All Things Considered for Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The U.S. and its partners say it is "undeniable" that Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons against civilians last week and they are taking their case to the UN Security Council. But, they are likely to face a skeptical Russia and China, who want to wait for a UN team on the ground in Damascus to finish their investigation. A UN envoy on Syria says international law is clear: The Security Council has to endorse any international action. But, if the Security Council remains divided, the U.S. and its partners might have to look for other legal justifications to act.
The Obama administration appears poised to attack Syria after concluding Bashar Assad's government used chemical weapons, but many members of Congress say they haven't been briefed enough about why military action is warranted. And their opinions about what to do in Syria are all over the map.
The United States and other Western countries are considering military action against Syria in response to last week's apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians outside Damascus. That could happen even without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize it. Would that be legal? To better understand what international law has to say about whether intervention is allowable, Melissa Block talks to John Bellinger, former legal adviser at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration. He's now with the Council on Foreign Relations and a partner at the law firm, Arnold Porter LLP.

Fort Hood Shooter Sentenced To Death Penalty

A jury has sentenced Nidal Hasan to the death penalty for a shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead and 31 others injured.
The New York Times website reportedly was under attack by hackers on Tuesday. Here's a primer on the Syrian Electronic Army, the activist hacker group that's responsible for taking down or taking control of the sites of major news organizations.

Bells Punctuate March On Washington Anniversary

Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Melissa Block and Robert Siegel have more on the various events to mark the anniversary.
President Obama joined thousands at the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
In the early 1960s, psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a controversial study in which participants were led to believe they were administering painful, high-voltage shocks to other subjects. Gina Perry, author of Behind the Shock Machine, says the study has "taken on a life of its own."
Wednesday, on the same stretch of the National Mall where the Civil Rights Marchers of 1963 listened to the Reverend Martin Luther King, a far smaller crowd assembled to celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of that landmark moment in the struggle for civil rights.
Young people at the Lincoln Memorial reflect on the significance of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Researchers in Sweden have confirmed the existence of element 115. It sticks around for a surprisingly long time. Scientists believe it may bring them closer to the mythical "island of stability" a whole slew of super-heavy elements that could last for days or even years.
American teenager Victoria Duval pulled off a first round upset at the U.S. Open last night when she beat the 2011 tennis champ Samantha Stosur.
Robert Siegel talks with Republican Representative Mike J. Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, about his briefing on evidence regarding the chemical attack in Syria, and whether he still has questions about whether the Syrian government is responsible or not.
Melissa Block has an exit interview with Kelly McEvers, who's ending a grueling years-long assignment in the Middle East that included coverage of Iraq, Syria and beyond. McEvers and her NPR colleague Deborah Amos, won four major awards in 2012 for coverage of the Syrian conflict.
Lean people tend to have many more kinds of intestinal bacteria than obese people. Having too few species, regardless of your weight, appears to increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The Inspiring Force Of 'We Shall Overcome'

It is not a marching song. It is not necessarily defiant. It is a promise: "We shall overcome someday. Deep in my heart, I do believe." It has been a civil rights song for 50 years now, heard not just in the U.S. but in North Korea, in Beirut, in Tiananmen Square, in South Africa's Soweto Township.
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