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11:48am

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

About 25,000 Troops May Be Needed In Afghanistan After 2014, Planners Say

When President Obama on Tuesday signed a 10-year security agreement with Afghan President Karzai, it wasn't announced how many U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan past 2014 — the year Afghans are supposed to take over full responsibilty for security there.

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10:36am

Wed May 2, 2012
Author Interviews

ExxonMobil: A 'Private Empire' On The World Stage

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 12:30 pm

Steve Coll was a managing editor at The Washington Post and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for reporting about the Securities and Exchange Commission and in 2004 for his book Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
Courtesy of the author

In Private Empire, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Steve Coll investigates how ExxonMobil has used its money and power to wield significant influence in Washington, D.C., particularly during the Bush administration.

Executives at the company maintained close personal connections with members of the Bush administration — but Coll says the "cliched idea that Exxon-Mobil was just an instrument of the Bush administration's foreign policy — a kind of extension of the American government during the Bush years — is just wrong."

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10:35am

Wed May 2, 2012
The Salt

What Pizza Hut's Crown Crust Pizza Says About Global Fast Food Marketing

The new Crown Crust Pizza from Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut Middle East/YouTube

Perhaps you've heard by now of the Crown Crust pizza, the pizza-cheeseburger hybrid recently unveiled by some of Pizza Hut's international franchisees. Available only at Pizza Hut Middle East, this fast food chimera features a vaguely crown-shaped crust studded with "cheeseburger gems," topped with lettuce and tomato, and drizzled with "special sauce."

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9:42am

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Hiring Slowed In April, Report Signals

Businesses added just 119,000 jobs to their payrolls in April, a sharp drop from an estimated 201,000-gain in March, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

The private group's report is "a troubling sign" two days before the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues its figures on April employment growth and unemployment, The Associated Press says.

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9:13am

Wed May 2, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Costly Heart Procedures Thrive In Some Places, Despite Cheaper Alternatives

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 9:38 am

Build a cardiac catheterization lab and doctors will tend to use it, even if treatment with drugs alone would suffice.
iStockphoto.com

Why do some doctors keep performing expensive medical procedures after it becomes apparent there are cheaper and equally safe ways to treat patients? A study of cardiac procedures in Michigan takes a crack at this question, and while it comes up short on definitive answers, it has some provocative findings.

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8:57am

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

We Had Dinner With Bin Laden In 2010, Men Tell BBC

Following the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, the image of the al-Qaida leader was one of a man in hiding, watching himself on videos and plotting.
AFP/Getty Images

The story that Osama bin Laden never left his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during the last five years of his life takes a hit with word from the BBC about a dinner the al-Qaida leader reportedly attended in the summer of 2010.

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8:25am

Wed May 2, 2012
Business

Virgin Atlantic Puts Richard Branson On Ice

The airline is molding ice cubes into Richard Branson's image to promote the in-flight bar.

8:16am

Wed May 2, 2012
Around the Nation

Thousands Of Bees Removed From New Jersey Home

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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8:15am

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

'Afghan Good Enough' May Be Best U.S. And Allies Can Do

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 8:29 am

During his brief visit to Afghanistan, President Obama spoke to troops at Bagram Air Field north of Kabul.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Among the day-after analyses of President Obama's surprise trip to Afghanistan and the new pact about U.S.-Afghan relations is this from Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.:

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7:59am

Wed May 2, 2012
Business

UBS Profits Drop 54 Percent In 1st Quarter

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with falling profits for UBS.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Suisse Bank UBS announced today that their profits fell 54 percent in the first quarter of this year. The drop is blamed on a decrease in investment banking income, and also because of an accounting charge on its debt.

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7:53am

Wed May 2, 2012
Law

DOJ Downplays Expectation For Hate Crimes Law

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Nearly three years ago, Congress passed a federal hate crime law. It makes it illegal to target victims because of their race, religion or sexual orientation. The law drew protests from some Republican lawmakers and religious groups, who said it threatened their free speech rights. And the law has been used sparingly.

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7:51am

Wed May 2, 2012
Around the Nation

Texas Battling Pollution From Poultry Production

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 12:24 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Americans are now eating more chicken than beef or pork. And meeting that demand is an industry that some have dubbed big chicken. Texas is a major player in the industry, and so now Texas must manage a problem that in other circumstances we might describe as fallout or blowback. Dave Fehling of member station KUHF in Houston explains what that problem is.

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7:48am

Wed May 2, 2012
Around the Nation

Occupy Movement Marks May Day With Protests

The Occupy protest movement was out in force Tuesday. May 1 is traditionally a day for labor demonstrations. For the most part, the demonstrations were noisy and theatrical but restrained.

