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8:39am

Wed February 15, 2012

8:26am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

As Crackdown Continues, Syria's Assad Calls For Constitutional Referendum

Civilians flee from fighting on Tuesday, after Syrian army tanks enter the northwestern city of Idlib, Syria.
Anonymous AP

As government forces continued to shell the cities of Homs and Hama, Syrian President Bashar Assad announced his country would hold a referendum on a new constitution on Feb. 26.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the state's official news outlet, the new constitution would end the Baath party's monopoly on power. SANA added:

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7:57am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Malachy, The Pekingese, Becomes Top Dog In The Land

Malachy, a Pekingese, won best in show at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig AP

He took on competition that was much bigger and much faster, but in the end the judges decided Malachy, a Pekingese with a long mop of fur framing his funny little pushed-in face, was the top dog in the land and gave him top honors at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York.

The New York Times describes his win thus:

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7:25am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Prison Fire Kills More Than 200 Inmates In Honduras

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:15 pm

A woman cries after she was informed of the death of her son, who was jailed at the National Prison compound in Comayagua, Honduras.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

A fire that swept through a prison in Honduras overnight has resulted in death of more than 300 people.

The AP reports that number was given by Lucy Marder, chief of forensic medicine for the prosecutors' office, during a press conference.

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7:02am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Iran's Ahmadinejad Will Announce 'Key Nuclear Achievements'

Despite international pressure, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listens to a technician during a visit to the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility, 200 miles south of the capital, Tehran, in 2008.
Iranian President's Office AP

Iranian State TV reported yesterday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will make an announcement about "key nuclear achievements," today.

Quoting the official news agency, The New York Times reports that Ahmadinejad will likely "proclaim that a new uranium enrichment plant built inside a mountain near the holy city of Qum was 'fully operational.'"

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6:22am

Wed February 15, 2012
Africa

Snapping Sea Lion Takes Aim At Shakira

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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6:10am

Wed February 15, 2012
World

Warm Canadian Winter Thaws Outdoor Fun

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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4:00am

Wed February 15, 2012
Politics

Congress May Skip Payroll Tax Showdown This Time Around

Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.

The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.

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4:00am

Wed February 15, 2012
Business

Business News

Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne have business news.

4:00am

Wed February 15, 2012
Analysis

Israel Blames Iran For Shadow War On Israelis

Originally published on Sun February 19, 2012 8:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

We're following several developments in Iran's confrontation with the west. President Obama's administration is talking of even stricter sanctions against Iran's financial system. That's part of an effort to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

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4:00am

Wed February 15, 2012
Europe

Financial Crisis Takes A Toll On Greece's Aesthetics

The Greece debt crisis has forced the country to look to the eurozone for a bailout. But Greece is looking less and less like part of Europe. In the capital Athens, they are still cleaning up from the weekend riots. Even in its tourist precincts, the area is shabby and covered with graffiti.

3:00am

Wed February 15, 2012
Asia

For China's Likely Premier, A Western Influence

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, shown here delivering a speech at a Canada-China business forum in Beijing, on Feb. 9, 2012, is expected to become the country's next premier. In contrast to most other Chinese leaders, Li speaks English and has had considerable exposure to Western ideas.
Diego Azubel AP

Third of three parts

The man who's expected to become China's president next year, Xi Jinping, is considered a princeling, the son of a prominent Chinese political figure. But the man who's likely to become premier, Li Keqiang, comes from very different stock.

The son of a minor party official, Li worked as a farmer for four years, before studying law at university.

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12:01am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Wealthy Colleges See Spike In Fundraising

Stanford University raised $709.42 million in 2011.
Paul Sakuma AP

There are college rankings and there are college rankings: the nation's top colleges, the best basketball teams, the top party schools. Here's another: a list of 20 institutions and the money they received in 2011.

Stanford topped the list, raising more money from private donors that anyone else in 2011 ($709.42 million). Harvard and Yale rounded off the top three with $639.15 million and $$580.33 million, respectively. The survey was released Wednesday by the Council for Aid to Education.

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12:01am

Wed February 15, 2012
Media

The Ad Council: 70 Years Of Good Advice

If you've listened to the radio, turned on the TV or seen any billboards, these tag lines are probably pretty familiar:

"Loose lips sink ships."

"Only you can prevent forest fires."

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

"Take a bite out of crime."

They're just a few of the many ads created by the Ad Council, a nonprofit organization that was founded in the 1940s by the leaders of the advertising industry and President Franklin Roosevelt.

