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4:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

How Do You Mend A Broken Monument? Call The 'Difficult Access Team'

At 555 feet above Washington, the work begins.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

If you're afraid of heights, this is definitely not your dream job.

Tuesday, five engineers began a series of rappelling operations down the face of the Washington Monument to assess damage caused by the Aug. 23 earthquake that shook the nation's capital. The five belong to a special "difficult access team" from Northbrook, Ill.-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., or WJE.

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3:41pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Monkey See

DVD Picks: 'Ben-Hur'

Warner Home Video

Time for our movie critic Bob Mondello's suggestions for home-viewing. Today he's recommending a wide-screen 1950s epic that was specifically designed to draw people away from their TV sets: Ben-Hur.

Everything about Ben-Hur was big. Reeeeally big. The sound was stereophonic (which was new back then), the screen wider than all outdoors, and that chariot race — flat-out enormous.

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3:40pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Helen Reichert, Who Could Bounce Back From Stress, Dies At 109

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 4:28 pm

Helen Reichert.
Courtesy of Olive Villaluna

A passing of note:

Helen Reichert, who Morning Edition introduced to listeners in April, died on Sunday. She was 109.

In that April commentary for Morning Edition, Dr. Mark Lachs said of his patient that:

"Unusual longevity often has a genetic basis, and Reichert probably does have a gene that contributes to her unusual longevity. But she also exhibits a powerful trait geriatricians call adaptive competence.

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3:40pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Music Reviews

Dan Zanes Plants A 'Little Nut Tree'

Dan Zanes released Little Nut Tree on Sept. 27.
Gala Narezo

When Dan Zanes became a father 16 years ago, he took seriously the decision of which song to play to his newborn daughter first. He chose the 1968 Jamaican hit "Little Nut Tree." Now, after more than a decade of recording music for families, the godfather of the kids' music renaissance has released a new album called Little Nut Tree on his own label.

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3:37pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Poor Scrutiny Of BofA Settlement May Have Cost Taxpayers Billions

At the end of 2010, the federal government announced a settlement with Bank of America in which the bank bought back $2.87 billion in mortgages that did not meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's standards — that is these were mortgages where, for example, someone inflated their income to guarantee a loan.

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3:18pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Economy

Obama Returns To Familiar Turf To Sell New Stimulus

President Obama says his jobs plan would create tens of thousands of construction jobs by funding public works projects like roads, bridges and school improvements.

The president made that case again Tuesday afternoon, while standing outside Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver.

The Mile High City is familiar turf for Obama: It's where he accepted his party's nomination for the White House three years ago; and it's where he signed the original economic stimulus bill.

At the time, he said it marked the beginning of the end of the nation's economic troubles.

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3:15pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Impulsive Preschoolers Turned Into Risk-Taking Adults

Kids who can't resist temptation early on may have trouble with it throughout their lives.
iStockphoto.com

BJ Casey, Director of the Sackler Institute at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, studies brain development in teenagers. After Talk of the Nation had her on the show last week to talk about why some kids like to take risks and push boundaries, listeners had so many questions that she returned today to answer a couple more.

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2:45pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Satellite Fell Into South Pacific Far From Land, NASA Says

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 2:52 pm

That bus-sized Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite that fell back to Earth late last week broke up and spread its debris "over a broad, remote ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, far from any major land mass," out in the South Pacific Ocean, NASA just reported.

The space agency adds that:

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2:28pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Saudi Woman Sentenced To Lashes After Defying Driving Ban

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 4:01 pm

A Saudi woman fastens her seat belt before driving in Jeddah, western Saudi Arabia.
Michael Bou-Nacklie Michael Bou-Nacklie

A court in Jeddah on the west coast of Saudi Arabia sentenced a woman to ten lashings with a whip for defying the country's ban on women driving, activists told the AP.

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2:06pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Europe

Greece Approves New Property Tax To Boost Revenue

Greek lawmakers approved a controversial new property tax Tuesday that aims to boost revenue as the country struggles to obtain a critical installment of international bailout loans that will prevent it from default.

The new tax passed 154 votes to 143 against in the 300-member parliament. It was announced earlier this month after international debt inspectors suspended their review of Greek reforms amid talk of missed revenue targets and delayed implementation of austerity measures. The inspectors are expected to return to Athens this week.

