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4:00am

Fri February 10, 2012
World

Maldives President Says He Was Ousted In A Coup

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 8:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

To people who visit the idyllic tourist destination of the Maldives, politics can seem far away. But this week, the country's President Mohamed Nasheed stepped down after weeks of demonstrations. He was forced to resign by elements within the police and army. Here's how he described the situation to Al Jazeera.

(SOUNDBITE OF AL JAZEERA BROADCAST)

PRESIDENT MOHAMED NASHEED: This is a coup. It definitely is, if you find any definition of a coup anywhere. I did not want to defend. That is why there was no blood.

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4:00am

Fri February 10, 2012
Middle East

Diplomatic Community Struggles To End Syrian Violence

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 8:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Activists and human rights groups in Syria contend the government has now killed hundreds of civilians this week alone. It's hard to verify that number, but it is clear that mortars, rockets and tanks continue firing into the city of Homs. That gunfire has served as a week-long punctuation mark on the United Nation's failure to approve a resolution against Syria. NPR's Kelly McEvers is following the situation from Beirut. She joins us once again.

Hi, Kelly.

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4:00am

Fri February 10, 2012
Business

Many Advocates Not Impressed With States' Foreclosure Settlement

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 8:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

Here's a sign of just how huge the housing and foreclosure crisis has been. Five big banks agreed to pay about $25 billion to people who've been harmed bank's abuses, plus an extra billion to settle a claim involving a mortgage company. And one of the first reactions is that all that money could not possibly be enough.

President Obama says the banks will spread the money around.

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4:00am

Fri February 10, 2012
Business

Bank Settlement Could Spur More Foreclosures

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 8:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

News of the foreclosure settlement spread in Washington, just as the Senate Banking Committee was holding a hearing on the housing market.

NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Details were still emerging as the hearing began. And senators wanted to know would this deal do anything meaningful to help homeowners and the housing market.

SENATOR ROBERT MENENDEZ: Do you think the $25 billion state/federal foreclosure settlement is a good deal? Do you think that that's the right amount?

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12:01am

Fri February 10, 2012
Monkey See

How One George Lucas Fan Takes Fan Filmmaking Into His Own Hands

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 9:09 am

One of the posters promoting Jamie Benning's latest fan documentary, Raiding The Lost Ark.
Jamie Benning

Blame Jar Jar Binks.

If George Lucas had never created that annoying, slapstick-prone CGI character in The Phantom Menace, history would be different. No amount of "meesa so sorry" can make up for this abomination. And to add insult to injury, Lucas is sending a 3D Jar Jar Binks into theaters on February 10th.

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12:01am

Fri February 10, 2012
The Salt

How Two Bitter Adversaries Hatched A Plan To Change The Egg Business

At the JS West egg farm, south of Modesto, Calif., one chicken house has the new, spacious cages that egg producers and animal welfare advocates say keep chickens happier.
Big Dutchman

Gene Gregory and Wayne Pacelle are the odd couple of American agriculture.

"We were adversaries. Some might say bitter adversaries,"
says Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.

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12:01am

Fri February 10, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Rules Requiring Contraceptive Coverage Have Been In Force For Years

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 8:31 am

In 2002, state lawmakers in Massachusetts approved legislation requiring most employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. One of the groups pushing for the law was the Coalition for Choice, led by Melissa Kogut (center).
Lawrence Jackson AP

There's been no let-up in the debate about the Obama administration's rule requiring most employers to provide prescription birth control to their workers without additional cost.

Here's the rub: The only truly novel part of the plan is the "no cost" bit.

The rule would mean, for the first time, that women won't have to pay a deductible or copayment to get prescription contraceptives.

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12:01am

Fri February 10, 2012
Around the Nation

Nuclear Safety, Costs Loom Over OK'd Reactors

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 11:56 am

Steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Southern Co.'s application to begin full construction of the nation's first new nuclear units since 1978 at Plant Vogtle.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

The nuclear industry is celebrating the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to give the go-ahead for a utility company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first license to be granted for a new reactor in the U.S. since 1978. But last year's accident at reactors in Fukushima, Japan, still clouds the future of nuclear power, as does the cost of new power plants.

Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia, where two older reactors already operate.

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12:01am

Fri February 10, 2012
Politics

Catholics Split Over Obama Contraceptive Order

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 9:02 am

The conflict between the Catholic Bishops and the White House over contraceptive coverage has American Catholics choosing sides.

Catholics narrowly support the White House position in polls. There are potential political consequences: In presidential elections, Catholics are swing voters. They supported Al Gore in 2000, President George W. Bush in '04 and President Obama in '08.

The GOP presidential hopefuls are certainly using this issue. Framing it as a question of religious freedom is a guaranteed way to fire up the conservative base.

