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The Salt
3:38 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Goodbye To The King Size: Mars To Downsize Candy Bars In 2013

By the end of 2013, Mars says it will shave 30 calories, or about 11 percent (approximated here), off the current version of the Snickers bar.
John Rose/NPR

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 5:56 pm

Ready to say goodbye to a sliver of your Snickers? And how about a slightly slimmer Mars bar? By the end of 2013, chocolate-maker Mars says all of its chocolate bars will be under — or right at — the 250-calorie mark.

The 2-ounce Snickers currently sold in our NPR vending machine has 280 calories, and with the downsize it will lose about 11 percent of its size. The fun-size and the king-size bars currently range from 70 to 540 calories, which means the new 250-calorie limit spells the end of the king-size bar.

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It's All Politics
3:33 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Why Romney's Shaggy Dog Story Won't Die

A man holds a sign during a "Dogs Against Romney" demonstration outside the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at New York's Madison Square Garden, on Tuesday.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 9:49 am

It's the story that continues to, well, dog Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney. And, according to some experts, it could jeopardize his standing with voters who care about animals. And yes, it turns out, that is not an insignificant voting bloc.

The incident happened back in 1983, and it's been public since 2007. But it seems that only now a critical mass of voters is hearing it for the first time.

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The Two-Way
3:21 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Drinking Takes Center Stage As London Prepares For Olympic Spotlight

Prime Minister David Cameron calls binge drinking "one of the scandals of our society." Here, a man drinks a pint of beer through a makeshift "Vuvuzela of Ale" in London, in a file photo from 2010.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Britain has a drinking problem. And it's not just a question of alcoholism, but how the country should grapple with what some call an ingrained tradition and others call a $4.24 billion nightmare. That's how much the National Health Service says it pays each year in alcohol-related incidents.

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Middle East
3:20 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Syria's Neighbors Fear That Fighting Could Spread

The fighting in Syria was seen as a spark for clashes in the Lebanese city of Tripoli last week. Here a Lebanese woman and her daughter look out the window of their bullet-pocked home in Tripoli on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Adel Karroum EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:55 pm

Now that the uprising in Syria has turned into a heavily armed conflict, many in the region are worried that the violence will spread beyond its territory.

Syria borders Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, as well as Lebanon, where clashes erupted last Friday in the northern coastal city of Tripoli.

Sunni Muslims in one Tripoli neighborhood began protesting against Syrian President Bashar Assad. They put up a huge banner on the side of a mosque that had a picture of Assad, wearing a military uniform, with a big red X across his face.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Letters: On Aleksey Igudesman And Hyung-ki Joo

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners about violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo.

Asia
2:43 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

American-Born 'Linderella' Is The Pride Of China

New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin (shown here during first-half action against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday) has taken the NBA by storm. Now, Chinese basketball fans are claiming the California native as their own.
Peter J. Thompson MCT /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 7:55 pm

How do you say "Linsanity" in Chinese? Lin Shuhao feng.

And how do you quantify it? Jeremy Lin has more than a million followers so far on the Chinese version of Twitter.

The legend of Lin, the Asian-American point guard for the New York Knicks whose success story draws comparisons to a fairy tale, continues to grow. On Tuesday night, he scored 27 points, including the winning shot, in the Knicks' victory over the Toronto Raptors.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:40 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

FDA Warns About Fake Avastin In US

Packaging for fake Avastin that was just flagged by the Food and Drug Administration.
Genentech

The Food and Drug Administration says counterfeit Avastin, a costly drug cancer drug, has made its way to doctors in the United States.

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The Two-Way
2:33 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

U.S. Agrees To $350,000 Settlement In Conn. Immigration Raid Cases

Advocates on all sides of the immigration debate are digesting the latest big, and perhaps historic, development: The U.S. government agreed to pay a $350,000 settlement to 11 Connecticut men arrested in raids in 2007.

