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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Levitating Fruit Flies To Learn About Space Travel

Physicist Richard Hill and colleagues at the University of Nottingham have a powerful magnet that they have used to levitate fruits, beer and most recently, fruit flies. It's a low-cost way to study the effects of zero gravity on biological systems, Hill says.

Research News
12:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Parasitic Fly Threatens Honey Bee Populations

Honey bee colonies around the United States are in decline, threatened by several different diseases and parasites. John Hafernik, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University, describes how a parasitic fly that was thought to prey upon bumblebees may pose a new threat to honey bee populations in the U.S.

Economy
11:53 am
Fri January 6, 2012

U.S. Economy: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

AndrewJohnson iStockphoto.com

When it comes to unemployment reports in an election year, it's not just the data — it's also the spin.

Friday's jobs report could be seen as good news — at 8.5 percent, it's the lowest in three years. Good news for President Obama? Not according to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who lost no time in pointing out that the number is still above 8 percent — the figure that the president said would be the worst case under his 2009 stimulus package.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Fri January 6, 2012

U.S. Navy Reports Rescuing 13 Iranians From Somali Pirates

Thursday: The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd responds to a distress call from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai.
U.S. Navy photo

A team from the aircraft carrier strike force group that Iran threatened earlier this week has rescued 13 Iranian sailors who were being held by Somali pirates for several weeks, the U.S. Navy reports.

In a statement issued this morning, the Navy says:

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Television
10:52 am
Fri January 6, 2012

This Weekend, Some New Shows (And Old Favorites)

Don Cheadle plays business consultant Marty Kaan in the new Showtime comedy House of Lies.
Jordin Althaus Showtime

The New Year brings with it new TV programming, and this Sunday is an especially busy one for television. Two new series premiere, while one miniseries and several other series return.

But because it's a new year, let's start with the new shows.

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Movie Reviews
10:46 am
Fri January 6, 2012

'Extremely Loud' And Incredibly Manipulative

A year after his father's death in the World Trade Center, 11-year-old Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) sets out on a citywide scavenger hunt to find a missing lock that he hopes will reveal a message from his dad.
Francois Duhamel Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 4:24 pm

Some critics are indignant over Stephen Daldry's film of Jonathan Safran Foer's book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. They say the appropriation of Sept. 11 for such a sentimental work is exploitation.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:46 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Middle-Aged Brains Are Already Past Their Prime

iStockphoto.com

You may want to read this twice if you're older than 45. In fact, you may have to.

That's because your mental abilities are already in decline, according to a study of 7,390 British civil servants just published in BMJ, the British Medical Journal.

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Pained By Prices At The Pump? They're Likely To Go Even Higher

Don't spill any. It's expensive.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 10:26 am

This could be "the year of the gas-pocalypse" analysts tell the Los Angeles Times, "because gasoline prices are the highest ever for the start of the year, and they're on the rise, supercharged by expensive oil and changes in refinery operations."

Indeed, check out some of this reporting and analysis from GasBuddy.com:

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Crisis In The Housing Market
9:46 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Can Construction Help Build The Recovery?

A construction worker walks on the roof of a newly built home in Westport, Conn. The construction sector, which has been battered by the depressed housing sector, added 17,000 jobs in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 10:05 am

Of all the good news in the December unemployment report, perhaps the most encouraging sign for the 2012 labor market was the increase in construction jobs. That sector has lost more than 2 million jobs as the housing market imploded 5 years ago, but increases in construction hiring and spending could be cautious signs of a turnaround, analysts say.

Overall, employers created 200,000 jobs last month, sending the U.S. unemployment rate down to 8.5 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.

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It's All Politics
9:38 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Taking New Hampshire's Temperature, On A Frozen Lake

Dan Shaw of the Andover police department sets a line with friend Matt Snow of Belmont, N.H.
John W. Pool NPR

Reporter Liz Halloran and I have been motoring around New Hampshire the past few days, chasing candidate events and taking the political temperature of the state.

On the way to a Santorum event Thursday we spotted a small lake dotted with ice fishing shelters — the first we'd seen all week. Apparently, the ice only became thick enough in the last two weeks or so.

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Business
9:37 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Better-Than-Expected Jobs Report Lifts Markets

The Labor Department announced Friday that 200,000 jobs were created in December, and the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent. The new hiring came largely in transportation and warehousing. Tens of thousands of other people found jobs in retail and manufacturing.

Remembrances
9:33 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Barbara Lea: Remembering A Versatile Cabaret Singer

Barbara Lea was a singer known for her straightforward interpretations, precise diction, and respect for the intentions of each song's composer and lyrist. She died December 26th at the age of 82, from complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Lea got her start singing in clubs in the 1950s. Her first album, A Woman in Love, released in 1955, was named one of the finest recordings of the year. Though she dropped out of singing for a while, she made a comeback in New York's cabaret world in the 1970s.

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Report: Tiny Miscalculation Might Have Slightly Skewed Iowa Caucuses Count

Barb Hansen tallies votes during a GOP caucus in precinct 42 near Smithland, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012.
Dave Weaver AP

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 9:38 am

"Could Typo Rewrite Caucus History?"

