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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Tue November 20, 2012

In Syria, An Act Of Reconciliation Stirs Fierce Debate

Supporters of President Bashar Assad speak with U.N. monitors who were arriving in the town in May. The monitors have since left.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 11:41 am

After 20 months of violence in Syria, acts of reconciliation are scarce.

When one took place earlier this month in the town of Tel Kalakh, near the border with Lebanon, it touched off a fierce debate.

The man at the center is Ahmad Munir Muhammed, the governor of Homs, who has long been known as a loyalist of embattled President Bashar Assad.

However, Muhammed made an official visit to Tel Kalakh, where the majority of neighborhoods are controlled by the rebels.

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Business
10:38 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Are Stocks Threatened By 'Generation Sell'?

Fewer than 20 percent of Americans now say they're interested in buying stocks. That's according to a survey conducted by the site Bankrate.com. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks to Roben Farzad, contributor for Bloomberg BusinessWeek about what this could mean for the market's future.

The Two-Way
10:16 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Allen West, Controversial Tea Party Firebrand, Concedes In Florida House Race

Rep. Allen West , R-FL, speaks during an address to the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee in Washington, D.C., in February.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:26 pm

After two weeks, legal challenges and plenty of barbs with his opponent, Rep. Allen West, the Republican Tea Party firebrand, conceded defeat this morning.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Tue November 20, 2012

VIDEO: Clown, Cop Trade Punches

It could be hard to run from police in these.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 1:03 pm

We need a break from the day's incredibly serious news. Maybe you do too. If so, check the story from Milwaukee about a guy in a clown suit who was running in and out of traffic — and the fistfight/wrestling match he got into with a police officer.

It was all recorded by a guy with a camera phone. Reportedly, no one was hurt. The clown is said to be a local activist of some sort.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Elmo Puppeteer Resigns; Calls Sex Allegations A 'Distraction'

Puppeteer Kevin Clash and Elmo.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:22 am

Kevin Clash, the voice and puppeteer who for 28 years has made Sesame Street's Elmo come alive for kids, has resigned because "the controversy surrounding [his] personal life has become a distraction," Sesame Workshop said this morning.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Former Sen. Warren Rudman Dies

Former Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., in 2002.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:23 am

Former New Hampshire Sen. Warren Rudman has died. His name will always be linked to a 1980s-era effort to tame the federal budget deficit and to a pre-Sept. 11 warning about the nation's security. And he will be remembered as a "moderate" Republican who could work across party lines.

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Shots - Health News
7:46 am
Tue November 20, 2012

When Your State Says Yes To Medical Marijuana, But Your Insurer Says No

Medical marijuana advocates demonstrate outside a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama in February.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 8:33 am

Medical marijuana is now legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia, but health insurance doesn't cover it and patients often scramble to cover the cost.

"It's an expensive medication, no doubt about it," says Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, a patient advocacy group. "Patients are struggling to afford it, regardless of whether it's available in their state."

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The Salt
7:38 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Tracking The Elusive 'Chocolate' Persimmon

The fabled and rare chocolate persimmon may look rotten, but it is juicy and sweet without being cloying.
Rachel Myrow NPR

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 7:51 am

When farmers from Japan settled in California more than 100 years ago, they brought Japanese persimmons, with their bright, shiny skins and sweet interiors.

Some Americans almost immediately caught onto the charm of these orange beauties, and with the help of a few prominent backers, passion for the Japanese varieties spread across the country, according to botanist Julia Morton.

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The Two-Way
7:28 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Charges Filed Against Murdoch Editors Accused Of Paying Officials For Information

Rebekah Brooks, who rose to the top spot at Rupert Murdoch's News International.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 9:45 am

British officials today filed more charges against former top editors at some of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers in the U.K., this time for allegedly paying nearly $160,000 to a ministry of defense official to get information.

That information allegedly included the "Green Book" that lists phone numbers and other contact details for members of Britain's royal family.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, those charged are:

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The Two-Way
6:39 am
Tue November 20, 2012

HP Takes $8.8 Billion Hit From 'Misrepresentations' By Company It Bought

At Hewlett-Packard headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:23 am

Saying it was a victim of "serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations" by a British software company it acquired last year, tech titan Hewlett-Packard just announced it erased $8.8 billion from its books last quarter to properly account for the acquisition.