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12:01am

Wed February 15, 2012
Asia

Opposition Leader Bets On Myanmar Reforms

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

Ethnic Karen women welcome opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to War Thein Kha village. The area is in Kawhmu Township, which Suu Kyi is campaigning to represent in Myanmar's parliament.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

The military-backed government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, has surprised many skeptics with the pace of its political reforms — releasing political prisoners, easing censorship and making peace with ethnic insurgents.

But none of these reforms have won it as much praise as its efforts to mend fences with opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. After nearly two decades under house arrest, Suu Kyi is now aiming to work for democracy within the system by running for a seat in parliament.

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12:01am

Wed February 15, 2012
Art & Design

Fashion Week 2012: Coats Make A Comeback

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:02 am

A model presents an outfit during the Marc Jacobs show Monday at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

New York Fashion Week may be coming to a close on Thursday, but a cycle of fashion shows in cities around the world is just about to begin. Fashion editors and store buyers will descend upon London, Milan and Paris to inspect clothes that may appear in stores next fall. Sally Singer — editor-in-chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine — is one of those tastemaking jet-setters, and she joins NPR's Renee Montagne to talk about 2012's trends.

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12:01am

Wed February 15, 2012
Governing

N.H. Lawmakers Consider Rolling Back Gay Marriage

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

Couples Gretchen Grappone and Rose Wiant (left). and Wendy Waterstrat and Holly Henshaw hold hands before their civil union, in front of the Statehouse in Concord, N.H., on Jan. 1, 2008.
Steven Senne AP

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

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12:01am

Wed February 15, 2012
Middle East

Syrian Activists Live Stream Their Revolution

Activists say this image, taken from a video uploaded to YouTube, shows Syrians outside a field hospital in Homs last week.
AFP/Getty Images

Syrian troops have fired rockets and mortars at neighborhoods in the city of Homs that have most fiercely resisted the government throughout the uprising.

Mainstream journalists are barred from entering Homs, so a team of activists decided to record the offensive themselves. The activists positioned their cameras atop buildings in the city. Each morning the view is blue sky, a minaret, a sea of rooftops. Then come the booms.

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12:01am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Salt

Coming Soon To Your Grocery Aisle: Organic Food From Europe

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:46 pm

Edgar Jaime (right) and his brother Jose Luis unload organic vegetables from their farm in Santa Monica, Calif. Now that U.S. and European organic standards are equivalent, more American organic farmers will be able to export to Europe.
Damian Dovarganes AP

If you buy organic products, your options may be about to expand. The U.S. and the European Union are announcing that they will soon treat each other's organic standards as equivalent. In other words, if it's organic here, it's also organic in Europe, and vice versa. Organic food companies are cheering because their potential markets just doubled.

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12:00am

Wed February 15, 2012
Sweetness And Light

Looking For Lin In All The Wrong Places

Jeremy Lin chases the loose ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis. Lin is one of the few Asian-Americans in NBA history.
Jim Mone AP

By now, most everybody knows Michael Lewis' story of Moneyball — best-selling book or Oscar-nominated film — about the poor little franchise in Oakland that learned how to compete against the big-city rich teams by discovering overlooked players.

The maestro of this policy, Billy Beane, is an endearing character, but I've never been all that charmed by the story, because Beane was just employing cold statistics. Oh, he was right, but it was like rooting for a guy at the blackjack tables who counts cards.

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6:04pm

Tue February 14, 2012
The Two-Way

Pro Basketball's First Asian-American Player Looks At Lin, And Applauds

Wat Misaka dribbles the ball in a gym at the University of Utah, where he helped the Utes win the NIT in 1947. The victory drew the attention of the New York Knicks, who chose him in the draft.
The Misaka Family

Linsanity is buzzing through the sports world, as New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has come off the bench to emerge as a star. The unlikely story of an NBA player of Taiwanese descent who attended Harvard — and who, at 6 feet 3 inches, outscored Kobe Bryant to beat the Lakers — has won him many admirers.

There aren't many players like Lin. But in Utah, there's a man who knows something about what he's experiencing. Like Lin, Wat (for Wataru) Misaka is an Asian-American who became an unlikely star and played basketball for the Knicks. But he did it in the 1940s.

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5:51pm

Tue February 14, 2012
The Salt

Why California Almonds Need North Dakota Flowers (And A Few Billion Bees)

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:27 pm

Almond trees rely on bees to pollinate during their brief bloom for a few weeks in February.
Winfried Rothermel APN

This is one of those stories that reminds us that everything really is connected to everything else.

