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1:59pm

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Death Toll Rises In Syria, Adding To U.N. Estimate Of 5,000 Killed So Far

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 2:40 pm

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube shows Syrian mourners carrying the coffin of a woman who was reportedly killed in the al-Hula region of central Homs province on December 12, 2011.
YouTube AFP/Getty Images

One day after the United Nations said that more than 5,000 people have died in nine months of protests and clashes against the Syrian government, the AP quotes activists saying that at least 28 more people died Tuesday at the hands of Syrian security forces.

Fighting between the government and the opposition was heaviest along the country's northwestern border with Turkey.

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1:40pm

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Robocalls To Cellphones? States Marshal Opposition

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 2:51 pm

"No, I don't want to renew my subscription." What if they could reach you anywhere?
Mario Tama Getty Images

A bill before Congress that would allow some types of "robocalls" to be made to cellphones if consumers have given companies their numbers doesn't have many sponsors and wouldn't seem to be the kind of legislation that would stand much of a chance of passing when an election year looms.

But it's getting an increasing amount of attention this week thanks to something that's very rare these days — bipartisan opposition.

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1:09pm

Tue December 13, 2011
Planet Money

White House Kills Dollar Coin Program

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:24 pm

Dollar coins gathering dust in the Fed's Baltimore brach.
John W. Poole NPR

The federal government will stop minting unwanted $1 coins, the White House said Tuesday. The move will save an estimated $50 million a year.

Earlier this year, we reported on the mountain of $1 coins sitting unused in government vaults. The pile-up — an estimated 1.4 billion coins — was caused by a 2005 law that ordered the minting of coins honoring each U.S. president.

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1:04pm

Tue December 13, 2011
News

Home Sweet Home: The New American Localism

Americans are craving food grown locally: There are now more than 6,000 farmers markets across the country. Here Ron Samascott organizes apples from his orchard in Kinderhook, N.Y., at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York.
Mark Lennihan AP

You can talk about the global village, a mobile society and the World Wide Web all you want, but many in our country seem to be turning toward a New American Localism.

These days, we are local folks and our focus is local. We are doing everything locally: food, finance, news, charity. And maybe for good reasons.

"One bedrock thing that is going on," says Brad Edmondson, founder of ePodunk and former editor of American Demographics magazine, is that "because of aging and the recession, people aren't moving around as much."

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1:00pm

Tue December 13, 2011
NPR Story

Troop Pullout Not The End Of US Presence In Iraq

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. About 5,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, and they will all leave by the end of this month. Yesterday, President Obama marked the end of the nearly nine-year-long war as a campaign promise kept. He stood beside Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki yesterday and reflected on the costs and said U.S. troops will leave with their heads held high.

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1:00pm

Tue December 13, 2011
NPR Story

Medicare, Medicare Hard To Change, Says Former Head

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Until the beginning of this month, Donald Berwick served as administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dr. Berwick's nomination got caught up in the partisan politics that accompany passage of the health care law, and he took office under a controversial recess appointment. His mission was to make the centers more efficient, to cut costs and to deliver more patient-centered care. On his way out of office, he said that as much as a third of the money spent on Medicare and Medicaid is wasted.

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1:00pm

Tue December 13, 2011
NPR Story

Op-Ed: Protests In Russia Can't Sideline Putin

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now the Opinion Page, which was moved - which we moved from its regular Monday slot this week because of our special broadcast yesterday from National Geographic. After big demonstrations in Moscow and other cities in Russia over the weekend, we heard comparisons to the Arab Spring. Some predicted the protests could herald sweeping change. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Kathryn Stoner-Weiss argues that the protests are not completely meaningless, but she concluded that things will go on, much as they did before.

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1:00pm

Tue December 13, 2011
NPR Story

Letters: The Postal Service,Why We Gossip

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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12:00pm

Tue December 13, 2011
NPR Story

Does School Choice Really Help Students?

More than 2 million children currently attend charter schools, and that number is growing. But not everyone thinks the move away from public schools is best for students. Host Michel Martin speaks with one critic, Natalie Hopkinson. She's a contributing editor for The Root, and has two kids attending schools in the Washington, D.C. area.

