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8:38 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Two Americans Held In Iran Released On Bail

A million-dollar bail agreement secured the release Wednesday of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who had been sentenced to eight-year prison terms for illegal entry and espionage. A third American arrested with them, Sarah Shourd, was released last year. All denied any wrongdoing.

The Two-Way
8:11 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Live Blog: Obama Addresses U.N. General Assembly

President Obama addresses the opening of the Untied Nations General Assembly on Sept. 21 in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

In an address that focused on "the pursuit of peace," President Obama just told delegates at the U.N. General Assembly that people everywhere want "to live with dignity and freedom; to get an education and pursue opportunity; to love our families and our God."

It is world leaders' responsibility, he said, to build "the kind of peace that makes life worth living."

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Driven By Foreclosures, Existing Home Sales Rose In August

Sales of existing homes rose 7.7 percent in August from July, the National Association of Realtors just reported.

According to a statement from the association's chief economist, Lawrence Yun:

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Shots - Health Blog
7:26 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Ten Questions To Ask You Doctor

iStockphoto.com

It's so hard anymore to get time with anyone — especially your doctor. So you really need to be prepared to make the most of each appointment.

Take heart. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has come up with a cheat sheet you can bone up on or even take with you to help during the visit.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Obama Tells Biden To 'Just Go Be Joe' On Campaign Trail

Go get 'em, the president tells Biden.
Susan Walsh AP

A new McClatchy-Marist poll shows that a majority of voters believe President Obama will lose "to any Republican" in next year's election and that "a solid plurality" of those surveyed say they will definitely vote against the president, the McClatchy news service reports.

And, it adds, "most potential Republican challengers" are gaining on Obama in one-on-one matchups.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Wed September 21, 2011

$16 Muffins, $8 Coffees, $5 Meatballs: Justice Dept. Spending Rapped

Anel Fernandez Cover/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 12:05 pm

There's more ammunition today for those who collect evidence of government waste.

In a new report covering the last few years of the George W. Bush administration and the first year of the Obama administration, the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General found that at conferences hosted by DOJ there was some "allowable but ... extravagant" spending.

A few notes from the report:

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Wed September 21, 2011

At UN: Obama To Speak As Critics Take Aim At Mideast Policy

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 11:41 am

When President Obama steps to the podium at the U.N. General Assembly later this morning, he'll have a chance to explain why the U.S. opposes the bid by Palestinians to join that world body.

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Former NPR News Exec Ellen Weiss Takes Job At Center For Public Integrity

Ellen Weiss, who resigned in January from her job as NPR's senior vice president for news after an independent review raised questions about "the speed and handling" of news analyst Juan Williams' termination, has been named executive editor at the Center for Public Integrity.

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Developing: Iran Has Released Jailed Americans, State TV Says

A photo released by Iran's state-run Press TV on Feb. 6, 2011, shows U.S. hikers Shane Bauer (left) and Josh Fattal at court in Tehran.
AFP/Getty Images

Two American men jailed as spies in Iran since 2009 have been released, Iran's official Press TV reports.

The news site says it "has learned" that news.

Its report follows word from The Associated Press that attorney Masoud Shafiei said a court has approved a $1 million bail-for-freedom deal for the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

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Around the Nation
3:23 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Repeal Day Marks The End Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

"Don't ask, don't tell" is no more. The policy barred openly gay, lesbian or bisexual people from serving in the military. Gay rights groups held Repeal Day celebrations across the country. One celebration took place in New York City at the historic Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement.

Law
10:01 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Georgia Is Poised To Execute Davis, 22 Years Later

During a 2008 protest in support of death row inmate Troy Davis, people in Paris' Place de la Concorde hold signs urging clemency for Davis, convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.
Mehdi Fedouach AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 2:49 pm

After years of appeals and controversy, Troy Anthony Davis is scheduled to be executed in Georgia on Wednesday. Georgia's board of pardons turned back Davis' appeal for clemency Tuesday, despite high-profile support for his claim that he did not kill a police officer in 1989.

Several witnesses have changed their testimony since Davis' trial; tens of thousands are protesting the execution. Former president Jimmy Carter, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu and more than 50 members of Congress are among those who have asked Georgia to commute Davis' death sentence.

