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Stories for December 13, 2013

How To Make An Orc Sword

Dec. 13
Evening Edition
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The second installment of the Hobbit Trilogy opened last night reigniting interest in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth with its hobbits, orcs, elves, and dwarves. I visited the Grossmont College Foundry where one student decided to try and forge an orc sword.

San Diego Somalis Want New Trial After NSA Revelations

Dec. 13
By Amita Sharma

NSA surveillance put the FBI on the trail of four Somali men in San Diego, who were convicted of aiding terrorists. And that news set their lawyers in pursuit of a new trial.

Veterans Group Planning Challenge Of Judge's Order To Remove Soledad Cross

Dec. 13
Evening Edition
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The San Diego veterans group who erected the cross on Mt. Soledad is planning to challenge a federal judge's ruling that the 43-foot-tall cross must be removed.

Newtown Anniversary Marked By Gun Control Stalemate

Dec. 13
Frank James / NPR
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In the wrenching days and weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, many on both sides of the gun control debate thought that horror had so shifted the political winds that stricter federal gun laws would surely result.

Pit Bull Adoption Event At San Diego Animal Shelter On Sunday

Dec. 13
By City News Service
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One-third to one-half of dogs in San Diego shelters are pit bulls or pit bull mixes, according to county officials.

For Many Urban Schools, Gun Violence Remains A Daily Reality

Dec. 13
Denise Tejada / NPR
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With its colorful box-style buildings with big windows, Castlemont High in Oakland, Calif., looks like any other school. But inside, teacher Demetria Huntsman and Joseph Hopkins, 16, are deconstructing a shooting that happened out front just 30 minutes before.

Cost Of Battling Filibuster Rules: No Sleep or Fund-raising

Dec. 13
Liz Halloran / NPR

When Senate Democrats voted last month to limit the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees, inside-the-Beltway hand-wringing commenced.

Richard Tuite Released From Jail, Placed In Supervised Parole For 10 Days

Dec. 13
By City News Service
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Richard Tuite, who was acquitted in the 1998 death of 12-year-old Stephanie Crowe, has been picked up from San Diego County Jail by state parole officials.

As Congress Leaves Town, Some Jobless Benefits Set To Expire

Dec. 13
Scott Horsley / NPR
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The House adjourned for the holidays Thursday night after passing a two-year budget agreement. But despite pressure from Democrats, the deal did not include an extension of the long-term unemployment benefit program.

Shooter Dead, Student Critically Injured, At Colorado High School

Dec. 13
Scott Neuman / NPR

A student armed with a shotgun killed himself after opening fire at a Colorado high school, wounding two fellow students, police said Friday.

Police Report Colorado School Shooter Is Dead; One Student In Critical Condition

Dec. 13
Associated Press

A hospital spokesman says a student is in critical condition after reports of a shooting at a school in suburban Denver.

Is Sen. John Cornyn Conservative Enough For Texas?

Dec. 13
Alan Greenblatt / NPR
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Being an incumbent ain't what it used to be.

FDA Warns Against Test Touted As Mammogram Alternative

Dec. 13
Nancy Shute / NPR

Mammograms are no woman's idea of fun, but if someone suggests that you could skip that aggravation just by vacuuming a little bit of fluid from the breast, think again.

White House: Man Seized In Iran In 2007 Was Not Working For CIA

Dec. 13
Scott Neuman / NPR
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A day after The Associated Press reported that an ex-FBI agent who went missing in Iran nearly seven years ago was on a rogue mission for the CIA, the White House has reiterated its long-held position that Robert Levinson was not on the U.S. payroll when he disappeared.

Qualcomm Names Steve Mollenkopf As Next CEO

Dec. 13
Associated Press
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Qualcomm says that long-time executive Steve Mollenkopf will become its CEO in March.

Army-Navy Game Spirit Video Parodies GEICO Hump Day Camel Commercial

Dec. 13
By Beth Ford Roth
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Guess what day it is? Not just Friday the 13th, but also the day before the Army-Navy game. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert took part in a hilarious spirit video that parodies the infamous GEICO Hump Day Camel Commercial.

Tourists At The Border: Should Mental Illness Halt U.S. Entry?

Dec. 13
Liz Halloran / NPR
Tourists At The Border: Should Mental Illness Halt U.S. Entry? Tease photo

The headline was enough to infuriate any privacy-loving North American.

New Los Angeles Newspaper To Emphasize Print Editions Over Digital

Dec. 13
Andrew Dalton, Associated Press

The new daily paper will be known as the Los Angeles Register and emphasize printed publications while others in the industry are focusing on digital.

Police Arrest Man Who Planned Suicide Bombing Of Kansas Airport

Dec. 13
Scott Neuman / NPR

Authorities in Kansas have arrested a man they say was plotting to use a car-load of explosives to blow up the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita.

With Filner Out, San Diego Spins Its Wheels On Taxi Reform

Dec. 13
By Megan Burks
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Disgraced former-Mayor Bob Filner set the wheels in motion for San Diego to take over the taxicab industry. A proposal by interim Mayor Todd Gloria could bring that work to a sudden halt.

Roundtable: Filner Sentenced, Revenge Porn Busted, Car Culture Questioned

Dec. 13
By Pat Finn, Tom Fudge
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Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was sentenced to house arrest and probation. The San Diego owner/operator of a revenge porn website was arrested for extortion and charges. A North County summit takes on the automobile.

