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Education
1:50 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

The New SAT: Less Vocabulary, More Linear Equations

SAT preparation books on a bookstore shelf in New York City. The College Board has announced changes in the college entrance exam.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 5:20 pm

The standardized test that's been giving America's college-bound teenagers nightmares since the 1920s is getting a makeover.

On Wednesday, the College Board offered new details on changes to its SAT. Among the biggest shifts: Gone are the days of memorizing obscure vocabulary words. Though if you're in high school and set to take the SAT next year, don't burn those vocabulary flashcards just yet. The changes don't kick in until spring 2016.

Why the changes?

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Europe
1:50 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Entering Talks In Geneva, U.S. Hopes For A Ukraine Breakthrough

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 5:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Tomorrow, Secretary of State John Kerry is due to meet in Geneva with his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. It's hoped the multilateral talks will produce a diplomatic breakthrough on the crisis in Ukraine. Analysts say that without that, the U.S. and its Western allies have few other options for dealing with Russia's aggression there.

NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

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Asia
1:50 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

South Korea Ferry Disaster Sets Rescuers, And Fears, In Motion

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 5:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Tragedy in South Korea today. Hundreds are missing after a ferry sank off the country's southern coast. At least six people are confirmed dead so far, but there is fear that the death toll will rise dramatically. Passengers who were rescued said they believe many more were trapped below deck.

We're joined now by Jason Strother. He's a journalist based in Seoul.

And, Jason, first can you tell us about what happened here? Where was this ferry headed and who was on board?

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Business
1:50 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Legal Moves Might Mean Fiscal Relief, And More PR Troubles, For GM

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 5:20 pm

General Motors is signaling its plans to ask a bankruptcy judge for protection from lawsuits related to a defective switch recall. As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the action could further complicate its current public relations crisis.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Ex-City Manager Caught In Calif. Salary Scandal Gets 12 Years

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo arrives at the Edward R. Roybal federal building and United States courthouse on Monday. Rizzo received 12 years in prison and was ordered to pay nearly $9 million in restitution for a scheme to pad his salary.
Nick Ut AP

Robert Rizzo, the former city manager of Bell, Calif., who pleaded no contest to conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds and falsification of public records, has been ordered to serve 12 years in state prison and repay nearly $9 million.

Rizzo, who was city manager of Bell until 2010, apologized during sentencing, telling Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy that he "[breached] the public trust" and that "I am so sorry for that. I will never do anything like this again."

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Code Switch
12:46 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Light And Dark: The Racial Biases That Remain In Photography

Syreeta McFadden has learned to capture various hues of brown skin.
Syreeta McFadden Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 2:42 pm

When Syreeta McFadden was a child, she dreaded taking pictures after a family photo made her skin appear dulled and darkened.

"In some pictures, I am a mud brown, in others I'm a blue black. Some of the pictures were taken within moments of one another," she wrote in a story for Buzzfeed, digging into an "inherited bias" in photography against dark skin.

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National Security
12:44 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Edward Snowden: From 'Geeky' Dropout To NSA Leaker

What motivated Edward Snowden to leak NSA secrets? Bryan Burrough, Suzanna Andrews and Sarah Ellison explore Snowden's background in an article for Vanity Fair.
The Guardian/Getty Images

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has revealed some of the group's most carefully guarded secrets.

The reporting on the documents he leaked won a Pulitzer Prize for the Washington Post and The Guardian, announced on Monday.

But there's still a lot we don't know about Snowden himself — and his motivation.

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Book Reviews
12:33 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Exploring Life's Incurable Soiledness With The Father Of Italian Noir

Crime writer Giorgio Scerbanenco was born in Kiev in 1911, grew up in Rome and worked for decades as a journalist in Milan.
Olycom Melville House

Although there's no rigid dividing line, fans of the crime genre generally fall into two camps. There are those who prefer stories which, after titillating us with dark transgressions, end by restoring order — the show Law & Order is an aptly named example. And then there are those who prefer stories which, even after the mystery is solved, leave you swimming in the murk — think Chinatown. This is the male-dominated realm of noir.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Slow Start To Spring Housing Market

Usually as the weather heats up, so does the U.S. housing market. However, according to recent housing data, the market’s spring selling season is getting off to a slow start.

Despite expectations this past winter that warmer weather would rekindle growth, the market is seeing higher prices and mortgage rates, and a lack of houses for sale in some markets.

NPR Correspondent Chris Arnold discusses this slowdown with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

ER Doctor Looks Back A Year After Marathon Bombing

A flag that says "Boston Medical Center Strong" waves outside of Boston Medical Center, a year after the Boston Marathon bombing. (Ron Medzon)

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 9:16 am

On this day a year ago, Bostonians got one of their first glimpses into the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, when emergency room physician Ron Medzon came on our program.

“It was just one after another after another,” he said of the victims being brought into the hospital. “Every single person had a limb-threatening injury, a life-threatening injury. And I think 20 people came in over 40 minutes, which is just incredible.”

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

DJ Sessions: Blurring The Lines Between Rock, Jazz And Classical

Drummer David King, pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Reid Anderson are the band The Bad Plus. (Jay Frahm)

In the latest installment of DJ Sessions, pianist Christopher O’Riley joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to talk about his favorite group that’s making waves in the classical community.

O’Riley says The Bad Plus is comprised of great composers. The jazz group is known for its famous covers of pop songs, like Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” But its latest album reinterprets Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Holy Bible Could Become Louisiana's Official Book

Hurricane Katrina holdout Hazzert Gillett reads his Bible in his New Orleans home in September 2005. The state's Legislature is considering a bill to make the Holy Bible the official state book.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 12:51 pm

The "Good Book" could become the official book of Louisiana if a bill sent to the state's Legislature passes in a vote that could come as early as this week.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
11:52 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Debate: Millennials Don't Stand A Chance

Jessica Grose, who writes for Slate, Bloomberg Businessweek and Fast Company, says that millennials have been mischaracterized in the media.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 12:15 pm

  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

The "millennial generation" has been getting a bad rap in popular culture in recent years. Millennials, roughly defined as people born in the 1980s and '90s, frequently see themselves depicted as entitled, coddled and narcissistic.

But many — including millennials themselves — dispute those characterizations. Young adults today are tolerant, civic-minded and entrepreneurial, they note, and are thriving despite entering into a tight job market, often with significant amounts of student loan debt.

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Judge Overturns North Dakota's Strict Abortion Law

A federal judge has struck down a North Dakota law banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, calling the law "invalid and unconstitutional."

The law, passed by lawmakers in the state just over a year ago, bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and is considered the most restrictive in the country.

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Author Interviews
10:42 am
Wed April 16, 2014

'Before India,' A Young Gandhi Found His Calling In South Africa

Mohandas Gandhi (center) sits with co-workers at his Johannesburg law office in 1902.
AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 1:33 pm

In 1893, in the bustling seaside city of Durban, South Africa — then under British colonial rule — a young lawyer stepped off a ship from India, eager to try his professional luck far away from home. His name was Mohandas Gandhi, and he stayed in that country for more than 20 years before returning home, where he'd make a name for himself as an anti-colonial agitator and social reformer.

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