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5:31pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Law

Supreme Court Hears Plea Bargain Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in two cases testing whether a lawyer's mishandling of a plea bargain offer should be sufficient reason for a defendant to get a second chance to accept the offer.

Both cases involve defendants who got prison terms much longer than they would have under plea bargains offered by the prosecutor. In one case, the defendant's lawyer never told his client about the offer. In the other, the defense lawyer advised against taking the offer based on a clearly erroneous understanding of state law.

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5:27pm

Mon October 31, 2011
The Two-Way

High Court Lets Stand Ruling Ordering Removal Of Crosses In Utah

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 8:40 am

The United States Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that ordered the removal of 12-foot high crosses placed along highways in Utah to commemorate state troopers killed in the line of duty.

The court acted without comment, but Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a 19-page dissent.

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5:18pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Monkey See

For Halloween, Please Enjoy This Story In Which NPH Freaks Out Ever So Gently

Delusion sold 25,000 tickets — at $40 a head — in less than a week. Creator Jon Braver hopes the attraction's success might be enough to launch a franchise.

Haunted Play

It's Halloween. Want to hear Neil Patrick Harris get freaked out?

Thought so. You'll want to click on that play button above, and check out Neda Ulaby's All Things Considered piece on an L.A. haunted house — more of an interactive play, really — called Delusion.

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5:12pm

Mon October 31, 2011
The Two-Way

Ghost Stories: FBI Releases Documents, Videos Of Russian Spy Operation

Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 1:16 pm

Christopher Metsos in Queens, N.Y.

FBI

4:29pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Around the Nation

In L.A., Interactive Play Draws Scares

The buzz in Los Angeles for Halloween includes enthusiasm for the interactive play, called Delusion. In the words of the blurb, "This inclusive scare-down has audiences as participants in an interactive play by creator and professional stuntman Jon Braver, who uses his Hollywood background to pack punches in a twisted story of a mad asylum genius gone bad."

4:16pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Politics

Facing Stiffened Opposition, Obama Goes It Alone

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 8:30 pm

President Obama signed an executive order Monday directing the Food and Drug Administration to take steps to reduce drug shortages. The order is one of several similar actions the president has taken in recent weeks.

Charles Dharapak AP

President Obama, faced with what he described as an "increasingly dysfunctional" Congress, has turned repeatedly in recent weeks to the time-honored, but often controversial executive order to unilaterally make policy.

On Monday, Obama signed an executive order designed to require drug companies to report anticipated manufacturing shortages in advance. Last week, he said he would issue an executive order designed to help ease home-refinancing rules. And earlier in the same week, the president issued a directive to cap student loan payments.

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3:48pm

Mon October 31, 2011
The Salt

Kids And Teens See More Ads For Sugary Drinks

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 3:00 pm

Kids and teens saw double the number of ads for soda in 2010 than they did in 2008.

Todd Keith iStockphoto.com

From 2008 to 2010, children's and teens' exposure to television ads for soda doubled, according to a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University. And beverage companies targeted black and Hispanic kids more than others in recent ads, the report found.

Commercials for Coke and Dr. Pepper products led the increase. Pepsi actually showed young audiences 22 percent fewer commercials for its products in that same time period.

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3:40pm

Mon October 31, 2011
The Two-Way

Tom Keith, 'A Prairie Home Companion's' Sound Guy, Has Died

Tom Keith.

A Prairie Home Companion via Facebook

Tom Keith, who fans of A Prairie Home Companion knew as the show's sound guy, passed away Sunday, after collapsing at his Minnesota home. He was 64.

Minnesota Public Radio, which produces APHC along with American Public Media, reports that Keith started his relationship with host Garrison Keillor in 1976, when the two worked on MPR's Morning Show.

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3:40pm

Mon October 31, 2011
'Darkhorse' Battalion And The Afghan War

An Afghan Hell On Earth For 'Darkhorse' Marines

Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 5:55 pm

U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment and the Afghan National Army provide cover as they move out of a dangerous area after taking enemy sniper fire during a security patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, in November 2010. During its seven-month deployment, the 3/5 sustained the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the Afghan war, losing 25 men.

Cpl. David R. Hernandez U.S. Marine Corps

A year ago, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. By the time their tour ended in April 2011, the Marines of the 3/5 — known as "Darkhorse" — suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. This week, NPR tells the story of this unit's seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home.

Second of seven parts

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3:34pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Herman Cain

Experts Doubt Cain's Response To Harassment Report

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 11:50 pm

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks at the National Press Club on Monday.

Win McNamee Getty Images

Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain has stumbled before, and on big issues ranging from his position on legal abortion to the effects of his radical flat tax plan on the poor and middle class.

