitimate rape."
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Republican Rep. Todd Akin's decision to stay in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri is likely to leave him with support from the state's evangelical community, but not much more, says a political scientist at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

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Middle East
4:32 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

As Fighting Rages, A Prisoner Swap In Syria

The daily fighting in Syria included this gun battle Wednesday involving rebels in the northern city of Aleppo. Still, the rival sides recently worked out a prisoner swap in which two women were freed from state custody, while the rebels released seven pro-government fighters.
James Lawler Duggan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:59 pm

The bitter fighting in Syria seems to grow worse by the day, yet the rebels and the government do occasionally manage to work out something that requires each side to trust the other: prisoner swaps.

In one recent exchange, two women held by the government were freed in exchange for seven men who were fighting on behalf President Bashar Assad's regime.

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It's All Politics
4:17 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Despite Fact Checks, Romney Escalates Welfare Work Requirement Charge

President Clinton signs the welfare reform law on Aug. 22, 1996.
Stephen Jaffe Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Wednesday marks the 16th anniversary of President Clinton's welfare overhaul. That law has become a major issue in this year's presidential campaign.

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Summer Nights: Funtown
3:59 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Festive Nanjing Road Recaptures Shanghai's Heyday

The "Loving Happiness Band," supported, in part, by the Communist Party, plays for a crowd on Nanjing Road.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:34 pm

In the 1920s and 1930s, Shanghai was one of the world's most exciting — and notorious — cities. But all that came to an end in the middle of the last century, when the Communists took charge.

Over the past decade or so, though, a vibrant Shanghai has re-emerged. Today, it's a dynamic city of 23 million, with a skyline that dwarfs Manhattan's.

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Religion
3:34 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Some Israeli Parents Rethink Ritual Circumcision

Family members and friends gather around 8-day-old Israeli baby Oz Naftaly Cohen after his traditional Jewish circumcision ceremony in 2005.
Ariel Schalit AP

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 7:41 am

The question of whether to circumcise a newborn son is no question at all for most observant Jews. In Europe, the practice has come under fire. This summer, a German regional court ruled that circumcision is physical abuse, and a Swiss hospital temporarily banned the procedure. The debate has infuriated Jewish community leaders there.

In Israel, even the most secular Jews overwhelmingly have their sons circumcised. But the debate in Europe has drawn attention to a still small but growing number of Israeli Jews who are forgoing the procedure.

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Environment
3:34 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Humans' Role In Antarctic Ice Melt Is Unclear

The Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, shattered and separated from the continent 10 years ago. A NASA satellite captured the event in this image from Feb. 23, 2002. The 650 foot-thick, 1,250-square-mile ice shelf had existed since the last ice age.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Ten years ago, a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island disintegrated and melted in the waters off Antarctica. Two other massive ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula had suffered similar fates a few years before. The events became poster children for the effects of global warming. But a new study finds that the story isn't quite so simple.

There's no question that unusually warm air triggered the final demise of these huge chunks of ice. But a lingering question is whether these events can be attributed to human-induced global warming.

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The Salt
3:28 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

The Spice Man Cometh To Cuba, A Hot Land Of Bland Food

Cuba has tight advertising restrictions, so Cedric Fernando uses his British-made 1955 MG convertible to spread the word about his Indian restaurant, Bollywood, in Havana.
Nick Miroff NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:57 am

Cuba has hot weather, hot music, hot politics and hot Cubans. So why is the food so bland?

Tourists who have visited the island, particularly Cuba's state-run restaurants, know that Cuban chefs are deeply fond of frying their ingredients, but the range of seasonings tends to span from salt to garlic, with not much else in between.

Enter the Spice Man. He is Cedric Fernando, co-proprietor of the first and only Indian restaurant in Cuba, called Bollywood. And he's definitely turning up the heat in the kitchen.

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NPR Story
3:13 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Fla. Students Struggle Without Summer School

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

School started this week in Florida, but some students still haven't finished their summer courses. Many needed to make up classes they failed during the school year, but this summer they had just one option, online school. As Sarah Gonzalez of member station WLRN reports, some students are now struggling to catch up.

SARAH GONZALEZ, BYLINE: Louis Gonzalez finished his freshman year at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County, but this year, he's still considered a freshman, although his schools has a different name for him.

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NPR Story
3:13 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Muslim Radicals Raise Russian Fears In Tartarstan

The Russian republic of Tatarstan used to be held up as a model of moderate Islam coexisting with Christianity. But Muslims there are increasingly worried that the region may be falling under the influence of radical imams who received their training in Saudi Arabia. In July, Tatarstan's top Muslim cleric was severely wounded by a car bomb, and his deputy was shot to death by gunmen. Police blame Muslim militants, but local Tatar nationalists say the attacks are really provocations created by a Russian government that wants a firmer grip on the oil-rich republic.

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