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A few seconds doesn't seem like much, but scientists say an early detection system that gives the public five, 10, up to 40 seconds of warning before an earthquake could save lives.

The AP reports today that the United States is working on a system that does just that:

After years of lagging behind Japan, Mexico and other quake-prone countries, the U.S. government has been quietly testing an earthquake early warning system in California since February. ...

Perry To Israel: 'Help Is On The Way'

Sep 20, 2011

The prospect of a United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood did not escape the notice of the Republican contenders for president as Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday hurled himself into the debate over Middle East policy with a public address on the subject in New York City.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, host: I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

Coming up, a major civil rights victory for LGBT servicemembers. The policy which prevented them from serving openly in the military, the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy comes to an end today. We'll talk with a decorated Air Force veteran who's career came under a cloud because of "don't ask, don't tell." We'll ask him about his thoughts about this day.

On Tuesday, Georgia's pardons board rejected a last-ditch plea for the clemency of Troy Davis, who is to be executed Wednesday for killing a police officer. Davis claims innocence. No physical evidence links him to the murder. His supporters, including legal professionals, say the case is rife with doubt.

DADT Ends, But What Will Actually Change?

Sep 20, 2011

On Tuesday, the Pentagon officially terminated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." More than 14,000 troops were discharged under the law that banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The repeal interrupted the discharge of Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach. He speaks with host Michel Martin.

The word is spreading about the $2 million — in cash — paid recently for a double-wide mobile home in Malibu, Calif.

A new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind paints an unflattering picture of rivalries and dysfunction within President Obama's first economic team — rivalries that Suskind says then slowed the administration's response to the financial crisis.

Many Are Myopic About Costs Of Short-Term Disability

Sep 20, 2011

Many people, if they think about disability insurance coverage at all, focus on their employer's long-term disability plan rather than any short-term coverage they may get on the job. That makes sense in many ways, since you face a bigger financial risk if you're unable to work for two years rather than for two months.

The "future of the American way of war," The Washington Post writes this morning, may be:

"A day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans. Imagine aerial 'Terminators,' minus beefcake and time travel."

At attack at his home in Kabul has left former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani dead, "two government sources" tell The Associated Press.

Radiolab co-host and producer Jad Abumrad is among this year's 22 recipients of "genius" grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Each MacArthur fellow receives $500,000 "to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers."

"The state Board of Pardons and Paroles ... has denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis after hearing pleas for mercy from Davis' family and calls for his execution by surviving relatives of a murdered Savannah police officer," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Now, the newspaper adds:

There are plenty of stories to choose from about today's milestone for the U.S. military — the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that barred openly gay Americans from serving in the armed forces.

Our NPR.org colleague Liz Halloran focused on two men who were "immersed in efforts to repeal the controversial measure."

There's a new development in the story that turned the U.K.'s "hacking scandal" into front-page news:

"Milly Dowler's family have been made a £3m offer by Rupert Murdoch's News International in an attempt to settle the phone-hacking case that led to the closure of the News of the World and the resignation of the company's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks," The Guardian reports.

As President Obama and other world leaders gather in New York City for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly session, one of the hottest issues is President Mahmoud Abbas' request to make Palestine a member of the U.N.

He's making that push over "heated Israeli objections and a promised U.S. veto" in the Security Council, The Associated Press notes.

The law that for almost 18 years has banned openly gay Americans from serving in the armed forces will be officially repealed Tuesday, nine months after Congress voted to end the Clinton-era edict.

President Obama signed the repeal into law last December, but its provisions required time for the Pentagon to prepare for the policy change, and for top military officials to "certify" the law's end.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry likes to hold out the Lone Star State as a model — his vision for the country. But while Texas' growing economy has been a reliable jobs producer, the state's health care system is straining.

Only 48 percent of Texans have private health insurance, and more than a quarter of the state's population has no insurance at all, more than any other state. To fill this gap, the state's hospital emergency rooms and dozens of women's health clinics have stepped in to serve the uninsured across Texas.

Two of this week's most talked-about TV premieres have very similar settings: Pan Am, first airing on Sunday, is about attractive young women working as Pan Am flight attendants in the 1960s. The Playboy Club, which premiered Monday night, is about — well, attractive young women working as Playboy bunnies in the 1960s. Both shows are trying to imitate the success of another show set in the '60s: Mad Men.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this summer has been the second-hottest ever recorded in the United States, helping to push power demand in homes to record levels. As some worry that the growing use of fossil fuels to produce electricity for cooling is unsustainable, one man is urging Americans to live without air conditioning.

When I was a kid, I assumed that in the future things would get better and better until we were all driving flying cars and playing badminton with space aliens on top of 500-story buildings. Frankly, I kind of counted on this happening. But now I don't assume that we'll just keep going up anymore.

Note: Wilhelm Furtwangler's last name is typically spelled with an umlaut over the 'a' character. The npr website does not support characters with umlauts over characters. A variation of Furtwangler's name without the umlaut is spelled Furtwaengler.

Wilhelm Furtwaengler's name may be hard for Americans to pronounce, but the reason this great conductor isn't so well-remembered here is that he chose to remain in Germany during WWII, though he was never a member of the Nazi Party, and was exonerated by a postwar tribunal.

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