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Strange News
3:41 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Hallmark Under Fire For Dropping 'Gay' From Christmas Lyric

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:46 am

A Hallmark Christmas ornament has drawn criticism from people who accuse the greeting card company of political correctness and anti-gay bias. The ornament — a tiny sweater — is decorated with the words "Don we now our FUN apparel!" "Fun" replaces the word "gay" from the line in the Christmas song "Deck the Halls." Hallmark says it was trying to avoid misinterpretation and should never have made the change.

Middle East
3:36 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Iranian Hard-Liners Plan 'Grand Day Of Death To America'

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

We've gotten used to seeing rallies in Iran where protestors chant death to America. But even before the new president's charm offensive, that slogan had waned, so much so that some hard-liners are planning a Grand Day of Death to America: Monday, the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979. And Revolutionary Guards promise the slogan will once again echo across the nation.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR Story
3:11 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Barneys Lawsuit Puts Spotlight On Race And Branding

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:46 am

Steve Inskeep talks to freelance writer Johnnie Roberts and NPR's Gene Demby about the branding of high-end products — and the implications when companies specifically court, or exclude, consumers based on race.

NPR Story
3:11 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Obama's Nominations Blocked Again In Senate

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:46 am

Senate Republicans have once again blocked President Obama's nominees. Despite a deal in July to let several of the president's picks go through, the rancor has returned with a fresh batch of appointments. Two nominations failed within less than an hour on Thursday, and Democrats may once again threaten to change Senate rules so Republicans can't easily derail another nomination.

NPR Story
3:11 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Sorting Through Diverging Reports On Drone Strikes

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:46 am

Steve Inskeep talks with Shuja Nawaz of the Atlantic Council about recent news out of Pakistan about drones.

U.S.
3:11 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Food Stamp Benefits Set To Shrink

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:46 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Friday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The 47 million Americans who rely on food stamps will have to make do with less starting today. The officially-name Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is losing $5 billion of funding. That's because a temporary increase in benefits that was part of the economic stimulus in 2009 is expiring - which means a family of four could lose up to $36 a month in benefits.

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Planet Money
1:21 am
Fri November 1, 2013

How Much Is NPR's Brand Worth? $400 Million!*

Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:19 pm

*This number is a very, very rough approximation

How much is a brand worth? Not the stuff a company sells, or the buildings and factories it owns. Just, basically, the name of the company — and all of the customer loyalty attached to that name.

Oscar Yuan's job is to answer this question. He's a vice president at the brand consulting firm Millward Brown Optimor.

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Education
1:20 am
Fri November 1, 2013

What It Takes (And Means) To Learn English As An Adult

Millions of adults who grew up speaking a language other than English are still held back by their language skills.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:33 pm

This is the second report in a four-part series on adult education.

Ana Perez never made it to high school. Her education ended after the sixth grade, when war broke out in her native El Salvador. She says she's "desperate" to learn English, but she gets nervous trying to speak it.

Immigrants like Perez see English as the key to a better life. Many hope learning the language will help lift them out of poverty and integrate them into American society. But gaining English proficiency is a difficult task amid everyday obligations.

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StoryCorps
1:20 am
Fri November 1, 2013

An Unconventional, But 'Perfect,' Path To Parenthood

Robin Share and Rami Aizic hold a photo of their daughter, Bailey, at a visit to StoryCorps in Santa Monica, Calif.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 9:18 am

Since childhood, Rami Aizic knew he "needed and wanted to be a dad." He assumed he would one day meet the girl of his dreams and it would all just happen.

Then he realized he was gay.

Robin Share also wanted kids, but had no partner. So when a mutual friend told Rami about Robin, he called her up and left a message: "Hi, Robin. I'm a friend of Scott's and he said you might be interested in having a baby with me. So give me a call back."

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Animals
1:19 am
Fri November 1, 2013

The Tail's The Tell: Dog Wags Can Mean Friend Or Foe

Friend Or Foe? Scientists say dogs react differently to the direction of another dog's tail wag.
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 9:41 am

Dogs can pick up emotional cues from another dog by watching the direction of its wagging tail, a new study suggests.

In a series of lab experiments, dogs got anxious when they saw an image of a dog wagging its tail to its left side. But when they saw a dog wagging its tail to its right side, they stayed relaxed.

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All Tech Considered
1:18 am
Fri November 1, 2013

For The Tablet Generation, A Lesson In Digital Citizenship

Coachella Valley High School math teacher Eddie Simoneau uses iPads with his students.
Matt Hamilton Coachella Valley Unified School District

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:46 am

This week on All Tech, we're exploring kids and technology with posts and radio pieces about raising digital natives. Look back at the stories and share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, by email or tweet.

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The Salt
1:18 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Are Farm Veterinarians Pushing Too Many Antibiotics?

