All Things Considered for Friday, September 13, 2013

John Kerry spent years in the U.S. Senate, and many months running for president a decade ago. Neither role gave him as high a profile as he has now as Secretary of State, when every word he utters is scrutinized by an international audience.

Week In Politics: Syria And The Colorado Recall

Audie Cornish talks with regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution and David Brooks with The New York Times. They discuss the latest on Syria and takeaways from recall elections in Colorado.

After Three Months, Ky. Cop's Murder Remains Unsolved

It's been three months, and authorities are no closer to finding out who ambushed and killed a police officer in the idyllic town of Bardstown, Ky. Officer Jason Ellis was attacked on his way home after his shift. Unsolved killings of police are rare and the residents of this close knit community want answers and justice.

Is Brazil Ready To Step On The World Stage?

All Things Considered host Melissa Block is in Brazil, reporting on the rise of the Brazilian middle class and the country's preparations for the World Cup and Olympics.
For the past couple of years, NASA has been using remotely piloted aircraft to study hurricanes. And they are turning up new information about things like how dust from Africa can determine whether weather systems become hurricanes in the Atlantic.
For decades, DNA has been used to identify victims of crime, even victims of war crimes. But there's no international standard for using DNA analysis for identifying bodies after a disaster. So some scholars are calling for an international group with the same reach as weapons inspectors.
The four men convicted of rape and murder in an Indian court were sentenced to death in New Delhi Friday. Last December, the men lured a young woman onto a bus, and then raped and tortured her before throwing her off the vehicle. She died of her injuries two weeks later. The death sentences were greeted with approval by the victim's family, and there have been widespread calls for the men to hang ever since details of their crime became known.
Reviewer Susan Jane Gilman wasn't impressed by the title of Someone, but she says Alice McDermott's novel is nowhere near as generic as its name. Nothing extraordinary happens to the Irish-American protagonist, but with spare poetry and deep compassion, McDermott makes familiar territory seem new.

East LA Homegirl Goes Hollywood

Evangeline Ordaz is responsible for the hit Hulu series East Los High. She's also working on a new play about changing LA demographics.
Rain and flooding continue in Colorado today. Thousands of people have been evacuated and rescue crews are making their way to those stranded in buildings behind impassable roads.

Still Reeling From Sandy, Seaside, N.J. Boardwalk Burns

Nearly a year after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, four blocks along a strip of New Jersey's famous boardwalks have been destroyed by fire. On Friday, firefighters were still dousing smoldering embers and other hotspots from the raging blaze. Gov. Chris Christie said the sight of the damage to iconic businesses along the Seaside boardwalks was sickening.
Next week, a salvage crew plans to rotate and raise the Costa Concordia cruise ship, in one of the biggest maritime salvage operations ever undertaken. The huge vessel has been partially submerged off Giglio Island since an accident in January 2012 that killed 32 people.

Superstitious? You Might Avoid Today's Finnair Flight 666

For the superstitiously inclined, Finnair's flight 666 might seem an inauspicious omen. Especially one that flies on Friday the 13th. But Finnair flight 666 flew without mishap this Friday, even though the date was Friday the 13th. The flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki occurs daily. There are two Friday the 13ths in 2013. Both have been uneventful.

Did Jon Krakauer Finally Solve 'Into The Wild' Mystery?

In 1992, a young man headed into the Alaskan wilderness seeking a new way of life and perhaps an escape from the modern world. Four months later, emaciated and helpless, he died. This short, fatal experiment with simple living was exhaustively explored by Jon Krakauer in his book, Into The Wild. But one core mystery remained: Was the journey a slow-motion suicide mission? Or was his death an accident? Jon Krakauer had a theory: unintentional poisoning. Now, he thinks he has proof. He tells Audie Cornish about the new evidence.
The US and Russia continue talks on the proposed transfer of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal to UN control.

What A Chatty Monkey May Tell Us About Learning To Talk

The gelada, found in Ethiopia, makes a gurgling noise that scientists say is close to human speech — at least in how much facial coordination it requires. One theory scientists are trying to test is if the monkey's vocal agility came from its tendency to hang with other geladas in large groups.

Another Week Of College Football, And Yet Another Scandal

It's another week of college football and yet another scandal, this time at Oklahoma State, the subject of a five part investigative story by Sports Illustrated involving athletes taking cash from coaches, sex, and drugs. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins Audie Cornish to talk about that and the ultra-hyped big game between Alabama, the defending national champion and Texas A&M, home of the most polarizing player in college football, quarterback Johnny Manziel.

A Vintage Filter On Today's Top 40

Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" as doo-wop? Scott Bradlee imagines pop music in a time machine.
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