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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Fri October 28, 2011

West Virginia Prosecutor Defends Long Mine Disaster Investigation

Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette has a story this morning featuring a rare interview with the U.S. Attorney for West Virginia, who says prosecutors are exploring more serious charges against senior Massey Energy officials in last year's deadly explosion at the company's Upper Big Branch mine.

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The Salt
11:37 am
Fri October 28, 2011

When Forgettable Salads Cause A Deadly Outbreak

Would you remember exactly what was in this salad more than a week after eating it?

Luciana Bueno Santos (LuBueno) iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 3:31 pm

Consider the last time you ordered a salad at a restaurant. What, precisely, was in it? Chances are you'll remember the biggest, brightest ingredients, like the lettuce, the tomato, maybe the grilled chicken.

But will you remember the little bits — the nuts, berries or toppings? In an age when salads increasingly aspire to be confetti-like piles of artistic greatness, you'd be pardoned if you didn't take note every morsel.

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The Two-Way
11:14 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Find Your Spot Among World's 7 Billion And Meet The 'Most Typical Person'

National Geographic's composite sketch of the world's most typical person (left) and the real Mu Li.

CBS/National Geographic

Maybe you haven't heard yet, but the world's population is set to hit 7 billion people on Monday. At least that's what the United Nations Population Fund says.

Most news outlets are already covering the story or have plans to (Morning Edition has a four-part series scheduled for next week).

Two reports this week caught our attention.

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Economy
10:38 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Hundreds Try To Influence The Supercommittee

The line for seating in the hearing room of the supercommittee's meeting on Wednesday. An NPR review found that 619 separate interest groups have reported lobbying the group.

Tinna Knuutila Sunlight Foundation

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 5:56 pm

The deficit reduction committee, the so-called supercommittee, has less than a month to agree on massive spending cuts and deficit reduction. And so the race is on — not only for lawmakers but for interest groups, trade associations and corporations. An NPR analysis finds there are hundreds of them that want to influence the outcome.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:59 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Democrats Lose Enthusiasm For Health Law

Sure, it's just one poll of many, but October marks a crummy month for sentiment about the federal Affordable Care Act.

For the first time since President Obama signed it into law in March 2010, more than half of those polled — 51 percent — told researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation they had an unfavorable view of the measure overhauling health care. Only 34 percent said they viewed the law favorably, a post-passage low.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Consumer Spending Rose In September, But At Expense Of Savings

There was a 0.6 percent increase in consumer spending in September vs. August, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. The increase was much larger than the 0.2 pecent gain in August from July.

But personal income grew only 0.1 percent last month — meaning that consumers dug into their savings in order to boost spending. According to the bureau: "Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 3.6 percent in September, compared with 4.1 percent in August."

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Fri October 28, 2011

International Criminal Court Confirms 'Indirect' Talks With Gadhafi Son

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, in Tripoli on Aug. 23, 2011.

Imed Lamloum AFP/Getty Images

Officials of the International Criminal Court are having "indirect" talks with Saif al-Islam Gadhafi about his possible surrender, the ICC's prosecutor told The Associated Press and other news outlets today.

Saif al-Islam, one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons, once was seen as the heir apparent to the former Libyan dictator.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Report: Prominent Obama Fundraisers Have Ties To Lobbyists

"Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid," The New York Times reports this morning.

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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Fri October 28, 2011

British Princesses To Be Equal To Princes In Line Of Succession

April 29, 2011: Their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after their wedding.

Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

"Sons and daughters of any future U.K. monarch will have equal right to the throne" under royalty succession reforms agreed to today by all 16 Commonwealth countries, the BBC reports.

And under the new rules, British kings and queens will no longer be banned from marrying Roman Catholics — though the rule barring a Catholic from becoming king or queen will remain.

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The Two-Way
7:54 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Top Stories: Cards Win, Markets May Dip, Bangkok Braces For More Flooding

Good morning.

If you're looking for the score and a heads-up on the key moments from last night's World Series action, we've got that here:

-- Cards Win On 11th-Inning Freese Clout; Force Game 7. St. Louis beat Texas 10-9 thanks to a dramatic solo home run in the 11th inning from third baseman David Freese.

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

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Asia
5:31 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Chinese Activists Turn To Twitter In Rights Cases

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng with his wife and son outside their home in northeast China's Shandong province in 2005. He's been held incommunicado at his home for more than a year and has become the focus of a microblog campaign by human-rights activists.

STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 9:21 pm

In China, microblogs are transforming the way activists draw attention to human-rights cases. Despite strict Internet controls, netizens are using Chinese Twitter as a powerful tool.

