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Politics
12:24 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

The Public Respects Civility, But Rewards Rudeness

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer points at President Obama after he arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on Wednesday.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

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Middle East
12:10 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

The State Of Syria: Civil War Or Vicious Stalemate?

Syrian army defectors wave the Syrian revolution flag Thursday, shortly after they defected to join the anti-regime protesters.
STR AP

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 10:00 am

One thing that's certain about the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad is that there is nothing romantic about it.

Unlike Egypt, there's no Tahrir Square filled with hundreds of thousands of people calling for democracy. Unlike Libya, there's no Mad Max warriors in the desert fighting a dictator with guns they've welded to the backs of their pickup trucks.

Instead, grim news seeps out piecemeal from unofficial sources. Most of the reports are little more than body counts, with most of the fatalities blamed on the Syrian security forces.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

To Shrink Budget, Pentagon Proposes Cutting 100,000 Ground Troops

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 1:18 pm

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the the Pentagon will propose a $33 billion cut in the military's budget, for the 2013 fiscal year.

The AP reports that will be achieved by reducing ground forces by 100,000 and by eliminating older aircraft.

The AP reports:

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tells a Pentagon news conference the administration will request a 2013 budget of $525 billion, plus another $88 billion for operations in Afghanistan. Combined, those totals are about $33 billion less than the Pentagon is spending this year.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:09 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Working Long Hours Can Be Depressing, Truly

Working long hours may get you more than a paycheck.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 11:12 am

Putting in a lot of of overtime can make a person more vulnerable to depression.

You might have guessed that. But now there are some hard numbers, thanks to a study that tracked the health of civil service workers in Great Britain.

People who worked 11 hours a day or more, more than doubled their risk of major depression compared with colleagues putting in eight hours a day.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

At Penn State: Memorial Service Under Way For Joe Paterno

Sue Paterno, widow of Joe Paterno, consoles one of her grandsons following the memorial service.
Patrick Smith Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 5:32 pm

An estimated 10,000 people are a memorial service for former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, on the school's campus in the Bryce Jordan Center this afternoon.

The Big Ten Digital Network is among several outlets that will be webcasting the service.

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The Salt
12:04 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Gardening Map Of Warming U.S. Has Plant Zones Moving North

The new version of the map includes 13 zones, with the addition for the first time of zones 12 (50-60 degrees F) and 13 (60-70 degrees F).
U.S. Department of Agriculture

It's official: Gardeners and farmers can count on warmer weather. If that's you, it might be a good time to rethink those flower and vegetable beds for this year's growing season.

That's the word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which released a new version of its "Plant Hardiness Zone Map" this week, the first update since 1990. The color-coded zones on this map of the United States are widely used as a guide for what perennial flowers will survive in a particular area, or when to plant your vegetables.

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Chávez's Daughter Poses With Dollar Bills, Unleashes Anger, Internet Meme

Hugo Chávez's daughter posted this picture on Instagram.
Instagram

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 7:55 am

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is known for railing against U.S. capitalism. And it's not just talk. Since 2003, his government has made it very hard for Venezuelans to trade foreign currency.

So you can just imagine the uproar in the country when his 14-year-old daughter Rosinés Chávez published a picture of herself covering half her face with a wad of dollar bills.

The Guardian reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
10:36 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Home Births Grow More Popular In U.S.

Shannon Earle holds her new baby Kiera Breen Earle, moments after she was born at their home last year.
Amanda Steen NPR

The number of women delivering babies at home in the United States has increased significantly, according to the latest government data released Thursday.

Home births increased by 29 percent between 2004 and 2009.

The upward trend is being welcomed by some advocates of home births and midwives, but it's also raising concern among some doctors.

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Presidential Race
10:18 am
Thu January 26, 2012

The Baffling, Befuddling Primary Season

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign event at Paramount Printing in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 11:38 am

It was so clear for a moment: Mitt Romney was in the lead in the presidential nomination race. Newt Gingrich was a distant second. Rick Santorum — the youthful candidate — was appealing to the socially conservative voters. And Ron Paul was hanging on.

Then things got weird.

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Election 2012
10:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Republicans Fight For The Latino Vote

More than 4.2 million Latinos live in the Sunshine State, and that population is in the spotlight as Republican presidential candidates battle to win Florida's upcoming primary. Host Michel Martin discusses this crucial voting bloc with Gary Segura of Latino Decisions, and the Associated Press's Hispanic Affairs reporter Laura Wides-Munoz.

