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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Morning-After Pill Won't Be Available Without Prescription To Younger Girls

The Food and Drug Administration will not be removing age restrictions for a morning-after birth control pill — a decision that's likely to prolong a fight that has raged for more than eight years.

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The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

At Sentencing, Rod Blagojevich Says He's 'Unbelievably Sorry'

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich arrives for the verdict in his corruption retrial at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago on June 27.
John Gress Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 3:00 pm

Update at 1:33 p.m. ET. Judge James Zagel has sentenced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in prison. The AP reports that it is "one of the stiffest penalties for corruption in a state with a history of crooked politics."

On his way out of the courthouse, Blagojevich said "we're going to keep fighting on through this adversity. This is a time to be strong."

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Around the Nation
12:24 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Dozens Arrested As Police Clear Occupy S.F. Camp

Police officers surrounded the Occupy San Francisco encampment at Justin Herman Plaza early Wednesday.
Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of police officers cleared Occupy protesters from a camp in San Francisco early Wednesday, giving them a five-minute warning before dismantling the tent city and arresting at least 70 people.

Police cars, fire engines and ambulances surrounded the campsite and blocked off the area around Justin Herman Plaza during the raid, which began shortly after 1 a.m.

A few officers lingered at daybreak Wednesday as trash crews raked up paper and plastic bottles, removed chairs and other belongings that had accumulated at the camp over the past two months.

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News
12:14 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Joining Forces With The Left, Occupy Swarms Capitol

Hundreds of demonstrators marched on Capitol Hill Tuesday to occupy the offices of their members of Congress during the "Take Back the Capitol" protest in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, they plan to target K Street.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

After bringing their grievances to the doors of Congress on Tuesday, protesters from across the nation plan to take aim at Washington's other vilified powerbrokers: lobbyists.

By lunchtime on Wednesday, storied K Street, which is home to the lobbying arms of many large corporations and industries, is expected to be choked with as many as 3,000 community activists, unemployed protesters, union members and Occupy Wall Street participants.

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Commentary
11:49 am
Wed December 7, 2011

'Occupy': Geoff Nunberg's 2011 Word Of The Year

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 4:04 pm

Geoff Nunberg, the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, is the author of the book The Years of Talking Dangerously.

If the word of the year is supposed to be an item that has actually shaped the perception of important events, I can't see going with anything but occupy. It was a late entry, but since mid-September it has gone viral and global. Just scan the thousands of hashtags and Facebook pages that begin with the word: Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Slovakia. Occupy Saskatoon, Sesame Street, the Constitution. Occupy the hood.

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Fresh Food
11:43 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Tried And True Tricks From 'America's Test Kitchen'

Want the perfect pie crust? Christopher Kimball from America's Test Kitchen says the secret is to substitute half of the recipe's water with vodka, for a dry, flaky crust.
iStockphoto.com

The mission of America's Test Kitchen is simple: to make "recipes that work." The syndicated PBS cooking show, hosted by Christopher Kimball, simplifies recipes in ways that home chefs can easily replicate with a fairly high degree of success.

Making sure amateur chefs can recreate recipes designed by professional chefs is of utmost importance, Kimball tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Prosecutor Won't Seek Death Penalty For Mumia Abu-Jamal

One of the highest-profile murder cases in recent decades just took another important turn: "Philadelphia's district attorney announced this morning that he will not continue to seek the death penalty for Mumia Abu-Jamal," WHYY reports.

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Though Accusers Are 'Credible,' No State Charges Against Syracuse Coach

A local prosecutor says he believes two men who have alleged that a former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach sexually abused them when they were children are credible — but can't pursue charges because the statute of limitations has passed.

The Associated Press reports that the decision by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick only means that there won't be a case brought against Bernie Fine under state law. "A federal probe is ongoing," AP notes.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Shouldn't Rush Be In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson (left) and singer/bassist Geddy Lee.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Pardon this blogger for a moment of venting.

We've heard today that the new inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the performers category are Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Laura Nyro, Donovan and The Small Faces.

I don't have any problem with the honorees.

As usual, it's who still isn't in the hall that irks me.

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It's All Politics
10:34 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Gingrich's Proposals On Child Labor Stir Attacks, But Raise Real Issues

Newt Gingrich's proposal to put poor children to work because, he says, they're not learning the "work habit" in public housing projects has been condemned by critics as worthy of a Dickens novel.

