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Religion
3:28 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Bishops Stand Strong Against Birth Control Mandate

A bishop grasps his pectoral cross during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2011.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:15 pm

The Obama administration has drawn fierce criticism over a new rule requiring religiously affiliated charities, universities and hospitals to provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans. Now, that mandate has created a stalemate between American Catholic bishops and the White House that shows few signs of easing.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:22 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

When Flu Pandemics Hit, Closing Schools Can Slow Spread

Students at a University of London class in Mexico City wear masks to protect them against swine flu in May 2009. High schools and universities closed by the pandemic had just reopened across Mexico.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 4:46 am

Everyone knows that when your kids get the flu, they stay home from school.

But what does it take to justify closing the school down entirely? That's a question we should probably answer before the next big pandemic hits.

At one point during the swine flu outbreak in 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, "The potential benefits of preemptively dismissing students from school are often outweighed by negative consequences," such as disruption of classes and hassles for parents.

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Economy
3:19 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

The Mortgage Deal: A Reality Check

A member of the Occupy Wall Street movement places tape over a window of a foreclosed home during a march in the impoverished community of East New York in Brooklyn in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The $26 billion deal Thursday reached by the federal government, most states and the nation's largest banks to compensate homeowners for abusive foreclosure practices was hailed as a landmark agreement. But it's unlikely to end the mortgage mess that has depressed property values and left millions of homeowners owing more than their homes are worth, analysts say.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

PepsiCo Says It Will Cut 8,700 Jobs Worldwide

Kandral McKenzie delivers Pepsi products in New York on Thursday.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 3:08 pm

PepsiCo, the maker of Pepsi soda and Doritos chips, said it will cut 8,700 jobs worldwide. That represents about 3 percent of its 300,000 person global work workforce.

The announcement also comes just after the company announced better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. The Financial Times reports that net income for the company rose 3 percent to $1.4 billion and revenues were up 11 percent to $20.1 billion.

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Winter Songs
3:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Winter Songs: Paul Simon, The Bard Of Bad Weather

Paul Simon.
Mark Seliger

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 2:22 pm

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Around the Nation
2:46 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Over Bowls Of Soup, Donors Find Recipe For Change

Jon Landau serves others at PhilaSoup, a soup group based in Philadelphia.
Linton Weeks NPR

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:15 pm

The Soup Movement in America is based on a simple recipe: Bring a bunch of people together to eat soup. Ask each person for a modest donation — say $5. Listen to a few proposals about how people might use that pool of money for a worthwhile project. Vote on the best proposal, and give all the money to the top vote-getter. Go home full and fulfilled.

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Latin America
2:30 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Fighting Fit, Venezuela's Chavez Roars Back

President Hugo Chavez waves during a military parade in Caracas, Venezuela, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of a failed coup attempt he led. After battling cancer last year, Chavez has returned to his high-profile, fiery ways.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:15 pm

Last year was a tough one for Venezuela's firebrand leftist president, Hugo Chavez, who has frequently taunted the United States during his 13 years in power.

In June, a cancerous tumor was discovered in Chavez's abdomen, forcing him to dramatically scale back public appearances as he sought treatment in Cuba. Some predicted that the end was near.

But this year, Chavez has returned to his outspoken ways — just in time for his re-election campaign.

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Steve Jobs' FBI File Reveals People Who Knew Him Had A Mixed Opinion Of Him

Steve Jobs.
Jeff Chiu AP

The FBI has released the files it kept on Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. The 191-pages are part of a background search the FBI undertook in order to clear him for an appointment made to the President's Export Council by George W. Bush in 1991.

For the background check, the FBI conducted 30 interviews with friends, family, neighbors and former colleagues. What emerged was a portrait of a man admired for his brilliance but whose personal life and character are often questioned. It's not unlike the picture painted in Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography "Steve Jobs."

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Escaped 'Rhino' Successfully Captured In Tokyo

Netting the escapee.
BBC News

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 2:40 pm

In 2010, it was a guy dressed up in a tiger suit that wouldn't have scared many toddlers. One year keepers successfully captured a "zebra."

