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2:28 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

President Obama: All Troops Out of Iraq By Dec. 31

President Barack Obama announced Friday that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year, ending nearly nine years of war.

Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

President Obama, a critic of the Iraq war from the very beginning, announced Friday that all U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of December. After nearly nine years, he said, the war will be over.

The president spoke after a video-conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. The White House says the two men agreed this is the best way forward for both countries.

The president's announcement fulfills a campaign promise he made more than four years ago.

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It's All Politics
2:26 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

New Poll: Cain Leads In Iowa, Romney Second, Rest Of Field Lagging

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigned in Iowa on Thursday. The latest poll numbers might not make him feel so welcome.

Charlie Neibergall AP

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has begun showing more interest on the ground in Iowa.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has staked the future of her campaign on a strong showing in the state's Jan. 3 GOP presidential caucuses.

But it's Herman Cain, the surging former pizza executive, who appears to be capturing the imagination of Hawkeye State Republican voters just 10 weeks out from decision day.

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The Two-Way
2:17 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

NATO Mission In Libya To End Oct. 31

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today that NATO had made a preliminary decision to end its mission in Libya on Oct. 31.

The AP reports:

He said Friday the bloc made a preliminary decision to end air operation on Oct. 31, and will make a formal decision next week.

After Libya's former rebels killed Gadhafi on Thursday, officials said they expected the aerial operation to end very soon.

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It's All Politics
2:06 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Will Cain's New 9-0-9 Tax Plan Really Help The Poor?

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Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks on Friday while unveiling his "Opportunity Zone" economic plan in front of the Michigan Central Station, an abandoned train depot in Detroit.

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan has taken a lot of heat recently. One of the biggest criticisms: several independent analysts have found that under the plan, poor and middle class families would pay higher taxes while the richest of the rich would see a substantial tax cut. Today in Detroit, Cain unveiled his response.

"If you're at or below the poverty level, your plan isn't 9-9-9," said Cain with the abandoned Michigan Central Station in the background. "It's 9-0-9."

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It's All Politics
2:04 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

With Revised Tax Plan, Cain Faces Questions About Consistency

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On the day he revised his tax plan to 9-0-9, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain signs a supporter's "999" sign after unveiling his "Opportunity Zone" economic plan in front of the Michigan Central Station, an abandoned train depot in Detroit.

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 2:29 pm

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's much discussed 9-9-9 tax plan just got a major facelift after intensifying criticism that it would shift the tax burden to the least fortunate Americans.

In a Detroit speech Friday, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO created another numbers scheme for those "at or below poverty level."

"Your plan isn't 9-9-9," Cain said, addressing low-income voters. "It is 9-0-9."

"Say amen y'all," said Cain, also a Baptist minister. "9-0-9."

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

For Poor, Cain Says His 9-9-9 Plan Is Now 9-0-9

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Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain steps out of his campaign bus to at a rally where he unveiled his "Opportunity Zone" economic plan in front of the Michigan Central Station, an abandoned train depot in Detroit.

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 1:33 pm

This past week, republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hit hard over his 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan. During the last Republican debate, Cain's plan was attacked as regressive, meaning that it would hit the middle-class and poor Americans hardest.

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Job 1: Careers That Shaped The GOP Candidates
1:17 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Bachmann Once Prosecuted Tax Evaders For The IRS

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Rep. Michele Bachmann, shown speaking at a reception by the anti-tax group Iowans for Tax Relief, was once a prosecutor for the IRS. On the campaign trail, she's made that part of her resume a selling point. "I went to the inside to learn how they work, because I want to defeat them," she said in South Carolina.

Steve Pope Getty Images

Fifth in a series

Perhaps more than any other Republican running for president this year, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has railed against taxes. She says they're too high, and that the current tax code should be repealed.

But Bachmann had a somewhat surprising early career: going after tax evaders as a prosecutor for the Internal Revenue Service.

'Know Your Enemy'?

At times, the congresswoman and former state senator has seemed to deny that for nearly her entire professional life, she's been on the public payroll.

