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Shots - Health Blog
4:48 am
Sat August 20, 2011

Bill Clinton's Life As A Vegan

Looking fit: Former President Bill Clinton, seen here in May, has lost more than 20 pounds since going vegan.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Bill Clinton became renowned on the campaign trail for his ability to snarf up burgers and fries. Heart bypass surgery convinced him to cut back on the grease. In the past year, Clinton's gone even further: He's gone vegan.

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Sports
4:00 am
Sat August 20, 2011

A Little Luck Is 'Not A Bad Thing' In Baseball

In baseball, it's better to be lucky than good, according to Bill Buckner. He should know. Buckner was very good. He was an All-Star Gold Glove first baseman who played 22 years in the major leagues, including four seasons for the Boston Red Sox.

This summer, Buckner is back in baseball and back in New England, where he's reminded that 22 years of being good can't erase one moment of being unlucky.

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Middle East
4:00 am
Sat August 20, 2011

As U.S. Prepares To Leave, Iraq Remains A Flash Point

An Iraqi man inspects damages at the Mar Afram Syriac Orthodox Church after an explosion in the northern city of Kirkuk on Aug. 15. Iraq continues to be hit by violence as most U.S. forces prepare to leave by the end of the year.
Marwan Ibrahim AFP/Getty Images

Iraq has turned into a back-burner issue, but there's still plenty to worry about in a country that remains far from stable.

Attacks across the country this week raised a host of questions about the ability of Iraq's security forces to maintain control. There are still nearly 50,000 American troops stationed in the country. But their primary mission now is to train Iraqi soldiers, and most of the U.S. forces are scheduled to leave by Dec. 31 under an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

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Animals
3:50 am
Sat August 20, 2011

Doggone It! Canine Thefts On The Rise

Dognappings have risen 49 percent in the U.S. in 2011, according to data gathered by the American Kennel Club.

"We believe the increase is due to economic times," Lisa Peterson, a spokesperson for the nonprofit group, which has been tracking pet theft for several years, tells Weekend Edition Saturday guest host Jacki Lyden.

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Race To The Arctic
3:00 am
Sat August 20, 2011

Trying To Unravel The Mysteries Of Arctic Warming

A polar bear makes its way across the ice in Canada's Northwest Passage. Melting ice in the Arctic will make survival increasingly difficult for wildlife in the region.
Jackie Northam NPR

The Arctic is heating up faster than anyplace on Earth. And as it heats, the ice is growing thinner and melting faster. Scientists say that sometime this century, the Arctic Ocean could be free of ice during the summers. And that transition is likely to be chaotic.

Arctic sea ice has always seen dramatic swings. Every winter, the ocean is completely covered with ice. It starts to melt in the late spring, and by September about half that ice has melted away.

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Sports
5:51 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

NCAA Chief Discusses 'Death Penalty,' Miami Case

NCAA President Mark Emmert says he's willing to back up his tough talk on punishing rule-breakers — even using the "death penalty" as a deterrent.

With salacious allegations swirling around Miami's football program, and one week after Emmert joined with university presidents to discuss toughening sanctions against cheating schools, the NCAA's leader said he believed the infractions committee should make the harshest penalty an option.

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Around the Nation
4:39 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Does More Jobs Mean More Government Spending?

US President Barack Obama listens to questions as he speaks at a town hall style meeting in Decorah, Iowa, August 15, 2011, during his three-day bus tour in the Midwest centering on ways to grow the economy.
JIM WATSON AFP/Getty Images

President Obama's bus tour across the Midwest this week could probably be summed up this way: jobs vs. deficits. Americans are clamoring for action on both, but action on jobs might mean more spending, which is a toxic word in Washington, as well as for many small-business owners.

A Small-Business Owner's Struggle

Terry Frank and her husband own a shop that sells everything from sandwiches to desserts on the Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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Africa
4:31 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

UN: 300,000 Children At 'Risk Of Dying' In Somalia

Children run toward workers distributing hot meals in Mogadishu Thursday. Some 12 million people in parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia are at risk of starvation in the wake of the region's worst drought in decades.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

More than 300,000 children in the Horn of Africa are severely malnourished "and in imminent risk of dying" because of drought and famine, the head of the U.N. children's agency said Friday.

The United Nations says that tens of thousands of people have died in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti — and the organization warns that the famine hasn't peaked. More than 12 million people in the region need food aid, according to the U.N.

"The crisis in the Horn of Africa is a human disaster becoming a human catastrophe," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake told reporters.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:15 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

HIV In The Middle East And North Africa: Hidden 'Behind A Veil'?

Pakistani NGO workers protest at a rally on World AIDS Day in Peshawar in 2006.
Tariq Mahmood/AFP Getty Images

HIV epidemics are emerging among men who have sex with men in the Middle East and North Africa, researchers say. It's a region where HIV/AIDS isn't well understood, or studied.

