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12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
Digital Life

Comparing Apple's iPhone 4S And The Droid Bionic

Apple's new iPhone 4S, left, hits the market Friday — where it faces still competition from the speedy Android Bionic, right.

NPR

Apple's new smartphone, the iPhone 4S, lands in stores around the country Friday. The company says that consumers pre-ordered more than 1 million of the phones within 24 hours last week, when it became available online.

One of the new iPhone's biggest rivals will be the Motorola Bionic, which runs on Google's Android operating system. Both phones are very capable, and very fast — here's a chart outlining their features:

Test-Driving The iPhone 4S

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12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
National Security

How Close Is Al-Qaida To Defeat?

Ayman al-Zawahiri (shown here in a still image posted online by al-Qaida in July) replaced Osama bin Laden at the top of al-Qaida's leadership. Some argue that eliminating a few key leaders would significantly weaken the group; others say the more dangerous threat — from al-Qaida affiliates — would be unaffected by changes in the group's core leadership.

Anonymous AP

A debate is raging in the intelligence community about what it means to defeat al-Qaida. Because America's efforts to capture or kill al-Qaida's key members have been so effective, some officials say the core group — al-Qaida's founders and longtime members hiding out in Pakistan — is near collapse.

One camp, which includes members of the Obama administration, says al-Qaida's core group is three to five members away from collapse. Others, however, say with al-Qaida affiliates gathering strength, any victory over the core will be a hollow one.

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12:01am

Thu October 13, 2011
Economy

U.S. Banks Can't Hide From Europe's Debt Crisis

The Congressional Research Service estimated direct U.S. banking exposure in troubled European economies at $641 billion. U.S. banks say the amount is much lower.

Sandor F. Szabo iStockPhoto.com

For months now, Europe's debt crisis has hung ominously over the U.S. markets and economy. But even as U.S. banks begin lessening their investments in Europe, it remains difficult to quantify the threat they face.

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6:59pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

6 People Are Dead In Southern California Salon Shooting

A gunman opened fire killing six and wounding three others at an Orange County, Calif. hair salon this afternoon. The Orange County Register reports that the shooting rampage is one of Seal Beach's worst mass killings.

The paper reports:

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6:29pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

In Exchange With Congressman, Buffett Discloses His Earnings, Taxes

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Warren Buffett.

Mario Tama Getty Images

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) and billionaire Warren Buffett have been involved in a cordial back-and-forth about Buffett's now-famous New York Times op-ed in which he implored the government to raise his taxes.

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6:18pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Law

Supreme Court Weighs Legality Of Strip Searches

The United States Supreme Court wrestled on Wednesday with a case testing whether some 700,000 people arrested each year on minor charges can be subject to automatic strip searches when taken to jail. Specifically, the issue the justices grappled with was whether jail authorities need some reasonable suspicion to conduct that kind of a search.

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5:09pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Politics

Will Free Trade Agreements Really Create Jobs?

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 9:27 pm

Caterpillar products produced in Illinois, like the ones shown above, will be able to be exported to South Korea, Colombia and Panama duty free if Congress passes trade agreements with those countries on Wednesday. Obama says the agreements will provide a major boost to U.S. exports and support tens of thousands of jobs.

Seth Perlman AP

Congress approved with bipartisan support Wednesday much-delayed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The Obama administration and supporters in Congress have labeled these agreements jobs bills, though there are questions about how many jobs will really be created.

When Bill Lane, the Washington director for the heavy equipment maker Caterpillar, looks at the three trade deals, he sees opportunity.

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4:57pm

Wed October 12, 2011
National Security

U.S. Will Try To 'Put Iran In A Vice'

In this courtroom sketch, defendant Manssor Arbabsiar and defense attorney Sabrina Shroff, appear in court in New York on Tuesday. Arbabsiar has been charged in an alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S.

Elizabeth Williams AP

One day after the U.S. outlined an assassination plot allegedly linked to the Iranian military, a host of U.S. officials began making angry calls for tough action in response.

But what kind of action might that be? The U.S. has been imposing sanctions against Iran ever since U.S. diplomats were seized following the 1979 Islamic revolution. And analysts say they do not expect a U.S. military response.