Here's the web of connections: a threat to California's booming almond business; hard times for honeybees in North Dakota; and high corn prices.

Confused?

OK, let's start with the almonds. They come from an old-world tree that migrated to California and prospered in the hands of farmers like James McFarlane, who lives right outside the city of Clovis.

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5:48pm

Tue February 14, 2012
Space

New Telescope To Make 10-Year Time Lapse Of Sky

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:30 pm

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, seen in this artist's rendering, will be built on the peak of the Cerro Pachon mountain in Chile and will survey every patch of the night sky. The data the telescope will collect will allow researchers to "answer fundamentally different questions about the universe," says one astronomer.
Todd Mason LSST Corp.

Every 10 years, about two dozen of this country's top astronomers and astrophysicists get together under the auspices of the National Research Council and make a wish list. The list has on it the new telescopes these astronomers would most like to see built. At the last gathering, they said, in essence, "We most want the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope."

Here's why. A synoptic survey is a comprehensive map of every square inch of the night sky. The Large Synoptic Survey — LSST — will do that multiple times.

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5:43pm

Tue February 14, 2012
It's All Politics

The TV Battle in Mich.: Santorum's True Conservative Vs. Romney's Native Son

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:28 pm

Both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have new ads up in Michigan as they try to shape their images for voters with the state's primary approaching in two weeks.

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5:24pm

Tue February 14, 2012
Food

Corn Prices Making Life Difficult For N.D. Bees

The northern plains, especially the Dakotas, are home to about half of the country's honey bee hives during the summer. It's been a good place for bees because they can gather nectar and pollen from so many wildflowers. But the landscape of the area is becoming less bee-friendly, and the consequences could be felt as far away as the almond groves of California, which depend on those same bees for pollination.

5:09pm

Tue February 14, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Got A Sinus Infection? Antibiotics Probably Won't Help

Go ahead and blow, but resist the antibiotics for a typical sinus infection.
iStockphoto.com

If you've ever had a painful sinus infection, all you want is relief — fast!

So off to the doctor you go, and, as often as not, you get a prescription for an antibiotic.

Three days later, you start to feel a little better. "Thank goodness for amoxicillin!" you might say. Well, probably not quite like that, unless you're a nerdy health blogger, but you'd be saying something nice about getting a prescription from your doctor.

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5:08pm

Tue February 14, 2012
Asia

A Primer On China's Military

Melissa Block speaks with Eric Heginbotham — senior political scientist at RAND — about China's military capability today, how it's developed over time and what the Chinese make of ramped-up attention from the US.

4:56pm

Tue February 14, 2012
Middle East

Egyptians Harbor Suspicions About U.S. Aid Groups

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

An Egyptian soldier on an armored vehicle guards an exchange office in Cairo on Monday. Tensions between the U.S. and Egypt are rising over Cairo's investigation of aid workers, many of them American. An Egyptian Cabinet minister, Faiza Aboul Naga, recently accused the U.S. of directly funding pro-democracy groups in order to create chaos in Egypt.
Amr Nabil AP

The Egyptian government has further escalated tensions with Washington by accusing U.S. officials of directly funding nonprofit groups to create chaos in the Arab country.

The latest comments were made by an Egyptian Cabinet member to prosecutors conducting a criminal probe into the activities of 43 aid workers, many of them American.

Such claims anger U.S. officials, who have threatened to hold back more than $1 billion in military aid if the crackdown on private, pro-democracy organizations doesn't end.

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4:55pm

Tue February 14, 2012
The Salt

Why The Best Chocolate Is The One You Eat Last

If that Hershey's Kiss is your last, researchers say it's likely to taste better.
John Rose NPR

It's predictable, and hokey, to bring up chocolate and romance in one Valentine's Day post, but hang on — this is fascinating.

A study suggests that your preferences in chocolate may help explain how you pick out or judge potential romantic partners.

No, it's not that people who love dark chocolate are simpatico with others who love dark chocolate. That would be far too pat.

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4:09pm

Tue February 14, 2012
Music Reviews

Dr. Dog: A Standout Among Stereotypes

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

Dr. Dog's sixth studio album is titled Be the Void.
Chris Crisman

Sometimes I wonder: Do the members of young indie-rock bands know that they're walking stereotypes? There's the scruffy dude who's obsessed with everything vintage and analog, the Pavement-worshiping, whiny-voiced lead singer, the rhythm section that knows its way around every oddity recorded by The Kinks. That's pretty much how I pegged the Philadelphia sextet Dr.

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