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Asia
10:01 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

For Afghan Female Pilot, A Long, Turbulent Journey

Col. Latifa Nabizada, the only female pilot in Afghanistan, flies her helicopter to some of the most dangerous parts of the country. Her 5-year-old daughter Malalai is often with her in the cockpit.
Jonathan Levinson for NPR

Col. Latifa Nabizada, the only female pilot in the history of Afghan aviation, travels to some of the most remote and dangerous corners of her country with a devoted partner next to her in the cockpit – her 5-year-old daughter Malalai.

They walk hand-in-hand as they head into the hangar at Kabul's Military Airport, and then board a chopper. They have flown together on more than 300 missions over the past few years, and Col. Nabizada acknowledges the risks of having her daughter on board.

But she says she has no choice. The air force has no child care facility.

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Economy
10:01 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Making It In The U.S.: More Than Just Hard Work

Dametra Williams (right) says she thinks her daughter, Yvonne, 18, (left) is going into the world with the head start she never had.
Pam Fessler NPR

First of a two-part report.

Here's a startling figure: The typical white family has 20 times the wealth of the median black family. That's the largest gap in 25 years. The recession widened the racial wealth gap, but experts say it's also due to deeply ingrained differences in things such as inheritance, home ownership, taxes and even expectations.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

For Joplin's Children, Tornado's Effects Persist

A child's room is seen in a destroyed home after the tornado passed through Joplin on May 26. The city's residents are still coping with losses from the storm, which damaged or destroyed an estimated 8,000 structures.
Mario Tama Getty Images

The tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., in May destroyed a third of the town and killed 162 people. While the storm lasted just minutes, the psychological damage continues, and the community is mobilizing to cope with continuing trauma. The city's children are dealing with both the unsettling effects of the tornado and what the loss, disruption and heartache is doing to their parents.

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National Security
10:01 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

For A Marine Hero, A Medal Of Honor

Marine Dakota Meyer poses during his deployment in Kunar province, Afghanistan. President Obama is awarding him the Medal of Honor on Thursday, making him the first living Marine to receive the honor since the Vietnam War.
Anonymous AP

Shortly after dawn on a September morning in 2009, American and Afghan troops set out on patrol along a rocky mile-long stretch in eastern Afghanistan. They were heading to a small village for a routine meeting with tribal elders.

Suddenly, everything went wrong.

Cpl. Dakota Meyer and Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, who had stayed behind with the vehicles, heard small arms fire in the distance and knew instantly it was an ambush. Rodriguez-Chavez then heard an officer yelling for help on the radio.

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Economy
10:01 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Mortgage Savings: Leaders Seek Refinancing Options

In his jobs speech last week, President Obama also took time to say he wants to help more Americans save money on their mortgages.

"To help responsible homeowners, we're going to work with federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4 percent," he said to applause from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Sheriff: White House Gatecrasher, Michaele Salahi, Not Kidnapped

You'd be excused if you didn't lose sleep over the news that made its way across the blogosphere overnight: Tareq Salahi, who is better known as the husband in the duo who snuck into a White House state dinner last year, called the cops and the media to say his wife Michaele was kidnapped.

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The Two-Way
3:57 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Rockies Catcher Eliezer Alfonzo Suspended 100 Games For Positive Test

The Colorado Rockies Eliezer Alfonzo is joining some ignominious company: Today Major League Baseball announced it was suspending the catcher for 100 games, after failing a drug test for the second time. Alfonzo tested positive for PED in 2008, when he was in the minor leagues.

The Denver Post reports:

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Politics
3:39 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Political Divide At Congressional Hearing On Solyndra

A congressional hearing on Tuesday over a company called Solyndra became a politically charged referendum on the administration's effort to promote green energy.

Until recently, Solyndra made solar panels. It received more than half a billion dollars in government loan guarantees back in 2009. Now, the company is in bankruptcy and is being investigated by the FBI.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:12 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Why You Should Wash A Melon Before Chowing Down

Do you really know where those cantaloupes have been?
iStockphoto.com

Have you ever heeded the advice to wash and dry a melon before digging in? Does anyone actually eat the skin of a honeydew or a cantaloupe anyway?

Well, even if you're not planning on a mega-dose of fibrous skin and rind, there is a good reason to rinse off that melon: germs. The knife that cuts through the melon's tough exterior can transfer nasty bugs to the sweet flesh you do consume.

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Barack Obama
3:01 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

On The Road, Obama Faces Mixed Reaction Over Jobs

President Obama speaks Wednesday at North Carolina State University in Raleigh about the American Jobs Act.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 2:12 am

For the second time in less than a week, President Obama on Wednesday visited a college campus, touting his new jobs plan. He told supporters at North Carolina State University that if Congress goes along with his proposal for tax cuts and new government spending, it will help to restore middle-class jobs.

