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Asia
1:20 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Become A Successful Chinese Bureaucrat, In 5 Easy Steps

Former civil servant Wang Xiaofang is the author of 13 books on "bureaucracy literature," including The Civil Servant's Notebook, which recently was translated into English.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 6:16 pm

Forget Fifty Shades of Grey. In China, "bureaucracy lit" is flying off bookstore shelves. With the books' stories of Machiavellian office politics, they're read avidly, both as entertainment and as how-to guides for aspiring civil servants.

So what is the secret to success in the corridors of power?

Here is a five-point guide to success, with tips gleaned from the pioneers of bureaucracy lit.

Lesson 1: Cultivate your connections.

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Sweetness And Light
1:17 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Steroid Accusations Likely To Bench Baseball Hall Of Fame Candidates

Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees on Oct. 16. Morris is a candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:26 am

The results of this year's baseball Hall of Fame voting will be revealed on Wednesday.

Given the exit polling, it appears both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, as well as other candidates stained by accusations of steroid use, will not be admitted.

Among other reasons for not voting for them, I would suspect that accusations against Lance Armstrong for using performance-enhancing drugs in cycling is bound to have some carry-over effect. At a certain point, when the circumstantial evidence for drug use is so compelling, who can possibly believe these guys?

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The Salt
4:52 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Farm Bill Critics Claim Partial Victory Despite Stalemate

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 8:20 am

It's amazing how many different kinds of people have been trying to abolish or at least change the government's payments to farmers. They include economists, environmentalists, taxpayer advocates, global anti-hunger advocates and even a lot of farmers. Some have been fighting farm subsidies for the past 20 years.

This past year, those critics laid siege to offices on Capitol Hill because the law that authorizes these programs — the farm bill — was about to expire. (It has to be renewed every five years.)

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Environment
4:43 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Deep In Canadian Lakes, Signs Of Tar Sands Pollution

The Shell Oil Jackpine open pit mine uses trucks that are 3 stories tall, weigh 1 million pounds and cost $7 million each. There is explosive growth in the oil field areas around Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Canadian researchers have used the mud at the bottom of lakes like a time machine to show that tar sands oil production in Alberta, Canada, is polluting remote regional lakes as far as 50 miles from the operations.

An increasingly large share of U.S. oil comes from Canada's tar sands. There are environmental consequences of this development, but until recently, Canadian regional and federal governments left it to the industry to monitor these effects.

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Business
4:43 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

After The 'Fiscal Cliff,' Businesses Say Some Uncertainty Remains

U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. But the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent last month.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:23 pm

Businesses complained that the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" froze their decisions about hiring and expanding, which hurt the economy. Washington has now managed half a deal, which settles tax issues, at least for the time being. But has that removed enough uncertainty to boost some business hiring and investment?

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It's All Politics
4:09 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

House Gears Up For Immigration Battle

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the new House Judiciary Committee chairman, is a former immigration attorney who has taken a hard line against Democratic proposals.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:05 pm

With immigration expected to be a top issue in the new Congress, lawmakers in both parties continue to call for a bipartisan approach — while also preparing for battle.

The messaging from many House Democrats and Republicans about the chances of passing an immigration overhaul remains optimistic. And some of them, such as Republican Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California, have begun to meet privately.

But other moves indicate that lawmakers are hedging their bets and girding for a fight.

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The Two-Way
3:55 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Venezuela's Chavez To Miss His Inauguration

President Hugo Chavez is too ill to attend his inauguration this week, the Venezuelan government announced Tuesday.

In a letter to the National Assembly, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the president's medical team said Chavez's recovery should be extended beyond Thursday – the day he is scheduled to be sworn in. The Associated Press reports: "Maduro said Chavez was invoking a provision in the constitution allowing him to be sworn in before the Supreme Court at a 'later date.'"

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Fuel Leak At Logan Airport Adds To Trouble For Boeing 787 Dreamliner

A Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet aircraft is surrounded by emergency vehicles while parked at a Terminal E gate at Logan International Airport in Boston on Monday. A small electrical fire filled the cabin of the JAL aircraft with smoke about 15 minutes after it landed in Boston.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 3:44 pm

A fuel leak Tuesday on a Tokyo-bound Japan Airlines flight forced the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to cancel takeoff and return to the gate at Boston's Logan International Airport. It was the second incident involving a Dreamliner in two days.

Here's how Logan airport described the incident on its Facebook page:

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

A Welcoming Way Station For Syrians Fleeing Home

Beit Qamishlo is a modest house in southern Turkey that caters to Syrian exiles seeking temporary refuge. It also hosts frequent discussions on Syria's future. Here, Malik Dagestani (center), a former political prisoner in Syria, talks about his detention in the 1980s and 1990s.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:37 pm

It's called Beit Qamishlo, or the House of Qamishlo. It's named after a city in northeastern Syria, though the house isn't even in Syria — it's just across the border in southern Turkey.

The house is humble, made of concrete blocks, with tile floors. Arabic slogans are taped on the walls: "Beit Qamishlo is a house for everyone," "It's a window to Syria's future," "Under one roof we plant life together and freedom."

