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Reporter's Notebook
3:59 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

'We Crush The Cars': Inside The Monster Truck Arena

The Grave Digger team of monster trucks, considered to be one of the most influential monster trucks of all time, is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary and racing in the United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) Monster Jam series.
Doriane Raiman NPR

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

It's that time of year again — the time when the sports world starts to zone in on basketball's March Madness, hockey's playoff push, baseball's spring training ... and monster trucks. That's right, it's prime time for four-wheeled contraptions that specialize in crushing each other.

While it may be hard to get past the deafening radio ads, a funny thing can happen on the way to a Monster Jam show. It turns out that young fans' giddiness over the awesome destruction they're about to witness can be pretty contagious.

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It's All Politics
3:54 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Pro-Obama SuperPAC Hits Romney On Auto Bailout In Michigan Ad

Priorities USA Action, a superPAC backing President Obama, has unveiled a new ad running in Michigan in advance of that state's GOP primary next week. It takes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to task for opposing the auto industry bailout.

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The Salt
3:46 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Panda Express Takes Sweet And Sour Beyond The Food Court

An employee packs a customer's takeout order at a Panda Express restaurant in Los Angeles.
Fred Prouser Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 7:29 pm

Not all that long ago, many Americans thought of Chinese food as fried rice, chow mein and orange chicken. And one reliable place to find it was at the mall, at places like Panda Express.

But food court mainstay Panda Express is now in the midst of a major transformation. That means moving from mall basements to stand-alone restaurants and keeping pace with an increasingly sophisticated American palate.

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Asia
3:28 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

On Tibetan Plateau, A Sense Of Constant Surveillance

Ethnic Tibetan pilgrims walk on a road during Tibetan New Year in Langmusixiang, Sichuan province, in western China, Feb. 22. Celebrations are subdued in the Tibetan areas of China this year, after a string of self-immolations and protest against Chinese control.
Carlos Barria Reuters /Landov

Wednesday marks the traditional Tibetan New Year, but many Tibetans won't be celebrating. They'll be mourning the almost two-dozen people who set themselves on fire in the past year as a protest against Chinese rule. Eyewitnesses say the town of Aba, site of many of the self-immolations, resembles a Chinese military camp, with soldiers and riot police every few feet. NPR's Louisa Lim traveled elsewhere on the Tibetan plateau to cover the story and sent this dispatch.

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The Two-Way
3:23 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

IAEA Team Returns From Iran Empty Handed

Herman Nackaerts (center), deputy director general and head of the Department of Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is interviewed as he arrives after his flight from Iran at Vienna's Schwechat airport on Wednesday.
Ronald Zak AP

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 5:55 pm

A team of United Nations nuclear experts has returned from Iran empty-handed. In a statement today, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran refused the team access to a military site at Parchin.

The statement read in part:

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

'Pepper Spray Cop' Suit Filed

Nov. 18, 2011: Occupy protesters get sprayed at University of California Davis.
YouTube

Some of those Occupy protesters who famously got face fulls of pepper spray last November on the campus of University of California Davis have now filed suit in federal court.

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Around the Nation
2:59 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

African American Museum Breaks Ground In D.C.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to open in Washington, D.C., in 2015.
Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Courtesy Nationa African Museum of African American History And Culture

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

President Obama spoke Wednesday at the formal groundbreaking for the Smithsonian's newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The museum, Obama said, has been "a long time coming" and will serve "not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life."

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It's All Politics
2:47 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Then There Were ... Still Four: Buddy Roemer Leaves GOP Presidential Race

Buddy Roemer announces an exploratory committee for a 2012 White House bid last March in Baton Rouge, La. On Wednesday, he announced that he would drop his GOP candidacy to seek third party avenues.
Gerald Herbert AP

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer seems to have finally hit on how to get noticed in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination: drop out of the race.

Or, more specifically, redouble his efforts to get to the White House by switching to the nascent "Americans Elect" movement while at the same time seeking the nomination of the Reform Party.

