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A bi-coastal, 24-hour news operation, Morning Edition is hosted by NPR's Steve Inskeep or David Greene in Washington, D.C., and Renee Montagne at NPR West in Culver City, CA.

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3:28am

Thu December 20, 2012
The Salt

The Paradox And Mystery Of Our Taste For Salt

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:37 am

Bali sea salt and a spoonful of Hawaiian red alae salt.
Jim Noelker AP

Salt is one of those dangerously tasty substances. We add the magical crystals of sodium chloride to almost everything that we cook or bake, and according to many public health experts, we add too much.

They want us to cut back, to lower our risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Yet when you really start looking for ways to do this, you run into a paradox and a scientific puzzle.

First, the paradox. Too much salt may kill us, but our bodies need some of it to survive.

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3:25am

Thu December 20, 2012
Europe

In A French Village, Protection From The Apocalypse

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:37 am

Doomsayers claim the French village of Bugarach, population 200, will be spared when the world supposedly ends Friday.
Guillaume Horcajuelo EPA /LANDOV

Friday is the last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar, sparking talk about the possible end of the world. About two years ago, a rumor began circulating on the Internet that the French village of Bugarach, population 200, would be the only place to survive this apocalypse.

But despite many news stories of people flocking to the village, less than two weeks before "doomsday," there was no one on the streets. Houses were shuttered against the cold.

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3:25am

Thu December 20, 2012
Music News

Joe Strummer's Life After Death

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:37 am

Joe Strummer performs with his solo project, The Latino Rockabilly War, in 1989. The Clash frontman died of heart failure in December 2002.
Mark Baker Sony Music Archive/Getty Images

6:43am

Wed December 19, 2012
Around the Nation

Oregon Man Advertises For Wife

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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6:37am

Wed December 19, 2012
Around the Nation

Lottery Winners Donate To School's Football Stadium

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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5:18am

Wed December 19, 2012
NPR Story

Gunmen In Pakistan Target Polio Vaccinators

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

Rukhsana Bibi (center) mourns for her daughter, polio worker Madiha Bibi, killed by unknown gunmen, at a local hospital in Karachi on Tuesday. Gunmen staged additional attacks Wednesday.
Fareed Khan AP

Pakistani gunmen staged new attacks Wednesday on health workers carrying out a nationwide polio vaccination program. Six workers were killed Tuesday as they went house to house to administer the immunizations to area children in Karachi and the northwest city of Peshawar.

Although there were additional attacks, the Pakistani government vowed to continue the vaccination campaign — and eradicate the disease — even if there is bloodshed.

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5:15am

Wed December 19, 2012
NPR Story

Switzerland's UBS to Settle Rate-Rigging Scandal

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a global bank settlement.

It's the big Swiss bank, UBS. It announced this morning that it will pay a total of $1.5 billion in fines for its role in rigging the interbank lending rate known as LIBOR. The settlement will be paid to Swiss, British and American regulators.

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5:08am

Wed December 19, 2012
NPR Story

Credit Rating Upgrade Is Good News For Greece

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Greece got a rare bit of good news late yesterday. Standard and Poor's upgraded the country's credit rating six notches to a B minus. I mean, not the worst grade on your report card, but in the financial world this is junk bond status.

Still, Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens that there is a more stable outlook.

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5:08am

Wed December 19, 2012
NPR Story

Capitol Hill Reaction To Gun Mayhem Varies

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Even before the events of the last few days, Congress had a busy agenda. Lawmakers are negotiating over taxes and spending that could affect the economy in the year ahead, not to mention almost every part of the federal government and the take-home pay for millions of Americans.

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3:50am

Wed December 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Single-Issue Solidarity Behind NRA's Clout

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

A visitor handles a revolver at a Smith & Wesson display during the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits on April 14 at America's Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Whitney Curtis Getty Images

The National Rifle Association says it will hold a major news conference Friday — a week after the school massacre in Connecticut — and that it is "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

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3:50am

Wed December 19, 2012
Music

Country Singer Sammy Kershaw's Cajun Christmas

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

Sammy Kershaw's new album of Cajun holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.
Courtesy of the artist

If the sheer variety of holiday music that pops up each winter is any indication, there's no genre that can't handle a little Christmas spirit. This year, Louisiana country singer Sammy Kershaw decided to test that theory with the sounds of the bayou. His new album of Cajun-infused holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.

