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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Indian Times
9:46 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Lois Bougetah Smoky, Kiowa Artist Ahead Of Her Time

Heather Ahtone
Credit Lester Harragarra

The Jacobson House in Norman is currently exhibiting work from the only female member of the Kiowa Five, Lois Bougetah Smoky. The Kiowa Five were a group of Kiowa artists that were brought to the University of Oklahoma by Oscar Jacobson, the first Director of the OU Art School.

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Two Die From Oklahoma County
6:19 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

West Nile Virus Still A Threat

Credit Public Domain Photos / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Department of Health says three more people have died from the West Nile virus.

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New Jersery Blogger Complained
5:37 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Hobby Lobby Persuaded To Carry Jewish Merchandise

Dreidels, a Jewish toy
Credit Marina Shemesh / Flickr.com

The president of Hobby Lobby says the chain will start carrying Jewish merchandise in some of its stores after a New Jersey blogger complained about a lack of Hanukkah items.

Steve Green told The Associated Press that the chain is looking at carrying items this holiday season in stores near areas with large Jewish populations. He could not comment on what the items would be.

The change came about after blogger Ken Berwitz said a Hobby Lobby employee told him that the chain doesn't stock Jewish merchandise because the Green family is Christian.

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World Views
2:42 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Major And Minor International Implications Of The Government Shutdown

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel briefs the press in Seoul, Republic of Korea October 1, 2013. Hagel answered question regarding the government shutdown.
Credit Secretary of Defense / Flickr Creative Commons

The partial government shutdown entered its fourth day Friday, and President Obama canceled a planned 17-day Asia trip that was part of his administration’s “pivot” to focus more on the rising economic powers in the region.

“This is not the first time he’s had to cancel trips to Asia,” says Rebecca Cruise, a comparative politics expert and the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. “So this does send an interesting message to those leaders. Are we really going to be focusing our attention there, or are we really trying to get involved in the region, and try to exert our interest there vis-à-vis China? That has consequences.”

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World Views
1:45 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Weeks Later, Kenyan Mall Attack Affects Tourism, Political Stability

Crowds flee the sound of gunfire near the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya - September 21, 2013.
Credit Anne Knight / Wikimedia Commons

Weeks after the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that killed dozens of people, analysts are starting to make sense of the attack by the al-Shabaab Islamist group.

“Al-Shabaab has claimed this is in retaliation for Kenyan forces being in Somalia,” says Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. “Kenya can expect to see more unless they change their policies.”

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Siri, Who Are You? She Won't Say, But Her ID's Been Blown

Voice actor Susan Bennett, talking to herself (or, rather, Siri) for CNN.
CNN.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:43 am

We tried Friday morning to get Siri to confirm CNN's report that a real woman named Susan Bennett is the "classic" American voice of Apple's virtual assistant.

But all Siri would do is tell us, repeatedly, that "this is about you, not me." As for whether she does have a "real" voice, Siri would only say that "I guess I don't have one."

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Shots - Health News
11:20 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Despite Many Warnings, Antibiotics Are Still Overprescribed

Unless it's strep throat, antibiotics are unlikely to help you get over a sore throat.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:25 pm

We've known for years that antibiotics don't help in most cases of bronchitis or sore throat. And for decades, public health officials have tried to stop doctors from overprescribing antibiotics.

None of that seems to have made a difference, though: Antibiotics are still being prescribed when they don't help — and could hurt, a study says.

Primary care and emergency room doctors are prescribing antibiotics for a sore throat about 60 percent of the time, according to national health surveys between 1997 and 2010.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
10:07 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Disposal Well Shutdown After Swarm Of Earthquakes In South-Central Oklahoma

Disposal wells are commonplace in Oklahoma's oilfields.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A Love County disposal well was shutdown last week after a state seismologist suggested it might have triggered a swarm of damaging earthquakes that shook the area for weeks in September.

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Business and Economy
8:31 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Oklahoma AG Urges Approval Of American Airlines Deal

Credit Simon_sees / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt wants the federal government to sign off on the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

The U.S. Department of Justice is challenging the merger on antitrust concerns. American Airlines, which currently employs more than 6,000 workers at its maintenance facility in Tulsa, is seeking to exit bankruptcy protection through the proposed merger.

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The Two-Way
6:18 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Israel's Netanyahu Says He'd 'Consider' A Meeting With New Iranian Leader

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
Andrew Gombert AP

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 8:06 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered some rare, if fleeting, hope Thursday in regard to his country's relationship with Iran.

In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, he said the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani "might" offer an opportunity for diplomacy and that he would "consider" meeting him.

"I don't care about the meeting. I don't have a problem with the diplomatic process," Netanyahu said.

"You're saying you would meet him?" Steve asked.

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