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Energy
12:38 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Drilling Rig's Thick Hull Helps Prevent Oil Spill

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground off Alaska last week is now anchored in a quiet harbor so divers can assess the damage. Wildlife officials say they have seen no evidence of a spill from the vessel, which was carrying tanks of diesel fuel. But the accident does raise questions about Shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.

NPR's Richard Harris reports.

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Music News
12:03 am
Tue January 8, 2013

2 Pi: Rhymes And Radii

Jake Scott (a.k.a. 2 Pi), with student.
Courtesy of Jake Scott

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 3:29 pm

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Ask Me Another
5:08 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Name That Candy Bar

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:10 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's bring up our first two contestants, and let's welcome Mike Cisneros and Sarah Sheppard.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Sarah, I understand you're a big pop culture fan, and just moved to New York from North Carolina. Welcome, nice to have you.

SARAH SHEPPARD: Thank you.

EISENBERG: And Mike, you're a trivia buff too, since, what, grade five? Is that right?

MIKE CISNEROS: Yeah, roughly.

EISENBERG: You discovered Games magazine and it was all over, right?

CISNEROS: Absolutely.

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Ask Me Another
5:08 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

It's All Squeak To Me

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:10 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's welcome our next two contestants, in front of me right now, Tina Kendall and Stephen Kendall. Wait a second.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: So you both have the same last name, huh?

TINA KENDALL: Yes.

STEPHEN KENDALL: Yeah, coincidence.

EISENBERG: How do you know each other?

KENDALL: Oh, I found him in a hospital many years ago.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This is a mother/son competition.

KENDALL: Yeah.

KENDALL: Yes.

EISENBERG: Are you guys competitive with each other?

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Shots - Health News
4:13 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Health Spending Increases Remain At Record Lows

Orcea David iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:57 pm

For the third straight year, spending on health care in 2011 grew at a historically slow rate, government researchers report.

According to a study published in the January issue of the policy journal Health Affairs, U.S. health spending rose 3.9 percent in 2011. That's statistically almost identical to the rate of increase in each of the two previous years.

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U.S.
4:09 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

New Regulations Could Treat Virginia Abortion Clinics Like Hospitals

Protesters appeal to members of the Virginia Board of Health after their decision to impose new building regulations on abortion clinics in Richmond, Va., on Sept. 14.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 8:00 am

This month marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the famed and widely cited case that legalized abortion. Yet across the country, states are continuing to approve restrictions.

With little fanfare, Virginia and Michigan Republican governors recently signed new abortion bills into law. Virginia's Bob McDonnell, in particular, quietly approved clinic regulations adopted by the state's Board of Health three months ago that hold abortion clinics to the same building standards as hospitals.

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All Tech Considered
3:45 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Are You Eating Too Fast? Ask Your Fork

A electronic HAPIfork, which can monitor users' eating habits, is on display at a press event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
David Becker Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

What's the coolest new gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week? It's too soon to tell. But I have an early favorite for the title of oddest new gadget: the HAPIfork and HAPIspoon. They may sound like characters from a nursery rhyme, but this fork and spoon connect to the Internet and can monitor and record how you eat.

The HAPI utensils measure how long your meals last, how long you pause between each bite and how many mouthfuls of food you consume.

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All Tech Considered
3:45 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Why Is Google Exec Interested In North Korea?

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (left) arrives at Pyongyang International Airport on Monday. There is speculation that Schmidt's presence in North Korea could have an upside for Google by positioning Schmidt as the company's global ambassador.
David Guttenfelder AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:39 pm

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery.

Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has been a vocal proponent of providing people around the world with Internet access and technology. North Korea doesn't even let its citizens access the open Internet, and its population is overwhelmingly poor — so it's not exactly a coveted audience for advertisers.

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It's All Politics
3:42 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Why Hagel? Let Us Count The Reasons

President Obama nominates former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be defense secretary Monday at the White House.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 7:02 am

So why did President Obama choose Chuck Hagel to be his new defense secretary?

First, Hagel is Obama's kind of Republican. The former senator from Nebraska is a realist and pragmatist who hasn't been afraid to buck the orthodoxy of his chosen party, for instance when Hagel opposed the Iraq War.

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

'Latin@' Offers A Gender-Neutral Choice; But How To Pronounce It?

In Spanish, most nouns default to masculine or feminine, as do the adjectives that describe them. So if you're referring to a group of people that includes a man, the word you'd use for that group would be masculine — even if that group is mostly made up of women.

(For a handy explainer on how words in languages become gendered, check out the "When Nouns Grow Genitals" episode of Slate's Lexicon Valley.)

