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Business
2:16 pm
Sun November 6, 2011

'Farmville' Makers Hope To Put Stock In Virtual Goods

A screenshot of Piskorskiville. Five percent of Zynga's 200 million monthly users buy "virtual goods" to get ahead in the game or beautify their city.
Courtesy of Misiek Piskorski

Zynga is a company that makes money by selling nothing. Or, to be fair, by selling imaginary things, like tractors that plow farms on Facebook.

A "virtual good" is the term of art for an industry that minted $9 billion last year alone. Zynga is America's first virtual goods company to file an initial public offering. The IPO is expected to go through before Thanksgiving and will test whether the company's modern day alchemy — turning virtual goods into real money — is a game-changer for the gaming industry.

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Politics
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

What To Watch For This Election Day

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. A political update now, but not about the 2012 presidential race. This Tuesday is election day in some places around the country, so we've invited in NPR's political junkie Ken Rudin to fill us in on who and what's on the ballot, and what the results may say about 2012. Good morning, Ken.

KEN RUDIN: Hi Audie.

CORNISH: So let's start with the two races for governor. Where are they, and what do we need to know about them?

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Around the Nation
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

American Greeks Watch Europe's Drama Unfold

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: As this week's Eurozone crisis has unfolded, it seems every hour brings an unexpected twist. But if there's one thing certain about the drama, it's this: everyone in Baltimore's historic Greektown is watching. WYPR's Sarah Richards files this report.

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Europe
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Greece Hangs In Limbo As Talks Continue

Though he's said he's willing to step down, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has yet to announce his resignation.
Louis Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

After a week of political turmoil in Greece that threatened the fate of the eurozone, Prime Minister George Papandreou is deadlocked with his major opposition rival in trying to form a coalition government to restore market confidence in the debt-laden nation.

The increasingly unpopular prime minister has not yet announced his promised resignation, keeping the political world on tenterhooks.

Papandreou insists a national unity government would provide broad parliamentary consensus for a crucial $179 billion bailout deal and partial write-off of Greece's debt mountain.

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Economy
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Will China Step In To Aid Europe?

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: There's one country on which the European Union has been pinning its hopes: China. Twice in the last two weeks, European leaders have asked China for major financial help.

NPR Shanghai correspondent Frank Langfitt has been tracking China's reaction and joins us now. Good morning, Frank.

FRANK LANGFITT: Good morning, Audie.

CORNISH: So what role could China play in beefing up the EU's bailout fund?

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Economy
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Middle Class Life Further Away For Next Generation

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

We posed a question to our listeners on Facebook recently: Are you a parent who is worried your adult children won't have the same chance at a middle-class life as you did? Or are you the child of middle-class parents, and find you're not able to match your parents' lifestyle?

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Politics
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Protesters Take Pipeline Fight To White House

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Organizers say more than 5,000 people signed up online for a protest today at the White House. At issue is the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is proposed as a way to take oil from Alberta, Canada 1,700 miles to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Environmental groups are asking President Obama to kill the project, but labor unions argue the construction would create badly needed jobs. Joining us to talk about the pipeline controversy is NPR's science correspondent, Richard Harris. Richard, welcome.

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Economy
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

American Dream For Middle Class: Just A Dream?

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: Is it still possible to move up the economic ladder in the U.S.? Has the American dream become just that - a dream? As we found out from our social media callout, those questions are on the minds of many families like the Spoerners.

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Business
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Oil Industry Revs Up Tax Break Lobby

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

If your U.S. senator or representative is on the super committee, expect your local airwaves to be peppered with oil industry ads in coming weeks. The basic message: Higher taxes on oil companies don't make financial sense.

The super committee in Congress is racing to find places to cut more than a trillion dollars out of the nation's deficit by Thanksgiving. The oil industry fears that ending its tax breaks may be one way the super committee will decide to raise revenue. That's spurred Big Oil's lobbying machine to work overtime.

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Latin America
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Nicaraguan Presidential Election Fraught With History

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: Nicaraguans go to the polls today and are expected to reelect President Daniel Ortega, who is running in spite of a constitutional ban on presidents serving consecutive terms. Ortega, a Marxist icon of the 1980s, has become a polarizing figure in the Central American nation. NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from the Nicaraguan capital, Managua.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

JASON BEAUBIEN: Martha Alicia Alvado loves Daniel Ortega. After all, it's because of him that she has her own house.

