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3:44 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Home Sweet Mobile Home: Co-Ops Deliver Ownership

Gary Thulin, 70, says he used to dream of financial stability. Now, the New Hampshire co-op resident and mobile home owner says he and his wife could sell their home, pay off the loan they took out on it, and still walk away with $10,000.
Dan Gorenstein for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Judy Stoddard, 71, lives in Carver, Mass., but every weekday morning, she picks herself up out of bed and drives to Boston.

"I do the back roads, which gets me there in an hour and 40 minutes," Stoddard says. "I'm exhausted when I get there. I'm exhausted when I come home."

Stoddard drives those back roads for a reason — she can't see out of one eye. But as long as her rent keeps creeping up, she keeps going back to work.

"I can't retire. I want to keep my house. I put a lot of work in this house. I don't want to lose it," she says.

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Election 2012
3:16 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Before Recall, Wis. Dems Must Choose Walker's Rival

A new poll shows Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett leading among Democrats vying to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election in June. The Democratic primary is Tuesday.
Dinesh Ramde AP

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 3:33 pm

The political civil war that has gripped Wisconsin since Republican Gov. Scott Walker's 2010 election will intensify next week when Democrats pick a candidate to post up against the governor in a historic recall election in June.

Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary has developed into a two-person race between Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker in the GOP landslide of 2010, and former County Executive Kathleen Falk, the favorite of the state's public employee unions.

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All Tech Considered
3:15 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Explosion In Free Online Classes May Change Course Of Higher Education

It's become much cheaper and easier to offer classes online.
Matjaz Boncina iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are teaming up in a $60 million venture to provide classes online for free. The move is the latest by top universities to expand their intellectual reach through the Internet — a trend that is changing higher education.

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Middle East
2:53 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

A Syrian Graffiti Artist, Defiant Until Death

Zahra was an anti-government activist and graffiti artist in Syria. He and his friends spray-painted slogans against President Bashar Assad around the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital.
Courtesy of friends of Nour Hatem Zahra

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

They called him "the spray man" for his graffiti that appeared all over the Syrian capital of Damascus. But in truth, 23-year-old Nour Hatem Zahra was an activist like any other activist.

He started protesting in Syria last spring. Back then, the opposition thought it would only take a few months to get rid of President Bashar Assad, as it had in Tunisia and Egypt.

Then Syrian forces started killing protesters, detaining them, torturing them. And the people started fighting back.

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Latin America
2:45 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Cuba's New Mantra: Viva Private Business

Two self-employed florists prepare bunches of flowers in Havana last year. The Cuban government is stepping up economic reforms and estimates that in four or five years, nearly half the workforce will be employed in the private sector.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 4:26 pm

Socialism has been Cuba's official economic policy for more than a half-century, and some 85 percent of the Cuban workforce is employed by the state.

But that is changing fast. Communist authorities say that nearly half of Cuba's economic activity will shift to the private or "non-state" sector in the next four or five years.

Those plans signal a new urgency to Cuban President Raul Castro's economic reforms, and one reason is that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the island's biggest benefactor, is battling cancer and facing re-election in October.

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Europe
2:21 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

In Greek Election Campaign, Anger Trumps Civility

Communist Party of Greece lawmaker Liana Kanelli enters her car after protesters threw yogurt at her as she tried to reach the Greek Parliament on June 29, during a 48-hour general strike in Athens. Such attacks are not uncommon in Greece, where ordinary Greeks' anger over the debt crisis and austerity measures is boiliing over.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 4:26 pm

Greeks will vote Sunday in what is expected to be the most fractious parliamentary election in decades.

People are so divided that no party is expected to get enough votes to form a government. Voters blame politicians for bankrupting the country and then selling it out to international lenders, who forced the government to impose painful austerity measures in exchange for billions of euros in bailout loans.

This election is an early one; the economic crisis forced out the previous elected government led by George Papandreou.

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The Salt
2:15 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Lard Is Back In The Larder, But Hold The Health Claims

Could you taste the lard in a freshly-baked crust?
Steven Depolo Flickr.com

What secret ingredient makes the pie crust so crisp and flaky? If you're from the Midwest, you may have guessed: Lard. The pig fat reviled for decades as supremely unhealthy is undergoing a lipid rehabilitation by American chefs and home bakers.

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Afghanistan
2:14 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

What The Afghanistan Deal Means For U.S. Troops

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 4:26 pm

President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a long-term partnership agreement on Tuesday in Kabul. The deal calls for the U.S. to remain engaged in Afghanistan for another decade, even as U.S. combat troops are withdrawn. Still, there are few details in the agreement. Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and talks to Audie Cornish about the practical implications of the new deal.