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Shots - Health News
3:09 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

In Canada, Gonorrhea Defeats Another Antibiotic

In the U.S., doctors no longer have the option of treating gonorrhea with a pill. Instead, they are advised to use an injectable antibiotic, which is still effective against the bacteria.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 3:17 pm

Gonorrhea is one tough germ to beat.

Over the past 70 years, the bug has outwitted four classes of antibiotics, leaving just one set of drugs available to kill it.

Now there's more evidence that the arsenal against gonorrhea is shrinking again.

Canadian doctors have documented the first failure in North America of cefixime, the front-line antibiotic for gonorrhea.

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U.S.
3:09 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Gun Control Advocates Say ATF's Hands Have Been Tied

Officers transfer confiscated weapons after a news conference to announce the arrests of scores of alleged gang members and associates on federal racketeering and drug-trafficking charges in Lakewood, Calif., in 2009.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:37 pm

After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead a group tasked with drafting policies to reduce gun violence. One of the issues sure to come up in the Biden group's discussions is the role of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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Europe
3:08 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

A Dash Of Olive Oil May Preserve British Cathedral

The stones of York Minster in northern England are decaying. Olive oil may be just the dressing the cathedral needs to preserve its Gothic architecture.
Nigel Roddis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:24 am

The British have some stunning cathedrals, and York Minster, in the north of England, is one of the most magnificent of all.

Construction on it began 800 years ago, and a mere 2 1/2 centuries later, work was complete.

The result was one of Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals and one that's had a rough ride through history: It's been pillaged and looted, and damaged by devastating fires and lightning strikes.

Today, there's another threat: acid rain. As a result, the cathedral's stones are decaying.

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Around the Nation
2:41 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Workshops Help Families Grappling With Alzheimer's Home Care

The nation's largest provider of nonmedical home care for seniors is now offering training to help family caregivers deal with the challenges of caring for an Alzheimer's patient.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:24 pm

There are more than 5 million people with Alzheimer's in the U.S., and most are cared for at home. Now, one company has begun offering training to family caregivers to help them deal with the special challenges of caring for an Alzheimer's patient.

The company, Home Instead Senior Care, is the nation's largest provider of nonmedical home care for seniors. The workshops are free and available to anyone, whether they're clients of the company or not.

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Remembrances
2:41 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Architecture Critic Huxtable Remembered For Clever, Biting Commentary

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable had a pillow stitched with the words: Ada Louise Huxtable already doesn't like it. That was the zingy caption of a New Yorker cartoon from 1968. The cartoon showed a rough construction site with only a single column erected. A construction worker in a hardhat is holding a newspaper reading Huxtable's scathing critique to the architect. Ada Louise Huxtable, who pioneered architecture criticism, died yesterday in Manhattan. She was 91.

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U.S.
1:55 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

New York Town Up In Arms As Gun Show Approaches

Gun enthusiasts flock to the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates Arms Fair in March 2012 in Saratoga, N.Y. Some local residents would like the next show to be canceled, in light of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.
Ed Burke Courtesy of The Saratogian

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:37 pm

Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is the kind of town tourists visit and never want to leave. In winter there are skiing and snowshoeing; in summer, the horse racing season at its historic racetrack.

But this idyllic town of about 28,000 in the foothills of the Adirondacks is facing a crisis over the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair, an event held several times each year at the city's public exhibition space since 1984.

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The Salt
1:18 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

College Students With Food Allergies Make Legal Gains

A recent settlement between a university and the Justice Department may encourage institutions to better accommodate students with food allergies.
iStockphoto.com

Many a college student lives off of microwavable meals – but some do it not by choice but because they're worried school food might make them sick.

They may have celiac disease, a digestive ailment caused by gluten, or life-threatening allergies to foods like peanuts — both are on the rise. But even as more people become aware of the issues, schools and institutions may lag behind.

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The Two-Way
1:04 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

NRA Accepts Biden's Invitation To Meet

Vice President Biden.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

"We are sending a rep to hear what they have to say," National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says of the organization's decision to accept an invitation from the task force Vice President Biden is leading — the group that's studying gun laws and related issues in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Con

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Shots - Health News
12:55 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Binge Drinking Among Women Is Both Dangerous And Overlooked

A picture from the photo story "Keg Stand Queens," which explores the gender dynamics of undergraduate binge drinking.
Amanda Berg The Alexia Foundation for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 9:59 am

Binge drinking is something many people want to shrug off.

But officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it's a public health problem that deserves more attention.

You might be tempted to think binge drinking is mainly an issue for men, but that's not the case. So the CDC is putting the spotlight on women's binge drinking, which it says is both dangerous and overlooked.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

It's In The Books: 2012 Was Warmest Year On Record For Lower 48 States

July 22, 2012: In Baltimore, John Rose tried to keep cool during one of the year's heat waves.
Rob Carr Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 12:37 pm

Last year "marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States," the National Climatic Data Center just confirmed.

