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Sports
6:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Sports: No Contest This Wild Card Weekend

It's the opening day of the NFL wild card playoffs, but really, are any of those teams going to make a run at Green Bay or New England and their marquee quarterbacks? NPR Sports Correspondent Tom Goldman joins host Scott Simon to talk about Wild Card Weekend and more.

Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

The View From The Unemployed

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 8:20 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits has been dropping around the country as the new year begins. Companies are laying off fewer workers, and hiring may be picking up. The U.S. Labor Department reported yesterday that the unemployment rate is now 8.5 percent, the lowest level in almost three years.

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Theater
6:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Playwright Battles For Injured Vets On Stage

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now the story about one woman's effort to bring attention to the invisible wounds of war. The playwright Kate Wenner says she was stunned by investigations that showed thousands of U.S. troops were coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries and didn't receive the help they need. So Ms. Wenner decided to raise awareness through art. She's written a play about troops with traumatic brain injuries.

NPR's Daniel Zwerdling went to a production and has this report.

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Author Interviews
6:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

'Glory Be' A Tale Of The South For Young Adults

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 8:59 am

Eleven-year-old Gloriana Hamphill, known as Glory, feels like she's about to have the worst summer of her life. It's 1964 in Hanging Moss, Miss., a year that will teach her about bigotry, loyalty and bravery. Former librarian Augusta Scattergood talks with host Scott Simon about her first young adult fiction novel,Glory Be.

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Author Interviews
6:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

He Murdered His Friends, Now 'Iago' Moves On

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Shakespeare's Iago is one of the great defining villains of literature. He masquerades as a friend, and that disguises his schemes to manipulate, betray and destroy. He fools Othello into believing that his wife is betraying him - she's not - then manipulates his old friend and commander into having her killed in a fit of engineered jealousy.

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Opinion
4:55 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Iowa, New Hampshire: Small States With Big Roles

Iowa and New Hampshire are not demographic snapshots of America. They are smaller, less diverse and more rural than California, New York or Illinois, which have a lot more votes.

But Iowa and New Hampshire win a lot of attention early in an election year. As an old political columnist, now departed, once told me over the din of clinking cups in an Iowa diner, "If the first presidential caucuses were in Hawaii, congress would give federal subsidies to make gasoline out of pineapples."

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The Salt
4:53 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Mystery Solved: Why The Cat Craves Mushrooms (And People Do, Too)

Why do cats have an affinity for mushrooms?
Marco Varrone iStockphoto.com

Anyone who lives with a cat knows that fruits and vegetables do not top the feline food chart. So it's a surprise to hear that some cats do crave mushrooms.

This tale starts with Ellen Jacobson, an amateur mushroom hunter in Colorado. As she was cooking up a bolete mushroom, her cat Cashew started brushing against her legs. She put some of the mushrooms in a bowl, and Cashew gobbled them up. "He didn't like them raw," she told The Salt. "He only liked them cooked."

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Economy
4:09 am
Sat January 7, 2012

What Jobs Numbers Mean For Obama's Employment

President Obama speaks about jobs in Manchester, N.H., in November. The Labor Department reported Friday that unemployment dropped to 8.5 percent.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 11:38 am

President Obama acknowledged Friday that the economic recovery has a long way to go. Still, he was able to share some good news. The Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent.

"Obviously, we have a lot more work to do," he said, "but it is important for the American people to recognize that we've now added 3.2 million new private-sector jobs over the last 22 months."

Those better-than-expected numbers could help Obama as he tries to hang onto his own job.

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Election 2012
4:02 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Romney's Week: A Squeaker, A Love Fest And A Shrug

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pleaded with his supporters at a rally Monday in Dubuque, Iowa, saying, "I need every vote." He did — winning the Iowa caucuses the next day by just eight votes.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 8:55 pm

When Mitt Romney kicked off this past week with a blitzkrieg tour of Iowa, he had no way of knowing just how true this statement would be: "You guys in Dubuque, you're the best. Get out there and vote tomorrow. I need every vote!"

He wasn't kidding. When the final numbers were tallied in Iowa, the former Massachusetts governor edged his closest rival, Rick Santorum, by the smallest margin in Iowa history — just eight votes.

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Arts & Life
4:02 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Elizabeth McGovern, Acting At An Intersection

Elizabeth McGovern was nominated for an Oscar as turn-of-the-century Broadway sensation Evelyn Nesbit in the film of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime. She plays Lady Cora Grantham in Downton Abbey.
Nick Brigg ITV/Masterpiece

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 8:20 am

Elizabeth McGovern is back — though she was never really gone. She just moved across the pond.