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Around the Nation
12:54 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Chicago's 'Congestion Fee' Gets Chilly Reception

Motorists in Chicago navigate the morning rush hour as they make their way toward downtown.

Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 22, 2011 12:05 am

Chicago recently ranked as the city with the second-worst traffic congestion problem in the country, but it doesn't have a lot of money to invest in other transit options. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's solution? A $2 "congestion fee" on weekday parking in public lots and garages downtown.

Other cities have had some success with congestion pricing for parking, but some Chicagoans are skeptical of the plan.

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The Two-Way
12:46 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Undestroyed Earth Defies Oakland Ministry (Again)

The Oakland minister who predicted the end of the world would take place on Friday, Oct. 21, was confronted by the continuation of the world instead. It marks the second time this year that the ministry led by Harold Camping, 90, has settled on a doomsday date, only to have it tick by in quotidian fashion.

But to be fair, Camping has said that "the end is going to come very, very quietly," as Mark reported last week.

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

As Cost-Saving Measure, Texas Prisons Cut Lunch On Weekends

The state of Texas already made waves in September when it decided to stop honoring death row inmates' final meal requests. The decision was prompted by the huge meal requested by white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Clinton Says U.S. Met With Haqqanis; Pushes Pakistan On Security

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks in Islamabad Friday, as Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar looks on. Clinton urged Pakistan to act swiftly to dislodge the militant Haqqani network.

Kevin Lamarque AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Pakistan to urge the country's leadership to eliminate safe havens for terrorists, says that U.S. officials met with the Haqqani network this summer. She did not say who the participants were, or what was discussed.

As the BBC reports:

Reports about such a meeting circulated over the summer but the US refused to confirm them at the time.

Mrs Clinton said the US had reached out to the Taliban and to the Haqqani network to test their sincerity and willingness to engage in a peace process.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Fri October 21, 2011

September Jobs Report: Little Changes For States

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 11:45 am

Unemployment rates across America didn't change much in September, says the Labor Department. But among the mostly small shifts that occurred, 25 states reported decreases in their unemployment rate. Of the remaining states, 14 saw a higher jobless rate, and 11 remained the same.

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Europe
10:45 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Hamilton's Lesson For Europe: Pay Your Debt

Because of Alexander Hamilton's insistence that the United States pay off its debt, investors came to see the nation as a stable place to do business, biographer Ron Chernow says.

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

This weekend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Brussels with other European Union leaders. Their goal: to settle on a plan to pay the debts of struggling member nations.

Their meeting might go better if Alexander Hamilton's ghost could get a seat at the table.

Hamilton, one of the United States' Founding Fathers, was the fiscal genius who insisted that paying off debts of this union's member states would lead to economic greatness.

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Obama To Address Iraq Troop Withdrawal

A few minutes ago, President Obama announced that the war in Iraq was over.

"After nearly nine years, the long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year," the president said. President Obama said he talked to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier today and they were both in complete agreement about how to proceed. Obama said that "as promised" by the end of the year all troops will withdraw from the country.

He said that this means the relationship between Iraq and the United States will now be a normal one between two sovereign countries.

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The Two-Way
10:32 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Europe Sends Satellites Into Orbit Using Russian Rockets

In this handout image supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Soyuz VS01 is prepared on the launch pad at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA Getty Images

A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from French Guiana this morning. It was the first time one of them has blasted off outside its old Soviet Union bases.

It also marked a more important first: The rocket was carrying the first piece of Europe's Galileo global positioning system, which aims to provide more accurate information than the United States' GPS system.

The BBC reports:

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The Salt
10:19 am
Fri October 21, 2011

New Varieties Haven't Taken The Nutrition Out Of Broccoli

Newer varieties of broccoli may be prettier than the old ones, but they're probably no less nutritious.

Shullye Serhiy iStockphoto.com

Quick question: Are vegetables less nutritious than they used to be?

You're free to argue about this, because scientists haven't managed to come up with a clear answer.