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1:45pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

OnStar Hits Reverse: It Won't Keep Collecting Data From Old Customers

Just days after it received intense criticism from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), some other lawmakers and privacy advocates, General Motors' OnStar service has agreed that it won't keep its data connections open to customers who have canceled the service.

In a statement, the company says today that:

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1:24pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Coca-Cola Chief: U.S. Becoming Less Business Friendly Than China

Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, speaks during the seventh annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York City.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola's chief executive, is making some waves after what he told The Financial Times in an interview the paper ran this morning.

"I believe the US owes itself to create a 21st century tax policy for individuals as well as businesses," Kent told the paper. He also went on to criticize the complexity of the tax code, as well as the fact that American companies have to pay taxes on income earned abroad. The FT adds:

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1:09pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Asia

Widows Win Legal Victory In Indonesia Massacre Case

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 4:09 pm

Cawi Binti Baisan, 84, squats beside the grave of her first husband Bitol, a farmer who was executed by Dutch soldiers in 1947. She is one of seven remaining widows of the more than 400 estimated massacre victims. A Dutch court recently ruled that the Dutch government must compensate the widows for their losses.

Yosef Riadi for NPR

In Indonesia, many people are celebrating what they see as a long-delayed victory for justice and human rights. Representatives of a village in West Java that was the site of a massacre by Dutch colonial soldiers 64 years ago sued the Dutch government and won.

The Dutch court ruled that the government must now compensate the victims' seven surviving widows. One of them is 84-year-old Cawi Binti Baisan.

She remembers her husband Bitol waking her up before dawn one morning in 1947. Bitol, who went by only one name, had just come in from the rice paddies, carrying his plow.

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1:04pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Afghanistan

Deadly Blasts Strike Two Cities In Afghanistan

An Afghan police officer looks at a police vehicle damaged in a suicide attack Tuesday in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province.
Abdul Khaleq AP

A minivan carrying women and children returning from an engagement party in Afghanistan struck an improvised land mine that killed 16 people, Afghan officials said Tuesday.

Eleven children were among the dead in Herat province's Shindand district. An additional four people in the car were wounded, said Mohammad Salim, the police garrison chief for the district.

Earlier in the day, a suicide car bomb attack targeted a local business that provides bread for the Afghan police in the southern city of Lashkar Gah, the main city in Helmand province.

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1:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
NPR Story

What Happened To The Political Left?

As unemployment and economic malaise persist, many Americans say they're frustrated with Congress and the president. On the right, the Tea Party and other groups give voice to that frustration, but that level of national mobilization is all but unseen on the left.

1:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Africa

Exacerbated By Conflict, Somalia Famine Persists

Somalia has been hardest hit by East Africa's worst drought in decades. The United Nations warns that 750,000 Somalis could soon starve to death. Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times provides an update on the famine and the ongoing conflict that has made Somalis even more vulnerable.

1:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
NPR Story

Letters: Science And Religion, And The Teenage Brain

Host Neal Conan reads a response to a segment about tension among Christian evangelicals over the science of human origins. And, having heard from so many parents after a conversation on the teen brain, Conan follows up with Dr. B.J. Casey for some additional insight into the teen mind.

1:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
NPR Story

Pro Athletes Have Coaches. Why Not Everyone Else?

Coaches regularly pace the sidelines of football fields and assist in music studios as voice instructors. Surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande argues that professionals in all fields — not just sports and music — could benefit from regular coaching.

1:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Around the Nation

Prescription Drug Deaths Major Killer In The U.S.

The Los Angeles Times has found that prescription drugs are responsible for thousands of preventable deaths annually. Reporter Lisa Girion and the American Pain Society's Dr. Roger Chou discuss the findings and what might be done to address the problem.

12:56pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Employer Survey Shows Big Jump In Health Insurance Premiums

iStockphoto.com

There was good news and bad news in this year's annual survey of employer health benefits by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust.

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12:45pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

No Hoax, BBC Says: Alessio Rastani Is A Trader Who Wants A Recession

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:29 pm

Alessio Rastani during his appearance this week on the BBC.
bbc.co.uk

His words were provocative enough.

