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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Housing Starts Hit Four-Year High; Bernanke Heads Back To Capitol Hill

In Phoenix earlier this month, workers were framing this new home.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

There's more evidence that the housing sector is on the mend and may be the sector of the economy that's got the most going for it these days.

According to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development there was a 6.9 percent increase in "housing starts" last month. At an annual rate of 760,000, ground-breaking for construction of single-family homes, apartments and condominiums the pace hit a four-year high, The Associated Press says.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Iceberg Twice The Size Of Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier In Greenland

A view of the glacier taken Tuesday. Inside the square: the iceberg that broke off.
NASA Earth Observatory

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:30 am

A huge iceberg that's about twice the size of Manhattan has broken off the Petermann Glacier in Greenland — the same sheet of ice that just two years ago "calved" another massive berg.

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Around the Nation
5:56 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Following Up On Tuesday's Feline Mayor Story

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Media
5:48 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Gotcha Story Idea Backfires On Conservative Blogger

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
5:30 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Syrian Defense Minister Killed In Explosion, State TV Says

Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha last September.
Syrian Arab News Agency AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:49 am

The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad took a dramatic turn today when an explosion at a government building in Damascus killed the country's defense minister and a brother-in-law of the president.

Syrian state TV, which is reporting the deaths, has blamed a suicide bomber. There have been at least two claims of responsiblity from groups opposed to the Assad regime. There are also reports that the bomber was a member of the Assad inner circle's security team.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
5:16 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Indian Atheltes Want A Medal And A Government Job

India's Sandeep Sejwal swims his way to gold in the 100-meter men's breaststroke at the 2006 South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. Sejwal, who competed in the Beijing Olympics two years later, has a government job with India's railway that accommodates his heavy training schedule.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 6:18 pm

For athletes anywhere, just qualifying for the Olympics can be a full-time job. But in India, training full-time is a luxury few can afford. That means many athletes work part-time government jobs. And for some, it can result in a job for life.

In return for putting in an appearance at the office, athletes like shooter Suma Shirur get a monthly salary and time to train.

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Business
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some surprise earnings are at the top of NPR's business news.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Business
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Would-Be Homebuyers Appear To Be More Confident

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the nation's homebuilders are feeling more optimistic than they have since March, 2007, just before the beginning of the Great Recession. What's more, the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index has posted its largest one-month gain in roughly a decade.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: David Crowe, the chief economist at the Home Builders Association says things are definitely looking up. It's a trend that began last September.

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Business
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Are Pagers Obsolete?

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story is for people who go for old-school technology. If you're the kind of person who owns a tube television - not one of those flat screens - nothing wrong with that. Or maybe you're the kind of person who has an old Walkman with cassette tapes hiding in a drawer somewhere. Maybe you even still use it. And if you're holding on to technology that others have deemed obsolete, you are not alone.

Reporter Tracey Samuelson found some dated devices in a place that might surprise you.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEPING)

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Economy
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Economic Update

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:58 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

If Ben Bernanke is frustrated by the economy, as he seems to be, he might look at a recent issue of The Economist magazine. Editors there see enough strength that they saw fit to print an illustration of Uncle Sam as a bare-chested muscleman.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk about that and more with regular guests on this program, Zanny Minton Beddoes of The Economist. Welcome back to the program.

ZANNY MINTON BEDDOES: Nice to be here.

INSKEEP: And David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal. Hi, David.

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Around the Nation
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Politics Weighs Down San Bernardino's Economic Problems

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:41 am

The city of San Bernardino, Calif., is expected to declare a fiscal emergency, and officially file for bankruptcy on Wednesday. The declaration would be the third by a California city in recent weeks. Some analysts believe San Bernardino's problems may be more about its dysfunctional local politics.

Business
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 6:39 am

One big reason Canadians have pulled ahead, is the U.S. housing bust destroyed a lot of wealth. Home values in Canada have remained steady, and lately, they've even enjoyed a housing boom.

Economy
2:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Fed Chief Gives Gloomy Economic Review

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We begin our program with two very different views of the economy. Two observers of the economy think the long-term looks very good, as we'll hear in a moment.

