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In Portugal, A Sales Receipt May Be Your Ticket To Win Big

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 16:41
On Lisbon's cobblestone lanes, the Portuguese economy is hobbling along as it always has — in cash.

In a tiny, 100-year-old bar, Nuno Goncalves pours out glasses of ginja — a Portuguese sweet cherry liqueur — for his customers, mostly old men in flat caps. A small shot-glass full costs 50 cents — cash only. There is a cash register, but it doesn't print receipts.

"It's a local business. They just count the money they have, and the bottles they sell," explains a customer named Felipe. "They will not give you a receipt — and you will not ask for a receipt. Because, come on!

NYPD Shuts Down Controversial Unit That Spied On Muslims

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 16:16
The New York Police Department said Tuesday it would disband a special unit charged with detecting possible terrorist threats by carrying out secret surveillance of Muslim groups.

The squad that conducted the surveillance, known as the Demographics Unit, was formed in 2003.

Ethics Board To Consider Crackdown On Lobbyist-Paid Meals

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 15:37

By next January, Washington state lawmakers should have clearer guidance on when it’s OK to accept free meals from lobbyists. The state’s Legislative Ethics Board decided Tuesday to clarify the rules governing gifts in the form of food and beverage. The board’s action follows our investigation last year into lobbyist-paid meals.

Despite Worries, Boston Survivor Heads Back To The Start Line

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 15:10
At last year's Boston Marathon, Carol Downing was just a half a mile from the finish line when bombs exploded and injured two of her daughters. This year, she's going back to complete the race.

More than 36,000 runners hope to cross the finish line for the Boston Marathon this year. Downing plans to be among them. But she's worried.

"There's definitely some fear of going back," Downing says.

Risks Of Popular Anxiety Drugs Often Overshadowed

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 15:09
When actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an overdose in February, the New York City medical examiner ruled that his death was the result of "acute mixed drug intoxication." Heroin, cocaine and a widely prescribed class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or benzos, were found in his system.

The drugs first burst onto the scene in the 1950s and '60s and quickly became known as "mother's little helper," the mild tranquilizer that could soothe frazzled housewives' nerves.

Song Of The Day, Lunar Eclipse Edition: Lee Morgan's 'Desert Moonlight'

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 14:36

"There are no natural barriers. It's all music. It's either hip or it ain't." - Lee Morgan

Lee Morgan is one of the most recorded and celebrated trumpeters in jazz, and one of my personal favorites. His playing is brash, assured, big-toned and has a swagger not matched by many other trumpeters of his day or since.

Flags Lowered Statewide For One Week To Honor Landslide Victims

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 14:30

Flags will fly at half-mast across Washington state until next Tuesday to honor the victims of last month's deadly landslide. Earlier Tuesday, the Snohomish County medical examiner raised the death toll by one to 37. Seven others remain missing.

Endangered Chinook Hitching A Ride On Trucks Around Cracked Wanapum Dam

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 14:14

Hundreds of Chinook salmon are being rounded up and loaded into tanker trucks that will drive them around the cracked Wanapum Dam in southweast Washington.

The Columbia River will remain drawn down at least until June, which means fish can’t reach their traditional ladders. Engineers are working on extensions and water slides of sorts to get fish ladders working again. But work to install this new equipment has been difficult, with cranes, man baskets and the whipping wind.

Obama's Tax Rate Rose — And He Can't Blame Anyone But Himself

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 13:53
President Obama, like many wealthy Americans, is paying more of his income to the IRS.

The White House released the president's tax return last week. It shows he and the first lady paid $98,169 in taxes for 2013 on income of $481,098. That's an effective tax rate of 20.4 percent.

In 2012, the Obamas paid just 18.4 percent of their income in taxes.

In Pakistan, Literary Spring Is Both Renaissance And Resistance

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 13:34
On one of the first weekends of the Pakistani spring, more than 45,000 people gathered in the city of Lahore for three days of lectures, performances and old-fashioned people watching. The second annual Lahore Literary Festival brought artists from all over the world to Pakistan's cultural capital to share their work — and to celebrate the power of expression.

In the shadow of the violence and political instability of recent years, cultural gatherings in Lahore have all but disappeared.

Behold Ukrainian Easter Art: Incredible, Inedible Eggs

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 13:29
As Nancy Shute reported in 2012, Ukrainians have for centuries practiced an ancient form of art, drawing intricate patterns on eggs using a traditional method that involves a stylus and wax.

It's called pysanky, and it's alive and well in Ukraine and Ukrainian immigrant communities around the world.

Even 2,000 years ago, people seemed to know that the egg could be a source of life.

The Long Wait On Safety Rules For The 'Soda Can' Of Rail Cars

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 13:28
Freight trains roll through the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Ill., every day, many pulling older tank cars known as DOT-111s. They're known as the "soda can" of rail cars, says village President Karen Darch, because their shells are so thin.

Many of the DOT-111s are full of heavy Canadian tar sands crude oil. Some carry ethanol. And more and more of them are loaded with light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.

"The worry is that if there's a derailment and the car is punctured, if any of the flammable materials in it ...

It's Now Officially Wildfire Season In Wash.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:16

 

Wildfire season officially starts on April 15 in Washington state. Oregon and Idaho have rolling starts to fire precaution rules, depending on local conditions.

Fire managers are looking ahead to a fairly "normal" wildfire season in Idaho and Washington this year. Drought-ridden central and southern Oregon though are classified at higher risk.

Did You See It? If Not, Here's The 'Blood Moon'

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:05
There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

As the Los Angeles Times adds, "Telescopes dotting the lawn pointed upward and southward, as the moon hovered above the observatory" and visitors who had packed the grassy lawn "scrambled toward the front of Griffith Observatory, pointing up at the reddening moon."

The vi

WATCH: Israel's New Low-Cost Airline Has Catchy Safety Video

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:52
El Al, Israel's national airline, wants you to get down when you fly UP, its budget carrier that took to the skies just two weeks ago.

Berlusconi Ordered To Do Community Service At Senior Center

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:52
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered Tuesday to spend at least four hours a week for the next year doing community service at a center for the elderly, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk.

As she says, the ruling comes more than eight months after Berlusconi was convicted "for masterminding a complex tax fraud at his TV network." While Berlusconi was given a four-year prison sentence, that was later commuted to one-

Boston Stronger: City Marks One Year Since Marathon Bombings

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:51
On this April 15, Americans are thinking about the Boston Marathon bombings that occurred one year ago.

In and around Boston, people are also looking back on a year of healing. The day's events will culminate in a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. ET, the time of the first explosion. Vice President Joe Biden will join officials in a tribute near the race's finish line.

A large crowd is expected Tuesday along Boylston Street, the scene of the cruel attack that police say was carried out by two brothers. One was later killed, and the other awaits trial.

An 'Idiot With A Gun' Leaves Families In Kansas Reeling

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:51

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUpXMhnamvo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gwkSqr5mOg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H20HZQEkW_k

Apple Upgrade Tracks Customers Even When Marketing Apps Are Off

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:44
The people who design marketing apps are celebrating a change in the way iBeacon works on iPhones. That's the Bluetooth-based system that lets a store track a customer's movements, and capitalize on them. For instance, if iBeacon detects you lingering in the shoe department, it might send you a digital coupon for socks.

IBeacon has been around for a while, and marketers liked the concept in principle.

Giant South American Bird On The Run In The U.K.

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:44
An ostrich-sized South American rhea that's reportedly capable of "seriously injuring humans" escaped from a farm in Hertfordshire, U.K., last month and has been on the lam in the English countryside ever since.

The Telegraph describes the flightless bird,