All Things Considered for Monday, October 21, 2013

Electronic cigarettes are popping up in more and more stores around the country and consumers are "vaping" in bars and restaurants with gusto. Sales of the devices are expected to reach nearly $2 billion this year. Until now, the top tobacco companies have been out of the game, but both Altria, which owns Phillip Morris, and R.J. Reynolds are now launching their own brands. Back in 2009, the FDA warned that e-cigarettes could pose health risks. This month, the agency is expected to release a set of proposed regulations on the devices.

First Polio Cases Since 1999 Suspected In Syria

Syria used to have one of the highest rates of polio vaccinations in the region. But since the civil war began, rates have plummeted. Now the crippling virus has likely returned to the country, health officials say. Initial tests indicate that polio has paralyzed at least two children.
Glenn Greenwald's series of national security scoops throughout the summer for the NSA convinced him he wanted to do more reporting, and needed a place beyond the reach of the British authorities to do it. He has found a partner in Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who has taken an interest in investigative journalism.
For 55 years, the legendary coach Eddie Robinson built Grambling State University's football program almost from nothing. Under Robinson's watch, the small school in northern Louisiana sent players to the NFL and broke the NCAA's record for wins. But Robinson is long gone and this year the Grambling State Tigers are winless. Last week, the team boycotted, forcing Grabling State to forfeit to Jackson State University. What's happened to Grambling? Melissa Block talks to Sports Illustrated senior writer George Dohrmann about the boycott.
The small farming town of Harrodsburg, Ky., is the home of Willow Glass, thin and flexible, soon to find it's way into the marketplace. It's made by Corning in the same plant that developed Gorilla Glass, the protective cover for Apple's iPhone, and now used by more than thirty other makers of personal devices.

Sometimes You Need Your To-Do List To Be A Bit Bossy

Dan Amira, a senior editor at New York Magazine, reviews Carrot To-Do, a to-do list app with attitude.
A new crime-fighting strategy is showing early signs of hope in one New Jersey city. Camden has long been known as the home of intense poverty and crime. But since a new police force started walking the streets a few months ago, violent crime has dropped and many residents and officials say things are finally getting better.
A year after the Mormon Church lowered the minimum age for female missionaries from 21 to 19, a quarter of all missionaries are now women. The female missionaries might be helping the church's message reach a more diverse population.
The sitar player and composer's father, Indian music pioneer Ravi Shankar, died while she was recording her new album, Traces of You. Banning Eyre reviews the record, which features Anoushka's half-sister, Norah Jones.
President Obama has said that buying health insurance on the federal exchange should be as easy as buying goods on Amazon. However, the experience so far has been anything but easy. In a Rose Garden address Monday, Obama expressed his frustration with the problems and aimed to remind folks that the Affordable Care Act is not just a website.
The Obama administration is sending in computer engineers from inside and outside government to fix the ongoing problems with HealthCare.gov. But the Affordable Care Act's legal deadlines mean that the programmers will be racing against the clock.
At auto plants, the tension is typically between the workers and the management. But not at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, where it's Republican officials who are trying to stand in the way. One of them is the Tennessee governor, who says a unionized plant might discourage other companies from coming to his state.

Toyota Recalls 800,000 Vehicles Because...Spiders?

Toyota is recalling more than 800,000 vehicles because of spontaneously inflating airbags caused by spider webs.
At least two people were killed and two wounded following a shooting at a middle school in Sparks, Nev., early Monday morning.

Syria's Grinding War Takes Toll On Children

Two million Syrian children have been displaced by the war. Many have witnessed violence and experienced trauma that could have life-long consequences. One of the biggest challenges for international aid agencies is healing the invisible scars of the youngest victims.
New Jersey became the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage Monday when gay couples began marrying just after midnight. A state judge forced the state to recognize same-sex marriages. Initially, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appealed that ruling. But he dropped that appeal Monday, saying the New Jersey Supreme Court had already made clear how it would rule.
Water from the Ogallala Aquifer is withdrawn about six times faster than rain or rivers can recharge it. Now, a group of farmers in one part of northwestern Kansas has agreed to pump 20 percent less water out of the aquifer over the next five years.
Christians in Cairo are planning protests a day after an attack on a wedding party left three dead and 18 wounded. The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the attack.
The author of The Secret History returns with a novel about art, love and loss that's drawn comparisons to Oliver Twist and the Harry Potter series. Reviewer Meg Wolitzer says The Goldfinch marks a departure from Tartt's previous work, but it's a rich, absorbing read — all 771 pages of it.
Melissa Block and Audie Cornish read listener responses to a question we asked of Gen-X and Millennial listeners last week: "Who are your generation's future musical legends?" Tupac Shakur, Nirvana, Michael Jackson, and Adele made the list, but by far the most frequently mentioned group was a quartet of Irish baby boomers.
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