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12:01am

Tue January 3, 2012
Middle East

In Post-Gadhafi Libya, Islamists Start To Rise

One year ago, protesters across the Arab World began to rise up against autocratic rulers, forcing several from power. These revolutions have led to the region's biggest upheaval in decades. It's still not clear how these seismic changes will play out, and so far, the results have been mixed. In a six-part series, NPR is taking a look at where the region stands today. In the second installment, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports on how Islamists in Libya, long suppressed during Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule, are now able to operate freely.

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12:01am

Tue January 3, 2012
Election 2012

Modern Campaigning At Odds With Iowa Tradition

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:10 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses supporters during a campaign rally at the Weber Paper Company Monday in Dubuque, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Iowa's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad is a fierce advocate for the Iowa caucuses. At times over the past four months, he has seemed frustrated that candidates have not been in the state as much as in past years.

Branstad's message over and over to the candidates was not to ignore the voters of Iowa, because they take it personally.

"They want to see the candidates, and they take their responsibility very seriously," Branstad says.

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12:01am

Tue January 3, 2012
Iraq

Marine Sergeant On Trial For 2005 Deaths In Iraq

Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich talks to the media with his attorney Neal Puckett (left) watching on after a 2010 pretrial hearing at Camp Pendleton in California. Wuterich is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in 2005.
Chris Carlson AP

One of the more controversial episodes of the Iraq war will be revisited in a military courtroom in California this week.

In November of 2005, a Marine squad killed 24 Iraqis, some of them women and children in the village of Haditha. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich led the squad of Marines, and on Wednesday he'll face voluntary manslaughter charges at Camp Pendleton.

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12:01am

Tue January 3, 2012
Economy

Raising The Minimum Wage: Whom Does It Help?

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 2:33 pm

For some of America's lowest-paid workers, the new year means a pay raise. Some states set their own minimum wages, above the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, and that rekindles an old debate over whether minimum wages make sense — especially at a time of high unemployment.

Like several other states, Washington state's minimum wage is indexed to the cost of living. This year, the formula has raised the statewide minimum from $8.67 to $9.04 an hour, making it the nation's highest statewide rate.

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5:42pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Middle East

Saudi Arabia Enforces Gender Law In Lingerie Shops

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 9:17 pm

Saudi Arabia said Monday that it will enforce a law that allows only females to work in women's lingerie and apparel stores, despite disapproval from the country's top cleric.

The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly because of the views of hard-liners in the religious establishment, who oppose the whole idea of women working in places where men and women congregate, such as malls.

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5:16pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Health Care

Physicians Group: Weigh Costs In Treating Patients

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's a lot of debate these days about the cost of medical care and the risks. Is a drug for breast cancer patients worth the $100,000 price tag if it only adds a few months to a woman's life? Or should men routinely get blood tests for prostate cancer when the exam could cause more suffering than it prevents?

Well, today, a major medical group issued new ethical guidelines on whether doctors should consider cost when deciding how to treat patients. As NPR's Rob Stein reports, the group takes a provocative position.

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5:15pm

Mon January 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Iowa's Cold Doesn't Stop Campaigns From Heating Up Ahead Of Caucuses

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:10 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses supporters during a campaign rally at the Weber Paper Company Monday in Dubuque, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Blustery winds and freezing cold temperatures today didn't slow down the Republican presidential candidates' campaigning on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.

Six GOP candidates — most with family members in tow — shook voters' hands and made their final arguments.

Here's a look at what our reporters are finding on the campaign trail:

-- Mitt Romney, who has edged into the lead in recent polls, is looking to deepen — not broaden — his statewide map in the final stretch, campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.

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3:59pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Technology

Driving And Phoning: What's New In 2012

Even though more than 30 states have banned or restricted cellphone use, it hasn't been easy to convince drivers to stop.
iStockphoto.com

States have long sought to restrict cellphone use by drivers because of safety concerns, and as the new year begins, several states are toughening their laws.

It turns out it's a hard habit to break; and for government officials, it's not easy to stay ahead of tech advances.

'Cognitive Distraction'

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3:35pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Economy

Brazil Sets Trade Records, Due To Chinese Demand

Brazil had record trade figures in 2011, logging $256 billion in exports and maintaining a $29.7 billion surplus on the back of high commodity prices and strong Chinese demand, officials said Monday.

