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10:18 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

'Sopranos' Actor James Gandolfini Dies At Age 51

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The actor James Gandolfini has died. He played dozens of parts over decades of his career. But there is one role that he'll be remembered for, a troubled mobster with an anxiety problem: Tony Soprano.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SOPRANOS")

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It's All Politics
7:01 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Meet The New Governor: Sharply Partisan And Upwardly Mobile

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (foreground) speaks after a meeting with President Obama at the White House on Feb. 25. With him (from left): National Governors Association Vice Chairwoman Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:35 pm

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is already executing prisoners faster than any Florida governor in modern times, signed a bill Monday designed to speed up the death penalty process.

Six weeks ago, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley moved in the opposite direction: He signed a bill abolishing the death penalty, making Maryland the sixth state to end capital punishment in as many years.

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The Two-Way
6:30 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Microsoft Responds To Fan Outcry, Changes Xbox One Policies

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:16 pm

Fans spoke, and apparently Microsoft listened.

In a reversal of the company's previous position, Microsoft announced Wednesday that its forthcoming Xbox One gaming console would no longer require a regular Internet connection and would not restrict used or shared games.

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Code Switch
6:26 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A Hair-Touching Exhibit Touches Off A Range Of Reactions

Model Malliha Ahmad holds a sign inviting passersby to touch her hair.
un-ruly.com

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 6:51 pm

Antonia Opiah and her sister Abigail wanted to start a conversation about hair, but they ended up inspiring a protest. The controversy began with an essay that Antonia wrote for the Huffington Post in which she argued that no one should say, "Can I touch your hair?" without putting some thought into the request:

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It's All Politics
6:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Capitol Hill's Partisan And Racial Divide Cast In Bronze

Vice President Biden joined congressional leaders at the Capitol Hill dedication ceremony for a statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Carolyn Kaster AP

A 7-foot-tall statue of famed, lion-maned abolitionist Frederick Douglass that was dedicated Wednesday on Capitol Hill is perhaps best understood as a bronze symbol of the partisan divide in Washington and of racial politics.

The ex-slave, who later became a friend of President Abraham Lincoln, was a federal official and an important journalist of his day. It took years for a statue of him to land a spot because it became a proxy in the fight over voting rights and statehood for Washington, D.C.

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The Two-Way
6:14 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Federal Agents Accuse Two Of Plotting Deadly X-Ray Weapon

Two men in upstate New York have been arrested for planning to build a "radiation particle weapon" that could be mounted on a vehicle and used to target people, according to a report by the Albany Times-Union Wednesday. The men allegedly planned to sell the device to either the Ku Klux Klan or Jewish groups.

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The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A Day After Making List, One Of FBI's Most Wanted Caught

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 6:11 pm

Just a day after being added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, a former University of Southern California professor was arrested in the Mexican beach resort of Playa del Carmen.

Reporting for our Newscast unit, NPR's Carrie Kahn says 64-year-old Walter Lee Williams had been pursued by the FBI since 2011.

She says the indictment against Williams alleges he used his position as a professor of gender and sexuality studies to travel internationally and prey on underage boys.

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Economy
5:48 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

G-8 Nations Pledge To Crack Down On Corporate Tax Evaders

Leaders take part in the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Their discussions included tax-avoidance issues.
Ben Stansall WPA Pool/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

The world's wealthiest nations are promising to fight what they call the scourge of tax evasion. This week's meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries concluded with a pledge to end the use of tax shelters by multinational corporations.

But there are still big questions about how they will make a dent in the problem.

In the aftermath of the global recession, countries all over the world have struggled with budget shortfalls. More and more of them have come to blame part of their revenue problems on one culprit — tax avoidance.

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Around the Nation
5:48 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A Dry Reservation Clashes With Its Liquor Store Neighbors

Oglala Lakota activist Debra White Plume (left), tribal president Bryan Brewer (center) and other protesters create a blockade to prevent trucks from delivering beer to a liquor store in Whiteclay, Neb. The town, which borders the Pine Ridge Reservation, has been the site of recurring protests over alcohol.
Charles Michael Ray/SDPB

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

At the Pine Ridge Reservation just outside the town of Whiteclay, Neb., an upside-down American flag flies on a wooden pole next to a teepee. About 60 people gathered here Monday to protest as beer truck drivers unloaded cases into a Whiteclay liquor store a few hundred yards away.

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Around the Nation
5:48 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

To Rebuild NYC's Beaches, A Native Plant Savings And Loan

Heather Liljengren, a field taxonomist with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, examines the seed pods of the Virginia spiderwort at Oakwood Beach, Staten Island. Liljengren collects seeds from across the region for a seed bank of native plants.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

Across the New York region, people are still working to rebuild homes and businesses after the havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy. But the storm also devastated the dunes and native flora of New York's beaches.

When the city replants grasses on those dunes, it will be able to draw on seeds from precisely the grasses that used to thrive there. That's because of a very special kind of bank: a seed bank run by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island.

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