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It turns out January was a surprisingly good month in the job market. U.S. employers added 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent.

That better-than-expected news from the Labor Department triggered a rally in the stock market Friday, with the Dow climbing more than 150 points. The news could also help the stock of President Obama.

Saturday is caucus day in Nevada, the first state in the West to vote as Republicans go about choosing their presidential candidate.

Mitt Romney is counting on another win here to keep him on the path to the nomination. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have also been campaigning across the state, while Rick Santorum is in the Midwest looking ahead to later contests next week.

Believe it or not, Nevada leads the country in unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcy.

At last week's State of the Union address, the secretary of billionaire investor Warren Buffett was seated prominently with first lady Michelle Obama.

President Obama invited Debbie Bosanek to a seat in the spotlight to underscore a complaint her boss has widely made: that she pays a much higher tax rate than the 17 percent Buffett himself pays.

Americans have always sought architectural brushes with greatness.

The nation's first president spent the night at so many inns and private houses that signs advertising "George Washington slept here" were regular roadside attractions even during his lifetime.

But only a few homes of celebrated figures, such as Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Elvis Presley's Graceland, have become sites that people go out of their way to visit. Most such places have been torn down, or fall into neglect and disrepair.

Just three days after announcing it would no longer fund cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood, the pink-ribboned breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure abruptly reversed course today. But the Komen foundation's actions still leave many questions unanswered — not to mention a public relations challenge.

We're coming up on the 30-year anniversary of the war between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. But the wounds are still fresh, especially if you judge by the rhetoric being flung by the leaders of both countries.

Who Killed Lard?

Feb 3, 2012

Ron Silver, the owner of Bubby's restaurant in Brooklyn, recently put a word on his menu you don't often see anymore: lard. The white, creamy, processed fat from a pig. And he didn't use the word just once.

For a one-night-only "Lard Exoneration Dinner", Silver served up lard fried potatoes. And root vegetables, baked in lard. Fried chicken, fried in lard. Roasted fennel glazed with lard sugar and sea salt. Pies, with lard inside and out. All from lard he made himself in the kitchen.

Federal prosecutors say they have dropped its doping case against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. For two years, prosecutors looked into allegations that Armstrong and his United States Postal squad used performance-enhancing drugs.

The AP reports:

"In a press release, United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. says the case has been closed but didn't disclose the reason for the decision.

While hotels along the Vegas Strip are full of Super Bowl fans and convention attendees this weekend, another event will be playing out Saturday at more than 100 locations across the state.

Nevada's Republican presidential caucuses will be taking place, not in expensive hotels, but mostly in low-key places like schools and firehouses.

David Gallagher of the Nevada state GOP says each county's local party is responsible for organizing its own caucus, so opening times vary.

On Positive Jobs Report, Nasdaq Hits 11-Year High

Feb 3, 2012

The better-than-expected jobs numbers released today, sent the markets into positive territory they hadn't seen in years.

The Nasdaq Composite rose to an 11-year high, while the Dow hit its highest reading in almost four years. The S&P gained 1.4 percent, marking its best start to a new year since 1987.

This story was written and reported by a GlobalPost correspondent in Damascus, whose name has been withheld for security reasons.

When a team of foreign journalists entered the eastern Damascus suburb of Saqba last Friday, they were greeted by a sight that did not bode well for the Syrian regime.

A request for a delay in the Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo has been denied.

Two lawyers close to the proceedings tell NPR that a military judge denied their request to delay the arraignment of the Sept. 11 suspects at Guantanamo until the summer.

The lawyers were asking for more time to file memos on why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators should not be tried in a capital case and be eligible for the death penalty. The 911 suspects are expected to be arraigned before a military commission as early as April.

The Surprising Story Of A Super Bowl Snack

Feb 3, 2012

This Super Bowl Sunday, millions of Americans will watch the game with bowls of corn-based snacks at their side. Whether you prefer Doritos, Cheetos, or even Funyuns, you owe the pleasure of that crunchy munchy to the humble corn curl that started it all: the Frito.

When he was 30 years old, David Finch's wife, Kristen, sat him down and asked him a series of odd questions:

"Do you notice patterns in things all the time?"

"Do people comment on your unusual mannerisms and habits?

"Do you feel tortured by clothes tags, clothes that are too tight or made in the 'wrong material'?"

"Do you sometimes have an urge to jump over things?"

