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The Salt
4:44 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Taco Bell Says Adios To Kids' Meals And Toys

Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:32 pm

That Crunchy Taco will no longer come with a side of toy.

Taco Bell announced Tuesday that it is ditching kids' meals and the trinkets that come with them at its U.S. locations. The items will begin to come off menus starting this month, the company says, and should be completely gone by January 2014.

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Theater
4:34 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

'Love's Labours,' Tuned Up And Playing In The Park

Daniel Breaker, a Juilliard-trained actor who's earned praise for roles as varied as Donkey in Shrek the Musical and the protagonist Youth in Passing Strange, gets to play a king in a new musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.
Tammy Shell The Public Theater

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:14 pm

A few years ago, after songwriter Michael Friedman and writer-director Alex Timbers had finished working on their cheeky historical musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, they decided to look for a new project to work on. Friedman says they wanted the next show to have a completely different feel.

"So we started looking at Shakespeare," Friedman says. "And then, I think, we came to sort of, 'How amazing would it be to work on a romantic comedy?' "

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U.S.
4:34 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Laws Tightening Abortion Rules Gain Traction In States

Dr. Howard Novick says new abortion restrictions in Texas could force him to close the Houston clinic he opened in 1980. He says he doesn't have the more than $1 million required to convert his office into a surgical center with wide corridors and sophisticated airflow systems.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:31 pm

A judge has temporarily blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned abortions beginning around six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat is detectable. It's one of several state laws passed this year intended to limit abortion.

Those backing the new rules say they will make abortions safer. But abortion-rights advocates say the laws are about politics, not safety.

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Parallels
4:28 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

With An Assist From Smugglers, Cuban Players Make It To U.S.

Cuban baseball players have been defecting to the U.S. in growing numbers over the past two decades. Increasingly, smugglers play a role in getting the players off the island, U.S. baseball agents say.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:55 pm

Cigars aren't the only thing smuggled out of Cuba these days.

Cuban baseball players are also a hot commodity, and sports agents in the U.S. say the process is increasingly dominated by smugglers who track down players willing to defect and find surreptitious ways to deliver them to the United States.

"The whole business got pretty much taken over by smugglers," says former baseball agent Joe Kehoskie.

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The Two-Way
4:09 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Court Rules Against Dallas Suburb That Barred Renting To Illegal Immigrants

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:24 pm

Back in 2006, when many municipalities across the country took Arizona's lead passing stringent laws against illegal immigrants, the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch became a kind of poster boy.

With much controversy, the city passed legislation that among other things barred anyone from renting property to undocumented immigrants.

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Music Interviews
3:41 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Guy Clark, Music's Master Craftsman, On Making Songs Last

Tools line the walls of Guy Clark's basement workshop at his home in Nashville, where he still builds guitars.
Jinae West NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:16 pm

If you want to learn how to write a song — one that's built to last, with vivid characters and images that plant you squarely inside a scene — listen to Guy Clark.

Songwriters who revere Clark will tell you he crafts songs with the same precision and attention to detail he uses when he builds guitars. But Clark has a simpler, blunter explanation, as he told me with a glint in his eye when I visited him recently at his home in Nashville, Tenn.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

WATCH: Disco, The Parakeet, Takes On 'Monty Python'

Disco, the parakeet.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:49 pm

We'll get back to the real news in a little bit. But we would be downright irresponsible, if we didn't point you to the latest from Disco, the parakeet.

His owners just posted a video that shows Disco trying to learn the famous line from Monty Python, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

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Shots - Health News
3:19 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Obama Turns To Comedians To Promote Health Coverage

Comedian Sarah Silverman helped get out the vote for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
YouTube

Who needs jocks when you've got Jennifer Hudson and Amy Poehler?

That seems to be the message coming out of the White House following a star-studded meeting yesterday led by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Its mission: Figure out how to help promote the Affordable Care Act.

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Space
3:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

NASA Uses Photo Of Earth From Saturn To Boost Space Interest

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:29 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This week, NASA is trying to do its part to raise science literacy. To give people a better understanding of Earth's position in the solar system, the agency's posted a picture of our planet taken from a billion miles away, give or take 100 million miles or so. And joining me now to talk about the picture, and why NASA took it, is NPR's Joe Palca. Joe, good to see you.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Good to see you.

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Book Reviews
3:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Popes, Politics And Power: The Story Of The Borgia Family

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:16 pm

If every era gets the historical fiction it deserves, we have been good indeed. From the transcendent psychological rummagings of Hilary Mantel to the gooey pleasures of Philippa Gregory, we can set aside flowery bodice-rippers (not that there's anything wrong with those) and view the dusty figures through lenses literary, pop culture-y, or near-pornographic.

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Business
3:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Steve Cohen Fights Back Against Claims Of Insider Trading

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:16 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

Billionaire Steven Cohen is fighting back. He faces federal charges that he didn't do enough to prevent insider trading at his hedge fund SAC Capital. As The Wall Street Journal reported this morning, Cohen's firm issued a rebuttal, claiming that he never saw an email that's an important part of the government's case.

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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Asia
3:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Families Of Poisoned Children Try To Cope In India

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:16 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In India, police have widened their hunt for the principal of an elementary school. It's the place where 23 children died last week after eating a toxic school lunch. The principal has been missing, along with her husband, since the day the children fell sick. An arrest warrant has been issued for her. In the meantime, parents of the victims are trying to cope with the tragedy. NPR's Julie McCarthy visited some of the families who live in one of India's poorest states.

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Religion
3:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Jubilation, Protest Greet Pope Francis In Brazil

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:16 pm

Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and was greeted by adoring masses and protesters alike. It is his first foreign trip since becoming pope.

The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

The Big Stink: D.C.'s Corpse Flower Put On A Show

The color of the corpse flower is meant to mimic the color of rotting flesh and raw meat.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:50 pm

The line to see the thing that was supposed to smell like rotting flesh wrapped around the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., on Monday night. Most folks who braved the heat and hourlong wait weren't greeted with the overwhelming stench of death, but rather the smell of sweat and intense, intense humidity.

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Education
2:49 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Teachers Hit The Books To Master New Education Standards

Teacher Karen Pate assists math teachers with Common Core materials in Baltimore. As in other states, Maryland teachers are attending trainings to prepare to implement the new standards this fall.
Gwendolyn Glenn WYPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:16 pm

Almost all the states and Washington, D.C., are grappling with a big challenge as the new school year nears: getting teachers up to speed on the Common Core, a sweeping set of new education standards for English language arts and math.

The Common Core will soon apply to most of America's students from kindergarten through high school. The policymakers behind the Core know that it could fail if they don't help teachers make the change. So this summer, the state of Maryland has been hosting what it calls "academies" to do just that.

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