MARTHA ALICIA ALVADO: (Spanish spoken)

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Around the Nation
7:45 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Bring Same-Day Registration Back? Maine Votes

For nearly 40 years, voters in Maine have been able to walk into a polling place or town hall on Election Day and register to vote. But the Republican-controlled legislature this year decided to remove the option, citing the stress on municipal clerks and concerns about the potential for voter fraud.

Angry Democrats responded by launching a people's veto campaign, and come Election Day this Tuesday, voters will consider whether to restore same-day registration.

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The Salt
4:55 am
Sun November 6, 2011

A Food Security Expert On When 200,000 Tons Of Rice Went Missing

A farmer carries harvested rice on his shoulders in a paddy field in India.
Anupam Nath AP

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 4:58 am

In 2008, food prices around the world surged and awakened fears – which continue to this day — that the world could re-live the disastrous food shortages of the early 1970s.

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Sports
4:25 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Blindness Not Enough To Sideline California Teen

Taylor Howell told Vasquez High's football coach that if he wasn't blind he sure would love to play football. The coach told him he'd have to come up with a better excuse than that. The sophomore now plays center on the junior varsity team.
Gloria Hillard for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:19 am

It's afternoon practice for the junior varsity football team at Vasquez High in Acton, Calif. A high desert wind somersaults a discarded paper plate across the line of scrimmage just before it becomes a pile of white jerseys and purple helmets.

"You were offsides," the coach yells after blowing his whistle.

The players dust themselves off and line up for the next play. At center, is Taylor, a lean 15-year-old. His quarterback, Bryan McCauley, is a few yards behind him in shotgun formation.

"Down, set, hike, good," Bryan says.

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Business
4:08 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Custom Cycle Ferries Sperm To Fertility Clinics

Alan Dowden, lab scientist and occasional courier, works at the Seattle Sperm Bank.
Keith Seinfeld for NPR

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

Sometimes, couples need help getting pregnant. In Seattle, that help may arrive by bicycle.

To be more specific, a bicycle with a giant sperm cell replica on it.

"It's a delivery bike, purpose-built delivery bike, and inside the front of the sperm we can store one of our cryogenic shipping containers," says Alan Dowden, lab scientist and occasional courier.

Dowden works at the Seattle Sperm Bank. The front of the bike is the bulbous head of a sperm, about the size of very large beach ball, with a long tail stretching behind. It's framed in electric blue.

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Asia
3:44 am
Sun November 6, 2011

'Cake Theory' Has Chinese Eating Up Political Debate

Chinese children celebrate the Communist Party in Chongqing municipality in March. Bo Xilai, the region's party secretary who is vying for a place in the Politburo Standing Committee, espouses a government-intervention model to economics.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

What goes on inside China's leadership is usually played out behind the closed oxblood doors of the compound where the top leaders live. This year, though, a political debate has sprung out in the open — and it has leaders and constituents considering how to move forward politically.

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Around the Nation
6:30 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

Who Benefits When A Private Prison Comes To Town?

The entrance to the Two Rivers Regional Detention Facility in Hardin, Mont. The 464-bed detention facility was built with the promise of bringing jobs and stimulating the economy, but it has sat empty since it was completed in 2007.
Matthew Brown AP

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 8:24 am

Federal and state officials are increasingly contracting private companies to run prisons and immigration detention centers.

Critics have long questioned the quality of private prisons and the promises of economic benefits where they are built. But proponents say private prisons not only save taxpayers money, but they also generate income for the surrounding community.

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Around the Nation
4:28 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

Unlikely Advocates Fight For Gay Rights In Mich. City

The Rev. Bill Freeman reads from a copy of the U.S. Constitution during a public hearing before the Holland City Council in June. Despite appeals from Freeman and others, the council decided not to expand its anti-discrimination laws to include gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Lindsey Smith

Originally published on Sat November 5, 2011 10:33 pm

Last June, the city council in Holland, Mich., voted against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its local anti-discrimination laws. Now an unlikely coalition is pressuring the city council to change that vote.

On Wednesday nights, Pastor Bill Freeman turns the podium of the city council meeting into a pulpit. He wants Holland to adopt local laws that would protect people from getting fired or kicked out of their homes because they are gay, bisexual or transgender.

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Afghanistan
3:00 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

'Darkhorse' Battalion And The Afghan War

This past week, All Things Considered has been sharing stories about the Darkhorse Battalion — that's the Marine unit that suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the 10-year Afghan war. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman wraps up the series today, as he tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan about some of the people he met — both on the battlefield and on the home front.

Author Interviews
10:08 am
Sat November 5, 2011

'Train Of Small Mercies': RFK's Last Journey Imagined

Penguin Group USA

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:51 am

In the news business, time is marked by great events: the anniversaries of elections, wars, hit songs and the births and deaths of famous people.

