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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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Hitler's Gestapo Chief Lies In Jewish Cemetery, Scholar Says

Dating to the 17th century, this Jewish cemetery may be the final resting place of Heinrich Mueller, the head of Adolf Hitler's Gestapo. A German historian says he has traced Mueller to the cemetery.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 2:12 pm

The fate of Nazi war criminal Heinrich Mueller, who led Adolf Hitler's Gestapo, has long been a mystery. Now a historian says he has traced Mueller to a Jewish cemetery in Berlin. If confirmed, the discovery would end 68 years of uncertainty about the man who ran the secret police.

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Transit
1:01 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Bangladesh Capital City Struggles With Traffic, Lack Of Will For Change

Traffic congestion continues to be a major issue in Dhaka, Bangladesh, despite government promises to fix the problem.
Credit joiseyshowaa / Flickr Creative Commons

Editor's Note: The following article comes from Abeda Sultana, a journalist working with KGOU in October. Her reflection on transportation issues in her home city presents a view of life in a growing area of the world.

More than 20 million people live in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. As a consequence, Dhaka city’s traffic congestion problem has grown to alarming proportions, and it is one of the most challenging issues.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:49 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Why Oklahoma City Won’t Tap Water From The Aquifer Under Its Own Feet

The Garber-Wellington Aquifer is part of the Central Oklahoma aquifer, which every major city in the region uses — except Oklahoma City.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Moving water from the southeast Oklahoma to Oklahoma City is highly controversial. The battle over who controls water across most of that part of the state still has the state, city and tribal governments tied up in court after more than two years.

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State Capitol
10:40 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Terrill Out On Bond Awaiting Bribery Conviction Appeal

Former state Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore)
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

An Oklahoma County judge says a former state lawmaker convicted of bribery can remain free on bond while he appeals his conviction.

District Judge Cindy Truong set a $10,000 bond Wednesday for former Rep. Randy Terrill of Moore. Truong ordered Terrill to surrender his passport and not leave the state. He must also wear an electronic monitoring device and avoid contact with witnesses in the case.

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State Capitol
9:58 am
Thu October 31, 2013

New Laws Include Oklahoma Driver's License Cost Hike

Credit Oklahoma Dept. of Public Safety

Oklahoma drivers will have to pay an extra $12 for a license renewal under one of about 240 new laws signed by the governor and scheduled to take effect on Friday.

Among the others are three abortion-related laws, one that allows convicted criminals to seek a DNA test to prove their innocence, and another that expands the practice of noodling, or fishing by hand. Other bill topics include criminal penalties, pensions, elections, and the regulation of various professions.

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Native American
9:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Osage Nation Chief Counters Legislative Accusations

Osage Chief John Red Eagle
Credit Louise Red Corn / Bigheart Times

The Osage Nation principal chief is firing back at allegations made by a tribal congressional committee, which has recommended his ouster.

Osage Principal Chief John Red Eagle filed a three-page response Wednesday to a report filed earlier in the week by the Osage Congress' Select Committee of Inquiry.

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8:14 am
Thu October 31, 2013

The Phone That Helped Andy Carvin Report the Arab Spring is Now in the Smithsonian

Lead in text: 
NPR's Andy Carvin used social media to confirm reports coming from the Arab Spring. The iPhone he used for his coverage is now a part of the American History Museum.
Andy Carvin is a man of many titles-"digital media anchor," "real-time news DJ" and "online community organizer," to name a few-but the one he is most comfortable with is "storyteller."
It's All Politics
7:40 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Thursday Political Mix: For Obama, Halloween Comes Everyday

Pumpkins with likenesses of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on display at Madame Tussauds in New York, October 22, 2013.
EMMANUEL DUNAND AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:35 am

Happy Halloween, fellow political junkies.

It was predictable that President Obama would face more political tricks than treats as a re-elected president than he did as a new one if only because, unlike his first term, he started his second with a Republican House largely hostile to him and his agenda.

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The Two-Way
7:16 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Syria's Chemical Weapons Facilities Destroyed, Watchdog Says

In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo last month, there was a class about how to protect against chemical weapons attacks.
J.M. Lopez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:15 am

A key deadline in the quest to rid Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime of its chemical weapons has been met, according to international observers.

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
7:14 am
Thu October 31, 2013

For A New Kind Of Commute, Some Eye The Sky

Orangutans can get exercise and look down their noses at zoo visitors, thanks to cables that stretch from one side of the primate habitat to the other.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 1:21 pm

This story is part of a series on commuting in America.

Orangutans Kiko, Iris and Batang have a short commute — only about 500 feet between the buildings at the National Zoo where they sleep and pass their days. But it's a tricky trip.

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