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Stories for January 31, 2014

State Dept. Delivers Unwelcome News For Keystone Opponents

Jan. 31
Elizabeth Shogren / NPR
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The U.S. Department of State says Canada's production of tar sands crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be affected by the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

Christo Lectures At MCASD To Open Exhibit

Jan. 31
By Angela Carone
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The artist Christo, known for large scale works like The Gates in Central Park, will lecture at MCASD in conjunction with a new exhibit of his work.

San Diego Politicians Return Donations From Alleged Schemers

Jan. 31
By Tarryn Mento
1 Comment
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As more donations from men tied to an illegal campaign finance scandal are unearthed, local politicians are rushing to return them.

Flu Season Results In Saline Shortage At San Diego Blood Bank

Jan. 31
By Dwane Brown
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An increase in flu patients heading to hospitals for dehydration has resulted in a nationwide shortage of saline at blood banks.

Filner Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Gets 2015 Trial Date

Jan. 31
By City News Service
4 Comments
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Trial of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against the city of San Diego and former Mayor Bob Filner is scheduled for Feb. 20 of next year.

POV: American Promise

Jan. 31
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POV: American Promise Tease photo

“American Promise” spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, New York, turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Manhattan’s Dalton School, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country.

Southern California Edison Outlines Values for San Onofre Nuclear Plant's Decommissioning

Jan. 31
By Amita Sharma
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Southern California Edison says it will follow a set of core principles.

FRONTLINE: The Long Walk Of Nelson Mandela

Jan. 31
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FRONTLINE: The Long Walk Of Nelson Mandela   Tease photo

FRONTLINE tells the intimate and surprising story of a Mandela few people know: a bomb-throwing revolutionary who became a skilled politician in prison, and a passionate man who sacrificed the love of his life for a country that needed him more. Widely hailed as the definitive television biography of Mandela, the documentary draws on stories and insights from Mandela's closest colleagues, fellow prisoners, friends and political adversaries —as well as unique photos and rare archival film — to paint an intimate portrait of one of the 20th century's greatest leaders.

San Diego Residents Surpass Estimates For Covered California Sign-Ups

Jan. 31
By City News Service
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More than 45,000 San Diego County residents signed up for health plans through Covered California in the final three months of last year.

Antiques Roadshow: Detroit, Mich. - Hour Two

Jan. 31
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Antiques Roadshow: Detroit, Mich. - Hour Two  Tease photo

Highlights include Marvin Gaye’s 1964 passport, found inside an album, purchased for 50¢ at an estate sale; a Petrus van Schendel oil painting, ca. 1860, that exemplifies the artist’s famous candlelit scenes; and a signed photo album of President Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet and Senate, valued at $75,000 to $100,000, discovered while the guest was cleaning her grandmother’s basement.

Sidelined By Brain Injury, Ex-NFL Player Copes With 'Desperation'

Jan. 31
Melissa Block / NPR
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The home of Sean Morey bears the impressive signposts of his 10-year career in the NFL: a Vince Lombardi trophy for his Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. A hefty Super Bowl ring. A framed photograph showing Morey in midair, launching himself like a missile to block a punt. With that play in 2008, his Arizona Cardinals became the only team in NFL history to win a game in overtime with a blocked punt.

After Overcoming Early Obstacles, Yellen Assumes Fed's Top Job

Jan. 31
John Ydstie / NPR
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Ben Bernanke hands over the reins at the Federal Reserve to Janet Yellen on Friday. The Fed's vice chairwoman will be the first female ever to lead the nation's central bank. It's a position many view as the second most powerful in the country.

Southern Fishermen Cash In On Asia's Taste For Jellyfish

Jan. 31
Alastair Bland / NPR
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On the Southeast coast of the U.S., jellyfish have earned a lengthy rap sheet for stinging beachgoers and getting tangled in shrimpers' net. But lately, the tides have turned for shrimping, and some fishermen in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are reaping profits from their local pests, the cannonball jellyfish, or "jellyballs."

