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Economy
2:42 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Inflation Index Fix Could Cut Federal Deficit

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:13 am

The Consumer Price Index is one of the most familiar measures in economics and politics. But some in Washington want to change the way the index is calculated to better reflect people's shopping habits.

While the proposed change is described as a technical fix, it could also cut the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

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Politics
2:42 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Rice Drops Out Of Race For Secretary Of State

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:06 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
2:42 am
Fri December 14, 2012

What Does Right To Work Mean?

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 3:33 am

The term "right to work" has been in the news a lot this week. On Tuesday, Michigan became the 24th state to enact right-to-work legislation. It means unions can no longer require workers to pay full dues, even if they're working in a union shop.

Politics
2:42 am
Fri December 14, 2012

'Fiscal Cliff' Message Repeats Itself

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Politicians, they love to stay on message, don't they? Even when there's not much to spin, they'll spin.

MONTAGNE: Take last night. President Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner. Both sides said the exchange was frank. Lines of communication remain open.

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Business
2:42 am
Fri December 14, 2012

SEC Chairman Schapiro's Exit Interview

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:51 am

In an interview with David Greene, outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro reflects on her tenure at the agency, and the disappointment that she wasn't able to overhaul money market funds. She leaves the job on Friday.

Asia
1:25 am
Fri December 14, 2012

What North Korea's Rocket Launch Tells Us About Iran's Role

This monitor screen image shows a graphic of the orbit of the satellite carried by the Unha-3 rocket, which North Korea launched this week. The image is from the Korean Central News Agency, distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:03 am

U.S. officials say the satellite put into orbit by North Korea's rocket launch this week is wobbling, but that doesn't necessarily mean the launch itself was unsuccessful.

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Shots - Health News
1:24 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Making The Rich Pay More For Medicare

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., speaks Tuesday at a news conference calling for no reduction in the Medicare and Medicaid budgets, as part of the year-end budget talks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Waxman said he does not support means testing for Medicare.
Joshua Roberts Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 3:33 am

When it comes to reducing Medicare spending, asking wealthier seniors to pay more is one of the few areas where Democrats have shown a willingness to even consider the subject.

"I do believe there should be means testing. And those of us with higher income in retirement should pay more," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on last Sunday's Meet the Press. "That could be part of the solution."

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Planet Money
1:24 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Why A Principal Created His Own Currency

David Kestenbaum NPR

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:43 pm

Shawn Rux took over as principal of MS 53, a New York City middle school, last year. At the time, 50 or 60 kids were absent every day. You could understand why they stayed away: The school was chaos.

Twenty-two teachers had quit, the entire office staff had quit, and hundreds of kids had been suspended. The school was given a grade of F from the city's department of education.

"It was in a bad place," Rux says.

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Research News
1:19 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Counting Bugs In Panama? Get Out Your Tree Raft

Arachnoscelis magnifica
Maurice Leponce AAAS

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 1:22 pm

There are more species of insects than pretty much anything else in the world. And scientists know there are millions they haven't even identified yet. Now, in a tropical rainforest in Panama, a multinational team of scientists has just completed the first ever insect census.

Scott Miller, an entomologist at the Smithsonian who worked on the Panama, shows off one of the species from the survey that's at the National Museum of Natural History's insect zoo in Washington, D.C.

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World
1:18 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Families Of Spain's 'Stolen Babies' Seek Answers — And Reunions

Antonio Iniesta demonstrates in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square last month. He's searching for a younger brother he believes is one of Spain's bebes robados, or stolen babies.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 8:20 am

Allegations of the existence of a secret network of doctors and nuns who stole newborn babies and sold them for adoption are reviving a dark chapter in Spain's recent history.

More than 1,000 people have gone to court hoping to track down sons and daughters or brothers and sisters they were told died in childbirth.

In Madrid's Puerta del Sol square last month, Antonio Iniesta stood next to a poster with the words bebes robados (stolen babies). His demonstration is intended to publicize his search for a brother he's convinced is alive.

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Business
1:17 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Farewell, Bosses: A Wave Of Young Entrepreneurs

To save money, 30-year-old Alisha Mustafa runs her small pie-making business out of the kitchen of another restaurant.
Mustafa Pie Co.

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 3:33 am

Thirty-year-old Alisha Mustafa spent years working at low-paying restaurant jobs. The unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent in her hometown of Bloomington, Ind.

"I've worked it all in this town," she says. "I've worked for so many restaurants, and last year was my year from hell in the industry."

