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The Two-Way
5:37 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Costa Concordia Captain Blames Crash On Helmsman

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 6:46 pm

The captain of the Costa Concordia says the helmsman of the ill-fated cruise liner failed to properly execute a last-minute corrective maneuver that could have kept the massive vessel off a rocky shoal near the coast of Tuscany.

Capt. Francesco Schettino, who is charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 32 people aboard the ship, which ran aground on Jan. 13, 2012, is also accused of abandoning the liner's 4,200 passengers and crew on the night of the wreck.

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The Two-Way
5:34 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Online Review-Rigging Firms To Pay Fines In Yogurt Shop Sting

A sting operation involving a Brooklyn yogurt shop was part of an investigation by New York's attorney general that found companies had flooded ratings websites with fake consumer reviews.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 7:50 pm

The practice of writing fake online reviews has landed 19 companies in hot water in New York, where the attorney general announced penalties Monday over what he says are attempts to manipulate consumers.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman says the companies will pay more than $350,000 in fines after an investigation found that firms "had flooded the Internet with fake consumer reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch," according to a press release from his office.

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The Two-Way
5:20 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

IRS Official At Center Of Political Scandal Will Retire

Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, listens to opening statements during a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee before refusing to testify on May 22.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official who ran the division engulfed in a scandal over special scrutiny of Tea Party and patriot groups seeking tax exemption, will retire.

The IRS announced Monday that Lerner would step down after being placed on paid leave in May. She refused that month to answer questions at a congressional hearing, citing the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself.

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Science
5:17 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Don't Try To Clean That Messy Desk

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

When you fall in love with science, ordinary, everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. That's how NPR blog or an astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it. So look around your house: the mail, the kids' toys, the mess on your desk, the constant daily chaos. Adam Frank says it's all just the universe having its way with your life.

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Shots - Health News
5:01 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Could Detectives Use Microbes To Solve Murders?

Knight (left) and Bucheli take soil samples from beneath one of the decomposing bodies.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 1:30 pm

In the woods outside Huntsville, Texas, scientists are trying to determine whether they can use the microbes that live on the human body as microscopic witnesses that could help catch criminals.

It's a strange scene at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. At first, it's easy to miss the human bodies scattered among the tall pines, wild grass and weeds.

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Around the Nation
5:00 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

A Young Afghan War Survivor Touches Two American Lives

Arefa with Jami Valentine (left) and Staci Freeman. Arefa, who first stayed with the sisters while receiving medical care last year, came back to the U.S. this summer for follow-up treatment.
Gloria Hillard for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:38 pm

When Staci Freeman and her sister Jami Valentine first took in a child ravaged by war in Afghanistan last year, Arefa was a 6-year-old in Hello Kitty shoes, who quickly turned the daily routine of changing her head bandages into a counting game.

When Arefa arrived in Los Angeles from central Afghanistan, three years after being injured, Freeman says, third-degree burns mapped her body, and her head was an open bleeding wound.

"When she came, she came crying and in pain and her head hurt," Freeman says.

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NPR Story
4:53 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Los Campesinos! Exclamation Point Not Optional

Los Campesinos! is a Welsh band. The band's new album is called "No Blues." (facebook.com/loscampesinos)

NPR Music’s writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings Here & Now a new song each week to jazz up our play lists.

This week it’s a song from the upcoming album from Los Campesinos!. The album is called “No Blues” and the song is “What Death Leaves Behind.”

Thompson says the punctuation in the band’s name isn’t just casual.

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NPR Story
4:53 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Michigan Prepares To Battle Invasive Asian Carp

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources uses electric probes to stun fish. (Lindsey Smith/Michigan Radio)

Asian carp, an invasive and destructive fish, have spread through the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri rivers. In total, the fish are affecting more than 20 states from Louisiana to South Dakota.

Under the right conditions, it could take as few as a dozen Asian carp to establish a population in the Great Lakes. That’s according to a report published this month by scientists in Ontario.

If they’re correct, the risk of even just a handful of Asian carp escaping into the Great Lakes could be more significant than officials had planned.

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NPR Story
4:53 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Elections In Germany May Shift Economic Tone In Eurozone

German chancellor Angela Merkel smiles behind German flags at the party headquarters in Berlin, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (Michael Sohn/AP)

Chancellor Angela Merkel has won her third term as Germany’s top leader.

But Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats party fell five seats short of an absolute majority in the German Bundestag — the national parliament.

This may change some economic policies in the eurozone’s largest economy, including a softening towards bailed-out nations like Greece.

Financial Times reporter Cardiff Garcia joins Here & Now to explain.

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

$4.7 Billion Deal Would Take BlackBerry Private

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins officially unveils the Z10 smartphone in January.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 4:11 pm

A consortium of investors lead by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited has offered BlackBerry a $4.7 billion buyout, pending "due diligence," the company said on Monday.

The deal would take the struggling telecommunications firm into the private market, paying investors about $9 per share in cash. In a press release, BlackBerry said:

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