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10:25am

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

One Man Blamed In Grenade, Gun Attack That Kills Several In Belgium

Rescuers evacuate injured people in Liege, Belgium, today, after a grenade and gun attack that killed at least three and injured dozens.
Reuters /Landov

Authorities now say a lone attacker who had recently been in prison on weapons and drug charges appears to have been responsible for a harrowing grenade and gun attack today in Liege, Belgium.

As of now, it's being reported that the attacker killed three people and wounded more than 60 before taking his own life.

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9:40am

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Buildings Design Sparks Anger Over 9/11 Similarity

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 12:48 pm

An artist's rendering provided by Dutch architectural company MVRDV of its design for two skyscrapers in Seoul.
AP

A Dutch architectural firm says its designers didn't see the resemblance.

But many, many others certainly do think the two buildings — linked by a "cloud" of skybridges — that MVRDV has proposed for a project in Seoul look very much like the haunting images of the World Trade Center's twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, after they were hit by high-jacked passenger planes.

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9:26am

Tue December 13, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Insurers Often Don't Pay For Teen Weight-Loss Surgery

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 11:12 am

iStockphoto.com

Weight-loss surgery for morbidly obese teenagers is getting some traction, when diets and exercise fail.

Getting the procedure paid for is another matter, since many insurers and employers are still wary of covering it for children. The surgery costs upwards of $20,000, and it's still being evaluated to determine which adolescents would benefit most from it.

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9:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
World

Captured Drone May Have Limited Benefit For Iran

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:12 am

This photo released by Iran's Revolutionary Guards purports to show the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone that went down earlier this month in Iran.
Sepahnews AP

Iranian officials have crowed they are mining "priceless technological information" from a CIA spy drone that went down days ago inside Iran's borders, broadcasting triumphant images of what they said was the craft on state TV.

But many experts say the loss of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone — like the U-2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 — may have more value as propaganda than as a treasure trove of technological secrets.

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8:20am

Tue December 13, 2011

8:05am

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Update: Progress, But No Success On Search For 'God Particle'

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:31 am

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. Not Conclusive:

The presentation continues in Switzerland, where scientists are briefing their peers on the search for the Higgs boson — or so-called God particle — that gives matter mass. The bottomline: They've made progress, "but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the elusive Higgs."

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7:45am

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Homelessness Among Children Up 38 Percent Since 2007

More than 1.6 million American children were homeless at some point in 2010, the nonprofit National Center on Family Homelessness reports today, adding that the number is about a 38 percent increase from 2007.

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7:44am

Tue December 13, 2011
Latin America

Venezuela President Appears In Nativity Scene

A Nativity scene in Caracas features the traditional baby Jesus born in a manger. But those standing nearby include a figure of President Hugo Chavez. The scene also makes a case that Chavez should qualify as a wise man. It includes a miniature cable car, symbolizing infrastructure improvements for which the president wants to be known.

7:34am

Tue December 13, 2011
Animals

Purrfection: $13 Million Will Buy A Lot Of Catnip

Tommaso began life as a stray cat on the streets of Rome until he was rescued by a wealthy widow. The 94 year old had no children, according to ABC News. So when she died last month, she left her entire fortune to the cat. That's $13 million.

7:15am

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Sandusky's Accusers May Testify Today In Hearing About Penn State Scandal

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 9:49 am

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky as he arrived this morning at the Centre County (Pa.) Courthouse.
Rob Carr Getty Images

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who faces more than 50 charges of sexually abusing at least 10 young boys over more than a decade, this morning waived his right to a preliminary hearing about the case against him.

The decision was a surprise. Before the court proceeding, it had been widely anticipated that at least some of Sandusky's accusers would be in court today and have to testify about what he allegedly did.

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6:18am

Tue December 13, 2011
Around the Nation

Insecticide Destroys 2,300 Beehives In Florida

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 3:26 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Florida, there's a different type of honey mystery. State and local authorities are investigating the loss of more than 2,300 beehives in Brevard County. There is a break in the case. Officials have identified an insecticide commonly used to kill roaches, ticks and fleas. It was found in a container used to feed the bees in the hives. The beekeeper says the loss has cost him more than half a million dollars. Now officials need to find the culprit who fed the bees the poison. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

4:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
NPR Story

Lowes Cancels Ads On Muslim Reality Show

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Criticism against the home improvement chain Lowes isn't letting up. It started after Lowes dropped its ads from the reality TV show "All-American Muslim" in response to pressure from a conservative Christian group. Now an online petition has nearly 20,000 signatures calling on the store to reinstate the ads. Lowes, in a statement, says simply, it is committed to diversity. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has the story.

