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It's All Politics
2:47 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Identify As Independents

Voters wait to cast ballots at a school in New York City on Nov. 6.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:38 pm

A record-high percentage of Americans identified as political independents last year, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

The survey, based on more than 18,000 interviews conducted throughout the year, found that 42 percent identified as independent, the highest figure since the polling firm began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.

In 2013, 31 percent identified as Democrats, while 25 percent identified as Republican.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Germany's Merkel To Visit U.S. Amid Anger Over NSA Spying

President Obama walks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sept. 6, 2013. Relations between the two allies are strained after documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, suggested the agency had spied on Merkel and other world leaders.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:09 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel accepted an invitation Wednesday from President Obama to visit the U.S., just months after relations between the two allies hit a low following revelations the U.S. was spying on Merkel and other world leaders.

Obama made the invitation during a conversation Wednesday with the German chancellor. Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, said the visit would occur in the next few months.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

So Are 2 Drinks A Day Really Too Many?

This looks like way more than one too many.
Chris Gramly iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:33 pm

A lot of us are drinking too much, and on Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called us on it.

More than eight drinks a week for women and 15 drinks a week for men can get you into trouble, the CDC warned.

But that doesn't seem to jibe with other studies that found that drinking alcohol makes for better heart health, several Shots commenters noted. Shana Cuddy wrote:

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The Salt
2:21 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image?

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking.
Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking ones that have been genetically engineered?

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All Tech Considered
2:07 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

TV Makers Look To Pack More Pixels Into Your Home TV With 4K

Hollywood studios are wary of "ultra HD" or 4K TV making people more picky about what they watch in cinemas. But first, the TVs have to become mainstream.
Gero Breloer AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:21 pm

Companies from Sony and Samsung to Netflix and Google's YouTube are putting their money into TVs that pack more pixels. Several models are on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

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Parallels
1:49 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

As Costs Soar, Who Will Pay For The Panama Canal's Expansion?

A view of the Panama Canal last Thursday. The canal is being widened to accommodate larger ships, but the builders and the canal operators are locked in a dispute about who will pay the higher-than-expected costs to finish the project.
Alejandro Bolivar EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

For five years, a multibillion-dollar expansion has been underway on the Panama Canal so that ships three times the current size can pass through the vital waterway. The new, wider canal will alter global trade routes and dramatically increase revenue for Panama's government, primarily from toll charges.

The expansion is more than two-thirds done, but now a funding dispute between the builders and the canal operators threatens to bring construction to a halt.

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Television
1:18 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

On TV This Week: 'Babylon' Has Good Fun, 'Detective' Is The Real Deal

IFC's The Spoils Of Babylon follows a sister (Kristin Wiig) and adopted brother (Tobey Maguire) caught up in a passionate romance.
Katrina Marcinowski IFC

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:55 pm

Two new miniseries this week are worth special mention — and couldn't be more different.

True Detective, which begins Sunday on HBO, is a combination series and miniseries, kind of like American Horror Story on FX. Each season is designed to tell a different, self-contained story, followed the next year by a new tale with new characters and sometimes even new actors. This first season of True Detective is an eight-hour murder mystery starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, neither of whom is expected to return next season.

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Europe
1:18 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

The 'Pussy Riot' Arrests, And The Crackdown That Followed

Pussy Riot members Yekaterina Samutsevich (left), Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage in a Moscow court on Oct. 10, 2012.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:19 pm

Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. After Russia passed two anti-gay laws in June, she decided it was time for her, her partner and their children to leave. In late December, they moved to New York.

"The only thing more creepy than hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive is hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive and thinking, 'I know that guy.' "

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The Two-Way
1:16 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

How Would You React In A Shooting? Have A Plan, Experts Say

Newtown, Conn., Dec. 20, 2012: Stuffed animals and a candle arrangement at a streetside memorial for the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 8:28 am

The annual number of mass murders and attempted mass murders in the U.S. has tripled since 2008, to 15 last year, according to statistics that the FBI and Justice Department have been citing in recent weeks.

In a new study posted online by the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, experts make the case that "police have, generally, done an excellent job responding to active shooter events quickly."

