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Science
5:13 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Hungry Snakes Trap Guam In Spidery Web

Invasive brown tree snakes have gobbled up most of Guam's native forest birds. Without these avian predators to keep their numbers in check, the island's spider population has exploded.
Isaac Chellman Rice University

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

The Pacific Island of Guam is experiencing a population explosion — of spiders.

There are more spiders there now than anyone can remember. To get a sense of how weird the situation is, I started out in Maryland. On my front porch, overlooking the Severn River.

At 6:30 in the morning on a cool fall day, I find two spider webs in a matter of five minutes. But if I were on the island of Guam, I might find 70 or 80 spider webs in five minutes.

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Asia
5:12 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

China Offers Glimpse Of A New Stealth Fighter

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lunch with engineering cadets at the Chinese military academy in Beijing on Wednesday. Just before Panetta's arrival for talks with top leaders, China released photos of a new stealth fighter under development.
Larry Downing Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 8:27 am

Ahead of high-profile talks in China by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, there was a high-impact leak. Photos emerged of a second Chinese stealth fighter jet — one that had been rumored but never seen before.

The J31, as analysts call it, shows how fast China is moving.

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Music Interviews
5:08 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Adrian Sherwood: Dub Without Borders

Adrian Sherwood's latest album, Survival and Resistance, was released on Sherwood's own On-U Sound label in August.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

Adrian Sherwood was born in London in 1958. As a kid he fell in love with Jamaican music.

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U.S.
4:41 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Why Does China Want A Mural In Oregon Destroyed?

This pro-Tibet mural in downtown Corvallis is at the center of a dispute between the town's mayor and the Chinese government.
Chris Lehman for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

The mural in downtown Corvallis, Ore., is big: 10 feet high and 100 feet long. One side shows a peaceful countryside setting in rural Taiwan. The other shows police beating protesters in Tibet and a Buddhist monk setting himself ablaze in protest.

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The Salt
3:42 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

FDA Weighs Federal Standard To Limit Exposure To Arsenic In Rice

A combine harvests rice near Tucker, Ark., as consumer groups pressure the FDA to set federal standards on arsenic in rice.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

Scientists have known for a long time that rice — often babies' first food and the staple of much of the world's diet — is good at absorbing inorganic arsenic from soil during the growing process.

Two separate analyses, one by Consumer Reports and one by the Food and Drug Administration, have raised concerns that we might be getting too much of this known human carcinogen in our diets.

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Politics
3:24 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Deep South Democrats Seek Path Back To Relevance

Albert N. Gore Jr., a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., on Aug. 2. Gore is running against incumbent Republican Roger Wicker. He says there should have been younger people interested in taking on Wicker — "but they didn't want to fight."
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

It can be lonely being a Democrat in the Deep South. Just ask Steve Wilson.

The young lawyer was a first-time delegate at the Democratic National Convention, but it's not something he brags about back home in Meridian, Miss.

"I don't talk about it," he says. "It's the elephant in the room, so to speak. Most of my friends are Republican, I think, but I just don't bring it up."

That climate can make it hard to recruit viable Democratic candidates in the Deep South — once a solidly Democratic region that is now reliably Republican.

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U.S.
3:21 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Smoke Cleared, Texas Gun Owners Remain Wary

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian was born two blocks from where he now lives in what is called Deep East Texas.

"We were not wealthy people, [we were] common laborers, but that was typical in rural East Texas at that time," he says.

When he was growing up, Christian says, by first or second grade, an East Texas boy would accompany his father or grandfather on a hunting trip. But before a boy got a gun, he had to learn how to act — how to address the other men respectfully, to watch how it worked.

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Middle East
10:20 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Syrian Rebels Fear Radicals May Hijack Revolt

Syrian rebels pose after seizing control of the Bab al-Hawa border post on the Syrian-Turkey border on July 20. Now, the rebels are facing a new challenge: radical Islamists, who they say do not represent them.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

Homegrown rebels have done most of the fighting against the Syrian government troops. But Islamist militants from abroad, including some with links to al-Qaida, are now joining the fight against the government in growing numbers.

The local rebels are not pleased with this development, and there is growing tension between the groups that share a desire to oust President Bashar Assad but little else.

Until a few weeks ago, the border crossing at Bab al-Hawa on Syria's northern frontier with Turkey was the site of a training camp for a militant Islamist group.

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Education
6:29 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Chicago Teachers Union Delegates Vote To End Strike

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:09 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Chicago, teachers have suspended their strike. That means teachers and students could be back to class as soon as tomorrow. The strike lasted seven days.

And with us to explain what has transpired in Chicago is NPR's Claudio Sanchez. And, Claudio, teachers, as we've said, have suspended the strike. What has the reaction been?

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Book Reviews
5:11 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Book Review: 'Black Dahlia and White Rose'

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:09 pm

Alan Cheuse reviews Joyce Carol Oates most recent story collection, Black Dahlia and White Rose. Cheuse teaches creative writing at George Mason University.

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