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Middle East
12:01 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Will Islamist Politicians Hamper Egyptian Tourism?

Tourists visit the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza near Cairo. Tourist numbers have plummeted this year with the political turmoil in Egypt. Now, some Islamist politicians are proposing rules that could discourage visitors.
Jamal Saidi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 8:03 am

Islamists are widely expected to hold a majority of seats in Egypt's new parliament when it convenes next month, and a leading priority is the sagging economy.

Yet their conservative religious approach could threaten a key pillar of Egypt's economy: Western tourists.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party received many votes from vendors at the Khan el-Khalili market, a hub for tourists in Cairo with narrow twisting lanes and soaring minarets.

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The Two-Way
6:14 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Twin NASA Probes Will Arrive At The Moon By New Year's

An artist rendition of the GRAIL mission.
NASA

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 6:18 pm

NASA is hoping that two probes scheduled to arrive on the moon New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will shed new light on our closest celestial neighbor.

The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (Grail A, and Grail B) probes will study the moon's uneven gravitational field. One quote from the AP's story about the probe caught our attention. The AP spoke to Maria Zuber, the mission's chief scientist, who said:

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It's All Politics
6:13 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Romney Jabs Rival, But Says He'd Take A President Paul Over Obama Part 2

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took a swipe at GOP rival Ron Paul and his isolationist foreign policy positions while campaigning in Iowa Wednesday, but he later told reporters he would support the outspoken Texas congressman if he were the Republican Party nominee for president.

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The Two-Way
5:02 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Judge Says Mexican-American Studies Program Violates Ariz. Law

An Arizona administrative law judge has sided with the Tucson school chief, saying the district's Mexican American Studies program runs afoul state law.

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It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Lonely And Cold, Iowa 'Occupiers' Seem Ill-Equipped To Takeover Caucus

An Occupy camp at College Green Park in Iowa City, Iowa. The camp was mostly empty aside from three men.
Becky Lettenberger Becky Lettenberger/NPR

Will the Iowa Republican caucuses next Tuesday be flooded with the state's version of Occupy Wall Street activists?

The rumor has been out there for weeks, and the state's voting laws suggest it could be possible: though only registered Republicans may participate, anyone can register for the party on caucus night and vote.

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U.S.
4:47 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

A Brutal Chapter In North Carolina's Eugenics Past

Wallace Kuralt (left), the head of the Mecklenburg County welfare program in North Carolina, speaks to the Welfare Board in 1962. The county sterilized 485 people — about three times more than any other in the state. More than 7,000 people were sterilized in North Carolina.
Courtesy Charlotte Observer

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 1:53 pm

North Carolina is trying to make amends for an ugly chapter in its history during which more than 7,000 people were sterilized — many against their will. At least half of the states had eugenics laws, but only a handful kept their forced sterilization programs active after World War II.

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Politics
4:26 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Why Tea Party Freshmen Caved On Payroll Tax Deal

US Representatives walk down the House steps to leave for the Christmas holiday on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
MICHAEL REYNOLDS EPA /Landov

Conservative Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers spent weeks vowing to oppose the short-term compromise bill extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance.

But in the end, the bill glided through the House, just before Christmas.

The final moments of this latest congressional showdown were fascinating not because of what happened but because of what didn't happen.

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The Salt
4:19 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Is There Really Such A Thing As Brain Food?

People who ate a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which are commonly found in fish, and in vitamins C, E and B, which are often found in vegetables, were less likely to have their brains shrink, and were more likely to score higher on the memory and thinking tests, a study found.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 6:32 pm

There has long been a hope that people in search of a fountain of youth for the brain could look no further than their dinner plate.

Just last month, researchers reported that people who eat baked or broiled fish at least once a week may be protecting their brains from Alzheimer's and other brain problems.

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Music Interviews
4:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Cut Copy: Wine Bottles And Electronic Beats

Cut Copy
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 8:03 am

As 2011 winds down, Morning Edition is looking at music we missed over the past 12 months. Cut Copy has been entertaining its fans for more than a decade with electronic music that mashes together all sorts of genres, from pop to ancient tribal music. The Australian group is led by Dan Whitford, who didn't think he had a future in music growing up.

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Asia
3:59 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

In Philippine Slums, Capturing Light In A Bottle

Filipino soldiers install solar light bulbs through a roof in a shantytown in Manila, Philippines. The bulbs are actually old plastic soda bottles filled with water and bleach, and powered by the sun.
Jay Directo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

Sheila Royeras, her husband, her mother and two young daughters live in a single-room cement apartment in a poor neighborhood in Manila, Philippines. Like many such homes, it's mostly dark during the day, except for a small ray of sunlight that enters through an open front door.

