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Stories for April 15, 2013

San Diegans In Boston Horrified By Explosions

April 15
By Susan Murphy, Alison St John, David Wagner
Tease photo

Runners and others from San Diego in Boston during today's Boston Marathon said they've been shaken by what they witnessed.

Online Tools Help People Connect After Boston Marathon Bombing

April 15
Bill Chappell / NPR

Even as the shock and horror of the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon had yet to subside Monday, people were turning to online tools to check on the safety of their friends and family who were at the event. The latest estimates of the casualties include more than 3 dozen people injured, with two dead.

Justices Appear Skeptical Of Patenting Human Genes

April 15
Nina Totenberg / NPR
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In a case considered pivotal to the future of science and medicine, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed skeptical Monday about a claim that human genes can be patented.

Boston Bombings Prompt Extra Vigilance in San Diego Area

April 15
Midday Edition
Tease photo

Law enforcement officials in the San Diego area were on heightened alert while monitoring the aftermath of explosions that killed two people and injured dozens more at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Boston Blasts Lead To Heightened Security Elsewhere

April 15
Randy Lilleston / NPR
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Monday's explosions in Boston have led to heightened security elsewhere, with New York, Washington and Los Angeles among the cities taking action within hours of the blasts.

NATURE: The Mystery Of Eels

April 15
NATURE: The Mystery Of Eels   Tease photo

Though much of the natural world is discovered and understood, a few great mysteries remain. Consider the eel — snakelike and slimy, with a row of jagged teeth. Yet aside from these fearsome qualities, we know little about its life. Where it goes, what it does and how it dies, nobody knows. Hailed by poets as the “siren of the North Sea” and “love’s arrow on Earth,” this shadowy creature has fascinated researchers for centuries. Now James Prosek, artist, writer and eminent naturalist, will take on the mystery of the eel, shedding light on the animal and the strange behavior it inspires in those who seek to know it.

Background Checks Bill Gains Backers On And Off Capitol Hill

April 15
Frank James / NPR
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The Senate was due on Tuesday to take up legislation embodying the bipartisan compromise reached by two senators, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey.

Witnesses To Marathon Explosions Describe Panic And Horror

April 15
Bill Chappell, Scott Neuman
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People near the finish line of the Boston Marathon described horrific scenes of the chaos that followed two loud explosions in quick succession this afternoon, sending spectators rushing away from the scene in panic as others lay bloodied and wounded on the ground.

Two Port Appointees Vetoed By Filner Sworn In Today

April 15
City News Service
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Lawyer Rafael Castellanos and businessman Marshall Merrifield were sworn in to the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners today.

Exoneree Detectives Fight For Those Still Behind Bars

April 15
Michael May / NPR
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Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey and Billy Smith drive down a desolate highway toward a prison in East Texas. They've all been there before, serving hard time -- 63 years among the three of them.

A Tax Day Story For Hard Cider Lovers

April 15
April Fulton / NPR

Is small-batch hard apple cider the next microbrew? It seems everybody and their brother is experimenting with ways to make the potent stuff profitable. Sales of domestically produced hard cider have more than tripled since 2007, according to beverage industry analysts - and that's not counting Europe, where it has held a steady popularity for centuries.

2013 Pulitzers Honor Sharon Olds, Adam Johnson, New York Times

April 15
Bill Chappell / NPR
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The new batch of Pulitzer Prize winners has just been announced, with novelist Adam Johnson winning the fiction prize with The Orphan Master's Son. The winners of the prizes for Americans' best work in journalism, drama, music, and writing also receive a $10,000 cash award.

Bombs Kill 3, Injure Dozens At Boston Marathon

April 15
Associated Press
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Two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 130 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S.

Hagel Eliminates So-Called 'Drone Medal'

April 15
By Beth Ford Roth
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today he's canceled plans for the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, known as the "drone medal" by detractors.

POV: Presumed Guilty

April 15
POV: Presumed Guilty  Tease photo

Imagine being picked up off the street, told you have committed a murder you know nothing about and then finding yourself sentenced to 20 years in jail. In 2005 this happened to Toño Zúñiga in Mexico City and, like thousands of others, he was wrongfully imprisoned. “Presumed Guilty” is the story of two young lawyers and their struggle to free Zúñiga.

