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The Salt
1:58 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Can A Diet Clean Out Toxins In The Body?

Experts say specialized diets won't help rid the body of toxins any more than what the liver and kidneys already do every day.
iStockphoto.com

Between lingering New Year's resolutions and impending Lenten restraint, it's the season when many people are inspired to get healthy by refusing foods they normally delight in.

Increasingly, we're seeing elimination diets that promise weight loss and a tantalizing bonus: detoxification.

"Cleansing diets" trade on this most alluring idea: By limiting our intake of food to a few super-pure items, we can free up the body to get rid of all the gunk accumulated in our cells.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Man Has Heart Attack While Eating At The Heart Attack Grill

Signs for "Bypass Burgers" and "Flatliner Fries" are seen in the window of the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas. A man who suffered a heart attack in the restaurant was wheeled out on a stretcher Saturday.
Julie Jacobson AP

Slogans for a Las Vegas restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill include "Taste worth dying for," and "Over 350 lbs? Eat for free!" But the burger joint's shtick of calling waitresses "nurses" — complete with skimpy uniforms — and serving "quadruple bypass" burgers collided with reality Saturday, when a patron suffered a heart attack while eating at the restaurant.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Study Finds Goats Adjust Their 'Accents' Based On Social Surroundings

A goat kid.
Queen Mary University of London

Surely you've noticed that when people move from place to place and stay for a while, they tend to pick up the local accent. We could use Madonna as an example, but we're pretty sure her British accent started before she jumped the pond.

Anyway, in a new study published in the journal Animal Behaviour, two scientists found young pygmy goats, which are known as kids, do something similar.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

The Anatomy, Complexity Of The Syrian Opposition

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 2:15 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Almost every day for about a year now, we've heard about the activities of the Syrian opposition: marches and demonstration that in the face of brutal attacks evolve toward armed resistence.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Op-Ed: 'Linsanity' Is Thrilling, Yet Frustrating

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin sprang into the spotlight after he scored 27 points in a game against the Toronto Raptors. Lin, who previous mostly rode the bench, has become a sensation in the U.S., particularly among many Asian Americans. Journalist Chuck Leung feels a bit conflicted about celebrating Lin's success.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Moore Explains Changes In Oscar Documentary Rules

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has changed the way they nominate documentaries for the Oscars. One of the most controversial changes — proposed by filmmaker Michael Moore — is that films must be reviewed by The New York Times or the Los Angeles Times.

Economy
1:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Green Shoots: Is An Economic Recovery Underway?

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 2:44 pm

The number of jobless claims for January 2012 was at the lowest point since March 2008. Businesses are reporting profits, buyers are reporting confidence. Diane Swonk, chief economist for Mesirow Financial, discusses whether it's safe to say an economic recovery has begun.

The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Methane, Soot Are Targets Of New U.S. Climate Initiative

A new program led by the U.S. seeks to limit amounts of soot, hydrofluorocarbons and methane released into the atmosphere. In this file photo from 2009, a researcher ignites trapped methane from under a pond's ice cap in Alaska.
Todd Paris AP

The United States and five other nations are embarking on a new program to limit pollutants connected to global warming. But they're not targeting carbon dioxide with this effort — instead, they're looking at methane gas, and soot.

NPR's Richard Harris filed this report for our Newscast desk:

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is teaming up with Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Ghana and Bangladesh to get countries thinking about some potent contributors to climate change."

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Presidential Race
12:08 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

GOP Debates As Must-See TV? Why You Should Watch

The Republican presidential candidates took the stage for a Jan. 23 debate at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

We've had nearly a month-long lull in the Republican presidential debates, but brace yourself, they'll be back soon enough.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

#Feb17: The Long Road To Libya

With Twitter and other social media, NPR's Andy Carvin monitored immediate, on-the-ground developments during the upheavals of the Arab Spring from Washington, D.C., through thousands of tweets and an army of followers that numbers in the tens of thousands. Now, he is in Libya, meeting face-to-face with some of those activists. He'll be sending us periodic updates on his journey.

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World
12:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Iranians Would Unite Against War, Says Writer

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 12:47 pm

International pressure is building on Iran. On Wednesday, Iranian leaders claimed they made strides in their nuclear program and threatened to stop supplying oil to six European countries. Host Michel Martin hears what people inside the country think about the tensions. She speaks with writer Hooman Majd and human rights activist Sussan Tahmasebi.