Congress Looks At Navy Contracting Practices After Bribery Scheme Probe

Jan. 31
Associated Press
2 Comments

The House Oversight Committee is looking into Navy contracting practices amid a widening federal probe into a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving a Singapore-based defense contractor accused of offering prostitution services and pricey vacations to Navy officers.

'Still Turning Heads' At Lunar New Year, An All-Female Lion Dance Troupe

Jan. 31
Hansi Lo Wang / NPR
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Lion and dragon dancers are set to parade down Chinatown streets around the country again with the Friday start of another Lunar New Year.

Christie Knew Of Lanes Closures, Port Authority Official Claims

Jan. 31
Scott Neuman / NPR
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The New York Times reports that former Port Authority official claims to have proof that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge as they were happening.

More Republicans Push For Fixing, Not Repealing, Obamacare

Jan. 31
Eric Whitney / NPR
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A rift is growing between Tea Party activists and other Republicans over health care.

Andy Murray Overwhelms Donald Young In Davis Cup Opener

Jan. 31
Associated Press
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Wimbledon champion Andy Murray defeats Donald Young on Friday in the first round of the Davis Cup at Petco Park.

Camp Pendleton's $456M Hospital Officially Opens Friday

Jan. 31
By City News Service
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Friday was the official ribbon cutting for the $456-million hospital at Camp Pendleton, which opened it doors last month after three years of construction.

Police Say White Powder Mailed To NJ Hotels Was Cornstarch

Jan. 31
Scott Neuman / NPR
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The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are investigating a suspicious white powder that was mailed to several New Jersey hotels near the site of Sunday's Super Bowl - but there were no reports of injuries and preliminary reports suggest the substance was cornstarch.

Amid Drought, California Agency Won't Allot Water

Jan. 31
Associated Press
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California officials on Friday announced they won't allocate water to agencies that serve 25 million people and nearly 1 million acres of farmland, the first time in 54 years such action has been taken.

U.S. Issues Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review

Jan. 31
Scott Neuman / NPR
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The State Department says that production of Canadian tar-sand crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be increased if the Keystone XL pipeline goes ahead -- and therefore would do little to contribute to climate change.

Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Clears Significant Hurdle

Jan. 31
Associated Press
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The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada moved a significant step toward completion Friday as the State Department raised no major environmental objections to its construction.

Explaining Stephen Hawking's New Theory On Black Holes

Jan. 31
Evening Edition
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Why Stephen Hawking's new theory on black holes is important to everyday people and how the scientific community is reacting to these new ideas.

It's True: Snowiest Places Are Least Likely To Close Schools

Jan. 31
Mark Memmott / NPR
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We all probably sort of knew this already, but a new map seems to show quite clearly that it doesn't take much snow to close schools in the southern U.S. -- and that it takes a lot to close them in the northern half of the nation.

Roundtable: Marine Faces Another Murder Trial; Uncovering Financial Scandals; San Diego's Economy

Jan. 31
By Pat Finn, Alison St John
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Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins will be retried for a murder in Iraq seven years ago. How anyone with a computer can investigate campaign finances. And how does the state of San Diego's economy compare to President Obama's State of the Union?

Sriracha Hot Sauce Plant Facing Additional Legal Challenges From Irwindale

Jan. 31
By City News Service
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An attorney for the city of Irwindale said Friday his clients will add a breach-of-contract claim to a nuisance suit against a Sriracha hot sauce plant in Irwindale that has been ordered to partially shut down in response to smell complaints from residents.

Cosmetologist Tessie Bonner Saves Lives Through Breast Cancer Prevention

Black History Month 2014 Honoree

Jan. 31
By Monica Medina
1 Comment
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Tessie Bonner considers herself a "church lady," given that her religious beliefs are at the core of who she is and how she lives her life. But Bonner, whose friends and close associates tend to also think of her as "the little engine that could," seems to be so much more than any one label.

