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The Salt
4:56 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Heat, Drought Draw Farmers Back To Sorghum, The 'Camel Of Crops'

A test field of sorghum outside Manhattan, Kan., planted by Kansas State University.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:07 pm

Much of the world is turning hotter and dryer these days, and it's opening new doors for a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops": sorghum. In an odd twist, this old-fashioned crop even seems to be catching on among consumers who are looking for "ancient grains" that have been relatively untouched by modern agriculture.

Sorghum isn't nearly as famous as the big three of global agriculture: corn, rice and wheat. But maybe it should be. It's a plant for tough times, and tough places.

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Movie Interviews
4:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Four Decades On, 'The Exorcist' Is Still A Head-Turner

Director William Friedkin, shown here with Blair during shooting, says the film is more about questions of faith than it is about horror.
Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:01 pm

The Exorcist was the story of one girl's demonic possession and the priest who saved her. It was engaging, terrifying and masterful — and it gave new meaning to the phrase "a real head-turner."

William Peter Blatty wrote the screenplay, adapting his own best-selling book. The film starred Ellen Burstyn and a very young Linda Blair — barely 12 years old when shooting began. William Friedkin, who had recently won an Academy Award for The French Connection, was the director.

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Law
4:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Federal Court To Weigh Ohio's Execution Drug Cocktail

Ronald Phillips, convicted of the rape and murder of a 3-year-old girl, is scheduled to be executed Nov. 14. A court hearing may decide whether the new drug cocktail can be used.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Corrections

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:51 pm

In Ohio on Friday, a hearing in federal court could decide whether that state will become the first to use a particular cocktail of deadly drugs to execute an inmate. It's the latest chapter in what's become a troubled history of capital punishment in that state.

While Texas is far and away the busiest state in the nation for executions, Ohio is just seven spots behind it. It has carried out 52 executions since 1999 and three so far this year, with another one scheduled in two weeks. And that one, the execution of Ronald Phillips, could use a new drug cocktail.

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Economy
4:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Economic, Political Volatility Cloud Housing Recovery

Despite a strong housing market this year, experts say the recent economic drama has contributed to less stability in real estate.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:30 pm

Housing has been one of the bright spots in the economy this year. This week, a report showed that home prices in the top 20 cities continued their robust upward march in August. There are also far fewer foreclosure sales and other signs of distress in the market.

But the Federal Reserve expressed concern Wednesday about the slowing housing market. Pending home sales fell far more than expected. And housing experts are bracing for some volatility.

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Education
4:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Turning The Page On Illiteracy, Adults Go Back To Class

Marilyn Block tutors Jason White at a local library during a one-on-one session that is part of the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, in Maryland.
Kavitha Cardoza WAMU

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:33 pm

This is the first report of a four-part series on adult education.

The national debate around education usually focuses on children in school. But there are 30 million adults in the U.S. who have trouble with basic literacy — they struggle to read a menu, a pay stub or a bus schedule.

It also means it's difficult for them to get and hold onto the most basic jobs.

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Africa
4:49 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Protesters Call For Justice In Brutal Gang Rape In Kenya

Hundreds take to the streets in Nairobi on Thursday, calling for justice for a 16-year-old girl dubbed "Liz," who was gang raped in rural Kenya. The men were caught by the police and let go after their punishment — cutting the grass at the police station.
Daniel Irungu EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 10:50 am

The gang rape of a 16-year-old Kenyan schoolgirl — and the lack of punishment given to the alleged rapists — has sparked outrage in the country and beyond.

The attack was so violent it left the girl in a wheelchair with a severe back injury. She identified some of her attackers, who police apprehended — only to let go after they were ordered to cut the lawn at the police station.

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
4:24 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Nicole Mitchell And Ice Crystal On JazzSet

Nicole Mitchell performs at the Kennedy Center.
Margot Schulman Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 9:48 am

Nicole Mitchell grew up in California, but Chicago is where she became the original artist she is today. From her mid-20s into her 40s, she played and taught there, and composed and presented complete works for creative spirits like science-fiction novelist Octavia Butler (Xenogenesis Suite) and musician Alice Coltrane (Where the Paths Meet the Sea).

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Wrongful Death Verdict Reversed In Virginia Tech Case

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:28 pm

A wrongful death verdict related to the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech has been overturned after the Virginia Supreme Court found that school officials could not have foreseen that 32 people would die in an attack on its campus.

The ruling overturns the findings of a circuit court jury, which had said the school had not done enough to warn students and staff on campus of the threat posed by Seung-Hui Cho — specifically, during a gap of some two hours between attacks on April 16, 2007.

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Parallels
4:03 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Thinking Of Working Abroad? Read This

This is one reason why Thailand is so popular with expats: Michal Navratil of the Czech Republic dives during the 2013 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Krabi, Thailand, last week.
Dean Treml Red Bull/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 11:33 am

Thinking of living and working abroad for the experience? For those already doing it, Asia seems to be the preferred destination.

The HSBC 2013 Expat Survey asked 7,000 expatriates in 100 countries to rate nations on three factors: economics, experience and raising children.

China topped the list, followed by Germany, Singapore, Cayman Islands and Australia. The U.S. was No. 12.

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Movie Interviews
3:25 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Jared Leto Was 'Seduced' By Role Of Rayon In 'Buyers Club'

In Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto plays Rayon, a transgender woman who is HIV-positive and struggling with a drug habit. "I always saw Rayon as someone who wanted to live ... life as a woman, not just someone who enjoyed putting on women's clothing," Leto says.
Anne Marie Fox Focus Features

Dallas Buyers Club is based on the story of Ron Woodroof, a rodeo cowboy and electrician, who was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1985. With the latest drugs still in the trial phase, he was told he didn't have long to live. Without access to possibly life-prolonging drugs, he sought out alternative treatments in Mexico and smuggled those drugs into the U.S., forming a buyers club for fellow HIV patients.

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