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4:11 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

GOP Leaders, Lawmakers Differ On Payroll Tax Cut

House Speaker John Boehner wants his Republican colleagues to agree to a payroll tax cut extension.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 1:21 pm

Two different bills calling for an extension of a payroll tax holiday failed to pass the Senate late Thursday, but work on a compromise is continuing on Capitol Hill.

President Obama and Democratic lawmakers put forth concerted efforts to extend the measure, which is set to expire next month. Economists say failure to renew the tax cut, which allows the average American family to keep $900 a year of earnings, would hurt job growth.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:08 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Siri's Anti-Abortion Tendencies A Result Of Technology, Not Apple Conspiracy

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're out to get you.

That could be the motto this week for abortion rights groups that immediately sprang into battle mode when it was discovered that Siri, Apple's new artificially intelligent personal assistant, wasn't so, well, intelligent when it came to abortion.

It turns out, however, that it was all much ado about not so much.

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Business
3:37 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Sears Considers Leaving Illinois For Better Tax Deal

Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, is considering a move from its corporate headquarters after a tax incentive package failed to pass the state House of Representatives. More than 6,000 employees work at the Hoffman Estates, Ill., campus.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 5:00 pm

Thousands of jobs are on the line in a competition between states over the corporate headquarters of Sears. Several states are offering tax incentive packages to try to lure the company away from Illinois, including one bid from Ohio that's worth up to $400 million.

The Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, says it is seriously considering the offer after Illinois lawmakers failed this week to approve a package of tax incentives aimed at keeping Sears and another corporate giant from leaving.

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Middle East
3:02 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

After Fleeing, Syrian Activists Regroup In Turkey

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul meet in Ankara, Turkey on Friday. Biden praised Turkey for putting pressure on neighboring Syria to stop its bloody crackdown of protesters.
Murat Cetinmuhurdar AP

In a matter of months, Turkey has gone from one of Syria's strongest allies to one of its sharpest critics as the uprising in Syria has been met with a harsh crackdown by President Bashar Assad.

Turkey has become a haven for Syrian refugees, a base for Syrian army defectors and a home for Syria's main political opposition group. And on Friday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was in Turkey for talks that included the deteriorating conditions in Syria.

On the streets of Istanbul, Akram Asaf, a 31-year-old lawyer who fled Syria, says he feels safe, but not yet free.

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Music Interviews
3:02 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Olof Arnalds: An Icelandic Take On Heartland Rock

Γ“lΓΆf Arnalds.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 1:43 pm

Γ“lΓΆf Arnalds was born and raised in Iceland, and has been part of its experimental rock scene for years.

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The Salt
3:01 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Turning To Big Business To Solve The Obesity Epidemic

Cory Booker is mayor of Newark, New Jersey and honorary vice-chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America.
Doug Van Sant

The Partnership for a Healthier America is a Washington-based group and it has Washington's most prestigious woman as its honorary chair: first lady Michelle Obama.

But this coalition to fight childhood obesity is focused on what needs to happen outside this town, namely in the private sector, to halt the epidemic. And in the last 12 months, it has managed to ink almost 20 deals with some of the biggest food companies in the country.

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The Two-Way
3:01 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Study Finds Turtle Embryos Communicate To Synchronize Hatching

A turtle embryo.
Judy Cebra-Thomas and Scott Gilbert National Science Foundation

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 4:23 pm

We were pretty impressed by this piece of news reported by Wired about Australian turtles:

"Murray River turtles communicate with their siblings while they are still in their shells, buried under the soil, in order to coordinate when they hatch."

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Music Interviews
2:59 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

For The Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul, A Sequel About Strength

Mary J. Blige's new album is My Life II.
Markus Klinko and Indrani

Originally published on Sun January 22, 2012 8:07 am

Seventeen years ago, Mary J. Blige shook up the world of R&B when she released the record My Life. It ushered in a new sound: soul music over hip-hop beats. Instantly, Blige became known as the queen of hip-hop soul.

My Life was about pain β€” about Blige's rough childhood, abusive relationship and battles with addiction and depression. Seventeen years on, she's revisited that album. Her new record is called My Life II ... The Journey Continues. She says it's about strength.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:33 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

US AIDS Chief Says Tipping Point Is In Sight

Eric Goosby, United States Global AIDS Coordinator, sees a turning point for HIV coming soon.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 2:51 pm

If all goes according to plan β€” the plan President Obama laid out on Thursday β€” the HIV pandemic may reach an important tipping point by the end of 2013.

"We believe that with 2 million more people in treatment, we will reach a point where the number of new infections is less than the number going into treatment," says Dr. Eric Goosby.