She was 19 when a star — hers — was born, after she played the love interest in Robert Redford's film Ordinary People. She went on to co-star with some of Hollywood's leading men, including Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and landed an Oscar nomination for Milos Forman's big-budget film Ragtime.

But in the early '90s, McGovern married a British guy and gave up Hollywood for London. She raised a family and developed a British acting career.

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Business
4:01 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Italian Shopkeepers Say 'No, Grazie' To More Hours

A butcher shop serves customers in a Rome market on Dec. 31. A new law went into effect in Italy on Jan. 1, allowing shops, cafes and restaurants to stay open 24/7 throughout the year.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 5:50 pm

Italy's new prime minister, technocrat Mario Monti, wants to stimulate growth by boosting productivity and competitiveness. A new law that went into effect Jan. 1 allows shops, cafes and restaurants to stay open 24/7 all year long, holidays included. This deregulation puts Italy ahead of many European countries, but many Italians are resisting.

Friday — the Day of the Epiphany — was the first holiday of the year. In Rome, however, hardly anyone took advantage of the liberalized shop hours.

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Law
3:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

When Property Rights, Environmental Laws Collide

Chantell and Mike Sackett say the EPA violated their right to due process when it said they were building a house on a wetland. The Supreme Court will hear the case on Monday.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 8:20 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case near and dear to EPA haters.

It would seem to be a David-and-Goliath case that pits a middle-class American couple trying to build their dream home against the Environmental Protection Agency. But the couple, Michael and Chantell Sackett, is backed by a veritable who's who in American mining, oil, utilities, manufacturing and real estate development, as well as groups opposed to government regulation.

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Politics
3:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Debate Over Appointees Hinges On One Word: Recess

President Obama took a controversial step this week in making appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and National Labor Relations Board during what the White House considered a congressional recess, bypassing any objections from lawmakers.

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The Two-Way
4:37 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Rights Group Says Prominent Activist Beaten By Govt. Forces In Bahrain

Two men try to extinguish a tire fire Thursday in Sitra, Bahrain, near the site of an opposition rally.Nightly clashes between riot police and protesters continued Thursday night nationwide.
Hasan Jamali AP

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 4:44 pm

The struggle between government forces and protesters continues in the Gulf nation of Bahrain. Today, it came back into focus when Nabeel Rajab, a prominent human rights activist, was detained and beaten by government security forces.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said Rajab was beaten "for participating in a peaceful protest" in the capital city of Manama, today. In a press release, the organization reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
4:26 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

No Surgery Required For Some Stabbing, Shooting Patients

iStockphoto.com

When it comes to a gunshot or stab wound in the stomach, surgeons will almost reflexively open up a patient's abdomen to look for damage.

But that's starting to change as doctors rethink how best to manage trauma cases.

A team of researchers pored over the National Trauma Data Bank and examined more than 25,000 cases of penetrating injuries to the abdomen (about 12,000 gunshot cases and 13,000 stabbings) in the U.S. between 2002 and 2008.

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The Salt
4:16 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Why Overpriced Japanese Sushi Is Bad For Bluefin Stocks

Each January, the first bluefin tuna auction at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market commands some of the highest prices of the year.

This year's auction got off to an especially extravagant start when a sushi chain owner paid 56.49 million yen, or about $736,000, for one 593-pound bluefin tuna yesterday, according to wire service reports.

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Author Interviews
3:39 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

'Pity The Billionaire': The Right's Unlikely Comeback

How did the economic collapse of 2008 and 2009 give birth to a conservative populist revolt?

That's the question Thomas Frank tries to answer in his new book — and sharp-tongued liberal polemic — Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right.

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

After Seven Years, Families Of Slain Blackwater Contractors Settle Suit

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 7:21 pm

Seven years after the suit was filed, the families of four contractors killed in Iraq have settled a lawsuit with Academi, the company formerly known as Blackwater.

If you remember, the 2004 incident produced one of the most gruesome images of the war in Iraq: the charred bodies of two Blackwater guards were hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

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Commentary
3:05 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

On The GOP Trail, The Serendipity Of A Lost Wallet

Aarti Shahani waits for the airport shuttle to take her on her final leg.
Aarti Shahani NPR

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 3:44 pm

It's Jan. 1.

I'm en route to Iowa to cover the caucuses. I'm a novice reporter and NPR editors trusted me to tag along.

At my layover in Minneapolis, I reach into my pocket to pay for a chai tea latte and — wait — where's my wallet? I can't find my wallet. I double, triple, quadruple check.

I run back to the gate. "Ma'am, I think my wallet fell out of my coat in overhead. Seat 20B." She checks it out. Negative. It's not there.