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Human Tissue Donation
2:03 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Little Regulation Poses Problems Tracking Tissue

Unlike organs, tissue doesn't need to be transplanted immediately. Storage facilities like Tissue Banks International in San Rafael, Calif., process and store donated tissue for later use in medical products or as transplants.
Noah Berger AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:16 pm

Part 2 of a four-part series

Two winters ago, Lynnette Bellin tore her knee while skiing with her 5-year-old daughter.

"I felt the trademark pop ... and instantly knew I had injured my knee," she says.

But within a year, she was back to her athletic life.

"Recently in one week, I skied, ran, kayaked, standup paddle-boarded, swam and hiked. At the end of that week, I looked back in awe from where I have come from," she says.

Bellin healed quickly after receiving a tendon from a cadaver, which helped to repair her torn ACL.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:08 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Could The Health Law End Up Back In Court? Opponents Think So

Democratuic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who was involved in writing the health law, rejects claims that federal health exchanges won't be able to provide tax credits.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:53 am

If you thought last month's Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act was the final word on the legality of the health law, think again. Some conservative scholars believe they may have discovered a flaw that could send the law back to court, or at least cause some big problems for its implementation.

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Around the Nation
1:05 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Keeping Kids Connected With Their Jailed Parents

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:53 am

Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, and that means it also has one of the highest percentages of children with one or both parents in jail. One rural county there is trying to help families stay connected.

On a recent day, 45-year-old Liz Minor sits in the shade outside a coffeehouse in Flagstaff, enjoying icy drinks with her two sons. She relishes this ordinary moment, considering that just a few years ago, their time together was limited to a prison visiting room, separated by shatterproof glass.

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Tina Brown's Must-Reads
1:04 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Tina Brown's Must Reads: Modern Warfare

Veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin, shown here in Cairo, was killed in February while reporting in Homs, Syria.
Ivor Prickett AP

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 6:42 pm

Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth."

This month, Brown shares reading recommendations related to the changing nature of war, including a book on Obama's foreign policy and an article about the ongoing destruction of Timbuktu's ancient monuments.

A Reporter Who Wouldn't Quit

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
1:03 am
Wed July 18, 2012

For Olympic Committee, Marketing Is No Game

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps signed an endorsement deal with Subway in 2008, but because Subway is not an Olympic sponsor, Phelps isn't allowed to appear in a Subway ad from July 18 to Aug. 15 2012.
via SubwayEatFresh365/YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:57 pm

One record expected to be broken at the London Summer Olympics is the size of its audience — an expected 4 billion people. For advertisers, that's a golden opportunity. But there are also strict rules about who can use the Olympics to promote their products.

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Law
1:02 am
Wed July 18, 2012

For Pirates, U.S. Courts Offer No Safe Harbor

The German tanker Marida Marguerite, which was hijacked off the coast of Oman in 2010.
Dietmar Hasenpusch EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

It's a bad time to be a pirate, at least in the American justice system.

Piracy on the high seas is one of the oldest crimes on the books. But U.S. authorities are using 18th century law in new ways to go after people who may never actually climb on board a ship and the men who negotiate and finance the plots.

About 1,000 pirates are in custody all over the world; about 30 of them are incarcerated in the United States.

Capturing Pirates Over Tea

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Election 2012
10:03 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Study: Many Could Face Obstacles In Voter ID Laws

A voter casts a ballot during the Republican primary election April 24 in Philadelphia.
Jessica Kourkounis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

A new report by the Brennan Center for Justice finds that more than 10 million potential voters in states that require photo ID at the polls live more than 10 miles from offices that issue such ID. Nearly 500,000 of these voters don't have access to a car or other vehicle.

