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The Two-Way
5:13 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Book News: Lance Armstrong's Lies Are Protected, Judge Says

Lance Armstrong talks to the media after the 2011 Xterra Nationals triathlon in Utah.
Jim Urquhart AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:32 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mary Beard 'Confronts' The Classics With Wit And Style

iStockphoto.com

Early on in Confronting the Classics, Mary Beard tells the story of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus, who "used to seat his dinner guests on cushions that, unbeknownst to them, were full of air. As the meal progressed, a slave secretly let the air out, so Elagabalus could enjoy the sight of his companions subsiding, until they slid beneath the table."

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Russian Plan 'Is Just A Lie,' Syrian Rebel General Says

A Free Syrian Army fighter in eastern Syria on Wednesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 8:13 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris

As Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to sit down with his Russian counterpart Thursday to discuss whether the Assad regime's chemical weapons can be handed over to international monitors, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army was telling NPR that "the Russian initiative is just a lie."

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Around the Nation
3:27 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mill Closing Is 'Major Setback' For Ala. Town

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The world's largest paper producer says it's closing a mill in Alabama that employs 1,100 people. International Paper Company blames the closure in the town of Courtland on a decline in the demand for paper. Stan Ingold of Alabama Public Radio reports.

STAN INGOLD, BYLINE: The small town of Courtland, Alabama is reeling after the announcement by Memphis-based International Paper to close their mill. Diane Scanland is the executive director of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

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Business
3:26 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mexico's Tax Overhaul Has Middle Class Crying Foul

Mexico's president has unveiled a major shakeup of the country's tax system. His administration says it's aimed at capturing more of Mexico's paltry tax collection. Critics say it's unfairly targeting the middle class. Among the items slated for taxing: dog food and private school tuition.

Pop Culture
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Hannibal Buress And The Comedy Of The Unexpected

Hannibal Buress looks at the world from a slightly skewed perspective — and often as not, his observations lead him down some convoluted comedic byways.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 9:22 am

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Around the Nation
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Two Years On, Protesters Still Fighting Wisconsin Governor

Members of a loosely organized, anti-Walker group known as the Solidarity Singers sing outside the Wisconsin Capitol in July.
Michelle Johnson AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 12:34 pm

It's been more than two years since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill stripping collective bargaining rights from most public employees. The new law sparked massive protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol because many saw it as an attack on unions.

While most demonstrators eventually went away, a small group did not. They arrive at the building most weekdays to sing anti-Walker and pro-union songs.

On a recent day, more than 100 people were gathered in a circle on the Capitol lawn, tapping cowbells and singing a localized version of "This Land Is Your Land."

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Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

A Check On The Housing Industry

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:51 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is, of course, a lot of attention being paid about what's happening in Richmond because millions of other American homeowners around the country are also underwater - again, homes that are worth less than their mortgages. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold, who's been following all of this. Good morning.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: How many homeowners are still underwater? I gather with the housing market coming back, this is changing - for the better.

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Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Calif. City Proposes Unique Plan To Avoid Foreclosures

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:09 am

A federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday hears arguments over a radical plan to stem the foreclosure crisis. The City of Richmond is proposing to buy underwater mortgages in order to help keep local residents in their homes. If banks don't want to sell those mortgages, the city says it is prepared to invoke eminent domain to seize the mortgages.

Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Village People Singer Wins Copyright Case

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:05 am

Victor Willis has finally won a share of the income from his most famous song. The New York Times reports Willis, you know him as the police officer, has emerged from six years of legal wrestling with a new copyright in hand. The victory gives him substantial control over "YMCA" and 32 other Village People tunes.

Business
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Britain Plans To Privatize Royal Mail

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:57 am

British officials unveiled plans Thursday morning to sell the majority of its centuries old postal service. It's the largest privatization of a government service the country has seen in decades. The public offering of the world's oldest postal service would take place in the coming weeks.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Backers Of Israel Press For Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 8:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, those who favor U.S. military intervention in Syria include backers of Israel. One of them is Republican campaign contributor Sheldon Adelson. Another is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

NPR's David Welna reports on their lobbying efforts.