So, she quit and started her own business. Now, she spends most days baking treats like gluten-free strawberry mango pie for her business, Mustafa Pie Co.

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Education
1:15 am
Fri December 14, 2012

In California, Parents Trigger Change At Failing School

Parents leading a revolt to take over an elementary school say it has failed their children. From left: Cynthia Ramirez with her son, Mason; Doreen Diaz; Bartola DelVillar; and Kathy Duncan.
Claudio Sanchez NPR

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:18 pm

Parents in one small California community have used a "parent-trigger" law for the first time to shut down and take over an elementary school. It's a revolt led by parents who say the school has failed their children, but others say it's not the school's fault.

The school is in tiny Adelanto, Calif., home to several prisons connected by desolate stretches of highway on the fringes of the Mojave Desert.

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StoryCorps
8:03 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

For Man With Amnesia, Love Repeats Itself

Jeff Ingram, 46, suffers from a rare condition that wipes his memory. Whenever he has an attack, his wife, Penny, fears he won't regain his love for her.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 7:25 am

Forty-six-year-old Jeff Ingram has a rare type of amnesia called dissociative fugue. When he has an attack, his memory is wiped clean and he doesn't remember who he is or where he's from.

To chronicle their memories in case he forgets again, Jeff and his wife, Penny, came to StoryCorps in Olympia, Wash.

"You and I were talking on the phone," Penny recalls. "You said, 'Well, I have a medical condition that I probably should share with you.' "

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Shots - Health News
4:42 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

How To Decide If Space Tourists Are Fit To Fly

Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space in 1961. He later developed an inner ear problem that grounded him from space flight until an operation cured him.
NASA

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 3:49 pm

Childhood dreams of being an astronaut are easy. Actually blasting off is a little harder.

But now people who have longed to go into space can buy a ticket, if they've got the cash. Are they healthy enough to make the voyage, though?

That's becoming a pressing question as the options for leaving Earth multiply.

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Obama And Boehner Meet At White House; Session Ends Without Deal

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) leaves after his weekly news briefing at the U.S. Capitol Thursday. Boehner said negotiations with President Barack Obama to are stalled until the White House offers more federal budget spending cuts.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:01 am

President Obama hosted House Speaker John Boehner today, spending nearly an hour together in which they reportedly discussed ways to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes that are due to strike at the end of 2012. Boehner left the White House at 6 p.m., ET, apparently without reaching a deal. As Politico reports, the Republican plans to return to his home state of Ohio this weekend.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
4:20 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Lady Liberty's Sea-Washed Gates Closed Indefinitely

The Statue of Liberty survived Sandy unscathed, but Liberty Island remains closed indefinitely as workers remove mud and debris.
Joel Rose NPR

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:01 pm

The Statue of Liberty still lifts her lamp beside the golden door, but the island that's home to the iconic statue was severely tempest-tost by Superstorm Sandy. Flood damage inflicted by the storm has closed Liberty Island and nearby Ellis Island indefinitely.

On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made his first visit to the Statue of Liberty since the storm. David Luchsinger, superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, led the secretary on a walking tour.

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Sports
3:58 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

With 88 Goals, Lionel Messi Celebrates A Record Year

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (in dark blue) shoots on Cordoba's goalkeeper Mikel Saizar (left) during the Spanish Copa del Rey football match in Cordoba on Wednesday.
Cristina Quicler AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:42 am

Stop anyone on the street in Europe, Latin America, Africa and even Asia, and chances are they'll know the name Lionel Messi — and they'll probably know what he did this week. The soccer phenom scored his 88th goal of the year, which is widely thought to be a world record.

And the year's not over yet.

On Sunday, Messi, 25, scored his 86th goal of the calendar year in a Spanish league game against Real Betis, in Seville. The goal, Messi's second of the game, gave Barcelona a 2-1 win over Betis, with the announcer booming, "A new goal king!"

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Movie Reviews
3:25 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

A 'Hobbit,' Off On His Unhurried Journey

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) takes a fantastic adventure across Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
James Fisher Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:01 pm

The Hobbit's path to the screen may have started out as tortuous as a trek through the deadly Helcaraxe, filled with detours (Guillermo del Toro was initially going to direct), marked by conflict (New Zealand labor disputes) and strewn with seemingly insurmountable obstacles (so many that the filmmakers threatened to move the shoot to Australia).