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12:00am

Fri February 10, 2012
The Record

What The Grammys Say About Pop Music Now

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 9:34 am

Skrillex at the Sasquatch Music Festival in May.
C Flanigan FilmMagic

6:38pm

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Muslim Brotherhood Wants To Sack Military-Appointed Government In Egypt

In the aftermath of a deadly soccer riot, the most organized political group in Egypt called for the sacking of the interim government appointed by the military.

The Muslim Brotherhood said today that the military had failed to lead the country and provide security and economic stability.

The AP reports:

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5:41pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Economy

Birthplace Of 'Robo-Signing' Eyes Deal Critically

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:57 pm

A for-sale sign hangs in front of a Homestead, Fla., home. In 2009, Florida lawyer Tom Ice deposed a bank employee who admitted to signing hundreds of mortgage documents in a day without reading them.
J. Pat Carter AP

From the beginning, Florida lawyer Tom Ice says he realized the mass signing of mortgages was more than just a paperwork problem.

"I suspected then, and I suspect now, that we were really just touching the tip of the iceberg," he says.

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5:09pm

Thu February 9, 2012
It's All Politics

The GOP's 'Meh' Moment On Full Display At Conservative Confab

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:20 pm

Enthusiasm for the candidates may have been low, but their portraits were on display at the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Thursday.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

The Republican presidential candidates won't argue their cases to thousands of conservatives gathered in Washington until Friday when Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are scheduled to speak.

(Ron Paul is skipping the event.)

But if Thursday's opening day of the American Conservative Union's annual star-studded Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC — is any indication, they all have a lot of persuading to do.

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5:05pm

Thu February 9, 2012
It's All Politics

At CPAC, Hard Lines On Race And Immigration Could Be Awkward

A note to the Republican presidential candidates heading to Washington for the Conservative Political Action Conference: some of the events could make you uncomfortable if you're planning to tack to the center in your general election campaign.

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5:04pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Music Interviews

Sharon Van Etten: Hypnotically Complicated

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:58 pm

Sharon Van Etten's third album, Tramp, comes out Feb. 7.
Dusdin Condren

Like most pop singers, Sharon Van Etten seems to love repetition — a technique used aggressively in ad jingles and Top 40 hits, but also in more hypnotic and emotionally complicated ways. Van Etten's new record, Tramp, is full of repeated riffs, drones and phonemes, and they're more intense and emotionally packed than ever. Songs like "Serpents" display her expansive voice and coiled songwriting, and are earning Van Etten a good deal of attention.

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5:03pm

Thu February 9, 2012
It's All Politics

Why Estimating Delegate Counts Could Backfire

When it comes to counting GOP delegates this year, there seem to be as many different tallies as there have been primary contests. NPR launched its own delegate tracker this week. As we noted on Wednesday, it only counts delegates officially awarded by state or party rule.

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5:00pm

Thu February 9, 2012
NPR Story

Comparing The Candidates Tax Plans

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:00 pm

GOP presidential candidates (from left) Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul place their hands over their hearts during the national anthem at the start of a debate in Florida last month.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Cutting taxes is part of the DNA of the modern Republican Party. All four of the remaining GOP candidates for president have proposed steep cuts in business and personal taxes, and it sometimes seems like Republicans are competing to show the most enthusiasm for tax cuts.

At a debate last month, former Sen. Rick Santorum said tax cuts were needed to get the economy thriving again — even if they benefit the wealthy.

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5:00pm

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Protesters At Apple Stores Demand 'Ethical' Products

Sarah Ryan, left, and Shelby Knox, with Change.org arrive at the Apple store at Grand Central to deliver petitions asking Apple to change its manufacturing practices.
Mary Altaffer AP

In an effort to protest the working conditions in the Chinese factories that make Apple products, demonstrators delivered a petition to six different Apple stores in four different countries.

The petition, which asks the country to make "ethical" products, included about 250,000 signatures. Organizers said they were delivering them to Apple stores in Bangalore, London, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Sydney and New York City.

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4:59pm

Thu February 9, 2012
It's All Politics

Young Republicans Gather In Washington — And Eye An Opportunity In November

President Obama greets students after speaking at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan 27. Young Republicans say they see an opportunity in 2012 to dent Obama's popularity among the youngest voters.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

As the annual Conservative Political Action Conference began Thursday in the nation's capital, NPR's Michel Martin spoke to young Republicans who explained how they hope this year to change the dynamics from 2008, when young voters flocked to Barack Obama.

Their strategy? Focus on the economy.

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4:50pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Law

Gay Marriage Opponents Take Battle To The Ballot

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:15 pm

Gov. Chris Gregoire (left) embraces Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Seattle Democrat, after the Washington state House voted Wednesday to legalize gay marriage.
Elaine Thompson AP

Washington may soon become the seventh state to legalize gay marriage. Lawmakers passed the bill Wednesday, and it has the governor's support.

Before it takes effect, though, it's likely to face a referendum challenge in November. Same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in a handful of states this year, and supporters have yet to win a statewide vote.