But, they add:

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Sing Along, Now: Rodman's 'Happy Birthday' For Kim Jong Un

Dennis Rodman sings "Happy Birthday" to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, before an exhibition basketball game Wednesday at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Kim Kwang Hyon AP

When it comes to controversy, there's no time out for Dennis Rodman in North Korea.

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Wed January 8, 2014

2 Dead, 1 Missing After Navy Helicopter Crashes Off Virginia Coast

U.S. Navy crew members board a MH-53E helicopter in 2011. The Sea Dragon helicopter is similar to the one that crashed off Virginia on Wednesday.
Lt. Cmdr. John L. Kline AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:41 pm

This post was updated at 7:45 p.m.

Two crew members who were rescued after the U.S. Navy helicopter they were in went down in the Atlantic Ocean near Virginia have died, The Virginian-Pilot reports. They were among the four crew members taken to a hospital today. One crew member died soon after being rescued; the second died later Wednesday.

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A Blog Supreme
11:02 am
Wed January 8, 2014

5 Must-See Projects At Winter Jazzfest

Lionel Loueke (left) and Miguel Zenon (right) join Jeff Ballard in the drummer's rhythm-oriented trio.
Andrea Boccalini Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:08 am

This week's Winter Jazzfest seems to be a kind of turning point — for the festival, and maybe for jazz in New York City. What started 10 years ago as a one-night showcase under one roof has expanded to five days at 10 venues, featuring more than 90 groups in a vast array of styles.

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Shots - Health News
10:25 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Where The Smokers Are Now: Bulgaria, Greece And Macedonia

Where are the smokers? Look for the colors reminiscent of a cigarette ember.
IHME

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:01 pm

Since the surgeon general's report laid bare the health hazards from smoking 50 years ago, the proportion of Americans who smoke has fallen dramatically.

About 19 percent of American adults smoke these days, compared with about 42 percent in 1965.

Smoking has become less prevalent in other countries, too, including Canada, Mexico and Iceland.

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Economy
10:21 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Poverty And Not Knowing Your Neighbor Are Connected, Expert Says

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:16 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We start the program today with reflections on money, speaking broadly. In a few minutes, we'll talk about some myths and facts about credit. Consumer columnist Sheryl Harris will help us clear up some confusion over what exactly helps and hurts your credit. That's in just a few minutes.

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Money Coach
10:21 am
Wed January 8, 2014

On-Time Payments Heal All Credit Report Wounds

iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:16 pm

This is the time of year when many people make an effort to get a handle on their credit. But you might be confused about what actions can actually help your credit and those that can harm it. Consumer columnist Sheryl Harris joined Tell Me More host Michel Martin to share some tips and debunk consumer credit myths.

Tip: Understanding your credit report

  • A credit report shows your credit and loan accounts, the balance owed on each account, and your payment history on each account.
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Digital Life
10:21 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Internet Harassment Of Women: When Haters Do More Than Just Hate

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:16 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Finally today, we want to take a look at the world of Internet media. Now we often hear that the Internet is the brave new world where things like race and gender don't matter. Everybody can be who they want to be and have equal access and equal say. But we also know that there is an ugly side to the Internet, and that's something you may have experienced yourself, particularly if you are a girl or a woman.

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Education
10:21 am
Wed January 8, 2014

New Education Standards Widen Achievement Gap For English Learners?

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:16 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Emails Tie Gov. Christie's Aides To Lane Closings Controversy

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.
Kena Betancur Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 6:20 pm

Update at 8:15 p.m. ET: Gov. Christie Responds

In the late afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie released a statement expressing anger at the situation and denying involvement in what appeared to be an act of political payback:

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The Two-Way
9:28 am
Wed January 8, 2014

The Case For Clemency: Expert Says Snowden Deserves A Pass

A demonstrators shown during a march in October outside Capitol Hill demanding that Congress investigate the NSA.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:49 pm

What's to be done about Edward Snowden?

As the courts consider whether the National Security Agency's surveillance practices are constitutional, NPR's Morning Edition is speaking to individuals making the case for and against granting clemency for the man whose leaks cast a spotlight on U.S. spying.

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Maddux, Glavine And Thomas Going To Baseball Hall Of Fame

At the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., a young fan reads about the game's greats.
Jim McIsaac Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:43 pm

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

Two great pitchers from the Atlanta Braves and one great slugger who spent many of his best years with the Chicago White Sox are the newest additions to baseball's Hall of Fame.