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4:56pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Salt

Facing Planetary Enemy No. 1: Agriculture

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 8:43 am

Early morning view of an automated irrigation system in on a farm in Sudlersville, MD

Cliff Owen AP

For the past 200 years, ever since Thomas Malthus published his Essay on the Principle of Population, big thinkers have been wondering whether Earth-dwellers will eventually run out of food.

Today, a global group of scientists released a fresh look at the question. They add a different, environmental twist to it. Can we feed the world without destroying the environment?

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4:44pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Why Gingrich Opposes Recommendation Against Routine PSA Tests

At last night's GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich condemned the government's latest effort to discourage men from routinely getting blood tests for prostate cancer by citing the views of Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.

Gingrich stressed some of von Eschenbach's prestigious bona fides, including heading the National Cancer Institute and practicing at one of the country's major cancer centers.

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4:41pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Amid Fresh Controversy, Dow Jones European Executive Steps Down

The hits keep coming for Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation: While the company is still dealing with the consequences of its phone hacking scandal in the U.K., yesterday the publisher of The Wall Street Journal's European edition stepped down.

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3:19pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

To Ease Budget Crunch, Topeka, Kan. Repeals Domestic Violence Law

A budget battle between the city of Topeka, Kan. and Shawnee County has led to the repeal of the city's domestic violence law and freed about 30 people charged with abuse.

Here's how the Kansas City Star tells the story:

It started when Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor announced that a 10 percent budget cut would force him to end his office's prosecution of misdemeanor cases, almost half of which last year were domestic battery cases.

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3:00pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Record

Death Metal, Vernacular And Tradition: The Music Scene In Taiwan

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 6:27 pm

A Moving Sound. YunYa Hsieh stands at the center, Scott Praire sits to the right.

Courtesy of the artists

Taiwan might be known to most Americans for its export economy, but it's also been importing musical styles — from avant garde jazz to hip-hop. I first learned about Taiwan's thriving music scene from Joshua Samuel Brown. He's a travel writer who authored the last two editions of Lonely Planet: Taiwan.

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3:00pm

Wed October 12, 2011
NPR Story

A Look At Manssor Arbabsiar

A look at Manssor Arbabsiar, the man at the center of the alleged murder-for-hire plot against the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

3:00pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Law

Topeka, Kan., Repeals Domestic Violence Law

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 6:27 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

GUY RAZ, host: And I'm Guy Raz.

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3:00pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Remembrances

Gay Rights Movement Pioneer Dies

Frank Kameny, a pioneer in the gay rights movement, died Tuesday at 86. In 1957, Kameny was fired from his job as an astronomer for the U.S. government because he was homosexual. He fought his dismissal in court for years and in the 1960s, began picketing outside the White House, calling for equal rights for gays and lesbians. In 2009, the government issued him a formal apology for his firing.

3:00pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Law

Cook County Investigates Gacy Cold Cases

The Cook County sheriff's office in Illinois has launched a new effort to identify eight unidentified victims of mass murderer John Wayne Gacy. The department wants relatives of men who disappeared between 1970 and 1978 to participate in saliva tests to compare their DNA with that of the victims' bones.

2:50pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

National Book Awards Finalists Announced

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 2:59 pm

National Book Awards finalist medal.

NationalBook.org

Our colleagues at Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud hosted today's announcement of the 20 finalists for this year's National Book Awards.

They report that the nominees are:

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2:43pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Decoded DNA Reveals Details Of Black Death Germ

Victims of the plague are consigned to a communal burial during the Plague of London in 1665.

Universal Images Group Getty Images

Scientists have used DNA lurking inside the teeth of medieval Black Death victims to figure out the entire genetic code of the deadly bacterium that swept across Europe more than 600 years ago, killing an estimated half of the population.

The researchers didn't find any genetic feature that could explain why the plague was so virulent, according to a report just published in the journal Nature.