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What's in a Song?
2:46 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Group Singalongs Provide Comfort For A Livelihood Lost

Barre Toelken (second from right) at one of his weekly singing sessions with his wife Miko (far right) and friends.
Hal Cannon

For the past several years, a group of friends has gathered every week in the living room of a suburban home in Logan, Utah, to sing long-forgotten songs. It's a fun way to spend the evening, but it's also therapy for a dear friend.

Until several years ago, Barre Toelken was a folklorist at Utah State University. He'd spent much of his life preserving sea shanties and other antique songs, but then he had a stroke and was forced to retire.

"I used to know 800 songs," Toelken says. "I had this stroke, and I had none of these songs left in my head. None of them were left."

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Snowy Owls, Rare In North America, Are Appearing All Over The U.S.

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 4:51 pm

Snowy owls are a rare sight in the United States. They usually live in the Arctic but every third or fourth winter some will venture south.

But this year, the AP reports, there is an abundance of the birds, which garnered almost mythical stature when they were featured in the Harry Potter films.

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It's All Politics
1:27 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Not Officially Republicans, 'Undeclared' Voters Could Sway N.H. Race

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman shakes hands with voters following a business lunch campaign event in Portsmouth, N.H. on Jan. 5.
JESSICA RINALDI Reuters /Landov

In Tuesday's primary, many of those showing up to vote will not be registered as Republicans. In New Hampshire, voters unaffiliated with either party can vote in the primary.

So-called "undeclared" voters outnumber both Republicans and Democrats in the Granite State, accounting for more than 40 percent of the electorate. That makes New Hampshire's independent vote a tempting, but elusive target.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

SuperPACs, Candidates: Dancing Solo Or Together?

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 4:54 pm

This is the season of the presidential superPACs: They flooded Iowa with attack ads, and now they are looking ahead to primaries in South Carolina and Florida.

SuperPACs (political action committees) can solicit big, corporate contributions — something candidates can't do. And, according to the law, superPACs are barred from coordinating their ads with the candidates they support. But it's not nearly that simple.

A SuperPAC Attacks

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Near Icy Waters, Marine Life Gets By Swimmingly

Hairy-chested yeti crabs, seven-armed sea stars, white octopuses — all these creatures were seen for the first time by researchers in the Antarctic. Robert Siegel talks to biologist Alex Rodgers of the University of Oxford, who led the expedition.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Navajo Code Talker Keith Little Dies

One of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers from World War II has died. Keith Little, who transmitted codes in important Pacific battles such as Iwo Jima and Saipan, died Tuesday at 87. He led the Navajo Code Talkers Association in recent years and fought to get recognition for the Code Talkers, who were ordered to keep their contribution to the war effort secret for decades after the war ended.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

A Digital Death? Why Kodak Stopped Clicking

Kodak's Steven J. Sasson holds the world's first digital camera, which he built in 1975, at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., in 2005. The company is now trying to sell about a thousand patents for digital photography to prevent bankruptcy.
David Duprey AP

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 11:11 pm

The end could soon be near for Kodak, and the iconic film manufacturer may have itself to blame.

Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., could be headed into bankruptcy over the next few weeks. The company has seen its profits plunge in recent years, largely because of the popularity of digital cameras.

Kodak is trying to move into new product lines like inkjet printers, but in the meantime it's attempting to raise cash by selling off some of the patents it's developed over the years.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

An Update On Football — And The Other Football

The NFL kicks off an exciting weekend of games Saturday when it starts its playoffs. Meanwhile, there's big news in the sport that most of the rest of the world calls football. Fox television is making a major play to air more soccer games in this country, including an English Premier League game before the Super Bowl. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks with Robert Siegel about the news in both kinds of football.

Presidential Race
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Santorum Tries To Connect With N.H. Voters

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum nearly won the Iowa caucuses on the strength of his retail campaigning across all of the state's counties — and his connection with Christian conservative voters. Now he's in New Hampshire, with just days to go before the first-in-the-nation primary. Santorum is trying to connect with independent-minded voters in a very secular state.

World
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Diver Finds Lost Class Ring From The '30s

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel talk about a diver who found a class ring lost in the 1930s — and reunited it with the owner's grandson nearly 40 years later.

Middle East
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

In Syria, Suicide Bomber Kills More Than Two Dozen

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 3:58 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Syrian officials are vowing to respond with an iron fist to a suicide bombing in Damascus today, 25 people were killed. It was the second deadly bomb attack in the Syrian capital in recent weeks. The government and opposition activists traded accusations as to who was responsible. And the bombing raised fears of escalating violence, as the Arab League presses Syria to implement a peace plan.

NPR's Peter Kenyon is monitoring developments in Syria from Istanbul.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIRENS)

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