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Energy
4:51 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Gulf Refinery Expansion May Not Cut Gas Prices

Expanding the refinery at Port Arthur, Texas, took five years and $10 billion. The facility can now process 600,000 barrels a day.
Motiva Enterprises

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 6:44 pm

In Texas recently there was a grand opening for what is now the largest refinery in the U.S. Shell and Saudi Arabia's national oil company, Saudi Aramco, have more than doubled the capacity of their Port Arthur refinery.

The refinery business has been going through a tough period in recent years. Americans are buying less gasoline and other petroleum products — about 10 percent less than in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:11 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

More Americans Are Checking Prices Before Getting Health Care

How much will that cost, doc?
iStockphoto.com

Do you shop around for the best price on a visit to the doctor, a CT scan or surgery at a hospital? If so, it looks like you've got a little more company.

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Mitt Romney
3:54 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Romney's Foreign Policy Views Comfort, Unsettle GOP

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally Tuesday in Las Vegas.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 9:58 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked up two big endorsements this week from GOP foreign policy luminaries: former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

At this point in the presidential race, endorsements are pretty routine. But these particular endorsements are important, since Romney has encountered some skepticism from foreign policy experts in his party.

Some Republicans expected the long, bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to alter their party's traditional interventionist view. Those Republicans are disappointed in Romney.

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Music Interviews
3:38 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Brandi Carlile: Bending Notes Until They Break

Brandi Carlile performs live in NPR's Studio 4A.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 9:17 am

What is it about Brandi Carlile's voice that gets right inside you? The power? Her range? It may be the way she can crack open a note, as she does in her best-known song, "The Story," which was prominently featured on Grey's Anatomy.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:23 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Meet Manjiro, Japan's Unlikely Teen Ambassador

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 7:50 am

This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club hits the high seas for an adventurous novel called Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The book begins in 1841, and is based on the sprawling true-life tale of Manjiro, whose destiny was almost determined before birth as a son in a long line of fishermen. But a storm blew his life on a new course, and he became one of the first Japanese to set foot in America.

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Law
3:13 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

When The Jury Becomes The Story

Former Sen. John Edwards leaves the federal courthouse in Greensboro, N.C., on Tuesday.
Chuck Liddy MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 9:58 pm

They were called the "giggle gang" — four alternate jurors in the John Edwards trial who wore the same-colored shirt to court on several days.

During nine days of deliberations, much attention was given to the merry band of alternates in the high-profile campaign finance case.

On Thursday, attention swung back to the jury itself, which found Edwards not guilty on one count. The judge declared a mistrial on the other five charges.

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It's All Politics
3:04 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Romney's Week: Upstaged Time And Again

Former President George W. Bush winks in the East Room of the White House on Thursday during a ceremony to unveil his portrait.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 3:31 pm

What a week it was to have been for Mitt Romney.

But what a week it wasn't.

Poised to triumphantly clinch the Republican nomination for president, Romney instead was upstaged Tuesday by supporter Donald Trump's new birther-on-steroids shtick that stole the headlines and the candidate's big moment.

Then on Thursday, ready to embarrass President Obama by holding a "surprise" press event in front of Solyndra, the Obama-touted California solar energy company that failed after getting a $535 million government loan guarantee, Romney was upstaged yet again.

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Music Reviews
3:01 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Melody Gardot Aims For The Space Between Notes

Melody Gardot takes an understated approach to Brazilian music on her new album, The Absence.
Fabrizio Ferri

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 11:39 am

The other day, I had a conversation with Melody Gardot about space. Not outer space, but the space between notes in her music. These days, there's lots of it.

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Europe
3:00 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Battered Spanish Economy Nears Tipping Point

A student in Pamplona, holding a sign in the Basque language, protests cuts Thursday in education and other public services by the government. Spain's financial position is weakening and there are fears the country will need a bailout.
Alvaro Barrientos AP

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 9:58 pm

Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.

After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.

A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.

But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

For Many Teens, Summer Jobs May Be Thing Of The Past

Tom Auffhammer, 17 (right) scoops ice cream in Syracuse, N.Y. Teens continue to face stiff competition for summer jobs, but a downward trend in summer hiring for teens actually predates the recession.
Michelle Gabel The Post-Standard/Landov

The school year's winding down, meaning teenagers around the country will soon be trying to pull in some extra cash scooping ice cream or manning those kiosks at the mall.

