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Europe
2:22 am
Thu September 29, 2011

German Lawmakers Pass Expanded Euro Bailout Fund

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou speak during talks Tuesday in Berlin. Germany's lower house of parliament voted 523-85 to bolster the European bailout fund, which is designed to help Greece and other troubled countries.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 2:53 pm

Germany's parliament approved a plan Thursday to expand the power of a European bailout fund for troubled countries that use the euro.

The Bundestag, or lower house, passed the bill 523-85 in a vote considered one of the biggest in Chancellor Angela Merkel's career.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed the result, saying, "This signals to our European partners that you can rely on Germany."

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Middle East
2:00 am
Thu September 29, 2011

Saudi Woman's Driving Violation Spurs Controversy

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 5:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, Host:

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Europe
2:00 am
Thu September 29, 2011

British Leaders Object To EU's Proposed Tax

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 5:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, Host:

NPR's business news starts with a call for banks to pay up.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The head of the European Commission has renewed calls for a tax on financial transactions. He said yesterday it was time for banks to step up and contribute to solving Europe's debt crisis. But Europe's financial center lies in London, and as Vicki Barker reports, the British government is likely to veto such a plan.

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U.S.
2:00 am
Thu September 29, 2011

Alabama's Controversial Immigration Law Takes Effect

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 5:56 am

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.

How to handle illegal immigration has been a big topic on the presidential campaign trail and a big debate in many states. Alabama has what's considered to be the toughest law against illegal immigration in the country, and much of that law takes effect today. A Birmingham federal judge refused to block some of the most stringent provisions in the state's crackdown.

NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

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Sports
2:00 am
Thu September 29, 2011

Red Sox Shut Out Of Playoffs As Rays Clinch Wild Card

The Tampa Bay Rays rallied from a seven-run deficit Wednesday to beat the New York Yankees and advance to the playoffs. The win shuts out the Boston Red Sox, who lost a close game to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Salt
11:25 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

The Pawpaw: Foraging For America's Forgotten Fruit

Pawpaws may look like mangos, but unlike other tropical fruits, they are native to North America.
Abby Verbosky for NPR

So what the heck is a pawpaw?

Recently, I heard about a secret snack. Kayakers who paddle the waters near Washington, D.C., told me about a mango-like fruit that grows along the banks of the Potomac — a speckled and homely skin that hides a tasty treat.

A tropical-like fruit here, really? Yep. It's the only temperate member of a tropical family of trees. You can't buy the pawpaw in stores, so for years, the only way to eat them was straight from the tree.

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Around the Nation
11:23 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

California's New Prison Policy Has Some Skeptics

California is days away from launching a dramatic shift in the way it handles criminal offenders: Starting in October, the state will redirect tens of thousands of nonviolent felons away from state prisons to local facilities.

The state's plan is called "realignment." It shifts certain functions from the state to the counties, says Barry Krisberg, who teaches criminal justice at the University of California, Berkeley, law school.

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The Two-Way
5:34 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Adm. Mullen Sticks By His Assertion That Pakistan Supports Extremist Network

U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen speaks during a press conference in Baghdad on Aug. 2, during a visit to press top Iraqi officials to make a decision on the future of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
Ali Al-Saadi ALI AFP/Getty Images

In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he would not change "a word" of the testimony he gave the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

"I phrased it the way I wanted it to be phrased," Adm. Mike Mullen said.

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The Salt
4:03 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Pricier PB&J's In The Forecast, Thanks To Peanut Shortage

Peanut butter prices are up, and will likely increase again.
Edward Todd iStockPhoto.com

How much you are willing to pay for your favorite sandwich? If it has peanut butter in it, you may soon be recalculating. A looming shortage of U.S. peanuts is causing the price of peanut butter to soar.

"We have quite a peanut shortage this year," says Tiffany Arthur, an agricultural economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency — the folks who make emergency loans to farmers. "Things are snowballing and prices are sharply rising," she says.

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Europe
3:23 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Bullfighting In Spain Stays Alive Despite Regional Ban

Tomas performs at the Monumental bullring in Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 25. Since the end of the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco, Catalan nationalists have sought to cast off all things Castilian — referring to Spain's heartland.
Manu Fernandez AP

Spain's northeast region of Catalonia held its final bullfight last weekend, after voting to ban the practice last year.

But it's a different story elsewhere in Spain. While relatively few Spaniards are real aficionados of bullfighting, many more see it as a national tradition, and don't want it banned.

