The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

U.S. Says It Has 'High Confidence' Syria Used Chemical Weapons

Syrian rebel fighters hold a position Thursday in the northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan. At least 93,000 people, including more than 6,500 children, have been killed in Syria's civil war.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 7:19 pm

The White House has "high confidence" that the Syrian regime is using chemical weapons against rebel forces, and the U.S. is prepared to offer military assistance to the opposition, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that an estimated 100 to 150 Syrians have been killed in attacks using sarin gas, although the figure "is likely incomplete."

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Parallels
4:28 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

As Sanctions Squeeze, Iranians Keep Improvising

Female supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, chant slogans at a campaign rally in Tehran on Wednesday, two days ahead of the election.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:59 pm

Iranians have lived with American sanctions for many years, and we could see the evidence of this when we stepped into a Tehran shop called GM Auto Parts.

It had the famous blue and white General Motors logo, though the sign, like almost everything in the spare parts shop for American cars, looked decades old.

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Religion
4:28 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Pope's Reference To 'Gay Lobby' Broaches Taboo Topic

Pope Francis leads rosary concluding Marian month of May on May 31, at St. Peter's square at the Vatican.
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:35 pm

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are a grave sin. But the existence of active gay prelates in the Vatican bureaucracy known as the Roman Curia has been considered a poorly held secret for centuries.

Robert Mickens, Vatican correspondent for the British Catholic weekly The Tablet, says the normal definition of a lobby as an organized group of people pushing a specific agenda does not apply here.

He prefers to call it a gay subculture.

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Law
4:28 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Tough New Gun Laws Drive Gun Makers To Move

Josh Fiorini's Connecticut-based company builds high-end semi-automatic rifles. He says the state's tough new gun law gives him no choice but to move.
Joel Rose NPR

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:35 pm

Firearms manufacturers are pulling up stakes in at least two of the five states that enacted tough new guns laws following the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.

In the months after those shootings, governors in New York, Connecticut and Maryland signed broad new bans on assault weapons. Delaware passed a law requiring universal background checks. Colorado adopted background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

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All Tech Considered
4:28 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Under The Radar: Some Pilots Of Small Drones Skirt FAA Rules

Pablo Lema shows off his quadcopter.
Steve Henn NPR

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 10:17 am

Unmanned drones aren't just a tool for governments anymore. By as early as this year, the Federal Aviation Administration expects to propose regulations opening up the use of small, unmanned airborne vehicles — or drones — for commercial use.

Tens of thousands of these little, civilian drones are sold and piloted by hobbyists in the United States every year. Right now these drones are flown almost exclusively for non-commercial uses by enthusiast like Pablo Lema. Lema spends weekends flying his quardracopter around the San Francisco Bay.

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The Salt
4:28 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Saving Grandma's Strawberry Cake From The Clutches Of Jell-O

Jeremy Jackson wanted to rethink his grandma Mildred's famous Strawberry Cake recipe, which uses boxed cake mix and Jell-O. His updated cupcake version is shown on the right.
Jeremy Jackson for NPR

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:35 pm

Jeremy Jackson's grandma Mildred was famous for her strawberry cake. Legend has it that one of the families in her small Missouri town loved the dessert so much, they "commissioned" her to make it for them once a week.

Jackson is the author of Good Day for A Picnic: Simple Food that Travels Well. He shared two versions of his Strawberry Cake for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.

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Music
4:28 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Just Some Of NPR Music's Favorite Albums Of The Year (So Far)

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:35 pm

It is only June, but NPR Music staff already has 25 albums that they consider their favorite of the year. NPR's Audie Cornish talks with Frannie Kelley, Tom Huizenga, and Stephen Thompson about their favorite music of 2013.

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The Record
4:11 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Johnny Smith, Revered Guitar Player, Has Died

The cover image of The Complete Roost Johnny Smith Small Group Sessions, a 2002 box set of work from across the jazz guitarist's career.
Album cover

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 5:12 pm

The man who wrote the surf guitar anthem "Walk, Don't Run" has died. Guitarist Johnny Smith died Tuesday night at his Colorado home of natural causes. He would have been 91 years old on June 25.

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Movie Reviews
4:04 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

'More Than Honey' Sees A World Without Bees

In More Than Honey, Attica Boa's striking close-up photography helps visualize a story whose urgency needs no amplification: With global honeybee populations threatened, the world's food supply could be seriously endangered.
Kino Lorber

An amiably shaggy combination of science lesson, whimsical musing and alarm bell, More Than Honey isn't as urgent as its eco-catastrophic subject — the possible destruction of the world's critically important honeybee populations — might seem to require. But the documentary's most memorable vignette is suitably unnerving: a visit to northern China, where the threatened disappearance of bees has already come to pass, leaving workers to pollinate fruit trees ... by hand.

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Movie Reviews
3:50 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

'Steel' Trap: Snyder's Superman, Between Worlds

Henry Cavill plays the title role in Zach Snyder's expensively earnest iteration of our most recognizably American superhero. An "alien" aesthetic — which ironically owes plenty to the Industrial Age and to the metallo-organic curves of art nouveau — informs everything from the film's palette to its interpretation of Superman's iconic costume.
Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 6:12 am

Take heart, ye spandex-haters: Zack Snyder's steroidal yet sensitive Man of Steel is not a superhero film.

Full disclosure: Over the past two years, this reviewer has spent a great deal of time thinking about superheroes in general and Superman in particular. Less than some, perhaps, but more — it's safe to say — than most of you reading these words, as you debate whether or not to duck out of the heat this weekend to take in Snyder's latest summertime smash-em-up.

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