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National Security
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Senate Committee Lays Blame For Benghazi With State Department

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Senate Intelligence Committee today delivered its analysis of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in that attack, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. It's a bipartisan report. Democrats and Republicans on the committee agreed, among other things, that the attack might have been prevented if the State Department had taken better precautions at the Benghazi post.

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Economy
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Fed Vice Chairman Nominee Taught Bernanke And Many Others

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In other personnel news, the president has nominated Stanley Fischer to serve as the next vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. He would replace Janet Yellen, who's been promoted to chairman of the central bank. Yellen reportedly recruited Fischer personally to serve as her deputy. He spent much of the last decade running Israel's central bank.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, Stanley Fischer is credited with helping that country weather the financial crisis better than most and with training many of the world's top economists.

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The Salt
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

German Farmers Fear For Europe's Bacon With U.S. Trade Deal

German farmer Rudolf Buehler and other opponents of the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement protest with 17 pigs in front of the chancellor's office building in Berlin on Wednesday.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:12 pm

When German farmers and activists descended upon Chancellor Angela Merkel's office building Wednesday morning, they brought along some special guests — 17 pigs. The stunt was the latest European backlash against a proposed free trade deal with the U.S. that could lift restrictions on American meat sold in Europe.

Under the watchful eye of German police officers, the pigs munched happily on straw strewn across the pavement to keep the herd from running amok.

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Economy
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Obama Unveils New Plans To Encourage Manufacturing Jobs

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama has been talking a lot lately about income inequality. Today, he visited a factory in North Carolina and announced new steps that he said would create more good-paying, middle class jobs. He plans to do that by boosting American manufacturing and at the center of that plan is a big idea: a new, federally-funded innovation institute.

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Shots - Health News
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

After Checking Blood Pressure, Kiosks Give Sales Leads To Insurers

SoloHealth owns 3,500 health screening kiosks like this one in San Francisco. In some states, the company sells customer contact information to insurers.
April Dembosky

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:56 pm

Those machines in drugstores and supermarkets that let people check their blood pressure also may be selling people's contact information to insurance companies trolling for new customers.

One of these kiosks sits in Aisle 10 of a Safeway in a city near San Francisco. Sitting down at the machine is like slipping into the cockpit of a 1980s arcade game. There are a big plastic seat and footrest for measuring weight and body mass index, a window for testing vision, and a blood pressure cuff. The kiosks don't charge people for the blood pressure measurement.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

House Republicans Join In Passing $1 Trillion Spending Bill

House Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders face reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:19 pm

The House on Wednesday passed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill — a compromise that appeared to get past the bitter partisan showdowns that have caused an unpopular federal government shutdown and nearly tipped the U.S. into default.

The 359-67 vote was a sign of considerable support from Republicans, thanks to a bipartisan deal worked out last month laying out spending for the next two years.

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Planet Money
3:04 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Paper Or Plastic: How Americans Buy Stuff, In 1 Graph

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Quick question: How many times do you pay for stuff in a given month? Not how much do you spend, but how many times do you exchange dollars for goods or services — pay a bill, put gas in your car, download a song from iTunes, pick up a sandwich for lunch, whatever.

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Music
2:56 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

The Minnesota Orchestra's Labor Dispute Is Over. What's Next?

The Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management have finally bridged their long and bitter labor dispute.
Ann Marsden Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

After 15 months of acrimony, the longest labor dispute at a major American symphony orchestra has ended. The Minnesota Orchestra and its musicians reached an agreement last night and players will return to work on February 1. While all sides are relieved, most admit the hard work of rebuilding some seriously damaged bridges is just about to begin.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Regions Bank To Discontinue Payday Loan Program

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:15 am

One of several banks that offer payday loans is getting out of the business.

Regions Bank announced Wednesday that it will discontinue its "deposit advance" product known as Ready Advance.

Deposit advances are small, costly loans that bank customers take out between paychecks, and pay back automatically when a scheduled direct deposit comes through.

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Politics
1:46 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Why The GOP Is Winning The Statehouse War

Texas is one of 23 states in which Republicans have control of both the state legislature and the governor's office.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:18 pm

While the federal government is divided and gridlocked, some states have become political monopolies where one party controls both the state legislature and the governor's office.

