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Middle East
2:06 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Syrian Conflict Stokes Unease In Lebanon

Lebanese masked gunmen from the al-Mokdad clan gather for a news conference in Beirut's southern suburbs on Aug. 15. The Mokdads, a large Lebanese Shiite Muslim clan, said they kidnapped at least 20 Syrians to try to secure the release of a family member abducted by Syrian rebels near Damascus this week.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 8:43 am

In Lebanon, a wave of kidnappings and an alleged plot to destabilize the country with bombings — both related to the uprising in Syria — are shaking Lebanon's precarious sectarian balance.

That's been apparent on al-Mokdad Street in south Beirut, which has been tense in recent days. The Mokdads are a large Shiite clan who control the street that is named for them. Young men with pistols in their pockets cruise the street on motor scooters, acting as the clan's lookouts.

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Around the Nation
2:05 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Trying To Tame The (Real) Deadliest Fishing Jobs

Crew members of a scallop boat float in their survival suits during a drill in Point Judith, R.I.
Jesse Costa WBUR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 3:09 pm

On the fishing-boat piers of New England, nearly everyone knows a fisherman who was lost at sea.

Boat captain Joe Neves remembers when a crew member got knocked overboard. "We heard him screaming 'Help me!' " Neves says, grimacing. "But you know, on the water at night, your head is like a little coconut." They didn't find him.

Mike Gallagher discovered a friend who was entangled in still-running hydraulics. "I knew right away he was dead," he says.

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First And Main
2:04 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Wis. State Senator Connects Her Politics To Her Past

Wisconsin state Sen. Jessica King stands at the corner of Main Street and Algoma Boulevard in downtown Oshkosh. She won her seat in a senatorial recall campaign last year.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:35 pm

As the presidential election nears, Morning Edition is visiting swing counties in swing states for our series First and Main. We're listening to voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year. This week, we're spending time in Winnebago County, Wis., where we spoke with two women — one Democrat, one Republican — who embody their state's Midwestern charm and spirit of self-reliance. First, we hear from the Democrat.

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It's All Politics
2:04 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Are Independents Just Partisans In Disguise?

Don Nichols iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:31 am

Independent voters have grown in recent years into a mega voting bloc. By some estimates they outnumber registered Republicans, and even registered Democrats.

Every election cycle, independents generate enormous amounts of interest as candidates, pollsters and the media probe their feelings. These voters are widely considered to hold the key to most elections.

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Sweetness And Light
9:09 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Serena Williams Takes Tennis For A Ride

Serena Williams returns a shot during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in Mason, Ohio.
Tom Uhlman AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:44 pm

For the first time in a long time there is actually more than a modicum of interest in the women's side of a Grand Slam tournament. And, of course, it's all strictly due to a party of one: Serena Williams.

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The Two-Way
5:02 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac Forms In Atlantic, Puerto Rico Under Storm Watch

The National Hurricane Center's five-day forecast of Tropical Storm Isaac.
NWS

The National Hurricane Center says we have a new named tropical storm in the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Isaac has winds of 40 mph, but it is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday afternoon.

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Around the Nation
5:02 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Where Cyclists Once Rode, Ghost Bikes Stand Vigil

Ryan Nuckle helped found New York City's Ghost Bike Project in 2005, after three cyclists were killed in a single month.
Nellie Large for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:06 am

On a muggy summer afternoon in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a dozen people are hard at work on the patio behind a local church. They're stripping old bicycles of their brakes, cables and chains, and sanding and spray-painting them white.

But behind the lighthearted chatter, there's a more somber purpose to this gathering: They're building "ghost bikes."

Painted all white and adorned with colorful notes and flowers, ghost bikes are the cycling community's equivalent of roadside shrines dotting the highway; they mark the spot where a rider was killed in traffic.

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All Tech Considered
5:02 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Study To Test 'Talking' Cars That Would Warn Drivers Of Unseen Dangers

Connected car technology could warn drivers when vehicles ahead of them suddenly brake.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 8:55 pm

Experts predict that our cars will one day routinely "talk" to one another with wireless communication devices, possibly preventing huge numbers of traffic accidents.

On Tuesday, the world's largest study of connected car technology launched in Ann Arbor, Mich. The technology is designed to help drivers avert all sorts of common dangers on the road.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
4:13 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Boston Plans For 'Near-Term Risk' Of Rising Tides

Some scientists predict that by 2050, climate change and an accompanying rise in sea level will lead to frequent flooding in Boston.
jeffgun Flickr

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:13 pm

While many cities around the country grapple with drought and excessive heat this year, city planners in Boston have something else on their minds: the prospect of rising water.

In this coastal metropolis, scientists and computer models predict that climate change could eventually lead to dramatic increases in sea level around the city. Coupled with a storm surge at high tide, parts of the city could easily end up under water.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:11 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Decline In Circumcisions Could Prove Costly

Nurse Angie Hagen tends to a newborn boy in the nursery at Denver Health medical facility in Denver in June 2011. The following month Colorado ended coverage for routine circumcisions under Medicaid.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:15 am

Fewer boys are being circumcised these days, and that could add to health costs down the road.

