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10:05am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Mexico Says It Blocked Plot To Smuggle Gadhafi's Son Into Country

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 10:10 am

Saadi Gadhafi at January 2010 news conference in Tripoli.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

A report in Canada's National Post that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's "playboy son Saadi made plans to flee to a Mexican beach resort whose celebrity visitors include Kim Kardashian, Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga," has prompted Mexico's interior secretary to say today that his country's intelligence service has broken up the plot, The Associated Press says.

According to the AP:

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9:44am

Wed December 7, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Call Now To Get A Medicare Enrollment Extension

If you need more time to make a decision on your Medicare plan, get on the phone right away.
iStockphoto.com

Federal officials are extending today's deadline some people picking a Medicare prescription drug or private health plan because of the crush of last-minute sign-ups.

There's a catch. The extension is available only to seniors who seek official help with their decision by the close of business today, said a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

And one other thing, the extension is only three days long.

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9:20am

Wed December 7, 2011

9:05am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Pearl Harbor Attack's 70th Anniversary: Memories, Moment Of Silence

Dec. 7, 1941: The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

On this 70th anniversary of the date "which will live in infamy," there will be a moment of silence in Hawaii at 7:55 a.m. (12:55 a.m. ET) to remember the 2,390 Americans who died when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

It was 7:55 a.m. local time when the attack began — a strike that would push America into World War II.

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8:57am

Wed December 7, 2011
Europe

Anti-Mafia Police Nab Fugitive Mobster In Italy

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 12:30 pm

Italian policemen celebrated Wednesday outside police's headquarters in the town of Caserta following the arrest of Michele Zagaria, the boss of the Casalesi clan.
Roberto Salomone AFP/Getty Images

One of Italy's most-wanted mobsters was captured by Italian anti-mafia police units Wednesday after spending 16 years on the run.

Michele Zagaria ran one of bloodiest clans of the Naples mafia, which is known as the Camorra. He was found hiding under 15 feet of reinforced concrete in an underground bunker in his hometown of Casapesenna, north of Naples.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli said that Zagaria reportedly told police: "You have won. The state has won." He had been on the run since 1995.

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8:35am

Wed December 7, 2011
Monkey See

Raise A Glass Of Butterbeer As Potter's 'Wizarding World' Comes To Hollywood

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

You might think Harry Potter fever would be petering out now that the books and the films have come and gone. You, of course, would be wrong, as Ben Bergman reports on today's Morning Edition.

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8:10am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Roadside Bomb Kills 19 In Afghanistan

One day after dozens of people were killed in two suicide bomb attacks aimed at Shiites, there's been another deadly explosion in Afghanistan:

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8:00am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Trip To Dubai Raises Questions About Pakistani Leader's Future

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:54 am

President Asif Ali Zardari is in Dubai for heart treatment, his office says. But Zardari's government is embroiled in controversy. That has Pakistanis wondering if he might resign while he's out of the country.
Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

With his government embroiled in controversy over a memo that many in Pakistan view as potentially treasonous, President Asif Ali Zardari's sudden departure for medical treatment in Dubai has "people [here] questioning the timing" and wondering if Zardari might be about to step down, NPR's Corey Flintoff reported this morning from Islamabad.

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7:53am

Wed December 7, 2011
Strange News

Alec Baldwin Finds American Airlines Unfriendly

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer. American Airlines filed for bankruptcy last week. Now, they might lose a customer after kicking Alec Baldwin off a New York flight. Baldwin tweeted he was reamed out for playing the mobile game Words with Friends after lights out for electronic devices.

He later boarded another American Airlines flight but hinted it might be his last. He tweeted: There's always United. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

7:45am

Wed December 7, 2011
Strange News

'MythBusters' Confirms Cannonball Can Destroy House

The Discovery Channel program MythBusters took safety precautions, going to a California firing range for a segment involving a cannon. They aimed the cannon at water-filled barrels and a concrete wall. But when they fired, the cannonball sailed over the targets, toward a house. People sleeping inside woke to find the cannonball ripped through the house and it struck a minivan.

7:30am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Syria's Assad: 'We Don't Kill Our People'

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 7:35 am

President Bashar Assad during his interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters.
ABC News

"We don't kill our people ... no government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person."

So says Syrian President Bashar Assad to ABC News Barbara Walters in an interview that's airing across several of the network's shows today.

Pushing back against reports from the United Nations and witnesses in several Syrian cities, Assad denied that his security forces have killed thousands of civilians.