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The Record
1:43 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

A Long Road To 'High Hopes': An Interview With Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen performing in November at Madison Square Garden.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:48 pm

  • Listen To Ann Powers Interview Bruce Springsteen

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The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Reports Of New Video Showing U.S. Soldier Held In Afghanistan

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl watches as one of his captors displays his identity tag in the first of several videos of the soldier, in July, 2009.
Reuters/Landov

U.S. officials have reportedly received the first "proof-of-life" video in three years of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2009 and is believed held by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network.

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

U.S. Official: Afghanistan Could Become 'Narco-Criminal State'

Soldiers in the Afghan National Army's 6th Kandak (battalion), 3rd company, search a local farmer's poppy field during a joint patrol with U.S. forces in Kandahar province in March of last year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:50 pm

Despite a $7 billion effort to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan, poppy cultivation there is at its highest level since the U.S. invasion more than a decade ago, sparking corruption, criminal gangs and providing the insurgency with hard cash, says John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

In testimony before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, he warns Wednesday that Afghanistan could degenerate into a narco-criminal state.

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The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

5 Years Ago Sully Landed On The Hudson And Twitter Took Off

the iconic (and now copyrighted) photo that helped transform Twitter. But it does give a sense of what it was like that day, 5 years ago." href="/post/5-years-ago-sully-landed-hudson-and-twitter-took" class="noexit lightbox">
Jan. 15, 2009: As the U.S. Airways jet they had been on sinks into the Hudson River, passengers are rowed away. This isn't the iconic (and now copyrighted) photo that helped transform Twitter. But it does give a sense of what it was like that day, 5 years ago.
Bebeto Matthews AP

This day shouldn't pass without a mention of the "miracle on the Hudson."

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Shots - Health News
12:50 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Blood Pressure Ruckus Reveals Big Secret In Medicine

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:55 pm

There has been a carefully guarded secret in medicine: Evidence is often inconclusive, and experts commonly disagree about what it means.

Most medical decisions aren't cut and dried. Instead they're usually made with uncertainty about what is best for each person.

This uncertainty secret has been revealed in a very public disagreement among experts about who should be treated for high blood pressure. The controversy hinges on the level of blood pressure that should serve as a trigger for treatment.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

What's America's Problem? 1 In 5 Says It's The Government

Dissatisfaction with America's government headed the list of problems cited in a new Gallup poll. Here, dusk falls on the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 30 — the eve of the federal shutdown that further frustrated many citizens.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:05 pm

The biggest problem the United States faces is not unemployment or the economy — it's the country's government, according to a plurality of Americans cited in a recent Gallup poll. Among Republicans, Democrats and independents, dissatisfaction with the U.S.'s political leadership topped all other issues.

The open-ended question they answered in the monthly poll of American attitudes was, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?"

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All Tech Considered
11:40 am
Wed January 15, 2014

How Virtual Currency Could Make It Easier To Move Money

The world's first Bitcoin ATM opened at a Canadian coffee shop in Vancouver last year. But, Bitcoin use is far from mainstream at the moment.
David Ryder Getty Images

Virtual money could have very real effects for companies that help people transfer money.

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Parallels
11:36 am
Wed January 15, 2014

The 'Downton Abbey Law' Would Let British Women Inherit Titles

Cawdor Castle is often called Macbeth's Castle because it's the place of a murder in Shakespeare's Macbeth. The castle was built long after Shakespeare died. Lady Liza Campbell, who was raised at the castle, is pushing to revise the law to allow women to inherit titles and estates.
Hans Wild Time

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Centuries before the U.S. was colonized, the British were handing down estates and titles from father to son. Never from mother to daughter.

Then came the royal pregnancy last year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, had a boy, George. But before the prince was born and his sex known, Parliament changed British law so a first-born girl could inherit the throne. And a group of female aristocrats began fighting to apply the principle more broadly.

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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Bipartisan Report Calls Benghazi Attacks 'Preventable'

An armed man waves his arms as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11, 2012.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:02 pm

In a report signed off on by Democrats and Republicans, the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, "were likely preventable."

The panel finds fault with both the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies for not taking steps beforehand to boost security.

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Shots - Health News
10:37 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Biceps Curls And Down Dogs May Help Lower Diabetes Risk

Great-looking guns and lower diabetes risk, a nice twofer.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:04 pm

Women who work out with weights an hour a week cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and yoga or stretching exercises count, too, according to a study that tracked the health of almost 100,000 women.