There's some new data out this week in the journal Crop Science, and at least for broccoli, the answer seems to be no. But keep reading, because the story gets a little more complicated.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:11 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Don't Count On Facebook Boosting Your Brainpower Just Yet

If a high number of Facebook friends gives you a bigger brain, then CEO Mark Zuckerberg, seen here in Sept., must have one massive cortex.

AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 10:43 am

A lot of people seem to be running wild with the idea that there is a direct, positive link between Facebook and the brain's grey matter.

I want to believe a study that suggested Facebook can enhance the size of key parts of your brain. Really I do.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Chinese Toddler Dies, Days After Being Hit By Vans And Ignored By Witnesses

An image from the Twitter-like Chinese site Weibo.com shows a composite image of the toddler's mother, Qu Feifei (left); her rescuer, Chen Xianmei (top right) and Wang Yue.

Weibo

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 10:20 am

In China, an "outpouring of grief" is meeting the sad news that a toddler has died after being struck by two vans on a crowded street in the city of Foshan, according to state-run media.

The story became a national — and then international — sensation after a security camera's video revealed that more than a dozen passers-by had ignored the injured Wang Yue, 2, as she lay in the street, crying.

Only Chen Xianmei, 57, who was in the area collecting garbage, pulled the girl to safety and called for help. Police reportedly have the drivers of both vans in custody.

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Business
9:00 am
Fri October 21, 2011

A Sigh Of Relief For A Rebounding Shopping Center

Claudine Dimitriou owns The Beach, a day spa in Phoenix. She was virtually alone in the shopping complex after investing $80,000 to open her business in December. The bet has finally paid off.

Peter O'Dowd for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 3:00 am

Last fall at troubled strip mall in Phoenix, a few brave business owners opened in a virtually empty complex called Bethany East during a decidedly bad economy. In March of this year, the center fell into foreclosure and new buyers stepped in. It's been a turbulent year on this corner, but things are finally looking up for the tenants.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:46 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Biggest Study Yet Finds No Cancer Risk From Cellphones

The latest study to look at cellphone safety found no increased risk of brain cancer.

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Danish epidemiologists have some real advantages.

Citizens of the Scandinavian nation gets a unique ID number for life that can be used by researchers to pull together health records, including data from cancer registries, for just about anybody in the country.

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2 Languages, Many Voices: Latinos In The U.S.
8:30 am
Fri October 21, 2011

In Miami, School Aims For 'Bi-Literate' Education

At Coral Way Elementary School in Miami-Dade County, students take classes in Spanish in the morning, then switch to English in the afternoon.

Claudio Sanchez NPR

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 10:00 am

In the fall of 1963, in the throes of the Cold War, Coral Way Elementary took in the children of political refugees fleeing Fidel Castro's Cuba. The goal was not just to teach them English, but to make sure they remained fluent in Spanish and held on to their culture. Cuban-Americans thrived in Miami, and so did Coral Way's bilingual immersion model.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Fri October 21, 2011

'Steve Jobs' Book Reveals Delay In Cancer Surgery; Vow To Destroy Android

For his upcoming biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson conducted more than 40 interviews with the enigmatic tech leader.

With a book about Steve Jobs' life set to hit real and virtual shelves soon, his official biographer, Walter Isaacson, is appearing on 60 Minutes this Sunday. And as often happens in these cases, portions of the book have hit the web a little ahead of its Oct. 24 publish date.

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Kinsler Steals Second, And Rangers Take Game 2 In St. Louis

The second game of the World Series came down to the ninth inning Thursday night, as the Texas Rangers used a string of base hits, sacrifices and a stolen base to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1. It was the second tight game of the series, which is now tied, 1-1.

NPR's Tom Goldman calls Ian Kinsler's steal of second in the ninth inning "a key moment" in the win. At that point in the game, the Rangers were down 1-0. But then Kinsler reached first base, on a bloop single to shallow left field. And he was determined to make it to second base.

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The Two-Way
6:27 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Top Stories: Questions In Libya; Rangers Win; Jobs Bill Blocked

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 6:29 am

Good Morning.

