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Business
5:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Amazon's Profits Exceed Wall Street's Expectations

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with impressive earnings for Amazon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Amazon released its first-quarter earnings for 2012, which far exceeded Wall Street expectations. As NPR's Steve Henn reports, that sent Amazon's stock price soaring.

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Business
5:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:46 am

Sales of previously owned homes are up more than 10 percent from last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. At the same time, the number of homes for sale is at the lowest levels in years. The result, say many real estate firms, is that most of the offers being made these days come with competing bids.

Politics
5:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Obama, Romney Focus On Fall Presidential Election

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

Seems like only a month or two ago that some pundits saw almost no way that Mitt Romney could easily sew up his party's nomination, and they spun out elaborate scenarios of a contested convention. Actually, it was only a month or two ago that some pundits were saying that. But now Romney's nomination is assumed, especially after he won five primaries this week. And that leaves him a full half year to make his case against President Obama.

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Loss Of Secret Service Agents Should Not Hinder Agency

Secret Service agents awaited the arrival of President Obama in Air Force One at Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Matthew Putney AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:33 am

It may have been "inexcusable," as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said this week, but the prostitution scandal that has embroiled the Secret Service in recent weeks should not affect the agency's readiness going forward.

The number of agents involved is relatively small, compared to the size of the agency. And the sunken costs involved in losing trained agents may not be especially noticeable, considering the fact that the presidential detail regularly loses agents due to turnover.

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Europe
4:10 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Dilemma For European Banks: Clean Books Or Lend?

Many of the most troubled European banks, like the French-Belgian Dexia, lost money in subprime mortgages and Greek bonds.
Yves Logghe AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 9:35 am

The walls of the Clock Shop in downtown Frankfurt, Germany, are lined with timepieces of every kind, from cuckoo clocks to digital watches. It's a testament to the store's 55-year history as a functioning business.

One of the things that has remained constant for much of that time is the store's relationship with its bank, owner Basia Szlomowicz says.

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Money & Politics
2:52 am
Fri April 27, 2012

FCC To Vote On Putting TV's Campaign Ad Data Online

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:24 am

Government regulators take up a rule with wide political implications Friday. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on a proposal requiring TV stations to post online information about the campaign ads they air.

Stations are already compelled to keep those records in public files. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says it's time to make that information available on the Internet. But TV stations are resisting.

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StoryCorps
2:50 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Brain Injury Gives Man A Second Chance To Be Kind

Marco Ferreira and Wendy Tucker talked about life after his accident and injuries, during a visit to StoryCorps in San Francisco.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:24 am

Four years ago, Marco Ferreira was riding his motorcycle down an isolated road in Los Angeles when he hit some grout and had an accident.

Though he was wearing a full helmet, leather pants and jacket, Ferreira suffered a traumatic brain injury.

When he woke from a six-week coma, his wife, Wendy Tucker, was there.

"You didn't walk, you didn't talk, and you couldn't feed yourself for seven months," she says during a visit with the 48-year-old Ferreira to StoryCorps in San Francisco. "Since then, it's just been getting better all the time."

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Planet Money
2:49 am
Fri April 27, 2012

When Should A Country Abandon Its Own Money?

Enough already with the krona?
Jesse Garrison Flickr

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Iceland is a tiny nation in a big financial mess. It's still recovering from the aftermath of the 2008 global economic crisis, which caused a domestic banking collapse.

Its currency, the krona, is also in really bad shape. That's led Icelanders to pose an existential currency question: Should they abandon the krona?

One key problem is size. Iceland has about as many people as Staten Island, so there just aren't that many people on the planet who need to use the krona.

"There are more people using Disney dollars," says Arsaell Valfells, an Icelandic economist.

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Around the Nation
2:48 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Can Helmets Cut Tornado Deaths? CDC Isn't So Sure

Noah Stewart shelters in the closet just 15 minutes before an April 2011 tornado demolished his house. Wearing the helmet may have saved his life, one doctor says.
Courtesy of the Stewart family

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 8:04 pm

Tornadoes killed more than 500 people in the U.S. last year — the highest number in decades. Already this year, 63 people have died, and the tornado season doesn't hit its peak until June.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:46 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Wanted: Mavericks And Missionaries To Solve Mississippi's M.D. Shortage

Janie Guice is the recruiter for the Mississippi Rural Physician Scholarship Program.
Jeffrey Hess for NPR

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:19 pm

When Janie Guice looks at the Mississippi Delta she sees a vast, flat flood plain home to cotton fields and catfish farms. She also sees desperate rural health problems and a deep shortage of doctors to offer care. Her job: to find doctors to fill that void.

"Who is the one that is going to go back and live in a community that maybe doesn't even have a Wal-Mart? And yes, there are a lot of communities in Mississippi that don't have a Wal-Mart yet!" Guice laments.

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Education
2:44 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Teaching The LA Riots At Two City Schools

Smoke rises as fires burn out of control near Vermont Street in Los Angeles on April 30, 1992. Riots erupted after L.A. police officers were acquitted in the beating of black motorist Rodney King.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 10:22 pm

It has been 20 years since four police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, and L.A. erupted in race-fueled riots. Many in Los Angeles, including students who weren't born when the riots hit in April 1992, are reflecting on those days of anger, looting and destruction, asking why it happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.

