All Things Considered on WLRN

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel

In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features.

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Middle East
5:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

An Israeli Political Newcomer, Who May Soon Be An Insider

Yair Lapid and his new political party, There Is a Future, got the second-most votes in Israel's election on Tuesday.
Oliver Weiken EPA /Landov

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 9:17 am

Israel's surprisingly close parliamentary elections Tuesday have brought political attention to a man accustomed to the bright lights of television: former journalist and media personality Yair Lapid.

His Yesh Atid — or There Is a Future — Party got 19 seats in parliament, making it the second-largest voting bloc behind Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, which won 31 seats.

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World
4:50 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

U.S. Military Seeks Its Role In Troubled North Africa

Gen. Carter Ham, who heads the U.S. Africa Command, meets with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last September. Amid upheaval in the region, AFRICOM is still attempting to define its mission.
Farouk Batiche Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

The recent crises in northern Africa, from Libya to Mali to Algeria, have raised a host of questions about the role of the American military command responsible for the entire continent.

Founded in 2007, the United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM, was created to train African militaries so U.S. troops would not be called upon in times of crisis.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Panetta Lifts Ban On Women In Combat Roles

In a May 9, 2012 photo, Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. Female soldiers are moving into new jobs in once all-male units as the U.S. Army breaks down formal barriers in recognition of what's already happened in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kristin M. Hall AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 8:04 am

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decided to lift a ban that prohibited women from serving in combat, a congressional source tells NPR's Tom Bowman. The move opens up thousands of front-line positions.

Panetta is expected to announce the decision along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.

Citing "senior defense officials," the AP adds:

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Shots - Health News
3:35 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Scientists Put An End To Moratorium On Bird Flu Research

Health workers in Nepal culled chickens and destroyed eggs following an outbreak of bird flu in Kathmandu in October 2012.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

Controversial experiments on bird flu could resume within weeks because leading influenza researchers around the world have finally called a halt to an unusual moratorium that has lasted more than a year.

The voluntary pause in the research started back in January 2012. Scientists had genetically altered the bird flu virus H5N1, changing it in ways that allowed it to spread through the coughs and sneezes of ferrets — the lab stand-in for people.

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Burning Cheese Closes Norwegian Road For Days

A truckload of brunost cheese, like the kind seen here, recently caught fire in a Norwegian tunnel.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

It was probably a first for Norway when a truck trailer full of sweet goat cheese caught fire near the town of Narvik late last week, blocking a road tunnel. it took four days for firefighters to put out the flames. No one was hurt. Norwegian Broadcasting says the tunnel was so badly damaged that geologists are checking it for safety, and any lingering toxic gases.

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Asia
1:49 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

'Friends' Will Be There For You At Beijing's Central Perk

Customers chat at a Beijing cafe modeled after the Central Perk cafe in the hit American sitcom Friends, in 2010. Nearly a decade after the series ended, the popularity of Friends continues among young Chinese, who use the show as a language-learning tool and enjoy its depiction of young Americans.
Ng Han Guan AP

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

Almost a decade since the end of the hit American TV series Friends, the show — and, in particular, the fictitious Central Perk cafe, where much of the action took place — is enjoying an afterlife in China's capital, Beijing. Here, the show that chronicled the exploits of New York City pals Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey is almost seen as a lifestyle guide.

Tucked away on the sixth floor of a Beijing apartment block is a mini replica of the cafe, orange couch and all, whose owner Du Xin introduces himself by saying, "Everyone calls me 'Gunther' here."

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It's All Politics
6:12 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

NAACP President On 'Commonality' of Selma, Seneca Falls and Stonewall

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

In his inaugural address, President Obama made reference to historic events in the women's rights movement, the black civil rights movement and the gay rights movement.

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U.S.
5:52 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

States Become Battlegrounds For Nation's Deep Abortion Divide

Abortion opponents march to a rally at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Kansas is among several states that have enacted new restrictions on abortion in recent years.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Thousands of activists on both sides of the issue are holding rallies marking the day at state capitals across the country.