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4:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Europe

Could A Russian Winter Follow Arab Spring?

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's follow up on a weekend of protest in Russia. Allegations of fraud in a parliamentary election sent tens of thousands of people into the streets demonstrating against the party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Behind that tainted election was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with Putin himself, who used to be president, remains dominant today, and is preparing to retake the top job.

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4:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Africa

Contested Congo Election Fuels Fears Of Violence

A disputed election in the Democratic Republic of Congo has returned sitting President Joseph Kabila to power for the next five years. The opposition claims there was election fraud. Congo's influential Catholic church has voiced reservations about the conduct of the elections.

4:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Election 2012

GOP Candidates Storm New Hampshire

It was a busy day yesterday for presidential politicking in New Hampshire. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich traded barbs over Romney's proposed ten-thousand dollar bet with Texas Governor Rick Perry, as well as Gingrich's consulting fees earned working for mortgage giant Freddie Mac. New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers reports.

4:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Election 2012

Iowa Evangelicals Ponder Which GOP Candidate To Back

A spirited fight is on in Iowa for the evangelical vote in the Republican race for president. So far, Christian conservatives have not coalesced behind one candidate, the way they did four years ago for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

4:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Business

Business News

Renee Montagne has business news.

4:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Asia

After Boom, China's Property Market Heads Lower

In recent years, China's real estate market has boomed. A three-bedroom apartment in Shanghai overlooking the river would cost more than $3 million. But that's beginning to change. The slide comes as the world's most dynamic economy grapples with other challenges, including massive local government debt and slowing growth.

4:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Africa

Egypt To Begin Second Round Of Parliamentary Elections

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Egypt, Islamists are once again expected to dominate at the ballot box, in the second round of parliamentary elections. Their anticipated win in a vote that begins tomorrow has many secular Egyptians fearing the new parliament will turn their country into a theocracy. Secular candidates say they will not go down without a fight. Some are even trying to use religion to lure voters away from the Islamists.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has this report from Cairo.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

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2:39am

Tue December 13, 2011
Around the Nation

Police Use Flash Grenades To Reopen Seattle Terminal

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Police in Seattle arrested more than a dozen Occupy protesters Monday night after marchers briefly blocked traffic coming into the city's busy port. The Seattle protest was the culmination of a day of coordinated protests at ports up and down the West Coast.

Soon after hundreds of Occupy protesters marched to Seattle's Harbor Island, some of them started dragging wooden pallets and scrap metal into the roadway, and traffic in and out of the port came to a halt. The protesters were trying to shut down Terminal 18.

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12:01am

Tue December 13, 2011
Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities

EPA To Unveil New Rules For Power Plants

More than 20 years ago, Congress ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate toxic air pollution. It's done that for most industries, but not the biggest polluters — coal and oil-burning power plants.

The EPA now plans to change that later this week, by setting new rules to limit mercury and other harmful pollution from power plants.

When Congress first told the EPA to regulate toxic air pollution in 1990, pediatrician Lynn Goldman was investigating the impact of mercury from mining operations on Native American families living near a contaminated lake.

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12:01am

Tue December 13, 2011
Digital Life

Hot This Season: Getting In Touch With A Tablet

Customers look at the iPad 2 displayed at an Apple store. Black Friday sales for the iPad were up 70 percent from last year.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Tablet computers are on a lot of people's wish lists this year.

A recent Nielsen survey found the Apple iPad is the most wanted gift for kids ages 6 to 12. Some have even taken their appeals to YouTube. But if an iPad isn't in the budget, there are some 30 other tablets out there to choose from.

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12:01am

Tue December 13, 2011
It's All Politics

Congress At Impasse Over Must-Pass Measures

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 12:29 pm

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to reporters at the Capitol on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Congress is supposed to head home for the holidays at the end of this week, but there's a whole lot of work to do before then. And for now at least, the parties remain divided over a number of other must-pass measures.

