3:41pm

Thu February 16, 2012
Around the Nation

Hold On To Your Tuba: Brass Bandits Hit L.A. Schools

Teacher Ruben Gonzalez conducts the South Gate High School band. According to Gonzalez, thieves passed up a computer as well as a stash of valuable flutes, saxophones and clarinets to get to the school's tubas.
Krissy Clark for NPR

The words "black market" usually summon images of drugs, guns or pirated DVDs — not tubas. Yet authorities in Los Angeles say the instrument is in such high demand that the black market may be what's driving a wave of local tuba thefts.

Ruben Gonzalez is teaching an after-lunch band class at the scene of one recent tuba crime — the music room at South Gate High School outside L.A. He starts with a request only a band teacher would make.

"Make sure we rinse out folks — we don't need any hamburgers or hot chilies coming through those instruments," he says.

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3:08pm

Thu February 16, 2012
The Salt

Yes, There's Arsenic In Your Rice. But Is That Bad?

Rice plants absorb arsenic from soil, and some if it makes it to the bowl.
iStockPhoto.com

Is there arsenic in your rice? Probably. That's the news behind a study that found surprisingly high levels of arsenic in rice-based organic toddler formula and energy bars.

One toddler formula with organic brown rice syrup as the primary ingredient had arsenic concentrations six times the federal limit of 10 parts per billion for arsenic in drinking water.

Cereal bars that contained rice products like brown rice syrup or rice flour had arsenic levels ranging from 23 to 128 parts per billion, according to researchers at Dartmouth College, who tested the products.

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3:06pm

Thu February 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Christmas Day Bomber Sentenced To Life In Prison

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 5:10 pm

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty in October to a plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009.
U.S. Marshals Service, File AP

The man who tried to blow up a U.S. passenger plane three Christmases ago was sentenced to life in prison in a Detroit courtroom today. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 25, boarded Northwest Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Dec. 25, 2009, with a massive bomb hidden in his underwear. As the plane approached Detroit, he tried to detonate the explosives. They failed to go off.

Four months ago, on the second day of his criminal trial, Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty.

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2:27pm

Thu February 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Amanda Knox Signs Book Deal Worth Millions

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 4:03 pm

Amanda Knox, the U.S. college exchange student who won an appeal to overturn her murder conviction in Italy last October, has signed a deal to write a memoir — for which she'll earn nearly $4 million, according to reports.

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2:12pm

Thu February 16, 2012
The Two-Way

#Feb17: Excised From The Record

A falcon statue, painted in the colors of the revolutionary flag and covered with the inscription "God is great", and is displayed outside the museum set up on Tripoli boulevard in Misrata on Feb. 12.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

The plane landed at Benghazi airport, about an hour late, which seemed just about right to most people on board. Elderly women sported tattoos from their bottom lip to the tip of their chin; several men carefully removed plants that somehow survived being crushed in the overhead luggage bins.

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1:58pm

Thu February 16, 2012
The Salt

Can A Diet Clean Out Toxins In The Body?

Experts say specialized diets won't help rid the body of toxins any more than what the liver and kidneys already do every day.
iStockphoto.com

Between lingering New Year's resolutions and impending Lenten restraint, it's the season when many people are inspired to get healthy by refusing foods they normally delight in.

Increasingly, we're seeing elimination diets that promise weight loss and a tantalizing bonus: detoxification.

"Cleansing diets" trade on this most alluring idea: By limiting our intake of food to a few super-pure items, we can free up the body to get rid of all the gunk accumulated in our cells.

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1:45pm

Thu February 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Man Has Heart Attack While Eating At The Heart Attack Grill

Signs for "Bypass Burgers" and "Flatliner Fries" are seen in the window of the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas. A man who suffered a heart attack in the restaurant was wheeled out on a stretcher Saturday.
Julie Jacobson AP

Slogans for a Las Vegas restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill include "Taste worth dying for," and "Over 350 lbs? Eat for free!" But the burger joint's shtick of calling waitresses "nurses" — complete with skimpy uniforms — and serving "quadruple bypass" burgers collided with reality Saturday, when a patron suffered a heart attack while eating at the restaurant.

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1:25pm

Thu February 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Study Finds Goats Adjust Their 'Accents' Based On Social Surroundings

A goat kid.
Queen Mary University of London

Surely you've noticed that when people move from place to place and stay for a while, they tend to pick up the local accent. We could use Madonna as an example, but we're pretty sure her British accent started before she jumped the pond.

Anyway, in a new study published in the journal Animal Behaviour, two scientists found young pygmy goats, which are known as kids, do something similar.

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1:00pm

Thu February 16, 2012
Middle East

The Anatomy, Complexity Of The Syrian Opposition

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 2:15 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Almost every day for about a year now, we've heard about the activities of the Syrian opposition: marches and demonstration that in the face of brutal attacks evolve toward armed resistence.

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1:00pm

Thu February 16, 2012
Economy

Is An Economic Recovery Underway?

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 2:44 pm

The number of jobless claims for January 2012 was at the lowest point since March 2008. Businesses are reporting profits, buyers are reporting confidence. Diane Swonk, chief economist for Mesirow Financial, discusses whether it's safe to say an economic recovery has begun.

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