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Business
10:01 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

A Do-It-Yourself Approach To The Electric Car

Jack Rickard and Brian Noto of EVTV are converting this replica 1966 AC Cobra to run entirely on batteries. The two host an online video series explaining how to convert a gas-guzzling road warrior into an all-electric vehicle.
Jacob McCleland for NPR

Jack Rickard and Brian Noto have developed something of a cult following on their webcast EVTV, or Electric Vehicle Television, produced from their garage in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Every week, they talk in soul-crushing detail about the intricacies of how to gut a gas-guzzling road warrior and convert it into an all-electric vehicle. On Wednesday, they host the Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention at the Cape Girardeau airport.

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Space
10:01 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Where Falling Satellite Lands Is Anyone's Guess

This artist's conceptual image shows the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS. After two decades in orbit, the satellite will make an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
NASA

Later this week, a retired NASA satellite the size of a school bus will finally fall back towards Earth after orbiting the planet for two decades. Most of it will burn up in the atmosphere. But about two dozen pieces are expected to hit the ground — somewhere.

And the biggest piece will weigh about 300 pounds.

If that's got you worried, NASA emphasizes that in the history of the space age, there have been no confirmed reports of falling space junk hurting anyone. But that doesn't mean no one has ever been hit.

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Planet Money
10:01 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

'Operation Twist,' Explained In 4 Easy Steps

Note: Robert Smith has an Operation Twist explainer on Wednesday's Morning Edition. That story is attached above.

The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds is 1.95 percent. This is crazy low. It's lower than inflation. But the Federal Reserve may be about to push the rate even lower.

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Politics
10:01 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

As The 'Un-Candidate,' Palin Tests GOP Patience

Author Joe McGinniss has been out this week promoting his new book about Sarah Palin — a book widely condemned for gossipy allegations by anonymous sources. The book is getting attention in part because Palin might be running for president.

This summer, Palin certainly looked like a presidential candidate as she rode through Iowa and New Hampshire in a red-white-and-blue bus, but as time ticks away the pressure is building on Palin to make her candidacy official.

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World
10:01 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

At U.N., Obama Faces Palestinian Challenge

President Obama meets with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in New York City. The two men discussed the Palestinian issue only after reporters had left the room.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 11:41 am

Palestinians say they still plan to seek recognition of their statehood from the U.N. Security Council this week, throwing more than a wrench into the diplomatic works for the Obama administration.

President Obama has promised to veto the move in the Security Council. That puts the U.S. on sound footing with Israel, but on a collision course with European and Middle Eastern allies who support the Palestinians' bid.

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Sweetness And Light
8:00 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

No Respect For The Women On The Sidelines

Pam Oliver, sideline reporter for Fox Sports, interviews head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers as he leads his team against the Denver Broncos.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 2:16 pm

Football season has hardly started and fans are already grousing about sideline reporters. To be sure, sideliners now exist in most all sports, and a handful of them –– notably Craig Sager of Turner, who was apparently in town the day the clown died, and thus got all his clothes –– are downright famous. While Sager is best known for basketball, it is football sideline reporters who are most identified with the sport.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:59 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Predicting Sexual Function After Prostate Treatment

A study should help men facing prostate cancer treatment get a better sense of how good their sexual function will be down the road.
iStockphoto.com

Up to now doctors couldn't tell a man much about his chances of maintaining sexual function after surgery or radiation for prostate cancer.

"We'd say about half recovered or maintained their function," says Dr. Martin Sanda of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "And we'd be able to turn that up or down a little bit based on age."

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

VIDEO: As DADT Is Repealed, Gay Serviceman Comes Out To His Dad

Randy Phillips in a YouTube video.
screenshot YouTube

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 5:11 pm

As the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy went into effect, we heard many stories out about how service members are marking the occasion. But one of them has emerged as particularly personal.

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Politics
4:33 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

The Dozen Richest Men And Women In Congress

2. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): $238,812,296
J. Scott Applewhite AP

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

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) barely made our list at No. 13, but here are the richest dozen men and women in Congress who could be affected by the Buffett Rule. The rankings, by average net worth, were released on Tuesday by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Shots - Health Blog
4:32 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Food Industry Pitted Against Public Health At U.N. Summit

A pizza from a Pizzomatic vending machine that bakes and sells pizzas in Germany. Public health advocates say the food industry needs to make concrete commitments to making healthier products to reduce chronic disease related to diet.
OLIVER BERG AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 5:01 pm

How do you come up with a plan to help millions of people around the world avoid a chronic disease? For starters, don't treat the food companies that sell the products that contribute to those diseases as partners in the process. At least, that's what public health advocates argue — even as the accused companies say they're committed to making healthier products for the masses.