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Politics
2:26 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Why Recall Elections Are So Difficult To Pull Off

Supporters of recalling Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker march toward the state elections board office to deliver required paperwork to launch the effort in Madison on Nov. 15.
Scott Bauer AP

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 11:00 am

When the word "recall" makes headlines, it usually involves the removal of a defective product from store shelves or perhaps the testimony of some nervous executive at a congressional hearing saying, "I don't recall."

But 2011 has been the year of another kind of recall: the recall election. Angry at elected officials' handling of the economy, budget cuts and other issues, voters across America are taking the "Throw the bums out" approach to new heights.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. Wants Protesters To Pay For Security

A farmer drives his tractor past the Wisconsin State Capitol during a rally in March.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 3:14 pm

The Wisconsin State Capitol building has been the scene of protests since February, when Gov. Scott Walker started the process of passing a law that severely limits collective bargaining for public employees in the state.

Yesterday, the Walker administration took a step that is likely to antagonize protesters further. His administration enacted new regulations that would require permits to protest at the Capitol and other state buildings.

The controversial part is that the bill allows officials to charge groups for the security and clean-up costs of such events.

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Afghanistan
1:46 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

For Afghan Women, Rape Law Offers Little Protection

Afghan women walk in the northwestern city of Herat on Nov. 23. Women still have few rights, and can end up in jail on adultery charges when they accuse a man of rape. There are fears that women's rights will be further eroded when Western troops leave the country.
Aref Karimi AFP/Getty Images

This week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced the pardon of a 19-year-old Afghan woman who was imprisoned for adultery after being raped by a relative, in a case that has attracted international media coverage.

But what happened to the woman, Gulnaz, who has been in prison for two years, is not an isolated episode.

Many other women have suffered similar fates. A recent U.N. report suggests that laws to protect women in Afghanistan from rape and forced marriage are still not being enforced β€” with devastating results.

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Opinion
1:41 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

The Marvels And Messes Of A Month Of Writing

istockphoto.com

Erin Morgenstern is the author of The Night Circus.

Yesterday I was told I had approximately 20 hours to write an essay: 450 words about National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I'm quite partial to the event. Still, I thought about declining the essay, given the time constraint.

But then I decided, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, that it was rather silly to say "oh, I can't write 450 words in less than a day" So here we go:

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Monkey See
1:15 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Bow Bow, Chk-a-Bow: Five Voices Rise To The Top Of TV's A Cappella Competition

Pentatonix performs on The Sing-Off.
Lewis Jacobs NBC

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 5:00 pm

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Asia
12:57 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

World Starts To Worry As Chinese Economy Hiccups

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 4:55 pm

Not long ago, economists and others expressed concerns that China's economy was expanding too quickly. Now, the latest data are raising concerns about a slowdown β€” and the woes it could trigger.

With a sluggish U.S. economy and troubles in the eurozone, Chinese exports are taking a hit, causing a slowdown on shop floors in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Earlier this week, the Chinese Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, fell to its lowest level in nearly three years.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:50 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Insurance Brokers' Fees Won't Count As A Health Care Expense

A broker's fee for insurance coverage isn't a medical expense, the feds have decided.
iStockphoto.com

The Obama administration ruled today that fees paid to health insurance brokers and agents won't count as medical care expenses, under limits imposed on insurers in the 2010 federal health law.

That decision, in one of the regulations for implementing the health overhaul, is sure to disappoint insurance agents, as you might have guessed. But it's more important than you might have imagined.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Cain To Make Announcement Saturday; Wife Leads 'Women For Cain' Effort

There's word from Rock Hill, S.C., that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he'll be making an announcement on Saturday about the future of his presidential bid, The Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, here's a related bit of news to consider: His campaign just launched a "Women for Cain" effort, chaired by the candidate's wife Gloria.

As the webpage says:

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The Salt
12:05 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

To Kill Or Not To Kill Horses That Others May Eat?

Since the ban on U.S. slaughterhouses in 2006, tens of thousands of unwanted or aging horses were exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.
Nate Jenkins AP

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 3:52 pm

The thought of eating Mr. Ed or Seabiscuit is likely to pull the heartstrings of most Americans. But there are plenty of people around the world who see our horses as just another source of protein and energy.

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Egyptian Elections: 62 Percent Turnout

Nov. 28: Women place their votes in a ballot box at a polling station in a girls school in Cairo.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Results from the first round of voting in Egypt's parliamentary elections are being announced this hour. Already, according to al-Jazeera and other news outlets, there's word from the head of Egypt's Elections High commission that 62 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

The Associated Press adds that Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim called the number "the highest since the time of pharaohs."