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Gov. Christie To Warren Buffett: 'Write A Check And Shut Up'

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is making some waves, today, after expressing some harsh words about billionaire Warren Buffett in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan last night.

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The Salt
2:14 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

FDA Says Brazil's Orange Juice Is Safe, But Still Illegal

Oranges for sale at a market in Rio de Janeirol.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

If you happen to notice sometime later this year that you're suddenly paying a lot more for orange juice, you can blame America's food safety authorities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after several weeks of deliberation, has blocked imports of frozen, concentrated orange juice from Brazil, probably for the next 18 months or so, even though the agency says the juice is perfectly safe.

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

UPDATED: Occupy Working Group Plans National Conference In Philadelphia

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 12:37 pm

A group affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning a national conference in Philadelphia this summer. According to the group, which is dubbed "The 99% Declaration," an online election will decide on the 876 delegates — a man and woman from each Congressional district — who will gather in Philadelphia on July 4th.

Of course, the date and place is a nod to the delegates who met in Philadelphia in 1776 to declare independence from the British monarchy, who the founding fathers said had failed to address the grievances of Americans.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

'A Long Time Coming,' Obama Says Of African-American Museum

An artist's conception of what the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture will look like when it's finished in 2015. The Washington Monument is in the background.
Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Courtesy of the museum

A museum first proposed in 1915 by black veterans from the Civil War is finally, officially, under construction on the National Mall in Washington.

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Oscar's Top Documentaries
1:55 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Underdog Football Team Shines In 'Undefeated'

Filmmakers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin spent nine months in North Memphis, Tenn. with the Manassas Tigers.
The Weinstein Company

All throughout the school's 110-year history, the Manassas High School football team in Memphis, Tenn., was known as a losing team. In 2009, volunteer coach Bill Courtney led the struggling Manassas Tigers to the playoffs.

Filmmakers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin chronicle the challenges of the team — on and off the field — in the documentary Undefeated.

Lindsay and Martin talk with NPR's Neal Conan about the film, nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary feature category.

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News
1:48 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

What's Driving The Backlash Against Traffic Cameras

Across the country, fed up drivers are fighting back against traffic cameras that target motorists who speed or run red lights. In Los Angeles, technician Charles Riggings services a traffic camera in 2010.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Have you ever opened your mail and found a traffic ticket sticking you with a not-so-small fine? If so, your reaction might well have been, "What the [expletive]?"

Then maybe you looked carefully at the enclosed photo and realized the vehicle shown (allegedly) running a red light or speeding was, in fact, yours.

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National Security
1:26 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Dealing With Dictators, The U.S. Playbook Varies

The U.S. has taken very different approaches to authoritarian rulers in recent years. President Obama has called for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad, shown here in Damascus on Jan. 11, but has resisted calls for the use of U.S. military force against the Syrian regime.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 4:44 pm

What is America's policy when it comes to dictators? Well, it depends.

The U.S. has adopted different approaches toward different dictators and authoritarian regimes in recent years. In some cases — notably Iraq and Afghanistan — the U.S. military invaded to change the leaders of those countries.

But American presidents have also hosted friendly visits with leaders from undemocratic countries with questionable human rights records.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Previewing The High-Stakes Michigan Primary

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 1:59 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. After all the votes are counted, Romney still wins in Maine. Super-donors dominate the superPACs, and new frontrunner Rick Santorum struggles to stay on-message. It's Wednesday and time for a...

RICK SANTORUM: Phony ideal...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Fed Up Drivers Fight Back Against Traffic Cameras

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 2:12 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Remembrances
1:00 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Remembering War Correspondent Marie Colvin

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 2:16 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Forgive us if we hold a special place for the reporters who go into harm's way to tell the stories of civilians and soldiers caught in the horrors of combat. All of them are grown-ups and know the risks. The loss of their lives is no more or less tragic than the death of a doctor or a teacher or a grocer, but we would never learn what happened to those others if the reporters didn't take the cameras and notebooks and risk their lives to tell us the story.