7:30am

Wed May 2, 2012
Afghanistan

Taliban Claims Responsibility For Kabul Attack

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

News is slowly spreading across Afghanistan of President Obama's midnight visit to Kabul. And Afghans woke up this morning to a darker kind of news as well - that car bomb attack on a foreign aid compound little more than a mile from where the two presidents met hours earlier. NPR Kabul bureau chief Quil Lawrence joins me here in Kabul.

And let's start with this morning's attack. Tell us what you know about it at this point in time.

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7:26am

Wed May 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Will China Follow Through On Assurances About Activist's Safety?

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 4:26 pm

Chinese activist activist Chen Guangcheng earlier today at the a hospital in Beijing. He reportedly injured himself during his escape from house arrest last month.
Jordan Pouille AFP/Getty Images
  • From 'Morning Edition'

Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng has said to The Associated Press that "he was told Chinese officials would have killed his wife had he not left [the U.S.] embassy," the wire service reports.

It also writes that "Guangcheng says a U.S. official told him that Chinese authorities threatened to beat his wife to death had be not left the American Embassy."

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7:03am

Wed May 2, 2012
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 8:08 am

A home for the Academy Awards ceremony has been secured. The Kodak Theatre will now be called the Dolby Theatre. The audio technology company has signed a naming-rights deal with the real estate group that owns the property where the Oscar ceremony is held. Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, gave up its naming rights.

7:03am

Wed May 2, 2012
Business

Pfizer Settles Suit Involving Celebrex

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Pfizer, one of the worlds largest drug companies, will pay Brigham Young University nearly half a billion dollars to settle a patent related lawsuit involving the company's blockbuster painkiller Celebrex.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, the settlement comes as the case was about to go to trial.

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6:37am

Wed May 2, 2012
NPR Story

Chinese Dissident Leaves U.S. Embassy In Beijing

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

We are following developing news, this morning, in China. The Chinese dissident who sought protection with American diplomats in Beijing is now free and apparently heading to a new life.

INSKEEP: Chen Guangcheng is a human rights lawyer, a blind man who became involved in issues like forced abortion in China. Last week, he escaped house arrest by Chinese security forces.

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6:35am

Wed May 2, 2012
NPR Story

Bin Laden's Legacy Inspires Pakistani Extremists

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 1:07 pm

Pakistanis walk past the rubble of the demolished compound of slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in the northern town of Abbottabad this week. Bin Laden's legacy in Pakistan appears mixed. Support for al-Qaida seems to be down, but bin Laden is still revered by extremists.
Sajjad Qayyum AFP/Getty Images

The killing of Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad one year ago Wednesday rocked the country's political and military establishment, and provoked widespread rage at what Pakistanis saw as a blatant violation of national sovereignty.

A year on, there are widely differing opinions among Pakistanis about the significance of the al-Qaida leader in a country where militant groups draw inspiration from him.

His legacy is in plain view at rallies across the country that evoke virulent anti-Americanism.

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6:35am

Wed May 2, 2012
NPR Story

Obama Accused Of Politicizing Bin Laden's Death

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Republicans have repeatedly criticized President Obama for what they contend is a weak foreign policy. Their criticism now extends to how the president talks about his signature foreign policy success.

Here's NPR national political correspondent, Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: President Obama's visit to Afghanistan and his address to the nation were reminders of the responsibilities of the commander-in-chief and the attention he can muster at a moment's notice.

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6:35am

Wed May 2, 2012
NPR Story

Presidential Election Protest In Egypt Turns Deadly

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:49 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Vast as they are, the interrelated problems of Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaida are only some of the problems the president faces - and that will be faced by whoever wins this fall's election. Egypt is preparing for a presidential election of its own, the first since a revolution toppled President Hosni Mubarak. And today, a protest related to that election led to deadly violence.

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3:28am

Wed May 2, 2012
Music

Marcel Khalife: The Bob Dylan Of The Arab World

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 8:03 am

Marcel Khalife is a Middle Eastern musical and political icon.
Driss Ben Malek Courtesy of the artist

The Lebanese classical musician and composer Marcel Khalife is often compared to Bob Dylan — not for his music, but for his politics. The Middle Eastern musical and political icon sings about freedom and nationalism.

Khalife is famous for translating poetry into music. For years, he collaborated with the nationalist Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

"It began when I graduated from the music conservatory in Beirut. The civil war started in Lebanon — I wanted to change the world with music," says Khalife.