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Europe
2:42 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Showdown Looms Over Europe's Largest Shantytown

Residents of Cañada Real stand near recently demolished shacks on March 5. The settlement is separated into different sections and tends to be segregated by ethnic groups: Roma in one section, Arabs in another, for example.
Susana Vera Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 10:24 pm

Europe's largest illegal settlement lies on the edge of Madrid. As the Spanish capital has grown, the city's limits have moved ever closer to the shantytown known as Cañada Real, a sprawling tangle of tents and cement houses. And as the economy has tanked, a growing number of people are calling it home.

Now the city is eyeing the property for possible development.

The roads in Cañada Real are unpaved. Houses are made of corrugated metal or cement. Some lots are just piles of garbage.

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It's All Politics
7:07 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

The Wisconsin Recall That Nobody's Talking About

In this photo taken in November 2010, Lt. Gov.-elect Rebecca Kleefisch speaks to supporters in Pewaukee, Wis.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:10 pm

If the job of the vice president is, as John Adams so famously put it, "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived," what must it be like to be lieutenant governor?

And, to go a step further, what about a lieutenant governor facing recall?

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The Two-Way
6:56 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

With Violence Unabated, France Says Next Step For Syria Should Be Military

As the United Nations chief announced that the Syrian government was "in contravention" of an international peace agreement, France took a tougher stance.

The French foreign minister said that if the peace plan fails, the U.N. Security Council should consider a military option.

The AP reports:

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It's All Politics
6:45 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Gingrich And The Secret Service: Who Calls For Protection To End?

Newt Gingrich signs an autograph for supporter Jeff Legg as members of the Secret Service look on at Delmarva Christian High School in Georgetown, Del., on April 18.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 11:24 am

Newt Gingrich's Secret Service protection is ending Thursday night, NBC news is reporting.

As WNYC's Anna Sale was reporting earlier, a conservative taxpayers group had called on Gingrich to give up his taxpayer-funded protection.

Here's the original post:

Newt Gingrich is ending his presidential campaign, but not until next week. And he still has Secret Service protection despite calls from a conservative taxpayers group to give it up.

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The Two-Way
6:20 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

More Pain In Spain As Economy Goes Down The Drain

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 6:40 am

There was more bad news for Europe's attempt to rebuild its economy: Standard & Poor announced Thursday that it was downgrading Spain's long-term sovereign credit rating by two notches – from "A" to "BBB+." The agency also lowered Spain's short-term sovereign credit rating to "A-2" from "A-1," and said the outlook on the long-term rating is negative.

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The Two-Way
6:03 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

If 'War And Peace' Was Less Than Exciting, Try A Union Between Dull And Boring

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

Don't expect fireworks for this union: The city of Boring, Oregon and Dull, Scotland will become sister cities.

City leaders hope the union of two dim names will result in a blockbuster tourism campaign.

The Oregonian reports that the idea of becoming twin cities came after Elizabeth Leighton stumbled upon Boring and couldn't "wait to tell all her Dull friends."

The paper adds:

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Election 2012
5:50 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

In Battleground Iowa, Even Office Space Up For Grabs

President Obama arrives to speak at the University of Iowa in Iowa City on Wednesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

In Iowa, President Obama's re-election campaign is already in gear, with staff and volunteers on the ground.

The Obama campaign hopes its head start over the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney — who until recently had been focused on fending off GOP opponents — will make the difference in November in this swing state.

The Obama campaign headquarters in Des Moines is a former Blockbuster Video store, where this week a couple of dozen 20-somethings tapped away at laptops, painted signs by hand and worked the phones.

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It's All Politics
5:48 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Biden Foreign-Policy Counterattack On Romney Highlights GOP Challenge

Vice President Joe Biden, March 2012.
Madalyn Ruggiero AP

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 4:24 pm

Foreign policy isn't expected to pave the path to the White House in 2012 though, of course, that could all change in a literal flash.

Still, a president seeking re-election against a backdrop of a lackluster economy would be remiss if he didn't stress his unique role as the nation's top policymaker in the international relations arena and the military's commander-in-chief.

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Digital Life
5:30 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

What We Have Here: A Failure To Communicate

Commuters immersed in their smartphones ride the subway in Beijing.
Nelson Ching Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:45 am

It is the weirdest thing. There are more ways than ever to communicate with people, yet it sometimes seems like it is more difficult to connect — and stay connected — with anyone.

Should you shoot off an email? Tap out a text? Post a private message on Facebook? Write on their Facebook wall? Skype, poke, ping or conjure them up on a digital tin can phone?

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You Must Read This
5:14 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Something Wicked: A Haunting Must Read

Seth Grahame-Smith is the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Matthew Rudenberg

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

Seth Grahame-Smith is the author of Unholy Night.