But his response to a Politico report that he faced two sexual harassment complaints that were settled with cash payments more than a decade ago presents a new kind of threat to his cometlike ascendancy in the Republican race.

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3:16pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Latin America

In Cuba, A Used Car Is No Bargain

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 5:51 pm

What may be the most expensive Honda Civic in the world can be found in Havana. There's nothing especially luxurious about the car: It's a red 2005 model, with 60,000 miles on the odometer.

But what is special about this Civic is that there are few like it on the supply side of Cuba's used car market. And that's why Acela Claro says she's had plenty of interest, even though she's offering it for $65,000.

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3:12pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Politics

Ohio Voters To Decide Union Law's Fate

State Sen. Shannon Jones, who introduced Senate Bill 5, argues that if pay and benefits for government workers can be held down, schools and cities can avoid cutbacks.

J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Earlier this year, Wisconsin received lots of attention after passing a law slashing the power of public employee unions.

But soon after, Ohio legislators went even further.

In March, Gov. John Kasich and Republican lawmakers pushed a sweeping plan to slash union negotiating clout. It would ban strikes by all of Ohio's 350,000 government workers, require all public employees to pay at least 15 percent of their health care premiums, and use merit to decide pay and layoffs.

Now, Ohio is getting attention because voters there will decide that law's fate on Nov. 8.

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3:00pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Presidential Race

Cain Responds To Harassment Allegations

Businessman Herman Cain recently entered the top tier of Republican presidential candidates. A story published Sunday evening by Politico alleges that Cain harassed two female employees when he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. On Monday, Cain appeared at two public events, a discussion of his 9-9-9 tax plan at the American Enterprise Institute as well as a speech and Q-and-A session at the National Press Club.

2:50pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Monkey See

John Hodgman And Robert Siegel Consider 'All' Things, Some Of Them Rather Dubious

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 5:51 pm

:" John Hodgman notes that while his book That Is All is intensely concerned with "the coming global superpocalypse," it also contains much information about travel and sports and wine, and is "not depressing."

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"I could be wrong, you know:" John Hodgman notes that while his book That Is All is intensely concerned with "the coming global superpocalypse," it also contains much information about travel and sports and wine, and is "not depressing."

Brantley Gutierrez

If there's anything guaranteed to lift the heart of an NPR nerd, it's the sound of All Things Considered's Robert Siegel losing his composure. This is a news anchor, after all, who can deliver the song title "Party 'Til You Puke" with all the gravity of a president announcing the death of a hero. (No, really. This happened.)

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2:35pm

Mon October 31, 2011
The Two-Way

Steve Jobs And His Last Words

A photographer uses his iPhone to take a picture of a tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in front of an Apple store in London.

Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

There's been plenty written about Steve Jobs since his death. But, yesterday, The New York Times published a eulogy delivered at a memorial service by his sister, the novelist Mona Simpson.

It's lovely to say the least and there are lots of little nuggets about Jobs and his relationship to his family and Jobs as a devotee of love and beauty. But the thing the Web is buzzing about today is what Simpson said were his last words:

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2:14pm

Mon October 31, 2011
NPR Story

Improving Foster Care For Native American Kids

An average of 700 Native American children in South Dakota are removed from their homes and placed in foster care each year, often in violation of federal law, an NPR investigation found. Native American children make up less than 15 percent of the state's child population, but represent more than half of kids in foster care.

2:00pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Technology

Paranormal Technology: Gadgets For Ghost-Tracking

At an investigation of a supposedly haunted house in a wooded area an hour south of Richmond, Va., called the Edgewood Plantation, one ghost-hunting team recently used its high-tech tools to track down the spirits that always become of interest this time of year.

With uneven floorboards and creaky doors, the house is prime real estate for a haunting. Its owner hired a private firm, Richmond Investigators of the Paranormal — or RIP — to scan her property for ghosts.

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1:49pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Asia

Dream Sparks Events That Reunite Cambodian Family

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 3:27 pm

In 1975, the Khmer Rouge told the family of Peou Nam that he had been executed. After 36 years of separation, hardship and an unusual series of events, the family was reunited in June this year. Son Phyrun visits his father at his farmhouse in southern Cambodia's Kampot province.

Anthony Kuhn NPR

On a recent day, Peou Phyrun steers his motorcycle down the rutted dirt road to his father's home in southern Cambodia's Kampot province. His father, 85-year-old Peou Nam, lives in a traditional Khmer farmhouse on stilts, where sugar palms tower over verdant rice paddies like giant dandelions on a lawn.

Like so many other families in Cambodia, theirs was torn apart by the Khmer Rouge. But unlike so many others, they were able to find each other, 36 years later, through a most unusual sequence of events.

