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Facing a financial crisis that threatens Europe, Italy's lower house of parliament got down to important business. They passed a rule to save themselves from themselves. Photographers use long lenses to capture lawmakers making rude gestures, passing notes — or voting for absent colleagues, a practice that has been called "playing the piano," as they press several buttons at once. So, lawmakers have banned photographers from taking "personal images."

U.S. Easing Out Of Nation-Building Business

Nov 24, 2011

Nation-building has gone out of style.

The U.S. effort in Afghanistan has lasted a decade, and it's been nearly as long in Iraq. Now, there's little appetite in American political circles for large-scale attempts to build up the economies or political institutions of other countries.

Most U.S. troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year. And the Obama administration has been careful not to take on responsibility for rebuilding Libya after the NATO bombing campaign that helped drive Moammar Gadhafi from power.

On Commercial Radio, Christmas Is Coming Early

Nov 24, 2011

If it seems like you're hearing more Christmas music on the radio these days, it's not your imagination. More stations have been going all-Christmas — and they're doing it earlier than ever.

The reason is simple: Christmas music makes ratings go through the roof.

The Thanksgiving holiday offers a chance to connect with family and enjoy a relaxing meal. But it doesn't always happen that way — especially when political arguments break out at the table. We asked our audience to share their stories on NPR's Facebook page, and the responses came rolling in.

Stef Work echoed the sentiment of many, saying, "I don't think I am alone when I find the visits too long and the social graces too few."

Republican David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is seriously upset with the state of his party. He's written an article in the current New York magazine, titled "When Did the GOP Lose Touch with Reality?"

As he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep, one of Frum's complaints is the idea that his fellow Republicans insist on having their own set of facts.

Thanksgiving has all the makings of a uniquely American tradition: parades, football, pumpkin pie, roasted turkey. But for Americans living in other countries, observing the traditional way can be a challenge. We asked those who will be abroad this Thanksgiving how they'll be spending the holiday — and what changes they'll have to make to their celebrations. We received more than 1,200 responses from our Facebook followers. Some of the most common issues? Finding an inexpensive turkey or locating canned pumpkin. Here's a sample of what you said. Responses have been edited for space.

The former Fisher Body 1 plant in Flint, Mich., produced a lot of cars, thousands of jobs and lots of history — it was one of the places where sit-down strikes led to recognition of the United Auto Workers in 1937.

But General Motors abandoned what remained of the site after its bankruptcy, and the new occupants don't make cars there. Instead, they're riding the next economic wave, selling prescription drugs to an aging population.

The former Fisher Body 1 plant in Flint, Mich., produced a lot of cars, thousands of jobs and lots of history — it was one of the places where sit-down strikes led to recognition of the United Auto Workers in 1937.

But General Motors abandoned what remained of the site after its bankruptcy, and the new occupants don't make cars there. Instead, they're riding the next economic wave, selling prescription drugs to an aging population.

In 1956, two icons — Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier — got together in London to make a movie, The Prince and the Showgirl. It was a comedy about the lonely Prince Regent of Carpathia, who meets a flirty American showgirl. The film was a royal flop. Now a new movie, My Week With Marilyn, recounts the miserable time had by all on the set. It's the story of one week during the film shoot, with behind-the-scenes clashes, misaligned acting styles, and the pursuit of personal ambitions. Michelle Williams plays Monroe and Kenneth Branagh plays Olivier.

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The cost of borrowing is the best way to gauge the severity of Europe's crisis. Here's Zoe Chace of NPR's Planet Money team.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Andrew Balls has a front seat to the European debt crisis. That's because he's someone who lends money to European countries. He's at one of the biggest bond outfits in the world: PIMCO. He says, if you look back over the course of the year, there is one moment that stands out, a tipping point.

The U.S. State Department says it's urging the government of the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain to act on the findings of a major human rights report that has just been issued. That report details the abuses that took place during and after a mass uprising in Bahrain that was styled after movements in Tunisia and Egypt. The report was commissioned by the government itself and assembled by a team of international legal experts. But it remains to be seen whether it will lead to real reform and dialogue between the ruling Sunni monarchy and the Shiite majority.

In Egypt, intense clashes between protestors and security forces overnight raised the death toll from recent violence to at least 40. But both sides appear to be observing a truce this morning, with protestors who are pouring into the square limiting their actions to chants against Egypt's military rulers. Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been protesting since last Friday, demanding the ruling military council step aside.

Spain's Next Leader Is Urged To Get An Early Start

Nov 23, 2011

In Spain, last weekend's election victory by austerity-minded conservatives hasn't done much to quell volatile markets. It's been a rude awakening for Spain's next prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, who's under pressure to enact reforms quickly — even before he takes office next month.