On a recent day, Antonio Gutierrez and his friends puff on cigars and shuffle dominos on a folding table near Madrid's famed Las Ventas bullring. They're a bit suspicious of a foreigner asking about bullfights.

"Bullfighting is very, very good. OK?" says Gutierrez.

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The Two-Way
3:22 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

FBI: Mass. Man Arrested For Plot Against Pentagon, Capitol

The FBI arrested a Massachusetts man, who they say plotted to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol using "small drone airplanes" loaded with explosives.

Bloomberg reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
3:19 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Today, Make Sure Rabies' Days Are Numbered

Around the world, bites from dogs infected with rabies are the most common way for humans to become infected.
CDC

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 3:40 pm

It seems sometimes that there's hardly a space on the calendar that hasn't been claimed for a campaign to raise awareness for an illness or health condition.

Today, for instance, is World Rabies Day, I learned from a tweet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting a celebration to learn about how to prevent the fatal disease.

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The Two-Way
2:57 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Justice Department Asks Supreme Court To Take Up Health Care Law

The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case that will decide on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care overhaul law.

"The department has consistently and successfully defended this law in several courts of appeals, and only the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled it unconstitutional," the Justice Department said in a statement. "We believe the question is appropriate for review by the Supreme Court."

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Digital Life
2:40 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Who Are You, Really? Activists Fight For Pseudonyms

In the past, Google Chief Eric Schmidt, shown this month, has expressed impatience with Internet anonymity. At the Techonomy conference last year, he said, "One of the errors that the Internet made a long time ago is that there was not an accurate and non-revocable identity-management service."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 5:04 pm

Social media companies don't like people creating accounts under fake names. That's long been the case at Facebook, but over the summer, Google's new social network, Google Plus, surprised users by making a point of shutting down accounts with names that didn't look real.

Some online activists refer to Google's action as the "nym wars" — short for "pseudonym wars." They see it as part of a worrying trend to force people to use their real names online.

Trying To Weed Out 'Trolls'

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Braves, Red Sox Fans Ready For The End, Ugly Or Not

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez: the face of frustration.
Patrick Smith Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 2:39 pm

There's one game left in baseball's 2011 regular season and four teams are tied for the last two playoff spots. It all ends tonight, or maybe not.

Some claim that this is the type of scenario that makes sports exciting. For the fans of two teams, however, the drama is not welcome.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Heidi, Germany's Cross-Eyed Opossum, Has Died

We have news of a passing: Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum that became an Internet sensation, was put to sleep in Germany today.

If you accept that Facebook fans are popularity's new currency, then Heidi was a big deal. With her 338,000 fans, the opossum, who made her American debut by predicting the Oscars (correctly on two categories) on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, was more popular than German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Rick Perry
12:42 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Social Security: The 'Third Rail' No More?

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry attend a rally earlier this month in Newport Beach, Calif. Though some Republican voters have doubts about Perry, recent polls show it's not because of his stance on Social Security, which he's called a "Ponzi scheme."
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

It's often been called the "third rail" of American politics. If so, many of those running for office this political season are living dangerously.

Social Security — what's wrong with it and how to fix it — has become part of the political debate in the presidential primary season. Most candidates say they have plans to reform it, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry has gone further, saying that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" and a "monstrous lie."

Although Perry may be running into resistance from Republican voters, it's not because of his stand on Social Security.

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Life In Retirement: The Not-So-Golden Years
12:40 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Saving For Retirement: How Much Do You Need?

More than half of Americans are at risk of not having enough money for basic expenses in retirement, experts say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 5:04 pm

By some counts, fewer than half of Americans have ever tried to calculate how much they'll need for retirement. And those who do? In one recent survey, half told pollsters they just guessed.

A new poll for NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds retirement is proving more difficult than expected for many Americans, in large part because they haven't saved enough. So we set out to ask: How much do you need?

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

NYPD Will Examine Use Of Pepper Spray On 'Occupy Wall Street' Protesters

At the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration in the financial district near Wall Street on Monday (Sept. 26, 2011).
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 1:13 pm

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Controversial Alabama Immigration Law Upheld In Part

A federal judge in Birmingham, Ala., has blocked some provisions of a controversial immigration law in the state — most notably those that would "make it a state crime to harbor immigrants and make it a misdemeanor to work in the state" — the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Study: Education About Civil Rights Movement Is 'Dismal' In U.S. Schools

The Southern Poverty Law Center has some tough words for school districts across the country. A new study found that education about the Civil Rights Movement is "dismal" across the United States.

The study assigned 35 states a grade of "F". Only three states — Alabama, New York and Florida — received an "A".