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Call It 'Gulf Of America,' Not Gulf Of Mexico, Lawmaker Says In Bit Of Satire

Sept. 2005: Hurricane Rita enters the Gulf of Mexico — or Gulf of America, as Mississippi House Rep. Stephen Holland would say.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:26 pm

Update at 3:25 p.m. ET. It's Satirical, The Lawmaker Says:

Daniel Cherry of Mississippi Public Broadcasting just talked with Rep. Stephen Holland — the Democratic lawmaker who's getting a lot of attention for introducing a bill to rename the Gulf of Mexico to Gulf of America.

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Fun, Fun, Fun 'Til Council Takes The Frisbee Away

A surfer watches the waves just before sunset at Will Rogers State Beach in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.
Reed Saxon AP

Throwing a frisbee or a football on a Los Angeles County beach in the summer could cost you $1,000.

As NPR member station KPCC reports, the L.A. Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a revision of a 37-page ordinance that outlines acceptable behavior on county beaches.

KPCC reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
12:58 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Feds Find Wide Variation In Serious Infections Linked To Catheters

Inattention to catheters used often in ICUs can lead to serious infections.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:09 pm

Across the country, 1 in 6 hospitals has high rates of one of the most serious kinds of preventable infections — those caused by catheters inserted into large veins, according to new data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

U.S. Regulators Approve First Nuclear Power Plant In A Generation

The containment vessel of Vogtle Unit 3 is already being assembled.
Southern Company

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 12:33 pm

The National Regulatory Agency announced it had given Southern Co. the OK to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia, making it the first new nuclear power plant approved in a generation.

The AP, which reported earlier today that the NRC was poised to give its approval, reports that one of the $14 billion reactors could be ready as soon as 2016. The second reactor could begin operating in 2017. The AP adds:

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

What's The Truth About The War In Afghanistan?

Lt. Col. Daniel Davis ignited a controversy when he wrote that what he saw in Afghanistan "bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders." U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Ma), defense analyst Tom Donnelly and McClatchy Newspapers correspondent Johnathan Landay discuss the realities of the war in Afghanistan.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Occupy Wall Street: The Future And History, So Far

On September 17, 2011, hundreds of people gathered in Lower Manhattan to protest the growing wealth gap and Wall Street's involvement in the economic crisis. Five months later, most of the Occupy encampments across the country have been disbanded and the future of the movement remains uncertain.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Music Magazine Spins Reviews To Twitter

SPIN Magazine is hoping to review 1,500 albums and mixtapes exclusively in 140-character tweets on the SPINReviews Twitter feed in 2012. The music magazine recently abandoned their 80-word reviews for the new Twitter format, which critics think is killing the art of the music review.

Book Reviews
11:37 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Scrappy 'Girlchild' Forms A Girl Scout Troop Of One

You'd think that, by now, the news that Americans are spoiling their children would be as attention-getting as the fabled headline, "dog bites man," but, apparently, we never weary of hearing about how bad we're doing as parents. Last year, it was the Tiger Mom; this year, a hot new book called Bringing Up Bebe, tells us that the French have us beat by an indifferent shrug when it comes to the art of raising independent kids.

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Ban On Insider Trading By Lawmakers Passes House, Heads To Obama's Desk

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:39 am

By a nearly unanimous vote this morning the House passed the STOCK Act, which as NPR's Tamara Keith has reported, "would, among other things, explicitly ban insider trading for members of Congress and their staffs."

The vote was 417-2, with 14 members absent. The two nay votes were from Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.

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Anti-Government Protests Roil Egypt
11:24 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Wael Ghonim: Creating A 'Revolution 2.0' In Egypt

One year ago, Wael Ghonim spoke with reporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, as protests there continued.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 12:32 pm

The protests that led to the Egyptian revolution last year were organized in part by an anonymous Facebook page administrator. When the police found out who he was, they arrested and interrogated him. After his release, Wael Ghonim became the public face of the Egyptian revolution.

