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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Suspect In Natalee Holloway Case Pleads Guilty To Murder In Peru

Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot as he arrived for a court hearing earlier today (Jan. 11, 2012) at the Lurigancho prison in Lima.
Ernesto Benavides AFP/Getty Images

Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, this morning pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, in Lima.

The Associated Press reports that van der Sloot told a court in Lima that "yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely. ... I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad."

The wire service adds that:

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Beef Erupts Over Crossword Guru's Hip-Hop Slang Clue

A New York Times crossword puzzle clue asking for a 5-letter word that means "Wack, in hip-hop" led to an email and an argument over the real meaning of "illin'."
NPR

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 9:26 am

Under editor Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword puzzle has won fans for being in touch with the modern world — relying less on arcane words and more on a working knowledge of America's cultural landscape.

But according to some, Shortz took a false step with this past Saturday's puzzle, when he included a clue steeped in hip-hop slang. The clue asked for a 5-letter word that means "Wack, in hip-hop."

The answer was "Illin'".

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It's All Politics
8:44 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Mitt Romney Raised $24 Million Last Quarter

During the last quarter of 2011, Mitt Romney raised $24 million, his campaign announced today. That means the former Massachusetts governor has $19 million in cash on hand to fund his primary battle.

The Washington Post reports that in a shift from his 2008 run, when he poured $40 million of his own money into the campaign, Romney has made no personal donations.

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Author Interviews
8:31 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Why America's Spies Struggle To Keep Up

Matthew Aid is an intelligence historian. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Journal and The Financial Times.
courtesy of the author

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 11:00 am

Before Sept. 11, 2011, there were 16 intelligence agencies in the United States. But after the attacks, the 9/11 Commission recommended creating a 17th intelligence agency — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — to coordinate intelligence operations.

The 16 already existing agencies didn't react well, says historian and former intelligence analyst Matthew Aid.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:55 am
Wed January 11, 2012

A Dozen Cases Of Tuberculosis That Resists All Drugs Found In India

An image of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria captured with an electron microscope.
CDC

Tuberculosis specialists in India have diagnosed infections in a dozen patients in Mumbai that are unfazed by the three first-choice TB drugs and all nine second-line drugs.

The doctors are calling them "totally drug-resistant TB," and the infections are essentially incurable with all available medicines.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Fannie Mae CEO Will Step Down

Fannie Mae President and CEO Michael Williams testifies before the House Financial Services Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee in December.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 7:47 am

Michael J. Williams said he is stepping down as chief executive of the quasi-governmental mortgage giant Fannie Mae. The company made the announcement late last night, saying Williams will wait to step down until the board of directors names a successor.

"I decided the time is right to turn over the reins to a new leader," Williams said in a statement.

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Hostess, Maker Of Twinkies, Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

A Twinkie shows off its creamy filling in this file photo from 2005. A snack-cake sales slump is one reason Hostess Brands is seeking protection from its creditors.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Twinkies maker Hostess Brands Inc., is again seeking protection from its creditors, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as the company tries to cope with high debt and rising costs of labor and raw materials.

Hostess, which also makes Ho Hos, Sno Balls, and Wonder Bread, is a privately held company based in Irving, Tex. It owes millions to suppliers and labor unions. The company has reportedly found some financing to keep it running during bankruptcy proceedings.

For our Newscast desk, Larry Abramson reports:

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Wed January 11, 2012

U.S. Resumes Drone Strikes In Pakistan

Pakistani officials say the United States launched a drone strike early Wednesday morning for the first time since November. The AP says the drone strike killed four in North Waziristan, which is close to the Afghan border and has been a hot spot for U.S. strikes.

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Iran Says A Car Bomb Killed One Of Its Nuclear Scientists

An image grab taken from footage broadcast by Iran's state-run Arabic-language Al-Alam TV shows blood stains covered by a piece of cloth and debris at the site of the car bomb.
AFP/Getty Images

An Iranian nuclear scientists was killed by a car bomb in Tehran this morning, Iran's official news agency said. According to Press TV, Iran's English-language outlet, a magnetic bomb was placed beneath Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's car by a man in a motorcycle.

Press TV says Roshan and his driver were killed and a bystander was injured. Roshan was a "chemical engineering graduate and served as marketing deputy of Iran's Natanz nuclear facility."

