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Politics
10:01 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

President Gets Big Megaphone, But May Be Tuned Out

President Obama walks away from the podium Monday after speaking about the debt downgrade in the State Dining Room of the White House.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

On Monday morning, U.S. markets opened for the first time since Standard & Poor's downgraded America's credit rating. Stocks went over the edge like an Olympic diver.

A few hours later, President Obama stepped in front of a microphone at the White House to proclaim his confidence in the U.S.

"No matter what some agency may say, we've always been and always will be a AAA country," he said.

He left the podium, and the financial plunge continued.

So, does having the biggest megaphone in the country do the president any good?

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Business
10:01 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

In Shift To Streaming, Netflix Customers Find Holes

It seems like Netflix is on top and it's everywhere. Users can watch it on their computers, game consoles, smartphones, or Internet-connected TV. Netflix boasts some 25 million subscribers, which is more than big cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner.

Although the company started as a mail order DVD service, these days it does the lion's share of promoting for its online streaming service. The company says it's the place to "watch instantly."

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Officials In Phila. Plan Curfews To Curb Teen Violence

Days of rioting in England are capturing international attention. In the United States, cities are also dealing with mob attacks, though on a smaller and less destructive scale. Earlier this week, Philadelphia officials announced their plan to fight mob violence, which has escalated in recent months.

Outside Philadelphia City Hall earlier this week, a small group of teens sat on the ground.

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Arts & Life
10:01 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

World Art Managers Find New Funding Models In D.C.

Kennedy Center fellow Reem Kassem recently used her Kennedy connections to help organize an outdoor arts festival in Alexandria, Egypt.
Kennedy Center

Cultural diplomacy usually comes in the form of a traveling art exhibit or a celebrity visit to a war-torn country. But there's a deeper kind of diplomacy taking place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. For the past four summers, arts managers from around the world have been coming to D.C. for training on how to improve their organizations back home.

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The Two-Way
5:48 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Who Are The London Rioters And Why Are They Rioting?

A rioter throws a rock at police in Clarence Road in Hackney on Tuesday in London.
Dan Istitene Getty Images

So who are the British rioters and why are they doing it? It seems like an easy question, but it's been fairly hard to ascertain. In some ways, two distinct portraits of rioters have emerged. In some ways, they're typified by two videos that have made the rounds online.

One is of a disaffected youth that's underemployed and has nothing to lose. It is typified by a video of Pauline Pearce, a 45-year-old grandmother, who was walking through the streets of Hackney and confronted rioters with some blunt speech. Here's the video, but be warned there is some strong language in it:

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Shots - Health Blog
4:30 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

For Stroke Prevention, A New Alternative To Warfarin

A new drug called rivaroxaban may not require as many blood tests for patients with atrial fibrillation than the current drug on the market.
Libby Chapman iStockphoto.com

A common form of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation can cause blood clots, putting people at increased risk of stroke. The anticoagulant drug warfarin is used to reduce that risk, but since people respond to it very differently, it requires careful monitoring to avoid the risk of heavy bleeding. Now, researchers say a new drug called rivaroxaban looks to be as good as warfarin in preventing strokes.

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Food
3:41 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Is U.S. Farm Policy Feeding The Obesity Epidemic?

Joe Raben harvests corn on land he farms with his father and uncle Oct. 4, 2008, near Carmi, Ill. Some farmers say technological improvements and farming mechanization, not subsidies, are responsible for increased output.
Scott Olson Getty Images

These days, U.S. farm policy is blamed for a lot of things — even the nation's obesity epidemic. The idea is that the roughly $20 billion in subsidies that the federal government gives to farmers encourages them to grow too much grain. As a result, the theory goes, prices drop, food gets cheaper and we end up eating too much.

It seems like a simple equation. But the truth is rarely simple. So what's really going on?

Americans Eat Cheap

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National Security
3:26 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Congressman Wants Probe Of Bin Laden Movie

A House committee chairman wants an investigation of Obama administration cooperation with award-winning filmmakers on a movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The White House says it did not give anyone special access.

Republican Peter King, who heads the Homeland Security Committee, says there has been too much talk already about the raid by Navy SEALS that killed bin Laden in Pakistan in May.

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Economy
3:25 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Fed May Need To Find New Tricks Up Its Sleeve

The Federal Reserve has issued one of its gloomiest pronouncements about the economy in a long time: It says it sees little prospect that growth will rebound much anytime soon, and that it's ready to keep interest rates low for the next two years.

The recent downturn leaves Fed officials without any of its obvious ways of fixing the economy, and analysts say it may need to try steps it hasn't taken before.

Joe Gagnon spent part of his career as a Fed economist, and Tuesday he saw something he thought he'd never see at the central bank.

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Media
3:22 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Murdoch To Take Questions From Investors, Media

Rupert Murdoch is expected to take questions from analysts, investors and reporters during a conference call Wednesday. The call follows Tuesday's meeting of the News Corp. board — the first such meeting since the phone hacking scandal that has roiled the company.