TSA Nears A Goal: Letting You Keep Your Shoes On

Nov 23, 2011

Nearly 3.5 million holiday travelers are expected to board planes this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Many dread the long lines and invasive procedures of security checkpoints. Hoping to improve the experience, the Transportation Security Administration is working on a device that would let passengers keep their shoes on through security checks.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Most candidates see a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary as important. For Republican Jon Huntsman, it's essential. The former Utah governor has staked his whole campaign on the New Hampshire primary. New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers reports.

Google Scraps Renewable Energy Initiative

Nov 23, 2011

With a small mention on its blog, Google officially scrapped a project, which sought to drive down the cost of renewable energy.

"At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level. So we've published our results to help others in the field continue to advance the state of power tower technology, and we've closed our efforts," Google said on its official blog.

Mitt Romney was campaigning in Iowa on Wednesday, raising his flag a bit higher in the state that begins the presidential nominating process with its caucuses on Jan. 3.

With six weeks left in the NFL's regular season, the league's traditional Thanksgiving Day Classic games have football fans excited. Almost all of the teams involved are having strong seasons. And if the day's three games have a common theme, it could be "grudge match."

Turns out Howard Hughes was right. The world is a very germy place, especially public restrooms.

The reclusive billionaire, who had the world's most notorious case of so-called germophobia, would go to just about any length to avoid contamination. He wore tissue boxes on his feet. He burned his clothing if someone near him got sick. He wrote careful instructions to his staff on how to open a can of peaches without contaminating them.

Boom Town, U.S.A.

Nov 23, 2011

In the small-town of Elko, ambition looks like high-heel suede booties on the floor of the auto shop at the local high school.

Brandi and Kaylee look like the Olsen twins. And they're the best auto-shop students at Elko High. The girls have a plan. Everyday out the school window, they see trucks heading up to the gold mines. Day and night. So, the girls figure, why not open a truck repair shop after they graduate?

"In Elko we've been really blessed and really lucky to actually have a good economy," Kaylee says. "We can actually have our hopes and dreams."

Nov. 23, 1936, was a good day for recorded music. Two men, an ocean apart, each stepped up to a microphone and began to play. One was a cello prodigy who had performed for the queen of Spain; the other was a guitar player in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. But on that day, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson each made recordings that would change music history.

An Arizona museum is giving that state's official neck wear a display all of its own for the next several months. The Heard Museum has opened its newest exhibit: Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary. It will run through next September.

Most people think of turkeys as the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal. But at one farm, the turkeys are the guests.

At the 26th annual Feeding of the Turkeys ceremony in Watkins Glen, in upstate New York, a line of turkeys come walking out the door of the barn. They stroll towards long low tables set up on the lawn, with scarlet tablecloths and seasonal squash centerpieces.

There, a feast awaits. There's pumpkin pie topped with cranberry, and platters of green salad — hold the dressing. The spread is surrounded by a crowd of spectators.

President Obama is nominating Marilyn Tavenner to succeed Dr. Donald M. Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Tavenner, who has been the agency's principal deputy administrator, will serve as administrator on an acting basis during the confirmation process, according to an announcement to CMS staff.

Seventy-five years ago Wednesday, two men, an ocean apart, stepped up to microphones. One man was a cello prodigy who had played for the queen of Spain. The other was the son of black sharecroppers, a regular in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. But on Nov. 23, 1936, Robert Johnson and Pablo Casals each walked into a room alone with their instruments. And on that day, each made recordings that would change music history.

In the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, a special commission accused the government of using excessive force against protesters during an anti-government uprising earlier this year.

The report released Wednesday was unusual in that it was requested by the government itself. But questions remain over what the government will do with the findings.

The commission that issued the report was a rare thing in the Arab world. At a gilded palace with chandeliers and red carpets, a panel of international jurists sat in judgment of a king.

Report: Occupy Protests Have Cost Cities $13 Million

Nov 23, 2011

According to an AP survey of 18 cities with active Occupy protests, the movement has cost local municipalities $13 million in "police overtime and other municipal services."

The AP reports:

"The FBI and local sheriff's deputies this morning raided an Amish compound in Ohio and arrested seven men, including reputed breakaway sect leader Sam Mullet, on federal hate crimes charges and related state violations in connection to a series of beard-cutting attacks against other Amish across Ohio," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is getting lots of attention for his remarks about immigration in Wednesday night's debate. Gingrich has been moving up in the polls and last night he broke with his fellow candidates by saying that some illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. Though his statements were in line with other GOP candidates from years past, the aftershocks show just how narrow the immigration debate has been in recent years.

Gingrich spouted the typical Repubican line in last night's debate,

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