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6:09pm

Sat April 11, 2015
Television

'American Odyssey': Three Ordinary People, One Thrill-Filled Plot

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 10:47 pm

In American Odyssey, Anna Friel plays Sgt. Odelle Ballard, who is stationed in Mali. After her team is killed, she finds herself running for her life — which includes disguising herself as a man.
Keith Bernstein NBC

Action, espionage and secrets fill the new NBC show American Odyssey.

But Peter Horton, the show's co-creator and executive producer, says it's easiest to describe the show by saying what it's not. "It's not a police show, it's not an FBI show, it's not a CIA show," he tell's NPR's Arun Rath. "It's a modern-day thriller told in three story bubbles, basically, about three very ordinary people."

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6:09pm

Sat April 11, 2015
Author Interviews

A Dark, Funny — And Vietnamese — Look At The Vietnam War

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:04 pm

The Captain, a Communist sympathizer who's risen through the ranks of the South Vietnamese Army, has a confession:

I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds. I am not some misunderstood mutant from a comic book or a horror movie, although some have treated me as such. I am simply able to see any issue from both sides.

So begins Viet Thanh Nguyen's new novel, The Sympathizer.

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6:09pm

Sat April 11, 2015
Middle East

Trapped In Yemen's 'Armageddon,' An American Made A Dangerous Escape

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:04 pm

A "getaway selfie," as Mokhtar Alkhanshali calls it: Alkhanshali (left) makes his way across the Red Sea with this boat driver — and without navigation equipment.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali

Businessman Mokhtar Alkhanshali was used to the complications of traveling to Yemen. He'd been traveling there and back for years; sometimes the American Embassy would close for a few days amid turmoil, but it always opened back up.

But on March 27, the situation changed dramatically. "Overnight, the country went to war," he says.

The Yemeni-American coffee importer had been in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, on business when the city was rocked by explosions. He stepped outside at 2 a.m. to find anti-aircraft guns lighting up the night sky.

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8:06am

Sat April 11, 2015
Law

Colorado Deals Inmates A New Deck Of Cards

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 10:54 am

Colorado is the latest state to produce the cold case cards.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation

There's not a whole lot to do in prison, so inmates spend a fair amount of time playing cards.

For several years, law enforcement officials around the country have been putting that prisoners' pastime to good use. They've been putting facts and photos from unsolved crimes in front of prisoners' eyes by printing them on decks of cards, hoping to generate leads.

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6:17am

Sat April 11, 2015
Author Interviews

'Born With Teeth,' Actress Kate Mulgrew On A Life Lived With Abandon

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 7:22 pm

Mulgrew starred as Captain Kathryn Janeway, the first woman to command a Federation Starship, in Star Trek: Voyager.
CBS Photo Archive/Delivered By Online USA Getty Images

Even if you don't know Kate Mulgrew's name, you know her work. She currently plays Red, the formidable prison kitchen manager in the series Orange Is the New Black. And for seven seasons she was Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager.

"Nothing could be more challenging, more arduous, or more rewarding than that part on that series," Mulgrew tells NPR's Tamara Keith, referring to the role of Janeway.

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4:49am

Fri April 10, 2015
Author Interviews

Meet The 'Capital Dames,' Civil War Washington's Secret Power Brokers

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 10:52 am

According to Roberts, Mary Todd Lincoln could have "tremendous flare-ups of temper," but she was also smart and politically savvy.
Library of Congress AP

It's an overcast morning outside President Lincoln's Cottage, a national historic site in Washington, D.C., and Erin Carlson Mast is struggling to open a pair of huge, historic wooden pocket doors.

"When we began the restoration these had been closed for over 100 years," Carlson Mast, the site's executive director, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

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12:30pm

Tue April 7, 2015
Intelligence Squared U.S.

Debate: Has The President Exceeded His War Powers Authority?

Two teams face off in a debate over the extent of the president's war powers at the latest debate from Intelligence Squared U.S.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

President Obama has launched a sustained, long-term military campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. But did he have constitutional power to do so?

Article I of the Constitution gives some war powers to the Congress — namely, the power to declare war — while Article II gives the president the power of commander-in-chief. But the U.S. Congress has not declared war since World War II, even as the nation has engaged in numerous military actions across the globe in the intervening decades.

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3:26am

Tue April 7, 2015
Food

Busy Chef Strives For Balanced Mix Of Home Life, Culinary Ambitions

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:24 pm

Voltaggio sprinkles sugar on granola pancakes, a dish from his new cookbook, Home.
Emily Jan NPR

Breakfast is Bryan Voltaggio's favorite meal because it's the only time he gets to eat with his family. Most other times, the Top Chef and Top Chef Masters finalist is at one of his restaurants. That's why the recipes in his new book, Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends, are centered on family and family gatherings, from Thanksgiving to Super Bowl Sunday.

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4:20am

Mon April 6, 2015
All Tech Considered

Is Cash-Free Really The Way To Be? Maybe Not For Millennials

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:20 pm

More Americans are ditching traditional cash and plastic, opting instead for new mobile payment applications. But new research indicates cash isn't completely dead.
Amy Sancetta AP

Smartphones have new, seamless ways to purchase stuff lightning fast, with just a tap. With these new digital technologies available for mobile payment, many young people are ditching cash and plastic altogether.

But is traditional payment dead? According to Doug Conover, an analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, not exactly.

"The perception that young people rarely use cash is just not correct," he says.

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6:28pm

Sun April 5, 2015
Environment

Will Turning Seawater Into Drinking Water Help Drought-Hit California?

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:42 am

Joshua Haggmark, Santa Barbara's water resources manager, is in charge of getting the city's desalination plant back online.
Becky Sullivan

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown made water conservation mandatory in the drought-stricken state of California. "As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in every way we can," he said.

But if the four-year drought continues, conservation alone — at least what's required by the governor's plan — won't fix the problem.

Across California, communities are examining all options to avoid running out of water. Some, like the coastal city of Santa Barbara, are looking to the past for inspiration.

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