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1:16 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

DA's Office Asks For DNA In Exchange For Dropped Charges

DNA Self-Collection Kit (Pelle Sten/flickr)

Prosecutors in Orange County, Calif., have taken the rare if not unique step of creating their own DNA database.

They’re asking for voluntary DNA swabs from people arrested for minor crimes such as shoplifting, in exchange for dropping charges.

The argument is that it could help authorities solve cold cases.

Experts and other district attorneys are taking note.

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NPR Story
1:16 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Mercury Treaty Puts Spotlight On Japan's Minamata Chemical Disaster

Visitors viewing photographs of deceased Minamata disease victims displayed at the Minamata Tokyo Exhibition in 1996 (Timothy S. George)

Representatives from 140 countries gather in Minamata, Japan, this week to sign a global agreement to reduce mercury in the environment.

This comes nearly 80 years after a chemical plant in Minamata began releasing methyl mercury into the ocean.

The resulting mercury poisoning affected some 60,000 people and was officially recognized as Minamata disease in 1956.

The chemical poisoning is described as one of the world’s worse environmental disasters.

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All Tech Considered
12:18 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

An Innovation For Pain Relief That's Worthy Of Some Buzz

Buzzy uses high-frequency vibration and a cold pack to make shots, well ... if not enjoyable, then at least bearable.
MMJ Labs

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 12:25 pm

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Shots - Health News
11:52 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Activists Sue U.N. Over Cholera That Killed Thousands In Haiti

Haitians protest against United Nations peacekeepers in Port-au-Prince in 2010.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 5:32 am

Human rights activists are suing the United Nations on behalf of five Haitian families afflicted by cholera — a disease many believe U.N. peacekeeping troops brought to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake there.

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Wed October 9, 2013

'Hero' Passenger Lands Small Plane After Pilot Fell Ill

Cessna light aircraft are pictured beside the runway at Humberside airport in north-east England, on October 9, 2013. A passenger with no flying experience made an emergency landing at Humberside airport in a light aircraft after the pilot became ill.
Lindsey Parnaby AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 11:52 am

It feels like this kind of thing happens in the movies all the time: A pilot falls ill and, then, it's up to a passenger to land the plane.

Last night in Britain's Humberside airport, this happened for real on a small aircraft carrying two friends. As The Independent tells the story, John Wildey — whom the paper calls a "hero passenger" — had to take control of a Cessna 172 after his friend and pilot got sick and became unresponsive.

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Border To Border Drugs, Part Three
11:41 am
Wed October 9, 2013

San Diego Is Biggest Entry Point For Mexican Meth

Jill Replogle Fronteras

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 4:22 pm

More than 70 percent of methamphetamine illegally trafficked into the U.S. passes through U.S.-Mexico border crossings in the San Diego area. That’s despite laws in both countries designed to crack down on the drug.

Customs and Border Protection agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry face a tough balancing act. Facilitating international trade and travel on the one hand. On the other, trying to stop drugs and other illegal cargo from getting into the U.S.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Shinseki: Shutdown Means Veterans Will Not Get Benefits

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testifies on Capitol Hill in April.
Evan Vucci AP

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki warned lawmakers on Wednesday that the partial government shutdown means that about 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation next month.

Shinseki, in testimony before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said pensions to more than half a million vets or surviving spouses will also be derailed if the stalemate over a temporary spending measure drags on into late October.

The Associated Press reports:

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Music Reviews
11:26 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Ahmad Jamal Weaves Old And New On 'Saturday Morning'

Ahmad Jamal.
Courtesy of the artist

Jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal started playing when he was 3 years old in Pittsburgh, which means he's now been playing for 80 years. His new album, Saturday Morning, often recalls his elegant trios of yesteryear, with its tightly synchronized arrangements, plenty of open space and deceptively simple charm.

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The Salt
11:02 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Sweet. Tart. Crunchy: How To Engineer A Better Apple

The just-released Riverbelle is one of well over 100 new apple varieties to hit markets around the world in the past six years.
Courtesy of Honeybear Brands

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 1:04 pm

Browsing farmers markets this fall, you may find some new apple varieties mixed in with the Granny Smiths, McIntoshes and Fujis. Susan Brown, head of the apple breeding program at Cornell University, estimates that there have been 130 new apples released around the world in the past six years.

This summer, she contributed two more to that tally: the SnapDragon and the Ruby Frost.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Jupiter Or Bust, But First A Quick Fly-By Of Home

NASA's flight path for its Juno space probe, which is expected to buzz Earth at 3:21 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
NASA

After traveling for more than two years and some 1 billion miles, NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter is back where it started. Almost. At 3:21 p.m. ET Wednesday, the Juno space probe will be 347 miles away from Earth, just above the southern tip of Africa.

(As an aside, at around 11:30 a.m. ET, it was more than 90,000 miles away.)

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Energy
10:24 am
Wed October 9, 2013

One Thing Obama Can Do: Decide The Fate Of The Keystone Pipeline

President Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline in Cushing, Okla., in March 2012.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 12:58 pm

Journalist Ryan Lizza says there's one far-reaching, controversial issue President Obama will soon get to decide all by himself, without having to ask Congress. He alone can approve or reject construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to take heavy crude oil extracted from Alberta, Canada, through America's heartland to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

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The Salt
9:25 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Meet Dave, A 19-Year-Old Craft Beer With A $2,000 Price Tag

Hair of the Dog releases a few bottles of Dave a year. In September, the 12 bottles of Dave on sale for $2,000 apiece sold out within a few hours.
Courtesy of Alan Sprints

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 3:00 pm

Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland, Ore., makes a beer so rare, and so sought after, that it can fetch $2,000 a bottle.

It's called Dave. And no, it's not something out of a Portlandia sketch.

Dave is a barleywine — a strong, dark beer with 29 percent alcohol content. It's been aged for 19 years, first in oak barrels and then glass bottles.

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It's All Politics
9:20 am
Wed October 9, 2013

President Obama's 'It's Good To Be The King' Moment

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner sit together at a Capitol event in February dedicating a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 4:05 pm

It is good to be the king.

That old adage holds, even though nowadays we call our chief executive "Mr. President."

After another long day of showdown over the shutdown, President Obama was able to dominate the headlines, break the tension and change the atmosphere in Washington. He could demonstrate everything that is different about being in the White House — as opposed to that other House where Speaker John Boehner lives.

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The Government Shutdown
9:20 am
Wed October 9, 2013

How The Shutdown Is Hurting The Housing Market

If interest rates go up due to the fear or reality of a debt default that would have major consequences for real estate sales.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 5:57 am

As with so many other types of economic activity, the government shutdown is causing more fear than actual harm in the housing market thus far.

But that doesn't mean things won't start going wrong in the very near future.

Various federal agencies play greater or lesser roles in real estate transactions. With most of them sidelined, simple matters such as closing on mortgages are becoming more complicated.

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U.S.
9:20 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Property Taxes May Cause Slaves' Descendants To Lose Homes

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 10:50 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now to a different story about the changing face of another historic community. Sapelo Island, just off the coast of Georgia, is home to one of the few remaining Gullah Geechee enclaves. These tight knit communities in the nation's South-East trace their roots back to slavery times and share a distinct culture and dialect. But now that's being threatened by a changing economy.

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