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The Two-Way
5:13 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Survey: Americans Will Forfeit $34 Billion Worth Of Vacation Days In 2011

A traditional arabic Dhow sails in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Chris Jackson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 5:28 pm

For the past few years, the travel site Expedia has conducted a survey about the world's vacation habits and like in years past, this year's survey found that the United States is one of the countries that gives its workers fewer vacation days and one of the countries in which workers leave the most number of vacation days unused.

CNN Money reports:

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Opinion
5:01 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

A Father's Promise, Reinvented And Renewed

istockphoto.com

Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.

When I was five, my father made a promise he never intended to keep. He had returned from a long trip, with presents. I got a fossilized shark tooth, and spent the next month asking about fossils.

At some point, my father made the mistake of describing a massive fossil bed somewhere in Germany. I begged him to take me. There were good reasons that could never happen. Dad knew nothing about fossils; Germany was far away; I was five. But I would not be deterred.

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Economy
4:41 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Stocks Soar, But How Strong Is The Economy?

The U.S. economy is experiencing its strongest across-the-board growth of the year, as private companies hire more people, some manufacturers expand and the stock market surges on a plan to ease Europe's financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 490 points Wednesday, an increase of more than 4 percent.

But analysts say the economy isn't growing robustly enough to lower unemployment, stem government layoffs or revive a housing market that remains extremely weak.

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It's All Politics
3:40 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

In South Carolina, A Resurgent Gingrich Attracts Jubilant Crowds

House Speaker Newt Gingrich talks with Rep. John Kasich of Ohio while President Bill Clinton signs the Balanced Budget Agreement on the South Lawn of the White House in 1997.
PAUL J. RICHARDS AFP/Getty Images

Newt Gingrich traveled across South Carolina this week appearing at a number of town-hall-style meetings where he talked to voters and answered questions — mostly the same questions at every stop. He talked about the improving the economy, creating a new immigration policy, repealing President Obama's health care reform plan and transforming Washington.

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

80-Year-Old Says He Accidentally Left His Life Savings In Donated Suit

A Goodwill store.
screenshot WQAD

This is a pretty heartbreaking story: An 80-year-old man donated a suit to a Goodwill store in western Illinois. The problem is that he didn't realize until it was too late that his $13,000 life savings were in the suit's pocket.

The AP reports:

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Obama Pushes Payroll Tax Cut in Scranton, Pa.

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 6:49 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

President Obama took his call for payroll tax relief to Scranton, Pennsylvania today. It was his ninth visit to the state this year, underscoring the role that Pennsylvania will play in the 2012 election. The president told a crowd at Scranton High School that extending the payroll tax cut should trump partisan politics.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Send your senators a message. Tell them - don't be a Grinch.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Occupy Chicago: A 'Dry Run' For Upcoming Events

In Chicago, city officials and demonstrators say the recent Occupy Chicago protests are a sort of dry run for next year's simultaneous NATO and G-8 summit meetings.

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Letters: Berea College; Ruth Stone; 'Moves Like Jagger'

Melissa Block and Guy Raz read emails from listeners about a report on Kentucky's Berea College, about Melissa's remembrance of Vermont poet Ruth Stone, and about the other person responsible for that mega-hit earworm "Moves Like Jagger."

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Comedian Patrice O'Neal Dies At 41

Guy Raz remembers Patrice O'Neal — a stand-up comedian who took on controversial topics like race, AIDS and his own struggle with diabetes. O'Neal died on Tuesday. He was 41 and lived in New Jersey.

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

A Look At Famous To-Do Lists

Even the most famous among us need to make a memo for the mundane. Melissa Block and Guy Raz tell us what a few American icons — from JFK to Johnny Cash — once had on their to-do lists.

Shots - Health Blog
2:55 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Health Law's Popularity Rises ... Ever So Slightly

Can you say blip?

Apparently that's what last month's all-time low popularity numbers were for President Obama's health overhaul law, according to this month's tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Overall, the federal Affordable Care Act still remains slightly more unpopular (44 percent) than popular (37 percent), but that's down from last month's 51-34 split.

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Researcher Finds Secret Software On Phones Logs Nearly Everything

A screenshot showing CarrierIQ in action.
screenshot YouTube

That headline is pretty spectacular, but the software researcher Trevor Eckhart found in his HTC Android phone does just that. Eckhart posted a video on YouTube on Monday showing how the software works:

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Despite Warnings From Inspector, One Iowa Town Still Battles Toxic Air

The Grain Processing Corp. plant in Muscatine, Iowa.
Chris Hamby Center for Public Integrity

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 1:35 pm

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Prosecutors Say John Hinckley Is Still A Threat

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 1:15 pm

The Justice Department says the man who shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan in 1981 still poses a threat to public safety.

Prosecutors are fighting an effort by John Hinckley to win more freedom from a mental hospital where he's been confined for decades.

During a hearing in Washington, the prosecutors said the government has been watching Hinckley.

Secret Service agents followed Hinckley last summer, when he said he was going to the movies during visits to his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Rep. Barney Frank Bids Congress Farewell

After three decades serving in Congress, Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank has announced his retirement. The liberal Democrat will leave behind a legislative legacy that includes financial regulation and memorable sparring matches with both colleagues and constituents.

World
1:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Tension Grows Between Iran And The West

British authorities have closed their embassy in Iran's capital city, Tehran, and recalled all diplomatic staff, a day after Iranian protesters stormed the embassy. Britain also said it was requiring Iran to close its embassy in London and recall all its staff in the next 48 hours.

Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Fewer Than Half Of Americans Believe U.S. Is Best

In 2002, nearly 60% of Americans believed the U.S. was exceptional among nations. But a recent Pew Research study finds fewer than half of Americans now believe their country is superior to others. The shift has many commentators wondering what's behind a general decline in optimism among Americans.

Television
1:00 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Ali Calls 'All-American Muslim' A Welcome Relief

TLC's new reality show, All-American Muslim follows five Muslim-American families. It aims to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes about the religion. In a recent piece in The Guardian, Wajahat Ali writes that TLC's portrayal is a "welcome relief from the usual tawdry caricatures of Muslims."

The Two-Way
12:47 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

First 'Penn State Scandal' Civil Suit Filed

The first civil lawsuit brought by an alleged victim of Jerry Sandusky is from a man who says he was sexually abused as a young boy more than 100 times by the former Penn State assistant football coach.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Deputies, Movers Refuse To Evict 103-Year-Old Georgia Woman

Vita Lee, 103, lives in northwest Atlanta.
screenshot WSBTV

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:39 pm

Vita Lee has lived in her Northwest Atlanta home for 53 years. But after a second mortgage was taken out on her home, she faced foreclosure and police planned to evict her yesterday.

But as Atlanta's WSB-TV reports, once Fulton County sheriff's deputies and the movers looked at the 103-year-old Lee, they declined to move forward with the eviction.

WSBTV reports:

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Digital Life
12:13 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Interpreting The Constitution In The Digital Era

GPS monitors can track your every movement. Brain scans can now see lies forming in your brain. And advancements in genetic engineering may soon allow parents to engineer what their children will look and be like.

These new technologies are "challenging our Constitutional categories in really dramatic ways," says George Washington University law professor Jeffrey Rosen. "And what's so striking is that none of the existing amendments give clear answers to the most basic questions we're having today."

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Shots - Health Blog
12:05 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

HIV Treatment Lags In U.S., Guaranteeing More Infections

The latest numbers from CDC show that only 28 percent of the nation's 1.2 million HIV-infected people are getting effective antiviral treatment; effective treatment rates are lowest among African-American men.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

The United States is doing a pretty miserable job of treating people with HIV.

The latest numbers show that only 28 percent of the nation's 1.2 million HIV-infected people are getting effective treatment — that is, antiviral medications to keep the virus in check.

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Music Reviews
11:48 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Buck Owens: Finding His Voice In 'Bakersfield'

Courtesy of the artist

I'm not much for collections of alternate takes and the early music of people who went on to have hits. There's usually a reason a song doesn't become a hit, just as there's usually a reason to record another take — it's because the music is usually lousy. But I'm a little bit obsessed with a new collection of Buck Owens performances from the years before he became a star.

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The Salt
11:36 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Is Fair Trade Coffee Still Fair If It Comes From A Big Farm?

A coffee grower picks coffee fruits in a plantation near Montenegro in Quindio province, Colombia. Fair Trade USA wants to allow coffee from big estates like this one under its fair trade label.
Jose Miguel Gomez Reuters /Landov

When you buy food that is labeled fair trade, you do so to support farmers who meet certain social and environmental standards. But some companies now disagree about whether a new take on fair trade can really be called "fair."

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Business
11:20 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Central Banks Around Globe Move To Ease Fears

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a surprising move by central banks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The Federal Reserve took action this morning, along with the major central banks in Europe and Japan, to ease credit for commercial banks. This is an effort to free up funding for European banks battered by the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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It's All Politics
10:56 am
Wed November 30, 2011

In Gingrich, Romney May Be Facing Toughest Foe Yet

Republican voters may have saved the best for last in terms of the latest obstacle they've placed between Mitt Romney and what was supposed to have been his inevitable march to the 2012 Republican presidential nomination — Newt Gingrich.

Essentially written off after his campaign seemingly imploded last summer and because of the manifest personal baggage he brings to a presidential campaign, Gingrich stuck around long enough to have his moment, to catch fire after Herman Cain flamed out.

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U.S.
10:49 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Police Sweep L.A. Occupy Camp; More Than 200 Arrested

Police in two of the nation's largest cities moved in overnight to sweep away the camps of Occupy protesters. In Philadelphia, protesters marched through the streets; about 50 were arrested. In Los Angeles, hundreds of police deployed from City Hall and took control of a camp nearby, with more than 200 arrests. Steve Inskeep talks with Frank Stoltze of member station KPCC, who was been watching the developments in L.A.

Europe
10:42 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Scores Of British Workers Protest Austerity Measures

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the Occupy protests have focused on economic issues, which are also motivating a massive strike in Britain today. It is being described as the largest national strike in a generation. It is estimated that as many as 2 million public sector workers may be taking part, the latest in a wave of protests over austerity measures.

NPR's Philip Reeves is covering that story in London. And Philip, where are you?

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Business
10:16 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Fed Joins New Effort To Ease Financial Woes

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:07 pm

The Federal Reserve joined other major central banks Wednesday in a coordinated effort to shore up the global financial system. The move comes at a time when credit is becoming tighter, especially in Europe, because of doubts about the health of big banks.

The Two-Way
10:10 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Guns & Poses With Santa: Anything Wrong With That?

A Democratic state representative in Arizona thinks it's wrong for a Scottsdale gun club to be giving folks, including children, a chance to have their photos taken with Santa Claus while "holding pistols and military-style rifles," The Associated Press says.

State Rep. Steve Farley says "to involve machine guns and Santa in a celebration in the birth of Jesus Christ is the worst kind of heresy I can imagine."

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