The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

PIMCO's Gross: The Days Of The Markets As Saviors Are Over

Bill Gross, founder and managing director of PIMCO, runs the world's largest mutual fund. What he had to say about the markets to Michele Norris on today's edition of All Things Considered was pretty gloomy.

Michele asked him what advice he would give to friends and family facing economic uncertainty and tumbling markets. He said first of all they should "lower their expectations."

He also said they should listen to the words of Will Rogers, a newspaper columnist, who said "I'm more concerned about the return of my money as opposed to the return on my money."

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Europe
2:46 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Britain Ramps Up Security Efforts To Stop Rioting

Police forensic officers work at the scene where three people were killed after being struck by a vehicle Wednesday in the Winson Green area of Birmingham, England.
Jeff J Mitchell Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:34 am

After more rioting overnight, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that it was time to fight back, vowing that he wouldn't allow "a culture of fear" take over the country's streets.

"Whatever resources the police need, they will get; whatever tactics police feel they need to employ, they will have legal backing to do so. We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order on to our streets," he said in a statement outside his Downing Street office Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

National Scrabble Champion Defends Title, Wins Tournament

Nigel Richards successfully defended his National Scrabble Championship title in Dallas, winning a $10,000 first prize.
Patricia Hocker PR NEWSWIRE

The king of American Scrabble has kept his crown, as Nigel Richards spelled his way to the 2011 National Scrabble Championship title and a $10,000 prize. Richards, 44, is a former world champion from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:42 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

To Dodge Diabetes: Go Light On The Hot Dogs And Bacon

Meat preservatives like nitrites and sodium have been linked to insulin resistance, which might explain the link between Type 2 diabetes and high consumption of these meats, researchers say.
iStockphoto.com

Let's begin with some well-worn advice: Moderation is key. So go ahead and eat that hot dog at the state fair or some bacon on vacation. But take note: People who eat lots of processed meats over their lifetime seem to have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (and heart disease).

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Asia
2:14 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Indonesian Family Pays Price For Exposing Cheating

Siami, a curtain-maker who goes by one name, is mother of Alifah Achmad Maulana. Neighbors hounded the family out of their village outside Surabaya, Indonesia, after she complained about cheating on the national high school entrance exam at the village public school.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

At the end of the summer exam season in Indonesia, education officials announced extraordinary results: a 99 percent pass rate for national high school entrance exams.

But among many Indonesians, the claim aroused scorn and suspicion of the country's education system, thanks in part to a young man named Alifah Achmad Maulana.

Alifah rides home from school most days on the back of his dad's motorbike. The pair tool past banana trees and hanging laundry to their small house in Gadel village outside Indonesia's second-largest city, Surabaya.

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Global Health
1:28 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

In Pakistan, Birth Control And Religion Clash

Tariq Ahmed, a jobless father of six sons and one daughter, insisted on having another child. His wife, Rani Tariq, said she was already ill and over-burdened with seven children. But she's pregnant again.
Julie McCarthy NPR

In Pakistan, family planning is an uncomfortable topic fraught with religious overtones.

But in one of Asia's fastest growing populations, a story of women giving birth challenges stereotypes, including what Islam has to say about women's health and family planning.

According to a new government survey, Pakistan is producing nearly 4 million babies every year, and most are born into poverty. The World Bank says 60 percent of Pakistanis live on less than $2 a day.

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

U.S. Budget Deficit Hit $1.1 Trillion In July

The U.S. budget deficit stood at $1.1 trillion through July, the Treasury Department says, making 2011 the third consecutive year that the deficit has hit at least $1 trillion. The federal government's budget year begins in October, leaving two more months in which the deficit might rise.

Looking at the numbers for July alone, the U.S. budget shortfall was $129 billion — a drop in spending from July 2010, according to Bloomberg.

As the AP reports:

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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Why Are Spanish Mice Resistant To A Common Poison?

A mouse runs onto the pitch during the English Premier League football match. The hybrid, poison resistant mouse hasn't reached England, so this is one probably has its DNA intact.
Andrew Yates AFP/Getty Images

Here's a piece of biology news that escaped us, last month, but was brought to our attention by a story in the BBC today: Biologist have found the reason house mice in Spain and Germany have grown immune to warfarin, a commonly used poison.

The idea of a poison-resistant mouse is a bit unsettling, but how it came to be is fascinating tale of cross-species sex. The BBC reports:

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Stay On Target: NASA's Rover Reaches Huge Crater On Mars

A portion of the west rim of Endeavour crater sweeps southward in this view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. NASA adjusted the colors in this image. Fans of the film Capricorn One may want to see the original orange-tinted image.
NASA

You may not have realized it, but a piece of U.S. property was recently driving around on the surface of Mars. Tens of millions of miles away from the debt crisis, the heat wave and other big events of the summer, NASA's rover Opportunity just completed a 13-mile trip to allow scientists to examine a Martian crater.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:02 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Organic Poultry Farms Have Fewer Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Study Finds

Proponents of organic meat often make the case that it's inherently better for people's health and the environment than meat raised by conventional farming methods. But the actual impacts of organic production can be tough for scientists to prove.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Wed August 10, 2011

Man On 41-Day Hunger Strike Asks For Meeting With Georgia's Governor

Salvador Zamora.
Cobb Immigrant Alliance

Salvador Zamora's hunger strike began the day Georgia's immigration law went into effect. Yesterday, on the 40th day of his strike, Zamora, pushed in a wheelchair by a cadre of fellow activists, delivered a letter to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's office.