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3:24am

Wed May 2, 2012
Arts & Life

'Scream' Still Echoes After More Than A Century

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 7:59 am

This version of The Scream is one of four made by Edvard Munch, and the only one outside Norway. It is coming up for auction at Sotheby's in New York.
AP

It's perhaps the most reproduced piece of art ever created. It has adorned key chains and coffee mugs, and the cover of Time magazine. Andy Warhol used it, and now one of the four versions of The Scream, Edvard Munch's iconic work — the only one outside Norway — is coming up for auction at Sotheby's in New York. Sale estimates are as high as $80 million.

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3:23am

Wed May 2, 2012
All Tech Considered

NBC Will Stream The London Olympics Live — But Only To TV Subscribers

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:03 am

Many track fans watched online four years ago, as sprinter Usain Bolt set a world record at the Beijing Olympics. This year, NBC will stream video of all 302 events online. And Bolt, seen here showing his appreciation for video in 2010, will try to repeat his feat.
Mark Dadswell Getty Images

For decades, Olympics fans have loathed two words: "tape" and "delay." But this summer, things will be different: For the first time, NBC will stream live video of the London Games, online and via mobile.

If you think that decision is overdue, you're not alone. Sports Business Daily media reporter John Ourand says he is shocked it has taken this long for the network to put live video of all Olympic events online.

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3:23am

Wed May 2, 2012
Author Interviews

Do Liberals Live Under A 'Tyranny Of Cliches'?

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:03 am

Conservative critic Jonah Goldberg says he's inspired to write when he gets annoyed. "Aggravation is a muse," he says. And after speaking on a number of college campuses, he grew aggravated enough to write a book. It's called The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.

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3:21am

Wed May 2, 2012
Crisis In The Housing Market

Should Banks Maintain Abandoned Properties?

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 9:49 am

An abandoned home on Chicago's South Side, which neighbor Ruben DeSantiago says attracts gang activity. DeSantiago and other neighbors mow the lawn and pick up trash because they say no one else is caring for the house.
Odette Yousef

Like hundreds of cities across the country, Chicago is trying to tackle the issue of too many foreclosed and vacant homes. The city is now requiring lenders to ensure that those abandoned properties are secured and maintained. Other cities have similar laws.

But the federal government is suing Chicago over its new rules in what's seen as a test case that could affect whether any city would be allowed to keep lenders on the hook for abandoned properties.

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3:20am

Wed May 2, 2012
Planet Money

How Colleges Fight For Top Students

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 3:56 pm

"My mom opened the letter and she called me and told me I got the Marquis Scholarship. And she's like, 'It's a humungous scholarship!'" -Michele Tallarita
Jacob Goldstein NPR

It's a gray April evening, and two men have driven from Easton, Pa., to Manhattan. The men are administrators at Lafayette College. They're wearing solid black suits with Lafayette pins on their lapels.

They're here to see 12 students — high school seniors who have been admitted to Lafayette and are trying to decide where to go to college.

The men have come to make the students "feel that Lafayette is in their future and make them think that they'll ruin their lives if they go elsewhere," says Greg MacDonald, Lafayette's dean of admissions.

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10:13pm

Tue May 1, 2012
Sweetness And Light

A Horse Of A Different Color

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 2:04 pm

Hansen, ridden by Ramon A. Dominguez, races to the finish to win the March 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in New York.
Adam Coglianese AP

The 3-year-old champion colt named Hansen will not be the favorite in the Derby Saturday, but most eyes will unavoidably be upon him.

You see, in a field of chestnuts and bays, Hansen is already brilliant white. Well, technically he's a gray, but without boring you with equine pigmentation detail, thoroughbred grays — like the great Native Dancer — turn whiter as they grow older, and Hansen is simply prematurely white, sort of a four-legged Steve Martin.

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8:35pm

Tue May 1, 2012
Law

Teammate Testifies Against Clemens In Perjury Trial

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

Andy Pettitte leaves the federal court in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. Pettitte took the stand in the retrial of Roger Clemens on charges that Clemens lied when he told Congress in 2008 that he had never used steroids or human growth hormone.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

If the prosecution at the Roger Clemens perjury trial hoped for a dramatic showdown on Tuesday, the day was a big disappointment. The prosecution's star witness, Clemens' friend and onetime pitching ace Andy Pettitte, provided as much, if not more, ammunition for the defense.

Clemens is charged with lying to Congress when he testified that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs.

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7:36pm

Tue May 1, 2012
Afghanistan

A Look At The New Afghanistan Agreement

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

President Obama flew to Afghanistan today and signed a historic agreement on the future of the U.S. involvement in that country. The president traveled under tight security to Kabul and met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai for a signing ceremony at the palace there.

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