A new CNN poll shows more Americans support the president's jobs plan than oppose it.

But that survey and others also find widespread disappointment with the U.S. economy — and Obama's handling of it.

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The Two-Way
2:45 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Idaho Has The Slowest Internet, In Part Because Of A Furry Reason

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 4:00 pm

Back in July, Pando Networks, a business focused peer-to-peer network, released the findings of a nationwide study on Internet speeds. It found Idaho has the slowest networks, while Rhode Island, New Jersey and Massachusetts are at the top of the pack.

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Asia
1:26 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Tweeting To Electoral Victory In China? Maybe Not

Labor activist Liu Ping (center) has unleashed a wave of candidates in the latest round of local elections. Here, she and two other campaigners hold a banner that declares, "Fighting fake [things] should start with elections. One person, one vote will change China."
Courtesy of Liu Ping

Liu Ping's phone is tapped. She's followed by men in black cars. Her electricity was cut off. And she was detained and held incommunicado in a hotel for four days.

Her crime? Trying to run for election to the local People's Congress in her hometown of Xinyu in China's southeastern Jiangxi province.

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Environment
1:26 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Post-Irene Cleanup May Damage Environment

Water mixed with gasoline accumulated in the Zerega's pizzeria parking lot last month in Windham, N.Y. More than a dozen towns in Vermont and at least three in New York were cut off, with roads and bridges washed out by flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
Mary Altaffer AP

Scientists are beginning to get a picture of the environmental impact of Tropical Storm Irene, which ripped through some of the East Coast's most pristine rivers, triggering hundreds of oil, chemical and sewage spills.

Now, some environmental groups worry that the cleanup could cause even more harm.

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Rick Perry
1:08 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Perry Focuses On Faith At Christian University

At an evangelical Christian school in Virginia on Wednesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry found an audience warmly receptive to his message about his own religious commitment.

Perry, the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, visited Liberty University after what some considered a lackluster showing in this week's Tea Party debate in Tampa.

Perry didn't deliver his traditional stump speech: Instead of attacks on President Obama and his GOP challengers, Perry spoke about his inspirations and his personal faith.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Al Gore: It's An Honor To Be Attacked On Climate Change

"There's a long tradition of people who don't like a particular message turning to attack the person delivering the message," former Vice President Al Gore just said on NPR's Talk of the Nation.

That's why, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee added, "I view it as an honor, really," to be the target of Republican jabs on the issue of climate change.

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Conflict In Libya
12:40 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Libya's Bankers: Treasury Protected From Plunder

A fighter loyal to the Transitional National Council sits with money that has been donated to pay fighters at a checkpoint outside Bani Walid, Libya, on Monday. It was widely feared that ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi and his supporters spirited away much of the country's wealth. But those fears have yet to materialize, as Libya's central bank holdings appear to remain largely intact.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 3:26 pm

As a new Libyan leadership assesses the country's financial condition, there were fears that ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi, his family and his cronies had looted the treasury.

But it now appears much of that wealth remains frozen in foreign accounts, and Libyan bankers say the billions of dollars worth of gold and cash held by the Central Bank remained basically intact throughout the chaos of the revolution.

One of the many rumors and claims was that a convoy of more than 200 Libyan military vehicles had crossed the border into neighboring Niger.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:22 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

CDC Basks In 'Contagion's' Admiring Take On Disease Detectives

Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Ellis Cheever and Kate Winslet as Dr. Erin Mears in the thriller Contagion. Winslet's character was modeled on CDC epidemiologist Dr. Anne Schuchat.
Claudette Barius Warner Bro. Pictures

It's not often that a federal health agency gets to toot its horn about its portrayal in a Hollywood thriller. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took full advantage of the opportunity Tuesday, on the heels of the release of Contagion, a feature film about a deadly global pandemic and the public health workers who try to stop it.

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Planet Money
12:15 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

A Slow-Motion Bank Run In Europe

MICHEL GANGNE AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 9:39 am

Update: This post was published on Sept. 14. On Sept. 15, the European Central Bank, along with other central banks from around the world, announced a new lending program to fight the slow-motion run on Europe's banks. Here's more on that program.

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Europe
12:14 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

For U.S. And Russia, Distrust Still Runs High

President Obama meets with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville, France, on May 26. Obama's "reset" policy with Russia led to improved relations, but the countries are now facing some difficult issues.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

President Obama's policy of engagement with Russia has paid off in several concrete achievements, including a nuclear arms control agreement and greater cooperation on Iran and Afghanistan.

But both supporters and critics of the so-called reset policy worry that further victories will be harder to win.

Both nations are distracted by presidential politics, preventing policymakers from talking seriously about matters such as missile defense.