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6:50am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Internal Probe, Criminal Charges Still Pending In W.Va. Mine Disaster

It's been a busy week for the 29 families of the coal miners who lost their lives last year in the explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.

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5:06am

Wed December 7, 2011
Politics

How Payroll Tax Cut Affects Social Security's Future

President Obama put Congress on notice Tuesday in a speech in Osawatomie, Kan.

He said that unless a temporary payroll tax cut is extended this month, 160 million Americans would see their taxes go up next year by an average of $1,000. But there's concern on both sides of the political aisle that the payroll tax holiday might be undermining the solvency of Social Security.

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5:04am

Wed December 7, 2011
Asia

Clean Air A 'Luxury' In Beijing's Pollution Zone

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:37 pm

Chinese walk to work midday as heavy smog hangs over downtown Beijing.
Stephen Shaver UPI /Landov

On the way to school, my kids and I play a guessing game: How polluted is the air today? We use an app linked to the air pollution monitor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and we try to guess the day's exact level on the Air Quality Index, and whether the air is dangerous.

These days, chances are that it could well be. For more than half of the past 60 days, the air pollution has hit levels hazardous to human health. Experts estimate long-term exposure to such pollution could reduce life expectancy by as much as five years. But I don't tell the kids that.

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5:04am

Wed December 7, 2011
Monkey See

Disappointing 'Redneck' TV Shortchanges The American South

Skipper Bivens of Animal Planet's Hillbilly Handfishin'.
David Yellen Animal Planet

Oklahoma hand fisherman Skipper Bivins is obviously a man who enjoys his work.

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5:03am

Wed December 7, 2011
Your Money

In Policing Fashion, Moms Find A New Power Online

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

After J.C. Penney advertised a shirt many people found sexist, Lauren Todd launched an online petition. This screengrab was taken from Change.org, after J.C. Penney removed the shirt from its inventory.
Change.org

Angry consumers have been turning to online petitions to try to change what retailers put on their store shelves. This fall, J.C. Penney had to scrap a shirt that read "I'm Too Pretty To Do Homework, So My Brother Has To Do It For Me," after an online backlash by consumers calling the shirt sexist. Other retailers are also feeling the pressure.

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5:02am

Wed December 7, 2011
Middle East

On The Run, Under The Radar, With Syria's Rebels

Riad al-Asaad says he's the leader of the Free Syrian Army, a group of Syrian defectors who recently posted this video on the group's Facebook page.
Free Syrian Army AP

In Syria, the clashes between the opposition movement and the government's security forces are starting to look more and more like a civil war. Protests across the country still remain mostly peaceful, but soldiers who have defected are assembling a force called the Free Syrian Army, which has been launching attacks on government targets. NPR's Kelly McEvers recently met up with members of the Free Syrian Army when she crossed from Lebanon into Syria on a secret nighttime excursion.

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5:02am

Wed December 7, 2011
House & Senate Races

Virginia Senate Race: Familiar Faces, Fresh Pressure

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

George Allen, a former U.S. senator and Virginia governor, speaks to employees of an auto parts manufacturing plant near Roanoke, Va., on Oct. 5. Allen is trying to recapture the Senate seat he lost in 2006.
Stephanie Klein-Davis AP

A debate in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday kicks off what promises to be one of the most closely watched and expensive U.S. Senate races in 2012.

The seat in question is being vacated by Democrat Jim Webb, who has chosen not to run for a second term. Running to replace him are two former Virginia governors: Republican George Allen, who held the Senate seat before Webb defeated him in 2006, and Democrat Tim Kaine, who recently served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

It's a race likely to revolve around two key issues: President Obama and the economy.

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5:01am

Wed December 7, 2011
Environment

Can 'Carbon Ranching' Offset Emissions In Calif.?

Tall grasses in the San Joaquin valley in California suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it in the soil. It's one option that environmentalists are pursuing for greenhouse gas "offsets" that can be bought and sold in the state.
Christopher Joyce NPR

Second of a two-part series on California's climate policies. Read part 1.

Climate experts are exploring the concept of growing dense fields of weeds to help soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Just over a year from now, California will begin enforcing a set of laws that limit emissions of greenhouse gases from factories, power plants and, eventually, from vehicles.

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4:00am

Wed December 7, 2011
Environment

At Climate Talks, Resistance From India, China, U.S.

Fundamental disagreements among the nations attending the U.N. climate conference in Durban, South Africa, may stall a possible deal.

