The Two-Way
5:05 am
Thu February 9, 2012

AP: First 10 States Granted Waivers From 'No Child Left Behind'

Following up on a plan he unveiled last September to let states apply to be exempt from basic elements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, President Obama will today announce the first 10 states that have qualified for such exemptions.

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Adam Davidson is co-founder and co-host of Planet Money, a co-production of NPR and This American Life. He also writes the weekly "It's the Economy" column for the New York Times Magazine.

His work has won several major awards including the Peabody, DuPont-Columbia, and the Polk. His radio documentary on the housing crisis, "The Giant Pool of Money," which he co-reported and produced with Alex Blumberg, was named one of the top ten works of journalism of the decade by the Arthur L. Carter of Journalism Institute at New York University. It was widely recognized as the clearest and most entertaining explanation of the roots of the financial crisis in any media.

Frank Langfitt is NPR's international correspondent based in Shanghai. He covers China, Japan, and the Koreas for NPR News. His reports have included visits to China's infamous black jails –- secret detention centers — as well as his own travails taking China's driver's test, which he failed three times.

Before moving to China, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He reported from Sudan and covered the civil war in Somalia, where learned to run fast in Kevlar and interviewed imprisoned Somali pirates, who insisted they were just misunderstood fishermen. During the Arab spring, Langfitt covered the uprising and crushing of the reform movement in Bahrain.

As an NPR correspondent based in Tucson, Arizona, Ted Robbins covers the Southwest including Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

Specifically, Robbins reports on a range of issues from immigration and border security to water issues and wildfires. He covers the economy in the West with an emphasis on the housing market and Las Vegas development. He reported on the January 2011, Tucson shooting that killed six and injured many included Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Crisis In The Housing Market
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Potential Conflicts At Freddie Mac Draw Scrutiny

In December, Freddie Mac CEO Charles Haldeman (from left), FHFA acting Director Edward DeMarco and Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams testified on Capitol Hill about the Federal Housing Finance Agency's performance.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

A federal Inspector General's office confirmed Wednesday it is looking into Freddie Mac investments that act as bets against homeowners being able to refinance.

In addition, U.S. senators are expected to probe Freddie Mac's investment practices at a hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Freddie Mac, based in northern Virginia, is the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant whose public mission is to make homeownership more affordable for Americans.

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Planet Money
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

What Do The Dow's Daily Swings Mean? Not Much.

Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 3:22 pm

Turn on the news on any given day, and you're likely to hear about the Dow Jones industrial average. It is the most frequently checked, and cited, proxy of U.S. economic health. But a lot of people — maybe most — don't even know what it is. It's just the stock prices of 30 big companies, summed up and roughly averaged. That's it.

And what does the daily movement of this number have to do with the lives of most Americans? Not much.

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Presidential Race
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Powerful GOP-Linked SuperPAC Has Clear Agenda

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 7:00 am

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Tai Chi May Help Parkinson's Patients Regain Balance

In a study, patients with Parkinson's disease, a progressive nervous-system disorder, had fewer falls after taking up Tai Chi.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:35 pm

Tai chi, the Chinese martial art involving slow and rhythmic movement, has been shown to benefit older people by maintaining balance and strength. Now, researchers have found that tai chi also helps patients who suffer from Parkinson's disease.

Leona Maricle was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago. At the time, she was teaching math, and she says she had experienced the telltale tremors of Parkinson's for a number of years. She learned how to cope.

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Asia
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

China Laces Up Its Chuck Taylors

Chuck Taylor All Stars are common on the streets of Shanghai. Xuan Zhihui, 62, a retiree from a state-owned factory, wears her daughter's hand-me-down sneakers, which are 15 years old. She says they're really comfortable.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Stroll along a street in downtown Shanghai for very long, and you're likely to run into someone wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. One recent afternoon, Xu Jing was heading back from lunch to her job at an ad company in a pair of raspberry-colored Chuck Taylors.

"They have a young image, upbeat and outdoorsy, sporty," said Xu, 27, explaining the appeal. "Young people with an artistic sense prefer Converse."

Xu was accompanied by Chen Xiaolei, a co-worker who owns three pairs of Chuck Taylor high-tops.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Arizona Lawmakers Target Public Workers' Unions

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:21 am

Labor unions plan to rally in front of the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday afternoon to protest four bills quickly moving through the state Legislature that could make last year's Wisconsin labor laws look modest by comparison.

Three of the four bills restrict the way unions collect dues and the way workers get paid for union activities. The fourth bans collective bargaining between governments and government workers: state and local. Unlike Wisconsin, it affects all government employees, including police and firefighters.

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