All Things Considered for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Who's Protecting Whom From Deadly Toxin?

Last year a scientist said he'd found a new form of botulinum toxin, and was keeping details secret to keep the recipe from terrorists. But other science and public health labs were shut out, too.
Pharmaceutical companies are suddenly trading entire divisions the way sports teams swap players. Glaxo, Novartis and Ely Lily are all involved in a complicated deal announced Tuesday, and so far this year, five deals exceeding $2 billion have been announced. What's driving the deal-making?

Scientists Pinpoint Source Of Antarctic 'Quack'

For decades, a mysterious quacking "bio-duck" has been heard roaming the waters of the Southern Ocean. Now scientists say the source is a whale.
Some California lawyers and litigants have created a cottage industry around the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some plaintiffs file hundreds of complaints a year, collecting a living off small businesses that aren't compliant with the ADA. Small business advocates and community leaders say they focus on minority businesses because they make for easier targets.
The Supreme Court is considering the legality of Aereo, an internet service that allows users to stream and record live television. Some fear a broad ruling against the company could have major implications for cloud computing. Zachary Seward, senior editor of the website Quartz, explains more.
Now that it's more common to see gay characters on TV, is the medium turning to transgender people for fresh stories? NPR's Neda Ulaby looks at TV's crop of transgender and "gender fluid" characters.
The Justice Department is considering clemency for thousands of people who are incarcerated on nonviolent drug charges and who have also served at least 10 years of their sentences.

Obama Raises Curtain On 4-Country East Asia Trip

President Obama is visiting East Asia, stopping in Japan and three other countries. The trip aims to assure U.S. allies that they're not forgotten, even as China gets more bullish with its neighbors.
On the first leg of his Asian tour, the president stopped by the iconic sushi restaurant. David Gelb, who directed a documentary about the restaurant, says eating there is amazing and nerve-wracking.
The Obama administration is reviewing its deportation policies in an effort to conduct enforcement more humanely, according to the White House. As part of the effort, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is listening to recommendations from a range of groups.
U.S. officers at the ports of entry are arresting undocumented immigrants as they try to leave the U.S. They're then prosecuted and sent to prison, only to be removed from the U.S. anyway. Why bother? That's a question people on all sides of the immigration debate are asking.
Palestinian leaders say they're close to a deal that would end the seven-year division between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
Prompted by calls for violence on the radio, South Sudanese rebels have slaughtered hundreds of civilians. As Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International explains, details are just starting to emerge.
Mike Lazer-Walker created a free browser plug-in called Literally, which replaces the word "literally" with "figuratively" in all online text. As the website explains, that's literally all it does.
Millions of pilgrims are expected Sunday for the joint canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. Rome is cleaning up and preparing everything from first aid stands to portable toilets.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said his country would respond if its citizens or interests came under attack in Ukraine. At the same time, the interim Ukrainian government has called for a new offensive on pro-Russia militants holed up in government buildings across eastern Ukraine. Western diplomats are scrambling to find a way to de-escalate the crisis.
In Chile, a fire that started in the hills above Valparaiso continues to burn. The blaze has killed 15 people and destroyed 2,500 homes in the area that surrounds Valparaiso. Reporter Alexandra Hall looks at some of those affected.
Realtors are seeing reasons for optimism in the housing market. As Kaomi Goetz of WSHU reports, one historic home sale suggests the high end of the market is booming again — in Connecticut, at least.
Some New Yorkers are upset about the changing skyline that rims Central Park. They say that as the sun goes behind some of the city's new tall towers, there's a chilling effect to their shadows.
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