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3:49am

Wed December 19, 2012
Books News & Features

Self-Publishing: No Longer Just A Vanity Project

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

iStockphoto.com

They used to call it the "vanity press," and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.

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10:03pm

Tue December 18, 2012
Sweetness And Light

Time For Gun Owners To Be Good Sports About Gun Restrictions

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

Frank Deford says those who have the potential to reduce the gun violence are people who own guns and who are good sports.
LeightonPhotography iStockphoto.com

I've never had any interest in hunting. Among other things, I'm a terrible shot, but I have friends who hunt, and it appears to me to be a perfectly reasonable sports hobby — certainly every bit as honorable as fantasy football. Moreover, shooting a deer or a duck with a bullet seems to me no more inhuman than catching a trout or a marlin with a hook.

Oh, sometimes I get a little piqued that those who hunt and fish are ennobled as "sportsmen," while people who play golf are just golfers and people who bowl are just bowlers. But then, that's just me being picayune.

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7:11am

Tue December 18, 2012
Animals

Christmas Comes Early At Australia's Taronga Zoo

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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7:06am

Tue December 18, 2012
Around the Nation

Questions Answered About Indiana Jones Package

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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6:07am

Tue December 18, 2012
Remembrances

Sen. Inouye, A War Hero Who Broke Barriers, Dies At 88

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 1:06 pm

Inouye's wife, Maggie, waves to a neighbor as she, the senator and son Kenny prepare to leave their home, Aug. 4, 1973, in Bethesda, Md.
Bill Weems AP

Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye, the Senate's senior member, died at a Bethesda, Md., hospital Monday. He was 88 years old and was suffering from a respiratory ailment. The Japanese-American was known for his heroism in World War II and for breaking racial barriers.

Born to Japanese immigrants in Hawaii in 1924, the young Inouye dreamed of becoming a surgeon, but world events intervened as he was listening to the radio on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941.

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5:31am

Tue December 18, 2012
Business

Business News

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:54 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with pressure to sell.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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5:31am

Tue December 18, 2012
Politics

Gun Issues Return To Political Debate

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the wake of those mass killings in Newtown, Connecticut, there is a new conversation in Washington about gun laws. And there are signs that the outcome could be different than in the past.

Here's NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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4:26am

Tue December 18, 2012
Shootings In Newtown, Conn.

Coverage Rapid, And Often Wrong, In Tragedy's Early Hours

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 2:09 pm

Flowers, candles and stuffed animals make up a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn., on Monday. Much of the initial news coverage of Friday's events was later found to be inaccurate.
Eric Thayer Reuters/Landov

Nearly everyone reported so many things wrong in the first 24 hours after the Sandy Hook shootings that it's hard to single out any one news organization or reporter for criticism.

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4:03am

Tue December 18, 2012
It's All Politics

South Carolina's New Senator A Tea Party Favorite, Staunch Obama Critic

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 9:18 am

U.S. Rep. Tim Scott smiles during a news conference announcing him as Jim DeMint's replacement in the U.S. Senate at the South Carolina Statehouse on Monday in Columbia.
Rainier Ehrhardt AP

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley named a fellow Republican, Rep. Tim Scott, as the state's next senator on Monday. He replaces retiring Republican Sen. Jim DeMint and will make history as the first black senator from the South since 1881.

Haley, however, wanted everyone to know her selection was based on Scott's merit, not his race.

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3:45am

Tue December 18, 2012
Law

'Black America's Law Firm' Looks To Big Cases With New Leadership

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:47 pm

Sherrilyn Ifill will become the new president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in January.
Courtesy of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has been called the law firm for black America. Once run by Thurgood Marshall, the group played a major role in desegregating public schools and fighting restrictions at the ballot box.

Now, the Legal Defense Fund is preparing for a new leader — just as the Supreme Court considers cases that could pare back on those gains.

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3:22am

Tue December 18, 2012
Asia

Daughter Of A Dictator Favored In S. Korean Election

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:07 am

South Korean presidential candidate Park Geun-hye, who appears slightly favored in Wednesday's election, is the daughter of a military dictator who ran the country for nearly two decades. She would be South Korea's first female president.
Jung Yeon-Je AFP/Getty Images

Her presidential campaign rallies present blaring pop music and dancing supporters, but Park Geun-hye's campaign involves managing some tricky legacies.

