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NPR Story
2:46 am
Wed September 5, 2012

No Breakthroughs In Clinton's Trip To China

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been visiting Chinese officials, talking of mutual cooperation, despite a lot of tension. So far her visit to Beijing has produced no breakdowns but also no breakthroughs. Here's NPR's Louisa Lim.

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NPR Story
2:46 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Elephant Poaching In Africa Is On The Rise

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 10:17 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

State Department officials have been saying that Secretary Clinton wants to push the Chinese on a surprising issue: elephants. Thousands of African elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory. The New York Times reports they are the latest plunder taken by armed African groups - a little like blood diamonds - and most of the ivory goes to China. Jeffrey Gettleman wrote the Times report after spending time in a national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He's on the line from that country. Welcome to the program.

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Election 2012
2:46 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Colo. Gov. Hickenlooper To Address Convention

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is among the scheduled speakers at the Democratic Convention tonight. The former brew pub owner is one of the most popular governors in the country, and the Obama campaign hopes his popularity will help the party, once again, with the battleground state of Colorado in November. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC has this profile.

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Business
2:46 am
Wed September 5, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:15 am

One of those vegetarian-only outlets will be in the city of Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple, the holiest site for India's Sikh religion. The other will be near a Hindu mountain shrine.

Election 2012
2:46 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Obama Needs Minority Voters On His Side

Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, speaker after speaker made the case that voters should give President Obama four more years. Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal tells Steve Inskeep that to get that chance; the president will need to win 80 percent of minority voters.

Around the Nation
1:24 am
Wed September 5, 2012

The Strange Story Of The Man Behind 'Strange Fruit'

Abel Meeropol watches as his sons, Robert and Michael, play with a train set.
Courtesy of Robert and Michael Meeropol

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 1:37 pm

One of Billie Holiday's most iconic songs is "Strange Fruit," a haunting protest against the inhumanity of racism. Many people know that the man who wrote the song was inspired by a photograph of a lynching. But they might not realize that he's also tied to another watershed moment in America's history.

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All Tech Considered
1:23 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Web-Based Subscription Businesses Surf A New Wave

Customers of Dollar Shave Club say that the company's sense of humor — as seen in an absurdist video of CEO Michael Dubin in his warehouse — has helped win them over.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:43 pm

The newspaper boy and the milkman might not come around as often as they used to, but the days of subscription and delivery aren't over. The Internet and overnight delivery have combined to make a new type of subscription business possible. The sales pitch is part convenience, part price and part cool factor.

Making Razors Cheap, And Cool

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Middle East
1:22 am
Wed September 5, 2012

A Syrian Village Is Oasis Of Calm Amid Conflict

Dr. Mahmoud Hasson, a specialist in internal medicine, runs a new hospital in the Syrian village of Kfar Ghan, a protected area along the border with Turkey. The Turkish government warned that any Syrian military aircraft near the border would be a target.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:58 am

Driving into Kfar Ghan, you notice the difference right away: The shops are open, there are kids on the street, there's even a row of open-air vegetable stalls and a crowd of shoppers.

There is a full spread of watermelon, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes. All the farmers from the area have brought their produce to the market in this Syrian village, about a mile from the Turkish border.

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Business
1:21 am
Wed September 5, 2012

'Quite Good' May Not Be Good Enough For GM

The General Motors logo is displayed atop the Renaissance Center in Detroit. The automaker, while doing much better following the government bailout, is still lagging some of its competitors.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:54 pm

When you talk to car people about General Motors, they all say the company has gotten better.

"I think General Motors, productwise, is in a better position than it's been in a decade or so," says Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book. "The new products, we feel ... are all quite good."

Like many people, however, Nerad adds an important caveat. He says GM's improvement doesn't mean the company is completely out of the woods, because the competition is very good as well.

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Education
1:20 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Florida Schools In Session, But Teachers Absent

Thousands of students in Florida are starting the school year without permanent teachers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:46 am

Schools have been open for a couple of weeks across much of Florida, but not all of the students know who their teachers are yet. There's typically a lot of teacher turnover during the summer break, and schools can't always get vacant teaching positions filled by the time school starts.

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It's All Politics
12:47 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Payroll Tax Holiday May Not Survive Year's End

The Social Security tax rate is scheduled to revert to 6.2 percent next year, up from the temporary reduction — to 4.2 percent on an employee's first $110,000 in wages — which has been in effect since January 2011.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:46 am

An occasional series, Fiscal Cliff Notes breaks down the looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and deep automatic spending cuts set to hit around the first of year.

If you work, you've probably been getting this tax break: Since January 2011, the government has knocked 2 percentage points off the payroll tax.

