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Melissa Block, Michelle Norris, Robert Siegel

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Around the Nation
3:43 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

In Wake Of Recession, Immigrant Births Plunge

A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record. It's fallen twice as much among the foreign-born.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:45 pm

A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record, led by a dramatic decline in births among immigrant women. The trend has been visible at La Clinica del Pueblo, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that holds a weekly neonatal clinic.

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Business
3:25 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

A Bet Or A Prediction? Intrade's Purpose Is Debated

Ireland-based Intrade lets users bet money on all manner of predictions — like if a particular film will win an Oscar. The site is ceasing operations in the U.S.
NPR/Intrade screen grab

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:02 pm

The popular website Intrade allows its users to bet on the odds of almost anything — like whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will get ousted by a certain date, or whether the movie Argo will win best picture at the Oscars.

This week, Ireland-based Intrade announced that U.S. users will have to unwind their bets and shut down their accounts by the end of the year. That's after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Intrade for operating an unregistered exchange.

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All Tech Considered
3:25 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Yet Another Shift In Facebook Policies Raises Privacy Concerns

Joerg Koch AP

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:37 pm

Facebook has a long history of upsetting its users by suddenly announcing a change to its privacy settings. In 2009, as a way to quiet the critics, Facebook set up a system for its customers to vote on changes. If enough of them were unhappy, the company would back down. Now, Facebook wants to get rid of the voting.

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It's All Politics
2:51 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Would Raising Taxes On Investment Income Hurt The Economy?

A screen grab from an ad by the Defend My Dividend campaign, which is funded by utilities and other companies. They don't support a proposed increase in taxes from investment income.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:53 pm

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The Salt
2:02 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Tastier Winter Tomatoes, Thanks To A Boom In Greenhouse Growing

The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Allison Aubrey NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:36 am

It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.

But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.

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Shots - Health News
1:54 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Clinton Reveals Blueprint For An 'AIDS-Free Generation'

United Nations Aids Executive Director Michel Sibide hugs Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after they they presented the a road map for stopping HIV around the world.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:52 am

Before Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton passes the reins to her successor, she's got a few loose ends to tie up. One of them is mapping out the U.S.'s continuing efforts to combat AIDS around the world.

So today she unveiled a "blueprint" for what she called an "AIDS-free generation."

Now Clinton isn't talking about ending the HIV pandemic altogether. Rather, she hopes to prevent most new infections from occurring in the first place and to stop HIV-positive people from developing AIDS.

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Space
12:05 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Space Probe Finds Ice In Mercury's Craters

Researchers say they have identified traces of ice in craters on Mercury, seen here in this Oct. 8, 2008, image from the Messenger spacecraft.
NASA

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:37 pm

Mercury is not the first planet to come to mind if you were searching for ice in the solar system. After all, the surface temperature across most of the planet is hot enough to melt lead.

But at the poles on Mercury it's a different story. Almost no sun reaches the poles, and as a result, temperatures can drop to less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, three papers in the journal Science suggest there really is ice at the bottom of craters near the poles on Mercury.

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The Salt
6:16 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

No Simple Recipe For Weighing Food Waste At Mario Batali's Lupa

Glen Osterberg (right) and another line cook at Lupa learn how to use the LeanPath waste tracking software.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 7:44 am

Every year, restaurants throw away as much as 10 percent of the food they buy, as we reported yesterday, yet food waste ranks low on most chefs' list of priorities. But some restaurants want to do something about food waste in their quest to go green. That includes Mario Batali's Lupa Osteria Romana, one of New York's trendiest restaurants.

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Research News
3:47 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

A Short Fuse For Fusion As Ignition Misses Deadline

A worker inspects a huge target chamber at the National Ignition Facility in California, in 2001, where beams from 192 lasers are aimed at a pellet of fusion fuel in the hopes of creating nuclear fusion.
Joe McNally Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 1:07 am

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Religion
3:22 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Mormonism: A Scrutinized, Yet Evolving Faith

temple
George Frey Reuters

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:58 pm

Mitt Romney refused to mix religion with politics in this year's presidential campaign, but that didn't repress people's curiosity about Mormonism. His candidacy brought the homegrown faith into the spotlight.

Patrick Mason, a professor and chairman of the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University, says attention paid to his faith has been twofold. On one hand, it's been good for attracting new converts. On the other hand, it's turned Mormonism into something of a cultural punch line.

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NPR Story
2:28 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Republican Cole Breaks Party Ranks On Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:47 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block.

