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4:30 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

How OxyContin's Pain Relief Built 'A World Of Hurt'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 12:40 pm

Prescription painkillers are among the most widely used drugs in America. In the decade since New York Times reporter Barry Meier began investigating their use and abuse, he says he has seen the number of people dying from overdoses quadruple — an increase Meier calls "staggering."

"The current statistic is that about 16,000 people a year die of overdoses involving prescription narcotics. ... It's a huge problem. The number of people dying from these drugs is second only to the number of people that die in car accidents," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Parallels
4:28 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

In China, Customer Service And Efficiency Begin To Blossom

A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:56 pm

China's infamous bureaucracy has bedeviled people for ages, but in recent years, daily life in some major Chinese cities has become far more efficient.

For instance, when I worked in Beijing in the 1990s, many reporters had drivers. It wasn't because they didn't drive, but because they needed someone to deal with China's crippling bureaucracy.

I had a man named Old Zhao, who would drive around for days to pay our office bills at various government utility offices. Zhao would sit in line for hours, often only to be abused by functionaries.

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Media
4:10 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Two Newspapers Battle It Out For The New Orleans Market

Free introductory copies of the Baton Rouge Advocate's new New Orleans edition are seen next to copies of The Times-Picayune at Lakeside News in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in September. The Baton Rouge newspaper started its own daily edition to try to fill the void left when The Times-Picayune scaled back its print edition to three days a week.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 2:26 pm

Last year when New Orleans' main paper, The Times-Picayune, laid off dozens of newspaper employees and cut its circulation to three times a week, residents were shocked.

Sharron Morrow and her friends had bonded over the morning paper at a local coffee shop for the past 20 years.

"I've stopped my subscription, and I mourn the paper almost every day," she says.

Shifting Media Players

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The Salt
3:40 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Cooking With Cicadas: No Weirder Than Eating Cheese?

Cicada: It's what's for dinner?
Sean Bush AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

You knew this one was coming.

Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.

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The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's The Meaning Of This? A New Twist In The Spelling Bee

Minka Gill of Kokomo, Ind., participates in Round 2 of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

If Snigdha Nandipati, the 14-year-old who won last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, had been asked to define her winning word, "guetapens," things might have turned out differently.

This year, a vocabulary test with word definitions is, for the first time in the bee's 86-year history, part of the competition. Preliminary and semifinal contestants must pass the test to get to the finals of the grueling competition.

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Shots - Health News
3:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Middle East Coronavirus Called 'Threat To The Entire World'

A nurse walks towards the Roger Salengro Hospital in Lille, France, where two patients were diagnosed with a coronavirus related to SARS.
Michel Spingler AP

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 11:43 am

If you've been following the news out of China about the latest bird flu and its threats to humans, may we direct your attention toward the Middle East for a minute?

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Business
3:21 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

By leasing land for drilling, city leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, hope to generate funds to demolish vacant buildings.
M.L. Schultze for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.

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From Our Listeners
2:19 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Letters: Blood Alcohol Content Levels, Micro-Housing

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. Last week, we talked LZ Granderson, who opposes a proposal to lower the blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05.

Josiah Rousch(ph) in Clifton Park, New York, had a different idea. He wrote: Let's increase access to public transportation in areas where people are heavily reliant on driving to bars and other social areas where drinking's involved. Instead of arresting people - especially repeat offenders - let's change behavior in a more pragmatic way.

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Politics
2:13 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The Role Of The Attorney General Throughout History

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The president throws footballs with Chris Christie on the Jersey Shore. Michele Bachmann throws in the towel in Minnesota. And Scott Gomez throws shade at Ed Markey in Massachusetts. It's Wednesday and time for a...

GABRIEL GOMEZ: Pond scum...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

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Movie Interviews
2:12 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

From Boos To Bravos: A Recap Of Cannes

French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour, winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of a teenager named Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) who falls in love with a blue-haired art student named Emma (Lea Seydoux).
Wild Bunch

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:30 pm

"It was the film of the festival," critic John Powers tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about Blue Is the Warmest Color, this year's Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival. When Powers says "film of the festival" he means "it was the film that people loved the most, some hated the most, and everyone talked about the most."

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Environment
2:04 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Colorado Crisis: America's Great River Dwindles in Drought

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:15 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

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Research News
2:04 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Public Opinion On The Record Number Of Female Breadwinners

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 2:21 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A new Pew study finds that in a record 40 percent of all households with kids under 18, mothers are either the sole or primary source of income. In 1960, that share was just over 10 percent. These breadwinner moms number in the millions, but about three-quarters of all adults say that the prominence of women's economic role makes it harder to raise children. Half say it's made marriage harder to succeed. If you're one of these breadwinner moms, call, tell us what we don't know about the tradeoffs.

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Arts & Life
2:04 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Cartoonist Lynda Barry Helps College Students Tap Innate Creativity

Angela Richardson

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 11:50 am

Like most of her work, cartoonist Lynda Barry's class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is unorthodox. "No artistic talent required," the course description states. The course is described as a "writing and picture-making class with focus on the basic physical structure of the brain."

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Nasdaq Agrees To $10M Penalty For Handling Of Facebook IPO

A year ago, before the initial public offering of stock, Nasdaq and Facebook were quite excited.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

One year after Facebook's troubled initial public offering, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that it has "charged Nasdaq with securities laws violations resulting from its poor systems and decision-making ... [and that] Nasdaq has agreed to settle the SEC's charges by paying a $10 million penalty."

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Asia
1:35 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

For China's Youth, A Life Of 'Darkness Outside The Night'

A small, child-like creature in a cone hat peers into a toy shop, happy at the sight of a snow globe, in a vignette called "Tininess" in Darkness Outside the Night, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the excerpt below.
Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with permission to reproduce the panels from Tabella Publishing LLP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 4:48 pm

Xie Peng, a 36-year-old Chinese graphic novelist, spent six years working on his first book, Darkness Outside the Night. It's been praised by China's first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan, as inspiring people on how to deal with life.

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