Two recent cases show just how effective microblogs can be in shaping the debate over human-rights abuses and driving citizen activism.

One case involves a chilling video that was recently released online. In it, a man lies under a green quilt, apparently naked. His left eye and right ear are covered with bandages; the skin on his feet is discolored and peeling.

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All Tech Considered
5:19 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Mobile Payment Apps Put Wallets In Phones, Not Pockets

A screengrab shows the Google Wallet app being used to pay for items at a CVS store.

Google

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 8:48 am

The use of smartphones as e-wallets has caught on elsewhere; now it's spreading in America.

The new Google Wallet app lets shoppers who own Android smartphones pay at the counter with a mere wave at the cash register and without a pocketful of change in return.

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Business
5:04 am
Fri October 28, 2011

In Europe's Crisis, U.S. Mostly An Observer

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao meeting in Berlin on June 28. During Europe's economic crisis, both China and the United States have stayed mostly on the sidelines.

Markus Schreiber AP

When Columbus sailed west in the late 15th century, he launched a long and lucrative relationship between Europe and the Americas. Family ties, economic bonds and shared military goals continue to knit us together.

But as the European debt crisis has deepened, it has highlighted this early 21st century shift: The United States is becoming more of a Pacific Rim country and less of a North Atlantic partner.

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Asia
5:00 am
Fri October 28, 2011

In India, Once-Marginalized Now Memorialized

Stone elephants line a newly inaugurated park dedicated to Dalit, or lower caste, leaders in a suburb of New Delhi, India. Mayawati, a politician known as the "Dalit queen," says previous governments did nothing to honor the leaders who fought for Dalit rights.

Pankaj Nangia AP

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 8:48 am

In India, a land of ancient monuments, people are talking about a newly built monument for the nation's most marginalized people.

It's a memorial to India's Dalits, the people once called "untouchables," and it was built by the country's most powerful Dalit politician.

The Indian monument best known to Westerners is the Taj Mahal, but the country is bejeweled with magnificent temples and palaces, built by whoever happened to be ruling India at any given time.

This latest monument continues that tradition: It's a colossal domed building carved from pink sandstone.

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Herman Cain
4:43 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Herman Cain's Ads Unconventional If Not Effective

A screen grab from Herman Cain's campaign ad.

YouTube

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Economy
4:34 am
Fri October 28, 2011

The Rising Cost Of Doing Business With Greece

Greek's economic problems work their way down the supply chain to people like Kosta Bouyoukas, who imports olives and other foods from Greece. He says suppliers are changing the terms of contracts, and sometimes products don't show up at all.

Helga Csenki iStockphoto.com

As details of the Greek debt deal passed by the European Union Wednesday are worked out, some businesses in the U.S. continue to grapple with the ripple effects of the prolonged debt crisis.

The EU hopes the debt deal will contain Europe's debt problems, and the problem countries will now start their work of implementing fiscal reforms — which has proved troublesome, especially in Greece.

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Politics
4:20 am
Fri October 28, 2011

New York Wrestles Over Extending Millionaires Tax

The so-called millionaires tax on New York's top wage earners is set to expire at the end of the year, even as the state struggles to balance its books. A poll released Thursday shows that New Yorkers favor extending the tax by more than 2 to 1.

But the millionaires tax also has its opponents, including the state's popular and powerful governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

John Samuelsen, president of New York City's transit workers union, called on lawmakers to extend the millionaires tax during a rally this week outside City Hall in Manhattan.

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World
4:00 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Global Markets Rally After EU Leaders Set Debt Plan

U.S. stocks had one of their best days in weeks Thursday: The Dow jumped nearly 3 percent and prices in Europe went through the roof. The surge came after the announcement that European leaders finally agreed on a comprehensive plan to tackle their debt problems. Does the rally mean investors think the crisis is over?

Europe
4:00 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Sarkozy Warns France Of More Belt-Tightening Ahead

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 8:48 am

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, host: And, of course, this crisis stretches far beyond Greece. French President Nicolas Sarkozy went on national television last night to explain his country's part of the deal. He said the French people must expect further belt-tightening measures. Eleanor Beardsley reports that it was a chance for Sarkozy to assert control just six months ahead of a presidential election.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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U.S.
4:00 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Occupy Violence Reignites Criticism Of Oakland Police

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 8:48 am

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, host: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro. Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep are away. In Oakland, California, protestors with the Occupy Wall Street movement continue to stand vigil in a downtown plaza in front of City Hall. This week, police fired teargas and bean bags at protestors. The incident is under investigation, and NPR's Carrie Kahn reports that the confrontation has reignited criticism of the Oakland police.