That's the headline at the website of Des Moines' KCCI-TV, which reports that one Republican from Iowa's Appanoose County thinks a miscount at a caucus attended by 53 people there might have mistakenly contributed to Mitt Romney's reported eight-vote victory over Rick Santorum.

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The Salt
9:23 am
Fri January 6, 2012

What's In That Food? The SuperTracker Knows

The SuperTracker is an interactive tool that builds off of MyPlate.gov.
USDA

January is a giddy time for weight-loss companies, which usually rake in profits as New Year's resolutions shuttle earnest dieters to their doors. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would like to get in on the action, too. Not the money, mind you. The feds want us to use their new online food-and-exercise tracker, SuperTracker.

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It's All Politics
8:11 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Under Media Glare, Santorum's Record Draws Closer Look

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum talks with a customer while surrounded by news crews as he pays a visit to customers at the Tilt 'n Diner in Tilton, NH, on Jan. 5.
ROD LAMKEY JR The Washington Times /Landov

Now that he's getting his moment at the front of the GOP pack, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is drawing the kind of scrutiny he's escaped during all those lonely months at the bottom of the polls.

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Headlines
7:34 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Top Of The Morning News: Friday, January 6, 2012

  • Kansas City Schools Called “Worst In Nation”; Mayor Focuses on District Takeover
  • Nixon Takes Back Higher Education Funding Proposal
  • Feds Reject Kansas Waiver
  • Children’s Book Becomes Opera

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The Two-Way
7:34 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Jobless Rate Dips To 8.5 Percent, 200,000 Jobs Added To Payrolls

The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.5 percent — its lowest level in nearly three years — as 200,000 jobs were were added to payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

We'll add more details from the report shortly, so hit your "refresh" button to see our latest updates.

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Looking Back:

At 8.5 percent, the jobless rate is the lowest since February 2009's 8.3 percent.

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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Coming Up: December Jobs And Unemployment Report

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 6:57 am

The most-anticipated story of the morning seems to be the December jobs and unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is due for release at 8:30 a.m. ET.

We'll post on the news as soon as possible after it's available.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Penn State Ready To Name New Football Coach, ESPN Says

Bill O'Brien, offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.
Elsa Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 6:42 am

Penn State University has chosen New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to be its next head football coach and the man who will try to rebuild a program that was rocked last fall by a scandal that cost legendary coach Joe Paterno the job, ESPN reports. The sports network says an announcement is expected to be made Saturday.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Bomb Wreaks Death, Destruction In Damascus

Syria's official news agency distributed this photo of a bus said to have been damaged by today's explosion in Damascus.
AFP/Getty Images

There's been an explosion in central Damascus today and there are reports of multiple deaths and dozens of injuries.

As always in Syria, where the regime of President Bashar Assad tries to control the news, it's difficult to get an accurate sense of just what is going on. The regime is blaming its opponents, who have been protesting against Assad since last spring. Activists are questioning whether the attack was staged by supporters of the regime to make the opposition look bad.

Here's some of what's being reported:

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Strange News
5:58 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Sweden Recognizes File-Sharing Group As Religion

The Church of Kopimisms received approval last month form the Swedish government. The church opposes copyrights in all forms and encourages piracy of all types.

Shots - Health Blog
5:50 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Monkey Experiments Boost Hope For Human AIDS Vaccine

A rendering of a key protein the simian immunodeficiency virus uses to reproduce.
Wikimedia Commons

Researchers trudging down the long and twisted path toward an AIDS vaccine are encouraged by new studies that show an experimental vaccine protects monkeys against infection with a virus that is very similar to HIV.

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Around the Nation
5:50 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Stolen Car Lands Perfectly On Calif. House Roof

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:45 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Winter Wonderland? Not In New England

Unseasonable temperatures and lack of snow have a lot of New Englanders singing the blues. In Maine, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and Nordic skiing are a big part of the winter economy. Downhill ski areas are making due with man-made snow, but those other industries have no choice but to wait for Mother Nature.

Around the Nation
5:40 am
Fri January 6, 2012

After 48 Years, Pa. Detective Retires

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

We're staying in Norristown, Pennsylvania for a workplace story about Oscar Vance. In two weeks he's retiring from the area district attorney's office where he's worked for nearly half a century. He is leaving as chief detective for Montgomery County, overseeing all investigations that come through the D.A.'s office.

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Around the Nation
5:37 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Ceremonies Commemorate Tuscon Shooting

In Tucson, Ariz., this weekend, ceremonies will mark the shooting one year ago that killed six people and wounded 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords will be in town for the events.

Asia
4:38 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Nations Want N. Korean Politics To Remain Stable

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The death of Kim Jong Il in North Korea and the rise of his son Kim Jong Un have threatened to undermine the delicate balance of political forces in northeast Asia. It's a complicated part of the world, involving the interests of a still-divided Korean peninsula along with China, the U.S., as well as Japan and Russia. NPR's Mike Shuster has more from Seoul.

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NPR Story
3:00 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with predictions for 2012.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Director of the International Monetary Fund says this year will not be the end of the euro currency, despite the debt crisis in Europe. Christine Lagarde said during a visit to South Africa today that sovereign debt is a concern for many European countries, obviously. But the euro currency, she said, is solid.

NPR Story
3:00 am
Fri January 6, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Linda Wertheimer has the Last Word in business.

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