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Author Interviews
12:15 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Mickey Edwards On Democracy's 'Cancer'

Mickey Edwards served as a Republican congressman for Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District from 1977 to 1993.
Gia Regan Yale University Press

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:48 pm

In his 16 years in Congress, Republican Mickey Edwards came to a strong conclusion: Political parties are the "cancer at the heart of our democracy," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

In his new book, The Parties Versus the People, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma details how party leaders have too much control over who runs for office, what bills make it to the floor and how lawmakers vote.

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The Salt
12:07 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

McDonald's Goes Vegetarian — In India

Even this Maharaja Mac, made specifically for the Indian market, will be off the menu at the new vegetarian McDonald's in India.
kawanet Flickr.com

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:13 pm

McDonald's, home of the iconic Big Mac, is going vegetarian. Well, at least in India, where 20 to 42 percent or more of the population (depending on how you count) eschews meat, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

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Middle East
12:07 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

What's Changed In Egypt Since Morsi Took Office

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 6:32 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In just over two months in office, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has asserted himself on several fronts. Just weeks after his election, he fired several senior defense officials, effectively seizing power from the military government that ruled after former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down.

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NPR Story
11:59 am
Tue September 4, 2012

'Rights Of Publicity' Extended Beyond The Grave

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:23 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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NPR Story
11:59 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Security Cameras In School: Protective Or Invasive?

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Students in many schools across the country will notice something new as classes' resume. Clifton High School in New Jersey, Garnet Valley High School in Pennsylvania, Ottumwa High School in Iowa, just three of the many schools that installed security cameras in hallways, classrooms, cafeterias, in buses and gymnasiums.

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NPR Story
11:59 am
Tue September 4, 2012

In A Crisis, Did You Act Or Did You Freeze?

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:51 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

Last week, on the first day of classes at a Baltimore high school, panic broke out when a student opened fire in the cafeteria. One student was shot in the back and remains in critical condition, but it might have been much worse if not for guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer, who wrestled the shooter to the ground. He's being called a hero.

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Author Interviews
11:48 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Conservation Biologist Explains Why 'Feathers' Matter

Thor Hanson's own cast of Archaeopteryx lithographica presents what he calls the "ancient wing written in stone."
Thor Hanson Basic Books

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:11 pm

It was the absence of feathers that got conservation biologist Thor Hanson thinking about the significance of them. Hanson was in Kenya studying the feeding habits of vultures, and he noticed the advantages that vultures had relative to other birds because of their bare, featherless heads.

"Having lost their feathers allows [vultures] to remain much cleaner and more free from bacteria and parasites and disease," Hanson tells Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:23 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Zanzibar Shows Cholera Vaccine Can Protect Even The Unvaccinated

A vaccine against cholera bacteria like these protected people in Zanzibar.
CDC

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 12:09 pm

Cholera vaccine gives indirect protection to unvaccinated people in communities where a substantial fraction of the population gets the vaccine, a study in Africa shows.

The effect is called "herd immunity." It works because there are fewer bacteria circulating in communities where vaccination levels are relatively high.

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Business
10:38 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Automakers Report Strong August Sales

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with auto sales on a fast track.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Music Reviews
10:30 am
Tue September 4, 2012

When Ian Hunter Is 'President'

Ian Hunter once is at once crafty and mindful of craft, striving mightily to make his music seem tossed off.
Ross Halfin

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 1:54 pm

Recently, I was listening to a new tribute album covering the songs of Fleetwood Mac, and thought once again how dreadful most tribute albums are: They don't add much to the legacy of the artists being saluted, while inadvertently freezing vital old music in an amber of sentimentality. Then I turned to When I'm President, an album of new songs by Ian Hunter.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Ex-NFL Star Strahan Joins 'Live! With Kelly'

The new team: Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan earlier today in New York City.
Ben Gabbe Getty Images

Live! With Kelly is now Live! with Kelly and Michael.