In the decades since the decision, abortion has been one of the most debated and legislated issues in the nation. And state legislatures, which are increasingly passing laws restricting abortion, have become the debate's key battlegrounds.

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It's All Politics
5:33 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

President's New Term Doesn't Mean New Day In Congress

The U.S. Capitol at sunrise on Monday, before President Obama's second inauguration. While the president raised big issues in his inaugural address — climate change, gay rights, immigration, the shooting of schoolchildren — none of them appear to top the agenda of Congress, which returned to work Tuesday.
Drew Angerer EPA /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

The Senate picked up Tuesday exactly where it left off nearly three weeks ago. By a twist of the rules, the Senate chamber remains in its first legislative day of the 113th Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he's kept things at the starting point so that he and his fellow Democrats have the option of changing the rules on the filibuster by a simple majority vote.

"The Senate will take action to make this institution that we all love, the United States Senate, work more effectively," Reid said Tuesday. "We'll consider changes to the Senate rules."

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Environment
5:28 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

In Second Inaugural, Obama Makes Climate A Priority

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," President Obama said Monday during his second inaugural address.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.

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It's All Politics
5:02 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Bloomberg Puts Millions Behind Gun-Control Push

At a news conference last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stands with people who have been affected by gun violence.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

Congress faces a battle over gun laws that could be the biggest in a generation.

Leading the charge for gun rights is the National Rifle Association, with its huge budget and grass-roots operations. On the other side, a new leader has emerged in recent years: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not only outspoken on gun control, he has also opened his substantial wallet for the cause.

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Technology
4:43 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

French Twitter Lawsuit Pits Free Speech Against Hate Speech

A wave of racist tweets prompted a Jewish student organization to file a lawsuit asking the American company Twitter to reveal the identities of users sending anti-Semitic tweets. Twitter says data on users is collected and stocked in California, where French law cannot be applied.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

A French judge will decide this week if Twitter must hand over the identities of users sending anti-Semitic tweets. The case, brought against Twitter by a Jewish student organization, pits America's free speech guarantees against Europe's laws banning hate speech.

The controversy began in October, when the French Union of Jewish Students threatened to sue Twitter to get the names of people posting anti-Semitic tweets with the hashtag #unbonjuif, or "a good Jew."

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Shots - Health News
4:16 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Growing Pains As Doctors' Offices Adopt Electronic Records

Patient William Wishart, age 4 months, looks on as Dr. Melanie Walker uses a portable computer to enter information from his exam into an electronic medical records system, in North Raleigh, N.C., in November.
Chris Seward MCT /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

Information technology has transformed much of the American economy, but its use in health care still lags, especially when it comes to electronic medical records.

Here's an example: The state of Colorado runs a computerized registry where any provider who gives a child a vaccine can report that information. The system should help kids stay current with their immunizations.

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Movies
3:56 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Sundance Subsidy Stirs Conservative Pushback

Robert Redford's annual Sundance Film Festival draws thousands of filmgoers and millions of dollars to snowy Park City, Utah. But a state subsidy contributing to the event is drawing controversy from some conservatives, who say films screened at the festival don't reflect the values of the state.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

A disagreement between supporters of the Sundance Film Festival and a conservative think tank in Utah is raising questions about whether tax dollars should support the arts. The Sutherland Institute says some films screened at Sundance do not reflect Utah values.

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Music Interviews
3:32 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Jose James: A Broad-Minded Singer Lets The Beat Build

Jose James' new studio album is titled No Beginning No End.
Janette Beckman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:48 pm

Jose James knows jazz. The son of a Panamanian jazz saxophonist, he studied at the prestigious New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, was a finalist in 2004's Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocalist Competition and recently toured with legendary jazz pianist McCoy Tyner.

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