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Africa
3:53 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Libyan Rebels Celebrate Takeover Of Another Key City

Two Libyan rebel fighters battle with snipers holed up in a hotel at the main square of Zawiya, a city 30 miles west of Tripoli, on Aug. 18. The rebels entered the key coastal city this week.
Marc Hofer AFP/Getty Images

The Libyan rebels have been on the move this week.

In Gheryan, an important city south of the capital Tripoli, it seemed everyone was celebrating Friday. Women, children, young men, older men and even white-haired grandfathers.

They jumped into trucks and cars and flashed the victory sign to each other in an impromptu parade. The city, which straddles the main road south from Tripoli, was a garrison for Moammar Gadhafi's forces for the past six months. From Gheryan, the military would resupply forces for the frequent battles in the country's Western Mountains.

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Africa
3:48 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Gadhafi's Former No. 2 Defected, Libyan Rebels Say

Libyan rebels say a close Moammar Gadhafi associate who was once the No. 2 top regime official has defected in another blow to the increasingly isolated Libyan leader.

Abdel Salam Jalloud helped Gadhafi stage the 1969 coup that propelled him to power and transformed Libya from a monarchy to a republic. He was Gadhafi's most trusted deputy for two decades but began to clash with the leader starting in the 1990s.

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Middle East
2:46 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Syria's Crackdown Provokes Sharp Debate

In a photo taken during a guided government tour, Syrian soldiers raise their weapons while holding a picture of President Bashar Assad as they leave the eastern city of Deir al-Zour on Aug. 16, following a 10-day military operation.
- AFP/Getty Images

Over the past five months, the Syrian military has repeatedly used tanks and heavy weaponry on cities and towns that are centers of protest.

As has been the case most every Friday since March, demonstrators turned out in huge numbers after the midday prayers, and there was more violence. Activists said that Syrian security forces fired at protesters across the country, reportedly killing at least 20.

Assessing whether this Syrian strategy is working depends on who you ask — and what version of the military crackdown in Syria you accept.

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Business
1:58 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Target Takes Aim At Walmart, With Some Success

Christian Hernandez stocks shelves earlier this month at a Target store in Miami. Target reported strong profit numbers in the second quarter of 2011 in its continued battle with Walmart stores over discount retail dominance.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 20, 2011 10:04 am

Target has Walmart's price-conscious customer base in its sights, and its aim is improving, analysts say.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp., the nation's third-largest retailer, reported profits up 3.7 percent to $704 million for the quarter ending July 30 over the same quarter last year. Although profits for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. were even better — profits for the quarter were $3.8 billion, up 5.7 percent from a year ago — the company's sales at U.S. stores open for more than a year fell for the ninth consecutive quarter.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

High Profile Law Firm Withdraws From John Edwards' Defense Team

Former U.S. senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, indicted for alleged campaign violations, is losing part of his trial team. The high profile Wall Street law firm that has led his defense is withdrawing.

Until now, Edwards has been represented by former White House Counsel Gregory Craig and former Associate White House Counsel Cliff Sloan from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. But apparently for both financial and tactical reasons, Edwards is switching lawyers.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Baseball's Clemens Should Be Tried Again, Prosecutors Argue

"Prosecutors in the Roger Clemens perjury case say they made an honest mistake in showing jurors inadmissible evidence and the baseball star should face another trial," The Associated Press reports.

Back in July, on the second day of proceedings, federal Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial. As NPR's Nina Totenberg reported:

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Asia
1:07 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

In Japan, Restoring Photos For Tsunami Victims

Becci Manson has spent the past few months on Japan's northeast coast restoring photos damaged by the tsunami.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Each week, tsunami survivors gather at temporary housing centers in the city of Yamada along Japan's northeast coast. They sing songs to cheer themselves up and comb through salvaged photos.

One morning, Miyoko Fukushi finds an old picture from the opening day of her daughter's elementary school. It's a formal shot of the students' mothers, wearing kimonos with their hands in their laps. Fukushi, 77, points to a younger version of herself.

"I was chubbier when I was young," she says with a laugh.

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Business
1:00 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Is Computer-Driven Trading Causing Market Spikes?

Some market analysts are pointing to high-frequency and computer-driven trading as the source of increased volatility in the markets. They say it's time to restore the uptick rule, which was eliminated just a couple of years ago.

The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Urban Hero: NYC Bookseller Has Held Same Parking Spot For 11 Years

Charles Mysak sells books on a street corner. And his car (behind the stacks) stays parked right there.
Alden Peters

You just have to read a story with a headline like this:

"Parking 'squat' Bookseller stakes out same spot for 11 years."

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Politics
12:11 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Perry Makes Texas-Size Waves In Presidential Race

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who recently joined the GOP presidential race, speaks Thursday with patrons at Popovers in Portsmouth, N.H.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Gov. Rick Perry made a splash the size of Texas into the Republican presidential field this week. He plunged in with events in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, demonstrating each step of the way that he's not shying away from controversy, or attention.