Planet Money
12:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Is China An Economic Miracle, Or A Bubble Waiting To Pop?

This can't go on forever.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 12:18 pm

China's economy sailed through the financial crisis unscathed — at least in the short run.

When the global crisis hit, the country's government-owned banks started lending out lots more money. The money came largely from the savings accounts of ordinary Chinese people. It went largely to finance big construction projects, which helped keep China's economy growing.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:49 am
Thu February 16, 2012

The 'WHO's Who' Of Virologists Meet To Talk Bird Flu In Geneva

Virologists and other scientists are meeting at the World Health Organization's Geneva headquarters to talk about the bird flu.
Pierre Virot WHO

A closed-door summit on controversial bird flu research starts today, and the newly released guest list reveals that the event will be dominated by virologists.

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Theater
11:48 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Stephen Sondheim: Examining His Lyrics And Life

Sondheim, shown here in 1974, won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Sunday in the Park with George. He has also received eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy awards and a Kennedy Center Honor.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Stephen Sondheim's 1981 musical Merrily We Roll Along is in the middle of a two-week run at the New York City Center as part of an Encores! Production. Portions of the interview running today were originally broadcast on April 21, 2010 and Oct. 28, 2010.

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It's All Politics
11:23 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Santorum Tax Returns Draw Critics Of His Low Charitable Giving

Rick Santorum speaks to the media Feb. 13, 2012 at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Rick Santorum released four years' worth of tax returns Wednesday evening which showed that he is wealthy by any measure.

But his returns may also allow his critics, both those aligned with Mitt Romney, his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination and those who aren't, to attack the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania for not giving as much to charity as many others at his income level.

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The Two-Way
11:11 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Iranian, Afghan Leaders Arrive In Pakistan

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrive for a meeting at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad on Thursday.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

The world of international relations seems to have focused on Pakistan today: The president of Iran and the president of Afghanistan both made their way to the country just as tensions between Iran and Israel made the news and just as reports emerged that the U.S. and the Taliban were beginning secret talks.

The official agenda of the meetings is to discuss counter-terrorism and transnational organized crimes at a regional conference tomorrow in Islamabad.

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Sports
10:53 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Lin Vs. Tebow

The meteoric rise of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has echoes of Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos quarterback who caused such a stir last fall.

Business
10:52 am
Thu February 16, 2012

General Motors Reports Record $7.6 B Profit In 2011

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 10:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A record rebound for General Motors is at the top of NPR's business news.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Let's remember the carmaker almost collapsed two years ago and needed a government bailout. Today, GM announced it earned its largest profit ever in 2011.

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The Two-Way
10:32 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Santorum Releases Four Years Of Tax Returns

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum works the crowd at the Tioga Public School on Wednesday in Tioga, N.D.
Will Kincaid AP

Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum saw his income rise after he lost a Senate reelection bid in 2007.

According to records released to Politico late yesterday by the Santorum campaign, the former Pennsylvania senator earned $659,000 in 2007; $952,000 in 2008; $1.1 million in 2009 and $923,000 in 2010.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Thai Police Say Iranian Bomb Suspects Targeted Israeli Diplomats

Thai immigration officers escort detained Iranian Mohammad Kharzei, center, at the immigration headquarters in Bangkok on Thursday.
AFP/Getty Images

After days of accusations from Israel, Thai police confirmed that three Iranians suspected of setting off explosives in Bangkok were targeting Israeli diplomats.

Gen. Prewpan Dhamapong, Thailand's top policeman, said they "know for certain" the explosives were meant for Israeli diplomats.

The AP reports:

"'This issue was about individuals and the targets were specific,' he said. 'This was something personal.'"

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It's All Politics
9:30 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Record GM Profits Could Make Romney's Anti-Bailout Message A Harder Sell

Mitt Romney laughs with supporters at a rally in Kentwood, MI, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.
Gerald Herbert AP

Mitt Romney has worn his opposition to the Obama administration's bailout of GM and Chrysler into Michigan as a badge of honor in the lead up to the state's Republican presidential primary at the end of the month.

