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Stories for June 20, 2013

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Artist In Residence: Robert Brill

June 20, 2013
By Beth Accomando, Nicholas McVicker

From hunting Moby Dick on the high seas to battling Pink Robots, designer Robert Brill has been creating breathtaking work for San Diego audiences for decades. Now he’s the La Jolla Playhouse’s new Artist in Residence.

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Supreme Court: Provision In AIDS Law Violates Free Speech

June 20, 2013
Nina Totenberg / NPR

The U.S. Supreme Court, headed into its final days of the term, left all of its marquee cases undecided on Thursday. Still being hashed out in private by the justices are two same-sex-marriage cases, plus major tests of affirmative action in higher education and the Voting Rights Act. No more decisions are expected this week.

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European Neuroscientists Unveil Most Detailed Brain Model Yet

June 20, 2013
By David Wagner

Scientists on Thursday involved in a major European neuroscience project unveiled the most detailed 3D computer model of the human brain yet. A San Diego neuroscientist closely involved in the U.S. BRAIN Initiative says these findings will help accelerate research happening here.

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Paula Deen: Child Of Dixie, Meet The Internet Age

June 20, 2013
Maria Godoy / NPR

Paula Deen may be famous for her deep-fried Southern cooking, but the Internet isn't buying her defense that she used a racial slur because of her deep Dixie roots.

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California Assembly Repeals Changes To Public Records Act

June 20, 2013
Katie Orr/Capital Public Radio

The California Assembly has passed a measure that would revoke changes to the state’s public records act that are in the budget package lawmakers sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

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Border Surge Compromise for Immigration Reform?

June 20, 2013
By John Rosman

On Thursday, a border security compromise was struck, paving a smoother road for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate.

Gandolfini Suffered Cardiac Arrest On Family Trip, Reports Say

June 20, 2013
Scott Neuman, Bill Chappell

Actor James Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest, The Los Angeles Times reports, citing the doctor in charge of the emergency department at the hospital in Rome where the Sopranos star was admitted.

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House Smacks Down Farm Bill, And Farm Lobby, Too

June 20, 2013
Dan Charles / NPR

The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)

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Why The Immigration Fight Seems Like The NBA Finals

June 20, 2013
Frank James / NPR

Maybe Game 6 of the NBA Finals has something to teach us about how to watch the immigration debate now taking place in Congress.

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Stuff You Might Have Missed In The Paula Deen Brouhaha

June 20, 2013
Tanya Ballard Brown / NPR

The butter has hit the pan again for Food Network star and cookbook author Paula Deen. The National Enquirer was the first to report that Deen admitted to having used the N-word in a deposition for a lawsuit brought against her by a former employee. The entire deposition was filed into the court record as part of the lawsuit.

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NSA Reportedly Allowed To Keep Some Domestic Communications

June 20, 2013
Scott Neuman / NPR

Special U.S. courts charged with authorizing electronic surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists gave permission to the NSA to retain in certain cases "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications, The Guardian reports.

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San Diegans Encouraged To 'Dump The Pump' For Public Transit

June 20, 2013
By Susan Murphy

People across San Diego County were encouraged today to leave their cars at home and instead take the trolley, train or bus as part of a national effort to reduce oil dependence and pollution.

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Six-Woman Jury Selected For Trial Of George Zimmerman

June 20, 2013
Bill Chappell / NPR

A jury has been settled upon in the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The six-member panel is made up entirely of female jurors; five of them are white women, according to reports.

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Program Helps Former Inmates Reintegrate Into Society

June 20, 2013
By Patty Lane, Peggy Pico

Being released from prison is the first step to reintegrating back into society. A local nonprofit is helping former inmates navigate through the services available to them and offering one-on-one mentoring.

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Taliban Offers To Exchange POW Bowe Bergdahl For 5 Gitmo Detainees (Video)

June 20, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

The Taliban has offered to exchange U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been a POW since 2009, for five detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.

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'The Center Holds' Sees Victory For Moderates In Obama's Win

June 20, 2013

Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.

MacGyver Says: Don't Mix Teenage Boys And Homemade Bombs

June 20, 2013
Nancy Shute / NPR

They're sometimes called MacGyver bombs, in an homage to the 1980s TV hero who could make a bomb out of everyday items like a cold pill, blow an escape route through a wall and save the day.

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California Legislature Continues Battle Over Public Records Act

June 20, 2013
By Maureen Cavanaugh, Megan Burke, Peggy Pico

Outcries from the public and from media organizations have prompted the California legislature to step back from a plan that could limit public access to government records.

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Why Slave Labor Still Plagues The Global Food System

June 20, 2013
Eliza Barclay / NPR

When the State Department released its annual report on human trafficking Wednesday, we got a chilling reminder that even in 2013, slave labor is still embedded in the global food system.

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4 Facts You Might Not Have Known About The IRS Scandal

June 20, 2013
Tamara Keith / NPR

For a little more than a month now, we've been reporting on the IRS's flagging of Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Through it all, some basic questions remain: Who ordered the targeting? And why?

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Wounded Warriors Pay Tribute To James Gandolfini (Video)

June 20, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

The tributes are pouring in for actor James Gandolfini, who died Wednesday at age 51. Many of them are from wounded veterans and service members, with whom Gandolfini worked closely.

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PTSD Plagues One In Four Survivors Of Stroke

June 20, 2013
Nancy Shute / NPR

A person having a stroke may not be in a war zone, but his or her life is in danger all the same. That's enough to trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in some stroke survivors, researchers say, with symptoms like panic attacks, nightmares, and flashes of anger.

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At A Texas Base, Battling Army's Tragic Top Threat: Suicide

June 20, 2013
Quil Lawrence / NPR

Suicide killed more American troops last year than combat in Afghanistan, and that is likely to be the case again this year.

Justices: Federal Funds Can't Infringe Groups' Free Speech

June 20, 2013
Scott Neuman / NPR

The Supreme Court has struck down a law mandating that nonprofit organizations adopt a policy opposing prostitution as a condition for receiving federal funds for HIV/AIDS programs abroad, saying such a requirement violated the groups' free-speech rights.

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Permit for Foothills Toll Road Rejected

June 20, 2013
By Alison St John

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board narrowly rejected a permit for a five mile section of the Foothills toll road just north of the San Diego County line.

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San Diego Is Miles Behind On Taxi Safety Standards

June 20, 2013
By Megan Burks

A study last month called into question low wages and poor working conditions for taxicab drivers. But what about conditions for passengers? Are we safe in the cars we hire?

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Many Grandparents Who Care For Grandchildren Struggle To Make Ends Meet

June 20, 2013
By Kenny Goldberg

Many grandparents in California who have custody of their grandchildren don't have the income to meet their basic needs, according to a new report from UCLA.

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In Tijuana, A Breakfast Hall For The Stranded

June 20, 2013
By Adrian Florido

The Padre Chava breakfast hall serves more than 1,100 people every morning, most are deportees from the U.S. But many have one thing in common — a desire to return.

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How Ted Cruz's Father Shaped His Views On Immigration

June 20, 2013
David Welna / NPR

As the Senate debates a massive overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, one of its newest members has emerged as a leading opponent of the bill's most controversial feature: a path to citizenship for millions living in the country unlawfully.

Translated Into Navajo, Star Wars Will Be

June 20, 2013
Christine Trudeau / NPR

When Dave Nezzie met his future wife, Amanda, they quickly fell in love over a galaxy far, far away.

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In More Cities, A Camera On Every Corner, Park And Sidewalk

June 20, 2013
Steve Henn / NPR

This report is part of the series NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century.