I know it's strange to be thinking about October right now, but whenever I write, in a way that's always where I am. Growing up in Connecticut, it always held a special place in my heart — "a rare month for boys," as Ray Bradbury begins Something Wicked This Way Comes.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
5:08 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

American Whiz Rises Up In The World Of Ping-Pong

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 8:21 pm

The United States has never won an Olympic medal in table tennis. China has long dominated the sport, winning almost every medal since 1992. That's not likely to change at this year's Summer Olympics in London, but a group of young American women may be on their way to competing at the sport's highest levels.

Ariel Hsing, 16, already has the attributes of a fine table tennis player — quick hands, perfect balance and strong lungs. While she plays, she'll often shout "Sa!" — a meaningless word — to help relieve stress, something she's been dealing with a lot lately.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

A 'Five-Year Engagement' Leaves A Bitter Taste

Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) celebrate their impending nuptials with their families before Violet drops a bomb: She's been accepted at a program at the University of Michigan, and wants to move there and postpone their wedding day.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 9:38 am

There are many dramas and comedies in which career trajectories take couples to different corners of the country, complicating or ending romantic relationships. There will be many more, at least until someone invents a teleportation machine. What's different about each work is how the problem gets interpreted.

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Statewide Races
4:50 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

N.C. Gay Marriage Amendment Has Unlikely Foes

Jennifer Cockrham, a nurse from Walkertown, N.C., holds her hand over her heart for the Pledge of Allegiance during a rally supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriage Friday in Raleigh.
Allen Breed AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

North Carolina is the only Southern state without a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But that could change next month.

On May 8, voters will decide whether to change the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, as well as civil unions and domestic partnerships. Leading Republican lawmakers think it's one of the most important issues facing voters.

But some conservatives worry that the measure goes too far.

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Environment
4:48 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Countries Losing Steam On Climate Change Initiatives

Germany plans to take all of its nuclear power plants offline by 2022, which means coal-fired power plants like the Kraftwerk Westfalen, in Hamm, Germany, will be a key component of the country's energy infrastructure.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

Energy ministers from around the world met in London this week and got a scolding. The International Energy Agency warned the ministers that they are falling way behind in their efforts to wean the world from dirty sources of energy. Nations are nowhere near being on track to avert significant climate change in the coming decades.

It turns out that right now, just about everything is conspiring to make it harder to clean up the world's energy supply.

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The Salt
4:15 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Stone Age Mediterranean Farmer ISO Hungry Nordic Hunter-Gatherer?

A family near Karsta, Sweden, in the 1930s. Did their ancient forebears hail from the Mediterranean?
Swedish Heritage Board

Farming transformed Europe when it arrived from the Near East about 6,000 years ago. But was it the agricultural know-how that traveled, or the farmers themselves?

By comparing DNA from Stone Age farmers and hunter-gatherers, Swedish researchers say it's clear that the farmers traveled north through Europe, bringing their agrarian skills with them.

How else would a farmer with Mediterranean DNA end up in Sweden?

I'm imagining suave dark-eyed farmers seeking out Nordic maidens tired of all that berry picking and hide scraping.

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Africa
4:06 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

At Last, Egypt Settles On Presidential Candidates

Amr Moussa, the front-runner in the Egyptian presidential race, speaks during a press conference in Cairo on Apr. 22. The country's election commission said Thursday that Moussa and 12 other candidates are eligible to compete in next month's election.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

After months of anticipation, and just a few weeks before the voting, Egypt now has a list of 13 officially approved presidential candidates.

Amr Moussa, the former secretary-general of the Arab League, is one of the 13, and he is ahead in most opinion surveys in advance of the May 23-24 election.

And in a reversal, Egyptian election officials agreed Thursday to let one of Hosni Mubarak's former prime ministers run for president.

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The Salt
3:56 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Nutella Maker May Settle Deceptive Ad Lawsuit For $3 Million

The fact that Nutella's parent company, Ferrero, is known for its chocolates might be a tip-off that the sweet hazelnut spread isn't exactly "health" food.
STEFANO RELLANDINI Reuters /Landov

Remember that California mom who sued Nutella maker Ferrero over misleading advertising that made the addictive and gooey chocolate-hazelnut spread seem healthy?

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

PHOTO: Like Hawaii, Mars Has Coils Thought Formed By Volcanic Flow

This image provided by NASA shows lava flows in the shape of coils located near the equatorial region of Mars.
AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 3:52 pm

Take a look at this picture:

Those same coils — the ones that look like the side of a snail — are also found on the Big Island of Hawaii, which were formed by lava flows.

As Wired reports, the difference is that some of the Martian coils are 100 feet across — giant compared the Earth-bound ones.

Still scientists found that they are "morphologically consistent with terrestrial lava coils."

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Shots - Health Blog
3:50 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Colorado Extends Medicaid To Some Adults Without Kids

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless runs the Stout Street Clinic in Denver, helped Dale Miller get a CT scan.
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

Dale Miller spends his days on the streets of downtown Denver selling a newspaper called The Homeless Voice. He's been having some health problems, but he can't afford to see a doctor on the $10 to $15 a day he makes selling papers.

A local charity clinic called the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless recently helped him get a CT scan at no cost to him. Miller fully understands, though, that someone has to pay for his care.

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