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The Two-Way
5:35 am
Mon August 15, 2011

As He Hits The Road, Obama's Approval Rating Hits New Low

www.gallup.com

President Obama today sets off on a bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois that will extend into the middle of the week.

And as he does, there's this news from the pollsters at Gallup:

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Opinion
5:21 am
Mon August 15, 2011

Weekly Standard: Kid Tested, Not FDA Approved

Washington may pass legislation that restricts marketing foods to children.
iStockphoto.com

Kate Havard is an intern at The Weekly Standard.

The Obama administration is after your Lucky Charms, or at least your children's. The public comment period closed on July 14 for a set of "voluntary" guidelines for the marketing of food to children. If adopted, these rules will transform the advertising of breakfast cereals.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Mon August 15, 2011

Bombs Kill Dozens In Iraq; Mubarak Trial Resumes

Good morning.

Seemingly coordinated bombings in more than a dozen Iraqi cities today have left more than 50 people dead and even more wounded, according to various media reports. The Associated Press reports that "the blasts were coordinated to go off in the morning and included a combination of parked car bombs, roadside bombs and a suicide bomber driving a vehicle that rammed into a police station."

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Opinion
5:20 am
Mon August 15, 2011

New Republic: Greek To You? Nope, Just Yogurt

A container of Greek yogurt is opened and ready to eat. Some argue that calling this type of yogurt "Greek" is simply a marketing ploy.
iStockphoto.com

Margy Slattery is an intern at The New Republic.

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Iraq
1:18 am
Mon August 15, 2011

Dozens Killed In Twin Explosion In Iraqi City

An Iraqi medical official says the death toll from twin bombings at a market in a city southeast of Baghdad has risen to 34.

The top medical official in the province where the city of Kut is located, Diaa al-Aboudi, says 60 people were also wounded in the blast on Monday.

Police spokesman Lt. Col. Dhurgam Mohammed Hassan says the first bomb went off in a freezer used to keep drinks cold.

Then as rescuers and onlookers gathered, a parked car bomb exploded.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:02 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Younger Siblings Of Autistic Kids: Their Risk Greater Than Thought

Judith Ursitti is a Massachusetts mother of two children with autism spectrum disorders. Her son, Jack, 7, has severe autism, while her daughter, Amy (not pictured), who's 11, has Asperger's.
Richard Knox NPR News

Autism specialists have long thought the disease has a strong genetic component -– maybe stronger than any other neurodevelopmental disorder.

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Economy
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Oh, The Nerve: Betting On Fear In A Volatile Market

A trader studies his computer screen in the VIX pit at the Chicago Board Options Exchange on April 27.
Brian Kersey Getty Images

If being invested in a wildly unpredictable stock market freaks you out right now, you're definitely not alone.

In fact, there's an index to measure that nervousness, and even trade on it. It's called the Volatility Index, or VIX, but it also goes by another name: the fear gauge. And during times like these, the VIX draws lots of attention.

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Small Businesses, Big Problems
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Growing Pains Hurt Native American Food Company

Native America Natural Foods products.
Charles Michael Ray SDPB

First of a five-part series

If you think unemployment is bad where you live, take a look at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Tribal officials there say more than 70 percent of the working-age population is without a job. And within one of the nation's toughest local economies, a reservation-based business is struggling to grow.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Low Rates Alone Not Seen Reviving Housing Market

The turmoil in the financial markets has been pushing mortgage rates lower. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages have now fallen to about 4.3 percent, which is very close to the lowest level on record.

But many Americans can't qualify for those low rates, and analysts say these historic interest rates aren't likely to do much to help the housing market.

That is, unless the government intervenes.

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Your Health
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Improv For Alzheimer's: 'A Sense Of Accomplishment'

Many newly diagnosed Alzheimer's patients go through the stressful phase of realizing they are losing their memory while still having enough insight to know that, over time, they will no longer be able to care for themselves.

So a team of researchers from Chicago — a city known for improvisational theater — is testing a new idea of whether unscripted theater games can affect the well-being of these patients.

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Business
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Naming A Company Right Can Spell Success

Christina Baird NPR

One area in the U.S. economy that is booming, despite the sluggish recovery, is technology. Facebook and Groupon are expected to go public in the coming year, and tens of billions of dollars of venture capital continue to pour into the tech industry every year to support new companies.