Over the past two decades, circumcision rates in the U.S. have fallen to 55 percent from a peak of about 79 percent. Insurance coverage for the procedure has also fallen — particularly under Medicaid — and is a factor in the decline.

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Election 2012
3:42 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Biden And Ryan Share Faith, But Not Worldview

This composite image shows Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (left) and Vice President Biden. Both men are Catholic, but their worldviews are strikingly different.
Jose Luis Magana/Thanassis Stavrakis AP

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 6:36 pm

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate, Catholics passed a milestone. For the first time in history, both vice presidential candidates, Ryan and Vice President Biden, are Catholic.

But if Biden and Ryan share the same faith, they couldn't be further apart in their cultural and political worldviews. On issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, taxes and Medicaid, they are miles apart.

How can that be?

Reflecting 'The Old And The New'

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It's All Politics
3:40 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

GOP Platform Anti-Abortion Language Includes No Exceptions For Rape, Incest

Republican National Committee officials on Monday unveiled the stage inside of the Tampa Bay Times Forum in preparation for the Republican National Convention.
Tim Boyles Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 7:47 pm

In Tampa, Fla., a week ahead of their national convention, Republicans are drawing up their party platform. There are muted disagreements over a few issues, such as immigration and same-sex marriage. But at least within the platform committee, one of the least controversial issues discussed this week is abortion.

With little discussion, the committee on Tuesday adopted the same anti-abortion language it included in GOP platforms in 2004 and 2008. It seeks passage of a constitutional amendment that would extend legal rights to the unborn, essentially banning abortion.

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Afghanistan
3:13 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

In Afghan Bazaar, U.S. Goods At Bargain Prices

Many of the items in Kabul's Bush Bazaar are food and cleaning supplies that have presumably been stolen from NATO deliveries to Afghanistan.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 8:13 pm

"Welcome to the Bush Bazaar," says Zach Warren, an American who has spent years working in Afghanistan. He's giving me a tour of Kabul's shopping districts as we buzz around the city on his rickety motorcycle, slicing through the city's traffic.

It's one of the worst-kept secrets in Kabul that most everything in the Bush Bazaar was pilfered from NATO trucks and bases — except for the counterfeits.

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Around the Nation
3:06 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Saltwater Invades Mississippi River

Water gets churned up at the end of a dredging pipeline connected to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., on Monday. The river has seen water levels from Illinois to Louisiana plummet because of drought conditions in the past three months. When there's less flow coming downstream, saltwater from the Gulf wedges its way in.
Adrian Sainz AP

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 7:25 pm

All the dry weather means there's less water flowing through the once mighty river into the Gulf of Mexico, and low outflow means saltwater from the Gulf is creeping in.

Some Louisiana cities have already begun purchasing drinking water. Now New Orleans is at risk.

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Around the Nation
3:06 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Vets' Job Hunt May Be Thwarted By Disability Bias

Claus served in the Army from 2005 until he was honorably discharged in 2010. A parachute accident in 2007 left him with chronic back and knee pain. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Courtesy of Justin Claus

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 3:12 pm

When Army veteran Justin Claus, 26, of Racine, Wis., goes to job interviews, he brings along his DD214, a document that serves as proof of military service. Claus is proud of his service and hopes being a veteran will give him an edge.

But the document, which basically sums up a military career, includes the reason it ended. In Claus' case, it reads "disability, permanent." And that little line Claus says, "comes back to get ya."

He says when employers ask why he was discharged, he recounts a parachute accident in 2007 that left him with chronic back and knee pain.

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NPR Story
3:06 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Ethiopia Faces Uncertain Future After Leader's Death

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 6:36 pm

Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has died. He was 57 years old. Meles was reportedly being treated at a hospital in Belgium. He came to power after leading rebels and overthrowing the country's dictator in 1991. He was a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism, but was also increasingly authoritarian.

The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Jet Lagged: NASA Engineer And His Family Are Living On Mars Time

David Oh, wife Bryn and his children Braden, 13, Ashlyn, 10, and Devyn, 8, picnic in Santa Monica beach at about 1 a.m.
David Oh

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 6:36 pm

Even the tiniest change — from daylight saving time to standard time — can throw your body off.

Imagine jumping into the time zone of an entirely different planet. That's what the family of David Oh, a NASA engineer, has been doing for weeks.

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Participation Nation
3:03 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Skaters Give Back In Los Angeles, Calif.

Rebecca Ninburg, aka Demolicious, with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Courtesy of LADD

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 10:54 am

For one day the whir of wheels on a wooden track is suspended as the Los Angeles Derby Dolls open their warehouse venue for the summertime Free Community Health & Job Fair, serving the surrounding Historical Filipinotown community.