And we begin this hour with the nation's fiscal crisis. Congress and the White House have just 34 days to end the debate over revenue hikes and entitlement cuts and steer us clear of the fiscal cliff.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Syrian Rebels Claim They Shot Down Fighter Jet With A Missile

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:47 pm

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Movie Interviews
1:07 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Marion Cotillard, Diving Deep In 'Rust And Bone'

In Rust and Bone, Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard plays an orca trainer who loses her legs in a freak accident.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:47 pm

The latest film for Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone, is a French art film about two broken individuals who find love at the edge of the sea. It's poetic, lyrical — and not necessarily playing at a theater near you.

That was not the case earlier this summer, when Cotillard appeared as one of the central characters in the blockbuster Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Pelosi: The Fiscal Cliff Debate Is 'A Clear One; The People Have Spoken'

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi smiles while speaking to the media.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:47 pm

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader in the House, says she's optimistic that Democrats and Republicans will reach a deal that would avoid triggering a wide array of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect in the new year and that experts say could send the economy into a recession.

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Europe
4:12 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

For Cyprus' North And South, A Reversal Of Fortunes

Fikri Toros, a Turkish Cypriot businessman, says his family's company struggled for years because of embargoes and a weak Turkish lira. But its fortunes have improved with Turkey's economy.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 4:05 pm

Just a few years ago, Cyprus was considered a wealthy country, though that referred mostly to the Greek Cypriots on the southern part of the divided island. When Cyprus entered the eurozone in 2008, analysts were wondering what would become of the much poorer north, which has been occupied by Turkey since a 1974 war.

Now, the Turks in northern Cyprus have the booming economy, while Greek Cypriots, crippled by exposure to ailing Greek banks, are waiting for final approval on what will be the fourth sovereign bailout of a eurozone country.

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Latin America
3:44 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Mexico's Drug War Is Changing Childhood

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 3:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Since the drug war in Mexico began in 2006, more than 50,000 people have been killed and organized crime has infiltrated, in one way or another, virtually every part of society. Many children have lost family members or become victims themselves. Cartels have also begun recruiting kids to work, often as mules. Even those young people who don't feel the drug war directly have to confront its effects on TV and at school, where bullies imitate narco-traffickers.

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Education
2:25 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

As Colleges Retool Aid, Can Entry Stay Need-Blind?

Cornell University just converted some of its grants into loans.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:23 pm

With money coming in more slowly than the financial aid given out, schools say they are nearing the breaking point, and even the most selective elite universities are rethinking their generosity.

"It just became clear that if we continue to give more and more aid, the numbers don't add up," says Raynard Kington, head of Grinnell College. Thanks to longtime former board member Warren Buffett, Grinnell has an endowment bigger than most schools dream of. For years, that's enabled Grinnell to admit students on a need-blind basis — and then give them as much aid as they need.

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It's All Politics
2:05 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Obama Team Works To Keep Grass Roots From Drying Up In Second Term

A campaign volunteer wears a button as President Obama speaks at a campaign event in Maumee, Ohio. Now that the election is over, the Obama team is trying to keep supporters engaged in the president's second term.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 3:55 pm

On Wednesday, President Obama will meet with middle-class Americans who will be affected by a tax increase if the country goes over the fiscal cliff. The White House put out a call for their stories last week.

That dialogue with the American people is part of a broader White House effort to keep campaign supporters engaged during Obama's second term. It's a big change from the first term — and it's not an easy undertaking.

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The Record
2:05 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

R. Kelly's Queer, Campy 'Closet' Reopens

R. Kelly (left) as Sylvester, and Eric Lane as Twan, in Trapped in the Closet, which relaunched with new chapters last week on IFC.
Parrish Lewis IFC

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 3:55 pm

There's really been nothing like Trapped in the Closet ever before.

R&B star R. Kelly has been making (and remaking) a series of short music videos that tell a flamboyant narrative in less-than-five-minute installments. The first batch of several dozen appeared online in 2005. Now, there's a total of 40 "chapters" that aired last Friday on IFC, with the latest ones being released online one at a time for the next week.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:30 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?

Does This Guy Matter? Conductor Leonard Bernstein during rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1977.
James Garrett New York Daily News via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:12 am

Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?

They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?

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Africa
5:00 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Egyptian Judges Prepare For A Strike

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 6:21 pm

After a series of controversial decrees by Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, the country's judges are conflicted over what to do.

The president and Egypt's highest judicial authority met Monday to try to resolve the crisis, but the decrees, which essentially nullify judicial oversight, remained in place. And the judges are going ahead with plans for a strike.

Yussef Auf has been a judge for 10 years and says he has never witnessed such an affront to his profession.

