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Movie Interviews
3:33 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

'Undefeated' Filmmakers Talk Friday Nights' Fights

North Memphis' Manassas Tigers Coach Bill Courtney and player O.C. Brown stand on the sidelines in a scene from the Oscar-nominated documentary Undefeated.
Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 1:15 pm

By 2009, after years of losses, the all-black football team at Manassas High School in inner-city North Memphis, Tenn., was known as 'Whipping Boy Manassas' — one of the worst teams in the entire state. The new documentary Undefeated, recently nominated for an Oscar, captures the team's following season, and the struggles of its coach and players, on and off the field.

Co-directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin describe the team's recent history.

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Robert Rubin: Economic Future Is Most 'Uncertain' He's Ever Seen

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin says the U.S. economic outlook is the most "uncertain" he has seen in his lifetime.

Given that he was born during the Great Depression (1938), and lived through the Cold War, the 1970s' inflation, a brutal 1980-82 recession and the recent global financial crisis, that may be saying a lot.

Rubin, who was President Clinton's Treasury secretary, is now co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. He spoke Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at a conference called "American Competitiveness: What Works," sponsored by General Electric.

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It's All Politics
3:16 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Obama's Manufacturing Push Meets Some Expert Skepticism

President Obama extolled U.S. manufacturing at Master Lock in Milwaukee as some experts said a return to the nation's industrial past may not be the best path forward.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:30 pm

Manufacturing is as American as motherhood, baseball and apple pie. Who could be against Americans making more of what they consume and exporting more to the rest of the world?

Which is why President Obama was hardly taking a political risk Wednesday by going to a Master Lock factory in Milwaukee and extolling the company for repatriating manufacturing jobs from China.

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Middle East
2:31 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Iran Ups The Ante With More Nuclear Moves

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) listens to a nuclear expert during a tour of the Tehran Research Reactor on Wednesday. Iran announced that for the first time it has produced the fuel plates that power that reactor.
Iranian Presidency AFP/Getty Images

Iran has unveiled significant developments on two important components of its nuclear program: the centrifuges used to enrich uranium and the uranium used to fuel a research reactor.

The country has made no secret of its work in these areas. But the news on Wednesday suggests that Iran may be making progress in its nuclear program.

Iran also announced that it is cutting off oil sales to several European nations, only to reverse itself hours later.

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Energy
2:17 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Many Jobs May Be Gone With The Wind Energy Credit

From left, enginers Eric Nicosia, Amin Ahmadi and Gavin Boogs work to solve an issue with part of a wind turbine at the Gamesa Corp. factory in Langhorne, Pa., on Feb. 10.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:01 am

The wind power industry in this country has grown fast in recent years, but that could come to a screeching halt.

The industry depends on a federal subsidy to keep it competitive with other forms of electricity. It's a tax credit wind farms get for the power they produce. That credit expires at the end of the year, and it's not clear whether Congress will renew it.

The tax credit was initially created to encourage wind energy, since it is a clean and secure source of electricity. But these days the argument is all about jobs.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:16 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Kids Listen When Parents Say No To Teen Drinking

But what if Mommy says no?
iStockphoto.com

Parents are divided on how best to handle teenage drinking. Should they prohibit it outright, or let teenagers drink with parental supervision?

Some parents think they might as well say OK, since the kids will drink anyway.

But researchers in the Netherlands have found that parental disapproval can be a powerful force to keep teens from succumbing to the impulse to drink.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Goodbye To The King Size: Mars To Downsize Candy Bars In 2013

By the end of 2013, Mars says it will shave 30 calories, or about 11 percent (approximated here), off the current version of the Snickers bar.
John Rose/NPR

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:56 pm

Ready to say goodbye to a sliver of your Snickers? And how about a slightly slimmer Mars bar? By the end of 2013, chocolate-maker Mars says all of its chocolate bars will be under — or right at — the 250-calorie mark.

The 2-ounce Snickers currently sold in our NPR vending machine has 280 calories, and with the downsize it will lose about 11 percent of its size. The fun-size and the king-size bars currently range from 70 to 540 calories, which means the new 250-calorie limit spells the end of the king-size bar.

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It's All Politics
1:33 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Why Romney's Shaggy Dog Story Won't Die

A man holds a sign during a "Dogs Against Romney" demonstration outside the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at New York's Madison Square Garden, on Tuesday.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:49 am

It's the story that continues to, well, dog Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney. And, according to some experts, it could jeopardize his standing with voters who care about animals. And yes, it turns out, that is not an insignificant voting bloc.