Here's a roundup of the top news stories so far today:

One day after Moammar Gadhafi's death, Libya is celebrating. But questions persist over exactly how he died — and how to bury him.

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Africa
6:05 am
Fri October 21, 2011

U.S. Steers Clear Of Nation-Building In Libya

The U.S. chose to play a limited role in the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi, shown here delivering a speech at the United Nations in 2009. He was killed in Sirte, Libya, on Thursday.

Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 11:05 am

The United States military has intervened and helped topple three autocratic leaders over the past decade, yet it remains far from clear whether any of these countries will be successful in the years to come.

Iraq and Afghanistan are still struggling to find stable footing years after U.S. invasions drove out Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar.

The death of Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday removes him as a force that could undermine the new, interim Libyan leadership. But the country still faces many obstacles to building a stable, prosperous and democratic future.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Gadhafi's Funeral Delayed; Questions Persist On Final Moments

In Sirte, fighters loyal to the new government celebrate after the town's defenses finally fell, and former leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed.

Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

The funeral for former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi was to have taken place Friday, in keeping with Islamic tradition that bodies be buried as soon as possible. But a host of concerns have caused the body to be placed in temporary storage instead — and an inquiry may be launched into how he died.

The dictator was found and killed in his hometown of Sirte Thursday, after eight months of unrest and violence in Libya.

Here are some of the open questions concerning Libya:

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Africa
5:17 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Uganda Mission Part Of Military's Wide Reach

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, is shown in 2006. He has fought against the Ugandan government for years. The U.S. is now sending 100 military advisers to central Africa to help regional armies fight against Kony's movement.

Stuart Price AP

President Obama's decision to send 100 U.S. troops into central Africa to help combat a rebel group may have struck many as a surprise, but there's a long precedent for such operations.

U.S. forces have worked collaboratively with numerous militaries around the globe in recent decades, whether to put down insurgencies in places like the Philippines and El Salvador, or to fight the drug trade in Colombia and Mexico.

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Research News
10:01 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

'Living Fossils' Just A Branch On Cycad Family Tree

A giant dioon, seen at the United States Botanic Garden, is part of the cycad family and can be found growing in Mexico and Central America.

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 6:46 am

Although dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, there are still thought to be a few species left over from those days. Plants called cycads are among these rare "living fossils" — they have remained pretty much unchanged for more than 300 million years, but a study in Science magazine suggests that glamorous title may not be deserved.

There's no time machine in Washington, D.C., but Harvard botanist Sarah Mathews leads me to what's arguably the next best thing — a room made of glass in the U.S. Botanic Garden, just downhill from the U.S. Capitol.

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Middle East
10:01 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

Prominent Syrian Activist Flees, Reveals Identity

At his home in Syria, activist Rami Jarrah, 28, spoke out under the alias Alexander Page. Fearing arrest, he recently fled to Egypt.

Courtesy of Rami Jarrah

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 8:30 pm

The Syrian government has barred most international journalists from the country, restricting coverage since an uprising began last spring. In response, Syrian activists have played a crucial role in providing information to the wider world.

One of the most prominent is Alexander Page — an alias that a young Syrian used for his safety. He was often cited by international media outlets, including NPR.

But he recently fled Syria after his identity was compromised and he was in danger of arrest.

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Business
10:01 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

Japan's Uniqlo Eyes Manhattan, And More

The mannequins are fashionably dressed at Uniqlo's new Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York. Uniqlo's U.S. chief says he would eventually like to have 1,600 stores in the country, almost twice the number in Japan.

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 1:59 pm

At the same time that Gap is closing 20 percent of its stores, a big Japanese clothing retailer called Uniqlo plans to open hundreds of shops in the U.S. Uniqlo is sort of like the Gap of Japan: The low-priced casual clothing retailer has been around since the 1980s, but sales are flattening out in its home market so the company is looking overseas for growth.

The U.S. is at the heart of its strategy, according to the head of Uniqlo's U.S. operation, Shin Odake.

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