This is the part of the tango of Congress where the Republican House offers a plan.

"The House is going to do its job, and it's time for the Senate then to do its job," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at a press conference Monday.

Then, as if on cue, the Democratic Senate balked.

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12:01am

Tue December 13, 2011
The Salt

Funny Honey? Bringing Trust To A Sweet Sector Fraught With Suspicion

A Chinese beekeeper harvests honey beside a rape seed field in Anhui province. China is major producer of honey and bee products.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Honey is the most natural of sweeteners, coming to us directly from bees and flowers.

Well, maybe not so directly. These days, a long supply chain often links beehives half a world away with the jar of honey in your kitchen. And there's suspicion in that supply chain: global trade disputes; accusations of unfair competition; even honey identity-switching.

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12:01am

Tue December 13, 2011
Business

Airplane Mechanics: A Farm Team For Everyone Else?

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 8:21 pm

The best airplane mechanics are skilled at everything from metal part fabrication to electronics to lavatory plumbing. Other, better-paying companies soon become interested in their skills.
Courtesy AAR

Talk of jobs — or lack of them — dominates the national conversation right now. But there are places in the economy where willing, qualified workers are hard to come by.

One such place is AAR Aircraft Services Corp., an aircraft maintenance facility in Oklahoma City. There, American capitalism is on display with all its strengths and weaknesses. AAR services jet aircraft, including passenger planes from carriers like Alaska Airlines, Mesa Air and Allegiant Air.

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12:01am

Tue December 13, 2011
Best Books Of 2011

7 Books With Personality: Nancy Pearl's 2011 Picks

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

Although all works of fiction and narrative nonfiction have characters — be they animals, hobbits, dragons, humans, werewolves or whatever — I've found that there are some books in which these characters are three-dimensional and awfully interesting. (Whether or not they're likable is another question.) These characters become, as the story progresses, more and more real to me. It's as though they've become good friends.

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6:15pm

Mon December 12, 2011
The Salt

Oregon Senator Pushes Local Pears For School Lunches

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 6:18 pm

Comice pears are super-yummy, but not approved for schookids.
iStockPhoto.com

Mike Naumes thinks Oregon schoolchildren should be eating more Oregon pears. And not just the D'Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc pears approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's School Lunch Program, but the lesser-known Comice pears of southern Oregon's Rogue Valley.

Anyone who's ever tasted a Comice pear would have a hard time arguing with that. They're fat and green, extraordinarily sweet and juicy — a world apart from your typical supermarket pear.

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6:03pm

Mon December 12, 2011
Crisis In The Housing Market

In Mortgage Crisis, Some Banks Agree To Cut Losses

Sharon Jordan (lower left) and her family (clockwise from top left: Rydell, Nikera and Anisha) are working with Bank of America and a Boston nonprofit to repurchase their duplex at its current market price — about half of the original value.
Aarti Shahani NPR

There's an unfamiliar trend emerging in America's troubled housing market. Big banks are volunteering to lose money — hundreds of millions for themselves and investors — in order to save homes at risk of foreclosure. And they're doing it in record numbers.

The year closed with a new trend: In 30 percent of private loan modifications, banks are doing a principal writedown — that is, hacking away at the amount owed as far down as the current market value. They're doing it so borrowers can actually afford payments. Two years ago, that 30 percent was just at 2 percent.

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5:48pm

Mon December 12, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Asks Iran For Spy Drone's Return; Iran Says It's Extracting Secret Data

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 7:02 pm

A picture released by the official website of Iran's Revolutionary Guards on December 8, 2011 shows Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh (R) looking at what Iranian officials claim is a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone that crashed in Iran on December 4.
AFP/Getty Images

The United States is officially asking Iran for the return of a drone surveillance aircraft lost earlier this month.

"We have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," President Barack Obama said during a White House news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking at a State Department news conference, told reporters that the U.S. had "submitted a formal request" for the craft's return, but that "given Iran's behavior to date, we do not expect them to comply."

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5:30pm

Mon December 12, 2011
NPR Story

Gingrich, Huntsman Hold Debate

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 6:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

One last note from the campaign trail. Two of Mitt Romney's opponents engaged today in a long conversation, a so-called Lincoln-Douglas style debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, discussed in a gentlemanly manner topics of foreign policy and national security. And Gingrich began with a short critique.

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