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NPR Story
2:00 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Lowes Cancels Ads On Muslim Reality Show

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:29 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Criticism against the home improvement chain Lowes isn't letting up. It started after Lowes dropped its ads from the reality TV show "All-American Muslim" in response to pressure from a conservative Christian group. Now an online petition has nearly 20,000 signatures calling on the store to reinstate the ads. Lowes, in a statement, says simply, it is committed to diversity. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has the story.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Could A Russian Winter Follow Arab Spring?

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:29 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's follow up on a weekend of protest in Russia. Allegations of fraud in a parliamentary election sent tens of thousands of people into the streets demonstrating against the party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Behind that tainted election was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with Putin himself, who used to be president, remains dominant today, and is preparing to retake the top job.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Contested Congo Election Fuels Fears Of Violence

A disputed election in the Democratic Republic of Congo has returned sitting President Joseph Kabila to power for the next five years. The opposition claims there was election fraud. Congo's influential Catholic church has voiced reservations about the conduct of the elections.

Africa
2:00 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Egypt To Begin Second Round Of Parliamentary Elections

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:29 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Egypt, Islamists are once again expected to dominate at the ballot box, in the second round of parliamentary elections. Their anticipated win in a vote that begins tomorrow has many secular Egyptians fearing the new parliament will turn their country into a theocracy. Secular candidates say they will not go down without a fight. Some are even trying to use religion to lure voters away from the Islamists.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has this report from Cairo.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

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Asia
2:00 am
Tue December 13, 2011

After Boom, China's Property Market Heads Lower

In recent years, China's real estate market has boomed. A three-bedroom apartment in Shanghai overlooking the river would cost more than $3 million. But that's beginning to change. The slide comes as the world's most dynamic economy grapples with other challenges, including massive local government debt and slowing growth.

Election 2012
2:00 am
Tue December 13, 2011

GOP Candidates Storm New Hampshire

It was a busy day yesterday for presidential politicking in New Hampshire. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich traded barbs over Romney's proposed ten-thousand dollar bet with Texas Governor Rick Perry, as well as Gingrich's consulting fees earned working for mortgage giant Freddie Mac. New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers reports.

Election 2012
2:00 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Iowa Evangelicals Ponder Which GOP Candidate To Back

A spirited fight is on in Iowa for the evangelical vote in the Republican race for president. So far, Christian conservatives have not coalesced behind one candidate, the way they did four years ago for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Business
2:00 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Business News

Renee Montagne has business news.

Around the Nation
12:39 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Police Use Flash Grenades To Reopen Seattle Terminal

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:29 am

Police in Seattle arrested more than a dozen Occupy protesters Monday night after marchers briefly blocked traffic coming into the city's busy port. The Seattle protest was the culmination of a day of coordinated protests at ports up and down the West Coast.

Soon after hundreds of Occupy protesters marched to Seattle's Harbor Island, some of them started dragging wooden pallets and scrap metal into the roadway, and traffic in and out of the port came to a halt. The protesters were trying to shut down Terminal 18.

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Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities
10:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

EPA To Unveil New Rules For Power Plants

More than 20 years ago, Congress ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate toxic air pollution. It's done that for most industries, but not the biggest polluters — coal and oil-burning power plants.

The EPA now plans to change that later this week, by setting new rules to limit mercury and other harmful pollution from power plants.

When Congress first told the EPA to regulate toxic air pollution in 1990, pediatrician Lynn Goldman was investigating the impact of mercury from mining operations on Native American families living near a contaminated lake.

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Digital Life
10:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Hot This Season: Getting In Touch With A Tablet

Customers look at the iPad 2 displayed at an Apple store. Black Friday sales for the iPad were up 70 percent from last year.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Tablet computers are on a lot of people's wish lists this year.

A recent Nielsen survey found the Apple iPad is the most wanted gift for kids ages 6 to 12. Some have even taken their appeals to YouTube. But if an iPad isn't in the budget, there are some 30 other tablets out there to choose from.

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It's All Politics
10:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Congress At Impasse Over Must-Pass Measures

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to reporters at the Capitol on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:29 am

Congress is supposed to head home for the holidays at the end of this week, but there's a whole lot of work to do before then. And for now at least, the parties remain divided over a number of other must-pass measures.

This is the part of the tango of Congress where the Republican House offers a plan.

"The House is going to do its job, and it's time for the Senate then to do its job," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at a press conference Monday.