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Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Russia's Putin Adds Another Voice To Debate On Syria

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:04 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin has written an op-ed piece for Thursday's New York Times. He's calling on the U.S. to forgo military strikes on Syria. For Russia's view of the Syrian conflict, Renee Montagne talks to Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Analyst Criticized For Syrian-Rebel Advocacy Connections

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:26 am

During the run-up to possible military action in Syria, the name of an unknown researcher was catapulted into the spotlight. Elizabeth O'Bagy was on NPR, Fox and quoted by Senator John McCain during a hearing. It turns out, O'Bagy is not exactly who she said she was, and her story reveals a lot about how Washington works during times of high drama.

Middle East
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Rebels Were 'Eager' To See U.S. Strikes On Syria

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:21 am

Steve Inskeep talks to General Salim Idriss, commander of the Free Syrian Army. They discuss Syrian opposition reaction to President Obama's address to the nation this week, the Russian diplomatic initiative and what assistance the general is hoping to receive from the United States.

All Tech Considered
3:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Long Before Most, Intel Chased The Smart Watch

The Microma watch was the first watch with a liquid crystal display, but the limited technology of the time prevented Intel from achieving much else with it.
Courtesy of Intel

In the past couple of weeks, several major companies — Samsung, Sony, Qualcomm — have announced they will release smart watches this fall. As the name suggests, the gadgets do more than keep time.

The latest spate of computerized watches promise to do everything from working as a phone to taking photos and fielding emails. Smart watches have actually been around for a long time, but they've never really taken off as a product.

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Around the Nation
2:55 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Missouri Tax Posturing May Influence Other States

Republican lawmakers in Missouri on Wednesday failed to override a tax veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. The controversial measure would have lowered state income taxes for the first time in decades.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:50 am

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon used some fancy footwork to ensure his veto of a tax cut stayed in place — even though it faced a supermajority of Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate

Nixon said he vetoed the tax cut because the $700 million price tag was "unaffordable." But he knew in doing so, he was up against a lion of a legislature, with a veto-proof majority in both chambers.

Lawmakers on Wednesday failed to override Nixon's veto.

Dan Ponder, a political scientist at Drury University, says the governor had a decidedly uphill battle.

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Business
1:46 am
Thu September 12, 2013

5 Years After Financial Crisis, Are Big Banks Still A Threat?

The headquarters of Lehman Brothers in Times Square in 2008, the year the financial services firm filed for bankruptcy.
Hiroko Masuike Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 9:30 am

It's been five years since Lehman Brothers collapsed and touched off a banking crisis that is still being felt by the global economy. Today, the banking industry is a lot stronger than it was, but some critics say efforts to reform banking regulations have fallen short of their potential.

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Shots - Health News
1:45 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better

Physician Jim Olson cares for children with brain cancer in Seattle. His laboratory studies the gene expression programs controlling neural differentiation, brain tumor genesis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 4:58 am

Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.

Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Now, a medical researcher in Seattle thinks he has a way to eliminate some of the inevitable ones.

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Author Interviews
1:43 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Tired Of Inequality? One Economist Says It'll Only Get Worse

Economist Tyler Cowen believes that income inequality in America is only increasing. His new book is called Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.
Szasz-Fabian Ilka Erika iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:57 am

Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:

"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."

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Code Switch
12:58 am
Thu September 12, 2013

For Native Americans, Mental Health Budget Cuts Hit Hard

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:49 am

Native American tribes gave up millions of acres to the federal government in the 19th century in exchange for promises of funded health care, education and housing. But time and again, those funds have been cut.

The recent across-the-board federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, are no exception. They came with a 5 percent reduction in funding for mental health services, including suicide prevention. That's especially troubling for Native Americans, whose suicide rate are four times the national average.

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Media
11:36 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Tina Brown To Leave The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown plans to leave the website to produce live forums on news topics.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:41 am

Celebrity editor Tina Brown announced Wednesday that she's leaving The Daily Beast to launch her own media company. She has been a regular guest on Morning Edition. Brown, 59, plans to produce live forums on news topics.