But this is about to change.

On this morning, volunteers and local government workers arrive to hang low-tech solar light bulbs from the corrugated metal roof. The bulbs are very simple, very effective and the ambitious plan is to put them in 1 million homes this year.

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It's All Politics
3:55 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Complaining About Rivals' Attack Ads, Gingrich Fires Back Off The Air

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich heads for a caffeine fix with his wife Callista at Jitters Coffee Bar as he makes a campaign stop at the Southbridge Mall in Mason City, Iowa on Dec. 28.
Charles Dharapak AP

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Wednesday renewed his pledge not to run any negative ads in the closing days of the campaign for the Iowa caucuses. But campaigning in Mason City, Gingrich said that won't stop him from personally attacking the record of his opponents.

Gingrich spoke at a mall in Mason City and afterward grabbed a skim milk café au lait from the Jitters coffee bar.

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Economy
3:54 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

From Boom To Bust: The Year In Unemployment

In April, the Brooklyn Job Fair drew thousands of participants, including nearly 80 employers. That same month saw unemployment jump to 9 percent from 8.8 percent in March.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

It may be hard to remember, but 2011 began with a bang on the jobs front. The White House seemed ready to break out the champagne when February's job growth report came out showing unemployment at the lowest in nearly two years.

But that celebratory mood didn't last long.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Crime Keeps Falling Despite A Recession — But Why?

iStockphoto.com

We've reported that crime continues to fall in the United States. The FBI said it was down for the first six months of the year and the Justice Department said violent crime was down 12 percent in 2010.

It's a 20-year trend. One that has continued, despite a recession when people expect crime to pick up.

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Election 2012
3:46 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Despite Signs Of Hope, Iowa Voters Question Economy

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum emerges from a cornfield during an August campaign stop in Dyersville, Iowa, at the farm where the movie Field of Dreams was filmed.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

First in a series

Visiting a metal fabrication plant in Sioux City this December, Mitt Romney touted his successful business background, saying those qualifications are what America needs right now.

"I want to use the experience I have in the world of the free enterprise system to make sure that America gets working again. ... These are tough times," said the Republican presidential candidate. "You guys have jobs. Hope your spouses do. But I know these are tough times."

But not as tough in Iowa as in many other parts of the country.

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Movie Interviews
3:42 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Coming Out, Coming Of Age As A Teen 'Pariah'

Adepero Oduye planned to be a doctor, but after her father died suddenly, she decided to change course and pursue an acting career.
Focus Features

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

When the new film Pariah opens nationally, it's safe to say it will not be competing with any other movies about a black teenager coming of age as a lesbian in Brooklyn.

"It's not so much coming out, but coming into," clarifies director Dee Rees. "Alike, the main character, knows she loves women. That's not her struggle. Her struggle's more how to be in the world."

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Europe
3:18 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

In Greece, A Muted Christmas Amid Tough Times

A homeless man begs for money during the launch of Christmas celebrations in Athens' central Syntagma Square, Dec. 9. Difficult economic times have meant subdued holiday activities — and even carolers, who traditionally receive money for their songs, are feeling the pinch.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

In Greece, caroling season runs through the Orthodox Christian holiday known as the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6. Traditionally, children go door-to-door, playing the triangle and singing songs of the season. In return, people give them a few euros for presents.

But this Christmas, Greek retailers say sales fell 30 percent from last year. The unemployment rate is at record levels, crime is rising and austerity is dampening everyone's spirits.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

There Will Be No Friday This Week In Samoa

Samoa: Would you argue with getting an extra day in a place like this?
D. Kirkland/Samoa Tourist Authority AP

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 2:53 pm

What's happening in Samoa on Friday?

Nothing (sort of).

Officially, the day won't exist.

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The Salt
1:59 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Farmers Markets Flourish In Winter's Snows

Georgia O'Neal harvests winter greens at the Tree and Leaf Farm in Unionville, Va., on March 16, 2011.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:10 am

If you're a fresh vegetable lover, it's hard to get excited about what's available in the supermarket produce section in the dead of winter. Whatever is there often has made a long journey from a field in a distant, sunny locale and been sprayed with something to keep it looking fresh. It's usually a little worse for the wear.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

In S.C.: Whether To Say 'It's A Great Day' Is Now A Political Issue

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R).
Chris Keane Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 1:26 pm

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has told her Cabinet agencies that all employees should answer their phones with this greeting:

"It's a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?"