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It's All Politics
5:51 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Bain Attacks On Romney Recall Notorious 'Willie Horton' Ads

Mitt Romney greets supporters in Manchester, N.H., after seizing a second victory in his fight to be the party's presidential nominee.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 7:12 am

The satisfying victory Mitt Romney harvested in New Hampshire's primary this week was marred by the late eruption of a blemish. It could be a passing cloud in the otherwise blue Romney sky, or it could be the sign of storms ahead.

Does anyone remember Willie Horton? Does anyone remember the tragic trajectory of another Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis, in 1988?

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It's All Politics
5:38 am
Wed January 11, 2012

'New Hampshire And Beyond': A Special Elections Podcast

Voters cast ballots in the gym of the Webster School in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 6:32 am

  • New Hampshire And Beyond: A Special Elections Podcast

Mitt Romney's convincing win in New Hampshire — and what that might mean for upcoming contests in the Republican presidential race — is the subject of a special podcast prepared fresh this morning from NPR News.

The podcast includes highlights from what the candidates had to say about the outcome in New Hampshire, plus NPR reporting on how Romney put together his victory. It also examines how the focus of the campaign will change as the GOP hopefuls descend on South Carolina ahead of that state's Jan. 21 primary.

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It's All Politics
5:34 am
Wed January 11, 2012

'Down And Dirty,' South Carolina Has History Of Quashing Challengers

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney laugh during a campaign event on Jan. 5 in Charleston, S.C.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:23 pm

Now it's South Carolina's turn.

If the Palmetto State, the "First in the South" primary, plays its traditional role in the Republican presidential nomination process, it will be where the White House hopes of virtually every candidate except the eventual nominee will go to die in about 10 days.

It's not for nothing that it's called the "South Carolina Firewall." And at this moment, it's looking like it's Romney's firewall.

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Books News & Features
5:34 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Hatchet Job Award Honors Bad Writing

There's a new award for brutal book reviews in Britain: the Hatchet Job of the Year Award. A Julian Barnes book is dismissed as "just so... average." A biography of Martin Amis is called "spectacularly bad writing about spectacularly good writing."

Around the Nation
5:26 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Is Home-Field Advantage The Real Deal?

Ben Motz of Indiana University looked at NFL games over a 25-year span, and found the home team won 57 percent of the time. Professor Motz did find the home team's winning percentage dropped with the advent of instant replay.

It's All Politics
5:06 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Now, It's On To South Carolina

With last night's results part of history, the candidates and press turned very quickly to South Carolina, which the AP says "is shaping up to be a dogfight."

And the stakes are high: After winning New Hampshire, Mitt Romney became the first non-incumbent Republican to win the primary season's first two contests, so as Bloomberg puts it, South Carolina, which votes Jan. 21, may be the last chance opponents have to derail Romney.

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Election 2012
3:21 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Romney On Glide Path As Campaign Heads To S.C.

Mitt Romney reaches for his wife, Ann, as his sons, Josh, Ben, Craig, Tagg and Matt (left to right), look on during the Romney for President New Hampshire primary night rally at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:08 am

In politics, success breeds success. That's why Mitt Romney is looking strong as attention turns to the next Republican primary in South Carolina.

Any expectations that Romney's fortunes might fade were overturned Tuesday in New Hampshire. The former Massachusetts governor won a solid plurality with some 39 percent of the vote — more than 15 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival, Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Business News

A growth of 3 percent is not bad, given all the European turmoil. But there's a downside in the report. It shows the German economy shrinking a bit at the end of 2011.

NPR Story
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

GOP Focus Moves From New England To Palmetto State

Whatever their disagreements, the presidential candidates agree on their next destination. The GOP presidential nomination fight now turns to South Carolina. The state holds is primary Jan. 21.

NPR Story
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Fed Pushes To Change Housing Policy

The Federal Reserve usually worries about interest rates and inflation. But lately, Fed officials have been focusing on housing. They've been out in public, pushing measures they think will help the housing market. David Wessel, economics editor at The Wall Street Journal, talks to David Greene about proposed changes to mortgage financing.

Business
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Twinkie-Maker Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:01 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is Twinkies in trouble.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: Ever wonder how they get that creamy filling into the middle of a Twinkies cake? Well, these kids have some pretty good ideas.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: First, they put down the creamy filling, then they bake the cake all around.