Then, as if on cue, the Democratic Senate balked.

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The Salt
10:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Funny Honey? Bringing Trust To A Sweet Sector Fraught With Suspicion

A Chinese beekeeper harvests honey beside a rape seed field in Anhui province. China is major producer of honey and bee products.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Honey is the most natural of sweeteners, coming to us directly from bees and flowers.

Well, maybe not so directly. These days, a long supply chain often links beehives half a world away with the jar of honey in your kitchen. And there's suspicion in that supply chain: global trade disputes; accusations of unfair competition; even honey identity-switching.

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Business
10:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Airplane Mechanics: A Farm Team For Everyone Else?

The best airplane mechanics are skilled at everything from metal part fabrication to electronics to lavatory plumbing. Other, better-paying companies soon become interested in their skills.
Courtesy AAR

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 6:21 pm

Talk of jobs — or lack of them — dominates the national conversation right now. But there are places in the economy where willing, qualified workers are hard to come by.

One such place is AAR Aircraft Services Corp., an aircraft maintenance facility in Oklahoma City. There, American capitalism is on display with all its strengths and weaknesses. AAR services jet aircraft, including passenger planes from carriers like Alaska Airlines, Mesa Air and Allegiant Air.

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Best Books Of 2011
10:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

7 Books With Personality: Nancy Pearl's 2011 Picks

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

Although all works of fiction and narrative nonfiction have characters — be they animals, hobbits, dragons, humans, werewolves or whatever — I've found that there are some books in which these characters are three-dimensional and awfully interesting. (Whether or not they're likable is another question.) These characters become, as the story progresses, more and more real to me. It's as though they've become good friends.

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The Salt
4:15 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Oregon Senator Pushes Local Pears For School Lunches

Comice pears are super-yummy, but not approved for schookids.
iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 4:18 pm

Mike Naumes thinks Oregon schoolchildren should be eating more Oregon pears. And not just the D'Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc pears approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's School Lunch Program, but the lesser-known Comice pears of southern Oregon's Rogue Valley.

Anyone who's ever tasted a Comice pear would have a hard time arguing with that. They're fat and green, extraordinarily sweet and juicy — a world apart from your typical supermarket pear.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
4:03 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

In Mortgage Crisis, Some Banks Agree To Cut Losses

Sharon Jordan (lower left) and her family (clockwise from top left: Rydell, Nikera and Anisha) are working with Bank of America and a Boston nonprofit to repurchase their duplex at its current market price — about half of the original value.
Aarti Shahani NPR

There's an unfamiliar trend emerging in America's troubled housing market. Big banks are volunteering to lose money — hundreds of millions for themselves and investors — in order to save homes at risk of foreclosure. And they're doing it in record numbers.

The year closed with a new trend: In 30 percent of private loan modifications, banks are doing a principal writedown — that is, hacking away at the amount owed as far down as the current market value. They're doing it so borrowers can actually afford payments. Two years ago, that 30 percent was just at 2 percent.

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The Two-Way
3:48 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

U.S. Asks Iran For Spy Drone's Return; Iran Says It's Extracting Secret Data

A picture released by the official website of Iran's Revolutionary Guards on December 8, 2011 shows Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh (R) looking at what Iranian officials claim is a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone that crashed in Iran on December 4.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 5:02 pm

The United States is officially asking Iran for the return of a drone surveillance aircraft lost earlier this month.

"We have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," President Barack Obama said during a White House news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking at a State Department news conference, told reporters that the U.S. had "submitted a formal request" for the craft's return, but that "given Iran's behavior to date, we do not expect them to comply."

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NPR Story
3:30 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Gingrich, Huntsman Hold Debate

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 4:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

One last note from the campaign trail. Two of Mitt Romney's opponents engaged today in a long conversation, a so-called Lincoln-Douglas style debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, discussed in a gentlemanly manner topics of foreign policy and national security. And Gingrich began with a short critique.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:24 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

ADHD Drugs Show Little Risk For Most Adults' Hearts

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:36 am

Kids aren't the only ones taking drugs for ADHD.

In fact, over the past decade or so, use of the drugs by adults has grown at a far faster rate than it has for children, according to data from drug benefits manager Medco.

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Opinion
3:17 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

For Nervous Seniors, Some Pre-Graduation Advice

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 4:33 pm

Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor at Boston University and the author of Lost in Shangri-La.

I taught my last class of the semester the other day. Inevitably, my students — all of them journalism majors and most of them seniors — hijacked the lesson plan to vent their hopes and fears about what awaits them after graduation.