The event provides free mammograms, glucose testing, self-defense classes and more courtesy of St. Vincent's Hospital — as well as job recruitment from police and fire departments.

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Music Reviews
2:42 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Janka Nabay: The King Of Bubu Music

Forced into exile from Sierra Leone, Janka Nabay (left of center) now makes his mysterious, mesmerizing music in Brooklyn.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 6:36 pm

Janka Nabay is the king of Bubu music. That style has old roots in Muslim Sierra Leone, but it's come to life recently in the clubs of Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as on a new album called En Yay Sah.

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The Two-Way
2:07 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Indian Parliament Adjourned After Row Over 'Coal-Gate'

India's parliament was adjourned briefly today as the opposition called for the resignation of the prime minister, saying he was complicit in what has become known as "coal-gate."

The uproar stems from an official audit issued last week accusing the government of selling coal mining rights for too low a price.

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Education
1:57 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Economy Exacerbates College Students' Stress

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In the coming weeks, millions of college students will move into dorm rooms, make new friends and hit the books. And if that sounds pretty much like the experience of their predecessors over the years, some things have changed.

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Sports
1:54 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Olympians Are Faster And Stronger, But How?

The Olympic motto says it all. It translates to: "Faster, Higher, Stronger." But as athletes come up against the limits of human potential, writer Emily Sohn wondered, how do they continue to improve? The answer, she found, has to do with technology, psychology and access to a range of sports.

Author Interviews
1:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Student 'Subversives' And The FBI's 'Dirty Tricks'

Mario Savio, shown here at a victory rally in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on Dec. 9, 1964, was the face of the free speech movement.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:21 pm

In 1964, students at the University of California, Berkeley, formed a protest movement to repeal a campus rule banning students from engaging in political activities.

Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover suspected the free speech movement to be evidence of a Communist plot to disrupt U.S. campuses. He "had long been concerned about alleged subversion within the education field," journalist Seth Rosenfeld tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Remembrances
1:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Comedian Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller plays peekaboo with the cameraman before the start of her television show Bonkers in 1979.
Central Press/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:35 pm

Phyllis Diller, one of the first and one of the few female comic headliners of her generation, died Monday at the age of 95.

Diller performed in the persona of a crazed housewife. She usually dressed in outlandish, bad-fitting clothes with her hair teased into a disheveled mop. Then she'd fire off long strings of self-deprecating gags. She was so unattractive, she used to tell her audiences, that Peeping Toms asked her to pull her window shades down. Onstage, she called her husband Fang. Diller told Fang jokes like her male counterparts told wife jokes.

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Presidential Race
1:05 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Romney's VP Pick Puts Focus On Medicare

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:34 pm

Paul Ryan's controversial plan to reshape Medicare has provoked conversation, some of it confusing, about entitlement reform. Traditionally a campaign rallying cry for Democrats, Republicans seem to be putting President Obama on the defensive about Medicare and the new health law.

Politics
1:05 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Akin's Remarks Highlight Political Cynicism

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:55 pm

After Rep. Todd Akin's remarks about rape, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus posed a question: "Is it any wonder Americans hate politics?" Republicans, she says, reacted just strongly enough to serve their own interests. And Democrats, Marcus argues, do their own part by driving voter cynicism.

From Our Listeners
1:05 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Letters: Duty To Warn And Hate Groups

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:24 pm

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments about mental health professionals and their "duty to warn," and about what we know about hate groups. And we remember comedian Phyllis Diller who died Monday at her home in Los Angeles.

Asia
12:58 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

China's Increased Investment Upsets Some Pakistanis

China is planning to increase investments in Pakistan, and some Pakistanis feel China is trying to become a new colonial power. Amid these tensions, a bomb went off near the Chinese Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, on July 23. The blast injured two people.
Rizwan Tabassum AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 4:08 pm

With all its current troubles, Pakistan has not been attracting much foreign investment recently. In fact, China seems to be the only country that's prepared to pour money into Pakistan in a big way.

But a boost in Chinese investment has sparked resentment in southern Pakistan, where activists accuse China of trying to be a new colonial power. A bomb blast recently hit near the Chinese Consulate in Karachi — an ominous sign of the rising tensions.

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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Roger Clemens Returns To Pro Baseball Saturday; Majors Next?

Roger Clemens in 2007, as he was throwing batting practice for the Houston Astros. Could he be back in an Astros' uniform next month?
David J. Phillip AP

The Rocket is going to be pitching again Saturday night.

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Nike's New Frontier: LeBron X Sneakers Will Sell For $315

Nike's new Lebron X. Fully loaded, they will retail for $315.
Nike

Despite tough economic times, Nike is about to go where it has never gone before: Its Lebron X sneakers are expected to retail for $315. That's the first time a pair of its kicks breaks the $300 barrier.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the price hike comes after the company saw some steep drops to its gross margins. But the company may be taking its customers too far. The Journal reports:

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