All Things Considered for Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's been 22 days since the world learned of a chemical weapons attack in Syria. In that time, the administration's approach to the situation has zigged and zagged. Will the shifting message cause lasting damage to the Obama presidency?

How Russian Come-Back Kid Vladimir Putin Stays Strong

Audie Cornish speaks with Politico's Susan Glasser about Russian leader Vladmir Putin's return to the presidency and how he has re-asserted himself on the domestic and international stage.

Floods Kill Three, Cause Havoc In Colorado

At least three people are dead as flash floods caused by heavy rains swept through areas near Boulder, Colo. The flooding left motorists stranded, forced hundreds of people to be evacuated from their homes and caused several buildings to collapse.
"This is the real deal. Voyager 1 has finally reached interstellar space; the first time a spacecraft has been in the space between the stars," says one project scientist. Launched in 1977, the probe has been surveying the solar system.

Bulgaria Closes Cold War Poison Umbrella Murder Case

Robert Siegel talks with Diana Ivanova, a Bulgarian documentary filmmaker and former reporter for Radio Free Europe, about one of the Cold War's most notorious assassinations: The murder of Bulgarian writer and dissident Georgi Markov by poison-tipped umbrella. Bulgaria decided a statute of limitations was finally reached yesterday, 35 years after Markov died of ricin poisoning. British police, however, are continuing with their own investigation into Markov's assassin.

Connecticut Takes Obamacare To The People

Outreach workers are going from concerts to oyster festivals to urge uninsured people to sign up for coverage. The state received $15 million in federal money to spend on marketing a health insurance exchange that opens Oct. 1.

No Bitter Pill: Doctors Prescribe Fruits And Veggies

An initiative in New York City is designed to nudge the families of overweight kids and teens to change the way they eat with fruit and vegetable prescriptions. The big incentive? Free produce as well as tips on how best to cook and economize.

In These 'Gardens,' The Tree Rings Of The Radical Left

Jonathan Lethem's Dissident Gardens sketches a history of the American left that is at once intimate and expansive. Out of the lives of a few conflicted characters, reviewer Mohsin Hamid explains, the book lends depth and emotion to events that affected millions.
Steven Greenberg of the disco group Lipps, Inc. joins Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Loretta Lynn among artists currently trying to reclaim ownership of their work from labels, per a 1976 revision of copyright law. But the record industry is expected to put up a legal fight to retain the rights.
The fall season isn't scheduled to start for another several weeks, but with a little web searching you can sample the first episodes of a whole bunch of the new TV shows early for free. Counterintuitive as it sounds, the networks are so intent on hooking you that they're willing to lure viewers away from watching the premiere episode on air, where the ratings actually count.

Kerry-Lavrov Syria Talks Get Underway In Geneva

Secretary of State John Kerry met his Russian counterpart in Geneva Thursday to go over the details of Moscow's proposed plan to place Syria's chemical weapons arsenal under UN control.
Robert Siegel talks with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, about the latest developments in Syria.

Florida Officials Swat At Mosquitoes With Dengue Fever

After decades without any reported cases, dengue fever seems to be getting a foothold in the U.S. In 2009, it surfaced in Key West. This year, 18 cases have been reported this summer in Martin County, Fla.

Lessons From Colo. Gun Law Battle And Recalls

Two Democratic state senators in Colorado, including the Senate President, were yanked from office this week in recall elections. Gun advocates pushed for the first-ever referenda, and the fight became a proxy battle between the NRA on one side and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun-control group on the other.

New York Fashion Week Shows Little Model Diversity, Again

As New York Fashion Week comes to an end, Audie Cornish talks to Robin Givhan, style and culture writer for The Cut from New York Magazine, about diversity on the runway and her favorite show.

U.S. Might Pause Plans To Ramp Up Syrian Rebel Training

A U.S. government source says small arms from the U.S. are starting to head into Syria, funneled by the CIA, which is involved in covert training of rebel forces in Jordan. But a larger U.S. training effort has yet to be approved by the White House. The Pentagon is coming up with options that ramp up CIA training in Jordan and possibly Turkey. Other Arab countries have also expressed interest in helping out. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has hinted that the larger-scale training would be done by either Green Berets or conventional U.S. troops, and Sen. John McCain is pushing for this effort. But the effort may have been put on hold given the new diplomatic effort between the U.S. and Russia.

As The Revolution Fades, Tunisia Begins To Splinter

Tunisia's Islamist ruling party is trying to avoid the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which was recently ousted by the military. But it's feeling the heat. As in Egypt, security issues and economic pressures are fueling discontent. Tunisians are increasingly blaming the government.
Scientists say that one of the most drought-prone regions in the Horn of Africa is lying atop vast reserves of water. Test drilling has confirmed the existence of two aquifers under Kenya's northern Turkana district. Government officials say the water could provide 70 years' worth of supplies.

How One Unkind Moment Gave Way To 'Wonder'

A chance encounter with a little girl in an ice cream store inspired R.J. Palacio to write a novel about a boy born with distorted facial features. She says it got her thinking about what it's like to "have to face a world every day that doesn't know how to face you back."
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