For someone making $50,000 a year, the payroll tax holiday works out to about $20 a week.

"We definitely notice it," says Steve Warner of Winter Haven, Fla., while on vacation with his family recently in the nation's capital.

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Europe
12:38 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Educated Russians Often Lured To Leave

Russia is suffering from an exodus of educated, talented citizens, including scientists. Here, scientists rally in Moscow to demand the government increase funding for science last October.
Kirill Kudryavtsev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 9:43 am

Russia has been facing troubling demographics ever since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. The population has contracted by several million people over this period. The birth rate is low. Life expectancy for men is still less than 65 years.

And there is also a sense that many educated, talented people are leaving the country.

To take one example, the world of science lit up in July, when a billionaire Internet investor named Yuri Milner announced nine prizes for some of the world's most innovative thinkers in physics.

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Sweetness And Light
12:24 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Southern Pride And The Southeastern Conference

Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin speaks to reporters at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media day.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 2:09 pm

Well, the Southeastern Conference season has begun. I have it on good authority that other college football teams around the country will also be playing games this fall.

I don't know when exactly the SEC took over America. I know this is hard to believe, but the epicenter of college football used to be in the Midwest. I'm so old, I can remember when Notre Dame actually mattered, and the real tough players were supposed to come from Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.

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It's All Politics
10:31 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Five Takeaways From Tuesday At The Democratic Convention

First lady Michelle Obama waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:41 am

If you missed the opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., we live blogged it here.

We've also compiled five things that struck us about the night:

'Mom In Chief' Takes A Stand: There is no question that the first night of the convention belonged to first lady Michelle Obama, who delivered a sweeping, personal and dramatic endorsement of her husband, President Obama.

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It's All Politics
10:26 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Chat Archive: Tuesday At The Democratic Convention

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 9:51 pm

On Tuesday, NPR's Frank James hosted a live chat during the Democratic convention. He was joined by Neal Carruth, NPR's elections editor; political science professors Sarah Treul of the University of North Carolina and Melody Crowder-Meyer of Sewanee: The University of the South; and Jake Silverstein, editor of Texas Monthly.

Read below to see how it unfolded.

It's All Politics
10:19 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Michelle Obama: "Being President ... Reveals Who You Are'

First lady Michelle Obama speaks Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 6:55 am

There were a lot of preliminaries, but it was Michelle Obama's show Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, and she used it masterfully — carrying a rapt crowd along with a narrative of family, hard work, and truth-telling.

Largely wrung of politics, the first lady's speech plotted parallels in her life and that of her husband, President Obama. She pointedly tracked their humble beginnings and strivings in an unspoken but clear contrast to the privileged upbringing of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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

Pentagon Unhappy With 'No Easy Day,' As Book On Bin Laden Raid Tops Charts

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:37 am

Defense Department officials say that No Easy Day, former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette's book about the secret mission to kill Osama bin Laden, includes classified information that may harm U.S. military operations. The book went on sale yesterday despite the Pentagon's warnings of possible legal action last week.

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It's All Politics
5:19 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Mormon Democrats Battling Romney — And What Would Be Church History

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., attends a practice session at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. On Tuesday, Reid also attended a gathering with other Mormon Democrats.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 11:53 am

They billed the gathering in a Charlotte, N.C., Holiday Inn conference room Tuesday as the first national meeting of Mormon Democrats.

Don't laugh. Crystal Young-Otterstrom says she figures there are 1 million of them out there, and she's determined to find them.

"It's like a missionary effort," Young-Otterstrom said in a room packed with the curious, the media and a cadre of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints making the argument that the Democratic Party best represents their personal and religious values.

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Election 2012
4:09 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Democratic Convention: A Viewer's Guide

Bennett Raglin Getty Images for Macy's

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 11:01 pm

Speakers of interest at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Some Black Leaders Say Dream Realized, Focus Now On Work

Dianne Hart and Marcus Wheeler are both Florida delegates. Said Wheeler, of President Obama: "I would have the same expectation for any president that I have for him."
Liz Halloran NPR

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 4:27 pm

Over the past four years, the presidential narrative has shifted for African-Americans like Louisiana state Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith of Baton Rouge.

"I'm 66 years old," said Smith, at an event Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., for black state legislators here for the Democratic National Convention. "And before 2008, I didn't think I'd live to see a dream come true."

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The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

To Some Runners, Zombies Are A Killer Motivator

A runner tries to escape with his life as zombies pursue him during the Run for Your Lives race. The 5K course is littered with obstacles — and the undead.
HGL

Some people run for charity; some run for their health. And some run because it's the only way to escape the ravenous brain-eating zombies who chase them. No, that's not a movie plot. It's essentially the pitch for Run for Your Lives, a "zombie-infested 5K obstacle race" whose popularity has surprised even its organizers.

