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It's All Politics
3:31 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

4 Facts You Might Not Have Known About The IRS Scandal

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:52 pm

For a little more than a month now, we've been reporting on the IRS's flagging of Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Through it all, some basic questions remain: Who ordered the targeting? And why?

We don't have any satisfying answers to those questions yet — and it seems neither do the congressional investigators. But along the way, as new revelations have trickled out, we've noticed some surprising and even puzzling facts about the situation that haven't gotten much attention.

Here are four of them:

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Monkey See
3:05 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

To Be, Or Not To Be (Covered By The AP)

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:45 pm

Ever so quietly this week, the national arts scene became a bit more fragmented, a bit more stratified and a lot more invisible. The Associated Press has just spiked a chunk of its opera, dance and off-Broadway coverage. And in this case, no news is bad news.

In an email, AP chief theater writer Mark Kennedy described the decision to me:

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Six-Woman Jury Selected For Trial Of George Zimmerman

Six women have been selected for the trial of George Zimmerman, right, on second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was in court Thursday with his defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 6:02 pm

A jury has been settled upon in the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The six-member panel is made up entirely of female jurors; five of them are white women, according to reports.

Attorneys in the trial finished questioning potential jurors around mid-day Thursday; they are also selecting four alternate jurors for the trial.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Jury Sworn In:

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Parallels
2:35 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

What's In A Name? A Lot If You're A Country

Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly pulled his representatives out of planned peace talks because of the flag and the nameplate at the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar. Both were legacies of the time the Taliban ruled the country and illustrated how sensitive such symbols can be.
EPA/Landov

A flag and a nameplate: Those seemingly innocuous items were apparently the reason that Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly refused to participate in peace talks also involving the Taliban and the U.S.

The flag was the same white flag the Taliban used when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The nameplate bore the words "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the name used by the old Taliban government.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gay-Therapy Ministry Shuts Down, Says 'We've Hurt People'

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, with his wife, Leslie, in a May 2006 photo.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:25 pm

Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.

The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Second Reported Miracle Paves Way For Pope John Paul's Sainthood

Cardinal Stanislav Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow and former personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, prays in front of the late pope's tomb at St. Peter's Basilica in 2011, in Vatican City.
Getty Images

It's a miracle, though we're not quite sure of the details yet.

A Vatican official confirms that a committee of theologians has approved a second miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II's posthumous intercession — a sine qua non for sainthood.

Italian media say a Costa Rican woman was cured of a severe brain injury after her family prayed to the memory of the late pope. The Vatican is set to release details in the next week or so.

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Author Interviews
1:50 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

'The Center Holds' Sees Victory For Moderates In Obama's Win

In his new book, The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter looks at President Obama's re-election campaign.
Simon & Schuster

Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.

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Environment
1:35 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

The Business And Politics Of Air Quality Regulation

In a speech in Germany Wednesday, President Barack Obama said it's time to take "bold action" on climate change. Many believe that major changes to policies on carbon emissions lie ahead, which would mean a host of new regulations for businesses.

The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Amid Turmoil, U.S. Speedskating Chief Resigns

Already on thin ice after months of turmoil and scandal, the executive director of U.S. Speedskating (USS) has resigned.

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Arts & Life
1:25 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Nikky Finney Ponders Possibilities Of The Poetry Profession

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Over the past several weeks, we checked in with our colleagues and friends in a series of conversations called "Looking Ahead," today, poet Nikky Finney. Two years ago, she riveted the audience as she accepted a National Book Award for her poetry collection "Head Off & Split."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SPEECH)

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Remembrances
1:19 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gandolfini Through The Eyes Of Those He Worked With

Actor James Gandolfini speaks at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in January 2013. He died on June 19.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

As New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, which ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007, James Gandolfini created a character that helped open television to a new era of great and nuanced acting. When he died in Italy on Wednesday at the age of 51, fans around the world were shocked.

And as Fresh Air's television critic David Bianculli noticed, there was an instant online outpouring that celebrated "what an iconic performance he gave us in terms of television."

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The Protojournalist
12:24 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Haiku In The News: Obama In Berlin

Sean Gallup Getty Images

"Citizens who choose ...

To be defined by a wall,

or ... to tear it down. "

From Remarks by President Obama at the Brandenburg Gate. June 19, 2013.

****

(If you find examples of Haiku in the News, please send them to: protojournalist@npr.org)

The Two-Way
12:07 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Singapore Endures Record Smog

The sun rises over the Singapore Central Business District as smog shrouds the city-state on Thursday.
Joseph Nair AP

Face mask-clad Singaporeans enduring record-breaking smog got some more bad news from their government on Thursday: The pollution may last awhile.

The choking smog that blanketed the city-state earlier this week, generated by burning clear-cutting fires in Indonesia, has gone well beyond the "hazardous" level on the Pollutant Standards Index, hitting 371 on Wednesday before coming back down to about 250. The previous record was 226, reached in 1997.

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Thu June 20, 2013

He's An Impostor, The Navy Says About Cap'n Crunch

Say it ain't so, Cap'n.
Quaker Oats Company PepsiCo

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:53 am

We don't know how, but we missed a major scandal brewing in the Navy for decades. It's important, so even if we're a little late to the story we still wanted to point it out: Cap'n Crunch is an impostor.

The Cap'n was unmasked on June 14 by a food blogger, who noticed the uniform he wears on cereal boxes had the stripes of a commander, not a captain. That is: A captain has four stripes on his sleeve, while a commander has three.

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National Security
11:13 am
Thu June 20, 2013

At A Texas Base, Battling Army's Top Threat: Suicide

Soldiers approach armored vehicles after a training exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, in January.
Juan Carlos Llorca AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:42 pm

Suicide killed more American troops last year than combat in Afghanistan, and that is likely to be the case again this year.

According to the Pentagon, there were at least 349 confirmed suicides in 2012, compared with 310 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan in the same period.

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