All Things Considered for Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Military aircraft are flying supplies into the Philippines, but the goods haven't reached many of those who need them. As officials assess what's needed, food aid has been looted. Meanwhile, desperate crowds push up against the local airport's fences, hoping to get on a plane out of Tacloban.

The Challenges And Limitations Of Disaster Donations

After Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines, people around the world responded to calls for donations to help with the aftermath. But what are the limits and challenges of sending contributions and charitable donations to the storm victims? Audie Cornish speaks with Robert Ottenhoff, president of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, to find out.
New cholesterol guidelines are out, and the bottom line is millions more Americans will be getting recommendations that they should be taking a cholesterol-lowering pill every day. The new guidance, from the nation's two leading groups of heart specialists, is a big departure from the advice Americans have been getting for decades to get their cholesterol levels down to a certain number. Instead, the emphasis is on whether you fit into one of four risk groups.
Just over 100,000 people managed to get signed up for health insurance through the state and federal health exchanges, the Obama administration reported. But barely a quarter of those — 26,794 — signed up through the faltering HealthCare.gov website.

The Tech Stats We Now Know About HealthCare.gov

Government's top tech officials — including U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park — showed up on Capitol Hill to give a status report of the troubled HealthCare.gov system. As the administration unveils enrollment numbers, the tech officials outlined technology metrics of progress.
The justices are examining the legality of a key union organizing tool called a neutrality agreement. Under such a pact, employers pledge to remain neutral during union organizing campaigns. In exchange, unions promise not to picket, boycott or strike.

Critics Say Mob Boss's Trial Has Been A Disappointment

A federal judge in Boston is about to sentence former mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, who was convicted in August of participating in 11 murders while running a massive criminal enterprise for decades. There is little suspense around sentencing; even the minimum for the most minor of the charges would be enough to keep the now-84-year-old Bulger behind bars for the rest of his life. It's all left some questioning whether the whole "big show," as the former mob boss has called his months-long trial, was worth all the time and money.
President Obama's choice to run the department of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, made his first appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Mexico is considering relaxing its law prohibiting foreigners from owning land within 30 miles of the coast or about 60 miles from an international border. Real estate developers say the change would lead to a boom along Mexico's coasts. But opponents fear it could launch a modern-day foreign land grab.
Audie Cornish talks to Ben Blatt of Slate about how to apply game theory to the popular daytime game show, The Price Is Right.
Many of the fixes to the troubled health care roll out sound simple: Let everyone stay on the insurance plans they already have! But the economics of this complex bill are not simple.
The Obama administration is plugging its health care plan by saying that half of young, single people can buy health coverage for $50 a month or less. A closer look at the claim finds that it's more like a third of single, uninsured, young adults who would get a deal that good.
In Chicago, the mayor and school officials say they're making good on a promise to keep students safe after closing down nearly 50 schools over the summer. When the closures were announced, parents worried about children having to cross rival gang territories to attend new schools. Now, two months into the school year, the district says its program called Safe Passage is working.
A U.N. report on the Afghan poppy harvest shows a sharp increase in cultivation and says the production of opium could rise 50 percent. The Pentagon has already pointed to the increase and says the Taliban is involved in protecting the poppy fields and controlling the drug routes. Besides funding the Taliban, officials say the increased opium yield will only add to one of the most nagging problems in the country: government corruption.

Aid Groups Worry As Winter Approaches In Syria

In Syria and in Syrian refugee camps outside the country, aid agencies are dreading the approach of winter. This is expected to be the worst winter in 100 years according to a some meteorologists. But even if this year's winter is no worse than last year, it will strain every aid organization in the region. Humanitarian groups are in a race to prepare.

How Obama's Response To NSA Spying Has Evolved

Over the five months since Edward Snowden began leaking secret documents to the media about American spying, President Obama has adjusted his response to the disclosures. At first, he suggested the concern was misplaced, but more recently, his message has been that something needs to change.

Who Gets The Blame For NSA Spying? NSA Says Not Us

Faced with harsh criticism over its vast surveillance operation, the NSA and its allies are pushing back. They say their intelligence collection is being done in response to demands from the executive branch of the U.S. government and not on its own. The NSA says it is currently working on 36,000 pages of what it calls "requirements" — intel speak for intelligence assignments it gets from branches of the U.S. government.
Indian pudding, the traditional New England dessert, is rich in both history and flavor. It's made by combining cornmeal and milk with molasses. Food historians say it's one of the first truly American recipes.

Chasing Money, And Meaning, In 'Nebraska'

A road-trip movie from director Alexander Payne (Sideways) follows a man en route to collect a million-dollar prize that probably never was. NPR's Bob Mondello says the black-and-white film is just the latest achievement from a talented filmmaker. (Recommended)

Print Your Own Revolutionary War Boat, In 3-D

The Smithsonian Institution has millions of fossils, sculptures and other historic artifacts in its vast collections. Twenty of them are now available for 3-D printing — and viewing from every conceivable angle — online.
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