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Audie Cornish, Melissa Block, and Robert Siegel

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Asia
12:41 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Vanishing Vultures A Grave Matter For India's Parsis

This image shows a Parsi Tower of Silence, circa 1955, near Mumbai, India. The bodies of the dead are left here to be disposed of by vultures.
Alice Schalek Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:42 pm

For any religion, keeping up traditions in the modern world can be a challenge. The Parsi community in India, however, faces a unique obstacle.

Parsis, who came to India from Persia (Iran) a thousand years ago with their Zoroastrian faith, have gone to great lengths to maintain their unique funeral rituals. But they've had to make a few adjustments to keep up with the times and to not upset the neighbors.

Parsi funerals begin in a way familiar to many faiths: prayers are chanted and mourners pay last respects.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
4:35 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Bridging The Gap Between Two Neighborhoods

An illustration for a park proposed for Washington's old 11th Street Bridge. If realized, the park would span the Anacostia River, linking the Capitol Hill neighborhood with lower-income Anacostia.
Ed Estes Courtesy of D.C. Office of Planning

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 7:19 pm

Cities around the nation have tried a variety of approaches to revitalizing their urban cores. Some have turned to repurposing old infrastructure to breathe new life into neighborhoods.

One such effort is under way in the nation's capital, where the redevelopment of a bridge linking a wealthy part of the city with a lower-income one may present an opportunity — if an ambitious park plan can be brought to fruition.

A '21st Century Playground'

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Author Interviews
4:35 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

An Individualist Approach To The Hebrew Bible

Hebrew scripture is a "message in a bottle," says Yoram Hazony, and in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, he tries to decipher that message. Hazony's new book makes the case for a different reading of the ancient texts — and argues that the Hebrew Bible is a work of philosophy in narrative form.

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Africa
3:34 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Decades Later, South African Miners Sue Employers

Armstrong Ngutyana (left), 55, and Dumisani Mjolwa, 65, were gold miners during the apartheid era. Both worked underground for nearly three decades. They developed lung disease and were forced to quit their jobs, but received only minimal compensation. They are now part of a class-action lawsuit against South African mining companies.
Anders Kelto for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 4:35 pm

South Africa's mining industry is under heavy scrutiny after 44 people died during protests at a platinum mine near Johannesburg. Now, the industry is facing challenges on another front: Lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against three of the country's biggest gold mining companies.

They're suing on behalf of miners who worked during the apartheid era and now have lung disease.

A settlement in the case — and another like it — could reach into the billions of dollars.

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Education
3:15 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Can A New Building Save A Failing School?

Research shows that students who attend school in buildings that are in disrepair score lower on state tests than students in satisfactory buildings.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 5:59 pm

When students and teachers at School 16 in Rochester, N.Y., start the new school year in a newer school building, they'll leave their old building's laundry list of infrastructure problems behind.

As teachers finish unloading boxes and setting up their new classrooms, they hope the newer, nicer digs will give students renewed pride in their school. Education experts say the move could also bring a bump to the school's flagging test scores, because better school buildings actually improve academic performance.

A Drain On Spirit And A Drain On Grades

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Music News
2:39 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Why We're Happy Being Sad: Pop's Emotional Evolution

A less complicated time? Petula Clark holds her 1965 gold record for "Downtown," an uptempo song in a major key.
R. McPhedran Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:48 pm

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:58 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

Time Tells Its Own Story: A Labor Day Fable

Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 6:06 pm

The astronomer in me will tell you that summer officially ends on Sept. 22. That's the date of the Autumnal Equinox, the point in Earth's orbit where the hours of day and night are equal. That definition is fine for a scientific understanding of the cosmos, but when it comes to experience, we all know that summer really ends on Labor Day. And in that division between the ways we meter time (for science or business) and the way we actually live time, there is a Labor Day lesson we might keep close to our hearts all year long.

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All Tech Considered
4:53 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

When A Kickstarter Campaign Fails, Does Anyone Get Their Money Back?

In seeking financial backers for her Ouya game console, Julie Uhrman was looking for about $1 million. The business received far more than that amount.
Kickstarter

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 3:48 pm

Crowd funding began as a way to support the arts on the Internet. Artists could go online to pitch a new album, for example, in the hope that thousands would give small amounts. But now it's expanded to entrepreneurs, and the rules aren't quite as clear.

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Middle East
4:53 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

Under The Shadow Of Jets, A Syrian Town Presses On

Syrians gather by the rubble of a house destroyed by shelling in the northern town of Azaz, on the outskirts of Aleppo, on Monday.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 4:12 am

Syrian air force jets bombed the rebel-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria on Monday, killing at least 18 people, according to Syrian activists.

Over the summer, the rebels gained control of a number of towns and villages along the Syrian-Turkish border. Now, those places are being bombarded from the air and from the ground by government forces.

Azaz, in northern Syria's Aleppo province, is one of these places. There, the tombstones in the old section of the town's cemetery are laid out in neat rows.

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NPR Story
4:40 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

Runner Pistorius Under Fire For Post-Race Comments

Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 5:16 pm

Melissa Block talks with BBC correspondent Emma Tracey, who is at the Paralympic Games in London. Yesterday the so-called "Blade Runner" — South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius — complained immediately following the 200m race that a Brazilian competitor who won the gold had cheated. Pistorius' initial reaction was to criticize the design of his competitor's prostheses as having given him an unfair advantage. Pistorius has since apologized for those remarks.

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