4:37am

Fri July 20, 2012
NPR Story

Drought Affects Large Swaths Of U.S.

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Colorado has been at the center of another devastating story in recent days -the worst wildfires in its history. Those fires are just one consequence of record heat in a drought that has spread across the Rockies and the Midwest. Local news is filled with pictures of farmers gripping shriveled ears of corn and boats marooned in empty reservoirs. It's a drought that will go down in history, much like that of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, and another in the 1950s that hit the central plains and the Southwest.

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4:37am

Fri July 20, 2012
NPR Story

An Update On the Syrian Free Army

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In other news this morning, the Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for the bombing attack in Damascus earlier this week. To learn more about the group, we reached Amr al Azm. He's a Syrian activist and professor of history at Shawnee State University.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Who is the Free Syrian Army exactly?

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4:37am

Fri July 20, 2012
NPR Story

Syrian Fighting Spreads Across Damascus

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 3:41 pm

A gunman opened fire early Friday at a movie theater in a Denver suburb, killing at least 12 people and leaving dozens more injured, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. Steve Inskeep talks to Chayyiel Jackson about the shooting.

3:44am

Fri July 20, 2012
Planet Money

Public Pensions Are About To Look Less Healthy

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 11:06 am

The health of public pension plans — the retirement plans for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other state and local governments — has gotten plenty of attention lately.

Some plans are hurting, and numbers from state and local governments suggest their public pension plans are underfunded by about $1 trillion.

But that gap between what they owe and what they have on hand today is about to look bigger — much bigger, in some cases.

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3:41am

Fri July 20, 2012
The Veepstakes

Jindal's Story Intrigues, But Can It Get Him A VP Nod?

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Mention Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and a lot of people still remember his 2009 Republican response to President Obama's first address to Congress. In a voice often compared to Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock, Jindal addressed viewers across the nation as if they were primary school students.

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3:40am

Fri July 20, 2012
U.S.

Rain Over Texas Quenches Dry Lone Star State

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Pedestrians stand along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, in May. The state has gotten a reprieve from more than a year of drought.
Eric Gay AP

While severe drought is taking hold in the Midwest, Texas is doing better. At this time last year, the state was on fire, crops were desiccated in the field and livestock were slowly starving. But recent rains have almost ended more than a year of record drought.

"If you look at the way we were thinking and feeling on the last July 16, that was desperation. That was despair," says Gene Hall, public relations director for the Texas Farm Bureau.

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3:35am

Fri July 20, 2012
London 2012: The Summer Olympics

Olympians' Dilemma: 'Starve My Soul' For Ramadan?

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:12 am

Mohammed Ahmed runs at the NCAA championships in June in Des Moines, Iowa. He's representing Canada at the Olympics and had to decide whether to fast for Ramadan this year.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Mazen Aziz, representing Egypt in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has trained for the 10,000-meter, open-water swim for years. It's a grueling race that can take upwards of 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the waves, current or water temperature.

But Aziz is Muslim, and with the Olympics falling during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the 22-year-old athlete had to make a choice: be in top physical condition or maintain a primary tenet of his faith.

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3:25am

Fri July 20, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Activists Fear Brazil's Triumph Over HIV Has Fizzled

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Drag queens at an outdoor restaurant in Copacabana incorporate safe sex messages into a show of lip-synced songs and risque jokes.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Brazil's HIV/AIDS program — which has been praised as a model for developing nations — is now under strain.

When HIV first emerged in the 1980s, Brazil responded quickly to the epidemic. The South American country launched large-scale safe-sex drives and gave away millions of condoms. It offered free treatment to anyone who was infected. The Brazilian government took on international pharmaceutical companies and even broke patents to cut medication costs.

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3:02am

Fri July 20, 2012
Asia

N. Korean Conundrum: Are Political Changes Real?

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 10:28 pm

In this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service on July 9, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen with a woman in Pyongyang. It's not clear who she is, but a first lady would be a marked departure from the days of Kim's father, who kept his personal life private.
AP

North Korea's army has been swearing oaths of loyalty to leader Kim Jong Un after he was given the new title of marshal of the nation, cementing his position. This comes just days after the army chief was dismissed for illness. Analysts suspect these announcements are masking far deeper changes, but there's disagreement about what it means.

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10:01pm

Thu July 19, 2012
StoryCorps

Two Tough Guys Meet Tough Times, And Each Other

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Jake Bainter and "Boston" Bill Hansbury recently visited StoryCorps in St. Petersburg, Fla., where they discussed losing their right legs.
StoryCorps

Back in 2008, "Boston" Bill Hansbury was learning to live with a prosthetic after losing his leg to an infection. That's when he met Jake Bainter, who was about to have his right leg amputated. The two struck up a friendship, despite a wide gap in their ages — Hansbury was 70, and Bainter was 7.

The pair recently discussed their friendship, and other topics, during a visit to StoryCorps in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"Boston Bill, tell me about the day that we met," says Jake, now 12.

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