Around the Nation
6:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Thousands Attend Memorial For Plant Explosion Victims

President Obama visited Waco, Texas, on Thursday day to take part in a memorial for those killed in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last week.

Around the Nation
4:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Mississippi River's Many 'Parents' Look To Unify

Mississippi River floodwaters in Vicksburg, Miss., in 2011.
Dave Martin AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:16 pm

Life on the Mississippi River is a roller coaster of highs and lows: record high floodwaters one year, a drought and near-record low water levels the next. And those are just two of the many problems faced by river stakeholders like barge operators, farmers and conservation groups.

Those stakeholders met recently in Chicago to discuss the Mississippi's most pressing needs, any common ground, and how to speak with a unified voice in advocating for the nation's largest river system.

So far, that hasn't been easy.

Critical, Crumbling Lifeline

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Environment
4:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

From Battle To Birds: Drones Get Second Life Counting Critters

Researchers are using small remote-controlled planes to survey the populations of the greater sage grouse.
Stephen J. Krasemann Science Source

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:16 pm

The U.S. military and law enforcement agencies have seen increased public scrutiny on the domestic use of the robotically piloted planes known as drones. Working on the sidelines of this debate, the U.S. Geological Survey has been trying to find a second life for retired military drones in the areas of environmental and wildlife management. Instead of watching the battlefield, these drones are watching birds.

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It's All Politics
4:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Max Baucus Says He Was Montana's 'Hired Hand' On Gun Vote

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is trailed by reporters Monday on Capitol Hill after announcing that he'll retire in 2014.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:16 pm

Longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana announced this week that he would not seek re-election next year, ending four decades in Congress and leaving as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

NPR's Robert Siegel spoke with Baucus Thursday about his recent vote against expanded gun background checks, his role in negotiations over President Obama's health care legislation, efforts to remake tax policy, and the legions of his former staffers now populating lobbying shops.

Background Checks

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Around the Nation
4:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Making Room: Can Smaller Apartments Help New York City Grow?

Some housing experts say New York's zoning code has discouraged the building of affordable housing by requiring that all apartments be at least 400 square feet. The city is interested in finding ways to rewrite the rules.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:16 pm

New York City is notoriously crowded, and it's only getting more so. The city estimates it will have 1 million more people by the year 2030, many of them single. Where to place all these newcomers is a major challenge.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced plans to put up an experimental building of micro-apartments that could be replicated throughout the city. And the Museum of the City of New York is looking at ways to make better use of the city's housing stock.

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Business
4:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Regulators Warn Banks On Direct-Deposit Loans

Regulators are warning some of the nation's largest banks to stop offering loans that are hard to distinguish from those given out by storefront payday lenders.
CX Matiash AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:16 pm

Consumer advocates call them "debt" traps. The banks that offer them call them direct-deposit advances and describe them as available funds for short-term emergencies.

But the cash advances have many of the negative characteristics of payday loans. And on Thursday, U.S. bank regulators took a step toward protecting consumers from the risks they pose. The regulators proposed standards for "deposit-advance products."

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The Two-Way
3:37 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Texas Town Honors Dead From Fertilizer Plant Blast

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attend a memorial service at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on Thursday, for those killed in the April 17 explosion of a fertilizer plant.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

West, Texas, said goodbye to 14 people, including 10 firefighters and first responders, who were killed in the April 17 explosion of a fertilizer plant that leveled part of the town.

President Obama attended a memorial service on Thursday to console the grieving families. He said the "tragedy has simply revealed who you've always been."

He told the audience of about 10,000 gathered at Baylor University's Ferrell Center in Waco that the country would help the community rebuild.

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Shots - Health News
3:04 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Researchers Find Hormone That Grows Insulin-Producing Cells

A microscopy image of a rat pancreas shows the insulin-making cells in green.
Masur Wikimedia.org

The work is only in mice so far, but it sure is intriguing.

A newly found hormone revs up production of cells that make insulin — the very kind that people with advanced diabetes lack.

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The Salt
2:58 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Monkeys Also Want To Eat Like The Locals

The blue corn's just as tasty as the red corn, but it's not what the locals like.
Erica van de Waal Science

When you travel, do you want to drink Bellinis in Venice and yak butter tea in Tibet? Well, so do monkeys.

Monkeys will eat new, different food if they travel to a new place and want to fit in with the locals, according to a new study. But back home, they'll eat what Mama eats, shunning perfectly good food if it doesn't get her approval.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Masterpiece In A Mug: Japanese Latte Art Will Perk You Up

Courtesy of Kazuki Yamamoto

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:48 pm

Clovers? Hearts? That's small fries, guys. It's time you met The Cat:

That 3-D creation is the work of Japanese latte artist Kazuki Yamamoto. The 26-year-old resident of Osaka creates ephemeral works of art in espresso and foam.

From whimsical monsters crafted from milk froth ...

... to adorable homages to favorite childhood cartoon characters ...

Yamamoto's art makes you regret the need to consume the canvas.

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