Morning Edition for May 31, 2013
May 31, 2013 — Environmentalists are focusing on big corporations to prevent the destruction of rain forests cut down for paper products. With help from some unlikely characters, they've scored a success against one of the world's largest paper companies.
May 31, 2013 — Pledge 51 creates applications for Nigeria's low-tech cellphones. The company thinks it could grow its business with help from foreign investors, but Nigeria's low GDP has made that difficult. If the country changes the way it calculates this figure, that could help Pledge 51 bring in new investment.
May 31, 2013 — As humans have cut into Brazil's forests, the toucan population has taken a dive. The trees, in turn, have changed, too: Without large-billed birds to eat fruit with big seeds, only trees with small seeds thrive. Eventually, one scientist says, "the impacts on the forest could be quite dramatic."
May 31, 2013 — Syrian refugees, newly arrived in neighboring Lebanon, are painting a grim picture of the battle for Qusayr. It is under attack by Syrian government troops and Hezbollah militants from Lebanon. There is no water or electricity and little food in the town that still hosts some 15,000 civilians.
May 31, 2013 — Syria's government appears to be making gains this week against rebel forces in a hard-fought battle. This comes as Lebanon's Hezbollah sends militia fighters across the border to bolster troops loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad.
May 31, 2013 — Houston's air quality improved dramatically over the past decade, but the city is still short of meeting the latest smog standards. Getting there isn't simply a matter of cracking down more on the petrochemical industry — the city needs to deal with cars on its sprawling roads, and bad air blowing from out of town.
May 31, 2013 — When Congress voted on federal relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, five of the seven Oklahoma representatives and senators voted no. Rep. Tom Cole, who voted yes, warned that someday Oklahoma would be asking for help. That day came last week after a massive tornado hit his district.
May 31, 2013 — Local officials in Washington D.C., are on the verge of approving two high-tech radiation facilities for treating cancer at a total cost of $153 million. The treatment these hospitals would offer costs twice as much as standard radiation, but hasn't been shown to work any better for most cancers.
May 31, 2013 — Would you like to know the life history of that steak before you eat it? Technology exists to give you that information, at least in Michigan, where the state government requires all cattle to carry an electronic tag for tracking purposes.
May 31, 2013 — Children's librarian Mara Alpert recommends 10 titles that will send youngsters off on brand-new adventures. In these books, kids will learn what baby animals do on their first day of life, what baseball games are like in Japan, and what happens when you read a poem from bottom to top.