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Digital Life
1:00 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Truth And The World Of Wikipedia Gatekeepers

Wikipedia is the go-to source for succinct information on almost every topic imaginable. It strives to reflect neutral truths that can be verified by reliable sources. The site, known as "The Free Encyclopedia" is written and edited by volunteers.

The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Mubarak Verdict Due On June 2

Outside the court in Cairo where former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been on trial, a man earlier today held a sign saying there was a noose waiting for Mubarak.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 1:00 pm

As the case against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak came to a close today, the trial judge announced he expects to deliver a verdict on June 2.

According to al-Jazeera:

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The Salt
12:47 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Can Gardening Help Troubled Minds Heal?

Women's Correctional Community Center inmate Lilian Hussein checks on ti leaves she planted as part of the prison's farming and gardening program in Kailua, Hawaii. The green ti leaves are often used to wrap food or weave into leis.
Jennifer Sinco Kelleher AP

If you haven't noticed, gardens are popping up in some unconventional places – from prison yards to retirement and veteran homes to programs for troubled youth.

Most are handy sources of fresh and local food, but increasingly they're also an extension of therapy for people with mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; depression; and anxiety.

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World
12:00 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Still No End To Killings In Syria, Tumult In Libya

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 12:36 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Shots - Health Blog
11:57 am
Wed February 22, 2012

In Women, Heart Attacks Often Strike Without Chest Pain

Yvan Dub iStockphoto.com

There's yet another difference between the sexes.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Sales Of Existing Homes At Highest Level In Nearly Two Years

There were 4.3 percent more existing homes sold in January than in December, and the 4.57 million annual rate was the highest since May 2010, the National Association of Realtors reports.

Sales have gone up three of the past four months.

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Movie Reviews
10:53 am
Wed February 22, 2012

After 'Putin's Kiss,' A Young Girl's Change Of Heart

The documentary Putin's Kiss charts four years in the life of Masha Drokova, who became famous as the girl who publicly kissed Vladimir Putin.
Courtesy of the filmmaker

There's a great moment in Tom Stoppard's play Jumpers when a husband tries to convince his wife that an election has been democratic. "I had a vote," he tells her, to which she replies, "It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting."

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Marie Colvin Died In Syria While Exposing 'The Horrors Of War'

Marie Colvin of The Sunday Times, at a service for fallen journalists in 2010.
Arthur Edwards WPA pool/Getty Images
(NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro remembers journalist Marie Colvin, who died today in Syria.)

We were exhausted after a long hot day of reporting. Tripoli had just fallen and it was almost sunset. We pulled up to the house of Muatassim Gadhafi, one of Moammar Gadhafi's most feared and loathed sons.

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U.S.
9:48 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Massey Officials Charged In 2010 Coal Mine Blast

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 9:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We have an update now on a story NPR's been investigating for almost two years. This morning, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges in a 2010 coal mine explosion in West Virginia. Twenty-nine mine workers died in the blast at the Upper Big Branch mine. The charges reach into the management ranks of Massey Energy, the company that operated the mine. NPR's Howard Berkes joins us now for details.

Good morning, Howard.

HOWARD BERKES, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Massey Mine Boss Charged In Deadly Coal Mine Explosion

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 7:29 pm

(Scroll down for several updates and the document prosecutors filed today.)

Federal prosecutors in Charleston, W.Va., have filed the most serious criminal charges yet in the April, 2010, coal mine explosion that left 29 mine workers dead.

The conspiracy charges reach into the management ranks of Massey Energy and signal an effort to seek evidence against higher-level executives.

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It's All Politics
9:11 am
Wed February 22, 2012

As Polls Tighten, Michigan Voters Weigh Importance Of Social Issues

In Michigan, jobs and the economy lead every stump speech given by the candidates vying to win next Tuesday's Republican presidential primary. But reporter Quinn Klinefelter of WDET found that social issues are gaining traction among the rank-and-file GOP voters.

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