But with the job market still weak, teens are facing stiff competition landing summer jobs. And while the downturn has hit young job seekers particularly hard, it's not just the lingering effects of the Great Recession working against them: the drop-off in teen summer hiring actually began long before 2007.

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It's All Politics
2:42 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Bloomberg Becomes Nanny-State Epitome For Some, Giving Obama A Breather

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large sugary drinks was so hard to swallow it caused some to call him a fascist, a word more often hurled at President Obama.
EMMANUEL DUNAND AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 3:29 pm

If nothing else, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has apparently done President Obama a favor.

His Honor's proposed ban on the sale of supersized sugary fountain drinks in his city made the mayor, at least for some, the epitome of Big Government excess, a place many critics, particularly conservatives, typically reserve for the Obama.

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Music Interviews
1:40 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Chely Wright: From Nashville Star To Outcast Activist

Chely Wright performs at the "Reading, Writing, Rhythm" show in Nashville, Tenn.
Tanya Braganti

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 10:54 am

As a child growing up in a small town in Kansas, Chely Wright would say a daily prayer: "Dear God, please don't let me be gay."

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Jury Has Reached A Verdict In The John Edwards Trial

John Edwards leaves a federal courthouse during the ninth day of jury deliberations in his trial on charges of campaign corruption in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 5:02 pm

Update at 4:24 p.m. ET. Not Guilty:

A jury in Greensboro, N.C. has found John Edwards not guilty on one count and the judge has declared a mistrial on the other five charges, the AP reports.

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Wal-Mart Pulls Out Of Group That Advocates 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

Selina Gray of Sanford, Fla., at a protest there on March 31.
Julie Fletcher AP

Wal-Mart has joined the list of major corporations withdrawing their support from a conservative political group that advocates the "Stand Your Ground" laws that came under intense focus after the Trayvon Martin killing became a national story.

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The Salt
1:18 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Bloomberg's Sugary Drink Ban May Not Change Soda Drinkers' Habits

Will reducing the size of New York city's sodas impact the obesity problem?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 9:58 pm

When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last night he wants to ban sodas and many other sugary drinks in 16 ounce servings sizes and up, the reaction was swift and predictable.

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On Disabilities
1:00 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

As Prosthetics Improve, Amputees Face New Choices

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 1:49 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Dedicated runner and family doctor Tom White coped for years with the consequences of a traffic accident, but over time, his left leg gave him more and more trouble and pain, to the point where he decided to have it amputated.

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Asia
1:00 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Pakistan: 'Terror State' Or American Ally?

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 1:54 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

Relations continue to deteriorate between the United States and Pakistan, a country some described as a nominal ally. A Senate panel voted last week to reduce aid to Islamabad after a doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden was sentenced to 33 years in prison. And Pakistan continues to refuse to reopen U.S. supply lines into Afghanistan that it cut in response to American air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year.

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Law
1:00 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

The Health Care Law And The Roberts Court

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 1:17 pm

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the controversial health care law in June. Many legal analysts expect the Justices to strike down parts of the law in a split, 5-4 decision, prompting a debate among legal scholars about what the decision will reveal about the politics of the High Court.

The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

President Obama Hosts President Bush For Unveiling Of Official Portraits

Meetings of current, former and future presidents are uncommon, and this one, on Jan. 7, 2009, was a once-in-28-years affair. From left, George H.W. Bush joins then-President-elect Obama, then-President George W. Bush and fellow former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for lunch. It was the first time since 1981 that all living presidents had been together at the White House.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 4:06 pm

In a rare moment of harmony in Washington, President Obama hosted former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush for the unveiling of the couple's official portraits.

It's a tradition that dates back to 1800, when the White House acquired its first work of art: a full-length portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart.

During a ceremony in East Room of the White House, President Obama noted that fact saying that while Washington is constantly engulfed in partisan bickering, the "Presidency transcends those differences."

