National

Parallels
3:37 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Gays And Lesbians Seeking Asylum In U.S. May Find A Hard Road

Activists protest Uganda's anti-gay legislation in Nairobi, Kenya, this month. LGBT status has been grounds for asylum in the U.S. since 1994, but winning refugee status can be difficult, particularly for people who are unable to obtain visas to the U.S. before applying.
Dai Kurokawa EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 7:43 am

Even through a long-distance line from Uganda, you can hear the fear and anxiety in the young man's voice. Nathan, 19, is gay. NPR is not using his surname because he fears arrest.

"Right now we are not safe," he says. "Because we are hearing some people say ... 'If we get you, we will kill you. If we get you, we'll do something bad to you.' "

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Religion
3:35 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Ardent Atheists Spread Their Reverence For Disbelief

The San Diego Coalition of Reason opened this booth in Balboa Park to support the atheist community and to evangelize nonbelief to religious people.
Claire Trageser NPR

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:20 am

Stroll through the plaza of Balboa Park in San Diego, and you'll pass religious groups spreading their beliefs and looking for converts.

But you'll also see a table draped with a large banner that reads, "Relax, Hell Does Not Exist." Approach, and you'll hear evangelical atheist Rob Hudson engaged in religious arguments.

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It's All Politics
7:49 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Obama And Boehner Relationship Anything But Solid

President Obama and Speaker John Boehner were all smiles at a rare White House meeting Tuesday. But their relationship has more often been marked by angry finger-pointing.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

If more were actually getting done in Washington, there probably would be much less attention focused on how few times President Obama and Speaker John Boehner have met face-to-face, and on their "relationship."

But Congress is testing new lows in terms of legislative productivity, which leaves plenty of time for journalists to muse about the president-speaker relationship, such as it is, on the day of one of their rare meetings.

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It's All Politics
7:16 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Talking History: Black Senators Celebrate Their Legacy

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action in Oct. 2013.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:29 pm

Five current and former black senators appeared together Tuesday at an unprecedented event celebrating the legacy and contributions of the nine African-Americans to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The event, held at the Library of Congress to mark Black History Month, was the brainchild of Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. The only Republican at the summit, Scott was joined by Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Sens. William "Mo" Cowan of Massachusetts as well as Roland Burris and Carol Moseley Braun, both of Illinois.

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The Two-Way
6:02 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

California's Drought: A Shocking Photo And Other Updates

Images of Folsom Lake, a reservoir in Northern California, show the severity of the state's drought. The photo at left, taken on July 20, 2011, show the lake at 97 percent of total capacity and 130 percent of its historical average for that date. The photo at right shows the lake on Jan. 16, 2014, when it was at 17 percent of capacity and 35 percent of its historical average.
California Department of Water Resources

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:58 am

Farmers in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency last month, are facing hard choices as a drought threatens to ruin their crops. They must weigh the costs of paying for irrigation against the chance that their fields will never get enough water this season.

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All Tech Considered
5:30 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

ISO Romance: Dating Sites Help Older Singles

The fastest-growing part of the online dating market is people over 50, according the CEO of the Match Group.
Carmen Winant Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

With nearly 40 percent of Americans over 50 single and many looking for love online, dating sites are catering to this fast-growing market.

Vicki Cherco, 58, of Libertyville, Ill., uses one called OurTime.com. Her most recent date went well. "He was good-looking and funny and nice and thoughtful and paid for everything and asked for my phone number and said he'd like to call me again," she says.

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Politics
4:13 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Religious Freedom Bills Rooted In Fears Of Obama Policies

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, has been urged by the state's two U.S. senators, both Republicans, to veto a bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:43 pm

Many religious leaders are feeling under siege. They believe the Obama administration is at worst hostile but at least "tone deaf" to the demands of faith. In their view, the government is attempting to make them act in ways that violate their convictions.

That is the context in which so-called religious freedom bills are being considered in Arizona and numerous other states.

The bills, which would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs, appear discriminatory on their face.

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Shots - Health News
4:05 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

For Those Unable To Talk, A Machine That Speaks Their Voice

Carl Moore, a former helicopter mechanic, was diagnosed with ALS 20 years ago. He has had unusual longevity for someone with ALS but expects someday to rely on his wheelchair and speech-generating device.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 8:26 am

It's hard to imagine a more devastating diagnosis than ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease. For most people, it means their nervous system is going to deteriorate until their body is completely immobile. That also means they'll lose their ability to speak.

So Carl Moore of Kent, Wash., worked with a speech pathologist to record his own voice to use later — when he can no longer talk on his own.

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Politics
4:05 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Before Lawmakers, Former Inmates Tell Their Stories

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Some members of Congress are calling for a more humane prison system. They're proposing a ban on solitary confinement for certain prisoners - among them, juveniles, pregnant women, and the mentally ill. Here's Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today.

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Law
4:05 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Amid Controversy, 'Right To Refuse' Bill Hits Governor's Desk

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer is being pressured to veto a bill that would allow business owners in the state to deny service to gays and lesbians. To deny service, the business owner has to have sincerely held religious beliefs. That's the legislation's wording. It's become so controversial that even some lawmakers who voted for it are now regretting it.

NPR's Ted Robbins has more.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Equal rights.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When do we want it?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now.

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