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The Two-Way
6:06 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Britain Recognizes Syrian Opposition

Rubble litters the street in the main souk or market area of Maraat al-Numan, Syria.
John Cantlie AFP/Getty Images

Calling it the "sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said today that the U.K. is officially recognizing the Syrian National Coalition, Reuters reports.

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The Two-Way
5:51 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Christian Girl Accused Of Blasphemy Cleared By Pakistani Court

Rimsha Masih (left) was flown by military helicopter to a safe location after her release on bail in September. Now, she's been cleared of a blasphemy charge.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:34 am

Rimsha Masih, the young Christian Pakistani girl whose arrest earlier this year drew international attention, has been cleared of the blasphemy charge against her.

According to NPR's Jackie Northam, who is in Islamabad, Pakistan's High Court today threw out the charge against Rimsha because there was no hard evidence that she ever burned pages of the Quran, as neighbors had charged.

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Around the Nation
5:41 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Customers Help Robbed Coffee Kiosk Recover

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Asia
5:35 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Chinese Grandfather Models Teen Girls' Clothes

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Leading with a great pair of legs helps to make it as a model. And apparently, being a 72-year-old granddad doesn't hurt. Liu Xianping advised his granddaughter on her fashion business and thoughts on mix and match, then he modeled the look. The photos went viral. Sales skyrocketed. Here's how to get the look. Pile on the layers and lace and his signature thigh-high red stockings. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
5:34 am
Tue November 20, 2012

With Clinton In The Region, Israel, Hamas Continue To Trade Fire

Palestinians react after they checked the body of their family member killed in an Israeli air strike, at Al-Adwan Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday.
Chen Xu Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:53 am

(We rewrote the top of this post at 6:55 p.m. ET to sum up the day's news.)

Diplomatic efforts accelerated and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the region on Tuesday, but despite the buildup, despite the rumors of imminent peace, there was no cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas.

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Around the Nation
4:39 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Some Sandy-Damaged Homes Must Be Demolished

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In New York, the city is expected to begin demolishing some of the houses that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Inspectors have fanned out across the boroughs to places hard hit by the storm to decide which houses are safe to return to and which are not. Some of the most-damaged neighborhoods are along the coastal stretches of Staten Island. NPR's Jeff Brady began his story on the streets of the Midland Beach neighborhood.

(SOUNDBITE OF ENGINE)

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Middle East
4:37 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Gaza Strip Crisis Unites Palestinian Factions

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:52 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

For more on the politics within the Palestinian territories, we turn now to NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Gaza. He reports that the current conflict has helped unite Palestine's various factions and strengthened Hamas' domestic political position.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: A video on the Internet shows a concealed metal trapdoor in the ground opening automatically. On the underside of the door are missile tubes and the flag of the Islamic Jihad movement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROCKETS LAUNCHING)

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Middle East
4:34 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Push For Diplomatic Solution In Gaza Ramps Up

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Even as talk grows louder about a possible truce, intense air assaults went back and forth over the Israeli and Gaza border today. More Palestinians were killed overnight, pushing the death toll for days of fighting to over 100 for Palestinians and three Israelis.

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Business
3:23 am
Tue November 20, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:29 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business: 'Tis the season for shopping days with names.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's not just Black Friday anymore. With stores opening earlier and earlier, Black Friday is fast becoming Black Thursday. You might still go out and bargain hunt on Friday, but be warned, there's no rest for you on Saturday. There's now Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to buy from local stores.

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Asia
3:23 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Obama In Cambodia For East Asia Summit

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer in for Steve Inskeep.

After attending the annual summit of Southeast Asian leaders, President Obama is winging his way home this morning. And tomorrow, he'll issue the traditional Thanksgiving turkey pardon. Then after the holiday it's back to budget talks with congressional leaders deciding what else might be spared, and what government programs or tax breaks might feel the knife.

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Middle East
3:23 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Update On Gaza Conflict

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won't be hurrying home today, along with the president, but rather she's going to Jerusalem. There, she'll meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then on to meetings with Palestinians on the West Bank - and then to Cairo. The swirl of diplomatic activity is aimed at brokering a truce between Israel and Gaza. Rockets and missiles continue to fly, today, between Israel and the Hamas militants that now control Gaza.