Doctors have long known that regular exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, but that's always been translated as aerobic exercise like jogging or brisk walking.

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Can I Just Tell You?
10:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Poverty: 'We Need To Talk About It As It Is, Not As It Was'

iStock.

Finally today, I'd like to end the program where we started: talking about poverty. We, like a lot of other people in the news business have been talking about poverty a lot this week and last.

We're doing this because we have something called a news peg — which is a fancy word for a reason to talk about something we want to talk about anyway. And that news peg is the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's first State of the Union address, when he said this:

"This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America."

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Economy
10:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

U.S. Agriculture Secretary 'Convinced' Rural Revitalization Plan Will Work

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Food
10:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Velveeta Shortage: 'Cheesepocalypse?'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Sports
10:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Judge Blocks NFL Concussion Settlement

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, some corners of the Internet are melting down because of a reported shortage of Velveeta. And don't try to act like you don't know what that is. We'll talk about the history of the ooey, gooey stuff and why, in a buffalo mozzarella world, we still like it. But first, to football. This is golden time for pro-football lovers. Two teams will book their tickets to the Super Bowl this weekend after a long season of hard hits.

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Technology
10:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

How To Bridge The Racial Tech Gap

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later, we want to hear about why a federal judge has rejected a nearly multibillion dollar settlement - sorry, a multimillion dollar settlement that the NFL reached with former players. We'll hear what that could mean going forward. But first, we want to talk about a new report from the Pew Research Center that finds that only 80 percent of African-Americans are Internet users compared with 87 percent of whites.

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Monkey See
9:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

'Idol' Takes A Hugely Unexpected Step Toward Being Much Less Terrible

Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. appear on a surprisingly non-terrible American Idol opener on Wednesday night.
Michael Becker Fox

It's just me now, I thought this morning. All alone. I could almost hear the desert wind. I could almost see the tumbleweeds.

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Music Reviews
9:54 am
Wed January 15, 2014

The Soul Singer Who Never Quite Made It

James Govan (left) with producer and engineer Mickey Buckins in the studio.
Courtesy of Ace Records

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 1:46 pm

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Wed January 15, 2014

$500M From Kuwait Among Pledges For Syrians Affected By War

Syrian refugees sit by their tent in a camp on the Lebanese border town of Arsal on Dec. 15.
Ahmad Shalha Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:50 am

Several donor nations have each pledged tens of millions of dollars for civilians affected by Syria's civil war.

The pledges, including $500 million from Kuwait and $380 million from the U.S., came Wednesday at the start of a conference in Kuwait City to raise money for the humanitarian suffering caused by the more than two years of fighting. The U.N. wants $6.5 billion for the effort to assist Syrian refugees. It's the largest-ever appeal for a single crisis.

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The Salt
9:40 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating?

The U.K. has plenty of fresh produce available, such as these vegetables on display at a garden show in Southport, England. But these healthy options cost more in the U.K. than in any other country in Western Europe.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:03 pm

The Dutch are known for their lax drug laws, tall statures and proficient language skills.

Perhaps we should add stellar eating habits to that list, as well.

The Netherlands ranked as the easiest country in the world in which to find a balanced, nutritious diet, the advocacy group Oxfam reported Tuesday.

France and Switzerland shared the second slot. And Western Europe nearly swept the top 20 positions, with Australia just edging into a tie for 8th.

Where did the U.S. land?

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The Two-Way
9:16 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Piracy On High Seas At Lowest Level In 6 Years, Report Says

Troops from the EU Naval Force warship FS Aconit intercepting a group of suspected pirates off Somalia in March 2012. Multinational naval patrols in the area have been partly credited with reducing incidents of piracy.
Danile Costantini Maxppp/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:37 am

Piracy at sea has hit a six-year low, thanks largely to a steep drop in attacks by Somali pirates operating in the Indian Ocean, according to a new report by the International Maritime Bureau.

The maritime watchdog says there were 264 strikes against shipping worldwide last year — a drop of 40 percent since attacks peaked in 2011. And there were just 15 attacks off the coast of Somalia; by comparison, that same area saw 75 attacks in 2012 and 237 the year before.

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