Monkey See
2:03 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Studios To Movie Fans: Take Our Clips, Please

Robert Duvall and Al Pacino in a scene from The Godfather Part II.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 8:44 am

Maybe you needed a good cry, but you were at work and didn't have easy access to your DVD of "The Notebook." So, you searched for that heart wrenching break-up scene on YouTube and let the tears flow freely.

Could be, nostalgic for times past when "real" men wore suits and drank bourbon, you were itching to watch Humphrey Bogart tell Ingrid Bergman, "Here's lookin' at you kid."

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Former NFL Player Junior Seau Is Dead; Possible Suicide

Junior Seau in 2009, when he played with the New England Patriots.
Elsa Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 2:36 pm

San Diego's Union Tribune reports that former NFL linebacker Junior Seau "has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at his beachfront home."

It adds that:

"Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said he was notified of the death and is on his way to be with family members."

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Newt Gingrich
1:40 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Gingrich Formally Ends Campaign, 'A Truly Wild Ride'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announces he is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on May 2 in Arlington, Va.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:06 am

What to say about Newt Gingrich that Newt Gingrich hasn't already said about Newt Gingrich?

Employing his admittedly "grandiose" ideas, Gingrich said all that he could to will his candidacy for president past low expectations. He arguably did, managing to resurrect his political career (at least temporarily), help focus the zeitgeist of conservative voters and even briefly wear the mantle of front-runner.

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The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

It's Official: Newt Gingrich Bows Out

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 2:31 pm

Saying "I never could have predicted either the low points or the high points," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich just officially suspended his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

He's been leading up to this for more than a week. Tuesday, he posted a video to say goodbye to his supporters.

Update at 4:30 p.m. ET. Romney On Gingrich:

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Shots - Health Blog
1:14 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

A Step Forward For Gene Therapy To Treat HIV

HIV particles assemble at the surface of a white blood cell called a macrophage.
PLoS Biology

Millions of people around the world are living with HIV, thanks to drug regimens that suppress the virus. Now there's a new push to eliminate HIV from patients' bodies altogether. That would be a true cure.

We're not there yet. But a report in Science Translational Medicine is an encouraging signpost that scientists may be headed in the right direction.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Student Left And Forgotten In Holding Cell For Five Days Gets Apology

Daniel Chong, a California college senior who "was left alone in a federal holding cell for five days with no food or water," now at least has an apology from the Drug Enforcement Adminstration.

That likely won't make up for having to drink his urine to survive, as Chong spoke of to reporters on Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

13 Face Criminal Charges In Florida A&M Hazing Death

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 2:28 pm

Criminal charges have been filed against 13 individuals in the November 2011 death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, Florida State Attorney Lawson Lamor just announced.

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The Two-Way
11:59 am
Wed May 2, 2012

After Bar Brawl, British Parliament Moves To Limit Members' Drinks

When Parliament is in session, some may be overdoing it.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images
  • Larry Miller reporting from London

Getting into a fight at one of the four bars within the borders of the British Parliament's grounds not only brought House of Commons member Eric Joyce (a Labour MP) unwanted notoriety, it has also led to orders that bartenders and event staff start cutting off obviously intoxicated lawmakers.

Which, of course, would seem like something they already should have known they should do.

As the BBC says:

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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Andy Pettitte Says He May Have Misunderstood HGH Conversation With Clemens

Former Major League baseball pitcher Andy Pettitte leaves a Federal Court in Washington on Wednesday.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

During a second day of testimony in the perjury trial against All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens, his old teammate Andy Pettitte walked back some of his previous testimony.

Yesterday, Pettitte said that he remembered having a conversation with Clemens in 1999 or 2000 in which Clemens admitted to using human growth hormone.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:33 am
Wed May 2, 2012

In Global Rankings, US Fares Poorly On Premature Births

Premature births are lowest in countries that are green. Red signals those with the worst problems.
March of Dimes

The United States has a higher rate of babies born early — and therefore at greater risk of death or health problems – than more than 125 other countries, including Rwanda, Uzbekistan, China and Latvia, according to a report out today.

About 12 percent of U.S. babies are born at 37 weeks or less, according to the report, which found a worldwide range of as few as 4.1 percent of babies in Belarus to as many as 18 percent in Malawi. Full term is considered 39 weeks.

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Wed May 2, 2012

There May Never Be An Explanation In Death Of MI6 Agent Found In Locked Bag

Gareth Williams, 31, worked for Britain's secret eavesdropping service GCHQ but was attached to the country's MI6 overseas spy agency.
AP

Gareth Williams was a talented agent for Britain's secretive and renowned foreign intelligence agency. Williams was a codebreaker for MI6, until he was found dead in his apartment.