The plaintiffs claimed immigration agents violated their rights during the early morning raids, which snared nearly three dozen people.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Dutch Finance Minister Says His 'Patience Has Run Up' With Greece

Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager addresses the media prior to the start of the Eurogroup ministerial meeting at the European Council building in Brussels on Feb. 9.
Yves Logghe AP

NPR's Eric Westervelt scored an interview with Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager. And Eric reports that he did not mince words.

The Netherlands and Germany, which have AAA credit ratings, hold great sway in whether Greece will receive a $170 million bailout from the European Union and the IMF. Without it, Greece would default on its debt and would almost certainly exit the monetary union. Eric asked Jager if Greece needed to do more beyond the tough set of austerity measures Parliament passed on Sunday and this is what Jager told him:

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Auto Dependability Hits 22-Year High In New Study

For the second year in a row, the Ford Fusion won J.D. Power's dependability prize in the mid-size sedan category. Pictured is the 2013 model of the car, unveiled in January.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 4:16 pm

Toyota and Ford won the most awards in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which came out today. Vehicles made by Toyota led the way with eight awards, while Ford models received three. In general, vehicle dependability was the best since the study first began in 1990, according to J.D. Power.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

How Santorum's Surge Is Changing The 2012 Race

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum swept caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado and the Missouri primary, gaining considerable ground on Mitt Romney's primary lead. NPR's Ken Rudin and Dan Balz, of the Washington Post, recap the week in politics.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

China's V.P. Strengthens Ties In Muscatine, Iowa

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the heir apparent to the presidency, visited Muscatine, Iowa Wednesday. He spent a week with a family there in 1979 to learn about American agriculture. Des Moines Register reporter Kyle Munson discusses the relationships foreign leaders form with U.S. towns.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Providing Therapy Across Different Cultures

When immigrants face depression, therapy may not be the first option they explore for relief. When they do seek counseling, they often encounter a cross-cultural struggle to understand and be understood by American practitioners.

Middle East
1:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

The Growing Conflict Over Iran's Nuclear Program

Israel blames Iran for attacks in the capital cities of India, Georgia and Thailand, further escalating Israeli-Iranian tensions. Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl believes that Iranian leaders are exhibiting signs of desperation.

The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

President's 2013 Budget Includes Slight Boost For Arts, Cultural Agencies

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 5:25 pm

The 2013 budget proposed by President Obama includes many cuts made to conform with new spending limits. But several arts and cultural institutions saw their allotment rise by about 5 percent in the proposed plan. The proposed spending of $1.576 billion — in a budget of $3.8 trillion — includes some good news for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowments for the Arts.

For the Newscast desk, Elizabeth Blair filed this report:

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It's All Politics
12:23 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Election-Year Realities Bring Compromise On Payroll Taxes And More

Speaker John Boehner didn't cite it being an election year or Congress' low approval ratings for the GOP's new flexibility but it's hard to ignore such realities.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 2:11 pm

Part of President Obama's 2012 re-election strategy was to run against a do-nothing Congress. But congressional Republicans now appear determined to make that approach harder for him by coming to terms on some Democratic priorities.

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National Security
12:22 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

As Wars Wind Down, What Are U.S. Security Needs?

U.S. soldiers are expected to be in Afghanistan for a couple more years. But already there's a debate about future U.S. security needs worldwide. Here, soldiers examine the site of a suicide bombing in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Jan. 19.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:07 pm

U.S. troops have already left Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, and there hasn't been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 2001.

So is America now safe enough to scale back its emphasis on security? Or are the potential threats no less dangerous — just less obvious?

These questions are not just philosophical, but practical. They're also the underpinning of the current argument about what the level of defense spending should be.

Cuts, But How Big?

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Shots - Health Blog
12:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Does Contraception Really Pay For Itself?

Birth control will be paid for by employees' insurance companies, if their employers refuse to do so.
istockphoto.com

Last week, President Barack Obama announced that religious groups won't have to pay for contraceptive services themselves. Instead, the cost would be borne by their insurance companies.

That compromise has raised a whole new set of questions on its own, though.

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Education
12:00 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Big Changes Ahead For American Schools?