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Sweetness And Light
8:03 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Doping In Baseball: The Needle And The Damage Done

Marathon medal winners listen to the anthem from the victory stand during the presentation ceremony at the XXI Summer Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976. From left, Frank Shorter, U.S.A., silver; Waldemar Cierpinski, East Germany, gold, Olympic record; and Karel Lismont, Belgium, bronze. Evidence of doping by the East Germans suggests that Shorter deserved the gold medal.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 am

The 2012 induction ceremony for the Baseball Hall of Fame takes place this weekend, so there's even more discussion about the 2013 election, because then both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be on the ballot, along with several other players who are also suspected of having used performance-enhancing drugs.

I've been surprised to learn that some baseball writers have declared that they'll vote for Bonds and Clemens because they were the best players in an era when drug use was widespread — ergo if there's a lot of guilt going around, then nobody should be assigned guilt.

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Music Interviews
5:22 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Elton John: Old Songs, Old Friends, New Perspectives

Elton John performs in Ibiza earlier this month. The British singer's new memoir is titled Love Is the Cure.
Jaime Reina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:52 am

Elton John has been writing music since the 1960s, and between then and now, he has had enough life experience to reach some remarkable conclusions.

"I certainly, if I'm being honest with you, don't think you write as good a song on cocaine as you do when you're normal," he tells Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep.

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All Tech Considered
5:04 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

New Yahoo CEO Among A Rare Few: Women Execs With Tech Creds

Marissa Mayer left Google to become the CEO of Yahoo. She was Google's 20th hire and is responsible for the look and feel of many of Google's major products.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 6:49 pm

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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

House Spending Bill Would Slash $6 Billion From Federal Budget

House Republicans today released a preliminary spending bill that would slash more than six billion dollars from the budgets of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.The draft bill also bans NPR member stations from using federal funds to buy NPR programming.

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The Two-Way
4:19 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

HSBC Executive Resigns During Money Laundering Hearing

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:06 pm

David Bagley, HSBC's head of group compliance, resigned in the middle of a Senate hearing today that was looking into charges that the bank had been lax in meeting government requirements, allowing Mexican cartels to launder money and giving terrorists access to the American banking system.

Bloomberg reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
3:16 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

HIV Prevention Drug Truvada No Quick Fix For Brazil's Epidemic

Researchers with HIV medication at a public research lab at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, or Fiocruz, in Rio de Janeiro.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration gave the first green light on a drug to prevent HIV transmission.

Many experts say the drug will help hasten the end of the AIDS pandemic. But experts in Brazil say the drug alone isn't the answer.

One of the drug trials the FDA considered was done at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation Research Institute, also known as Fiocruz, in Rio de Janeiro.

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The Two-Way
3:01 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Human Rights Watch Says Chávez's Government Intimidates Opponents

A report (pdf) released today by Human Rights Watch accuses the government of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela of consolidating power in the executive branch and using that power to intimidate his opponents.

"The accumulation of power in the executive, the removal of institutional safeguards, and the erosion of human rights guarantees have given the Chávez government free rein to intimidate, censor, and punish Venezuelans who 'offend' the president or obstruct his political aims," the report found.

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Business
2:54 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

HSBC Accused Of Letting Cartels Launder Money

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:16 pm

A Senate committee looked at the failure of HSBC bank to police money laundering.

NPR Story
2:37 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Olympic Security Firm Under Fire Days Before Games

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:16 pm

In London, the fight over the G4S security company and the Olympics is growing. More guards failed to show up for work on Tuesday. And the CEO of the massive security company is being grilled by the Home Affairs Committee.

Sports
2:07 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Is The Big Apple About To Lose Its Love Of Linsanity?

Jeremy Lin, who last season went from benchwarmer to star for the New York Knicks, might be shipping off to Houston if the Knicks don't match a $25 million contract offer.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:16 pm

In case you were living under a rock last winter, here's a quick refresher on the phenomenon known as "Linsanity."

In just a few weeks, Jeremy Lin — a lanky Asian-American point guard who played his college ball at Harvard — went from a benchwarmer to a star. He led an unlikely winning streak that made the long-downtrodden New York Knicks seem momentarily relevant in the NBA title hunt.

"This kid has single-handedly done the unthinkable: made people want to watch the New York Knicks," Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert said, joining the media frenzy.

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