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U.S.
3:57 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Will Florida Pythons Slither To Rest Of The U.S.?

A Burmese python coils around the arm of a hunter during a news conference in 2010 in the Florida Everglades. New research suggests that the pythons won't spread through the American Southeast, as previously believed.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:42 pm

There are several exotic snake species that have become a problem in the Everglades. But for wildlife managers, the biggest headache is the Burmese python.

Earlier this year, researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey captured the largest Burmese python yet in Everglades National Park. Three USGS staffers had to wrestle the snake out of a plastic crate to measure it. The snake was a 17-foot-7-inch female carrying 87 eggs.

Wildlife managers are working to get a handle on the problem of exotic snakes in South Florida; but the snakes have already made a big impact.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:44 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Post-Sandy Aid Inaccessible For Some Immigrants

Rosa Maria Ramirez lost most of her belongings in the storm and is moving out of her damaged house on Staten Island. Because she's undocumented, she doesn't qualify for federal financial disaster assistance.
Reema Khrais NPR

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:41 pm

The living room was muddy and foul when 16-year-old Prisma revisited her family's apartment days after Superstorm Sandy washed through it last month. The furniture was tarnished, and most of the family's belongings were scattered and in ruins. The home was uninhabitable.

"Everything was completely in a different place," Prisma says. "It was really nasty."

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Law
3:00 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Who's A Supervisor When It Comes To Harassment?

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 6:31 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case that asks the justices to define who is a "supervisor" when the issue is harassment in the workplace. The definition is important because employers are automatically liable for damages in most cases in which a supervisor harasses a subordinate.

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All Tech Considered
2:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Spain Hopes For Economic Boost With Wave-Powered Electricity Plant

Residents of Mutriku, a fishing village on Spain's northern coast, lounge at their local beach, protected from fierce Atlantic waves by a cement breakwater that also houses Europe's first wave energy plant.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:18 pm

Waves constantly thrash the fishing village of Mutriku on Spain's northern coast. Records from the 13th century describe the dangerous surf and shipwrecks here. Until recently, water occasionally hurled debris through windows of homes, before the local government built a cement breakwater to shelter the harbor.

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Shots - Health News
2:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

In Juvenile Detention, Girls Find Health System Geared To Boys

Girls line up at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention and Youth Services Center in Albuquerque, N.M.
Jenny Gold NPR

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 6:21 pm

For the growing number of teenage girls who are incarcerated each year, detention may be the only time they get health care.

But the care provided to girls in juvenile detention is often a poor match for their needs.

One reason: It's a system that was designed for boys.

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Law
2:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Manning Plea Offer Another Odd Piece Of An Odd Case

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after a pretrial hearing in June. Manning is charged with aiding the enemy by giving hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables and war logs to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:18 pm

The young Army private accused of passing diplomatic cables and war reports to the website WikiLeaks has made an unusual offer: Bradley Manning says he'll plead guilty to minor charges in the case. But he rejects the idea that he ever acted as a spy or helped America's enemies.

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Middle East
2:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Conflicts Brew Between Kurds, Arabs In Iraq

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:18 pm

Arab-Kurd skirmishes in southern Iraq late last week injured dozens of people and killed at least one. Now troops from both sides are escalating and tensions are high again. This all comes as Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani battles Iraqi Central government Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Analysts say Barzani has been emboldened by independent oil contracts, the increasing support of Turkey, and ongoing events in Syria.

Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Sun November 25, 2012

Disaster Donations Surge, But What About Tomorrow?

A member of the Red Cross distributes food to residents of Coney Island affected by Superstorm Sandy in the Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 9.
John Minchillo AP

More than $174 million in donations has been raised for those affected in New York and New Jersey by Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of the Atlantic coast in late October.

"The more affluent and well-insured people will figure a way to recover their lives, but there are a lot of people in New York who really won't have that capacity and can't speak out for themselves," says Stacy Palmer, the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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Religion
2:15 pm
Sun November 25, 2012

Gay Wedding Was A Trial For The Reformed Church

Norman Kansfield and his wife, Mary, at their home in eastern Pennsylvania. Kansfield was put on trial by the Reformed Church after performing his daughter's same-sex marriage.
Lily Percy NPR

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 3:18 pm

After Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, Norman Kansfield's daughter asked him to perform her wedding ceremony.

Kansfield, a respected pastor, scholar and lifelong member of the Reformed Church in America, agreed to marry Ann and her long-time girlfriend. He informed the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey, where he served as president, of his plans.

"I had thought that there would be a request for my resignation," Kansfield says. "Nobody did that."

It was a June wedding.

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