4:43pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Around the Nation

Drought Causes Ripple Effect Along Mighty Mississippi River

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:30 pm

International ships call at the busy Port of New Orleans. It's a major shipping convergence point on the Mississippi River. Ships come upriver from the Gulf of Mexico with imports from abroad, and barges come downriver, bringing U.S. goods for export.
Debbie Elliott NPR

The persistent drought is raising questions about how the Mississippi River is managed — both upstream and down.

While cargo traffic upriver has gotten lots of attention, the drought is creating a different set of problems downriver at the mouth of the Mississippi, where saltwater has encroached.

An old-fashioned staff river gauge behind the New Orleans district office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows the Mississippi is running just shy of 6 feet above sea level at the river bend.

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3:39pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Asia

As China Builds, Cambodia's Forests Fall

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 11:29 am

Illegal logging is widespread in Cambodia, and efforts to prevent it have had only a limited impact. Much of the wood is destined for China.
Michael Sullivan NPR

China's demand for natural resources is being felt in a big way in Cambodia.

Illegal logging and economic land concessions are threatening Cambodia's dwindling forests, which now echo the sound of chainsaws.

Prey Lang forest — an eight-hour journey north and east of the capital, Phnom Penh — is one of the forests where illegal loggers see money signs on the trees.

Supply And Demand

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3:03pm

Tue January 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Ancient Manuscripts In Timbuktu Reduced To Ashes

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 3:49 am

Men recover burnt ancient manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu on Tuesday.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Update at 6:45 a.m. ET, Jan. 31: New reports from Timbuktu indicate that "most manuscripts were saved."

Our original post:

These photos from Timbuktu, Mali, on Tuesday confirmed what many had feared: Ancient books and texts at a famed library were torched by Islamic radicals before they fled.

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2:46pm

Tue January 29, 2013
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Could It Be? American Claims To Have Surfed 100-Foot Wave

Garrett McNamara surfs a huge wave in Nararé, Portugal.
Francisco Salvador via Twitter

2:25pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Sand After Sandy: Scientists Map Sea Floor For Sediment

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 11:29 am

Highly detailed sonar systems aboard the research vessel Pritchard gave researchers a clear view of the sediment on the seafloor off Long Island.
Courtesy of John Goff University Of Texas

Congress has now agreed to give some $60 billion to states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. A lot will go to Long Island, one of the hardest hit areas. Besides damages to homes and businesses, its system of protective barrier islands and beaches were partially washed away.

Scientists are trying to find out where that sand and sediment went, and whether it can be used to rebuild Long Island's defenses.

In January. On a boat in Long Island Bay.

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2:24pm

Tue January 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Stefan Kudelski, Who Made Sound Recording Portable, Dies

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 3:42 am

Stefan Kudelski poses with the Ampex-Nagra VPR-5 portable recorder in an undated photograph. The devices were used to record the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.
Courtesy of the Kudelski Group

While few outside the film and radio industries may recognize the name Stefan Kudelski, his Nagra recorder — meaning "will record" in Kudelski's native Polish — transformed the world of sound recording for radio, television and film.

Kudelski, inventor of the first portable professional sound recorder, died Saturday in Switzerland at the age of 84, according to a statement from the Kudelski Group.

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1:51pm

Tue January 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Senate Confirms John Kerry As Next Secretary Of State

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 1:58 pm

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has been confirmed by the senate to become the next secretary of state.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The United States Senate voted today to confirm Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state.

Just five days ago, Kerry, a democratic senator from Massachusetts, testified before the committee he chaired. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reported at the time, the hearing was a love fest.

Kerry is decorated Vietnam war veteran and the son of a diplomat. He has served in the Senate since 1985.

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1:38pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Shots - Health News

Hey, Kid, You Could Be A 'Disaster Hero'

In Disaster Hero, disaster specialist Dante Shields (far right) and his sidekick Mika (seated) guide players through games about emergency preparedness.
Disaster Hero

To teach kids about coping with trouble, even the doctors in the emergency room figure a video game is the way to to go.

So the American College of Emergency Physicians has created Disaster Hero, an online game, that can help kids learn what to do before, during and after earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

The game is geared toward children in grades 1 through 8. There are three levels pegged to kids' reading ability.

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1:21pm

Tue January 29, 2013
U.S.

Debate Over Rebuilding Beaches Post-Sandy Creates Waves

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 9:49 am

Ongoing beach nourishment, like this project in Viriginia Beach, has been the topic of debate. Some people say it's needed to protect beach communities; others decry the costs.
Pam Spaugy U.S. Army

For a half-century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been in the beach business, dredging up new sand as shorelines wash away. Federal disaster aid for Superstorm Sandy could provide billions more for beach rebuilding, and that has revived an old debate: Is this an effective way to protect against storms, or a counterproductive waste of tax dollars?

On a recent blustery day at Virginia Beach, the latest beach nourishment project is in full swing. A bulldozer smooths out pyramids of sand, and on the horizon, a large, black hopper dredge appears with another load.

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1:21pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Education

Union Backs 'Bar Exam' For Teachers

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 11:29 am

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, says a bar exam for K-12 teachers would test a person's knowledge based on the subject he or she was hired to teach.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

The system for preparing and licensing teachers in the U.S. is in such disarray that the American Federation of Teachers is proposing a "bar exam" similar to the one lawyers have to pass before they can practice.

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