But two Democratic members of the state House are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit any agency from ordering its staff to say that unless it truly is a "great day in South Carolina" (according to those legislators).

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Shots - Health Blog
1:21 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Could Obesity Change The Brain?

A fatty diet may trigger inflammation of the hypothalamus, deep inside the brain, and hinder weight loss.
Wikimedia Commons

The standard advice for losing weight often comes up short for people who are obese.

If they switch to a healthful diet and exercise more, they might lose a bit. But the pounds have a way of creeping back on.

Now some provocative research suggests that a part of the problem might be that obesity could change the area of the brain that helps control appetite and body weight.

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Election 2012
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

GOP Candidates Jockey Ahead Of Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa caucuses will be critical for Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum, or a chance for Rep. Ron Paul to steal the national spotlight from Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Proposed Child Labor Rules Could Alter Farm Life

The Department of Labor has proposed regulations that would limit the kinds of work children can do on farms. Opponents feel the rules would hurt family farms and fundamentally alter farming life, while proponents say the changes would help keep kids safe.

Law
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

HIV Status Disclosure Laws Under Scrutiny

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 2:07 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

In more than 30 U.S. states, it's illegal not to inform sexual partners if you're HIV-positive. Here in Iowa, it's a Class B felony that carries up to 25 years in prison, even if there's no transmission of the virus. Proponents say to knowingly expose someone to a potentially lethal virus is equivalent to attempted murder. Critics argue that these laws single out people with HIV to the exclusion of other dangerous STDs, and they hope to see legislation to change the law so it doesn't target those with HIV, many of whom are gay men.

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Music Lists
12:44 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Flame On: Protest Songs From Greece

Yiannis Aggelakas
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

'Dead By Morning' Facebook Post Leads To Woman's Rescue, Man's Arrest

Facebook.com

National media are catching up on a harrowing story from Utah, where police say a woman who had been kidnapped, raped and beaten for days was able to post a Christmas Eve message for help on Facebook that led to the rescue of her and her 17-month-old son, and the arrest of a man now being held on $1 million bail.

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World
12:20 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Israelis Protest Strict Code Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man (l) and a secular man argue during a protest against the strict religious codes favored by the ultra-Orthodox in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh.
STRINGER Reuters/Landov

According to Israel's President Shimon Peres, a fight is underway, for "the soul of the nation and the essence of the state." But the threat isn't coming from outside of Israel. It's over differing interpretations of Judaism.

Recently, a bespectacled eight year-old girl was filmed by a local TV station being harassed by ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi Jews, for, in their view, not dressing modestly enough. The episode took place in Beit Shemesh, a city between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that has become a symbol of this growing battle in Israel.

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It's All Politics
11:00 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Wavering In Iowa: Portraits Of Undecided Voters

Patrick Brehm
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 11:09 am

As NPR's Becky Lettenberger and I take to the road in Iowa this week, we are collecting the words and images of Iowa Republicans still uncertain who they will vote for in next Tuesday's state GOP presidential caucuses.

Here's the first look at what we saw and heard Tuesday in two cities that hug the Mississippi River on the state's eastern border, Dubuque and Davenport.

We spoke with voters after a Newt Gingrich appearance in Dubuque during a Rotary Club meeting at a local country club.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Wed December 28, 2011

VIDEO: Monks Brawl With Brooms In Bethlehem's Church Of The Nativity

There was a brawl today inside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

A brawl between, of all things, "dozens of monks feuding over sacred space," The Associated Press says.

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It's All Politics
10:54 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Under Attack, Gingrich Struggles To Regain His Stride In Iowa

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich complained about negative ads against him during a campaign stop at the National Toy Farm Museum on Dec. 27 in Dyersville, Iowa.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 7:10 pm

If you're in Iowa this week, you'll need to watch out for campaign buses. Several Republican candidates are on bus tours of the state — including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Bird-Watchers Are All Aflutter: Asian Crane Shows Up In Tennessee

The surprise visitor: An Asian hooded crane that has shown up at the Hiwassee Refuge in Tennessee.
John Kuehnel Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 12:35 pm

Just in time for the mid-January Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival at the Hiwassee Refuge, an Asian hooded crane that probably should be in Japan this time of year has flown in with thousands of his North American relatives.

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