The incident happened back in 1983, and it's been public since 2007. But it seems that only now a critical mass of voters is hearing it for the first time.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Drinking Takes Center Stage As London Prepares For Olympic Spotlight

Prime Minister David Cameron calls binge drinking "one of the scandals of our society." Here, a man drinks a pint of beer through a makeshift "Vuvuzela of Ale" in London, in a file photo from 2010.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Britain has a drinking problem. And it's not just a question of alcoholism, but how the country should grapple with what some call an ingrained tradition and others call a $4.24 billion nightmare. That's how much the National Health Service says it pays each year in alcohol-related incidents.

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Middle East
1:20 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Syria's Neighbors Fear That Fighting Could Spread

The fighting in Syria was seen as a spark for clashes in the Lebanese city of Tripoli last week. Here a Lebanese woman and her daughter look out the window of their bullet-pocked home in Tripoli on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Adel Karroum EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 5:55 pm

Now that the uprising in Syria has turned into a heavily armed conflict, many in the region are worried that the violence will spread beyond its territory.

Syria borders Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, as well as Lebanon, where clashes erupted last Friday in the northern coastal city of Tripoli.

Sunni Muslims in one Tripoli neighborhood began protesting against Syrian President Bashar Assad. They put up a huge banner on the side of a mosque that had a picture of Assad, wearing a military uniform, with a big red X across his face.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Letters: On Aleksey Igudesman And Hyung-ki Joo

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners about violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo.

Asia
12:43 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

American-Born 'Linderella' Is The Pride Of China

New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin (shown here during first-half action against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday) has taken the NBA by storm. Now, Chinese basketball fans are claiming the California native as their own.
Peter J. Thompson MCT /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 5:55 pm

How do you say "Linsanity" in Chinese? Lin Shuhao feng.

And how do you quantify it? Jeremy Lin has more than a million followers so far on the Chinese version of Twitter.

The legend of Lin, the Asian-American point guard for the New York Knicks whose success story draws comparisons to a fairy tale, continues to grow. On Tuesday night, he scored 27 points, including the winning shot, in the Knicks' victory over the Toronto Raptors.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:40 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

FDA Warns About Fake Avastin In US

Packaging for fake Avastin that was just flagged by the Food and Drug Administration.
Genentech

The Food and Drug Administration says counterfeit Avastin, a costly drug cancer drug, has made its way to doctors in the United States.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

U.S. Agrees To $350,000 Settlement In Conn. Immigration Raid Cases

Advocates on all sides of the immigration debate are digesting the latest big, and perhaps historic, development: The U.S. government agreed to pay a $350,000 settlement to 11 Connecticut men arrested in raids in 2007.

The plaintiffs claimed immigration agents violated their rights during the early morning raids, which snared nearly three dozen people.

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The Two-Way
12:04 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Dutch Finance Minister Says His 'Patience Has Run Up' With Greece

Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager addresses the media prior to the start of the Eurogroup ministerial meeting at the European Council building in Brussels on Feb. 9.
Yves Logghe AP

NPR's Eric Westervelt scored an interview with Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager. And Eric reports that he did not mince words.

The Netherlands and Germany, which have AAA credit ratings, hold great sway in whether Greece will receive a $170 million bailout from the European Union and the IMF. Without it, Greece would default on its debt and would almost certainly exit the monetary union. Eric asked Jager if Greece needed to do more beyond the tough set of austerity measures Parliament passed on Sunday and this is what Jager told him:

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Auto Dependability Hits 22-Year High In New Study

For the second year in a row, the Ford Fusion won J.D. Power's dependability prize in the mid-size sedan category. Pictured is the 2013 model of the car, unveiled in January.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 2:16 pm

Toyota and Ford won the most awards in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which came out today. Vehicles made by Toyota led the way with eight awards, while Ford models received three. In general, vehicle dependability was the best since the study first began in 1990, according to J.D. Power.

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Wed February 15, 2012

President's 2013 Budget Includes Slight Boost For Arts, Cultural Agencies

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:25 pm

The 2013 budget proposed by President Obama includes many cuts made to conform with new spending limits. But several arts and cultural institutions saw their allotment rise by about 5 percent in the proposed plan. The proposed spending of $1.576 billion — in a budget of $3.8 trillion — includes some good news for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowments for the Arts.

For the Newscast desk, Elizabeth Blair filed this report:

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It's All Politics
10:23 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Election-Year Realities Bring Compromise On Payroll Taxes And More

Speaker John Boehner didn't cite it being an election year or Congress' low approval ratings for the GOP's new flexibility but it's hard to ignore such realities.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:11 pm

Part of President Obama's 2012 re-election strategy was to run against a do-nothing Congress. But congressional Republicans now appear determined to make that approach harder for him by coming to terms on some Democratic priorities.

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National Security
10:22 am
Wed February 15, 2012

As Wars Wind Down, What Are U.S. Security Needs?