Exports to China hit $44.3 billion, an increase of more than 43 percent over 2010. In 2009 China surpassed the U.S. as Brazil's biggest trading partner.

"It was an exceptional year for Brazilian foreign trade," said Alessandro Teixeira, deputy trade minister, who said China represented 17 percent of Brazil's exports.

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3:01pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Double-Blind Violin Test: Can You Pick The Strad?

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 9:53 pm

In a double-blind test by professional violinists, most couldn't determine — by sound alone — which violin was an original Stradivarius and which was a modern instrument. Above, a 1729 Stradivari known as the "Solomon, Ex-Lambert."
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

In the world of violins, the names Stradivari and Guarneri are sacred. For three centuries, violin-makers and scientists have studied the instruments made by these Italian craftsmen. So far no one has figured out what makes their sound different. But a new study now suggests maybe they aren't so different after all.

OK, here's a test. Clip one is a musical phrase from Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. Clip two is the same phrase. The same musician plays both. But one is on a Stradivarius violin, the other on a violin made in 1980. See if you can tell the difference.

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3:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
NPR Story

Qatar Emerges As Major Force In Arab World

The tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar has deep pockets and a big microphone in the form of its news network, Al Jazeera. In recent months, those assets have been used to propel the Arab Spring forward. Qatar has supported rebel movements in Libya and Syria, and is promoting a "Marshall Fund" for Oman, Morocco and Jordan. The country's emir has close, personal relationships with the emerging Islamist leaders from Casablanca to Cairo — and meanwhile provides a home to the largest U.S. military base outside the United States.

3:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Presidential Race

Iowa, Candidates Gear Up For Caucuses

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins All Things Considered host Melissa Block to talk about Tuesday's Iowa caucuses.

3:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Around the Nation

Police Make Arrest In Suspected Car Arsons

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 2:27 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Today, police in Los Angeles arrested a man in connection with a string of more than 50 arson fires that have left that city on edge. Most of the fires were set in parked cars, and some spread to carports, garages and apartments. Sam Quinones is following the story for the Los Angeles Times and Sam, what else can you tell us about the man who's under arrest?

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2:51pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Economy

U.S. Auto Sales Seen Continuing To Rebound In 2012

After hitting a 30-year low in 2009, U.S. auto sales are poised for a second straight year of growth in 2012 — the result of easier credit, low interest rates and pent-up demand for cars and trucks created by the Great Recession.

The sales forecast bodes well for the industry's continued recovery and for the broader American economy.

Just two years ago, Detroit automakers were in peril. Car sales plunged as unemployment soared, and loans became harder to get. Chrysler and General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection. Ford avoided bankruptcy only by borrowing billions.

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2:10pm

Mon January 2, 2012
It's All Politics

The Caucuses: A Quick Guide

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 2:11 pm

Edward Lewis of Council Bluffs waved an Iowa state flag outside the Family Table Restaurant in Atlantic on Sunday, before the arrival of former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Those who remember newspapers might recognize this as a "clip and save." Maybe the more modern term would be a "cut and paste." Whatever, if you want some of the details and logistics about Tuesday night's caucuses in Iowa, here they are:

-- When: 7 p.m. Central time (8 p.m. ET).

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1:28pm

Mon January 2, 2012
It's All Politics

On Eve Of Vote, Romney Returns To 2008 Strongholds

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets voters after speaking at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Monday morning in Iowa, I caught up with Mitt Romney's strategist Eric Fehrnstrom after the campaign's first event of the day, a speech at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport.

In the last hours before Tuesday night's caucus, Fehrnstrom said, the former Massachusetts governor plans to consolidate his support by visiting areas in the eastern part of the state where he had a strong showing in 2008 — places like Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.

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1:15pm

Mon January 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Iowa Democrats Caucus Too; For Obama Team, It's Practice For November

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 1:17 pm

The focus is naturally on the Republican caucuses Tuesday night in Iowa, because the GOP is the party with a battle going on for its presidential nomination.

But President Obama's fellow Democrats in the state will be caucusing too. And by all accounts Team Obama is taking it all very seriously, even though he doesn't have a intra-party challenger.

