Parallels
1:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

In Damp Country, Record-Breaking Rains Flood Britain

Priscilla Smithers and her four children have arranged chairs around a few air mattresses to create a space for themselves, after fleeing their home.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 8:15 am

Parts of England have been underwater for more than six weeks now, since storms began pummeling the west of Great Britain around Christmas. While many of those areas are still submerged, the situation keeps getting worse.

Now the floodwaters are lapping near Windsor Castle, as the Thames overflows its banks. Thousands of people have fled their homes, with more evacuating every day.

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Code Switch
1:39 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

National Puerto Rican Day Parade Reorganizes After Misuse Of Funds

Parade onlookers cheer marchers in last year's National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:32 pm

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be marching down New York City's Fifth Avenue under new leadership this year.

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Science
1:37 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Robot Construction Workers Take Their Cues From Termites

Climbing robots, modeled after termites, can be programmed to work together to build tailor-made structures.
[Image courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 6:58 pm

Termites can build huge, elaborate mounds that rise up from the ground like insect skyscrapers; scientists have now created little robots that act like termites to build a made-to-order structure.

"Termites are the real masters of construction in the insect world," says Justin Werfel of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. "The largest termite mound on record was 42 feet tall."

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State News
1:27 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Deere and Co announces layoffs at Quad Cities combine plant

Just a day after reporting record quarterly profits, Deere and Company has announced layoffs at its combine plant in the Quad Cities. Spokesman, Ken Golden, says about 120 jobs will be cut at the John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline. He says the company must continue to match the size of the workforce with demand.

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The Two-Way
1:27 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Businesses Scramble To Deliver Valentine's Treats In Snow

Snow falls past a Valentine's Day display inside Lee's Flower & Card Shop in the early morning in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

If those flowers you were expecting fail to show up by Friday, don't be so quick to blame your Valentine. It could just be the weather.

That's not to say that the friendly neighborhood florist isn't planning for the worst — and hoping for the best.

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The Salt
1:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Why Some Olympians Load Up On Salad Instead Of Pasta

Peter Frenette of the United States jumps during training for the Men's Normal Hill Individual ahead of the start of the Sochi Games.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:53 am

When we imagine Olympic athletes at the table before the most important competition of their lives, we might picture a huge plate of pasta, with Gatorade to wash it down and a well-deserved ice cream sundae for dessert.

Turns out, they might be preparing with a salad, a glass of beet juice and some almonds.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Belgian Lawmakers Extend Euthanasia To Terminally Ill Children

The electronic voting board shows Belgian politicians voted in favor of the bill on child euthanasia at the Belgian federal Parliament in Brussels on Thursday. Belgium, one of the few countries where euthanasia is legal, takes the unprecedented step of extending the right to children.
Yves Logghe AP

We told you Wednesday about a Belgian proposal that would have made the country the first in the world to allow terminally ill children to choose euthanasia. Thursday, lawmakers in the country voted overwhelmingly to allow just that.

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Peoria Public Radio News
12:58 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Chillicothe to receive money for road construction

Chillicothe is getting some state money for road construction work. $255,000 is coming from the Illinois Jobs Now capital construction program. The money will pay for sidewalk replacement, driveway work, grading, and seeding at various locations.   

Television
12:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

In 'Whole Gritty City,' Marching Bands Vie For Coveted Mardi Gras Spots

Eleven-year-old Jaron "Bear" Williams practices trumpet before marching in his first Mardi Gras season. The Whole Gritty City follows young student marching bands as they prepare for coveted spots in the New Orleans parade.
Courtesy of CBS

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 3:51 pm

There are times when television really does try to put its best foot forward — promoting a new fall season, for example. But it's an almost twisted rule of TV that sometimes, the better a television offering is, the more likely it is to be shown when even the network presenting it doesn't think many people will be watching.

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Politics
12:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

A Closer Look At How Corporations Influence Congress

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 3:51 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Corporations work hard to influence Congress and public opinion. My guest, Eric Lipton, is an investigative reporter for the New York Times who's been writing about how corporations work in opaque ways to shape debates on issues ranging from whether we should raise the minimum wage to whether high-fructose corn syrup is less healthy than sugar.

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