Cattle crowd inside a feedlot operated by JBS Five Rivers Colorado Beef in Wiley, Colo.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:27 pm

In a barn outside Manhattan, Kan., researchers from Kansas State University are trying to solve the riddle of bovine respiratory disease. They're sticking plastic rods down the noses of 6-month old calves, collecting samples of bacteria.

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The Salt
1:17 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Can Starbucks Do For Tea What It Has Done For Coffee?

A pot of tea sits at the newly opened Teavana tea bar in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 9:59 am

Starbucks, which revolutionized the coffee industry, is now taking on tea. It has opened its first tea bar, and it's creating mixed tea beverages, some even more complex and customized than the coffee beverages we all know.

This first store, on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, has minimalist decor: gray soft seats, charcoals, chestnut browns. Teavana teas line one wall. Beakers filled with colored liquids greet you at the entrance.

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Shots - Health News
1:16 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Which Plans Cover Abortion? No Answers On HealthCare.gov

In a hearing Wednesday, Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois questions Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about which insurance plans offer abortion services.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:21 pm

As if the rollout of the federal health law didn't have enough problems, abortion is back in the spotlight.

How the various health plans in the exchanges would or would not pay for abortion was one of the very last issues settled before the bill was passed in 2010. Now abortion's invisibility on the federal HealthCare.gov website has some people pretty upset.

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The Two-Way
4:57 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Israeli Warplanes Reportedly Strike Russian Missiles In Syria

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 6:57 am

Unnamed U.S. officials have told CNN and The Associated Press that Israeli warplanes destroyed a shipment of Russian missiles at a Syrian airbase. But officials in Tel Aviv won't comment on the reported attack near the port of Latakia overnight on Wednesday.

"We're not commenting on these reports," a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry told Reuters.

Reuters also reported an explosion in the area and said one Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he thought that Israel had carried out a strike, but stressed that he was not entirely certain.

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The Two-Way
4:40 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Judge Blocks Oversight For NYPD's 'Stop-And-Frisk' Policy

New York City Council member Jumaane Williams speaks at a March demonstration in Lower Manhattan against the city's "stop-and-frisk" searches.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 5:37 pm

A federal appeals court judge has put a temporary hold on changes to the New York Police Department's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy ordered by a lower court and suspended the judge who made the earlier ruling.

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Shots - Health News
4:01 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

For The Young And Healthy, Health Insurance Is A Hard Sell

Students Amanda McComas, Rose Marie Chute and Sari Schwartz are approached in October at Santa Monica City College in California about signing up for insurance with the Affordable Care Act.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Getting young, healthy people to sign up for health insurance is seen as critical to the success of the Affordable Care Act. It's precisely those people who will help offset the cost of the older, sicker ones.

But while cheap health insurance and subsidies based on income are intended to make the program appealing to the young, what if they haven't even heard of the health care law? Or don't want to buy even an inexpensive policy?

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NPR Story
4:01 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Federal Appeals Court Stays Ruling Against NYPD Stop-And-Frisk

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 1:48 pm

The court also removed Judge Shira Scheindlin from the case, saying she violated the appearance of impartiality, among other reasons.

Author Interviews
4:00 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Writers Illustrated: Q&A With Jeff VanderMeer, Author Of 'Wonderbook'

When you hear the phrase, "writing guide," unpleasant things may spring to mind: sentence diagrams or even — shudder to think — your high school textbook.

Now, imagine the exact opposite, and you might get Jeff VanderMeer's Wonderbook. It's a writing guide, sure, but it's unlikely you've seen one like this before. Misbegotten fish serve as models for revision. Dragons butt in from the margins to contradict lessons. There's even a talking penguin — but don't get him started on what he thinks of the duck.

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Business
3:34 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

More Foreign Firms Look To Make It In The USA

Acura MDX sport utility vehicles roll off the assembly line at a Honda plant in Lincoln, Ala., in May. Overseas investors have U.S. assets totaling nearly $4 trillion, including auto plants, banks and mines.
Joe Songer AL.com/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 11:44 am

When many Americans hear the word "globalization," they think: "jobs going overseas."

And sometimes it does mean just that.

But as globalization knits nations closer together, foreign companies increasingly are creating jobs in the United States, not luring them away. Despite the Great Recession, slow recovery and political dysfunction in Washington, the United States remains a top destination for the world's wealth.

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It's All Politics
3:22 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Booker Brings Dash Of Diversity To Still Old, White Senate

Vice President Joe Biden swears in Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) as his mother, Carolyn, holds a Bible on Thursday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 8:05 am

Cory Booker is a Yale-educated lawyer and erstwhile tweeter who, as mayor of Newark, N.J., displayed a knack for grabbing headlines while building a mixed legacy as the troubled city's leader.

