5:34pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Economy

Businesses, Not Consumers, Sour On Economy

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

Shoppers carry bags during Black Friday sales at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Mass. Right now, consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

When it comes to the economy, consumers and business owners have very different takes right now. Consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.

In a word, business owners are bummed.

"What we've found is that a lot of that optimism is not there right now," says Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup, which polled these small-business types just after the election.

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5:30pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Around the Nation

Post-Sandy Fixes To NYC Subways To Cost Billions

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

Joseph Leader, chief maintenance officer of the New York City subway system, surveys damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, this week at the South Ferry station.
Joel Rose NPR

Most subway stations in New York City affected by Superstorm Sandy have opened by now, but the South Ferry station at the southern tip of Manhattan is still closed. And when you get inside, it's easy to see why.

The platform is still coated with dirt more than a month after the storm. The tile walls are covered in grime from the tracks all the way up to the ceiling 25 feet overhead. There's debris dangling from the exit signs; the escalators look like they may never work again.

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4:54pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Middle East

U.S., Russia Try To Find Common Ground On Syria

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a speech at Dublin City University in Ireland on Thursday. She also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Syria.
Kevin Lamarque AFP/Getty Images

As Syrian fighting intensifies in Syria, diplomatic efforts are also heating up.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the main international envoy to Syria were all in Dublin for an international gathering Thursday. The meeting came as Syria's opposition tries to get better organized to offer a real alternative to President Bashar Assad's regime.

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4:53pm

Thu December 6, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Innovate it here & make it here, say manufacturing experts

Closing the gap between innovation and commercialization is the key to boosting the national economy. That is one of the messages at a manufacturing summit being held in Rochester this week.  Industry leaders say economic growth triggered by American ideas needs to be kept within the United States' borders.

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4:14pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Regional Coverage

Group lists dangerous toys to avoid this holiday season

One of the items on NYPIRG's list of dangerous toys
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

With the holiday gift buying season fully underway, advocacy groups say there are toys on store shelves across New York state that are dangerous to young children. The New York Public Interest Research Group has come up with it's yearly list of treacherous toys for the season.

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3:59pm

Thu December 6, 2012
It's All Politics

White House Dismisses Constitutional Challenge In Debt Ceiling Saga

White House spokesman Jay Carney briefs reporters Thursday at the White House. "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period," he said.
Charles Dharapak AP

White House spokesman Jay Carney put an end to intense speculation Thursday about whether President Obama would do an end run around Congress with one simple line: "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period."

Some Democrats had been urging Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit — a bold move that would take away Republican leverage in the ongoing negotiations over taxes and spending.

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3:57pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Shots - Health News

Perfection Is Skin Deep: Everyone Has Flawed Genes

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:19 pm

When researchers looked at the genetic sequences of 179 individuals, they found far more defects in the patterns of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs than they expected.
iStockphoto.com

We all know that nobody's perfect. But now scientists have documented that fact on a genetic level.

Researchers discovered that normal, healthy people are walking around with a surprisingly large number of mutations in their genes.

It's been well known that everyone has flaws in their DNA, though, for the most part, the defects are harmless. It's been less clear, however, just how many mistakes are lurking in someone's genes.

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3:36pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Shots - Health News

Nigeria Pressured To Clean Up Lead-Contaminated Villages

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:57 pm

A boy works at an illegal gold mine in northern Nigeria. Lead from these mines has sickened thousands of children in the region.
David Gilkey NPR

The Nigerian government has been slow to fulfill a promise it made last spring. And, its sluggishness is putting kids at risk for lead poisoning, the advocacy group Humans Rights Watch says.

Last May, the Nigerian government pledged roughly $5 million to clean up lead contamination around illegal gold mines in northwest Nigeria. But so far, that money hasn't been released.

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3:32pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Around the Nation

To Trim Down, Spelman Trades Sports For Fitness

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

Spelman College has dropped NCAA athletics in favor of a comprehensive fitness program. The school now offers classes like Zumba to help encourage all students to exercise more.
Courtesy of Spelman College

For the past decade, Spelman College, a historically black women's school in Atlanta, has fielded NCAA teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and other sports. But when its small Division III conference started dwindling, college President Beverly Tatum says the school decided it was time to change focus.

"We have to ask ourselves: What is the cost of the program and who is benefiting? How many people are benefiting? Is the benefit worth the cost?" Tatum asks.

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2:35pm

Thu December 6, 2012
The Two-Way

With Looting, Syria's Army Isn't Winning Hearts And Minds

A Syrian soldier aims his rifle during clashes with rebel forces in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday. Syrian soldiers have been taking over private homes and apartments, and have sometimes looted and trashed them, according to Syrian civilians.
HOPD AP/SANA

Editor's Note: Throughout the Syrian uprising, the government has allowed few foreign journalists and other outsiders into the country. In this report, a Syrian citizen describes life in the capital, Damascus. For security reasons, NPR is not identifying the author.

As the Syrian military struggles against rebel fighters, it seems the army has not been paying a lot of attention to winning the hearts and minds of civilians.

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