The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

How Do You Mend A Broken Monument? Call The 'Difficult Access Team'

At 555 feet above Washington, the work begins.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

If you're afraid of heights, this is definitely not your dream job.

Tuesday, five engineers began a series of rappelling operations down the face of the Washington Monument to assess damage caused by the Aug. 23 earthquake that shook the nation's capital. The five belong to a special "difficult access team" from Northbrook, Ill.-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., or WJE.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Helen Reichert, Who Could Bounce Back From Stress, Dies At 109

Helen Reichert.
Courtesy of Olive Villaluna

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 2:28 pm

A passing of note:

Helen Reichert, who Morning Edition introduced to listeners in April, died on Sunday. She was 109.

In that April commentary for Morning Edition, Dr. Mark Lachs said of his patient that:

"Unusual longevity often has a genetic basis, and Reichert probably does have a gene that contributes to her unusual longevity. But she also exhibits a powerful trait geriatricians call adaptive competence.

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The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Report: Poor Scrutiny Of BofA Settlement May Have Cost Taxpayers Billions

At the end of 2010, the federal government announced a settlement with Bank of America in which the bank bought back $2.87 billion in mortgages that did not meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's standards — that is these were mortgages where, for example, someone inflated their income to guarantee a loan.

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Sarah Handel is the Associate Producer for NPR's Talk of the Nation. She also directs the show from time to time, and assists the New York production staff of NPR's Talk of the Nation Science Friday. After a formative stint as a college radio DJ at WUOG in Athens, Georgia, Sarah knew a career in sociology could never compare to radio. Then, one evening, she heard a story on the Magnetic Fields on All Things Considered, and realized a gig at National Public Radio was her logical next step. This goal dovetailed neatly with her planned return to the DC area, where she grew up and had been accepted at graduate school.

Economy
1:18 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Obama Returns To Familiar Turf To Sell New Stimulus

President Obama says his jobs plan would create tens of thousands of construction jobs by funding public works projects like roads, bridges and school improvements.

The president made that case again Tuesday afternoon, while standing outside Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver.

The Mile High City is familiar turf for Obama: It's where he accepted his party's nomination for the White House three years ago; and it's where he signed the original economic stimulus bill.

At the time, he said it marked the beginning of the end of the nation's economic troubles.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Impulsive Preschoolers Turned Into Risk-Taking Adults

Kids who can't resist temptation early on may have trouble with it throughout their lives.
iStockphoto.com

BJ Casey, Director of the Sackler Institute at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, studies brain development in teenagers. After Talk of the Nation had her on the show last week to talk about why some kids like to take risks and push boundaries, listeners had so many questions that she returned today to answer a couple more.

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Satellite Fell Into South Pacific Far From Land, NASA Says

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 12:52 pm

That bus-sized Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite that fell back to Earth late last week broke up and spread its debris "over a broad, remote ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, far from any major land mass," out in the South Pacific Ocean, NASA just reported.

The space agency adds that:

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The Two-Way
12:28 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Saudi Woman Sentenced To Lashes After Defying Driving Ban

A Saudi woman fastens her seat belt before driving in Jeddah, western Saudi Arabia.
Michael Bou-Nacklie Michael Bou-Nacklie

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 2:01 pm

A court in Jeddah on the west coast of Saudi Arabia sentenced a woman to ten lashings with a whip for defying the country's ban on women driving, activists told the AP.

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Europe
12:06 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Greece Approves New Property Tax To Boost Revenue

Greek lawmakers approved a controversial new property tax Tuesday that aims to boost revenue as the country struggles to obtain a critical installment of international bailout loans that will prevent it from default.

The new tax passed 154 votes to 143 against in the 300-member parliament. It was announced earlier this month after international debt inspectors suspended their review of Greek reforms amid talk of missed revenue targets and delayed implementation of austerity measures. The inspectors are expected to return to Athens this week.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Tue September 27, 2011

OnStar Hits Reverse: It Won't Keep Collecting Data From Old Customers

Just days after it received intense criticism from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), some other lawmakers and privacy advocates, General Motors' OnStar service has agreed that it won't keep its data connections open to customers who have canceled the service.

In a statement, the company says today that:

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