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Wed August 10, 2011

U.S. Says Syria Would 'Better Off Without' Assad

The White House said today that Syria would be "better off without" President Bashar Assad as its leader. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during his daily press briefing that Assad had lost his "legitimacy."

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

'Dougherty Gang' Caught In Colorado After Car Crash; Wanted For Robbery

Ryan Edward Dougherty, Dylan Dougherty Stanley, and Lee Grace Dougherty are seen in a composite photo assembled from their drivers' license pictures.
Pasco County Sheriff's Office

The "Dougherty Gang" — two brothers and their sister who are accused of a crime spree that began in their native Florida — has been captured in Colorado, The Denver Post reports. Ryan Dougherty, 21, Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, and Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, were reportedly arrested one day after visiting an REI store in Colorado Springs, where a tipster phoned police.

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Europe
10:00 am
Wed August 10, 2011

Young, Racially-Mixed Working Class Fuels U.K. Uproar

Youths throw bricks at police in this Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011 photo during unrest in Enfield, north London. Nearly 1,200 people have been arrested since the riots erupted Saturday, mostly poor youths from a broad section of Britain's many races and ethnicities. Britain is bitterly divided on the reasons behind the riots.
Karel Prinsloo AP

Originally published on Wed August 10, 2011 1:33 pm

More than 16,000 police officers flooded into London streets Wednesday, but unrest has spread to other cities. To learn what the country looks like now, which groups of people are rioting, and what political leaders can do to possibly end riots, guest host Allison Keyes speaks with a London-based reporter, and the founder of Britain's Operation Black Vote.

Author Interviews
9:58 am
Wed August 10, 2011

The Double-Amputee Who Designs Better Limbs

Hugh Herr is a biophysicist and rock climber. He is the holder or co-holder of 10 patents related to prosthetic devices.
Len Rubenstein Crown Business

Hugh Herr's legs were amputated below his knees in 1982 after a climbing accident. From his knees down to the floor, he's completely artificial.

"I'm titanium, carbon, silicon, a bunch of nuts and bolts," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "My limbs that I wear have 12 computers, five sensors and muscle-like actuator systems that able me to move throughout my day."

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Wed August 10, 2011

Debt 'Super Committee' Nearly Complete, At 9 Members

The new "Debt Supercommittee" created by the recent deficit ceiling deal now has 9 of its 12 members, as House Speaker John Boehner says Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas will co-chair the new committee, according to the AP.

The panel's task will be to create a bipartisan plan for cutting the federal deficit by around $1.5 trillion. That money could come from a combination of spending cuts and raising revenue.

If the panel fails to reach an agreement, automatic cuts would be made — and the automated cuts were crafted to be unpalatable to both of the major political parties.

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Politics
9:45 am
Wed August 10, 2011

Think You Know Iowa? Five Things You've Got Wrong

unknown iStockphoto.com

Call it what you will — an August Occasion, Summery Judgment, Iowa ... wa ... whatever — the hype is hyperbolic this week as Republican presidential aspirants converge on Ames, Iowa, like storm clouds on an open prairie. The candidates will debate Thursday night at Iowa State University and then be subjected to a straw poll on Saturday.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:37 am
Wed August 10, 2011

Music's Soothing Notes Can Help Cancer Patients Chill Out

A study suggests that listening to music is a simple way for cancer patients and their families to help manage stress.
iStockphoto.com

Music therapy for cancer sounds like the ultimate in New Age woo-woo. But a respected medical journal now says that listening music can indeed help relieve the suffering caused by cancer and cancer treatments.

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The Two-Way
9:17 am
Wed August 10, 2011

'Bear Woman' Of Mendicino Cuts Plea Deal; Home Was Day Spa For Bears

"Bear Woman" Lynne Gravier turned her ranch home into something of a luxury resort for more than a dozen bears, like this young California black bear, seen here in a tree in Los Angeles last year.
Mike Meadows AP

Originally published on Wed August 10, 2011 10:44 am

It's illegal to feed the bears in California. So what to do with Mendocino County's "Bear Woman," who remade her home into something of a luxury resort for more than a dozen bears? Before the authorities stepped in, Lynne Gravier was reportedly feeding them as much as 6,000 pounds of corn each month.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports,

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Planet Money
8:46 am
Wed August 10, 2011

Are Stocks Cheap Or Expensive Right Now? Maybe Neither.

Forget, if you can, the day-to-day craziness in the stock market. Here's a broader question: After the big declines of the past several months, are stocks cheap? Are they still expensive?

By one measure, stock prices are not particularly high or low — they're valued very close to their 50-year average, as Jason Zweig pointed his latest WSJ column.

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