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1:43pm

Mon October 31, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: U.S. Knew Of Abuse In Afghan Prisons Before U.N. Report

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 2:41 pm

Over the weekend The Washington Post ran a long investigative story in which unnamed officials claim the United States knew that detainees in Afghan intelligence prisons were being abused. The U.S., the Post reports, knew about the abuse long before the United Nations issued a report earlier this month that said suspected Taliban fighters were tortured.

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1:30pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Krulwich Wonders...

Who Left A Tree, Then A Coffin In The Library?

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 3:35 pm

Chris Scott flickr

Update: The Library Phantom Returns! See Part 2 of the mystery.

It started suddenly. Without warning.

Last spring, Julie Johnstone, a librarian at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, was wandering through a reading room when she saw, sitting alone on a random table, a little tree.

It was made of twisted paper and was mounted on a book.

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1:02pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Obama Tackles Rx Drug Shortages

President Obama is wielding a unilateral prerogative of his office – the executive order – to get something done about a worsening shortage of essential drugs.

It's a problem that earlier this month one administration official called "a dire public health situation." Many thousands of patients with cancer, life-threatening infections, cardiac disease, severe gastrointestinal disorders and many other conditions aren't able to get the drugs they need.

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1:01pm

Mon October 31, 2011
The Two-Way

Halloween Is More Funny Than Scary In St. Louis

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At Washington University in St. Louis on Sunday, student Andrew Dwoskin was handing out candy to local children during a "Safe Trick-or-Treat" event.

Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

Being a comedian, Joe Marlotti is always afraid he won't get laughs. But he grows especially nervous this time of year. After all, a comedian doesn't want his kids to bomb when it comes time to tell jokes.

Marlotti hails from St. Louis, where local Halloween tradition calls for children not to say "trick or treat," but to tell a joke in order to earn candy.

"I've been all around the block — literally — telling them that it's important to tell the joke right, or it makes me look bad," Marlotti says.

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1:00pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Education

How Has Student Loan Debt Shaped Your Life?

Total student loan debt in the U.S. will cross the 1 trillion dollar threshold in 2011, an amount that surpasses the nation's combined credit card debt. It affects how many students and graduates decide whether and where to go to school, what job to take, where to live and how to pay their bills.

1:00pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Opinion

Op-Ed: 7 Billion Now, But Population Will Drop

Earth's population crossed the 7 billion mark Monday. The growing population has been the subject of doomsday scenarios, but Colum Lynch worries whether the U.S. and other wealthy countries will soon have too few citizens. He predicts the world population will decline by the end of this century.

1:00pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Sports

Cardinals' Manager La Russa Goes Out On Top

Days after leading his team to a 7th game win in the World Series, Tony La Russa has announced that he has retired. La Russa changed the game of baseball and is among the top managers in the Major Leagues. Over his 33-year career, he won the world series three times.

12:45pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Hard Times: A Journey Across America

Miss. Couple Lament Loss Of The American Dream

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 5:31 pm

Norris and Janis Galatas at their home in Collinsville, Miss., with their horse, Cinnamon. The couple is struggling to make their mortgage payments.

Debbie Elliott NPR

Part of a monthlong series

The plan for Norris and Janis Galatas was that they would be settled and comfortable at middle age — paying off their bills and putting away something for the future. But now the wounded warrior and his wife are rethinking the American dream.

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12:44pm

Mon October 31, 2011
The Two-Way

UNESCO Votes To Make Palestine A Member

Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Riyad Al-Malki delivers a speech at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.

Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

In a controversial vote that could cost UNESCO a big chunk of its budget, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization voted to make a state of Palestine a full member.

The vote was 107 to 14 and included 52 abstentions.

The AP reports:

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12:33pm

Mon October 31, 2011
NPR Story

MF Global Files For Bankruptcy

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 8:44 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with bad bets and a big bankruptcy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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12:29pm

Mon October 31, 2011
It's All Politics

Poll: Cain And Perry Tied In Texas

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 12:56 pm

In what may be the most impressive and surprising sign of the Herman Cain phenomenon yet, the Republican presidential candidate was essentially tied with native son Gov. Rick Perry in Texas, of all places.

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll put Cain at 27 percent support and Perry, the three-term governor at 26 percent. The margin of error was plus/minus 3.46 percent.

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12:00pm

Mon October 31, 2011
7 Billion And Counting

7 Billion: Trick Or Treat For Crowded Countries?

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 12:34 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, host: I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Happy Halloween. If all the witches, goblins, and ghosts coming to your door don't scare you enough, then you might want to head south of the border for an encounter with Sante Meurte, or the Saint of Death. In a few minutes, we'll talk about why the veneration of this folk saint seems to have really taken off in the last decade or so and why the Catholic church is not happy about it. But first, happy birthday to the world's seven billionth inhabitant.

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