CARRIE KAHN: In the downtown park in front of City Hall, the protestors have changed their tune.

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The Two-Way
6:25 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Report: Fukushima Released More Radioactive Material Than Japan Estimated

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 7:18 am

An unpublished study by European scientists has found that the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant may have released much more radioactive active material than the Japanese government estimated.

NPR's Richard Harris filed this report for the Newscast unit:

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The Salt
6:03 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Crop Insurance: A Pricey 'Safety Net' For Farmers

Illinois farmers harvest corn crops near Monticello, Ill. An unseasonably hot summer likely damaged much of this year's corn crop, which means farmers may seek support through their crop insurance.

Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 2:36 pm

Farming nowadays is risky business — it's not uncommon for a farmer to invest $500,000 in 1,000 acres of corn or soybeans, and run the risk of losing a chunk of their income to pests or fickle weather events like droughts and floods.

That's why farmers say crop insurance is "the most important safety net program" for them, says Joe Glauber, chief economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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The Two-Way
5:55 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Saudi King Names 78-Year-Old Nayef Bin Abdulaziz As His Successor

Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud waving before delivering a speech at the Shura (consultative) Council in Riyadh in 2007.

Hassa Ammar AFP/Getty Images

As expected, King Abdullah of Egypt has appointed his half-brother, 78-year-old Nayef bin Abdulaziz, crown prince. The news comes, after the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz Al Saud died on Saturday.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:03 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Hormones And Metabolism Conspire Against Dieters

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 8:24 pm

There are some fresh insights from Australia that help explain why it's so difficult for dieters to keep off the weight they lose.

Willpower will only take you so far, in case you haven't run that experiment yourself. Turns out our bodies have a fuel gauge, not entirely unlike the gas gauge on our cars, that tell us when it's time to tank up on food.

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The Two-Way
4:56 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Markets Rally After Europe Cements Debt Deal

Originally published on Thu October 27, 2011 4:57 pm

With European debt deal worked out, world markets rallied. The U.S. markets' rally managed to get them into positive territory for the year.

Here's how The New York Times frames the story:

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Nintendo Predicts Its First Annual Loss In 30 Years

Originally published on Thu October 27, 2011 4:28 pm

Based on a strong Yen and lower-than-expected sales of its 3DS system, Nintendo predicted it would post a yearly loss for the first time in its 30-year history.

Bloomberg reports:

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Politics
4:16 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Muslim Activist Challenges Fla. Republican's Views

There's no member of the Republican freshman class in Congress more outspoken than Florida Rep. Allen West.

Since he was elected last year, West has become a strong voice on Capitol Hill for fiscal restraint, socially conservative values — and responding to the threat posed by Islamic extremists.

On the topic of Islam, West has been particularly controversial. He calls it not a religion but a "theocratic political ideology" that's a threat to America.

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Living Large: Obesity In America
3:50 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Workplaces Feel The Impact of Obesity

This office chair was custom-built by a company called ErgoGenesis for a client who exceeded the 600-pound limit of its other chairs. It cost $1,800.

Courtesy of ErgoGenesis

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 7:03 pm

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America

From cubicle farms to auto factories, accommodating larger and heavier employees has become a fact of life. One in three U.S. adults is obese, and researchers say the impact on business can be boiled down to a number: $1,000 to $6,000 in added cost per year for each obese employee, the figure rising along with a worker's body mass index.

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Economy
3:43 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Consumers Remain Numb Even As Economy Grows

Although consumer spending is up, consumer confidence is at its worst since March 2009, at the height of the recession.

David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 9:40 am

Consumer spending is up, and the economy is growing a bit. Unemployment is high, but at least it looks like it's not going higher. Even Wall Street likes the Greek debt deal.

But to say that the American consumer remains skeptical would be an understatement. Just ask Kim Brown, a 34-year-old kindergarten teacher from Caroline County, Md.

"Everything is going up but our pay," Brown tells NPR. "I'm not confident at all. I think things are going to get worse before they come back."

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

NASA Makes Final Preparations For Huge Asteroid Flyby

This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was generated from data taken in April of 2010 by the Arecibo Radar Telescope in Puerto Rico.

NASA/Cornell/Arecibo

An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will fly by Earth closer than the moon on Nov. 8. NASA announced, yesterday, that it was making final preparations to study the asteroid as it flies by.

The fly-by presents a unique opportunity, because scientists are able to make observations without sending a spacecraft to it.

NASA reports:

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