Here's how the study's authors sum it up:

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Wed September 28, 2011

At Day 2 Of Trial, Promoter Says Michael Jackson Looked Healthy

From The Associated Press:

"Two days before he died, Michael Jackson appeared strong during one of the final rehearsals for his highly anticipated comeback concerts, a promoter told jurors Wednesday as the involuntary manslaughter trial of the pop superstar's physician entered its second day."

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The Two-Way
10:56 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Reebok Agrees To Refund $25M To Those Who Purchased 'Toning Shoes'

Reebok EasyTone shoes.
Reebok

Reebok International Ltd. came to an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission over what the government said were "over-hyped advertising claims" by Reebok that a pair of its specialty shoes could tone leg and butt muscles better than regular shoes.

One TV ad, cited by the FTC, claimed that Reebok's EasyTone shoes tone "your butt up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers, just by walking."

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Shots - Health Blog
10:56 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Saw Palmetto No Better Than Sugar Pill For Prostate Problems

Field of dreams: saw palmetto thriving in Florida's Osceola National Forest.
Geoff Gallice Flickr

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 10:59 am

If you're one of the millions of men who takes the supplement saw palmetto for prostate trouble, there's more evidence that it's not worth the money.

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Around the Nation
10:47 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Going Round In Circles Over Traffic Fix

A traffic circle in the heart of Amman, Jordan.
Mauricio Lima AFP/Getty Images

Over the past decade, the number of roundabouts in the U.S. has increased dramatically, from the low hundreds up to the thousands. Modern traffic circles can cut down on commute time and pollution. Studies have shown that they even reduce accidents. And many American cities are planning to put in more. But there are still a few roadblocks in the way of a true roundabout revolution.

Near a traffic circle in West Los Angeles, a nexus of car culture, NPR put up a handwritten sign that said, "Talk to a reporter about roundabouts."

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Politics
10:40 am
Wed September 28, 2011

America's Love Affair With Nationalism

Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate during the singing of God Bless America during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on Sept. 11 in St. Petersburg, Fl.
J. Meric Getty Images

Picture this: An alternate-reality, suspended-in-space American metropolis where steampunk contraptions –- like propeller-driven dirigibles, squeaky trolley wires and clunky robotic creatures –- operate against a backdrop of clanging liberty bells, red, white and blue powder kegs and jingoistic posters warning: "Patriots! Arm Thyself Against the Foreigners and Anarchists!"

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Europe
10:38 am
Wed September 28, 2011

More Trouble In Greece Ahead Of Debt Inspections

A Greek pensioner burns his emergency tax bill during a protest Wednesday outside the Ministry of Finance in the center of Athens.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Greece's capital city was gridlocked Wednesday as mass-transit workers walked off the job for the third day this week over fresh austerity measures imposed by the government in hopes of securing crucial bailout funds.

The 24-hour strike left Athens without buses, subway trains, taxis or trams. Workers in customs and tax offices also walked off the job, and scores of retirees picketed outside the Finance Ministry to protest pension cuts.

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The Salt
10:31 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Growing Listeria Outbreak In Cantaloupe Prompts Focus On Prevention

Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Fri September 30, 2011 2:23 pm

UPDATE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden said in a press conference today that officials "do anticipate a rising number of cases in days and weeks to come" in the cantaloupe-listeria outbreak, the deadliest in over a decade.

"There are suspect cases that are under investigation" in the state, says Sherri McGarry, a senior advisor in FDA's office of foods, who has been involved in the investigation.

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It's All Politics
9:54 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Florida GOP To Move Up Presidential Primary, Defying National Party

Republicans in the Sunshine State have long been expected to throw the 2012 GOP presidential primary-and-caucus season into its usual chaos.

Reports Wednesday that legislators will schedule the state's primary on Jan. 31, a week earlier than the tentative date for the usual first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential caucuses, would accomplish that.

Florida legislators are determined to have the state GOP primary go fifth in the contest order, behind only the national party-sanctioned early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

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The Picture Show
9:29 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Massive Star Served Sunny Side Up

ESO/E. Lagadec

Researchers at the European Southern Observatory have spotted an enormous, sunny-side-up egg in space.

The fried egg — a massive star surrounded by a double, outer ring of gaseous dust — is the closest yellow hypergiant star found neighboring Earth to date. Yellow hypergiants are rare, massive stars living in a phase of a star's life cycle that generally only lasts a few hundred thousand years — a flash in the lifespan of the galaxy. They consume a lot of energy to burn so brightly.

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