Around the Nation
10:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Chinese New Year Unique For Adoptive Families

A traditional dance troupe performs in New York's Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year. For many children adopted from China, the holiday is a time to learn about their heritage.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 8:50 am

Chinese New Year celebrations kicked off earlier this week to herald the Year of the Dragon. Like many Americans raising children adopted from China, David Youtz and his wife like to use the holiday to instill in their children the importance of their ethnic heritage.

"We want them to feel a lot of pride in where they came from," Youtz says. "I think that's especially important when you're an adopted person."

The Mandarin speaker is the father of four Chinese daughters, three of whom are 7-year-old triplets.

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National Security
9:48 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Obama's Military Tactics: Risky Missions, Elite Units

President Obama has called on small, elite military units to carry out several risky operations in the past year, like the hostage rescue this week in Somalia. Here, Navy SEALs are shown during a training exercise at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
John Scorza U.S. Navy

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 12:51 pm

President Obama has authorized several risky military missions in the past year and can claim major successes: the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan; the airstrike that killed terrorism suspect Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen; and the ongoing drone strikes in Pakistan.

The latest operation, a hostage rescue in Somalia carried out by Navy SEALs, is part of a pattern established by a commander in chief who has shown a clear preference for limited, small-scale military action.

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Music Reviews
9:46 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Jimmy Owens Navigates Monk's 'Brilliant Corners'

Jimmy Owens mostly dresses Monk's tunes for uptown wear — Monk the Harlem jam session swinger.
Stephanie Myers

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 1:27 pm

In 1974, trumpeter Jimmy Owens helped prepare and played on a Carnegie Hall concert of Thelonious Monk's music. On the night in question, the orchestra featured a surprise soloist: Monk himself. It was one of the pianist's last public performances.

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Author Interviews
9:39 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Was The Stimulus Package 'Money Well Spent?'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 11:39 am

No issue will be more important in the upcoming presidential election than President Obama's handling of the nation's economy. Critical to that debate is an assessment of the Obama administration's economic stimulus program. Republicans claim it was a costly failure. Supporters maintain it saved the U.S. from a depression.

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The Two-Way
9:29 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Judge Tosses Conviction Of Texas Man Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Infant

Ernie Lopez is serving a 60-year prison sentence for a crime he, and medical experts, say he didn't commit.
Courtesy of Frontline

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 9:30 am

A Texas man whose conviction for sexually assaulting a 6-month-old girl raised questions about the science behind determining how children die has won a key legal battle. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday threw out the conviction of Ernie Lopez, ruling that the Amarillo man's original attorneys failed him by not calling potentially important medical experts as witnesses.

Now the Amarillo district attorney must decide whether to retry Lopez, who has been in prison for nine years. Lopez is serving a 60-year sentence.

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Movie Reviews
9:23 am
Thu January 26, 2012

In 'Albert Nobbs,' Glenn Close Does More Than Pass

Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) and Helen (Mia Wasikowska) go on a series of awkward dates in Albert Nobbs, a film based on a 1918 George Moore story.
Patrick Redmond Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 11:39 am

As Albert Nobbs, Glenn Close has hair that's cropped and orangey, and a voice that rarely rises above a nasal croak. She lives and works as a waiter in a high-toned hotel, where she stands with lips pressed together, tight yet tremulous, her searching eyes her only naturally moving parts. She resembles no man I've seen, but no woman, either. She's the personification of fear — fear of being discovered to be a woman. Because hers is a society that treats all poor people badly, but poor women worse.

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The Two-Way
8:37 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Capping Worst Year On Record, Sales Of New Homes Drop In December

2011 was the worst year on record for sales of new homes. The dismal year was capped by a drop in home sales in December.

The AP reports:

"The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.

"About 302,000 homes were sold last year. That's less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making 2011 the worst year on records dating back to 1963.

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The Salt
8:31 am
Thu January 26, 2012

The (Un)usual Suspect: Why Organic Spices Aren't Always Safe

These celery seeds look safe, but could be tainted. Even if they're organic.
iStockphoto.com

The new food safety recall for salt really got our attention. How could salt be contaminated with salmonella?