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The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Al-Jazeera Director Announces Resignation

Wadah Khanfar, Al-Jazeera's director-general, is seen during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the launching of the Arabic satellite news channel in Doha. This photo was taken in 2006.
Karim Jaafar AFP/Getty Images

Al-Jazeera's top executive, Wadah Khanfar announced he was resigning today. The network announced that it had appointed Sheikh Ahmad bin Jasem al-Thani, a member of the Qatari ruling family, which owns Al-Jazzeera, as its new director general.

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Reporter's Notebook
3:24 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

A New Destination For Kayakers: The L.A. River?

The fifth graders from L.A.'s Pico Union neighborhood, who rarely get to spend time in nature, say it was the best field trip ever.
Mandalit del Barco NPR

The once-polluted and often ridiculed Los Angeles River is now open to kayak and canoe adventures. City officials and the Army Corps of Engineers are running a pilot program that allows people to explore the river.

In the South American rain forest, I once paddled in a dugout canoe through the lush Amazon River, filled with pink dolphins and flesh-eating piranhas. So the thought of navigating down the Los Angeles River at first seemed almost ridiculous.

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The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Maryland Man's Robocall Scam Nets Him $4 Million

From the annals of ingenious scams, comes this report from the AP:

A pay phone owner is being charged with using his Washington-area phones to ring in $4 million in fraudulent 50-cent calls.

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Barack Obama
2:37 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

With Leadership Questioned, Obama Gets In The Fray

President Obama speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday. Obama laid out a plan for trillions in deficit cuts but warned Republicans he will veto any bill that makes structural changes to Medicare unless they agree to additional revenues.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

There's been a sea change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's almost as if the cerebral, detached president went into a phone booth and came out a fighting Democrat.

In the Rose Garden on Monday, as President Obama laid out his vision for how the congressional supercommittee could find trillions in savings, he was no longer above the fray. He was right in the fray. And he made it clear he has given up on his so far fruitless search for common ground with the Republicans.

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Pop Culture
2:28 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Hollywood Seen Through Paparazzi-Colored Glasses

The TMZ Tour promises "Secrets and Celebrity Hot Spots," all seen from the comfort of a bus that seats 24.
Ben Bergman NPR

Since its debut six years ago, TMZ has fed millions of fans a steady diet of celebrity news on its highly trafficked blog. There's also the TMZ TV show, syndicated on hundreds of stations. And now, for the truly TMZ obsessed, there's a TMZ Tour of Hollywood.

The traditional Hollywood tour has been around almost as long as Hollywood itself.

For decades, tourists have come here to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars — or at least a glimpse of where they eat.

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Conflict In Libya
1:54 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

President Obama Praises Libya's Political Transition

President Obama meets with Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, chairman of the Libyan Transitional National Council, at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday.
Allan Tannenbaum-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 5:20 pm

President Obama met Libya's interim leader Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and held up the country as a model of what the U.N. can do to protect civilians from atrocities.

Obama also pledged continued support and encouraged Libya's new leaders to keep their promises to forge a just, democratic society.

Libyan rebels have yet to find ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi and fighting continues in the country. Still, Obama went to the meeting with a hopeful message.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Is Another Shutdown Showdown Looming In Washington?

The Capitol building.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 1:49 pm

Less than two months after nearly shutting down the federal government as they argued over the best way to reduce the budget deficit, there's word that Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are again at odds and that another shutdown showdown is possible.

Politico reports that:

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

VIDEO: Oops, Or How A $1.5M Ferrari Ends Up In The Ocean

A Ferrari goes for a swim.
screenshot thepatrickweir

Today, the Canadian press picked up on a video that seems to have been making the rounds on car sites for a few days. Here's how the Toronto Sun introduces it:

Zahir Rana wanted to give spectators at the Targa Newfoundland rally a show they'd never forget — he did just that after putting a $1.5 million Ferrari into the Atlantic Ocean.

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