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National Security
3:34 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

CIA Nominee Brennan Has Obama's 'Complete Trust'

John Brennan speaks in the East Room of the White House on Monday, after President Obama announced his nomination of Brennan to run the CIA. Obama also announced his choice of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (left) to head the Department of Defense.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

President Obama's choice of John Brennan to lead the CIA appears to be less controversial than his decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.

The top Republican on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said in a statement Monday that he looks forward to working with Brennan at the CIA. Still, the Brennan nomination will raise questions about Obama's national security policy.

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The Salt
3:07 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

The $1.76 Million Tuna: Great For Publicity, Bad For The Species

Sushi chain owner Kiyoshi Kimura poses with a bluefin tuna in front of his Sushi Zanmai restaurant in Tokyo on Saturday. He paid more than $1.7 million for the fish.
Shuji Kajiyama AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 3:52 pm

It's become an annual tradition: bidding up an outrageous price for a Pacific bluefin tuna during the first auction of the new year at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market.

And on Saturday, a bluefin tuna big enough to serve up about 10,000 pieces of sushi fetched a mind-boggling price: $1.76 million. That's about three times as much as last year's tuna and equates to about $3,600 per pound for the 489-pound fish.

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Afghanistan
2:58 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

As Karzai Visits U.S., What Are The Prospects For Afghan Peace?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will meet with President Obama and other senior U.S. officials in Washington this week. Many analysts remain skeptical about the prospects for a negotiated peace in Afghanistan. He's shown here speaking in Kabul last month.
Massoud Hossani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 5:16 pm

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai comes to Washington to meet with President Obama and other U.S. officials this week, there is renewed discussion in Afghanistan about the possibility of a negotiated end to the country's war.

Recent talks hosted by France have rekindled hopes for some sort of reconciliation between the Taliban and Karzai's government. But given the decades of war in Afghanistan, many think the prospect of a peace deal remains nothing but talk.

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Sports
2:42 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Notre Dame Battles Alabama For BCS Football Glory

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

Tom Goldman talks to Melissa Block about the college football championship game in Miami. Undefeated Notre Dame battles No. 2 Alabama for the Bowl Championship Series title.

Space
2:40 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

In The Market For A Very Large Garage? Call NASA.

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

NASA is facing a conundrum of large proportions; shuttle-sized, in fact. Now that the shuttle program has ended, NASA is no longer using shuttle facilities and equipment. That includes everything from a launch pad to space in the building where rockets were assembled. So NASA is conducting a secret auction. Orlando Sentinel staff writer Scott Powers explains what NASA is selling, why, and who the buyers might be.

National Security
2:39 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Hagel Nomination Could Face Resistance From GOP Over Israel, Iran

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

President Obama rounded out his second term national security team on Monday. He nominated former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense and chose counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the CIA. Already, Hagel has encountered opposition from some in the GOP who question his commitment to Israel, and Brennan is sure to face questions about his tenure at the CIA under President George W. Bush.

Business
2:38 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Bank Of America To Pay Fannie Mae $11.6 Billion To Buy Back Troubled Loans

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

Bank of America and Fannie Mae have agreed to settle legal issues stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis. The bank will pay Fannie Mae $3.6 billion in cash and will also spend $6.7 billion to repurchase certain mortgages sold to Fannie Mae.

National Security
2:36 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Hagel Critic: 'He Seems To Have Some Kind Of Problem With Jews'

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 7:01 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Today, President Obama announced his nominees for two key national security posts. For CIA director, he picked John Brennan, now his top counterterrorism adviser. And for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, a former senator from Nebraska, a Republican and a Vietnam War veteran.

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The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

What Lance Armstrong, And The USADA, Might Gain From A Confession

Lance Armstrong, seen here at a LIVESTRONG Challenge Ride in October 2012, might be willing to confess to doping — in exchange for an easing of his lifetime ban, according to reports.
Cooper Neill Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:23 am

The news that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong might be willing to confess to the doping charges he spent years denying has reopened interest in his case — and in the question of whether his lifetime ban from competitive sports could be eased in exchange for Armstrong's cooperation.

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Asia
2:07 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

China Pledges Reforms To Labor Camps, But Offers Few Details

Ren Jianyu poses for a photograph at a restaurant in Chongqing, China, on Nov. 19, 2012, after being freed from a labor camp. The village official was sentenced to a "re-education through labor" camp after he criticized the government.
STR Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:23 pm

China has indicated that it will stop handing down sentences to its controversial labor camps, which allow detention without trial for up to four years. According to Chinese media, some 160,000 prisoners were held in "re-education centers" at the end of 2008.

Critics of the system greeted the announcement — which was slim on details — with cautious optimism.