On Monday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Perry showed he is more than happy to attack even the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

"If this guy prints more money between now and the election," Perry said, "I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Indiana Stage Collapse Claims Sixth Person's Life

Sad news from the Indianapolis Star:

"Jennifer Haskell, 22, a senior at Ball State University, died this morning from injuries suffered in Saturday's stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

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Politics
10:08 am
Fri August 19, 2011

For Sen. Baucus, Deficit Panel May Be An Opportunity

Montana Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, walks to a bipartisan meeting on the deficit hosted by Vice President Biden in May. Baucus is one of 12 lawmakers who've been named to the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, dubbed the "supercommittee."
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 22, 2011 6:29 pm

Twelve members of Congress have until Thanksgiving to cut roughly $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit. Among the six Democrats and six Republicans on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, dubbed the "supercommittee," is longtime Montana Sen. Max Baucus.

The Democrat is one of the longest-serving members of Congress currently in office. He's been in the Senate since 1978, but it wasn't until 2001, when he became chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, that he appeared in the national spotlight.

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Politics
10:00 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Obama Takes Vacation, Perry Shakes GOP Race

Republicans are slamming President Obama for going on a 10-day vacation amid tough economic times. Obama said he'll propose a jobs program upon returning to Washington. And Texas Gov. Rick Perry is changing the dynamics of the GOP presidential race. Guest host Tony Cox talks politics with US News & World Report's Mary Kate Cary and The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart.

The Two-Way
9:50 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Detente Rules In China: Georgetown, Chinese Teams Make Up

Basketball players from Georgetown University and China's Bayi Rockets team traded punches during their game Thursday (Aug. 18, 2011) in Beiing.
Yangshizhonh-China Daily AFP/Getty Images

There's word from Voice of America this hour that members of the Georgetown University men's basketball team and players from China's professional Bayi Rockets club have "cleared up some of their differences ... a day after they fought on a basketball court in Beijing."

According to VOA:

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It's All Politics
9:26 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Mitt Romney Gets Unintentional Help From Rest Of GOP Field

All indications are that Mitt Romney has a real primary fight on his hands. Long suspected as being a Republican in Name Only by many of his party's hard-core conservatives, he's faced with two rivals for the GOP presidential nomination — Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry — with strong appeal to that key segment of the party.

But Romney has some critical advantages. Not the least of them is he's been a presidential candidate before, running against a politician — Sen. John McCain — who was an experienced national campaigner himself.

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Politics
9:15 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Obama Takes A Vacation: Getaway Or Gaffe?

As the U.S. economy takes hit after hit, President Obama is taking heat for his 10-day fun-in-the-sun vacation at Martha's Vineyard that began Thursday.

From the left: Colbert I. King, op-ed writer for The Washington Post, observed: "Mr. President, Martha's Vineyard is the last place in the world you should visit. ... You simply don't have time to take time off from America."

From the right: Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, told the Daily Beast that Obama is "acting like the rich guys he wants to raise taxes on."

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Shots - Health Blog
9:11 am
Fri August 19, 2011

To Avoid Brain-Eating Amoebas, Hold Your Nose

Go ahead and jump, but hold your nose.
iStockPhoto.com

Brain-eating amoebas have killed three people so far this summer. The victims include a 9-year-old Virginia boy and a 16-year-old Florida girl; both apparently became infected while swimming in warm, stagnant water. That makes the typical summer health warnings about swimmer's ear and sunburn seem mundane by comparison.

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Monkey See
9:05 am
Fri August 19, 2011

A New 'West Memphis Three' Hearing Could Give A Documentary A New Ending

This morning in Jonesboro, Ark., Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, known as the "West Memphis Three," will reportedly appear at a surprise hearing where many outlets are reporting that they — or at least Echols and Baldwin, with some reports saying all three — will be released after spending 18 years in prison for the 1993 murders of three young boys. Echols had been sentenced to death.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Schism, New Indictments Follow Polygamist Leader's Conviction

A letter sent by email and snail mail urges the followers of polygamist leader and convicted pedophile Warren Jeffs to "come clean ... or you are going down with the wicked and the damned."

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Stocks Open Lower

In the first 15 minutes or so of trading on Wall Street, the stock market — as expected — headed south. But the decline was not precipitous. After initially falling about 100 points (around 1 percent), the Dow Jones industrial average recovered some and was off only around 50 points.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri August 19, 2011

VIDEO: Third Haboob Of Summer Covers Phoenix In Sand And Dust

The area around Phoenix was hit by its third "haboob" of the summer last evening, as strong winds sent a huge cloud of sand and dust rolling over the area.

The Arizona Republic says that "blowing dust blanketed much of the Valley ... reducing visibility to less than a quarter-mile."

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