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It's All Politics
3:31 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Live Blog: Tuesday At The Democratic National Convention

A general view of the start of Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:56 pm

  • NPR Special Coverage, Hour 1
  • NPR Special Coverage, Hour 2
  • NPR Special Coverage, Hour 3

Good evening from Charlotte, N.C., where Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz gaveled the convention to order promptly at 5 p.m. ET. in Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena.

Schultz, who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said that throughout the next three days, "we will demonstrate we need to keep President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden four more years."

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Shots - Health Blog
3:06 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

High Blood Pressure: Often Recognized, But Still Poorly Controlled

Knowing your blood pressure is just the beginning.
iStockphoto.com

After decades of encouragement, Americans are getting their blood pressure checked more often.

And there's a little more good news, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most adults with high blood pressure are being treated these days.

But, and you knew there had to be a but, more than half of all Americans with hypertension — about 36 million people, all told — still haven't got it under control.

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Author Interviews
2:31 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

An Individualist Approach To The Hebrew Bible

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 2:35 pm

Hebrew scripture is a "message in a bottle," says Yoram Hazony, and in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, he tries to decipher that message. Hazony's new book makes the case for a different reading of the ancient texts — and argues that the Hebrew Bible is a work of philosophy in narrative form.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
2:17 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Bridging The Gap Between Two Neighborhoods

An illustration for a park proposed for Washington's old 11th Street Bridge. If realized, the park would span the Anacostia River, linking the Capitol Hill neighborhood with lower-income Anacostia.
Ed Estes Courtesy of D.C. Office of Planning

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 5:19 pm

Cities around the nation have tried a variety of approaches to revitalizing their urban cores. Some have turned to repurposing old infrastructure to breathe new life into neighborhoods.

One such effort is under way in the nation's capital, where the redevelopment of a bridge linking a wealthy part of the city with a lower-income one may present an opportunity — if an ambitious park plan can be brought to fruition.

A '21st Century Playground'

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It's All Politics
1:28 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Are You Better Off? Democrats In Charlotte Say It's Complicated

Caroline Sink (from left), Liz McKeithen, Mary Edith Alexander and Sue Collins were handing out lemonade and cookies in front of the First Presbyterian Church.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 3:21 pm

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

As Mark reported earlier, that's the question Republicans want Americans to ask themselves as they head to the polls this November.

The question was brought to the forefront after Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley was asked that question on CBS' Face the Nation.

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Africa
1:26 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Decades Later, South African Miners Sue Employers

Armstrong Ngutyana (left), 55, and Dumisani Mjolwa, 65, were gold miners during the apartheid era. Both worked underground for nearly three decades. They developed lung disease and were forced to quit their jobs, but received only minimal compensation. They are now part of a class-action lawsuit against South African mining companies.
Anders Kelto for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 2:35 pm

South Africa's mining industry is under heavy scrutiny after 44 people died during protests at a platinum mine near Johannesburg. Now, the industry is facing challenges on another front: Lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against three of the country's biggest gold mining companies.

They're suing on behalf of miners who worked during the apartheid era and now have lung disease.

A settlement in the case — and another like it — could reach into the billions of dollars.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

State Must Grant Murder Convict A Sex Change Operation, Judge Rules

Michelle Kosilek, formerly known as Robert, in 1993.
Lisa Bul AP

A federal judge in Boston today "ordered state prison officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison" for murder, The Associated Press writes.

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Education
1:15 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Can A New Building Save A Failing School?

Research shows that students who attend school in buildings that are in disrepair score lower on state tests than students in satisfactory buildings.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 3:59 pm

When students and teachers at School 16 in Rochester, N.Y., start the new school year in a newer school building, they'll leave their old building's laundry list of infrastructure problems behind.

As teachers finish unloading boxes and setting up their new classrooms, they hope the newer, nicer digs will give students renewed pride in their school. Education experts say the move could also bring a bump to the school's flagging test scores, because better school buildings actually improve academic performance.

A Drain On Spirit And A Drain On Grades

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From Our Listeners
12:51 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Letters: Unemployed Veterans And Being Mormon

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. Last week we talked about the high levels of unemployment veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq face and how difficult it can be to translate military training into civilian job skills. Not exactly the problem that listener Corey Morris faces in Denver. My husband served a 15-month tour in Iraq, and as a dentist he had no trouble getting work in the civilian world, she wrote. The issue I would like raise is that of spouses transitioning back.

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