Those who followed the GOP presidential candidate's tumultuous legislative career in Washington say Gingrich's latest foray into child welfare is not an anomaly.

As House Speaker in the mid-1990s, Gingrich proposed banning welfare benefits for children born to unmarried young women and using the funds to build orphanages for youngsters whose parents were failing them.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Mexico Says It Blocked Plot To Smuggle Gadhafi's Son Into Country

Saadi Gadhafi at January 2010 news conference in Tripoli.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 10:10 am

A report in Canada's National Post that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's "playboy son Saadi made plans to flee to a Mexican beach resort whose celebrity visitors include Kim Kardashian, Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga," has prompted Mexico's interior secretary to say today that his country's intelligence service has broken up the plot, The Associated Press says.

According to the AP:

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Shots - Health Blog
9:44 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Call Now To Get A Medicare Enrollment Extension

If you need more time to make a decision on your Medicare plan, get on the phone right away.
iStockphoto.com

Federal officials are extending today's deadline some people picking a Medicare prescription drug or private health plan because of the crush of last-minute sign-ups.

There's a catch. The extension is available only to seniors who seek official help with their decision by the close of business today, said a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

And one other thing, the extension is only three days long.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Attack's 70th Anniversary: Memories, Moment Of Silence

Dec. 7, 1941: The USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

On this 70th anniversary of the date "which will live in infamy," there will be a moment of silence in Hawaii at 7:55 a.m. (12:55 a.m. ET) to remember the 2,390 Americans who died when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

It was 7:55 a.m. local time when the attack began — a strike that would push America into World War II.

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Europe
8:57 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Anti-Mafia Police Nab Fugitive Mobster In Italy

Italian policemen celebrated Wednesday outside police's headquarters in the town of Caserta following the arrest of Michele Zagaria, the boss of the Casalesi clan.
Roberto Salomone AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 12:30 pm

One of Italy's most-wanted mobsters was captured by Italian anti-mafia police units Wednesday after spending 16 years on the run.

Michele Zagaria ran one of bloodiest clans of the Naples mafia, which is known as the Camorra. He was found hiding under 15 feet of reinforced concrete in an underground bunker in his hometown of Casapesenna, north of Naples.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli said that Zagaria reportedly told police: "You have won. The state has won." He had been on the run since 1995.

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Monkey See
8:35 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Raise A Glass Of Butterbeer As Potter's 'Wizarding World' Comes To Hollywood

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

You might think Harry Potter fever would be petering out now that the books and the films have come and gone. You, of course, would be wrong, as Ben Bergman reports on today's Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Roadside Bomb Kills 19 In Afghanistan

One day after dozens of people were killed in two suicide bomb attacks aimed at Shiites, there's been another deadly explosion in Afghanistan:

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Trip To Dubai Raises Questions About Pakistani Leader's Future

President Asif Ali Zardari is in Dubai for heart treatment, his office says. But Zardari's government is embroiled in controversy. That has Pakistanis wondering if he might resign while he's out of the country.
Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:54 am

With his government embroiled in controversy over a memo that many in Pakistan view as potentially treasonous, President Asif Ali Zardari's sudden departure for medical treatment in Dubai has "people [here] questioning the timing" and wondering if Zardari might be about to step down, NPR's Corey Flintoff reported this morning from Islamabad.

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Strange News
7:53 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Alec Baldwin Finds American Airlines Unfriendly

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer. American Airlines filed for bankruptcy last week. Now, they might lose a customer after kicking Alec Baldwin off a New York flight. Baldwin tweeted he was reamed out for playing the mobile game Words with Friends after lights out for electronic devices.

He later boarded another American Airlines flight but hinted it might be his last. He tweeted: There's always United. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Strange News
7:45 am
Wed December 7, 2011

'MythBusters' Confirms Cannonball Can Destroy House

The Discovery Channel program MythBusters took safety precautions, going to a California firing range for a segment involving a cannon. They aimed the cannon at water-filled barrels and a concrete wall. But when they fired, the cannonball sailed over the targets, toward a house. People sleeping inside woke to find the cannonball ripped through the house and it struck a minivan.

The Two-Way
7:30 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Syria's Assad: 'We Don't Kill Our People'

President Bashar Assad during his interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters.
ABC News

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 7:35 am

"We don't kill our people ... no government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person."

So says Syrian President Bashar Assad to ABC News Barbara Walters in an interview that's airing across several of the network's shows today.