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1:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Presidential Race

Religion Front And Center On 2012 Campaign Trail

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In Iowa, all the GOP presidential candidates continue to profess their faith in speeches and in broadcast ads, perhaps none more than Texas Governor Rick Perry.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT)

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1:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Brain Candy

Op-Ed: 364-Day Calendar Intriguing But Unnecessary

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, the Opinion Page. It's the start of a new year. Already, millions of us have posted new calendars on the wall or installed new ones on our computers. But Steven Hanke and Richard Henry, two Johns Hopkins University professors, propose a more radical step: the Hanke-Henry permanent calendar, which they say will solve the yearly hassle of reworking our schedules and even help businesses put fiscal calendars in sync. But that raises a question: Is the current calendar a problem for you?

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1:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
NPR Story

Twins Data Reshaping Nature Versus Nurture Debate

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 3:42 pm

An image from January's National Geographic Magazine cover story on twins. The story's author explains how scientists are expanding the field of epigenetics with research on twins.
Martin Schoeller National Geographic

Almost 150 years ago, English scientist Francis Galton coined the phrase "nature versus nurture" — and proposed that research on twins could resolve the debate.

Genetics have long seemed to weigh heavily in favor of the role of nature in shaping the people we become. But even identical twins are different to varying degrees, and some researchers believe those differences suggest a third influence at work, called epigenetics.

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1:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Presidential Race

Poll Predicts Three-Way Nail-Biter In Iowa Caucuses

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Last Wednesday, Ann Selzer could not be cajoled into even a hint of the final Iowa poll as she joined the Political Junkie. Selzer and the company - and her company polls for the Des Moines Register and for Bloomberg. It's considered the gold standard in Iowa. And the Register published the results on Saturday night. It showed Mitt Romney in front, followed closely by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum surging into third. Ann Selzer joins us again from Iowa Public Radio. Nice to have you back on the program.

ANN SELZER: Great to be here, Neal.

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12:15pm

Mon January 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Fencer Who Was Darth Vader In Famous Light Saber Scenes Has Died

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 12:24 pm

PRNewsFoto/THQ Wireless

12:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
NPR Story

Big Honors For African-Americans' Small 'Firsts'

Steve Jobs and Amy Winehouse were among the stars who died in 2011, but what about the first African-American milk delivery man in Gary, Ind., or the first black meter reader for Baltimore Gas and Electric? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson says these stories show how far the U.S. has come. She recently wrote about this in The New York Times Magazine, and speaks with host Michel Martin.

12:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
NPR Story

New Year Challenge: Throw Out 50 Things

Regardless of what resolution you've made for 2012, life coach Gail Blanke says starting the year right begins with ridding the clutter in your life. She speaks with host Michel Martin about her book Throw Out Fifty Things.

12:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
NPR Story

Rita Dove On New Anthology, Advice For Young Poets

The Pulitzer Prize winner is best known for sharing intimate chapters of her personal life, while shedding light on the black experience in America. She's the first African-American to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate. She speaks with host Michel Martin about her latest work and life, and offers wisdom to young poets.

12:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Can I Just Tell You?

In Michel Martin's House: Spirit Of Revolt

In her weekly commentary, host Michel Martin shares that to her chagrin, her stepdaughters proposed to skip the china and use plastic plates for their holiday feast. The episode made Martin empathize with the deficit-cutters in Congress, and consider how tough it is to change the status quo until good-willed people choose to do so.

12:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
NPR Story

Cancer Survivor Shares Tips For Starting 2012 Right

Many people are looking for a fresh start after a year filled with challenges. Best-selling author Bruce Feiler remade his life after a devastating cancer diagnosis in 2008. He talks with host Michel Martin about his advice for overcoming adversity and getting the right start for 2012.

11:05am

Mon January 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Ranger Killed In Rainier Park Was 'Living Her Dream'

"Slain Ranger Was Living Her Dream."

That's the headline at the website of The Seattle Times, which profiles 34-year-old Margaret Anderson, who was shot to death Sunday in Mount Rainier National Park.

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10:58am

Mon January 2, 2012
It's All Politics

In Final Iowa Push, Once-Sunny Gingrich Says Romney 'Will Lie To You'

The Newt Gingrich campaign bus is rolling again Monday morning, leaving Waterloo, where the candidate spent the night and heading straight east to the small town of Independence. The venue? Heartland Acres Agribition Center, a modest-size exhibition hall for small, regional agribusiness conferences with a lot of interesting old farm implements on display, and a shop with some pretty cool toy tractors.

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10:15am

Mon January 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Bachmann Casts Herself As Thatcher-Style 'Iron Lady' In Last Iowa Ad

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) in Pella, Iowa, on Nov. 1, 2011.
Steve Pope Getty Images

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