Alessio Rastani dreams of another global recession, the "independent market trader" told the BBC this week, because he knows he — and anyone who's prepared — can make money when that happens.

Traders, he said, don't care if the European bailout plan works or not. They'll profit either way if they're smart.

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12:30pm

Tue September 27, 2011
It's All Politics

Heckler Gives Obama Chance To Affirm His Christian Faith

There are a few things to say about about the incident in which President Obama was heckled by an apparent militant Christian at Monday night's campaign fundraiser at Los Angeles' House of Blues in Los Angeles. (My colleague Mark Memmott reports on the incident over at The Two-Way blog.)

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12:28pm

Tue September 27, 2011
The Salt

How A Small Red Fruit Performs Taste Miracles For 'Flavor Trippers'

The miracle fruit from West Africa has a chemical that binds to and boosts sweet taste receptors in the presence of acidic foods.
Courtesy of Keiko Abe

A tiny crimson berry from West Africa discovered by Westerners almost three centuries ago can turn lemons into lemonade and vinegar into apple cider, at least as far as the tongue is concerned.

The chemical miraculin in "miracle fruit," as the berry is known, makes sour things eaten immediately afterward taste sweet, and sweet things taste super sweet. And it's inspired a small counterculture of "flavor trippers" who get together to swirl it (or a tablet containing it) around on their tongues and then sample a parade of foods to showcase its mind-bending qualities.

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12:12pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Author Interviews

The 'Worm' That Could Bring Down The Internet

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 9:47 am

iStockphoto.com

For the past three years, a highly encrypted computer worm called Conficker has been spreading rapidly around the world. As many as 12 million computers have been infected with the self-updating worm, a type of malware that can get inside computers and operate without their permission.

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12:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
NPR Story

How Europe Economic Woes Could Affect U.S. Markets

Slovenia, Finland and Germany parliaments are scheduled to vote this week on a rescue package to prevent Greece from defaulting. What does this mean for Wall Street and Main Street in America? Guest host Jacki Lyden hears from Wall Street Journal Reporter Sudeep Reddy and Bloomberg Business Week Senior Writer Roben Farzad.

12:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
NPR Story

Wealth-Building Strategies For Latinos

Financial planner Louis Barajas' newly revised book, The Latino Journey to Financial Greatness advises Latinos to not only create wealth for themselves, but to build prosperous futures for their families. He speaks with guest host Jacki Lyden.

12:00pm

Tue September 27, 2011
NPR Story

Straight Talk On Menopause

September is Menopause Awareness Month. Menopause affects nearly every woman at some point in her life, yet the issue is difficult to address for many, including physicians and mothers. Tell Me More discusses how menopause affects women physically, mentally and socially, and how women and their families can best manage this time in their lives. (Language Advisory: This segment contains frank and explicit language that may not be suitable for all audiences.)

11:53am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

A Moment Of Cute: A Photo Of Sleeping Baby Pandas

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 2:11 pm

This photo taken on Sept. 26 shows a group of giant panda cubs napping at a nursery in the research base of the Giant Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province.
AFP/Getty Images

Unbearable cuteness is news, right? In any case, we'll get back to the serious news in a bit. But, first, a picture of 12 baby giant pandas taking a nap at a breeding center in Chengdu:

There is a bit of news to go along with this picture. As the AP reports today, China has finished its census of humans and has now started its once-a-decade counting of pandas in the wild. The AP adds:

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10:50am

Tue September 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Shanghai Subway Crash Renews Questions About Safety In China

Rescue workers evacuated passengers after a subway train crashed into another train between stations Tuesday in Shanghai.
AFP/Getty Images

There's been another train crash in China — this time a collision of subway trains in Shanghai earlier today. The accident injured more than 200 people.

It's yet another blow to China's image.

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10:44am

Tue September 27, 2011
It's All Politics

Despite Senate Spending Deal, Nation Stuck In Stormy Political Pattern

Many Americans view Congress as a disaster, albeit one whose shifting tectonic plates are caused by humans not geology.

So it was probably fitting that FEMA, whose mission is partly to mitigate calamities stepped in to do just that Monday and rescue the nation's lawmakers from the dire circumstances the policymakers had created.

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