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Hunger and History

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

We look into how genetically modified crops and high yields have affected our food supply in recent years. Then, retired opera singer Martina Arroyo looks back at her long distinguished career and discusses her foundation’s program for young singers. Also, a new novel about a woman who discovers a secret side of her father after his death. Plus, an update on the efforts to rebuild Haiti, six months after the devastating earthquake there. And, on Underreported, a look at what happened in the aftermath of an explosion at a BP refinery in Texas in 2005.

Empires of Food

Journalist Andrew Rimas and agricultural researcher Evan Fraser discuss what food has meant to humanity throughout the centuries and how our food supply is at risk. Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations shows how cities, culture, government, and religion are founded on the production and exchange of food. It also looks at what happens when crops fail and soil erodes, leading to poverty, famine, and war.

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Martina Arroyo

Retired opera singer Martina Arroyo discusses her career and The Martina Arroyo Foundation’s summer program for young singers. Ms. Arroyo was a favorite guest of Johnny Carson’s, and appeared on “The Tonight Show” more than 20 times. She’s made more than 50 recordings of major operas and orchestral works with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Ricardo Muti, and James Levine.

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Perfect Reader

Maggie Pouncey discusses her debut novel, Perfect Reader. It tells the story of Flora, who discovers that her recently deceased father, beloved former college president and famous literary critic, was secretly writing love poems to a girlfriend Flora didn’t know he had. Flora must contend with this mystery woman’s own claims on his poetry and his memory.

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Haiti Update

July 12 will mark the six-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Aine Fay, acting country director for Concern Worldwide, gives us an update on efforts to rebuild the city and house the thousands of people who have been homeless since January.

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Underreported: BP's Response to 2005 Refinery Blast

In 2005, a blast at a British Petroleum refinery in Texas City, Texas, killed 15 people. On today’s Underreported, reporter Ryan Knutson describes the safety violations that led up to the blast, how the oil company responded to the disaster, and the parallels with the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April.

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Leonard's Questions: Martina Arroyo

Martina Arroyo talks about some of her favorite picks after appearing on The Leonard Lopate Show.

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