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3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

VA Still Under Pressure To Reduce Disability Claim Backlog

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

For years, the backlog of disability claims for veterans has been fodder for politicians, pundits and even comedians, like Jon Stewart.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")

JON STEWART: And paper disability records still undigitized and piled up so high that the floor of one VA field office is going to collapse.

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Commentary
3:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

What's Behind Romania's Church Building Spree?

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

In Romania, new churches are popping up at the rate of 10 a month. That's one every three days, according to a BBC report. It also includes a vast cathedral under construction in the capital city, Bucharest.

This building boom is taking place in one of Europe's poorest countries, and it has Romanian-born commentator Andrei Codrescu wondering what's really going on.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Secret Court: NSA Surveillance Program Was Unconstitutional

An image taken from the FISA court opinion released Wednesday. The document reveals instances in which the court saw the NSA overstepping in its surveillance efforts.
NPR

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 6:53 am

A secret federal court found that the National Security Agency violated the civil rights of Americans when it collected thousands of emails and other digital messages between Americans, according to a 2011 opinion released Wednesday.

The FISA court ruled parts of the program to be unconstitutional and ordered them to be revised. The government made changes and the court signed off on the program in November of 2011.

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Shots - Health News
2:48 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Deadly Middle East Coronavirus Found In An Egyptian Tomb Bat

So cute, but not cuddly. The Egyptian tomb bat, Taphozous perforatus, is a likely carrier of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS.
Courtesy of Jonathan H. Epstein/EcoHealth Alliance

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 5:09 am

For nearly a year, disease detectives around the world have been trying to track down the source of a mysterious new virus in the Middle East that has infected 96 people and killed 47 since September.

Now it looks like they've pinpointed at least one place where the virus is hiding out.

Scientists at Columbia University have detected the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS, in a bat near the home of a man who died from the disease. The team found a small fragment of the virus's genes in the animal that matches perfectly with those seen in the patient.

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Book Reviews
2:05 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

'Things Falling' Is A Potboiler, But One That's Set To Simmer

Juan Gabriel Vasquez is also the author of The Informers.
Hermance Triay

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Colombia. The drug trade. Multiple plane crashes, drive-by shootings, Peace Corps hippies who peddle drugs, and an actual hippo on the loose. Despite all of that, there's actually not much plot to this novel. This is more of a metaphysical detective story where cause and effect can be difficult to pin down — a book where the events that matter most occur inside the characters.

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Animals
1:35 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

On A Rocky Maine Island, Puffins Are Making A Tenuous Comeback

A puffin prepares to land with a bill full of fish on Eastern Egg Rock, off the Maine coast in July. Last year young puffins died at an alarming rate from starvation because of a shortage of herring.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:12 pm

Rocky, windswept Eastern Egg Rock, about 6 miles off the coast of Maine, was once a haven for a hugely diverse bird population. But in the 1800s, fishermen decimated the birds' ranks — for food and for feathers.

When ornithologist Stephen Kress first visited 40 years ago, the 7-acre island was nearly barren, with only grass and gulls left. Not a puffin in sight. Not even an old puffin bone.

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All Tech Considered
1:25 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Weekly Innovation: Hey, You're Taking Too Long In The Shower

The Uji shower head will be available for sale in early 2014. Its light turns from green to red as the shower progresses.
Courtesy of Brett Andler

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 6:16 am

This week's innovation pick is a shower head that reminds you you're taking too long. The Uji shower head gradually turns from green to red as users linger in the shower.

"It encourages [people] to take shorter and more energy efficient showers," said one of the co-inventors, Brett Andler. "By letting people become aware of how long they're in the shower, we've actually been able to cut shower time by 12 percent."

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Parallels
12:36 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Panning For Gold In South Sudan, A Gram At A Time

South Sudanese pan for gold in Nanakanak, in the eastern part of the impoverished country. Tens of thousands of informal miners are looking for gold, and the government is trying to attract international mining companies to carry out the search on an industrial scale.
Hannah McNeish AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 5:08 pm

Digging a trench under the punishing midday sun, Thomas Lokinga stops only when he needs to wipe the sweat from his face. He is determined to find a nugget of gold amid the hard-baked ground in Nanakanak, in the eastern part of South Sudan, the world's newest nation.

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The Two-Way
12:31 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Journey Of The Ring: Lost In WWII, Now Back With POW's Son

The ring that finally found its way home after nearly 70 years. David Cox, an American pilot, traded it for some food while he was a prisoner of war in Germany.
Courtesy of Norwood McDowell

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:11 am

  • David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about the journey of his father's ring
  • David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about how his father would have loved getting his ring back

"I can't touch it or pick it up without thinking about him and I can't pick it up without thinking about this journey of the ring."

That's David C. Cox Jr. of North Carolina talking Wednesday about the rather amazing saga of the ring his father had to trade for food in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II — a ring that has now made it back to the Cox family after seven decades.

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Code Switch
12:23 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Summer Of '63: Old Lessons For A New Movement

Participants in the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride sit on a bus that will travel from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2003.
J. Emilio Flores Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

All this summer, NPR is looking back to civil rights activism of 1963, marking the 50th anniversary of a number of events that changed our society. From the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in Mississippi to the March on Washington; NPR is remembering the past and examining how our society has changed.

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