Week That Was: Cookie Hacking, Phone Unlocking, Year-Enders

Dec. 13
Elise Hu / NPR
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Happy Friday! That means it's time for our weekly roundup of headlines from here at NPR and beyond.

California High-Speed Rail Authority Starts Process Of Seizing Property Through Eminent Domain

Dec. 13
Juliet Williams, Associated Press
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A 2.5-acre lot in Fresno valued at $2.4 million is the first property approved to be seized through eminent domain by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Screening Room: Who Might Be SNL's Next Black Actress?

Dec. 13
Kat Chow / NPR
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Word has hit the Internet streets that Saturday Night Live recently hosted special -- some folks are saying "secret!" -- auditions for black women to add to its cast.

Military Same-Sex Spouses In Every State Now Eligible For DoD ID Cards

Dec. 13
By Beth Ford Roth
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The same-sex spouses of U.S. service members are now eligible in every state to obtain their Department of Defense identification cards, according to an announcement made today by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Steubenville Officials Plead Not Guilty In Rape Case

Dec. 13
Mark Memmott / NPR

Four adults, including the city's schools superintendent, pleaded not guilty on Friday to several charges stemming from the aftermath of the notorious rape 2012 rape of a teenage girl by high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

Time Warner Cable Adds Live Local TV On Apps In Southern California

Dec. 13
Associated Press
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Time Warner Cable announces it has made live local TV station signals available on its TWC TV app in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Are Asylum Seekers Abusing The System?

Dec. 13
Monica Ortiz Uribe / Fronteras Desk
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The number of people seeking asylum in the United States more than doubled this year, raising suspicion among some members of Congress. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Thursday to question whether some asylum seekers are abusing the system.

San Diego's Homeless Families Get Holiday Party

Dec. 13
City News Service

Father Joe's Villages and Noble Americas Energy Solutions joined forces to host a holiday party for homeless families Friday, complete with a visit from Santa and personalized gifts.

Flags Lowered To Honor Camp Pendleton Marine Killed In Base Accident

Dec. 13
By Beth Ford Roth
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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered all flags flying above state buildings to be flown at half-staff on Saturday, Dec. 14 to honor a Marine killed in a base accident at Camp Pendleton.

Poll: Californians Gradually Souring On Unions

Dec. 13
Associated Press
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California has long been a union stronghold, but voters in the strongly Democratic state are gradually taking a more negative view of organized labor, a poll released Friday suggested.

How Does History Change The Meaning Of Words?

Dec. 13
NPR/TED Staff / NPR

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episodeSpoken And Unspoken.

San Diego's Valleys, Mountains Under Wind Advisory, Fire Weather Watch

Dec. 13
City News Service

Strong winds and low humidity will create a heightened risk of wildfire in San Diego County this weekend, meteorologists said Friday.

Review: 'The Last Days On Mars' and "The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug'

Dec. 13
By Beth Accomando
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This weekend at the movies you can travel to Middle Earth by way of “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” (opened at midnight last night throughout San Diego) or to Mars courtesy of the indie film “The Last Days on Mars” (playing one week only at Landmark's Ken Cinema December 13 to 19).

Mel Watt: A new Captain in charge of America's Housing Market

Dec. 13
Chris Arnold / NPR
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Something that didn't get that much attention amidst the emerging budget deal in Washington: You may remember democrats recently changed the rules on filibusters -- now the senate can confirm presidential nominees with a simple majority . And this week they used that new power.

For Friday The 13th, Say It With Us: Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Dec. 13
Mark Memmott / NPR

Because we want everyone to feel safe, once again we offer this advice for how to get through another Friday the 13th:

Obama's 'You Can Keep It' Promise Is 'Lie Of The Year'

Dec. 13
Mark Memmott / NPR
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President Obama's oft-repeated promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" is 2013's "lie of the year," according to the fact checkers at the Tampa Bay Times' nonpartisan PolitiFact project.

Promises To Fix Mental Health System Still Unfulfilled

Dec. 13
Jenny Gold / NPR
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The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one year ago sparked a national conversation about the country's troubled mental health system. Politicians convened task forces and promised additional funding and new laws. But today, despite those promises, patients and advocates say treatment for mental health is still in shambles.

One Year After Newtown, Still No Answer To 'Why'

Dec. 13
Jeff Cohen / NPR
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As Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sped from Hartford to Newtown nearly a year ago, the death toll kept rising. When he arrived on the scene, he found himself in charge -- and it fell to him to answer the question: How long should family members have to wait to learn that their loved ones were gone?

USDA Steps Up The Fight To Save Florida's Oranges

Dec. 13
Greg Allen / NPR
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The citrus industry is facing a crisis. It's called citrus greening -- a disease that has devastated orange production in Florida since it first showed up eight years ago. Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a new effort to try to control the disease before it destroys the nation's citrus industry.

A Baby Who Saved Her Family From 'The Dark Moments'

Dec. 13
NPR Staff / NPR
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Three years ago, Maria Vasquez-Rojas received news to celebrate: After many attempts to conceive, she was going to have a baby. But while pregnant with her daughter, Ellie, Maria was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.