Pushing back against reports from the United Nations and witnesses in several Syrian cities, Assad denied that his security forces have killed thousands of civilians.

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Internal Probe, Criminal Charges Still Pending In W.Va. Mine Disaster

It's been a busy week for the 29 families of the coal miners who lost their lives last year in the explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.

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Politics
5:06 am
Wed December 7, 2011

How Payroll Tax Cut Affects Social Security's Future

President Obama put Congress on notice Tuesday in a speech in Osawatomie, Kan.

He said that unless a temporary payroll tax cut is extended this month, 160 million Americans would see their taxes go up next year by an average of $1,000. But there's concern on both sides of the political aisle that the payroll tax holiday might be undermining the solvency of Social Security.

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Asia
5:04 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Clean Air A 'Luxury' In Beijing's Pollution Zone

Chinese walk to work midday as heavy smog hangs over downtown Beijing.
Stephen Shaver UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:37 pm

On the way to school, my kids and I play a guessing game: How polluted is the air today? We use an app linked to the air pollution monitor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and we try to guess the day's exact level on the Air Quality Index, and whether the air is dangerous.

These days, chances are that it could well be. For more than half of the past 60 days, the air pollution has hit levels hazardous to human health. Experts estimate long-term exposure to such pollution could reduce life expectancy by as much as five years. But I don't tell the kids that.

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Monkey See
5:04 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Disappointing 'Redneck' TV Shortchanges The American South

Skipper Bivens of Animal Planet's Hillbilly Handfishin'.
David Yellen Animal Planet

Oklahoma hand fisherman Skipper Bivins is obviously a man who enjoys his work.

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Your Money
5:03 am
Wed December 7, 2011

In Policing Fashion, Moms Find A New Power Online

After J.C. Penney advertised a shirt many people found sexist, Lauren Todd launched an online petition. This screengrab was taken from Change.org, after J.C. Penney removed the shirt from its inventory.
Change.org

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

Angry consumers have been turning to online petitions to try to change what retailers put on their store shelves. This fall, J.C. Penney had to scrap a shirt that read "I'm Too Pretty To Do Homework, So My Brother Has To Do It For Me," after an online backlash by consumers calling the shirt sexist. Other retailers are also feeling the pressure.

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Middle East
5:02 am
Wed December 7, 2011

On The Run, Under The Radar, With Syria's Rebels

Riad al-Asaad says he's the leader of the Free Syrian Army, a group of Syrian defectors who recently posted this video on the group's Facebook page.
Free Syrian Army AP

In Syria, the clashes between the opposition movement and the government's security forces are starting to look more and more like a civil war. Protests across the country still remain mostly peaceful, but soldiers who have defected are assembling a force called the Free Syrian Army, which has been launching attacks on government targets. NPR's Kelly McEvers recently met up with members of the Free Syrian Army when she crossed from Lebanon into Syria on a secret nighttime excursion.

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House & Senate Races
5:02 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Virginia Senate Race: Familiar Faces, Fresh Pressure

George Allen, a former U.S. senator and Virginia governor, speaks to employees of an auto parts manufacturing plant near Roanoke, Va., on Oct. 5. Allen is trying to recapture the Senate seat he lost in 2006.
Stephanie Klein-Davis AP

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

A debate in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday kicks off what promises to be one of the most closely watched and expensive U.S. Senate races in 2012.

The seat in question is being vacated by Democrat Jim Webb, who has chosen not to run for a second term. Running to replace him are two former Virginia governors: Republican George Allen, who held the Senate seat before Webb defeated him in 2006, and Democrat Tim Kaine, who recently served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

It's a race likely to revolve around two key issues: President Obama and the economy.

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Environment
5:01 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Can 'Carbon Ranching' Offset Emissions In Calif.?

Tall grasses in the San Joaquin valley in California suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it in the soil. It's one option that environmentalists are pursuing for greenhouse gas "offsets" that can be bought and sold in the state.
Christopher Joyce NPR

Second of a two-part series on California's climate policies. Read part 1.

Climate experts are exploring the concept of growing dense fields of weeds to help soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Just over a year from now, California will begin enforcing a set of laws that limit emissions of greenhouse gases from factories, power plants and, eventually, from vehicles.

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World
4:00 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Pakistan's President Leaves For Medical Tests

Asif Ali Zardari's visit to a Dubai hospital to undergo routine medical tests has fueled speculation of his possible resignation. Zardari's office said a news report that kicked off the speculation was untrue.

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