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:46 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

President Obama's new budget is the talk of Capitol Hill this week. And while most of the headlines are about the ongoing fight over how best to reduce the federal deficit, the president's proposal also calls for a significant boost in education funding. It's yet another window into his administration's philosophy around education.

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Politics
11:38 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Why America Pursues More Perfect Politics

Americans are always searching for a "more perfect union." Volunteers roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Oct. 20, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Americans are obsessed with perfection.

We implement zero-tolerance policies in our schools and businesses. We improve on the atomic clock with the quantum-logic clock that is twice as precise. We use multi-angle instant replay cameras in certain professional sporting contests to make sure the referees' calls are flawless. We spend millions on plastic surgery. We strive for higher fidelity, resolution, definition, everything.

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Author Interviews
11:26 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Nathan Englander: Assimilating Thoughts Into Stories

Nathan Englander grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. He now splits his time between New York and Madison, Wis.
Juliana Sohn

The stories in Nathan Englander's new collection are based largely on his experiences growing up as a modern Orthodox Jew with an overprotective mother.

In What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Englander writes about his own faith — and what it means to be Jewish — in stories that explore religious tension, Israeli-American relations and the Holocaust.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Administration Proposes $5 Billion Competition To Improve Teacher Quality

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 11:26 am

Using its Race to the Top program as a model, the Obama administration is expected to announce a $5 billion competition designed to improve teacher quality.

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The Picture Show
11:03 am
Wed February 15, 2012

'Flying Mop' And Other Canine Glam Shots

A Puli leaps toward the camera
Tim Flach

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:01 am

Here's English photographer Tim Flach's take on the breed that just won best in show at the Westminster Dog Show, i.e., the Pekingese:

Taken for his 2010 book Dogs, this portrait is quite different from photos you might have seen of the award-winning Malachy.

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Book Reviews
11:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

More Than Melancholy: 'In-Flight' Stories Soar

Random House

The Brits: You've got to hand it to them. The Empire may be long gone, but they still reign supreme when it comes to effortlessly exuding mordant wit. For anyone who savors the acerbic literary likes of Evelyn Waugh or the Amises, father and son, Helen Simpson is just the ticket.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:42 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Consumer Groups Want Lead Out Of Lipstick

Time to get the lead out?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 10:44 am

Valentine's Day brought new attention to an old issue. Is the amount of lead found in lipstick a health hazard?

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a consortium of consumer and environmental groups, thinks so. They've argued that there's no safe level for lead in lipsticks — especially for pregnant women and kids — and want the agency to do something to bring the amount of the metal down.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Wed February 15, 2012

108 Years Since Women Last Boxed In The Olympics, They Prepare A Return

Five-time U.S. national champion Queen Underwood listens to instructions from her coach Basheer Abdullah.
Tom Goldman NPR

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

Olympic history in the making is going on this week in Washington state. Two-dozen of the best female boxers in the country are in wintry Spokane with a goal of traveling to London in the summer.

That's the site of the first ever women's Olympic boxing competition. This week's Olympic trials help determine who goes.

It's been 108 years since women boxed in the Olympics. At the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis, boxing for women was a "display event," not one of the counting, medal sports.

Now, it counts.

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It's All Politics
9:45 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Poll: Obama Hits 50% Approval, Leads All GOP Rivals, For Now

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 9:47 am

The new CBS News/NY Times poll definitely contains the kind of information that could put a little spring in any president's step.

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The Two-Way
9:32 am
Wed February 15, 2012

U.S. Factories Boost Output In January

Manufacturing output increased 0.7 percent in January, the Federal Reserve announced today, adding that it had revised December's number sharply upward to 1.5 percent.

The AP reports that December number was the biggest gain since Dec. 2006. The AP adds:

"Overall industrial production, which includes output by mines and utilities as well as factories, was unchanged in January.

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It's All Politics
8:56 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Mich. TV Ad Battle Pt 2: Santorum Uses Humor To Parry Romney

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:28 pm

Rick Santorum's presidential campaign has just put up one of the cleverest ads of 2012. (Of course, we're only less than two months into the year.)

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