If your blog's named The Salt, you've just got to find out. So we dug into the story, and found that it's a collision of two distressing trends: contamination of herbs and spices, and safety issues with organic products.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Australian Prime Minister Rescued From Angry Protesters

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is bundled out of a restaurant by security service agents after it was surrounded by furious Aboriginal rights protesters in Canberra on Thursday.
Lukas Coch AFP/Getty Images

Australia Day ended with a tense showdown between aboriginal protesters and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Unemployment Claims Up Slightly; Business Spending Increased

Over the past week, 21,000 more Americans claimed unemployment benefits, the Labor Department reports. Like most economic news, that's the bad news. The good news, reports the AP, is the that the four-week average is down 2,500, which "still signals a healthier job market."

The Commerce Department also has some good news on the economy: Orders for durable goods rose 3 percent, last month.

The AP reports that this marks a gain for the second straight month. The AP adds:

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It's All Politics
6:44 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Could The Crowd At The Final GOP Debate Make The Difference In Florida Vote?

Newt Gingrich greets supporters during a rally at Wings Plus in Coral Springs, Fla. on Jan. 25. The GOP candidates meet in Jacksonville Thursday night for a final debate before Tuesday's primary.
CARLINE JEAN MCT /Landov

As the Republican presidential hopefuls head into their final televised confrontation Thursday night at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville (at 8 p.m. ET on CNN), NPR's Ari Shapiro reports that the debate could sway the outcome of the close race.

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The Two-Way
6:26 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Ahmadinejad: Iran Is Ready For Nuclear Talks

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks to the press prior upon his arrival at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Jan. 14.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today that his country is ready to talk with the West about its nuclear programs.

"They have this excuse that Iran is dodging negotiations while it is not the case," he said. "Why should we run away from the negotiations?"

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The Two-Way
5:57 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Arizona Gov. Brewer Says She 'Was Not Hostile' In Meeting With Obama

Usually, there is lots of formality and protocol when a president steps off Airforce One and walks onto a tarmac. But, yesterday, when President Obama landed at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, he was greeted by Gov. Jan Brewer and very quickly the welcome turned into a serious and tense discussion.

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Around the Nation
5:17 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Standard Military Eyeglasses Get A Makeover

Standard issue military eyeglasses are considered so unflattering, service members have an acronym for them: BCGs or Birth Control Glasses. For the first time in more than 20 years, the military is updating its look. Instead of those thick brown plastic frames, recruits can get sleeker black plastic specs.

Animals
5:12 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Dog In 'The Artist' To Retire

Fans of Uggie in the silent movie The Artist were outraged when the dog didn't get an Oscar nomination. Now Uggie's owner tells a magazine that movie was the Jack Russell terrier's last. He's retiring the 10-year-old animal. Uggie wants to relax.

The Two-Way
5:03 am
Thu January 26, 2012

President Obama Will Unveil Energy Plans

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 6:23 am

President Obama will flesh out the energy goals he laid out during his State of the Union address today. He'll start talking about natural gas in a UPS Facility in Nevada and continue on to the Buckley Air Force base in Aurora, Colo., where the Air Force is installing a one-megawatt solar array.

Reuters reports that in Las Vegas, Obama will propose a tax credit that helps offset the upfront costs of buying natural gas trucks.

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Business
2:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Business News

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Amazon and taxes.

They say two things are certain: death and taxes. But Amazon is still hoping to avoid at least one of those things. The online retailer is reportedly promising Florida lawmakers it will create up to 3,000 jobs in the state and build new distribution centers in Florida, if lawmakers give Amazon a two-year break from collecting state sales tax.

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Business
2:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Indiana To Adopt 'Right-To-Work' Measure

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 3:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's go next to my home state of Indiana, where state lawmakers now look certain to pass controversial right-to-work legislation.

Democrats have been trying to block that bill. But yesterday it passed the state's Republican-controlled House. And so Indiana is poised to become the first state to approve this kind of legislation in a decade.

We have more from Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting.

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Business
2:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 4:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today comes from Alaska Airlines. The carrier has been putting prayer cards on the meal trays it serves passengers since the 1980s. Flying can be nerve-wracking and the airline figured people might find comfort in a psalm from the Old Testament, along with the soothing image of a beach or the mountains.

It was also a marketing strategy so the airline could differentiate itself from competitors. Many passengers didn't mind.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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