But each of us also has a personal timeline by which we measure our life: the day we start our first job, fulfill a dream or glimpse history passing by, close enough to touch.

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Election 2012
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

A Week Of Harassment For Herman Cain

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Quite a week for Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. He came to Washington, D.C. for a series of public events and meetings with members of Congress, but decade-old sexual harassment allegations dogged him all week long, and then late yesterday the story took another turn when the lawyer for one of the accusers made a public statement. NPR's Tamara Keith has the latest.

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Election 2012
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

Herman Cain's Base Ponders His Accusations

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: Now, listening to this news you may come away with an impression of Herman Cain beset by controversy and scandal. But at a Washington, D.C. conference hosted by the Conservative Americans for Prosperity group, Mr. Cain elicited a very different response. NPR's Andrea Seabrook has this report.

ANDREA SEABROOK: Judging by this crowd, Herman Cain has taken conservatives by storm.

FREDERICK MCKINLEY: Mr. Cain is wonderful individual.

SEABROOK: Frederick McKinley from Jackson, Mississippi.

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Election 2012
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

GOP Front-Runners Pass Iowa By

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: While Herman Cain was wrapping up his week in Washington D.C., five of his fellow Republican presidential contenders were in Iowa last night for the GOP's Ronald Reagan dinner. Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum spoke at the annual fundraiser, but Mr. Cain and Mitt Romney did not attend the Iowa event. In fact, compared to the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, Cain and Romney have spent little time in Iowa.

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Economy
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

Latest Jobs Numbers Not Great, But Not Bad, Either

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment ticked down last month from 9.1 percent to 9 percent. Overall, job growth was modest, a continuation of a trend that's been with us all year. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's business correspondent Yuki Noguchi.

Europe
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

Greece Votes To Keep Its Head, For Now

Transcript

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Politics
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

What The U.S. Got From A Euro-Focused Summit

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: President Obama spent the last two days in France wrestling with Europe's financial problems. He's back in the United States this morning where America has its own economic challenges. Home and abroad, Mr. Obama and his fellow leaders are confronted with slow growth, big debts and the political battles over how to deal with them. NPR Scott Horsley reports.

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Sports
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

College Football's Big Game; NBA's Stalled Start

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Tonight: Alabama, LSU. College footballs two top-ranked teams play for the number one spot, and new crop of baseball free agents are now on the market - and this just in: still no basketball. Maybe ESPN will pick up that big game next week between the (unintelligible) High School Bulldogs and the Von Steuben Panthers. Howard Bryant, from ESPN.com, ESPN the magazine and ESPN the pesto sauce joins us from the studio of WBUR in Boston. Howard, thanks very much for being with us.

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Space
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

Fake Mission Accomplished For Mars500

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: Six men in Moscow are readjusting to life on Earth today after enduring a long simulated mission to Mars. They spent 520 days locked inside a fake spaceship. The hatch was opened yesterday.

NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports that this pretend trip involved real psychological challenges that may still persist.

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Author Interviews
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

Basketball Legend Shares 'Charmed, Tormented Life'

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: Jerry West is the symbol of the National Basketball Association - truly so. The NBA's logo silhouette of a player dribbling the ball down court in perfect form is drawn from a 1969 photo of Jerry West when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers, which he did for 14 years and was an All Star 14 times.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Simon Says
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

America's Stake In A United Europe

President Obama salutes service members from both sides of the Atlantic as he walks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, last week.
Markus Schreiber AFP/Getty Images

It is always tempting for Americans to look at problems in Europe and ask, "What does that have to do with me?"

Well, U.S. banks hold almost $17 billion in Greek debt and billions more bought through European banks. Billions of dollars that Americans have saved for retirement, college — or the rainy days that may be — are now invested in Greece.

But we also might remind ourselves why the euro and the European Union were created.

The problems of Europe led to two world wars in the 20th century, and America got involved in each.

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Remembrances
7:13 am
Sat November 5, 2011

CBS: '60 Minutes' Veteran Newsman Andy Rooney Dies

Journalist Andy Rooney poses in his office at CBS in New York City on June 19, 1998. Rooney delivered his first 60 Minutes commentary on July 2, 1978.
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:18 am

A distinctive voice — and character — in television news has died. Andy Rooney was a signature essayist on the CBS news program 60 Minutes for decades. He was 92.

CBS said Rooney died Friday night in New York of complications following minor surgery last month. Just a month ago, he delivered his last regular essay on the CBS newsmagazine.

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