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Russia Is 'Propping Up' The Assad Regime, Secretary Clinton Says

By resisting efforts at the United Nations to bring concerted pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the killing in his country, Russia is "in effect, propping up the [Assad] regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said earlier today in Copenhagen.

Clinton also told an audience that Russia's implicit support for Assad could "help contribute to a civil war" in Syria, The Associated Press reports.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Elizabeth Warren Says She Told Schools Of Native American Heritage

Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 9:36 am

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who is in a tight Senate race in Massachusetts against Republican incumbent Scott Brown, acknowledged for the first time that she told the law schools at Harvard and University of Pennsylvania of her Native American heritage.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Milwaukee Archdiocese Admits It Paid Abusive Priests To Leave Ministry

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, shown at Ash Wednesday services at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in 2011.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 12:21 pm

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee admitted yesterday that it had paid abusive priests up to $20,000 to encourage them to leave the ministry.

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Author Interviews
10:59 am
Thu May 31, 2012

The Internet: A Series Of 'Tubes' (And Then Some)

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 1:08 pm

Increasingly, Internet users are working "in the cloud" — creating and sending data that isn't stored on local hard drives. It's easy to imagine our emails and photos swirling around in cyberspace without a physical home — but that's not really how it works. Those files are still stored somewhere, but you can only find them if you know where to look.

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Movies
10:58 am
Thu May 31, 2012

2012: Not The Best Year At Cannes

Emmanuelle Riva co-stars in the French film Amour, which won the festival's Palme d'Or.
La Festival de Cannes

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 1:08 pm

John Powers, Fresh Air's critic-at-large and the movie critic for Vogue, returns from the 2012 Cannes Film Festival to share his thoughts on the films he liked and the films he didn't care for.

Though Powers says 2012 was not the best year at Cannes, the experience once again left him feeling rejuvenated about the movies.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:57 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Sick in America: Hispanics Grapple With Cost And Quality Of Care

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 1:27 pm

In our recent poll on what it means to be sick in America, one ethnic group stands out as having special problems – Hispanic Americans.

The national survey, conducted by NPR with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, sheds new light on Hispanics' health issues. It runs counter to the widespread impression that African-Americans are worst-off when it comes to the cost and quality of health care.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Defense Of Marriage Act Is Unconstitutional, Federal Court Rules

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 11:05 am

"A federal appeals court Thursday declared that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court," The Associated Press reports from Boston.

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The Two-Way
10:08 am
Thu May 31, 2012

What Tweets Do Politicians Delete? 'Politwoops' Can Tell You

Politwoops

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 11:01 am

Most of what they're catching isn't all that exciting, but the folks at the Sunlight Foundation have launched something that has the potential to expose elected officials and politicians as they try to hide embarrassing things that get on to their Twitter feeds.

Politwoops, Sunlight says, is "the only comprehensive collection of deleted tweets by U.S. politicians. From minor typos to major gaffes, Politwoops is now there to offer a searchable window into what they hoped you didn't see."

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Economy
10:06 am
Thu May 31, 2012

U.S. Economic Growth Falls Short Of Expectations

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with starts with some discouraging numbers.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Middle East
9:37 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Preaching Nonviolence, Syrian Activist Heads Home

Sheik Jawdat Said, 81, has been urging nonviolent protest in Syria for decades, and has been arrested many times. A scholar and an activist, shown here speaking at American University in Washington in March, he is heading back to Syria this week and plans to resume his call for peaceful opposition to the government.
Jeff Watts American University

Syria's foremost proponent of nonviolent protest says he's returning to Damascus this week and will keep delivering his long-standing message despite the country's worsening bloodshed.

Sheik Jawdat Said is an 81-year-old Islamic scholar whose books and teachings helped inspire young Syrian activists to challenge the regime in peaceful protests last year.

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Thu May 31, 2012

'We Could See This Coming,' Brother Says Of Man ID'd In Seattle Killings

This frame grab from a security camera, released by the Seattle Police Department, shows a man identified by his brother as Ian Stawicki after Wednesday's shooting at Cafe Racer.
Seattle Police Department AFP/Getty Images

The man who reportedly shot and killed five people Wednesday in Seattle, before taking his own life, changed about five years ago into a mentally ill individual who was "really angry toward everything," his brother tells The Seattle Times.

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