America's Test Kitchen From Cook's Illustrated: A Modern Take On Pizza And Grilled Cheese

Jan. 31
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America's Test Kitchen From Cook's Illustrated: A Modern Take On Pizza And Grilled Cheese Tease photo

Test cook Dan Souza shows host Christopher Kimball how to make a great Thin-Crust Whole-Wheat Pizza with Garlic Oil, Three Cheeses, and Basil at home, and gadget guru Lisa McManus reveals her favorite pizza gadgets. Next, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Chris to a tasting of goat cheese. And finally, test cook Bridget Lancaster uncovers the secrets to the ultimate Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Cheddar and Shallot.

Snow Brings Relief To California Ski Resorts But Snow Survey Dismal

Jan. 31
By California Capitol Network and Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio Network
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California's second snow survey shows the state likely won’t break free from its drought, but ski resorts are pleased with the most recent storm.

Judge Considers Tossing Lawsuit Filed By Jesse Ventura Against Chris Kyle's Widow

Jan. 31
By Beth Ford Roth
2 Comments
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U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle is considering throwing out a defamation lawsuit filed by Jesse Ventura against "American Sniper" Chris Kyle's widow. The suit centers around an altercation that may or may not have taken place between Ventura and Kyle at a Coronado bar in 2006.

Is Privacy Over? Tell Us Your Thoughts

Jan. 31
NPR/TED Staff / NPR
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Join the conversation at huff.to/yourprivacy

Last Cars Towed In Atlanta; Ice Is Gone, Traffic Is Moving

Jan. 31
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Georgia state troopers finished towing vehicles off Atlanta-area interstates early Friday morning, and three days after ice-covered roads forced thousands of drivers to abandon their cars, traffic is finally flowing freely, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

California Leaders Working On Urgency Bill To Combat Drought

Jan. 31
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio
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California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders are preparing an urgency measure that would authorize more than half a billion dollars in short-term anti-drought actions. They met Thursday at the state Capitol to discuss the legislation.

Young Takes On Wimbledon Champ Murray At Petco Park's First Davis Cup Since 2006

Jan. 31
City News Service
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The three-day U.S.-Britain Davis Cup tennis match begins at Petco Park Friday, with Donald Young taking on reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in the first of two singles matches.

Alvarez Leads San Diego Mayor Money Race With Cash On Hand

Jan. 31
By Joe Yerardi
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Democratic mayoral contender David Alvarez maintains a nearly two-to-one advantage over his Republican rival in cash on hand, according to financial disclosure statements filed Wednesday and Thursday.

Plastic Bag Ban Gets Support Of California Lawmakers

Jan. 31
By Erik Anderson
5 Comments
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California is inching closer to legislation that outlaws single-use plastic bags. Opponents are marshaling forces to hammer out a compromise.

Brother Artists Exhibit Craft And Memories At Mingei

Jan. 31
By Angela Carone
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The work of two brothers who make obsessively detailed art is now on view at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. The artists tap their shared family memories for inspiration.

Brain Surgeon Walks Six Miles Through Storm To Save Patient

Jan. 31
Mark Memmott / NPR
0 Comments
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As cities in the southern U.S. continue to recover from the ice and snow storm that brought life to a standstill in many places this week, stories are emerging about the incredible things some people did to help out others.

Commuting To Distant Oil Fields: Good Money, At A Price

Jan. 31
Kirk Siegler / NPR
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Think your commute is bad? Try 580 miles, one-way.

Weeks Later, More Questions Than Answers In W.Va. Chemical Spill

Jan. 31
Daniel Zwerdling / NPR
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State officials in West Virginia say that in most areas, they can no longer detect any of the industrial chemical MCHM that spilled into the water supply recently. They say the water is safe for people to drink and use -- including most pregnant women. But other public health specialists say they don't trust these assurances.