This happens every December, and each year I do my best to calm and encourage them, to let them know it's OK to be worried but it's not OK to despair. I give them what I've come to consider my pre-commencement address.

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The Salt
2:37 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Who Are The Young Farmers Of 'Generation Organic'?

Maryland farmer Josie Johnson listens to a lecture on extending the farming season using caterpillar tunnels. The lesson was part of a conference for young farmers held in Tarrytown N.Y., in early December.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:12 am

For decades, as young people have been leaving farms behind, the average age of the American farmer has been rising. The last time the government counted farmers, in 2002, the average farmer was 55-years-old.

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Iraq
2:26 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Obama, Maliki Pledge Cooperation After U.S. Pullout

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shakes hands with President Obama in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday. The two leaders met as the U.S. prepares to withdraw the last of its combat troops from Iraq.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met at the White House on Monday and pledged to maintain strong ties after the U.S. withdraws the last of its troops, but nagging concerns remain about Iraq's security and neighboring Iran.

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Middle East
2:19 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Palestinians Bristle At Gingrich Comments

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, speaking here in a Republican debate on Saturday, has angered Palestinians by calling them "an invented people" and "terrorists."
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 10:07 am

It happens every four years: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict crops up as an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Republican front-runner Newt Gingrich brought it to the fore this year when he told The Jewish Channel, a cable channel, that the Palestinians were "an invented people."

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The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

'Tebowing' Is So Hot It's Now A Word

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow prayed in the end zone — tebowing — before the start Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 4:43 am

He's the hottest topic in sports, and now Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is a word, kind of.

The online Global Language Monitor, which professes to track what's hot in the world of words, announced today that is has declared "tebowing, the act of 'taking a knee' in prayerful reflection" during an athletic activity is now "an English language word."

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Shots - Health Blog
1:55 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Care For Earliest Preemies Improves, But Low Birth Weight Remains Risky

It's the kind of news that parents of a premature baby would grasp at: One of the world's smallest preemies, born weighing a mere 9.8 ounces, is now a 22-year-old college student who's living a normal life.

But doctors who deal with low birth weight babies say parents shouldn't think that sort of bright future is assured.

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Law
1:49 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

High Court To Wade Into Immigration Debate

A U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border in Naco, Ariz., in September. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a legal challenge to Arizona's tough new law on illegal immigration.
Joshua Lott Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 4:33 pm

The United States Supreme Court added another red-hot rocket to its docket on Monday, all but ensuring that it will resolve a major immigration case just weeks before the major parties hold their conventions next summer.

The court agreed to hear a challenge to a controversial Arizona law that targets people suspected of being illegal immigrants. This is a setback for the Obama administration, which had urged the justices to wait for the lower courts to thoroughly examine the constitutionality of the issues in the case.

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Around the Nation
1:31 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Two Make It Through Five Layoffs In Five Years

Michelle and Al Ford relax at their home in St. Paul, Minn., before heading to work. The Fords suffered a combination of five layoffs in five years — including a time they each received a pink slip on the same day. Now they're happy to be working again.
Jeffrey Thompson Minnesota Public Radio

Over the course of the recession, 7.5 million Americans lost their jobs, and some of them were unfortunate enough to collect more than one pink slip. Serial layoffs can be personally devastating, but they can also darken a resume and raise concerns for potential employers.

Al and Michelle Ford of St. Paul, Minn., know about multiple layoffs all too well. Their version of the Great Recession started about a year before the official one was declared.

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The Salt
1:00 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Safety Concerns Linger Around Genetically Modified Salmon

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 2:03 pm

This just in: After 15 years of deliberation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to decide whether it will approve a genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

Now there's a catchy lead. But the truth is, the long-running regulatory saga of AquaBounty's application to sell salmon with a growth hormone gene from one fish plus a promoter of an antifreeze gene from another — which help it grow twice as fast as typical farmed salmon — does not seem headed toward a conclusion.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

The Core Of The Russian Protests: The Middle Class

Large protests over the weekend in many Russian cities marked discontent with the results of the recent elections there. Melissa Block talks with one of those demonstrators — a 29-year-old real estate lawyer named Dmitry Raev. This was his first time taking part in a demonstration. Raev points out that the middle class — lawyers, scientists and other professionals — seem to be driving the protests. He says these are people who have something to lose, and yet they are turning out in droves to express their long-held frustration with the political system.

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