Her father, Park Chung-hee, was a military dictator who ran the country from the time he carried out a 1961 military coup until his assassination in 1979. His memory still stirs mixed emotions among South Koreans.

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3:20am

Tue December 18, 2012
Economy

The Downsides Of Living In An Oil Boom Town

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 11:18 am

Cyndy Aafedt (left) owns the El Rancho hotel in Williston, N.D. Jobs in town have been hard to fill. Her employee, Mary Joy Hardt (right), who is from the Philippines, is one of many people with J-1 visas helping to fill retail, hotel and restaurant job openings here.
Meg Luther Lindholm for NPR

The population boom in Williston, N.D., has been a blessing and a curse for many local businesses. Williston, the fastest growing small city in America, is enjoying an oil boom and has seen its population double in the past two years.

At the city's brand new McDonald's, manager Vern Brekhus struggles every day to maintain his staff of nearly 100 workers.

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3:20am

Tue December 18, 2012
History

WWII 'Canteen Girl' Kept Troops Company From Afar

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:07 am

During World War II, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones for 15 minutes every week on NBC radio.
Courtesy of Phyllis Jeanne Creore Westerman

American service members have long spent holidays in dangerous places, far from family. These days, home is a video chat or Skype call away. But during World War II, packages, letters and radio programs bridged the lonely gaps. For 15 minutes every week, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones on NBC radio.

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2:03am

Tue December 18, 2012
Holiday Music

'What Christmas Means' To Soul Singer KEM

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:07 am

Of "Christmas Time is Here," Kem says, "It's one of those songs that I hear and it's like, 'I wish I wrote that.' "
Anthony Mandler Courtesy of the artist

For KEM's What Christmas Means, the R&B singer wanted to cover several aspects of the season: the birth of Christ, for one, but also Christmas as a "romantic holiday."

"You spend time cuddled up by the fire, warm and cozy with your wife or your husband," KEM tells NPR's David Greene. "You spend more time being intimate with shopping — we're doing things with the kids, we're together. There's a lot of sincerity, a lot of warmth."

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1:58pm

Mon December 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Girls, Boys And Toys: Rethinking Stereotypes In What Kids Play With

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:50 am

Hasbro's pink Easy-Bake Oven is under fire for reinforcing gender stereotypes.
Peggy Turbett The Plain Dealer/Landov

We've been focusing on some serious news today. Here's something on the lighter side.

A New Jersey teenager who launched a campaign to get Hasbro to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven is expected to meet with the toy company Monday afternoon.

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET. Easy-Bake Oven goes gender-neutral:

After meeting with Pope, Hasbro now says it plans to introduce a new black, silver, and blue model of the oven, and to feature boys in ads for the product. Our original post continues:

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7:32am

Mon December 17, 2012
Around the Nation

Holiday Display Called 'Sensory Explosion'

There are Christmas displays, and then there's the one in Wall Township, N.J. It has synchronized lights, lasers, fog machines, strobe lights, 20-foot flames and the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. There's no charge — they only accept donations for a local charity.

7:26am

Mon December 17, 2012
Around the Nation

Police Officer Helps Motorist Register Car

Hayden Carlo was recently pulled over near Dallas for having an expired registration sticker. He said he had a choice: either feed his kids or get a new registration. The officer issued a citation, and when Carlo unfolded it, he found $100.

5:17am

Mon December 17, 2012
NPR Story

Why Tragedies Alter Risk Perception

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

After the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, many parents dropping their kids off at school this morning are facing a lot of anxiety. Today in Your Health, we asked NPR's science correspondent Shankar Vedantam to come by to talk about how tragedies shape our perceptions of risk.

Shankar, good morning.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So tell us what we know from school shootings of the past. I mean, what sort of impact will this tragedy have on parents and how they think?

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5:17am

Mon December 17, 2012
NPR Story

Examining Child Tax Credit

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 7:05 am

There's still no budget deal to prevent the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect at the end of this year. There are some tax deductions, credits and other breaks lawmakers are weighing in this budget debate.

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