But one of the first challenges new companies face is coming up with a name, which can be a difficult task.

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World
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Arctic Warming Unlocking A Fabled Waterway

The Louis S. St Laurent icebreaker slices its way through the ice of the Northwest Passage.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:33 am

It appears as just a speck on the horizon, a slightly darker shape against a vista of Arctic ice. Soon enough, the ship's bridge makes the announcement: "Polar bear, starboard."

Crew and passengers onboard the CCGS Louis S. St.-Laurent, Canada's largest icebreaker, head to the open deck, binoculars and cameras ready, and watch as the bear lumbers from one ice floe to another, quickly dipping into the inky blue water and effortlessly pulling himself back up again.

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Animals
12:44 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

In WWII, Reindeer Were Our Animal Allies

Only the U.S. and Britain had fully mechanized militaries, historian Tim Francis says. Most other European allies used horses or donkeys to help move supplies. Or, as in the North, reindeer.
VikaValter istockphoto.com

Of World War II's many fronts, the one you've probably never heard about was the theater of war in the Arctic. Combat there centered around a crucial supply route that stretched from North America to the tiny Russian city of Murmansk, across the border from the northern tip of Norway.

"It was not the easiest route," U.S. Naval historian Tim Francis tells NPR's David Greene. And it might have been impossible if it weren't for help from some of Santa's friends.

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It's All Politics
7:59 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Tim Pawlenty Exits 2012 Presidential Race After Poor Iowa Showing

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the 2012 presidential race on Sunday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 9:59 am

Tim Pawlenty made headlines Sunday but not the sort he had hoped to. He announced on ABC News' This Week that he has dropped out of the hunt for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination after coming in a disappointing third in Iowa's Ames Straw Poll.

His campaign, he said:

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Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Obama Gets On Board For Jobs And Confidence

On Monday, President Obama flies to Minnesota to begin a bus tour devoted to job creation, confidence restoration and to reviving his own image as a leader. Guest host John Ydstie talks to NPR White House Correspondent Ari Shapiro about the president's itinerary and the motives behind the trip.

Space
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

End Nears For Mars Rovers' Long Journey

The Mars rover Spirit conked out in May, but its twin, the rover Opportunity, is still functioning and has just arrived at a spot NASA's dubbed Spirit Point. Guest host John Ydstie speaks with geologist John Grant about his decades working on the Mars Rover project.

Middle East
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Libyan Rebels Reach Port City, But Can They Hold It?

Libyan rebels have reached the important port city of Zawiyah, where they are engaged in fierce clashes with government forces. Zawiyah is the site of Libya's sole remaining refinery and it's on the road to Tunisia. If the rebels hold it, they will control the port, the refinery and one of Libya's main roads. Guest host John Ydstie gets the latest on the fighting from NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Libya.

World
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

No Claims For American's Abduction In Pakistan

The whereabouts of an American development expert are still unknown 24 hours after he was abducted by a group of armed men in Pakistan. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports on the abduction of Warren Weinstein, who was within days of leaving the country when he was kidnapped Saturday during a brazen early morning raid on his home.

Africa
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Helping Africa Grow Its Own Food: A Declining Effort

Famines like Somalia's might be a thing of the past if farmers in the Horn of Africa could grow enough crops to protect against hunger. Making that possible would require a number of things, including international development aid to small farmers, but that's been in decline over the past 25 years. Guest host John Ydstie talks to author and Harvard Professor Robert Paarlberg about U.S. investment in farm development in Africa.

Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Bachmann Passes Test Of Iowa's Straw Poll

Less than two months into her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman won Saturday's Iowa straw poll. Bachman won what is considered to be a bellwether event and one measure of a presidential candidate's strength. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

It's Official: Rick Perry Is Running For President

Texas governor Rick Perry declared Saturday that he's entering the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Perry spoke at the Red State Gathering conference in Charleston, S.C. WFAE's Julie Rose reports.

Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Calif. Redistricting Likely To Have National Impact

The political landscape in California is on the verge of drastic change. On Monday, the state's Citizens Redistricting Commission is expected to give final approval to a new map of congressional and legislative districts. Those newly drawn districts, combined with a new primary election system, are likely to shake up California's political status quo for the first time in two decades. Guest host John Ydstie talks to Bruce Cain, director of the University of California Washington Center, about the national implications of redistricting in California.