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Business
3:23 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:25 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with mortgage hiring.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Banks are rushing to add employees to meet the demand for home loans. Low interest rates have sparked a record wave of mortgage activity, and the need for more people to process the paperwork. Mortgage employment rose by 9 percent this year, to its highest level since the financial crisis in 2008. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Around the Nation
3:23 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Drought Hurts U.S. Grain Exporters, Market Share

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 4:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now for today's business bottom line. Last summer's drought has brought bad news this fall - low crop yields, especially of corn; plus higher prices, and a prediction from the Department of Agriculture that corn exports will be at a 40-year low. The U.S. still is the world's biggest supplier of corn. But this year, American exporters won't be quite as dominant as usual, in the global corn market. From Missouri, Abbie Fentress Swanson reports on the impact this is having.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Space
1:28 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity dug up five scoops of sand from a patch nicknamed "Rocknest." A suite of instruments called SAM analyzed Martian soil samples, but the findings have not yet been released.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:11 pm

Scientists working on NASA's six-wheeled rover on Mars have a problem. But it's a good problem.

They have some exciting new results from one of the rover's instruments. On the one hand, they'd like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.

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Movies
1:26 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Controversial Casting For A Nina Simone Biopic

Nina Simone (left) and actress Zoe Saldana are seen in this composite image. Saldana has been cast to play the late singer in a film biopic.
John Minihan/Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 9:35 am

The rumors that had been around for a couple of years have finally been confirmed: At long last, there's a film in the works about the turbulent life of Nina Simone, otherwise known as the "High Priestess of Soul."

Simone was famous from the 1950s through the '70s for her music and her civil rights activism. And although she died in 2003, her voice remains popular on TV, movie soundtracks and commercials.

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Law
1:25 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Will U.S. Try To Snuff Out State Marijuana Laws?

A worker inspects a marijuana plant at a grow house in Denver on Nov. 8.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:54 pm

The Justice Department has a big decision to make.

Parts of new laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana will take effect early next month. The Obama administration needs to choose whether it will sue to stop the legislation or let those states go their own way — even though the drug remains illegal under federal law.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, says the message he got from voters is unambiguous.

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Business
1:20 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Tempted By Holiday Discounts, Consumers 'Self-Gift'

People crowd the aisles inside Macy's department store Nov. 25, 2011, in New York after the midnight opening to begin the "Black Friday" shopping weekend.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 3:23 am

Have you ever been out shopping for other people during the holiday season, and the sales were so good you couldn't help but buy something for yourself?

The National Retail Federation calls that self-gifting, and says that this year consumers who do it plan to spend an average of about $140.

Spokeswoman Kathy Grannis says that's the most in the 10 years the NRF has been asking shoppers about the trend.

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It's All Politics
4:19 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Siren: Meet The Man Behind The Curtain

Peter G. Peterson speaks at the Fiscal Summit in Washington, D.C., last year. The event was sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 6:28 pm

Debate over the long-term debt and the annual deficit has dominated the post-election agenda. Both the White House and Congress want to avert massive budget cuts and tax hikes early next year, a situation popularly called the "fiscal cliff."

The challenge has been brewing for years. But its current prominence owes much to the decades-long lobbying of billionaire Peter G. Peterson and his private foundation.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Documents Show FBI Kept Tabs On Stalin's Daughter After Defection

You may remember that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's only daughter, who had defected to the U.S. in 1967, died last year. Today, The Associated Press reports that the FBI kept close tabs on Lana Peters after her defection to determine how her presence in the U.S. was affecting international relations.

The AP obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act following Peters' death at age 85 in a Wisconsin nursing home.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:15 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Beethoven's Famous 4 Notes: Truly Revolutionary Music

An autographed portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 9:00 am

A new book, a new recording and some old instruments, all addressing the most memorable phrase in music: the opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

Matthew Guerrieri has written a book about this symphony, called The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination. Guerrieri writes about how Beethoven's piece resonated with everyone from revolutionaries to Romantics, and German nationalists to anti-German resistance fighters.

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