12:00pm

Tue December 13, 2011
NPR Story

Good Food With A Side Of Social Justice

Andy Shallal, owner of the popular Busboys & Poets restaurants in the D.C. metro area, is much more than a restaurateur. The latest Washington Post Magazine chronicles how Shallal promotes his political interests, while creating a successful business model. Host Michel Martin speaks to Shallal.

12:00pm

Tue December 13, 2011
NPR Story

Keeping First Generation College Kids On Track

For freshman college students, it's the end of first semester. For many first generation college kids, grades, work and money are already a struggle. In fact only 15 percent complete their degrees within 6 years. Host Michel Martin and a panel of moms and education experts discuss how parents can help their students succeed.

12:00pm

Tue December 13, 2011
Education

Michelle Rhee On 'Take No Prisoners' Approach

Host Michel Martin checks in with Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington, D.C. Public Schools. As chancellor, she made a number of controversial changes that were both applauded and denounced. A year ago, she started StudentsFirst, a group formed in response to increasing demands for a better public education system in America.

11:58am

Tue December 13, 2011
The Salt

Greeks Stomach Economic Crisis With Help Of 'Starvation Recipes'

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 3:53 pm

Historian and cookbook author Eleni Nikolaidou with her book Starvation Recipes. Recession-hit Greeks are fascinated with the book's World War II-era survival tips and recipes.
Thanassis Stavrakis ASSOCIATED PRESS

When Eleni Nikolaidou began studying the survival diets of World War II Greece a couple of years ago, she never expected to turn the research for her master's thesis into a cookbook.

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11:39am

Tue December 13, 2011
Television

Louis C.K. Reflects On 'Louie,' Loss, Love And Life

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 12:37 pm

Louis C.K. has written for The Late Show with David Letterman, The Chris Rock Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
FX

In the FX TV series Louie, comic Louis C.K. plays a divorced father of two struggling to balance his comedy career with being a single dad. The show, which has just been picked up for a third season, is often based on events that have happened to C.K. in his own life.

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11:34am

Tue December 13, 2011
It's All Politics

New Poll Suggests Latino Voters See 'Hostile' GOP

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 4:07 pm

Nearly half of the Latino voters in a new survey said nominating Sen. Marco Rubio as a vice presidential candidate would have no effect on their votes.
Yuri Gripas Reuters /Landov

The overwhelming majority of Latino voters believe that the Republican Party ignores them or is outright "hostile," and that nominating Hispanic Sen. Marco Rubio as a vice presidential candidate might do little to change it, according to a national poll released Monday.

The December survey, conducted by impreMedia and the polling group Latino Decisions, is the first to test the popularity of the freshman senator from Florida with America's Hispanics.

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11:25am

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

White House's 'Promise Kept' Iraq Timeline Starts On Jan. 20, 2009

"Promise Kept," it says on the landing page of the Iraq War interactive timeline posted by the White House today.
WhiteHouse.gov

A message from the White House on its Twitter page popped up a few minutes ago saying:

"After nearly 9 years of sacrifice, America's war in Iraq is coming to an end. Experience the interactive timeline: wh.gov/iraq"

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11:05am

Tue December 13, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Dirty Little Secret: Almost Nobody Cleans Contacts Properly

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 11:06 am

Odds are that's a nasty dirty lens.
Marek Brzezinski iStockPhoto.com

People who wear contact lenses say they're diligent about keeping them clean. But press them for details, and it turns out that hardly anyone is doing it the right way.

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10:54am

Tue December 13, 2011
Technology

The Technology Helping Repressive Regimes Spy

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:43 pm

Software allows repressive governments to track and monitor the movements of dissidents.
iStockphoto.com

As protesters in the Middle East use social media to organize and communicate, the regimes they're battling are using sophisticated technology to intercept their emails, text messages and cellphone calls.

On Wednesday's Fresh Air, journalist Ben Elgin talks about a Bloomberg News series, "Wired for Repression," which details how Western companies are selling surveillance technology to regimes including Iran, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia.

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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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