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Online Gaming Company Zynga Says Target Valuation Is Around $7 Billion

As we've noted before, 2011 has been a great year for Internet companies seeking to go public. Today, Zynga said it hoped to price its shares at $8 to $10 per share during its initial public offering later this month. Depending on whose math you trust, that means the company will try to raise about $1 billion and the debut could value the company at $7 billion. (Some news outlets are putting that number as high as $9 billion.)

What is Zynga you ask? They're the makers of social games like Farmville and Cityville.

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Economy
11:01 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Jobless Dip May Overstate Economic Improvement

NPR

The unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly to 8.6 percent in November, in part because hundreds of thousands of Americans stopped looking for work. But analysts said the modest increase of 120,000 jobs created last month points to an economy that's generally still limping.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Samsung, HTC And Carrier IQ Face Suit Over Logging Software

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 11:02 am

The first lawsuit has been filed against Samsung, HTC and Carrier IQ over software installed on millions of phones that can capture a wide range of data including key strokes.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Why Burma? Why Myanmar? Why Both?

Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton embraced today when they met at Suu Kyi's home in Yangon, Myanmar (also known as Burma).
Saul Loeb AP

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 12:10 pm

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to Myanmar, where she has pledged with opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi to continue the push for democracy and respect for human rights there, has focused attention on that long-oppressed Asian nation.

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NPR Story
10:31 am
Fri December 2, 2011

'Lost In A Dream': Low, Loose And Slow

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 10:37 am

Fresh Air begins its remembrance of drummer Paul Motian with an archived review of his trio album. (The original review is below.)

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Movie Reviews
10:23 am
Fri December 2, 2011

For Fassbender, Two Perspectives On The Perils Of Sex

Fassbender's Carl Jung β€” Sigmund Freud's protege β€” struggles to reconcile theory and practice in A Dangerous Method.
Sony Pictures Classics

The Irish actor Michael Fassbender stars in two current films that revolve around the perils of sex β€” which means you see him have a lot, so he'll have something to regret.

You know how the sex will play out in Shame, because of, well, the title. Fassbender plays a sex addict, Brandon Sullivan, born in Ireland, raised in New Jersey, and he seems to work in advertising, which is unfortunate since he resembles Mad Men's John Hamm.

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The Fresh Air Interview
9:56 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Fresh Air Remembers Jazz Drummer Paul Motian

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 10:37 am

Paul Motian, a jazz drummer and composer who spent more than 50 years in the music industry, died November 22, from complications of multiple myeloma. He was 80.

The New York Times' Ben Ratliff once called Motian "one of the greatest drummers in all of jazz." The rare drummer who disliked drum solos, Motian recorded some of his most memorable work with pianist Bill Evans and bassist Scott LaFaro. Their recordings include the classics Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Portrait of Jazz.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:09 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Working Moms Multitask, And Stress, More Than Dads

A Kansas City family prepares a meal together. A new study finds that working mothers log more hours β€” and get more stressed β€” than working fathers while multitasking at home. (This family wasn't part of the research.)
Allison Long MCT /Landov

A new study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review comes up with some findings that lots of women may feel they already know too much about: Working mothers spend significantly more time multitasking at home than working dads. And those mothers aren't happy about it.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:08 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Apps Can Help You Take A Pill, But Privacy's A Big Question

Melissa Forsyth NPR

The American Medical Association just rolled out a shiny new iPhone app, My Medications, that you can use to keep track of your meds.

Mobile medical apps are a hot market, but unlike "Angry Birds," they're not just harmless fun. Some come with real privacy risks.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Some Combat Dogs Suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Too

A U.S. Army soldier with the 10th Special Forces Group and his military working dog jump off the ramp of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment during water training over the Gulf of Mexico as part of exercise Emerald Warrior 2011 on March 1, 2011.
Tech Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez defense.gov

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 1:17 pm

Dogs who have served alongside U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan now typically go on to live with their handlers in the civilian world after their service days are over, as All Things Considered reported in August.

That's a change from the past, when many combat dogs were euthanized once they were done working with the military.

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The Picture Show
6:53 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Russia By Rail: Setting Off From Moscow

Sergei Tarkhov, a geology professor and Trans-Siberian veteran, stands near the zero kilometer mark at Yaroslavsky Rail Station in Moscow.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:13 am

Seven time zones, nearly 6,000 miles, and a lot of tea and borscht. That only begins to describe the long journey by David Greene, NPR's Moscow correspondent. He's been in Russia for just over two years and for his last reporting trip, he's riding the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok.

While crossing the world's largest country and bridging two continents, he'll make stops to capture the mood and the culture of Russia at an important milestone, two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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