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:22 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Meryl Streep, Yoga

Meryl Streep stars as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady.
The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 10:58 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Gorbachev: Russia's Putin Has 'Exhausted' Himself

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev delivers a lecture entitled "My Life in Politics" at the International University in Moscow on Thursday.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:25 am

The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says if things don't change in Russia after it holds presidential elections, there will be more protests.

In a lecture at Moscow's International University on Thursday, Gorbachev also had some harsh words for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

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History
11:19 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Historian Seeks Artifacts From Lincoln's Last Days

This drawing of Abraham Lincoln by editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast was published in Harper's Magazine in 1865.
Courtesy Harper's Magazine

Historian Noah Andre Trudeau is known for uncovering secrets of the Civil War. His previous books, Bloody Roads South and Gettysburg, have unveiled information about Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's march to the sea in 1864, and the legacy of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Now, in preparation for a book about a largely unexamined period of President Abraham Lincoln's life, Trudeau is in search of witnesses.

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Movie Reviews
11:11 am
Thu February 9, 2012

'Safe House,' 'Haywire': Watch Them Back To Back

Mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a highly trained covert operative, in a twisty, tautly wrought thriller.
Claudette Barius Relativity Media

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 11:19 am

The flashy Denzel Washington thriller Safe House will probably gross in a few hours what Steven Soderbergh's Haywire has made in several weeks, but if you like action you ought to catch both back to back. Soderbergh's film is a reaction to the jangled, high-impact style of Safe House and its ilk.

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Election 2012
11:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Conservatives Hope To Reach Hard-Pressed Youth

Young conservatives are bringing new energy to this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a panel called, "Why Am I Living in My Parent's Basement?" Host Michel Martin talks with two young people attending, about how they hope to bring under-30 voters to their side of the aisle.

World
11:00 am
Thu February 9, 2012

'We Are Still Awake,' Says Egyptian Protester

It's been nearly one year since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, and the country is still experiencing the growing pains of transition. Last year, host Michel Martin spoke with a young protester minutes after Mubarak's resignation. Now, Martin catches up with her again to see if she's still optimistic about changes in her country.

It's All Politics
10:55 am
Thu February 9, 2012

House Passes Bill That Would Ban Insider Trading By Lawmakers

The House on Thursday passed a bill that would ban congressional insider trading. The STOCK Act passed overwhelmingly, 417-2, despite some partisan disagreements over its scope.

With congressional approval at all-time lows, the bill was widely seen by lawmakers as a small step in restoring public confidence. But differences remain to be worked out with a Senate measure, passed last week, before a bill could be sent to President Obama.

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It's All Politics
10:29 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Another Senate Campaign Could See SuperPAC Truce (Or Not)

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:48 am

It might seem like the equivalent of trying to bail the ocean with a bucket but we now have another major race, the U.S. Senate race in Montana, in which the idea of a self-imposed truce by the candidates on superPAC money in the race has come up.

Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, sent a letter to Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican who seeks to unseat him, requesting a truce on outside money funding negative ads for their campaigns, meaning superPACs.

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The Salt
10:20 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Trans Fats Are Leaving The Food Supply And The Body, Study Finds

A vending cart with breakfast foods in New York City. In 2008, the city expanded its trans-fat ban from spreads and frying oils to baked goods, frozen foods, and doughnuts.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:22 am

Remember trans fats? And the big campaigns to get them out of burgers, fries and all kinds of baked goods?

Well, those campaigns seem to have worked.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Women In Combat: Inevitable?

American soldiers Kris Kuntz (left) and Hayley Barner in Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, last October.
Tauseef Mustafa AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:43 pm

  • NPR's Tom Bowman reports

The word that Pentagon rules may soon "catch up a bit with reality" as the military considers formally allowing women to do something that they've already been asked to do in Iraq and Afghanistan — serve close to the front lines but technically not "in combat" — raises a question.

As NPR's Tom Bowman reports, the new rules still wouldn't allow women to serve in front line combat jobs such as infantry, armor or Special Forces.

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