U.S. soldiers are expected to be in Afghanistan for a couple more years. But already there's a debate about future U.S. security needs worldwide. Here, soldiers examine the site of a suicide bombing in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Jan. 19.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 11:07 am

U.S. troops have already left Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, and there hasn't been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 2001.

So is America now safe enough to scale back its emphasis on security? Or are the potential threats no less dangerous — just less obvious?

These questions are not just philosophical, but practical. They're also the underpinning of the current argument about what the level of defense spending should be.

Cuts, But How Big?

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Education
10:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Big Changes Ahead For American Schools?

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

President Obama's new budget is the talk of Capitol Hill this week. And while most of the headlines are about the ongoing fight over how best to reduce the federal deficit, the president's proposal also calls for a significant boost in education funding. It's yet another window into his administration's philosophy around education.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Does Contraception Really Pay For Itself?

Birth control will be paid for by employees' insurance companies, if their employers refuse to do so.
istockphoto.com

Last week, President Barack Obama announced that religious groups won't have to pay for contraceptive services themselves. Instead, the cost would be borne by their insurance companies.

That compromise has raised a whole new set of questions on its own, though.

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Politics
9:38 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Why America Pursues More Perfect Politics

Americans are always searching for a "more perfect union." Volunteers roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Oct. 20, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Americans are obsessed with perfection.

We implement zero-tolerance policies in our schools and businesses. We improve on the atomic clock with the quantum-logic clock that is twice as precise. We use multi-angle instant replay cameras in certain professional sporting contests to make sure the referees' calls are flawless. We spend millions on plastic surgery. We strive for higher fidelity, resolution, definition, everything.

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Author Interviews
9:26 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Nathan Englander: Assimilating Thoughts Into Stories

Nathan Englander grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. He now splits his time between New York and Madison, Wis.
Juliana Sohn

The stories in Nathan Englander's new collection are based largely on his experiences growing up as a modern Orthodox Jew with an overprotective mother.

In What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Englander writes about his own faith — and what it means to be Jewish — in stories that explore religious tension, Israeli-American relations and the Holocaust.

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Administration Proposes $5 Billion Competition To Improve Teacher Quality

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 9:26 am

Using its Race to the Top program as a model, the Obama administration is expected to announce a $5 billion competition designed to improve teacher quality.

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The Picture Show
9:03 am
Wed February 15, 2012

'Flying Mop' And Other Canine Glam Shots

A Puli leaps toward the camera
Tim Flach

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:01 am

Here's English photographer Tim Flach's take on the breed that just won best in show at the Westminster Dog Show, i.e., the Pekingese:

Taken for his 2010 book Dogs, this portrait is quite different from photos you might have seen of the award-winning Malachy.

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Book Reviews
9:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

More Than Melancholy: 'In-Flight' Stories Soar

Random House

The Brits: You've got to hand it to them. The Empire may be long gone, but they still reign supreme when it comes to effortlessly exuding mordant wit. For anyone who savors the acerbic literary likes of Evelyn Waugh or the Amises, father and son, Helen Simpson is just the ticket.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:42 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Consumer Groups Want Lead Out Of Lipstick

Time to get the lead out?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 8:44 am

Valentine's Day brought new attention to an old issue. Is the amount of lead found in lipstick a health hazard?

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a consortium of consumer and environmental groups, thinks so. They've argued that there's no safe level for lead in lipsticks — especially for pregnant women and kids — and want the agency to do something to bring the amount of the metal down.

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The Two-Way
8:13 am
Wed February 15, 2012

108 Years Since Women Last Boxed In The Olympics, They Prepare A Return

Five-time U.S. national champion Queen Underwood listens to instructions from her coach Basheer Abdullah.
Tom Goldman NPR

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 11:31 am

Olympic history in the making is going on this week in Washington state. Two-dozen of the best female boxers in the country are in wintry Spokane with a goal of traveling to London in the summer.

That's the site of the first ever women's Olympic boxing competition. This week's Olympic trials help determine who goes.

It's been 108 years since women boxed in the Olympics. At the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis, boxing for women was a "display event," not one of the counting, medal sports.

Now, it counts.

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It's All Politics
7:45 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Poll: Obama Hits 50% Approval, Leads All GOP Rivals, For Now

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:47 am

The new CBS News/NY Times poll definitely contains the kind of information that could put a little spring in any president's step.

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Wed February 15, 2012

U.S. Factories Boost Output In January

Manufacturing output increased 0.7 percent in January, the Federal Reserve announced today, adding that it had revised December's number sharply upward to 1.5 percent.

The AP reports that December number was the biggest gain since Dec. 2006. The AP adds:

"Overall industrial production, which includes output by mines and utilities as well as factories, was unchanged in January.

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