But that message may be a harder sell for him against the backdrop of GM reporting Thursday that it posted record profits in 2011 of $7.6 billion, 62 percent higher than the previous year's.

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Presidential Race
9:26 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Delegate Selection

Republican congressional candidate and Maine Senate President Kevin Raye speaks during the Kennebec County Super Caucus in Augusta, Me., on Feb. 4.
Joel Page AP

To win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a candidate must secure 1,144 delegates, a simple majority of those available. But how delegates are chosen differs state by state.

On Thursday's Fresh Air, political scientist Josh Putnam, author of the blog Frontloading HQ, explains how delegates are chosen, why the process varies by state, and how reforms instituted since the 1968 Democratic National Convention have changed the process of delegate selection.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Thu February 16, 2012

The Economy: Housing Starts Up; Unemployment Claims Decline

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 8:55 am

We have a slew of economic data out today and the big picture is that the economy is on the rebound. So, let's get to the numbers:

-- The Labor Department said the number of people seeking jobless benefits dropped by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. The AP reports "it was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008."

-- Led by a surge in apartments, housing starts were up 1.5 percent.

-- In January producer prices rose 0.1 percent.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Thu February 16, 2012

U.N. Chief Says Syria May Be Committing 'Crimes Against Humanity'

A handout picture from a Syrian opposition activist taken on Feb. 13 shows damages in the Baba Amro neighborhood in the flashpoint Syrian city of Homs.
AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations' Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Syria's crackdown on protesters was almost certain to amount to crimes against humanity.

Ban was echoing what U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said during a speech to the General Assembly Monday. Pillay painted a grim picture of Syria and of a government that has increasingly turned its weapons against its own people.

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The Two-Way
7:22 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Honduras Prison Fire: Most In Comayagua Jail Had Not Been Convicted

Inmates bodies are loaded in a trailer truck at the National Prison in Comayagua, north of Tegucigalpa.
Jose Cabezas AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 7:26 am

According to an internal government report sent to the United Nations and seen by the Associated Press, more than half the prisoners at the Comayagua jail in Honduras had not been convicted.

A late night fire on Tuesday, killed at least 356 people and left the country in mourning and the government grappling with a prison system that has long been criticized for its deplorable conditions.

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Politics
6:44 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Megadeth's Dave Mustaine Endorses Rick Santorum

Dave Mustaine, the lead singer of Megadeth, says he was "completely oblivious" to Rick Santorum, but now likes the guy in the sweater vest. According to Rolling Stone, Mustaine dislikes Mitt Romney, and calls Newt Gingrich an "angry little man."

Around the Nation
6:31 am
Thu February 16, 2012

New York OKs Wallenda To Cross Niagara Falls

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 10:53 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with a story of a childhood dream. And when you grew up in the family of the famous Flying Wallendas, that would be walking a two-inch tightrope across Niagara Falls. Nic Wallenda yesterday got special permission to attempt the kind of breathtaking feat that's been banned since the 19th century when daredevils rolled over the falls in barrels. He says his dream is to, quote, "walk down through the mist and walk back out." It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sports
5:09 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Knicks Star Jeremy Lin Capture's Big Apple's Heart

Jeremy Lin items are for sale before the basketball game between Lin's New York Knicks and the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday in New York.
Frank Franklin II AP

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 12:26 pm

The New York Knicks have won seven games in a row after struggling all season — and some would say they've struggled for years.

Point guard Jeremy Lin, the man few knew a week and a half ago, scored a 3-pointer in the last seconds to win Tuesday's game against Toronto. Wednesday night, Linsanity returned to New York City and Madison Square Garden.

I confess, I had never heard of Jeremy Lin until three days ago. Yet watching this Taiwanese-American from Harvard during the last quarter of the Knicks game, I, like everyone else, was blown away.

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Iowa Honors China's Xi Jinping With Gala Dinner

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 10:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

China's Vice President Xi Jinping is hitting all the hotspots on his American tour. He's already been to Washington, D.C. and to the White House. Later today, he heads to Los Angeles. And, of course, yesterday he was in Iowa. He has a personal connection to that state, and Iowa farmers now have reason to be glad he does.

Iowa Public Radio's Sandhya Dirks reports.

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