The new inductees were announced at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday and they are:

-- Greg Maddux of the Braves

-- Tom Glavine of the Braves and later the New York Mets

-- Frank Thomas, who played for Oakland and Toronto as well as the White Sox. He's the first player who spent most of his career as a designated hitter to be put in the Hall of Fame.

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The Protojournalist
9:12 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Can Amazon's Jeff Bezos Save Planet Earth?

Jeff Bezos.
David Ryder Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:07 am

Look. Up in the sky — and in that little package with the A-to-Z logo. It's a bird. It's a plane.

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The Salt
9:05 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Whales, Dolphins Are Collateral Damage In Our Taste For Seafood

A sperm whale entangled in a drift net. A report says commercial fisheries around the world kill or injure 650,000 mammals a year.
Alberto Romero Marine Photobank

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals are injured or killed every year by fishermen around the world. And because most seafood in the U.S. is imported, that means our fish isn't as dolphin-friendly as you might expect.

Under pressure from conservation groups, federal regulators are preparing to tighten import standards to better protect marine mammals.

There was a time, more than 40 years ago, when U.S. fishermen killed millions of dolphins while fishing for tuna. After a public backlash, fishermen figured out how to minimize that so-called bycatch.

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Code Switch
8:55 am
Wed January 8, 2014

What Happens When A Language's Last Monolingual Speaker Dies?

A portrait of Emily Johnson Dickerson by artist Mike Larsen.
Courtesy of the Chickasaw Nation

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:47 pm

Emily Johnson Dickerson died at her home in Ada, Okla., last week. She was the last person alive who spoke only the Chickasaw language.

"This is a sad day for all Chickasaw people because we have lost a cherished member of our Chickasaw family and an unequaled source of knowledge about our language and culture," Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said in a news release. The Chickasaw Nation has about 55,000 members and is based in the southern part of central Oklahoma.

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Wed January 8, 2014

NASA Reportedly Gets OK To Keep Space Station Going Until 2024

Astronauts Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio replace a pump on the International Space Station during a spacewalk last month.
NASA Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:25 am

The White House has approved NASA's call for four more years for the International Space Station, ensuring that the orbiting science laboratory will keep going for another decade, according to documents obtained by The Orlando Sentinel.

The newspaper writes:

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Monkey See
8:05 am
Wed January 8, 2014

'Saturday Night Live' Takes A Very Important First Step

Screenshot

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:03 am

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The Two-Way
7:18 am
Wed January 8, 2014

December Posts Strongest Job Gains Of 2013, Survey Shows

Job seekers have their resumes reviewed at a job fair expo in Anaheim, Calif., in June 2012.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:25 am

This post was updated at 11:20 a.m. ET.

Last year ended on a high note for U.S. employment, with December ticking off 238,000 new private-sector jobs, topping the previous month for the best showing of 2013, according to the latest data from the ADP National Employment Report.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Hell Has Frozen Over, Headline Writers Rejoice

Hell, Mich., is embracing its frozen fame. The town's Facebook page now features this photo from 2003.
Keasha LeClear-Morse Facebook.com/gotohellmichigan

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:13 am

When it gets super-cold in Hell, Mich., guess what headline writers and radio hosts have to say about it:

Hell Has Frozen Over

A Google News search of that phrase at 8:45 a.m. ET Wednesday turned up 3,980 results.

The hardy souls in the tiny town near Ann Arbor don't seem to mind the attention.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:27 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:56 am

A few years ago, physicist Brian Skinner asked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it's something everybody asks. When I can't wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thingand what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Even mysterious.

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Kitchen Window
6:14 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Leftover Liquor Finds New Life As Liqueur

Eve Turow for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:24 am

Years ago, on an overnight bus ride in Argentina, a waiter poked his head through the drawn curtains: "Whiskey or Tia Maria?" he offered as a post-meal drink. Unfamiliar with the latter, I decided to take a taste. He steadied himself on the rocking walls and poured me a serving of the almond-colored digestif. I could smell the coffee aromatics as I took my first sip. The sweet liqueur popped on my taste buds with flavors of vanilla, coconut and rum. "Good, right?" he asked. I nodded. As the sugar and alcohol settled my stomach, I knew I had to learn more about this dinnertime tradition.

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