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Parallels
5:28 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

With An Assist From Smugglers, Cuban Players Make It To U.S.

Cuban baseball players have been defecting to the U.S. in growing numbers over the past two decades. Increasingly, smugglers play a role in getting the players off the island, U.S. baseball agents say.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 8:55 pm

Cigars aren't the only thing smuggled out of Cuba these days.

Cuban baseball players are also a hot commodity, and sports agents in the U.S. say the process is increasingly dominated by smugglers who track down players willing to defect and find surreptitious ways to deliver them to the United States.

"The whole business got pretty much taken over by smugglers," says former baseball agent Joe Kehoskie.

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The Two-Way
5:09 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Court Rules Against Dallas Suburb That Barred Renting To Illegal Immigrants

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:24 pm

Back in 2006, when many municipalities across the country took Arizona's lead passing stringent laws against illegal immigrants, the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch became a kind of poster boy.

With much controversy, the city passed legislation that among other things barred anyone from renting property to undocumented immigrants.

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Music Interviews
4:41 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Guy Clark, Music's Master Craftsman, On Making Songs Last

Tools line the walls of Guy Clark's basement workshop at his home in Nashville, where he still builds guitars.
Jinae West NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:16 pm

If you want to learn how to write a song — one that's built to last, with vivid characters and images that plant you squarely inside a scene — listen to Guy Clark.

Songwriters who revere Clark will tell you he crafts songs with the same precision and attention to detail he uses when he builds guitars. But Clark has a simpler, blunter explanation, as he told me with a glint in his eye when I visited him recently at his home in Nashville, Tenn.

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The Two-Way
4:25 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

WATCH: Disco, The Parakeet, Takes On 'Monty Python'

Disco, the parakeet.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 8:49 pm

We'll get back to the real news in a little bit. But we would be downright irresponsible, if we didn't point you to the latest from Disco, the parakeet.

His owners just posted a video that shows Disco trying to learn the famous line from Monty Python, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

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Shots - Health News
4:19 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Obama Turns To Comedians To Promote Health Coverage

Comedian Sarah Silverman helped get out the vote for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
YouTube

Who needs jocks when you've got Jennifer Hudson and Amy Poehler?

That seems to be the message coming out of the White House following a star-studded meeting yesterday led by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Its mission: Figure out how to help promote the Affordable Care Act.

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Education
4:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Teachers Hit The Books To Master New Education Standards

Teacher Karen Pate assists math teachers with Common Core materials in Baltimore. As in other states, Maryland teachers are attending trainings to prepare to implement the new standards this fall.
Gwendolyn Glenn WYPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:16 pm

Almost all the states and Washington, D.C., are grappling with a big challenge as the new school year nears: getting teachers up to speed on the Common Core, a sweeping set of new education standards for English language arts and math.

The Common Core will soon apply to most of America's students from kindergarten through high school. The policymakers behind the Core know that it could fail if they don't help teachers make the change. So this summer, the state of Maryland has been hosting what it calls "academies" to do just that.

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Asia
4:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Families Of Poisoned Children Try To Cope In India

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:16 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In India, police have widened their hunt for the principal of an elementary school. It's the place where 23 children died last week after eating a toxic school lunch. The principal has been missing, along with her husband, since the day the children fell sick. An arrest warrant has been issued for her. In the meantime, parents of the victims are trying to cope with the tragedy. NPR's Julie McCarthy visited some of the families who live in one of India's poorest states.

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Book Reviews
4:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Popes, Politics And Power: The Story Of The Borgia Family

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:16 pm

If every era gets the historical fiction it deserves, we have been good indeed. From the transcendent psychological rummagings of Hilary Mantel to the gooey pleasures of Philippa Gregory, we can set aside flowery bodice-rippers (not that there's anything wrong with those) and view the dusty figures through lenses literary, pop culture-y, or near-pornographic.

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Religion
4:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Jubilation, Protest Greet Pope Francis In Brazil

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:16 pm

Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and was greeted by adoring masses and protesters alike. It is his first foreign trip since becoming pope.

All Tech Considered
3:41 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

See The 10 States With The Fastest Internet Connections

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:15 pm

Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.

Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.

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