Michael Strahan, a retired defensive end from the New York Giants, was officially named today to fill Regis Philbin's slot on ABC-TV's popular daytime chat show.

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Middle East
9:58 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Syrian Rebel Leader Keeps Order On The Border

Syrian rebels captured the Bab al-Salam crossing on the border with Turkey in July. Large numbers of refugees fleeing northern Syria for Turkey come to the crossing, which is orderly and well-run, at least for now.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 6:32 am

The Bab al-Salam border crossing, on Syria's northern border with Turkey, has settled into an orderly routine.

Back in July, rebel brigades wrested this border post in Syria's strategic Aleppo province from President Bashar Assad's army in a fierce battle. Now, passports are stamped and cars inspected by the rebels — polite, young, bearded men who wear mismatched military uniforms or civilian clothes.

While the military confrontation was a joint operation, bringing together many rebel brigades, the Northern Storm brigade retains exclusive control of the border post.

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The Two-Way
9:28 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Big Three All Posted Double-Digit Gains In Auto Sales Last Month

A Dodge Ram pickup on sale at Criswell Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Gaithersburg, Md.
Gary Cameron Reuters /Landov

"All three Detroit automakers saw double-digit sales increases in August compared with the same month last year," the Detroit Free Press writes. The gains "show that the automotive industry remains one of the economy's few bright spots," it adds.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:02 am
Tue September 4, 2012

More Employers' Health Plans Include Benefits For Transgender People

A growing number of companies are changing their health insurance plans to include benefits for transgender employees.

Yet even though professional groups such as the American Medical Association recommend coverage of services for transgender people —who identify with a gender other than the one they were born as—many companies continue to hold back. One of their big worries is cost.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Rumors Of Son's Sexcapade Behind A Ferrari's Wheel Rock China's Leadership

Ling Jihua, left, looked on in March 2010 as Chinese President Hu Jintao, signed a document at the closing ceremony of the National People's Congress in Beijing. Ling has been shifted to a lesser position.
Andy Wong AP

A top lieutenant to Chinese President Hu Jintao has been shifted to a lesser position because of "a lurid new scandal" involving the fiery crash of his son's Ferrari in March, The Associated Press writes.

According to the AP:

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It's All Politics
7:52 am
Tue September 4, 2012

At DNC, Julián Castro Tackles Comparisons To President Obama

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, left, and his twin brother State Rep. Joaquin Castro give an interview during preparations for the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Monday.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

As is traditional, first lady Michelle Obama will be the featured speaker on the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Thursday.

But the buzz in the political sphere and in the city is all about San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, who has the distinction of being the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic convention.

Outside of Texas, however, Castro is essentially unknown.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Tue September 4, 2012

'Queen Of Cocaine' Is Gunned Down In Colombia

Griselda Blanco, the "queen of cocaine," in a 2004 photo posted by the Florida Department of Corrections.
Fla. Dept. of Corrections

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:18 am

Talk about your just deserts:

"A Colombian drug trafficker, known as the 'queen of cocaine,' has been killed in the city of Medellin," the BBC writes. "Griselda Blanco, 69, was shot dead by gunmen as she was leaving a butcher's."

That rather dry report doesn't do justice to the life and death of Blanco, though. As Miami New Times writes, her assassination on Monday:

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The Two-Way
5:56 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Power's Still Out For Many After Isaac, And They're Boiling

Kids in New Orleans on Monday getting some relief from the heat thanks to ice being distributed to those without power.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Check this fresh headline from The Times-Picayune in New Orleans:

"Public's anger at lengthy power outage after Isaac boils over."

According to the newspaper, after six days of camping outside in sweltering temperatures because Hurricane Isaac knocked out power last week, there are many angry folks in the city and surrounding parishes.

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Around the Nation
5:33 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Secret Service Blunders Make News

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:38 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:24 am
Tue September 4, 2012

How Do You Flip A 1-Ton Hamburger Patty?