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Fighting For Their Family, One Day At A Time

When a boy with Down syndrome (Isaac Leyva) is abandoned by his mother, a neighbor couple (Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming) takes him in.
Music Box Films

It would take a heart of stone — or zero tolerance for soap — to resist Any Day Now, a full-throttle weepie about a West Hollywood gay couple trying to adopt a neglected boy with Down syndrome.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

VIDEO: Speed Camera Nabs Car Sitting At Red Light

A screengrab of the video a speed-camera sent to driver Daniel Doty shows his car idling at a red light. Doty received a $40 fine for speeding.
Baltimore Sun

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 4:54 pm

When most drivers get a ticket from a speed-zone camera, there's little they can do but pay the fine. After all, the ticket often includes photographic proof that their car was over the limit. But a Maryland driver is fighting his $40 fine precisely because of what the photos show: his car, sitting at a red light.

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Music Interviews
2:27 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Cooking Up Holiday Songs From Scratch

Left to right: Seth Jabour, Amy Carlson and Syd Butler of Office Romance. The group's new EP is called I Love the Holidays.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:01 pm

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Business
2:25 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

HSBC Critic: Too Big To Indict May Mean Too Big To Exist

HSBC has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle a multiyear U.S. criminal probe into money-laundering lapses at the British lender, the largest penalty ever paid by a bank.
Edgard Garrido Landov/Reuters

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:01 pm

Federal and state authorities have received criticism after deciding not to indict HSBC on accusations that it laundered money for Mexican drug cartels and conducted prohibited transactions on behalf of countries like Iran and Sudan. Instead, they entered into a $1.9 billion settlement this week with the bank.

There's no question that HSBC is a massive, sprawling operation. It markets itself as the world's local bank. But watchdogs of the banking industry say mere size should never insulate an organization from the law.

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The Two-Way
2:24 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Gravity Never Sleeps, And Other Lessons Nations Learn From Space Programs

This picture received from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday shows an orbit image of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, being monitored on a large screen at a satellite control center in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province in North Korea.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:51 pm

Sputnik 1 just beeped. China's first satellite, launched more than a decade later, simply radioed a communist anthem back to Earth. So far, North Korea's first satellite appears to be less accomplished.

And that shouldn't be a surprise.

Given the history of first orbital space shots, North Korea's apparent struggle with its mission is fairly typical, says David Akin, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland.

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The Two-Way
2:23 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Ambassador Rice Asks Not To Be Considered For Secretary Of State

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Allison Joyce Reuters /Landov

Moving to withdraw her name from among those being considered to be the next secretary of state, embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has told President Obama she does not want to be nominated.

The White House just released a statement from the president that says, in part:

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National Security
2:22 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Chronology: The Benghazi Attack And The Fallout

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:31 am

A look at the events surrounding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and the controversy that followed.

Before The Attack: February 2011-Sept. 10, 2012

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Error Of The Year: CNN And Fox News Share The Dishonor

Poynter.org

We didn't make the list, and boy are we glad.

CNN and Fox News share the shame of the Poynter Institute's "error of the year" for mistakenly telling their audiences that the Supreme Court had struck down Obamacare.

In truth, the court had done the opposite.

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All Tech Considered
1:56 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Good Tidings Of Great Joy: Google Maps App Released For iPhone

A screenshot of Google Maps on an iPhone.
NPR

Google's native maps app for the iPhone finally was released Wednesday, and there was much rejoicing. Just in time for Christmas, the three wise men are able to find the manger without spilling their frankincense or myrrh.

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Shots - Health News
1:50 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Ah, Wilderness! Nature Hike Could Unlock Your Imagination

Maybe you can find that creative spark out in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah.
Jeff Turner Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 3:50 pm

Want to be more creative? Drop that iPad and head to the great outdoors.

That's the word from David Strayer, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies multitasking at the University of Utah. He knew that every time he went into the southern Utah desert, far from cellular service, he started to think more clearly.

But he wanted to know if others had the same experience.

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Food
1:28 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

A Sweet Bread, A Wash Basin And A Shot Of Whiskey

Cookbook author Marilynn Brass says eating Virginia Lima's traditional Portuguese Sweet Bread is like biting into a cloud.
Andy Ryan

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:45 pm

For the holidays, why not give a gift that tastes like a cloud? Portuguese Sweet Bread may be as close as you can get, according to Marilynn Brass, one-half of the cookbook duo the Brass Sisters.

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The Salt
1:25 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Many Cups Of Tea: The Business Of Sipping In Western Sahara

A high-end tea set in a Saharawi home in Western Sahara.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:16 pm

If you want to get anything done in Western Sahara, be prepared to drink tea — very, very sweet tea.

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