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Parallels
3:44 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Bhutan's New Prime Minister Says Happiness Isn't Everything

Tshering Tobgay receives appointment as prime minister in the Bhutanese capital, Thimpu, last week.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 7:28 am

Sad but true, Bhutan's Gross National Happiness index is not immune to politics.

Much has been made in recent years of the measure preferred by the tiny Buddhist kingdom over such cold and utilitarian Western-style metrics as gross domestic product.

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Ecstatic Voices
1:03 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Songs Of Africa: Beautiful Music With A Violent History

Fred Onovwerosuoke founded the St. Louis African Chorus 20 years ago.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 9:00 am

For the next year, NPR will take a musical journey across America, which is one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. We want to discover and celebrate the many ways in which people make spiritual music — individually and collectively, inside and outside houses of worship.

The founder of the choral group Sounds of Africa is Fred Onovwerosuoke. He was born in Ghana and brought up in Nigeria, and his choir in the heart of the U.S. — St. Louis, Mo., to be exact — has recorded his arrangements of African sacred music by a composer named Ikoli Harcourt Whyte.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
6:54 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Not My Job: Charles Frazier Gets Quizzed On Frasier Crane

Greg Martin Courtesy of Charles Frazier

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 11:37 am

There are plenty of small-town guys who stick around, get a boring job and dream of writing a great novel. And nothing ticks off those guys like the ones who actually pull it off: Charles Frazier's first novel, Cold Mountain, was an international best-seller, and he followed it up with Thirteen Moons and Nightwoods.

Here in Asheville, N.C., we've invited Frazier to play a game called "I'm listening, Seattle." Three questions for Charles Frazier about Frasier Crane, fictional radio psychiatrist.

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The Two-Way
6:17 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Potential Whitey Bulger Witness Was Poisoned

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

Police in Massachusetts arrested a man they say poisoned Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who was a potential witness in the case against notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.

The important detail: The Boston Globe reports Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said they believe William Camuti, 69, "acted alone" and they did not believe the homicide was connected to the Bulger case.

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Parallels
5:56 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Jury Rejects Death Penalty For Somali Pirates

Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, on a yacht in Bodega Bay, Calif., in 2005. The two were part of a group hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman in February 2011.
Joe Grande AP

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:22 pm

A Virginia jury has recommended life in prison for three Somali pirates convicted of murdering four Americans seized from a sailing yacht off the coast of Africa in 2011.

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It's All Politics
4:56 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Congressional Recess Isn't A Cease-Fire; It's A Chance To Reload

Bill O'Leary The Washington Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 5:32 pm

As Congress heads off for its 2013 summer recess, who could blame a citizen for thinking that maybe the slogan above the House dais should be changed from "In God We Trust" to "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."

Experts in government like Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann have repeatedly warned that compromise, the lubricant that makes the U.S. system work, has been a missing ingredient in recent Congresses, especially in the House. And there were no signs Friday that anything will be different when Congress returns in September from its five-week break.

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It's All Politics
4:19 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Obama Nominee For IRS Chief Has History With Tough Tasks

President Obama has nominated John Koskinen to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Ron Edmonds AP

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 5:26 pm

The Internal Revenue Service, under attack by congressional Republicans, has been operating without a permanent commissioner. President Obama nominated John Koskinen on Thursday for what might be seen as a thankless job.

The president called his nominee "an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform." But Koskinen will have his work cut out for him, starting with his Senate confirmation hearing.

History With Struggling Agencies

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National Security
4:19 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

What A New Surveillance Court Could Look Like

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts received increased attention following the leaks about programs monitoring U.S. citizens. Some lawmakers are proposing changes to secret courts, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). He speaks with Melissa Block about the proposal.

Politics
4:19 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Week In Politics: Jobs, The Fed And Intra-Party Sniping

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 5:09 pm

Audie Cornish talks with political commentators David Brooks of The New York Times and Amy Sullivan of the National Journal. They discuss Friday's job numbers; the speculation over who President Obama will appoint to replace Ben Benanke as Fed chairman; and the intra-party sniping between Republicans Chris Christie and Rand Paul.

Shots - Health News
4:19 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Congress May Be Getting Its Own Obamacare Glitch Fixed

If you worked here, you'd be worried about losing your employer-funded health insurance contributions.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 9:16 pm

As its last official action before leaving for a five-week summer break, the House today voted — for the 40th time — to block implementation of the federal health law.

But it was something that happened late Thursday night affecting members of Congress and their staffers' own health insurance that attracted more attention around the Capitol.

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Supreme Court Denies California Delay On Prisoner Release

A California Department of Corrections officer looks on as inmates at Chino State Prison exercise in the yard in 2010.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant California an extension on an order issued by the justices more than two years ago for the state to release some 10,000 inmates from its overcrowded prisons.

The high court's original May 2011 ruling held that congested conditions in the California's 33 prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment as defined by the Eighth Amendment. The court gave the state two years to comply with an order to free the prisoners and alleviate the overcrowding.

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Political Crisis In Egypt
3:28 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

In Egypt, 'Third Square' Protesters Seek Middle Road

Activists from a group called "Third Square," which promotes a middle way in the rift between the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the army's overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, shout slogans as they gather to oppose both parties at Sphinx Square in Giza on July 30.
Asmaa Waguih Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:05 pm

Tensions are running high in Egypt, as supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi continue their protests. But they aren't the only ones.

Barely two weeks after Morsi was toppled in early July, a new protest movement emerged on the scene in Cairo.

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U.S.
3:13 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

The Old Gig: Catching Frogs On Warm Summer Nights

Tommy Peebles shines a light on the pond. With the help of Bick Boyte, the two Tennesseans catch frogs with homemade "gigs" for a frog leg fry they hold every year.
Stephen Jerkins for NPR

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 6:05 pm

Bick Boyte plops a 1-pound bullfrog in his aluminum canoe, still half alive. He resumes his kneeling position, perched upfront, on the hunt for a big bellower. Boyte hears the "wom, wom, wom" and knows frogs are within reach.

Boyte and Tommy Peebles have been "gigging" Tennessee ponds together since their daddies first taught them. Boyte now owns a truck dealership. Peebles is a real estate lawyer. But in the warm moonlight, they revert to their boyhoods. Peebles does the paddling.

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NPR Story
3:13 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

N.C. Abortion Law Sparks Protest; Governor Responds With Cookies

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:19 pm

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory sent out a plate of cookies to abortion law protesters who had gathered outside the governor's mansion on Tuesday. Audie Cornish speaks with Mary C. Curtis, who writes for the Washington Posts' blog She the People, about the incident and North Carolina politics.

Code Switch
2:43 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Research Says: Actually, Where You Go To College Matters

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 10:08 pm

There are lots of questions for high school grads: Should you go for an associate degree or a bachelor's? A community college or a four-year university? Does it really matter where you go? If we're comparing top-tier schools with open-access ones, then yes. It matters a whole lot, and it has long-lasting effects.

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