The Two-Way
4:17 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Sequestration Could Curtail 'Hurricane Hunter' Missions

A WC-130J "Hurricane Hunter"
U.S. Air Force

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:38 pm

Federal furloughs caused by sequestration could ground "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft, depriving forecasters of real-time measurements of storms during what's expected to be an especially active Atlantic hurricane season.

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The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

EPA, Labor Nominees Confirmed

By 59-40 vote mostly along party lines, the Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed Gina McCarthy as the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

That followed a 54-46 vote early in the day to confirm Thomas Perez as Labor secretary.

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Virginia Insight
4:00 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

The Latest Twists and Turns on Health Reform

Hypodermic Needle by George Hodan

You may have heard that implementation of the federal government’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not all going precisely as planned.

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Shots - Health News
3:37 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

World's Biggest Virus May Have Ancient Roots

Pandoraviruses were discovered lurking in the mud of Chile and Australia, half a world apart.
courtesy of Chantal Abergel and Jean-Michel Claverie

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:14 am

Researchers have discovered the largest virus ever, and they've given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus.

In mythology, opening Pandora's Box released evil into the world. But there's no need to panic. This new family of virus lives underwater and doesn't pose a major threat to human health.

"This is not going to cause any kind of widespread and acute illness or epidemic or anything," says Eugene Koonin, an evolutionary biologist at the National Institutes of Health who specializes in viruses.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Law School Enrollment Plunges

Enrollment is declining at law schools nationwide. At Harvard (pictured) enrollment is steady, though it's becoming easier to get in. (Harvard)

Law school enrollment is taking a nose dive, and law schools are trimming their faculty rolls.

The legal market has yet to recover from the recession, and that means fewer students are applying to law school.

Middle-tier schools are among the hardest hit, and legal experts say it could be years before their enrollment returns to pre-recession levels.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

South Africa Marks Nelson Mandela's Birthday

Children sing to Nelson Mandela on his 95th birthday in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Jason Beaubien/Twitter)

Millions of children across South Africa sang “Happy Birthday” to Nelson Mandela today as he turns 95.

People around the world are joining South Africans in celebrating his life.

British entrepreneur Richard Branson is among those volunteering 67 minutes in their communities, to honor the 67 years Mandela gave to the struggle against apartheid and creating a new South Africa.

In New York’s Times Square, South African artist Paul Blomkamp is showing his giant portrait of Mandela, which he says was inspired by the leaders great energy.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

New Tyler Perry Shows Offer Lessons On Finance

Promotional image for the show "The Have and Have Nots." (Oprah Winfrey Network)

Tyler Perry has two new shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN): “The Have and The Have Nots” and “Love Thy Neighbor.”

At first, the shows received a record number of viewers for the network, but ratings have since dropped off.

“The Have and Have Nots” is a soap opera-like show about the tensions between rich and poor, black and white.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Man Who Hoped To Testify Against Whitey Bulger Is Found Dead

Stephen Rakes as he arrived at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boston on June 12 for the first day of the "Whitey" Bulger's trial.
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:31 pm

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who claimed that notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger forced him — at gunpoint — to sell a liquor store in 1984, was found dead Wednesday in Lincoln, Mass.

According to the Middlesex (Mass.) District Attorney's office, "there were no obvious signs of trauma. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death."

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Pop Culture
2:38 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Maria Bamford: A Seriously Funny Comedian

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 3:05 pm

It's almost uncomfortable to laugh at Maria Bamford's comedy, because so much of it is about really serious problems she has: OCD, bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts. She's been hospitalized several times. But you have to laugh, because she's that funny.

In addition to the difficulties from which she suffers, Bamford — who has a new comedy CD out called Ask Me About My New God! — incorporates her family into much of her material. She's close to both her parents, in part, she says, because they've been through so much together.

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Charles Mahtesian is Politics Editor for Digital News.

Prior to coming to NPR, Mahtesian spent five years as Politico's national politics editor, where he directed its political and campaign coverage and authored a blog on the American political landscape.

He joined Politico after five years as the editor of the National Journal's Almanac of American Politics, the biennial book often referred to as "the bible of American politics."

Before that, he spent eight years as a national correspondent for Governing magazine, where he covered state legislatures, governors and urban politics.

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