10:00pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Sweetness And Light

For Some Marching Bands, Hazing Means Brutality

The Marching 100, Florida A&M University's band, performs on the field before Super Bowl XLIV, Feb. 7, 2010. The band's director, Julian White, was fired in November after a band member died, allegedly from a hazing incident on a bus.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Every now and then, as a journalist, you want to think that you haven't just done a good "story," but maybe you've actually brought attention to something that can actually do good.

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5:55pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Snakebite Threat Gets Short Shrift

Snake handler Subhendu Malllik holds up an Indian baby cobra hatchling after it emerged from an egg on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, in June. The venomous snake is indigenous to South Asia.
Asit Kumar AFP/Getty Images

If you're poor and living in the Indian countryside, there's a life-threatening problem that can slither right into your life — a poisonous snake.

Snakebites in India are thought to have killed nearly 46,000 people alone in 2005. But the toll in India (the unfortunate leader of the snakebitten pack), Bangladesh and other countries that have lots of people and lots of poisonous snakes in close proximity hasn't been fully appreciated.

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5:28pm

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

After Drunk Driving Charge, FAA Administrator Resigns

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 10:25 pm

Former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Randy Babbitt.
Alex Brandon AP

Jerome "Randy" Babbitt, the Federal Aviation Administration chief who was arrested on drunk driving charges, has tendered his resignation and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has accepted.

Babbitt issued a statement saying he was resigning because he was "unwilling to let anything cast a shadow on the outstanding work done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by my colleagues at the FAA."

He added:

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5:24pm

Tue December 6, 2011
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney Declines Donald Trump's Debate Invite

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

Mitt Romney entertains a toddler in Paradise Valley, AZ, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Donald Trump's planned Republican presidential debate lost a major reason for tuning in: watching Mitt Romney contend with Newt Gingrich, the latest rival to claim frontrunner status.

Romney said Tuesday he planned to skip the debate to be moderated by Trump, the TV reality show star and real-estate developer.

The former Massachusetts governor told Fox News' Neil Cavuto of his decision to decline the invitation to the Trump debate being sponsored by NewsMax and ION TV.

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5:14pm

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Alabama's Attorney General Says Immigration Law Needs To Change

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 5:18 pm

Alabama's attorney general is calling for changes in the state's tough immigration law. The letter from Luther Strange comes weeks after a Mercedes-Benz executive was jailed, after he left his passport and license at his hotel. The incident embarrassed lawmakers and put the immigration law back in the national spotlight.

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5:11pm

Tue December 6, 2011
U.S.

Battle Cry: Occupy's Messaging Tactics Catch On

Many people who've joined the Occupy Wall Street movement say the months of communal living have been the experience of a lifetime. One of the movement's hallmarks — the "people's mic" — has come to represent the movement's collective spirit.

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5:08pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Election 2012

Gingerly, GOP Contenders Address Payroll Tax Cut

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 7:36 pm

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks Monday during his daily press briefing, as a clock counting down the expiration of the payroll tax cut benefit looms in the background.
Alex Wong Getty Images

At the end of this month, a payroll tax cut is set to expire that the White House says would result in a tax increase of about $1,000 per year on most middle-class families. The benefit is popular with the American people, which may be one reason President Obama has been relentlessly promoting it.

The president argues that extending the payroll tax "holiday" through 2012 is vital to the economy. Republicans in Congress are divided over that, but they strongly disagree with the president's plan to pay for it with a surtax on millionaires.

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4:30pm

Tue December 6, 2011
It's All Politics

Judicial Wars Flare As Senate Blocks Obama Nominee

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 6:23 pm

Caitlin J. Halligan, then a lawyer for New York State, and attorney David Boies spoke in the Court of Appeals in Albany in 2005. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked Halligan's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Jim McKnight AP

Senate Republicans have blocked the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. A Senate majority of 54 voted to break the filibuster, but that number falls short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules.

Although Halligan won bipartisan praise from legal and law enforcement groups, Republicans portrayed her as a left-wing activist for positions she took while representing the state of New York as its chief appellate lawyer.

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4:17pm

Tue December 6, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Says It Will Use Foreign Aid To Promote Gay Rights

How a country treats its gay and lesbian citizens may now play a role in the foreign aid it receives from the United States.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration issued a memo telling agencies to find ways to deter countries from criminalizing homosexuality.

The Times adds:

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3:55pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Opinion

The Magic Of Music And A Little Room To Groove

istockphoto.com

Alan Heathcock is the author of the collection Volt.

Last week, my wife suggested we have a dance floor installed in our family room. She was smiling ear-to-ear, wiping sweat from her eyes. Behind her, our three kids took turns showing off their moves as Michael Jackson's P.Y.T. blared over the speakers.

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