NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
11:32 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Here's What Putin Didn't Tell Snowden About Russia's Spying

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who appears not to have told the whole story about his nation's surveillance programs.
Alexei Nikolsky AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 11:53 am

"Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?" former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

"We don't have a mass system of such interception, and according to our law it cannot exist," the Russian leader responded.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

China Admits That One-Fifth Of Its Farmland Is Contaminated

Xiang Zhengming plants rice seedlings in a field in southeast China's Fujian Province earlier this month. A newly released report says nearly 20 percent of the country's farmland is contaminated.
Lin Shanchuan Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:43 pm

Unbridled industrialization with almost no environmental regulation has resulted in the toxic contamination of one-fifth of China's farmland, the Communist Party has acknowledged for the first time.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Pakistani Madrassa Names Its Library For Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden is referred to as a shaheed, or martyr, on a sign outside the library at a girls' school in Islamabad.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

A sign now outside the small library at a religious school for girls in Pakistan's capital says the room has been named for a martyr — Osama bin Laden, whose al-Qaida terrorist network was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

"For us he was a hero of Islam," a school spokesman tells Agence France-Presse.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Deal In Doubt As Separatists Refuse To Budge In Ukraine

A masked pro-Russia gunman looks through a window of a regional administration building seized earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:49 am

"Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said Friday that they were not bound by an international deal ordering them to disarm and were looking for more assurances about their security before leaving the public buildings they are holding," Reuters reports.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Tragedy Atop The World: Everest Avalanche Kills At Least 12

The sun shines on the peak of Mount Everest in this October 2011 photo. On Friday, an avalanche killed at least 12 Sherpas on the mountain.
Kevin Frayer AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:58 pm

At least 12 Sherpa guides died Friday on Nepal's side of Mount Everest when an avalanche buried them on the world's tallest mountain.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Book News: The Celebrity Of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez appeared in public during a celebration marking his 87th birthday on March 6 in Mexico City. He died Thursday.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Captain Of Korean Ferry Arrested As Vessel Sinks Below Surface

Cranes, ships and other rescue equipment are on the scene off the southern coast of South Korea, where a ferry capsized Wednesday. About 270 people, most of them high school students, remain missing.
Kim Hong-Ji Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 4:28 pm

The captain of the South Korean ferry that sank earlier this week in the Yellow Sea, leaving at least 28 dead and hundreds missing, has been arrested, along with two other crew members, South Korea's Yonhap news agency says.

The 69-year-old captain, Lee Jun-Seok, faces five counts including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law, Yonhap says.

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The Two-Way
8:46 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

'Completely Unique': Cave-Dwelling Female Insects Have Penises

Made for a tight grip: The female penis of an insect species newly discovered in Brazil has spines on it.
Courtesy of Current Biology, Yoshizawa et al.

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:51 am

Four new insect species found in Brazil have rather strange sex lives — to say the least. Their sex organs are reversed: Females have penises and males have vaginas, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

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The Two-Way
6:37 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Even Chimps Know That A Firm Bed Makes For Quality Sleep

A chimpanzee hangs from a tree trunk in Kibale National Park in Uganda. A new study indicates that chimps prefer a specific tree for sleeping.
James Akena Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 7:14 pm

In the wilds of Africa, chimpanzees consistently choose to make their sleeping nests in a particular tree that offers the "just right" kind of comfort that Goldilocks famously preferred.

That's according to a new study in the journal PLOS ONE that could also bolster a theory that solid shut-eye may have been a key to human evolution.

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