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Asia
12:07 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Mentally Ill In Indonesia Still Live In Chains

Nengah, 35, suffers from schizophrenia. Until recently, her family on Bali in Indonesia kept her chained to a concrete pit for nearly a decade.
Cokorda Bagus Jaya Lesmana Courtesy of GlobalPost

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 12:36 pm

The harsh, tropical sunlight that dapples Bali's tourist-thronged beaches streams through the fingers of a palm leaf and lands on the shoulders of Nengah, who slumps like a rag doll amid a pile of tattered pillows in the island's far eastern reaches.

The poor village of Abang is remote, and Nengah spends her days in a heap, staring at hands that lie in her lap like dry leaves.

Today, Nengah is not alone. Neighbors have gathered in the mid-July heat to watch as her brother uses a stone to break a chain that has bound her to a concrete pit — her home — for nearly a decade.

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

NASA Unveils Next Generation 'Monster' Space Rocket

Artist concept of SLS launching.
NASA

If things go without a hitch NASA announced that its new Space Launch System could take its first manned test flight in 2017.

The new design looks a lot like the Apollo era rockets that took American astronauts to the moon, but NASA said the new spacecraft is much more powerful than any other rocket they've made before and could set up astronauts for deep space exploration. The SLS will be NASA's first exploration-calss vehicle since the Saturn V took astronauts to the moon.

At the unveiling of the plans Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) called it a "monster rocket."

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Afghanistan
11:32 am
Wed September 14, 2011

As Wars Drag On, U.S. Interest Wanes

Darryl St. George, a Navy corpsman, walks along a mud compound wall in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. Next month will mark 10 years for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
David Gilkey NPR

When U.S. forces launched the war in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, they were riding a wave of anger and a call for justice by a broad swath of the American public.

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, says the initial support for the Afghan invasion was around 90 percent, and the war was closely followed by a large number of people. But since then, the public has been slowly disengaging, he says.

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It's All Politics
11:23 am
Wed September 14, 2011

White House's Haste On Solar Firm Loan Creates Political Headaches

While there are still many open questions, some things are more certain in the sorry tale of Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar-cell manufacturer President Obama once praised as a model for the nation's renewable energy future.

One, U.S. taxpayers will take a loss on their $535 million federal loan guarantee that was part of the stimulus program.

Two, 1,100 workers have been laid off.

Three, the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week raided Solyndra's offices.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Cats That Glow For AIDS Research Join List Of Animals That Shine

Glowing for science.
Mayo Clinic

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 11:12 am

A story that's been getting some attention the past day or so — that AIDS researchers at the Mayo Clinic have inserted genes into cats that make the animals glow green in the dark — sounded familiar.

Haven't researchers been doing this sort of thing for years? We wondered.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Class Of 2011 Reading Scores On SAT Fall To Lowest Level On Record

At first glance this bit of news from the AP seems a foreboding sign for the future of the country:

Scores on the critical reading portion of the SAT college entrance exam fell three points to their lowest level on record last year, and combined reading and math scores reached their lowest point since 1995.

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Business
10:00 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Herman Cain Talks Jobs, 'Atrocious' Poverty Rate

Republican presidential candidate businessman Herman Cain gives the thumbs up during a break in a Republican presidential debate Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Mike Carlson AP

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 10:03 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to spend a good deal of time today talking about money, how much the government has to spend and how much and how little many American families have. Later we're going to talk about that special Congressional Committee that's been charged with coming up with a plan to take a big bite out of the federal deficit. That group held it's first public hearing on Tuesday.

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Economy
10:00 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Former Biden Advisor Critical Of Cain's Jobs Plan

For another perspective on combating the increase in poverty, Tell Me More turns to Jared Bernstein. He served in the Obama administration as Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. He responds to Herman Cain's 999 plan and identifies the impediments of getting Americans back to work.

Economy
10:00 am
Wed September 14, 2011

'Civil, Sober' Super Committee Gets To Work

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 8:51 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's an article of faith that parents are going to try to work hard and sacrifice so they can leave something to their kids. But a new survey shows that that's less and less the case for millionaire baby boomers. We'll hear more about that in just a few minutes. That's this week's Money Coach conversation.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:28 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Fear of Antidepressants Leads People To Shun Treatment

As common as antidepressant use has become, many depressed people still fear treatment.
Amanda M Hatfield Flickr

Antidepressants are the second-most-prescribed drug in the U.S., making them seem about as common as Pez candy.

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Around the Nation
9:16 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Is Walmart A Magnet For American Mayhem?

In virtually every county, there is a Walmart open every hour of every day and every one of those Walmarts is being visited by 37,000 people a week — that's 220 people an hour, in every Walmart every hour of the day. Here a Walmart worker pulls carts at a store in Pittsburg, Calif. on June 20.
Paul Sakuma AP

Dispatches from the field: A customer was nabbed by police for sampling raw meat at a Walmart in Pennsylvania. A woman said she had an encounter with a bat at a Walmart in Minnesota. A family of five was living in a car at a Walmart in Florida.

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