3:53pm

Thu April 19, 2012
Sports

Russian Gymnasts Seek To Soar Once Again

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:34 pm

Russian gymnast Victoria Komova competes in the balance beam final during the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo. Komova is one of Russia's top Olympic hopefuls.
Adam Pretty Getty Images

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, the women's gymnastics competition was highly predictable — the Soviet squad won the team gold medal at every Olympics it participated in.

Even when Nadia Comaneci was reeling off perfect 10s at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, she and her Romanian teammates had to settle for second in the team competition behind the legendary Olga Korbut and her Soviet comrades.

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3:48pm

Thu April 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez Will Retire After A 23-Year Career

In this Sept. 13, 2009, photo, Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez pauses during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in Arlington, Texas.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Next Monday, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, considered one of Major League Baseball's greatest catchers, will announce his retirement.

The news was first reported by the AP and confirmed today by the Texas Rangers, the team where Rodriguez made his debut.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, won a record 13 Gold Golves. The AP reports:

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3:36pm

Thu April 19, 2012
The Record

Levon Helm, Drummer And Singer In The Band, Dies

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 8:33 am

Levon Helm performing with The Band in 1971.
Jan Persson Redferns

3:36pm

Thu April 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Levon Helm, Legendary Drummer-Singer Of The Band, Dies

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 8:30 am

Levon Helm and the Levon Helm band perform during the Heros of Woodstock concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y. in 2009.
Craig Ruttle AP

After a long battle with cancer, Leon Helm died today. He was 71.

"Levon Helm passed peacefully this afternoon," a statement posted on his website read. "He was surrounded by family, friends and band mates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul."

Helm was the legendary drummer and singer of '60s rock act, The Band. Earlier this week, Helm's family announced that he was in the final stages of cancer.

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2:47pm

Thu April 19, 2012
The Salt

Starbucks Ditches Bug-Based Red Dye In Strawberry Drink

By June, this drink will be bug-free, Starbucks says
Armstrong Photo Starbucks

For those of you boycotting Starbucks over the red dye made from crushed bugs it's been using, this Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino® is for you.

As we reported last month, vegetarians and others who'd rather not eat insects protested when they found out the the company uses cochineal, the red "juice" a tiny white bug called Dactylopius coccus exudes when crushed, to color certain food and drinks.

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2:19pm

Thu April 19, 2012
NPR Story

Crack Addict Aspires To 'Ninety Days' Of Sobriety

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 11:35 am

Author Bill Clegg works as a literary agent in New York.
Christian Hansen

In his 2010 book, Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, Bill Clegg described his addiction to crack cocaine and the dramatic spiral of self-destruction that left him nearly broke, homeless, out of work and suicidal. His latest book, Ninety Days: A Memoir of Recovery, picks up where that story left off.

Clegg talks with NPR's John Donvan about his harrowing journey through recovery, and the friends, family and fellow addicts who gave him second chances.

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2:04pm

Thu April 19, 2012
-Tuned To Yesterday

Tuned To Yesterday

#552 - Romance: Hallmark Playhouse "The Barker" 5/26/49, Romance "Summer Song" 7/2/55

Tuned To Yesterday features programs from radio's golden era. Drama, Comedy, Western, Sci-Fi and more. Produced by Mark Lavonier. 

2:02pm

Thu April 19, 2012
NPR Story

'Ambassador' Guy Davis Takes Blues Around The Globe

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 2:29 pm

Guy Davis performs in northern Italy at the Piacenza Blues Festival in 2010.
Giulia Ciappa Flickr

The son of Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis, Guy Davis initially followed in his famous parents' footsteps. But then he discovered the blues in college, and now travels the world performing in places untouched by the genre, from Greenland to the Galapagos Islands.

Known as "The Ambassador of the Blues," Davis talks with NPR's John Donvan about his new album, The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With the Blues, and his passion for blues music.


Interview Highlights

On Fishy Waters, The Character He Created For His New Record

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2:02pm

Thu April 19, 2012
NPR Story

From Kerouac To Rand, 'Harmful' Reads For Writers

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 11:50 am

Kilian calls Jack Kerouac's On the Road one of the 20th-century novels that has "done more harm than good to apprentice writers."
Alan Levine Flickr

Columnist Crawford Kilian advises aspiring writers to avoid Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and eight other well-known novels.

But Kilian isn't saying they're bad novels — quite the opposite, actually. In a piece for the Canadian online daily The Tyee, Kilian writes, "their readable styles look so easy that they might seduce a young writer into imitating them."

Kilian tells NPR's John Donvan that he composed his list based on personal experience.

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2:02pm

Thu April 19, 2012
NPR Story

Inside The Hidden World Of Immigrant Smuggling

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 2:51 pm

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Earlier this month, nine immigrants suspected of being illegally smuggled into the United States were killed in a car crash. That journey came to a violent and sudden end. But there have been, and there will be others bent on crossing the Mexican border north to the U.S. who will make that very same journey and with a similar setup.

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