This probably won't surprise many, but "a record warm spring, second-warmest summer, fourth-warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn" combined to make the year's average temperature 55.3°F.

That's "3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year."

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

911 Calls Played And Traps In Holmes' Apartment Described In Colo. Court

A courtroom sketch of James Holmes as he was brought into a courtroom in Centennial, Colo., this week.
Bill Robles Reuters /Landov

On Day 2 of the preliminary hearing for James Holmes, who is charged with the murders of 12 people and wounding of dozens at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last summer:

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Author Interviews
11:50 am
Tue January 8, 2013

'The Fall Of The House Of Dixie' Built A New U.S.

Random House

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The document declares that all those held as slaves within any state, or part of a state, in rebellion "shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."

Historian Bruce Levine explores the destruction of the old South and the reunified country that emerged from the Civil War in his new book, The Fall of the House of Dixie. He says one result of the document was a flood of black men from the South into the Union Army.

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Tue January 8, 2013

European Union Reports Highest Unemployment Rates Ever For Eurozone

In Badalona, Spain, people waited outside an employment office last summer.
Albert Gea Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:24 pm

In the European Union, unemployment rates in the region that uses the euro currency are at their highest ever, as a returned recession, falling income levels and persistent debt concerns trouble the region's economy, as its latest statistics show.

After nearly five years of economic crises, the European Union is also seeing more divergence between its member nations, particularly in the north, where economies have resilience, as opposed to the south, where unemployment rates are an average of more than 7 points higher.

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Digital Life
11:33 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Your Teen Wants A Smartphone? Here's The Fine Print

Some 23 percent of those aged 12-17 say they have a smartphone, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 9:57 am

When Janell Burley Hofmann's son turned 13, she faced a question: Was it finally time to give him a smartphone?

She decided he was responsible enough to handle it, but not without signing an 18-point contract regarding appropriate use of the iPhone.

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Fitness & Nutrition
11:33 am
Tue January 8, 2013

What We've Learned About Fat And Fitness

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 12:39 pm

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro, in Washington. Just one week into January, you may be noticing the effects of people's New Year's resolutions. For example, there may be no spots on the treadmill at your gym; no kale on the supermarket shelves. Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions and this hour, we'll explore what we've learned in the last year about how some people keep fit, and why others have a hard time dropping pounds.

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Digital Life
11:33 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Art And Strategy Of The Hashtag

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 12:20 pm

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now, this week, the American Dialect Society announced its word of 2012, and the winner comes from Twitter. The word is hashtag. The symbol for a hashtag looks like the pound sign on your phone. Five years ago, Twitter introduced it as a way to organize tweets and sort through trends. Now, hashtags are everywhere. Movie trailers use them to promote the latest blockbuster, shirts and hats sport the hashtag #YOLO for you only live once. Hashtags even pop up in conversations with friends like hashtag #eyeroll.

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Your Money
11:26 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Havens Are Turning Hellish For Tax Avoiders

A man enters a UBS bank in Hong Kong last month. The Swiss banking giant agreed in 2009 to identify the names of its U.S. account holders, part of a push by banking regulators to make it harder to hide income.
Dale de la Rey AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 5:43 am

Time was that a Swiss bank account was synonymous with confidentiality and keeping assets from prying eyes. No more.

Last week, Switzerland's oldest bank, Wegelin & Co., pleaded guilty in a New York court to helping Americans hide $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service over a decade-long period. Wegelin's plea, and a $57.8 million fine, forced the bank to shut its doors. It follows a $780 million settlement with UBS in 2009 that forced the Swiss banking giant to identify the names of its U.S. account holders.

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The Salt
11:08 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Elvis Left The Building Long Ago, But His Food (And Music) Lives On

A still-trim Elvis Presley enjoys a sandwich in 1958. His love of fatty foods hadn't caught up to him yet.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 5:12 pm

Elvis Presley was better known for his music than his gourmet tastes. But he did have a famous affinity for the fried goodness of the American South — and he had the waistline to prove it.

In honor of what would have been the King of Rock 'n' Roll's 78th birthday, let's take a look at some of his legendary eating habits.

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Music Reviews
10:47 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Unsung Pioneer Of Louisiana Swamp-Pop

Joe Barry was a pioneer of "swamp-pop" in the early 1960s.
Johnny Vallis

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 11:50 am

Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Must-See Or Must-Avoid TV? Alex Jones Rails On Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan, left, and Alex Jones on Monday night.
CNN.com

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:18 pm

There's really not much we need to add regarding Monday night's "discussion" about guns and gun control on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. Everyone's perfectly capable of forming their own opinions.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Medgar Evers' Widow Will Deliver Invocation Prayer At Inauguration

Myrlie Evers-Williams, seen here in 2010, will deliver the invocation at President Obama's second inauguration on Jan. 21.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

The widow of slain Civil Rights organizer Medgar Evers will deliver the invocation at President Obama's inauguration. Myrlie Evers-Williams will become the first woman, and someone other than clergy, to say the prayer that precedes the ceremonial oath of office, as The Washington Post reports.

The inaugural ceremony will take place on Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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