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12:46 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

'Coming To America' Never Fails For Rapper Common

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 3:54 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally, you know those movies you pull out time and time again when you can't figure out what you want to watch. Our colleagues at Weekends on All Things Considered regularly ask filmmakers and actors about the movies they never get tired of watching. Today, rapper and actor Common tells us about one of his favorites.

COMMON: Peace, this is Common and I'm a artist, an actor. And the movie I've seen a million times is "Coming to America," directed by John Landis, starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and James Earl Jones.

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History
12:42 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

China's Conjoined Twins Still Fascinate, Two Centuries Later

The Bunker brothers with some members of their family.
Courtesy of Surry Arts Council

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 4:05 pm

Born to Chinese parents in what is now Thailand, Eng and Chang Bunker became famous throughout the world as "Siamese twins." The brothers were joined at the base of their chests. After years of being displayed at exhibitions, they settled in the mountains of North Carolina in the 1830s. They married two local North Carolina sisters and had a total of 21 children.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

U.S. Soldier Pleads Guilty In 2012 Afghan Shooting Rampage

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales (left), the U.S. soldier who allegedly shot and killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan, at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., on Aug. 23.
Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 2:34 pm

The United States soldier charged with the murder of 16 Afghan villagers entered a guilty plea on Wednesday during a court hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to 16 counts of premeditated murder, The Seattle Times reports, but he pleaded not guilty to "attempting to impede an investigation into the case by damaging a laptop computer."

The Times adds:

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Parallels
12:00 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

A Small Farming Town Becomes Ground Zero In Syria's War

Syrian soldiers stand in the main square of the western city of Qusair. Government troops recaptured the town on Wednesday after rebels had held it for more than a year. It's seen as a significant victory for President Bashar Assad's government.
STR AFP/Getty images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 12:50 pm

Qusair is a sleepy farming town not far from my hometown. I passed through it many times as a child and never imagined it would one day make international headlines as the focal point of Syria's civil war.

I wish it had remained a quiet place defined by the many agricultural fields of wheat and barley, along with apricot and apple trees, all of them well-watered by the Orontes River.

Less than 10 miles from the Lebanese border, Qusair was a mixed town of Christians, Sunnis and Shiites. Not anymore.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Death Toll In Philadelphia Building Collapse Rises to 6

Firefighters and rescue workers at the site of Wednesday's building collapse in Philadelphia.
Clem Murray MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:04 am

(Most recent update: 12:05 a.m. ET Thursday)

Firefighters have pulled a 14th survivor from the rubble of a building that collapsed Wednesday in Philadelphia, and from an adjacent store that was heavily damaged. According to The Associated Press, rescuers found a woman late Wednesday and she was taken to a nearby hospital. Deputy Fire Chief Robert Coyne said early Thursday that 61-year-old Myra Plekam was pulled from the debris more than 12 hours after a building collapsed and that she was awake and talking to rescuers.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Hilarious: Israeli Education Minister Can't Stop Laughing

Shai Piron.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 1:14 pm

Tuesday was a funny day in the Israeli Knesset. According to Haaretz, Education Minister Shai Piron stood before the parliament set to deliver a speech about prison contraband.

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Shots - Health News
11:28 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Will A Pedometer Get You Off Your Duff?

Pedometer, an app, keeps track of your steps, distance traveled and calories burned.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:27 am

Are you more likely to sit less and exercise more if you've got a little device tracking you every step of the way?

Quite a few people think so. But public health do-gooders bent on getting Americans out of their chairs and off their couches want to know for sure.

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The Salt
11:14 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Let Them Eat Wood! (If It's Turned Into Starch)

Scientists have figured out out how to turn cellulose from wood, bushes and grasses into edible starch.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 4:52 pm

For Percival Zhang, growing up in China meant learning to appreciate just how critical a stable food supply is to avoiding social unrest and disasters like famine.

When he became an associate professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, he got to thinking just how risky growing food has become because of the finite resources it requires: land, water, seeds and fertilizer.

Plenty of other plants on Earth, on the other hand, aren't so demanding.

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Chrysler 'Puts Reputation At Risk' By Rejecting Recall

Mike Blake Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 12:47 pm

As The Associated Press writes, "a defiant Chrysler is refusing to recall about 2.7 million Jeeps the government says are at risk of a fuel tank fire in a rear-end collision."

The Detroit Free Press says the company has "put its reputation for safety and quality on the line" by initially saying "no" to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's request.

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Shots - Health News
10:57 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Komen Foundation Scales Back Fundraising Walks

The Susan Komen for the Cure Foundation is pulling back from some high-profile fundraising walks.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 4:36 pm

Fallout from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's controversial and short-lived decision to halt funding for Planned Parenthood projects appears to still be piling up.

The group is pulling the plug on three-day events featuring fundraising walks in Washington, D.C., and six other cities in 2014. The Washington Post reported on the change Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Syrian Government Seizes Control Of The Key City Of Qusayr

Syrian army's soldiers walk in a street left in ruins on Wednesday in the city of Qusair in Syria's central Homs province.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 1:52 pm

The Syrian government claimed an important victory today, wresting control of Qusair, a key city near the Lebanese border, from rebel fighters.

CNN reports:

"State-run TV credited an offensive 'that led to the annihilation of a number of terrorists,' the government's term for rebels.

" 'Our heroic armed forces are always determined to confront any aggression that our beloved homeland may face in the future,' an anchor on Syrian state television said.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:07 am
Wed June 5, 2013

MIT's Magic Bag Of Sand

NMANewsDirect You Tube

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 10:48 am

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Job Growth Stayed Slow In May, Report Signals

The scene at a jobs fair in Gainesville, Fla., on April 27.
Matt Stamey Gainesville Sun /Landov

There were 135,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in May, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report, which was released Wednesday morning.

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Business
9:54 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Jobs Outlook Is Brighter For Class Of 2013

Graduates of Bowie State University wave to friends and family at the school's graduation ceremony in College Park, Md., on May 17. This year's graduates are finding better job prospects than at any time since 2008.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

For the last five years, graduation day has been as much a time for apprehension as for celebration.

Even now, with the Great Recession over, many recent graduates are still struggling to turn their high school and college diplomas into tickets for a better life. The unemployment rate for Americans under age 25 remains more than double the overall rate of 7.5 percent.

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U.S.
9:20 am
Wed June 5, 2013

National Security Adviser Donilon Resigns; Rice To Take Over

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The Whitehouse has announced that President Obama's National Security Advisor is resigning and he will be replaced by Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. NPR's Ron Elving is here to tell us more. Ron, some months ago, Ms. Rice was rumored to be nominated Secretary of State - that, of course, did not happen. So why don't you give us a quick fill on the back story.

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