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Middle East
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Damascus Remains Cut Off By Fighting

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

For a second day, the Syrian capital, Damascus is cut off from the outside world, with the international airport shut, the Internet down and mobile phone lines working sporadically. There are reports of fierce clashes around the capital and heavy airstrikes in the capital's suburbs and in the northern city of Aleppo.

Business
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

N.Y. Fast-Food Workers Strike For Better Wages

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

Fast-food workers staged protests Thursday at restaurants in New York. The workers said their low wages need to be raised. But with the economy still slow, restaurant managers are determined to hold down labor costs so they can offer dollar foods.

Latin America
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

High Expectations As Mexico's Pena Nieto Takes Helm

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Deceptive Cadence
2:03 am
Fri November 30, 2012

The Peony Pavilion: A Vivid Dream In A Garden

A garden serves as the stage in the opera.
Zhang Yi

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 7:43 pm

The Peony Pavilion is one of China's most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. Chinese composer Tan Dun, who's best known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has adapted the work into a compact 75 minutes.

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StoryCorps
9:29 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

A Life's Ministry Springs From A Dilemma Over AIDS

The Rev. Eric Williams and his colleague Jannette Berkley-Patton visited StoryCorps in Kansas City, Mo., where they discussed a funeral that shaped Williams' future.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

For more than 20 years, the Rev. Eric Williams has educated people about AIDS and helped those who suffer from the disease. But the focus of Williams' ministry isn't something he could have predicted back in 1991.

In those days, Williams was a young pastor who had only recently taken charge of his own church — Calvary Temple Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo. He had been ordained in 1988.

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Around the Nation
3:43 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

In Wake Of Recession, Immigrant Births Plunge

A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record. It's fallen twice as much among the foreign-born.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:45 pm

A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record, led by a dramatic decline in births among immigrant women. The trend has been visible at La Clinica del Pueblo, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that holds a weekly neonatal clinic.

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Business
3:37 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

A Bet Or A Prediction? Intrade's Purpose Is Debated

Ireland-based Intrade lets users bet money on all manner of predictions — like if a particular film will win an Oscar. The site is ceasing operations in the U.S.
NPR/Intrade screen grab

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:02 pm

The popular website Intrade allows its users to bet on the odds of almost anything — like whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will get ousted by a certain date, or whether the movie Argo will win best picture at the Oscars.

This week, Ireland-based Intrade announced that U.S. users will have to unwind their bets and shut down their accounts by the end of the year. That's after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Intrade for operating an unregistered exchange.

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All Tech Considered
3:37 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Yet Another Shift In Facebook Policies Raises Privacy Concerns

Joerg Koch AP

Facebook has a long history of upsetting its users by suddenly announcing a change to its privacy settings. In 2009, as a way to quiet the critics, Facebook set up a system for its customers to vote on changes. If enough of them were unhappy, the company would back down. Now, Facebook wants to get rid of the voting.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

U.N. Votes To Give Palestinians 'Non-Member Observer State' Status

Palestinians in Ramallah celebrated in advance of the U.N. vote.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:40 am

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a resolution upgrading Palestine to a "non-member observer state," from a "non-member observer entity."

Before the vote and in front of the assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said this was the body's "last chance to save the two-state solution."

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Science
3:11 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Greenland, Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster

An iceberg that likely calved from Jakobshavn Isbrae, the fastest glacier in western Greenland.
Ian Joughin Science/AAAS

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:44 pm

Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.

But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.

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It's All Politics
3:07 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Would Raising Taxes On Investment Income Hurt The Economy?

A screen grab from an ad by the Defend My Dividend campaign, which is funded by utilities and other companies. They don't support a proposed increase in taxes from investment income.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:53 pm

As Democratic and Republican leaders try to work out a deal to avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax increases of the fiscal cliff, one area they're zeroing in on is investment income.

Raising the rates on capital gains and dividends, even just for the wealthy, would bring in $240 billion over the next decade. That makes them an easy place to look for new revenue.