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Pop Culture
10:27 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Sherlock: A Character Who's More Than Elementary

Basil Rathbone (right) as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1945.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 11:04 am

One of my favorite professors, the late Ian Watt, taught that there were four great myths of modern individualism: Faust, Don Juan, Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe. This always got me wondering which, if any, pop-culture heroes might endure in the same way. James Bond? Luke Skywalker? The Avengers? C'mon. In fact, there's only one who I feel sure will last — Sherlock Holmes.

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The Two-Way
10:26 am
Wed May 2, 2012

NFL Suspends Four Players, One For Full Season, Over Saints' Bounties

Oct. 31, 2010: Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (then of the New Orleans Saints) talks to linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Williams has been suspended from the league indefinitely. Vilma will miss the 2012 season.
Matthew Sharpe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 10:37 am

Four NFL players tied to the so-called bountygate have now been hit with suspensions by the league. They were part of a scheme in which a New Orleans Saints coach created a bounty system for hits that knocked opponents out of games.

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Stocks Give Back Some Gains After Weak Economic Data Are Released

After hitting its highest mark since December 2007 on Tuesday because of a bullish report about the health of the manufacturing sector in April, the Dow Jones industrial average is right now down about 45 points (less than 0.3 percent) because of negative news about hiring and manufacturing.

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Election 2012
9:58 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Are Asian-Americans An Untapped Voting Block?

Asian-Americans are one of the fastest growing minority groups in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A poll released Tuesday shows that a third identify as independents. Host Michel Martin explores whether this group is an untapped voting block. She speaks with a co-author of the poll, Mee Moua, and USC professor Jane Junn.

The Two-Way
9:48 am
Wed May 2, 2012

About 25,000 Troops May Be Needed In Afghanistan After 2014, Planners Say

When President Obama on Tuesday signed a 10-year security agreement with Afghan President Karzai, it wasn't announced how many U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan past 2014 — the year Afghans are supposed to take over full responsibilty for security there.

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Author Interviews
8:36 am
Wed May 2, 2012

ExxonMobil: A 'Private Empire' On The World Stage

Steve Coll was a managing editor at The Washington Post and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for reporting about the Securities and Exchange Commission and in 2004 for his book Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 10:30 am

In Private Empire, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Steve Coll investigates how ExxonMobil has used its money and power to wield significant influence in Washington, D.C., particularly during the Bush administration.

Executives at the company maintained close personal connections with members of the Bush administration — but Coll says the "cliched idea that Exxon-Mobil was just an instrument of the Bush administration's foreign policy — a kind of extension of the American government during the Bush years — is just wrong."

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The Salt
8:35 am
Wed May 2, 2012

What Pizza Hut's Crown Crust Pizza Says About Global Fast Food Marketing

The new Crown Crust Pizza from Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut Middle East/YouTube

Perhaps you've heard by now of the Crown Crust pizza, the pizza-cheeseburger hybrid recently unveiled by some of Pizza Hut's international franchisees. Available only at Pizza Hut Middle East, this fast food chimera features a vaguely crown-shaped crust studded with "cheeseburger gems," topped with lettuce and tomato, and drizzled with "special sauce."

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Hiring Slowed In April, Report Signals

Businesses added just 119,000 jobs to their payrolls in April, a sharp drop from an estimated 201,000-gain in March, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

The private group's report is "a troubling sign" two days before the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues its figures on April employment growth and unemployment, The Associated Press says.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:13 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Costly Heart Procedures Thrive In Some Places, Despite Cheaper Alternatives

Build a cardiac catheterization lab and doctors will tend to use it, even if treatment with drugs alone would suffice.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:38 am

Why do some doctors keep performing expensive medical procedures after it becomes apparent there are cheaper and equally safe ways to treat patients? A study of cardiac procedures in Michigan takes a crack at this question, and while it comes up short on definitive answers, it has some provocative findings.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Wed May 2, 2012

We Had Dinner With Bin Laden In 2010, Men Tell BBC

Following the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, the image of the al-Qaida leader was one of a man in hiding, watching himself on videos and plotting.
AFP/Getty Images

The story that Osama bin Laden never left his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during the last five years of his life takes a hit with word from the BBC about a dinner the al-Qaida leader reportedly attended in the summer of 2010.

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Business
6:25 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Virgin Atlantic Puts Richard Branson On Ice

The airline is molding ice cubes into Richard Branson's image to promote the in-flight bar.

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