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2:33pm

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Agrees To $350,000 Settlement In Conn. Immigration Raid Cases

Advocates on all sides of the immigration debate are digesting the latest big, and perhaps historic, development: The U.S. government agreed to pay a $350,000 settlement to 11 Connecticut men arrested in raids in 2007.

The plaintiffs claimed immigration agents violated their rights during the early morning raids, which snared nearly three dozen people.

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2:04pm

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Dutch Finance Minister Says His 'Patience Has Run Up' With Greece

Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager addresses the media prior to the start of the Eurogroup ministerial meeting at the European Council building in Brussels on Feb. 9.
Yves Logghe AP

NPR's Eric Westervelt scored an interview with Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager. And Eric reports that he did not mince words.

The Netherlands and Germany, which have AAA credit ratings, hold great sway in whether Greece will receive a $170 million bailout from the European Union and the IMF. Without it, Greece would default on its debt and would almost certainly exit the monetary union. Eric asked Jager if Greece needed to do more beyond the tough set of austerity measures Parliament passed on Sunday and this is what Jager told him:

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1:20pm

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Auto Dependability Hits 22-Year High In New Study

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 4:16 pm

For the second year in a row, the Ford Fusion won J.D. Power's dependability prize in the mid-size sedan category. Pictured is the 2013 model of the car, unveiled in January.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Toyota and Ford won the most awards in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which came out today. Vehicles made by Toyota led the way with eight awards, while Ford models received three. In general, vehicle dependability was the best since the study first began in 1990, according to J.D. Power.

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1:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Politics

How Santorum's Surge Is Changing The 2012 Race

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum swept caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado and the Missouri primary, gaining considerable ground on Mitt Romney's primary lead. NPR's Ken Rudin and Dan Balz, of the Washington Post, recap the week in politics.

1:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Around the Nation

China's V.P. Strengthens Ties In Muscatine, Iowa

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the heir apparent to the presidency, visited Muscatine, Iowa Wednesday. He spent a week with a family there in 1979 to learn about American agriculture. Des Moines Register reporter Kyle Munson discusses the relationships foreign leaders form with U.S. towns.

1:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Mental Health

Providing Therapy Across Different Cultures

When immigrants face depression, therapy may not be the first option they explore for relief. When they do seek counseling, they often encounter a cross-cultural struggle to understand and be understood by American practitioners.

1:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Middle East

The Growing Conflict Over Iran's Nuclear Program

Israel blames Iran for attacks in the capital cities of India, Georgia and Thailand, further escalating Israeli-Iranian tensions. Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl believes that Iranian leaders are exhibiting signs of desperation.

12:39pm

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

President's 2013 Budget Includes Slight Boost For Arts, Cultural Agencies

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 5:25 pm

The 2013 budget proposed by President Obama includes many cuts made to conform with new spending limits. But several arts and cultural institutions saw their allotment rise by about 5 percent in the proposed plan. The proposed spending of $1.576 billion — in a budget of $3.8 trillion — includes some good news for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowments for the Arts.

For the Newscast desk, Elizabeth Blair filed this report:

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12:23pm

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Election-Year Realities Bring Compromise On Payroll Taxes And More

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 2:11 pm

Speaker John Boehner didn't cite it being an election year or Congress' low approval ratings for the GOP's new flexibility but it's hard to ignore such realities.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Part of President Obama's 2012 re-election strategy was to run against a do-nothing Congress. But congressional Republicans now appear determined to make that approach harder for him by coming to terms on some Democratic priorities.

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12:22pm

Wed February 15, 2012
National Security

As Wars Wind Down, What Are U.S. Security Needs?

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:07 pm

U.S. soldiers are expected to be in Afghanistan for a couple more years. But already there's a debate about future U.S. security needs worldwide. Here, soldiers examine the site of a suicide bombing in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Jan. 19.
AFP/Getty Images

U.S. troops have already left Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, and there hasn't been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 2001.

So is America now safe enough to scale back its emphasis on security? Or are the potential threats no less dangerous — just less obvious?

These questions are not just philosophical, but practical. They're also the underpinning of the current argument about what the level of defense spending should be.

Cuts, But How Big?

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12:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Education

Big Changes Ahead For American Schools?

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:46 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

President Obama's new budget is the talk of Capitol Hill this week. And while most of the headlines are about the ongoing fight over how best to reduce the federal deficit, the president's proposal also calls for a significant boost in education funding. It's yet another window into his administration's philosophy around education.

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12:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Does Contraception Really Pay For Itself?

Birth control will be paid for by employees' insurance companies, if their employers refuse to do so.
istockphoto.com

Last week, President Barack Obama announced that religious groups won't have to pay for contraceptive services themselves. Instead, the cost would be borne by their insurance companies.

That compromise has raised a whole new set of questions on its own, though.

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12:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Music

House Music Is My Religion, Says Professor

Author and professor Lester Spence recently spoke to Tell Me More about his book, Stare in the Darkness, which explores the influence of hip-hop music on American politics. But he says his personal playlist is made up of new and classic house tracks. He offers up his favorite cuts.

12:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Around the Nation

Is Single Life Something To Lament Or Celebrate?

Yesterday, some singles saw Valentine's balloons and heart shaped boxes as reminders of the single life. With more Americans flying solo, how important is it to find "the one"? That's the question Ellen McCarthy set out to answer in a piece for The Washington Post Magazine. Host Michel Martin speaks with McCarthy and author Bella DePaulo.

12:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Health

Family Planning, Chinese Zodiac Style

The recent Chinese New Year marked the start of the Year of the Dragon. Children born this year, according to the Chinese zodiac, are supposed to be smarter, stronger and more successful. That's why some Asian American parents are pulling out all the stops to get pregnant. Host Michel Martin speaks with Los Angeles Times reporter Rosanna Xia.

12:00pm

Wed February 15, 2012
Sports

Basketball Legend On Soaring Above Challenges

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is perhaps one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He recently added another chapter to his storied career when he was named U.S. Cultural Ambassador by the State Department. Host Michel Martin speaks with the author and hall-of-famer.

11:38am

Wed February 15, 2012
Politics

Why America Pursues More Perfect Politics

Americans are always searching for a "more perfect union." Volunteers roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Oct. 20, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Americans are obsessed with perfection.

We implement zero-tolerance policies in our schools and businesses. We improve on the atomic clock with the quantum-logic clock that is twice as precise. We use multi-angle instant replay cameras in certain professional sporting contests to make sure the referees' calls are flawless. We spend millions on plastic surgery. We strive for higher fidelity, resolution, definition, everything.

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11:26am

Wed February 15, 2012
Author Interviews

Nathan Englander: Assimilating Thoughts Into Stories

Nathan Englander grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. He now splits his time between New York and Madison, Wis.
Juliana Sohn

The stories in Nathan Englander's new collection are based largely on his experiences growing up as a modern Orthodox Jew with an overprotective mother.

In What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Englander writes about his own faith — and what it means to be Jewish — in stories that explore religious tension, Israeli-American relations and the Holocaust.

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11:24am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Administration Proposes $5 Billion Competition To Improve Teacher Quality

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 11:26 am

Using its Race to the Top program as a model, the Obama administration is expected to announce a $5 billion competition designed to improve teacher quality.

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11:03am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Picture Show

'Flying Mop' And Other Canine Glam Shots

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:01 am

A Puli leaps toward the camera
Tim Flach

Here's English photographer Tim Flach's take on the breed that just won best in show at the Westminster Dog Show, i.e., the Pekingese:

Taken for his 2010 book Dogs, this portrait is quite different from photos you might have seen of the award-winning Malachy.

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11:01am

Wed February 15, 2012
Book Reviews

More Than Melancholy: 'In-Flight' Stories Soar

Random House

The Brits: You've got to hand it to them. The Empire may be long gone, but they still reign supreme when it comes to effortlessly exuding mordant wit. For anyone who savors the acerbic literary likes of Evelyn Waugh or the Amises, father and son, Helen Simpson is just the ticket.

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10:42am

Wed February 15, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Consumer Groups Want Lead Out Of Lipstick

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 10:44 am

Time to get the lead out?
iStockphoto.com

Valentine's Day brought new attention to an old issue. Is the amount of lead found in lipstick a health hazard?

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a consortium of consumer and environmental groups, thinks so. They've argued that there's no safe level for lead in lipsticks — especially for pregnant women and kids — and want the agency to do something to bring the amount of the metal down.

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10:13am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

108 Years Since Women Last Boxed In The Olympics, They Prepare A Return

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

Five-time U.S. national champion Queen Underwood listens to instructions from her coach Basheer Abdullah.
Tom Goldman NPR

Olympic history in the making is going on this week in Washington state. Two-dozen of the best female boxers in the country are in wintry Spokane with a goal of traveling to London in the summer.

That's the site of the first ever women's Olympic boxing competition. This week's Olympic trials help determine who goes.

It's been 108 years since women boxed in the Olympics. At the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis, boxing for women was a "display event," not one of the counting, medal sports.

Now, it counts.

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9:45am

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Poll: Obama Hits 50% Approval, Leads All GOP Rivals, For Now

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 9:47 am

The new CBS News/NY Times poll definitely contains the kind of information that could put a little spring in any president's step.

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9:32am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Factories Boost Output In January

Manufacturing output increased 0.7 percent in January, the Federal Reserve announced today, adding that it had revised December's number sharply upward to 1.5 percent.

The AP reports that December number was the biggest gain since Dec. 2006. The AP adds:

"Overall industrial production, which includes output by mines and utilities as well as factories, was unchanged in January.

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8:56am

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Mich. TV Ad Battle Pt 2: Santorum Uses Humor To Parry Romney

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

Rick Santorum's presidential campaign has just put up one of the cleverest ads of 2012. (Of course, we're only less than two months into the year.)

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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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