The 'Sanctity Of Marriage'

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4:30pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Chico And Rita' And All That Jazz

Havana Heat: The title characters meet cute and swing hard in Chico and Rita, an animated love story with an infectious Latin groove.
GKIDS

In the 11 years since the Oscars introduced an award for Best Animated Feature, the category has been dominated by children's movies, often with computer-animated pandas, penguins and ogres at their center. This year's a little different. Two of the animated films are subtitled, and one is definitely aimed at adults: the Spanish film Chico and Rita, an animated love story steeped in jazz.

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4:29pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Monkey See

George Clooney On Acting, Fame, And Putting Down Your Cellphone Camera

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 1:04 pm

George Clooney as Matt King, Shailene Woodley as Alexandra King, and Nick Krause as Sid in The Descendants.
Universal Pictures

George Clooney is nominated for two Oscars this year — for his lead role in The Descendants and for co-writing the adapted screenplay for The Ides Of March, which he also directed. He speaks to Robert Siegel on today's All Things Considered about film, but also about the life he lives as one of Hollywood's most famous men.

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4:28pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Religion

Bishops Stand Strong Against Birth Control Mandate

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:15 pm

A bishop grasps his pectoral cross during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2011.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

The Obama administration has drawn fierce criticism over a new rule requiring religiously affiliated charities, universities and hospitals to provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans. Now, that mandate has created a stalemate between American Catholic bishops and the White House that shows few signs of easing.

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4:22pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

When Flu Pandemics Hit, Closing Schools Can Slow Spread

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 5:46 am

Students at a University of London class in Mexico City wear masks to protect them against swine flu in May 2009. High schools and universities closed by the pandemic had just reopened across Mexico.
Brennan Linsley AP

Everyone knows that when your kids get the flu, they stay home from school.

But what does it take to justify closing the school down entirely? That's a question we should probably answer before the next big pandemic hits.

At one point during the swine flu outbreak in 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, "The potential benefits of preemptively dismissing students from school are often outweighed by negative consequences," such as disruption of classes and hassles for parents.

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4:19pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Economy

The Mortgage Deal: A Reality Check

A member of the Occupy Wall Street movement places tape over a window of a foreclosed home during a march in the impoverished community of East New York in Brooklyn in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The $26 billion deal Thursday reached by the federal government, most states and the nation's largest banks to compensate homeowners for abusive foreclosure practices was hailed as a landmark agreement. But it's unlikely to end the mortgage mess that has depressed property values and left millions of homeowners owing more than their homes are worth, analysts say.

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4:03pm

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

PepsiCo Says It Will Cut 8,700 Jobs Worldwide

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 4:08 pm

Kandral McKenzie delivers Pepsi products in New York on Thursday.
Mark Lennihan AP

PepsiCo, the maker of Pepsi soda and Doritos chips, said it will cut 8,700 jobs worldwide. That represents about 3 percent of its 300,000 person global work workforce.

The announcement also comes just after the company announced better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. The Financial Times reports that net income for the company rose 3 percent to $1.4 billion and revenues were up 11 percent to $20.1 billion.

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4:01pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Winter Songs

Winter Songs: Paul Simon, The Bard Of Bad Weather

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 3:22 pm

Paul Simon.
Mark Seliger

3:46pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Around the Nation

Over Bowls Of Soup, Donors Find Recipe For Change

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:15 pm

Jon Landau serves others at PhilaSoup, a soup group based in Philadelphia.
Linton Weeks NPR

The Soup Movement in America is based on a simple recipe: Bring a bunch of people together to eat soup. Ask each person for a modest donation — say $5. Listen to a few proposals about how people might use that pool of money for a worthwhile project. Vote on the best proposal, and give all the money to the top vote-getter. Go home full and fulfilled.

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3:30pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Latin America

Fighting Fit, Venezuela's Chavez Roars Back

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:15 pm

President Hugo Chavez waves during a military parade in Caracas, Venezuela, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of a failed coup attempt he led. After battling cancer last year, Chavez has returned to his high-profile, fiery ways.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Last year was a tough one for Venezuela's firebrand leftist president, Hugo Chavez, who has frequently taunted the United States during his 13 years in power.

In June, a cancerous tumor was discovered in Chavez's abdomen, forcing him to dramatically scale back public appearances as he sought treatment in Cuba. Some predicted that the end was near.

But this year, Chavez has returned to his outspoken ways — just in time for his re-election campaign.

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3:19pm

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Steve Jobs' FBI File Reveals People Who Knew Him Had A Mixed Opinion Of Him

Steve Jobs.
Jeff Chiu AP

The FBI has released the files it kept on Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. The 191-pages are part of a background search the FBI undertook in order to clear him for an appointment made to the President's Export Council by George W. Bush in 1991.

For the background check, the FBI conducted 30 interviews with friends, family, neighbors and former colleagues. What emerged was a portrait of a man admired for his brilliance but whose personal life and character are often questioned. It's not unlike the picture painted in Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography "Steve Jobs."

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