Wish Comes True For San Diego Military Child At Disneyland (Video)

April 15
By Beth Ford Roth
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The four-year-old daughter of a San Diego-based Marine made a wish at Disneyland's Snow White wishing well, asking that her father come home from Afghanistan. Little Alyssa Brown didn't realize that Snow White had a big surprise up her sleeve.

Ford, GM Will Jointly Develop Fuel-Efficient Transmissions

April 15
Scott Neuman / NPR
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Rivals Ford and General Motors said Monday they will work together to develop new transmissions aimed at helping them meet upcoming fuel efficiency standards.

Is San Diego Doing Enough To Maintain Its Police Force?

April 15
Midday Edition
Evening Edition

Mayor Filner's 2014 budget includes funds to increase the San Diego Police Department by 136 new officers this year. But the San Diego Police Officer Association says the department is already short by 100 officers and more than half of the department will be eligible for retirement in the next four years. Add to that 30 percent of officers hired since 2005 have left the department, some to work for other local agencies that pay more.

Future Of Technology: Inventor Of The Cellphone Looks Ahead

April 15
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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Technology has changed the way we communicate, live and learn but what does technology hold for our future? Martin Cooper made the very first cellphone call from a prototype he worked on while at Motorola. He says as we move forward, so should technology.

Science Lessons Changing For K-12

April 15
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
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For the first time in 15 years, science gets a makeover in the classroom.

Remains Sent From Vietnam To Hawaii May Be Those Of U.S. Service Member

April 15
Bill Chappell / NPR

Vietnam has sent what analysts believe could be the remains of a member of the American military who died in the country during the Vietnam War. After a repatriation ceremony at the airport in Da Nang Sunday, the remains were sent to Hawaii for examination and possible identification.

The Central Park Five

April 15
The Central Park Five Tease photo

"The Central Park Five," a new film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The film chronicles The Central Park Jogger case, for the first time from the perspective of these five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.

Marine Corps Restores Tuition Assistance Program

April 15
By Beth Ford Roth
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The Marine Corps has announced that funding for its Tuition Assistance program has been restored for the remainder of fiscal year 2013, and new enrollments in the program can start immediately.

While Congress Slumbers, Laws Pass Elsewhere

April 15
Alan Greenblatt / NPR

Maybe Barack Obama would be happier as a governor.

Fire At Sea On Littoral Combat Ship Coronado

April 15
By Beth Ford Roth
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The Navy's newest littoral combat ship, USS Coronado, sustained minor damage Friday when a fire broke out on board while the ship was at sea.

Recycling Cuts Down Mexican Used Tire Dumps

April 15
By Mónica Ortiz Uribe
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Recycling efforts are helping reduce health and safety risks posed by tire dumps located in Mexican border cities.

George W. Bush: 'I'm Comfortable With What I Did'

April 15
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Since President George W. Bush left office in 2009, The Dallas Morning News writes, he has been "a punching bag for [President] Obama, Democrats and even some Republicans."

FAA Orders Inspection Of Boeing 737s

April 15
Scott Neuman / NPR
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Federal aviation officials have ordered that more than 1,000 Boeing 737s be examined to see if a key part on the plane's tail section needs to be replaced, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

San Diego's Budget Terms Defined

April 15
By Claire Trageser

What exactly do those terms in San Diego's budget mean? Here's a list of definitions.

San Diego Mayor's First Budget Emphasizes Neighborhood Services, Public Safety

April 15
Midday Edition
By Claire Trageser
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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner released his first budget proposal today. He aims to increase spending for neighborhood services and public safety.

'Mila' Is First Grandchild For George W. And Laura Bush

April 15
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, gave birth over the weekend to a girl.

Mayor Filner Signs Tourism Marketing Agreement

April 15
By Claire Trageser
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Mayor Bob Filner signed an agreement with San Diego's Tourism Marketing District before the San Diego City Council's vote on the ongoing conflict.