All Things Considered for Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Senate grills the Obama administration officials being held responsible for the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act's federal health insurance marketplace.

In Colorado, A Couple Finds Relief In Obamacare

A small business owner and her husband expect to save big on health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Their monthly health insurance bill will drop by more than half once the policy they're buying on the Colorado health exchange takes effect.
Melissa Block talks with Gibran Peshimam, political editor for The Express Tribune in Karachi, about reaction in Pakistan to last week's American drone strike that killed the Pakistani Taliban leader.
Farm workers do backbreaking work to bring fresh produce to our tables. But one secret about life in the fields is a chilling power dynamic that can allow supervisors to sexually assault farm workers in remote orchards and packinghouses.
A motorcycle owner in Omaha, Neb., reported his bike stolen from his backyard. Now, it's on its way home after turning up at the Port of Los Angeles, 46 years later.

The Most Secure Password In The World Might Be You

Leaders from tech giants like Google and PayPal say that the password as we know it is dead. So what's the future of authentication online? Apple is implementing fingerprint protection on iPhones, but questions linger about the security and feasibility of biometrics.

Congolese Rebel Group M23 Announces End To Insurgency

A rebel group that one year ago had pushed U.N. troops out of eastern Congo's largest city announced Tuesday that it would pursue a political solution. The group, M23, took up arms last year after a peace accord between Congo's government and Tutsi-led insurgents collapsed.
A Florida school district reached an agreement with the NAACP and law enforcement to reassess tough "zero tolerance" guidelines. Non-violent misdemeanors — like alcohol and marijuana possession — will be dealt with by schools instead of police.
Parts of the U.S. and Canada have seen a rapid decline in moose populations that may be linked to climate change. And, scientists and hunters warn, those declines have often been accompanied by a surge of infestations of the winter tick.

9 Elections To Watch

From the Eastern Seaboard to the Pacific Northwest, there's a colorful and compelling roster of political contests on Tuesday. Many of them have national implications, including a gubernatorial contest in New Jersey and a special congressional runoff in Alabama.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro announced an early start to the Christmas season because he wants "happiness for everyone." The decision means that workers will receive the first two-thirds of their Christmas bonuses and pensions this month. Critics say he's just looking for votes ahead of municipal elections in December.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct Just Turned 100

Audie Cornish talks to David Ulin, a The Los Angeles Times book critic who wrote an essay for Boom magazine on a famous William Mulholland speech about the 100-year-old engineering marvel that is the Los Angeles Aqueduct. The aqueduct brought water from the Owens Valley hundreds of miles away to a growing area in need of additional resources to sustain its people and their endeavors, helping spur an economy that today rivals that of many nations. A century later, this gravity-fed system continues to be a major source of water for Angelenos, supplying about half of the water needs for four million people on an average year.

Syrian Regime, Rebels Fail To Set Date For Talks

The U.N.'s top envoy on Syria says diplomats have failed to agree on a date for a peace conference. Lakhdar Brahimi says he's still hoping such a meeting could take place in Geneva before the end of the year. He had been hoping it would take place this month, but the Syrian rebels aren't ready to attend, the U.S. and Russia have yet to agree on whether Iran should take part and there are many other roadblocks. Brahimi is raising the alarms about a conflict that has affected half of the population, with 6,000 people fleeing every day.
The International Crisis Group is calling on the United Nations to push the Syrian government to open pathways for humanitarian aid. Melissa Block talks to the group's Peter Harling, who regularly visits Damascus to access the situation there.
The power of the president and Congress to make treaties and enforce state compliance has been called into question in a case involving a woman who may have violated the chemical weapons treaty in an effort to poison her husband's mistress. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Tuesday.
At a news conference Tuesday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted he has smoked crack cocaine. Melissa Block talks to Jamie Strashin of the CBC for the latest.

Beleaguered Florida Citrus Industry Hits New Snags

Florida's citrus industry is having more problems. Growers are already plagued by crop diseases like canker and greening. Now, an effort to control greening has led to the deaths of millions of bees.

China Sets Ambitious Agenda In 'Asian Space Race'

India launched its Mars mission on Tuesday. But China is still leading what some see as a space competition among Asian countries. It has worked on a lunar rover, a space station as well as its own unmanned mission to Mars.
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that roughly 1 in 5 stars, like our own sun, have an Earth-like planet orbiting around it. That's about 40 billion planets that could support life in the Milky Way galaxy. Melissa Block talks to co-author Geoff Marcy, an astronomy professor at the University of California-Berkeley, about the latest numbers.
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