Sports
4:10 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

After 30 Years, Derby's Dirt Guru Hits Finish Line

The field of horses charges down the stretch in the seventh race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on June 19, 2009. The day marked the first night racing at the storied track in its 135-year history. Track superintendent Butch Lehr is retiring after Saturday's race. He's been maintaining the track since 1982.
Ed Reinke AP

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 5:04 pm

The surface on which Kentucky Derby horses will race Saturday is a special piece of real estate, built for high performance and safety. The track is generically described as dirt, but is actually a careful mixture of river sand, silt and clay.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
4:10 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

A Need For Speed: Inside Jamaica's Sprint Factory

Jamaica's Usain Bolt shattered world records in the 100 and 200 meter races at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Shown here in the 200 meters at Beijing, he's looking to repeat this summer at the London Olympics and add another chapter to Jamaica's great tradition of sprinting.
Julian Finney Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 9:09 pm

When it comes to sprinting, Jamaica reigns supreme.

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, a Jamaican man — Usain Bolt — and a woman — Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce — took home the golds in the 100-meter race, and at this summer's London games, they're hoping to do it again.

If you visit the Caribbean island nation, you'll hear a lot of explanations for why they're so good, but let's start with the obvious: In Jamaica, kids really like to run.

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A Blog Supreme
4:10 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Ron Carter: 75 Years Of Superb Bass

Legendary bassist Ron Carter turns 75 today.
Beti Niemeyer

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 2:59 pm

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World Cafe
3:58 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Bonnie Raitt On World Cafe

Bonnie Raitt's new album is titled Slipstream.
Marina Chavez

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:11 pm

Bonnie Raitt is a blues-rock legend with nine Grammys and five platinum albums under her belt. Her rootsy and passionate take on everything blues — combined with her intimate understanding of composition, deft slide-guitar skills and soulful vocals — helped Raitt become an icon.

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The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

23 Dead, 9 Hanged From Bridge In Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 5:24 pm

It has been a bloody day for the Mexican border-town of Nuevo Laredo. It started at dawn when 9 bodies were found hanging from a bridge of a major thoroughfare that connects Nuevo Laredo to Monterrey.

And as the day went by, the mutilated bodies of 14 others were found across the city.

El Universal, one of Mexico's largest dailies, reports:

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National Security
3:22 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

At Sept. 11 Trial, Military Commissions Face Scrutiny

In this photograph of a courtroom sketch, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, charged with orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks, attends a court hearing at Guantanamo in 2008. He's expected to appear in a military court Saturday.
Janet Hamlin AP

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 5:04 pm

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men charged in the Sept. 11 attacks were supposed to be tried six years ago in a military tribunal created by the Bush administration.

But that system — which allowed hearsay evidence, among other things — faced questions about its fundamental fairness. When President Obama came into office, he put all the proceedings at Guantanamo on hold and asked that the commission system be revamped.

Since then, there has been an effort to make sure the trials at Guantanamo are credible, with both Congress and the Supreme Court weighing in.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

'A Factor In A Much Larger Life': Debating Chen Guangcheng's Blindness

Chen Guangcheng at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. This photo was released by the Embassy's press office.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 9:55 am

If you've been following the case of Chen Guangcheng, the activist looking to leave China for the U.S., there's one thing you probably know about him.

The fact that he's blind.

But is Chen's blindness central to his story – his political activism and the diplomatic dance he has set off?

"His blindness did not give him any particular bravery or insight," says Stephen Kuusisto, the author of two memoirs about being blind. "It is just a factor in a much larger life,"

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Law
3:04 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Hazing Hard To Prosecute In Fla. Despite Tough Laws

Pam and Robert Champion hold their son's drum major hat from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Robert Champion Jr. died after a hazing incident in November.
Jim Burress for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 6:28 pm

Charges filed this week against 13 people in connection with a hazing death at Florida A&M University have thrust the hazing culture into the spotlight.

Florida has one of the toughest anti-hazing laws in the country, but legal experts say prosecuting the crime can be tricky.

State attorney Lawson Lamar, who is leading the prosecution in the death of drum major Robert Champion, acknowledges the case is complicated.

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Religion
3:04 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Five Philly Priests Removed For Sex Abuse Allegations

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 5:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia announced today that he is removing five priests from ministry. Charles Chaput said investigations into other priests accused of abuse will continue.

But as NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports, victims' advocates are not satisfied.

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Energy
3:04 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

White House Unveils New Fracking Regulations

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 5:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Obama administration today released a new set of rules for oil and gas drilling on public land. As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, the rules are meant to keep companies from polluting water when they use the engineering technique known as fracking.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Hydraulic fracturing is what made the current drilling booms possible. Companies force hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals deep underground to open up cracks in the rock and make the oil or natural gas flow faster.

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