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Romney Celebrates Double-Digit N.H. Victory

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Mitt Romney's double-digit win in New Hampshire plants his feet happily on the path to the Republican nomination heading, now, into South Carolina.

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Romney Is 2 For 2 In GOP Nominating Contests

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:50 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Mitt Romney will head into the rest of the Republican presidential contest with powerful momentum. After barely winning Iowa, he won New Hampshire convincingly last night.

GREENE: Romney took 39 percent of the vote. That put him far ahead of Ron Paul. Jon Huntsman finished third in the state, where he had campaigned almost exclusively.

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Asia
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

U.S. Launches Drone Attack In Pakistan

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

The United States appears to have resumed drone attacks in Pakistan, specifically in Pakistan's tribal areas, where they've been used to target militants operating along the border with Afghanistan. This strike comes after at least a six-week break in drone strikes. NPR's Julie McCarthy has just finished three years as NPR's Islamabad bureau chief. She's on the line to talk about this.

Hi, Julie.

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Around the Nation
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Alaska Town Endures Record Snow Fall

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 2:23 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The residents of Cordova, Alaska, are wondering how much more snow they can possibly handle. A state of emergency has been declared for the small fishing town on the edge of Prince William Sound.

Since the beginning of November, Cordova has seen about 15 feet of snow. And after 24 straight days of snowfall, the U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska National Guard arrived over the weekend to help dig the town out. The snow has collapsed roofs, and trapped some people inside their homes.

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Around the Nation
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Payment Determined For N.C. Sterilization Victims

Several decades ago, more than half the states had eugenics laws — measures that allowed governments and others to forcibly sterilize people. It was a difficult chapter for many states and now North Carolina is looking to make amends. A task force says each of the state's 2,000 living victims should receive $50,000.

Election 2012
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

GOP Rivals Want To Stop Romney's Momentum

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

While Mitt Romney celebrates, his rivals face a harsh reality. For all the Republican anxiety about Romney - conservatives saying he's not really conservative, columnists worrying that he doesn't seem authentic; fear that the whole GOP field just isn't very strong - Romney has won both Iowa and New Hampshire.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Wed January 11, 2012

New Hampshire Voters Speak Out

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, for some perspective, New Hampshire accounts for a tiny portion of the delegates Republicans are competing for – just 5 percent. Bigger states later on in the election season will award many more delegates. But voters in the Granite State feel their votes serve as an important vetting process, a springboard for candidates. And NPR's Andrea Seabrook spent election day talking to those voters.

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Sweetness And Light
12:59 am
Wed January 11, 2012

If You Pay For Cable, You're A Hostage Of Sports

Even if you don't watch ESPN's Monday Night Football, you help to pay for it if you're a cable subscriber. ESPN's monthly fees are the highest in the business.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

For the many reasons that the Republican presidential debates have been so popular, the main one is simply that they're live. Happening right before our eyes. When Rick Perry says "Oops," he's saying it just as we're hearing it. Live. Wow: "Oops."

This is why, whether you like sports or not — perhaps you'd desperately prefer NPR to have somebody else right now, talking about something really important, not sports — nonetheless, each month, you're charged about eight bucks on your cable bill for the privilege of not watching sports.

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Your Money
10:01 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Credit Card Arbitration Trumps Lawsuits, Court Says

Consumers who sign credit card agreements that feature an arbitration clause cannot dispute fees or charges in court, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The 8-to-1 decision drew immediate fire from consumer advocates.

To get a credit card, a consumer generally must sign a detailed agreement. In the fine print, almost always, is an arbitration clause that says that if consumers want to dispute fees, they must do so through arbitration, not in court.

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Asia
10:01 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

China Targets Entertainment TV In Cultural Purge

TV show Super Girl Voice, a singing contest show, is recorded at Hunan Satellite TV station in 2006 in Changsha city, Hunan province of China. The show was recently banned as part of a recent entertainment industry crackdown.
Guang Niu Getty Images

Tens of millions of people tune in every week to the Chinese dating show Take Me Out. It's pure entertainment: girls in skimpy dresses hoping for a date; sweaty, geeky guys stammering questions; and two effete hosts sporting matching bouffant hairstyles.

But as of last week, the show was bumped from prime time — part of China's latest clampdown against "excessive entertainment," which is itself a manifestation of a larger ideological campaign.

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