He's also black, and Thursday at noon the 44-year-old Democrat was sworn in as a U.S. senator, making Congress's upper chamber just a tiny bit more diverse in more ways than one.

Booker, who on Oct. 16 was elected as New Jersey's first black senator, will join Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina as the chamber's only black senators.

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Politics
3:08 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

A Clash Of Styles As GOP Factions Fight For Alabama District

Republican candidates Bradley Byrne and Dean Young are running in a special runoff election Tuesday to fill Alabama's 1st congressional district seat.
Phillip Rawls and Campaign of Dean Young AP

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:01 pm

Voters in Alabama's 1st congressional district are getting a glimpse of the factions vying for control of the Republican Party as two GOP candidates face off in a special election Tuesday.

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The Salt
3:08 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Heat, Drought Draw Farmers Back To Sorghum, The 'Camel Of Crops'

A test field of sorghum outside Manhattan, Kan., planted by Kansas State University.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 7:07 pm

Much of the world is turning hotter and dryer these days, and it's opening new doors for a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops": sorghum. In an odd twist, this old-fashioned crop even seems to be catching on among consumers who are looking for "ancient grains" that have been relatively untouched by modern agriculture.

Sorghum isn't nearly as famous as the big three of global agriculture: corn, rice and wheat. But maybe it should be. It's a plant for tough times, and tough places.

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Code Switch
3:07 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

What's So 'Chinese' About A Chinese Fire Drill?

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:09 pm

Enter the phrase "Chinese fire drill" into YouTube and you'll find page upon page of videos of a classic car prank that's been popular since the 1960s.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Everything At Stake, And Everything On The Table

Ender (Asa Butterfield) is a prodigy military cadet being trained by a team of adults — including Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) — to fend off a hostile alien race in a much-discussed adaptation of Ender's Game.
Richard Foreman Jr. Summit Entertainment

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 2:33 pm

"When the war is over, we can debate the morality of what we do."

This sentiment, expressed by Harrison Ford's gruff Col. Hyrum Graff, pretty accurately sums up what director and screenwriter Gavin Hood is trying to do in his adaptation of the widely read 1985 sci-fi novel Ender's Game.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

'Tai Chi' Master: Keanu Reeves Takes The Director's Chair

Making his directorial debut with Man of Tai Chi, Keanu Reeves also appears as the film's rich, ruthless villain.
RADiUS-TWC

Keanu Reeves' directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi, is basically the anti-Kill Bill. Both movies are quilted together from their auteurs' favorite Asian action flicks, but where Tarantino's was overheated, Reeves' is elegantly iced. It's martial-arts mayhem with a touch of zen.

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Africa
2:49 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Protesters Call For Justice In Brutal Gang Rape In Kenya

Hundreds take to the streets in Nairobi on Thursday, calling for justice for a 16-year-old girl dubbed "Liz," who was gang raped in rural Kenya. The men were caught by the police and let go after their punishment — cutting the grass at the police station.
Daniel Irungu EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 8:50 am

The gang rape of a 16-year-old Kenyan schoolgirl — and the lack of punishment given to the alleged rapists — has sparked outrage in the country and beyond.

The attack was so violent it left the girl in a wheelchair with a severe back injury. She identified some of her attackers, who police apprehended — only to let go after they were ordered to cut the lawn at the police station.

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Movie Interviews
2:48 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Four Decades On, 'The Exorcist' Is Still A Head-Turner

Director William Friedkin, shown here with Blair during shooting, says the film is more about questions of faith than it is about horror.
Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:01 pm

The Exorcist was the story of one girl's demonic possession and the priest who saved her. It was engaging, terrifying and masterful — and it gave new meaning to the phrase "a real head-turner."

William Peter Blatty wrote the screenplay, adapting his own best-selling book. The film starred Ellen Burstyn and a very young Linda Blair — barely 12 years old when shooting began. William Friedkin, who had recently won an Academy Award for The French Connection, was the director.

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Politics
2:48 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Why Have So Few African-Americans Been Elected To The Senate?

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:01 pm

Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in Thursday, making him only the fourth African-American elected by popular vote to the United States Senate, and only the second in the chamber currently. This is in contrast to the 41 blacks who represent House districts.

Economy
2:48 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Economic, Political Volatility Cloud Housing Recovery

Despite a strong housing market this year, experts say the recent economic drama has contributed to less stability in real estate.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:30 pm

Housing has been one of the bright spots in the economy this year. This week, a report showed that home prices in the top 20 cities continued their robust upward march in August. There are also far fewer foreclosure sales and other signs of distress in the market.

But the Federal Reserve expressed concern Wednesday about the slowing housing market. Pending home sales fell far more than expected. And housing experts are bracing for some volatility.

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