Brown has edited some of the most prestigious publications: Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Tattler. Five years ago, she helped found The Daily Beast — a news and opinion website. Now, the editor-in-chief says she's leaving to do what she calls "theatrical journalism" before live audiences.

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World
4:24 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

What's Driving Russia's Tactical Change On Syria?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to avoid a strike by the U.S.
Michael Klimentyev/Ria Novosti Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:14 pm

For months, Russia has been playing a defensive game on Syria, blocking U.N. resolutions that could have led to the ouster of its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Russia is now on the offense, running with a plan that could avert U.S.-led strikes against Syria by having Syria place its chemical weapons under international control.

So why the change in tactics?

There are several different strands in Russian thinking on the issue.

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Congress Looks Beyond Syria To Its Next Fight

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (right) leads members of Congress as they step outside the Capitol on Wednesday to attend a ceremony in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With him are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Now that Congress' extraordinary Syria debate is on hold, at least for now, the next upcoming drama is really a return to much more familiar territory: how will congressional leaders get enough votes to pass legislation to keep the government from going off yet another metaphorical cliff.

Until Wednesday, it looked like Congress was moving toward a vote this week to fund the government past September, when the fiscal year ends, and into December — thus avoiding a shutdown. But that vote was postponed until next week at the earliest.

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Politics
4:18 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Conservatives Use Budget Deadline To Revive Obamacare Debate

Linda Norman (right) and Joanna Galt, both from Florida, hold their banners during a rally against the health care law Tuesday outside the U.S. Capitol.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:03 pm

With the pause button pushed on the congressional debate over Syria, the House is turning its attention back to the issue that is expected to dominate the fall: the budget.

The long-running fight over spending and the debt is back. The House was supposed to act this week to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, and leaders had hoped to avoid drama. But the vote has been delayed, and drama is brewing.

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All Tech Considered
4:16 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Coming Soon: A Jolt Of Caffeine You Can Spray On Your Skin

Sprayable Energy will be on sale in November, says its creator, Ben Yu.
Courtesy of Sprayable Energy

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Satellite Image Suggests North Korea Is Restarting Reactor

This is a DigitalGlobe image of the 5-megawatt (electric) reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon facility, Aug. 31, with steam seen coming from the electrical power generation building.
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 4:46 pm

North Korea appears to be in the process of restarting a nuclear reactor used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, five years after shutting the facility down as part of international disarmament efforts.

New satellite imagery appears to reveal that the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, which experts believe can produce enough plutonium for one to two bombs a year, shows signs of being operational.

Analysts Nick Hansen and Jeffrey Lewis, writing for the website 38 North, say the satellites show:

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The Two-Way
4:09 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Protesters Hound David Petraeus Before Lecture At CUNY

David Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA in November, citing an extramarital affair.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 9:10 pm

Ret. Gen. David Petraeus, who served as director of the CIA and commanded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was hounded and taunted as he walked through the streets of New York City on Monday.

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All Tech Considered
3:59 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Army Looks To Schools To Find The Next Cyberwarriors

Security experts say the U.S. is ill-prepared to respond to cyberthreats. A new high school curriculum in Alabama aims to attract more young people to the field.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 4:50 pm

You can literally see rockets when you drive into Huntsville, Ala., also known as the "Rocket City." NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is here, along with scores of aerospace and defense contractors. The city also has one of the largest fully digital school districts: 24,000 Huntsville City Schools students use laptops or tablets instead of textbooks.

All of this partly explains the new cybersecurity class at Grissom High School. Huntsville City Schools and U.S. Army Cyber Command are developing the curriculum, which will eventually begin in middle school.

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The Salt
3:25 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Pets Or Livestock? A Moral Divide Over Horse Slaughter

Jamesport has the largest Amish community in Missouri, and horse-pulled buggies are often parked alongside cars. Horse owners in the state are divided over whether to allow horses to be killed for meat in the U.S.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:30 pm

Few Americans eat horse meat, and many don't like the idea of slaughtering horses. But a handful of investors are struggling to restart the horse-slaughter industry in the U.S.

Thousands of American horses are already slaughtered in Mexico and Canada each year for their meat, which gets shipped to European and Asian markets.

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