Strange News
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Spoiler Alert: You Don't Need Spoilers

Psychologists have found that great stories can't be spoiled. Guest host John Ydstie has more on a UC San Diego study that says film buffs and bibliophiles not only don't mind spoilers, they actually like them.

Sports
4:58 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Young Soccer Players Shoot For Stardom In Europe

South America has produced more than its share of soccer superstars. The soccer giant Real Madrid is banking on Leonel Angel Coira of Argentina to become one of them. Last week the club signed the soccer prodigy to a one-year contract. When the contract expires, young Leonel will be all of 8 years old.

"Well everyone's looking for the next big thing," Tim Stannard, who writes for the soccer publication FourFourTwo, tells Weekend Edition guest host John Ydstie.

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Health
4:34 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Postpartum Depression Clinic The First Of Its Kind

Women suffering from postpartum depression in the United States have not had an overnight clinic to address their specific needs. The new unit at the University of North Carolina, to open Monday, will offer that specialized treatment.
iStockphoto.com

Maria Bruno knew something was really wrong when she put her newborn son, Nicolas, down for a nap and then was too afraid to pick him up.

"I was experiencing anger and rage, and I had suicidal thoughts," she says.

In her desperation, she called her midwife and said, "'I don't know what's wrong, but I can't take care of the baby, and I'm miserable all of the time.'"

Her midwife asked what was wrong. Did she have thoughts of hurting herself? "I just laughed," Bruno says. "I said, 'All the time.'"

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Latin America
4:33 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Argentina's Jewish Villages Keep Traditions Alive

Jaime Jruz, son of Russian immigrants and leader of the Jewish community of Villa Dominguez, is one of the last Jewish gauchos found in this area. Jruz is still working on this farm, where he was born and grew up.
Silvina Frydlewsky for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:43 am

In the 1890s, Russian Jews fleeing anti-Semitic violence and discrimination arrived by the thousands to a remote corner of the Argentine Pampas. They founded hamlets similar to the shtetls they left behind. They spoke Yiddish, built synagogues and traditional Jewish schools — and became farmers and gauchos, the mythical Argentine cowboys.

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Economy
4:24 am
Sun August 14, 2011

How Can Washington Boost Job Growth?

President Barack Obama's Midwestern bus tour will focus on job creation and restoring confidence, but the Federal Reserve doesn't seem very confident about the future.

Last week, the Fed committed to near-zero interest rates until 2013, indicating that the Fed board isn't anticipating much growth in the job market. That's a troubling prospect for Americans, and it leaves a big challenge looming over Washington about whether the government can push growth above the painfully low bar set by the Fed.

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World
9:12 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Famine In Somalia Also Taking Toll On Al-Shabaab

Displaced Somalis waits in a queue for food-aid rations on August 11, 2011 at an IDP camp in Mogadishu. The United Nations has officially declared famine in Somalia for the first time this century.
MUSTAFA ABDI AFP/Getty Images

How can you feed starving people without feeding an insurgency as well? That is one of the challenges the Obama administration faces in providing aid to Somalia.

As the U.S. and other donors scramble to help Somalis survive a famine, some experts see an opportunity of sorts. The drought, they say, seems to be starving the Islamist militia group al-Shabaab of resources, limiting its ability to wreak havoc in Somalia.

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Business
7:16 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Gas Prices, Retail Sales Offer Economic Bright Spots

Shoppers stroll through Sawgrass Mills Mall during the first day of the back-to-school sales tax holiday on Friday in Sunrise, Fla. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5 percent in July.
Wilfredo Lee AP

It may seem hard to believe after such a tumultuous week on Wall Street, but economists do see a few bright spots.

For one, Americans with good credit scores can get some of the best housing bargains in decades. Freddie Mac's latest survey shows the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages has dropped to 4.32 percent. That's down to the half-century lows set during the fourth quarter of last year.

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It's All Politics
4:56 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann Wins Iowa Straw Poll

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her husband, Marcus, wave to the crowd after she speaks at the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. Bachmann won the poll with 4,823 votes.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 8:40 am

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Republican presidential straw poll on Saturday, edging out Ron Paul, the Libertarian Texas congressman and quadrennial White House hopeful.

Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third, capturing less than half of the totals brought in by the top two finishers.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was not on the ballot, ended up in sixth place with 718 votes, besting Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Thaddeus McCotter.

Romney and Huntsman were on the ballot, but did not actively compete.

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