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It's All Politics
2:46 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Obama And Romney Have Lunch, Agree To 'Stay In Touch'

President Obama and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shake hands in the Oval Office after their lunch Thursday at the White House.
Pete Souza/White House Photo UPI/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:57 pm

It was an off-the-record lunch and a photo op for the official White House photographer only. But it was a start.

President Obama hosted his recently ousted rival, Mitt Romney, for their first post-election meeting Thursday at the White House, a lunch of turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.

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The Salt
2:10 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Tastier Winter Tomatoes, Thanks To A Boom In Greenhouse Growing

The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Allison Aubrey NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:36 am

It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.

But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.

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Shots - Health News
1:54 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Clinton Reveals Blueprint For An 'AIDS-Free Generation'

United Nations Aids Executive Director Michel Sibide hugs Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after they they presented the a road map for stopping HIV around the world.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:52 am

Before Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton passes the reins to her successor, she's got a few loose ends to tie up. One of them is mapping out the U.S.'s continuing efforts to combat AIDS around the world.

So today she unveiled a "blueprint" for what she called an "AIDS-free generation."

Now Clinton isn't talking about ending the HIV pandemic altogether. Rather, she hopes to prevent most new infections from occurring in the first place and to stop HIV-positive people from developing AIDS.

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Music Reviews
1:21 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Turning Up The Volume On The Electric Blues

Joe Hill Louis, B.B. King and Rufus Thomas appear on a new multi-disc compilation of electric blues, Plug It In! Turn It Up!
Bear Family Records

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:12 am

Blues is so much a part of the fabric of American music and American culture — not only as a defined musical form, but also as a springboard for all kinds of creativity — that it seems crazy to try to encapsulate it in any way. Bear Family Records, though, has just released a 12-disc survey of electric blues called Plug It In! Turn It Up! that does a great job of illuminating one particular aspect of the blues.

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Former NBC Chief Jeff Zucker Taking Over At CNN

Jeff Zucker, who's going to CNN.
Robert Pitts Landov

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 2:56 pm

"Veteran news producer and former NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker will become the president of CNN Worldwide in January," CNN confirmed earlier today.

The Associated Press writes that:

"Zucker will be based in New York and report to Phil Kent, who runs all of the Turner networks for parent company Time Warner.

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Does Anybody Have More Fun Than Joe Biden? Check These Photos

"No, this really is Joe Biden!" (He borrowed a Costco employee's phone to say hello to someone.)
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:46 pm

Yes, he talked about the negotiations over taxes and spending cuts. Yes, it was a holiday photo op. But what really struck us about Vice President Joe Biden's this morning to Washington, D.C.'s first Costco store was how, once again, he just seems to have so much fun.

We think a picture gallery is in order.

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Space
12:05 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Space Probe Finds Ice In Mercury's Craters

Researchers say they have identified traces of ice in craters on Mercury, seen here in this Oct. 8, 2008, image from the Messenger spacecraft.
NASA

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:37 pm

Mercury is not the first planet to come to mind if you were searching for ice in the solar system. After all, the surface temperature across most of the planet is hot enough to melt lead.

But at the poles on Mercury it's a different story. Almost no sun reaches the poles, and as a result, temperatures can drop to less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, three papers in the journal Science suggest there really is ice at the bottom of craters near the poles on Mercury.

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The Two-Way
11:44 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Ambassador Susan Rice Is Financially Tied To Keystone Pipeline Company

Susan E. Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, attends a U.N. Security Council meeting in August.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:47 pm

The United States' ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has been the subject of much criticism from the GOP.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Thu November 29, 2012

In Syria: Battle Rages Outside Damascus Airport, Internet Goes Down

CIA World Factbook

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:39 pm

Syria's Internet services went down all across the country on Thursday and heavy fighting was reported near the airport in the capital Damascus, which led a number of airlines to suspend flights.

These developments come after a series of rebel victories in recent days and suggest that President Bashar Assad's government is facing increased pressure from the rebels in an uprising now 20 months old.

