Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

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World Views
1:44 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

How Kuwait And Saudi Arabia Are Becoming A ‘Virtual Western Union’ For Syria’s Rebels

A man displays part of a mortar launched by the Syrian Army that destroyed the house behind him in al-Qsair - February 9, 2012
Credit Freedom House / Flickr Creative Commons

Private donors have contributed tens of millions of dollars to Islamist militias in Syria, dividing the opposition even further and forcing the United States to reexamine who it backs in the region.

The New York Times reports the practice is adding a “wild card” to the war in Syria.

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All Tech Considered
1:03 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Internal Emails Reveal Warnings HealthCare.gov Wasn't Ready

Henry Chao, the project manager of HealthCare.gov, is sworn in to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 3:42 pm

HealthCare.gov could barely function on the day the health insurance marketplace debuted, and internal emails show at least some top health officials could see the failure coming.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:52 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Why Oklahoma Wind Energy Might Get a Raise When Tennessee Retires Coal

Credit Gabriel Pollard / Flickr Creative Commons

The Tennessee Valley Authority on Thursday announced is would retire six coal-fired power plants in Alabama and replace two in Kentucky with a new natural gas plant.

TVA CEO Bill Johnson cited stricter environmental regulations and a “flat demand” for electricity, NPR’s Scott Neuman reports.

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World Views
10:43 am
Fri November 15, 2013

How The Typhoon In The Philippines Could Be A Diplomatic Teaching Moment

Marines and U.S. Army Soldiers load supplies onto an MV-22 Osprey assigned to assist the Philippine government in response to the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan - November 14, 2013.
Credit Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman / U.S. Navy

Thousands have died, and millions more have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan’s landfall in the Philippines earlier this month, and significant aid has poured in from the United States, Australia and Japan.

But paltry support for the Philippines from its neighbor China could negatively affect that country’s image on the diplomatic stage.

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Criminal Justice
10:25 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Could Whitey Bulger Be Coming To Tulsa?

James "Whitey" Bulger
Credit U.S. Marshals Service

Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to move forward with the murder case filed against former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger.

A judge in Boston sentenced the 84-year-old gangster to two consecutive life sentences Thursday. In Tulsa, Bulger is charged with first-degree murder in the 1981 killing of Tulsa businessman Roger Wheeler.

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10:16 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Chamber Memo Shows Proposals For Major Changes To State Courts

Lead in text: 
The Journal-Record's M. Scott Carter reports on a plan by the State Chamber that might change the way Oklahoma selects its judges. The Chamber and some legislative leaders have been critical of the Oklahoma Supreme Court's ruling that a law changing the way lawsuits are filed and litigated in the state is unconstitutional.
A series of recommendations designed to make major changes in Oklahoma's judicial and tort systems will be reviewed by board members of the State Chamber of Oklahoma in December. The recommendations could then become part of the organization's 2014 legislative agenda, documents obtained by The Journal Record show.
Exhibit
9:57 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Depression, Postwar Photos Displayed in New Oklahoma Exhibit

Boy with Goggles, 1947
Horace Bristol (1908-1997) The Horace and Masako Bristol Trust

Listen as Mark White with the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art describes some of the photographs in the museum's latest exhibition.

Depression-era Oklahoma migrants, World War II combat and postwar Japan are subjects of a new photography exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The museum at the University of Oklahoma opens On Assignment: the Photojournalism of Horace Bristol to the public Saturday.

A public lecture Friday at 6 p.m. on Friday precedes a private exhibition opening reception for Museum Association members and their guests at 7 p.m.

Through his photo essays for LIFE, Fortune and Time magazines, Bristol exposed American audiences to the dismal conditions facing Oklahoma migrants during the Great Depression, the triumphs and horrors of combat during World War II, and the realities of Japanese life following the war.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Fri November 15, 2013

We Beheaded The Wrong Man, Syrian Terrorists Say

A member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant urges Syrians in the city of Aleppo to fight against the Assad regime. This week, the militants apologized for beheading a commander from another anti-Assad group.
Karam al-Masri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:28 am

"Militant Islamist rebels in Syria ... have asked for 'understanding and forgiveness' for cutting off and putting on display the wrong man's head," The Telegraph reports.

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:23 am
Fri November 15, 2013

My Wine Won't Stop Crying — A Mystery In A Wineglass

Dan Quinn YouTube

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:23 pm

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StoryCorps
2:35 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Making New Connections On A Trapped Subway Train

New York City subway conductor Paquita Williams (left) and passenger Laura Lane became friends after a two-hour train breakdown.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 11:37 am

Laura Lane met Paquita Williams, a New York City subway conductor, when their train was stopped underground for two hours. Generally, Paquita says, most passengers are nice, but "there's times if the train breaks down, people think that's my fault."

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