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All Tech Considered
6:30 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Life Outside The Fast Lane: Startups Wary Of Web Traffic Plan

Co-founder of the Internet startup Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, says he and his partner had no connections and little money when they started the now-popular site.
Tanya Kechichian Courtesy of Hachette Book Group USA

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is offering up some new rules to govern traffic on the Internet. The draft document could allow some Web companies to pay more for faster access.

It's the latest attempt by the FCC to adjust so-called network neutrality rules, initially intended to make sure that all traffic on the Internet moves at the same speed.

The new rules won't be made public until May, but some members of the startup world are already worried.

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Shots - Health News
6:19 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Why The U.S. Is Worried About A Deadly Middle Eastern Virus

Fearful of catching the MERS virus, workers wear masks during a soccer match on April 22 at King Fahad stadium in Riyadh.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 6:38 pm

The latest medical acronym to fear is MERS: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The virus has killed 83 people in the Arabian Gulf since first emerging in 2012 and now looks as if it could pose a global threat.

This week, the number of new cases rose at a rate that causes concern, the World Health Organization said in a statement.

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The Two-Way
6:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Radioactive Leak At U.S. Waste Dump Was Preventable, Report Says

A worker drives an electric cart past air monitoring equipment inside a storage room of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M., shown in this undated photo.
Anonymous AP

A February accident at a nuclear waste dump that resulted in the contamination of more than 20 workers resulted in part from "poor management, ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper training and oversight," a Department of Energy report concludes.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel says the report, released Thursday, says the release of radioactive material into the environment from the Feb. 14 accident at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, near Carlsbad, N.M., could have been prevented. The facility is a repository for defense-related nuclear waste.

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The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Yankees Pitcher Suspended Over 'Foreign Substance' On Neck

Home plate umpire Gerry Davis checks out the hand of Michael Pineda of the New York Yankees in front of teammate Derek Jeter before throwing him out of the game in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox.
Jared Wickerham Getty Images

Major League Baseball issued a ten-game suspension against Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda for "possessing a foreign substance on his person" during a game against the Boston Red Sox.

As Major League Baseball reports, after the Sox's manager complained to home plate umpire Gerry Davis, he went out to the mound to inspect Pineda.

Davis found some tar on Pineda's neck.

Pineda was ejected and if he doesn't appeal the suspension, he'll begin serving it tonight.

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Shots - Health News
5:18 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Rural Hospitals Weigh Independence Against Need For Computer Help

Dr. Billy Oley (left) talks with Dr. William George in the Beartooth Billings Clinic in Red Lodge, Mont. The hospital became part of the Billings Clinic system in exchange for help with its digital medical records.
Eric Whitney for NPR

One of the biggest challenges American hospitals face right now is moving to electronic medical records from old-fashioned paper files.

The switch is costing tens of billions of dollars, eating up tons of staff time, and it's especially tough for the country's 2,000 rural and small-town hospitals.

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Business
5:16 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Recall Woes Push Along GM's Cultural Reinvention

General Motors has yet to explain why it took 10 years to recall a faulty ignition switch. Some blame the culture. GM says it's working on that.
Uli Deck DPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 6:27 pm

General Motors has announced a big hit to first-quarter earnings, largely due to costs for recalls. Profits dropped nearly 90 percent from last year, with the company making a razor-thin profit of $100 million, GM said Thursday.

Meanwhile, GM has yet to explain why it took 10 years to issue one of the recalls for a defective ignition switch. Some critics believe the automaker's dysfunctional culture is to blame.

But the recall crisis could speed up a culture shift that's already underway. 

Customer-Focused

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U.S.
5:03 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Postal Workers Protest At Staples Over Shift In Jobs

Postal workers take part in a march in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to protest the opening of U.S. Postal Service counters at Staples stores.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 6:16 pm

U.S. postal workers took to the streets Thursday to protest in front of Staples office supply stores around the country. At issue is a decision to open Postal Service counters in Staples stores — something they say is siphoning away union jobs.

The postal workers' grievances come as their employer faces pressures to find new avenues of business.

Both the American Postal Workers Union and the leadership of the U.S. Postal Service lay claim to be fighting for the same cause: safeguarding the long-term future of one of the largest employers in the country.

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The Salt
4:37 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

California Farmers Finagle A Fig For All Seasons

Mouth watering yet? As of now, you can only get a pizza like this in the summer and fall. Farmers in California are trying to change that by growing figs at least from April through February.
Courtesy of California Fresh Fig Growers Association

True fig lovers are well-practiced in the art of patience. We watch the calendar, dreaming of summer and the fruit's silky, sappy flesh. The season lasts through June and July, with another crop from August to October. And then we're back to almost eight months of oranges, apples and, if we must, Fig Newtons.

But these figless days may be coming to an end.

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All Tech Considered
4:33 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Tech Giants Pony Up Cash To Help Prevent Another Heartbleed

Google is among several companies putting money into a fund to help safeguard the Internet from possible security flaws in open-source software.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:59 pm

Google, Intel, Facebook and many other tech giants are pooling their money together — for the first time — to fix a glaring hole in cybersecurity. They're launching a multimillion-dollar fund to protect open-source code — the code that anyone can use for free, and that often gets overused and underprotected.

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Middle East
4:31 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Chemical Weapons Deadline May Be Met, But Results In Syria Are Mixed

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:03 pm

Syria will likely meet an upcoming deadline to hand over its declared chemical weapons. But the agreement seems to have emboldened the Syrian regime to use other brutal tactics, including a chemical not covered by the deal.

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