David's answers to all of these questions — and more than 100 others — was an emphatic yes.

Sen. Robert Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, sent a list of questions about Freddie Mac's controversial trades to the mortgage giant's regulator, highlighting how much remains unknown even after a flurry of statements from the regulator.

Vermont Inmates Hide Image Of Pig On Police Decals

Feb 3, 2012

It took Vermont officials four years to notice a little creative editing by one or more inmates. Look at this police decal:

Look at the cow underneath the tree. Embedded within the cow's spots is an image of a pig, which as the Burlington Free Press reminds us is the '60s-era epithet used by protesters to refer to police.

Can Komen Recover From Controversy?

Feb 3, 2012

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has had one of the worst weeks in terms of public relations of any organization in recent memory.

Before we finish the week, we have to pass on at least one more story related to Facebook's plan to raise about $5 billion with its first sale of shares to the public.

It seems that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss — the "Winklevii" twins — could get up to $300 million worth of Facebook shares when the deal goes through.

The surprise announcement last month that the U.S. and the Taliban could soon begin peace talks in the Gulf state of Qatar may have increased the chances of a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

But Afghans are treating the prospect with equal measures of hope and suspicion — perhaps more of the latter from the government of President Hamid Karzai.

Sharon Van Etten: Learning How To Rock

Feb 3, 2012

Sharon Van Etten was once an aspiring songwriter in Tennessee, but she had no idea how the music industry worked. So she moved to New York City and took an unpaid internship working for a record label.

"I started doing mail orders and then learned my way around the music blogs," Van Etten says in an interview with Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "I didn't know what a music blog was at the time."

Violent protests continued for a second day in Egypt in response to the deadly riot at a soccer match earlier this week. Many of the protesters claim authorities chose not to stop the soccer riots as retaliation against fan groups — known as Ultras — who had a hand in the country's political uprisings last year. Melissa Block talks with Adel Iskandar, Lecturer in media studies at Georgetown University, about the role of the Ultra football fan clubs in Egypt's politics.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

January's weather looked like spring in much of the country, and today's monthly employment report suggests it's spring in the job market, too. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Nobody expected that job creation in January would be this strong, or that the unemployment rate would fall again to 8.3 percent – nobody including John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo.

The New York Giants' Brandon Jacobs is a 6'4", 270 pound running back. And with that kind of size, you think he'd be able to run right through would-be tacklers, especially when he only needs to pick up a few yards. But he often can't — Jacobs's stats are below average in those situations. A couple NFL greats and a physics professor have the answer.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with fresh evidence that the U.S. economy is on the mend. The unemployment rate fell unexpectedly last month to 8.3 percent. And according to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added nearly a quarter million workers to their payrolls. As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, it's not only good news for the economy and the nation, it's also good news for President Obama and his re-election campaign.

High school football players have changes in their brain function long before they have recognizable signs of a concussion, according to a new study.

The more hits a player got, the more brain function changed. The findings support the growing belief that a concussion comes as the result of a succession of insults, not just one bad hit.

The Fife and Drum Restaurant offers a daily lunch bargain that sounds hard to pass up: For just $3.21, you get a hot, tasty meal, made mostly from scratch and delivered to your table by friendly waiters.

So what's the catch? You have to go through security before you're served.

Denver and Rome could not be farther apart. But today one city used to massive snow storms is facing a blizzard so big it cancelled 310 flights, even though the Denver airport has 500 workers clearing the snow. The other one hasn't seen this much snow since the '80s.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli told our Newscast unit the 1.5 inches of snow in Rome and the 16 inches that have accumulated in the northern suburbs have meant that very few attended schools and big tourist attractions like the Colosseum were closed.

Five years ago, a subprime mortgage firestorm was melting down the U.S. economy, but most analysts didn't see it happening.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying before Congress in February 2007, said the housing sector "is a concern, but at this point we don't see it as being a broad financial concern or a major factor in assessing the course of the economy."

If he and the vast majority of economists were blind to the economic and financial calamity taking shape then, could they also be missing the start of a huge economic boom now?

A boom? Really?

A day that began with the Anonymous hackers posting a nearly 17-minute recording of a conference call between officials of the FBI and Scotland Yard has been followed with some tweeted taunting of law enforcement and the news media, and the hacking of websites for the Greek Ministry of Justice, Boston Police Department and lawyers who defended a U.S. Marine at the center of the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

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