Pressure to change the system has been mounting after a number of high-profile cases, including that of Ren Jianyu, who had been a young village official.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

'Gun Appreciation Day' Is Jan. 19, Conservative Groups Declare

At the Great Southern Gun and Knife Show in Birmingham, Ala., over the weekend, rows of weapons drew a record crowd.
Joe Songer AL.COM /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 1:45 pm

Saying they're following the example of last year's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, a coalition of "gun rights" activists announced today that they're calling on like-minded Americans to visit gun stores, gun ranges and gun shows on Jan. 19 in a show of unity they're calling "Gun Appreciation Day."

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Kilograms With Weight Problems May Get High-Tech Cleanings

Back in 2009, as Morning Edition reported, some scientists were worried that the small metal cylinder used as the world's standard for what a kilogram should be might be losing weight.

But there were also those who thought the problem might have nothing to do with that carefully sealed away cylinder in Paris — that the real problem might be that the 40 replicas sent around the world are gaining weight.

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Europe
12:46 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Berlusconi Plots His Comeback: 'You Italians Need Me'

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (left) has returned to Italy's political scene in advance of next month's election. Also in the race is the current Prime Minister Mario Monti (right). They are shown here in November 2011 as Monti took over for Berlusconi.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

With elections in Italy just weeks away, polls show leftist parties with a comfortable lead. Yet attention is focused on the battle between the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the current prime minister, Mario Monti, an austere technocrat.

Monti's platform calls for continued austerity, budget cutting and labor reforms.

While Berlusconi and Monti are the two big names in next month's race, the expected winner is the leader of the leftist Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Aurora Shooting Suspect Looked Like A Fellow Officer, Police Say

James Holmes faces multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the July 20 theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. Here, he's seen in a photo from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

Moments after a deadly attack that turned an Aurora, Colo., movie theater into a scene of panic and tragedy, the police officer who found suspect James Holmes at first took him for a fellow police officer, due to the body armor Holmes was wearing.

But he noticed that Holmes was "just standing there" and had no sense of urgency — despite the pandemonium at the theater, as people continued to stream out.

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Politics
12:09 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

The Consequences Of A Short-Term Farm Bill Fix

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Well, Congress averted the milk cliff. A five-year farm bill was set to expire, and it could have doubled the price of milk if that had happened. But instead of passing a new five-year plan, Congress extended parts of the old farm bill. That renews subsidies for grain, cotton and soybeans; it cuts budgets for some organic and environmental initiatives.

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Opinion
12:04 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Opinion Roundup: Obama's National Security Nominations

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 7:01 am

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And now, the Opinion Page. Washington is gearing up for a new controversy today. Earlier today President Obama announced his nominees for two key national security positions.

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Movie Reviews
11:23 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Mozart's Starring Role In 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'

John Schlesinger's 1971 film Sunday Bloody Sunday has just been released on Blu-ray. The film's complex love triangle starred Peter Finch, Murray Head and Glenda Jackson.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:35 am

Sunday Bloody Sunday is one of those films that lets you into the lives of believable, complicated characters. A handsome, self-centered young artist played by the actor/rock singer Murray Head is having simultaneous affairs with both an older woman (played with infinitely nuanced self-irony by Glenda Jackson) and an older man, a Jewish doctor (the touching Peter Finch), two intelligent adults who have mutual friends and even know each other slightly.

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Television
11:23 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Julian Fellowes On The Rules Of 'Downton'

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey. The third season premiered on PBS Sunday.
WGBH/PBS

Julian Fellowes may be the Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, but the English screenwriter, director and novelist says his background "was much more ordinary than the newspapers have made it." What he means is that he did not grow up with servants waiting on him hand and foot, as people have seen done for the Crawley family on Downton Abbey, the hit television series Fellowes created. The third season premiered Sunday.

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The Two-Way
10:49 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Obama Nominates Hagel For Defense, Brennan For CIA

The nominees: John Brennan (left), who is President Obama's choice to head the CIA; and former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who the president has asked to be secretary of defense.
STAFF Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 12:16 pm

  • NPR coverage of the Hagel/Brennan nomination announcements

President Obama this afternoon nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

In those two, the president said, he has chosen men with experience in the field and who "understand the consequences of decisions we make in this town" on the men and women who serve America around the world,

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Planet Money
10:48 am
Mon January 7, 2013

New Bank Rule: Sounds Boring, Actually A Big Deal

The Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland: world capital of bank rules that sound boring but are actually a big deal.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:59 pm

We don't hear much about bank liquidity, partly because it sounds so dull. It's much more fun to talk about prop trading (fear the London Whale!) or structured finance (synthetic CDOs are crazy!).

But if you're trying to figure out how safe banks are — and how willing they'll be to make loans to ordinary people — liquidity is at least as important as other, more-dramatic-sounding corners of finance.

So the new liquidity rules global banking regulators released yesterday are a big deal for the real economy.

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