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2:25pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

WikiLeaks: Japan Rebuffed Idea Of U.S. Apology For Hiroshima

A tiny portion of a secret cable released last month by WikiLeaks is just now making its way to the United States. In the Sept. 2009 cable, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos tells the Obama administration that Japan doesn't think it's a good idea for President Obama to visit Hiroshima or to apologize for using an atomic bomb on two Japanese cities during World War II.

The contents of the cable were reported back in September by The Japan Times and ABC News picked it up, today.

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2:12pm

Wed October 12, 2011
NPR Story

'Mary,' The 'Great And Infamous' Other Boleyn

Anne Boleyn's story is well known. The Queen of England was ultimately charged with treason, incest and adultery, and beheaded.

But her big sister, Mary, has mostly been a footnote in history. Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings is the first full biography of the woman known as "the great and infamous whore."

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1:50pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Job 1: Careers That Shaped The GOP Candidates

Before Politics, Huntsman Aspired To Rock Star Fame

With shaggy hair and skinny jeans, Jon Huntsman (upper right) strikes a pose with his band Wizard.

Courtesy of Politico.com

Third in a series

GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman says he's the most qualified Republican in the White House race, thanks to his background as governor of Utah, a corporate executive, and as U.S. Ambassador to China. But if Huntsman had lived out his youthful ambition, he would have been none of those things.

"My initial passion in life was to be a rock-and-roll musician," Huntsman told graduates at the University of South Carolina in May.

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1:21pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Clinton's Condemns 'Dangerous Escalation,' Iran Slams 'Baseless Claims'

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 1:22 pm

The alleged plot by two Iranians to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, which U.S. investigators say had the support of some "factions" within Iran's government, marks a "dangerous escalation" in that nation's support for terrorism, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said this morning.

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1:03pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Latest Ryanair Cost-Cutting Measure? Replace Lavatories With Seats

President of Irish budget carrier Ryanair Michael O'Leary poses prior to a press conference in Madrid in Sept. 2011.

Dominique Faget AFP/Getty Images

For a long time, the Irish economy airline Ryanair has been the leader in slashing costs. It's also been known as the airline that made the current nickle-and-dime model of charging for food and carry-on luggage popular.

At one point last year, Ryanair briefly considered charging passengers to use the toilet. Now, Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has put another cost-saving plan on the table: Removing two of the three on-board lavatories to make room for more seats.

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1:00pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Politics

Mitt Romney Still The Front Runner After NH Debate

Tuesday night's GOP debate focused on the economy, and most analysts declared Mitt Romney the winner. After Texas Governor Rick Perry's stumbles in the previous debate, Romney's closest rival is now Herman Cain, the former pizza executive who proposed his 9-9-9 tax plan.

1:00pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Your Health

Prostate Cancer Screenings Not Recommended

The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recommended against screening for most healthy men, concluding that it causes too much anxiety and leads to unnecessarily aggressive treatment including surgery. Many doctors and patients say they will continue the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test.

1:00pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Business

Product Names Make Dasani And Swiffers Sell

A product may be useful and appealing in its own right, but the brand name can make or break its success. In a piece for The New Yorker, staff writer John Colapinto profiles a firm, Lexicon, that's dedicated to matching new products with the right brand names.

12:57pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Harrisburg Lawmakers Spar As City Moves Toward Bankruptcy

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 2:06 pm

After a 4-3 vote by the Harrisburg, Pa., city council Tuesday night to file for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection, a council member delivered the necessary documents to court today.

But now, The Associated Press reports, Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson (D) is making the case that the council doesn't have the authority to seek bankruptcy.

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12:42pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Picture Show

A Picture Of Poaching: Baby Gorilla Rescued

Courtesy of Virunga National Park

The folks at Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, alerted news media this week about a baby gorilla rescued from the clutches of poachers. You can tell a lot about little Shamavu's recent ordeal from this photo. With less than 900 mountain gorillas remaining on Earth, according to Virunga National Park, one gorilla saved is an accomplishment.

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12:06pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Family Lost In Corn Maze Dials 911 For Help

The family got lost in this corn maze on Connors Farm in Danvers, Mass., but were eventually found close to the exit. The maze was shaped in the theme of the "Headless Horseman."

Courtesy of Connors Farm

Maybe they'd recently read or watched Children of the Corn:

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