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Movie Interviews
10:35 am
Thu November 29, 2012

'Flight' Takes On Questions Of Accountability

Denzel Washington stars in Flight, the latest film from writer-producer-director Robert Zemeckis.
Robert Zuckerman Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 1:21 pm

Director, producer and screenwriter Robert Zemeckis is known for the Back to the Future films — which marked his arrival onto the Hollywood scene in the mid-1980s — as well as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump. His latest film, Flight, stars Denzel Washington as William "Whip" Whitaker, a heroic airline pilot with a dark secret.

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The Salt
10:33 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Quinoa Craze Inspires North America To Start Growing Its Own

The seeds of this goosefoot plant are known as quinoa, a superfood now in high demand and grown almost exclusively in South America. But some growers think they have the formula to grow it up north.
Janet Matanguihan courtesy Kevin Murphy

The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.

But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Thu November 29, 2012

An Act Of Kindness: Photo Of NYPD Officer Giving Barefoot Man Boots Goes Viral

NYPD officer Lawrence DePrimo gives a pair of boots to a barefoot man in Manhattan.
Jennifer Foster NYPD via Facebook

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 5:20 am

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Africa
10:03 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Message Behind African Heaters For Norway Spoof

An online video, urging Africans to save Norwegians from frostbite, has gone viral. The tongue-in-cheek spoof features South Africans singing about sending radiators to Norway. The filmmakers hope to take on stereotypes of Africa that are reinforced by charities and the media. Host Michel Martin speaks to Erik Evans, one of the video's creators.

Politics
9:54 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Will Payroll Tax Cut Survive Fiscal Talks?

The Bush-era tax cuts are taking center stage on discussions about deficit reduction. But the payroll tax holiday is also at risk, which could cost the typical family $1,000 a year. Host Michel Martin talks with The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy about the fiscal cliff and how the outcome could affect consumers.

The Two-Way
9:47 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Former President George H.W. Bush In Hospital

Former President George H.W. Bush in September at the Ryder Cup golf match in Medinah, Ill.
Mike Ehrmann Getty Images

"Former President George H.W. Bush remains in a Houston hospital, where he has been for seven days as doctors battle a lingering cough that has drawn concern," the Houston Chronicle writes.

But Bush's chief of staff, Jean Becker, tells the newspaper that the former president, now 88, has bronchitis and that it's expected he'll be released from Methodist Hospital this coming weekend.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Trayvon Martin Update: Zimmerman's Defense Fund Is Offering His Autograph

The signed card that donors will get from George Zimmerman.
GZDefenseFund.com

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 9:50 am

"Thank You Cards ... personally signed by George," are now going to be sent to those who donate money to the man facing second-degree murder charges for the Feb. 26 shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Webcast: NPR & Wilson Center Host National Conversation On Foreign Policy

Flags from nations around the world fly outside the U.N. building in New York City. The challenges facing President Obama's foreign policy team will be among the topics of today's national conversation, hosted by Talk of the Nation and the Wilson Center.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 11:53 am

NPR's Talk of the Nation and the Wilson Center, a public policy institute in Washington, D.C., are teaming up Thursday afternoon for a "national conversation" webcast and broadcast.

The topics for discussion, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET:

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It's All Politics
8:04 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Why Dividends, Capital Gains Are Big Part Of Fiscal Cliff Talks

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 11:58 am

As the White House and Congress debate how to steer clear of the fiscal cliff, one obstacle is the president's insistence that the wealthy should pay more in taxes. And one way that could happen is through changing the rules for dividends and capital gains.

If you own a share of stock in a company today, when the company pays out a dividend, the most you're taxed is 15 percent. And if you decide to sell the stock and cash out, you'd also pay 15 percent on your profits — the capital gains.

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Thu November 29, 2012

U.K. Inquiry: News Media 'Wreaked Havoc,' New Watchdog Needed

Britain's tabloids ruined many lives, a judge concludes. Now, he's recommending more oversight.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Saying that the British news media have "caused real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained," the judge appointed to sort out the mess after the U.K.'s tabloid scandal has recommended creation of an independent watchdog. It would be charged with "promoting high standards of journalism and protecting the rights of individuals."

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