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:38 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Two-Way
5:23 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Are You Better Off? That's The Question As Democrats Gather

One of the many mementos for sale at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Win McNamee Getty Images
  • Mara Liasson on 'Morning Edition'

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

That classic question — so famously asked by then-candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980 — is again a topic of great debate as Democrats kick off their 2012 national convention in Charlotte, N.C.

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Economy
4:31 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Democrats' Convention To Focus On Jobs, Economy

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:38 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, as you can hear from Scott's report, the economy is a top issue in this campaign.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So it's fitting that the Democratic Convention was preceded by Labor Day and will be followed by Friday's release of the latest employment numbers.

INSKEEP: NPR's Yuki Noguchi talked with voters about jobs on Labor Day.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: This year, Labor Day festivities came to Charlotte in the form of a huge street party.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

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Asia
4:23 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Generators Power Through India's Blackouts

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 3:30 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

The blackout that recently disrupted electricity across northern India is said to have affected more people than any previous power outage ever. It covered an area that's home to some 670 million people; that would be roughly 10 percent of the world's population. Still, large numbers of Indians living in the blackout zone barely noticed it happened. From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy explains.

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Business
4:23 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Author Caught Writing His Own Glowing Review

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 11:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Today's last word in business is really written by Steve Inskeep.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And really written by David Greene. We feel obliged to mention that because a British author is in trouble for writing under a pseudonym.

GREENE: Amazon, the bookselling site, allows people to write short reviews of books. And the best-selling novelist R.J. Ellroy was caught anonymously writing glowing reviews of his own work.

INSKEEP: Mr. Ellroy praised himself for his, quote, "magnificent genius."

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Election 2012
4:23 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Democrats Gather In Charlotte To Renominate Obama

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:38 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Democrats hold their convention this week. And yesterday on this program, we heard one version of the challenge President Obama will face. Cokie Roberts said the president will need to talk of more than President Bush's failures and Mitt Romney's tax returns. He will face the challenge of defending his own record and speaking of what he'd do in four more years.

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Business
4:23 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:38 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with iPhones and Kindles and Droids - oh, my.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Tech giants Nokia, Motorola and Amazon are all expected to announce new hand-held devices this week. It may be an attempt to keep pace with Apple, now the largest U.S. company ever. Apple's rumored to be unveiling its new iPhone at a news conference next week.

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Election 2012
3:15 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Mayor Castro, 1st Latino To Give DNC Keynote Speech

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (left) stands onstage with his twin, Joaquin, during preparations Monday for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The mayor will give the keynote address Tuesday night, introduced by his brother, a Texas legislator.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:38 am

Julian Castro, the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio, Texas, has been called the new face of the Democratic Party. And on Tuesday night, he'll become the first Latino to deliver the keynote speech at the party's national convention.

Over the weekend, parishioners at St. Paul Catholic Church in San Antonio sent off one of their own with a breakfast taco rally.

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The Salt
1:22 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You

A shopper surveys the produce at Pacifica Farmers Market in Pacifica, Calif., in 2011.
AP

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:13 pm

Yes, organics is a $29 billion industry and still growing. Something is pulling us toward those organic veggies that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

But if you're thinking that organic produce will help you stay healthier, a new finding may come as a surprise. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.

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Afghanistan
1:21 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Afghans Seek A Homegrown Plan For Security

An Afghan man inspects a motorcycle used in a suicide attack in a parking lot holding dozens of trucks supplying the NATO-run Kandahar Air Base in June. Bombings and assassinations are on the rise in Kandahar. Last month, a suicide bomber struck the convoy of the provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq, who was severely injured.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:38 am

For years, Kandahar province has been a key focus of NATO's efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. The volatile region is the birthplace of the Taliban, and its capital is the country's second-largest city.

American troops have begun leaving this area by the thousands and are handing security responsibilities over to Afghan forces. Afghan officials claim things are getting better.

But many residents don't trust Western forces or their own government's claims, and they are now turning to a third party for help.

A Dangerous City

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