Author Interviews
10:01 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Growing Up Muslim And Midwestern In 'Dervish'

In American Dervish, playwright and author Ayad Akhtar draws from his own Midwestern childhood to tell the coming-of-age story of 10-year-old Hayat Shah, the son of Pakistani immigrants, whose humdrum world of baseball and video games is interrupted by the arrival of a family friend from Pakistan: the glamorous Mina, who's fleeing a disastrous marriage.

The spiritual and lively Mina lights up the glum Shah home, and Hayat falls under her thrall.

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National Security
10:01 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Critics Question Pentagon's New Strategy

For two decades, the Pentagon has maintained that it could fight two wars at the same time. But as the Obama administration releases its new military strategy Thursday, some question whether the Pentagon will abandon that long-held commitment.

An early draft of the Pentagon's new strategy, The New York Times reported, said the military would only be able to win one war and spoil an adversary's efforts in a second war.

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Election 2012
10:01 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Attacking Super PACs Fueled By Anonymous Donors

A screen grab from an anti-Newt Gingrich ad from the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
Restore Our Future, Inc.

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 6:23 am

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

The Real Holiday Party For Weight Loss Firms? It's Now

Jenny Craig brand ambassador and singer Mariah Carey (left) poses with Dana Fiser (right),CEO of Jenny Craig, at a press conference in New York City in November.
Cindy Ord Getty Images

The New Year is almost always happy for the weight-loss industry. When the holiday gorging ends, the resolutions to shed those extra pounds begin.

Weight Watchers North America president David Burwick says the first week of the year is the biggest week in what is typically his company's most profitable quarter.

"This is our Super Bowl," he says. "The first week of January is our Super Bowl for Weight Watchers."

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Science
10:01 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

How Fracking Wastewater Is Tied To Quakes

With the skyline of Youngstown, Ohio, in the distance, a brine injection well owned by Northstar Disposal Services LLC is seen in Youngstown on Jan. 4. The company has halted operations at the well, which disposes of brine used in gas and oil drilling, after a series of small earthquakes hit the Youngstown area.
Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 1:00 pm

Small earthquakes in Ohio and Arkansas associated with hydraulic fracturing for natural gas have taken many people by surprise. Gas industry executives say there's no hard evidence that their activities are causing these quakes. But some scientists say it's certainly possible; in fact, people have been causing quakes for years.

In the 1960s, geologists realized that gold mines in South Africa had created small earthquakes. Caverns dug into the earth thousands of feet below the surface collapsed. The "pancake" effect caused quakes — in one case a magnitude-5.2 temblor.

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The Arab Spring: One Year Later
10:01 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Bahrain: The Revolution That Wasn't

Bahrain is the one Arab country where the government has suppressed a major uprising. Here, protesters wave flags at the Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama on Feb. 20, 2011, when the demonstrations were at their peak.
John Moore/Getty Images

Arab revolts against secular leaders have been much more successful over the past year than those against monarchs. The one monarchy that faced a serious threat was the tiny Persian Gulf island of Bahrain. But after weeks of protests, troops from Saudi Arabia rolled into the country, the Bahraini regime imposed martial law, and a government crackdown followed. Kelly McEvers made several trips to Bahrain this past year and filed this report as part of NPR's series looking at the Arab Spring and where it stands today.

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Energy
10:01 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Solar Panels Compete With Cheap Natural Gas

Barbara Scott and Mac Given in Media, Pa., had 21 solar panels installed last March. With government rebates and tax incentives, Scott says, her family spent $21,000 to install the system.
Jeff Brady NPR

Renewable energy is growing rapidly in the U.S., with wind and solar industries enjoying double-digit growth each year. Part of that growth comes from more homeowners choosing to install solar panels.

With government subsidies, some people can even make a financial argument for installing the panels. But in recent years, the price of one fossil fuel — natural gas — has declined so much that solar panels are having difficulty competing.

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Mine Layoffs
5:31 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Wyodak coal mine lays off dozens of workers

Black Hills Corp.

Twenty-one employees and 13 temporary workers at the Wyo-dak coal mine near Gillette have been laid off as the mine has cut back hours of operation.

Black Hills Corporation owns the mine and says it’s no cause for alarm; the most recent production contract simply reached its termination date.

Greg Hager (HAY-gur) of Black Hills says coal mining in the Powder River Basin is a competitive business, and coal consumer companies can take their pick of sites.

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Teen Suicide
4:57 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Missing teen committed suicide

Carey Junior High School in Cheyenne is remembering a teenage boy who took his life this week. An employee of the Union Pacific Railroad found the body of 13-year-old Alexander Frye early Tuesday morning.

Lew Simpson, a spokesman for the Cheyenne Police Department, says volunteer search parties had been looking for him since his father reported he’d run away early Sunday.

Simpson says it’s disheartening to know a child in the area experienced such despair.

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The Two-Way
3:49 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Google Slaps Its Own Wrist Over Chrome Pay-For-Blogging Flap

Google is "downgrading the search result ranking of the company's own Web browser, Google Chrome, for 60 days," as PC World reports, because some bloggers ending up being paid to mention Chrome during a recent ad campaign.

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