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Around the Nation
7:42 am
Thu May 3, 2012

San Francisco Transit Worker Fired For 'Good' Deed

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
7:33 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Chinese Activist Wants To Leave With Clinton; U.S. Diplomats Back In Touch

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (in wheelchair) held the hand of Gary Locke (at right) the U.S. ambassador to China in Beijing as he arrived at a hospital in Beijing on Wednesday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 8:07 pm

  • Chen speaks with NPR
  • Michele Kelemen talks with Steve Inskeep

The fate of Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng remains uncertain one day after he left the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

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Asia
6:55 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Activist Changes His Mind About Staying In China

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 11:26 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

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Afghanistan
6:51 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Afghans Fear Their Country Will Fall Back Into War

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Our own Renee Montagne is in Afghanistan at a moment when its relationship with the United States is turning a corner. And for the next couple of weeks, Renee is going to be bringing us a range of voices and also opinions about what lies ahead. Renee joins us now from Kabul.

Renee, good morning.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Morning, David.

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Author Interviews
6:51 am
Thu May 3, 2012

How The Valdez Oil Spill Shaped ExxonMobile

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 12:13 pm

Steve Inskeep talks to Steve Coll about his new book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. In it, Coll delves into the business model of one of the country's largest and most profitable corporations. He explores how the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 shaped the culture at the company for years to come.

Europe
6:19 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Angry Greek Voters May Lash Out In Sunday's Polls

A member of the Golden Dawn far-right political organization takes part in a demonstration in Peraia, a suburb outside Thessaloniki, on April 26. Some polls indicate that in the national elections May 6, Golden Dawn may surpass the 3 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament.
Sakis Mitrolidis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 11:50 am

Greeks go to the polls Sunday in a climate of intense voter anger at the politicians they blame for turning their country into an international economic pariah. Protest votes could fill Parliament with an array of new parties, and most surprising is the growing popularity of the xenophobic Golden Dawn, which espouses a neo-Nazi ideology.

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Around the Nation
6:12 am
Thu May 3, 2012

States Looking To Make Some Taxes Less Inevitable

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin proposed slashing state income tax rates this year and eventually phasing out the tax.
Sue Ogrocki AP

North Dakota may be about to go where no state has gone before. On June 12, voters will decide the fate of a ballot measure that would eliminate all property taxes in the state.

"We think it's a horse race," says Bob Harms, spokesman for a coalition of business, local government and farm groups that are opposed to the measure. "It has a real possibility of passing."

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NPR Story
6:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Plenty Of Gingrich Memorabilia Left Over

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:31 am

Newt Gingrich officially pulled out of the Republican presidential race Wednesday. So what happens to the leftover T-shirts and campaign buttons?

NPR Story
6:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Argentina Takes Over Spanish Energy Firm YPF

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with control of the energy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: In South America, a shift towards political populism has led to the nationalism of an oil company in Argentina and an electricity provider in Bolivia. Both of the companies seized are Spanish. The nationalizations are hitting Spain during a time of deep economic crisis. And as we'll hear in a few minutes from reporter Lauren Frayer, they sparked a lot of anger in Spain.

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Business
6:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Take Over Moves By Bolivia, Argentina Angers Spain

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:31 am

Bolivia and Argentina's nationalization of Spanish companies hasn't gone over well in Madrid. Spanish officials say Bolivia and Argentina will pay the price in the long run, as investors become weary of doing business if their assets could ultimately get seized.

Business
6:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Last night at the Sotheby's auction house in New York, there was something to scream about. Our last word in business is: "The Scream."

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

As we reported yesterday, the Expressionist masterpiece by Edvard Munch went up for sale. There are four versions of this composition, but just one had been privately held by an heir of one of Munch's patrons.

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News
3:41 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Trayvon Martin Case 2.0: Digital Trial Before Jury

People hold signs during a small April rally in Sanford, Fla., that was billed as an opportunity to show support for the constitutional rights of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 1:33 pm

If the parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin can use social media and the Internet to demand justice, so, too, can the boy's killer.

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It's All Politics
3:06 am
Thu May 3, 2012

That New Friend You Made On Facebook? He Might Be Named Mitt Or Barack

An image from the Republican National Committee's Facebook page advertises its new "Social Victory Center" app.
RNC via Facebook.com

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:31 am

As the presidential campaigns refocus on November, they're zeroing in on digital domains. In fact, the Obama campaign has spent six times as much money advertising online as it has on TV so far, though that's certain to change.

And Republicans are fighting back with a new Facebook app called the "Social Victory Center." (You have to be a Facebook user to access the site.)

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Presidential Race
3:05 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Gingrich Out Of The Race, But Still In Debt

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pauses while announcing that he is suspending his presidential campaign Wednesday in Arlington, Va.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 11:42 am

Newt Gingrich is officially out of the presidential race. The former House speaker said Wednesday that he's suspending his campaign, and he's ready to help the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, battle President Obama. But Gingrich might have a more pressing problem: His campaign has about $4 million in debt.

In Gingrich's exit speech, he opened by thanking people — first his family, then his financial backers.

"I also want to single out, first of all, the over 179,000 donors who helped us at Newt.org and who helped make the campaign possible," he said.

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Humans
3:04 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Put Away The Bell Curve: Most Of Us Aren't 'Average'

Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's record for career home runs as he hits No. 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, on his way to a career 755 home runs. Research suggests that in a wide variety of professions, including collegiate and professional sports, a small but significant number of individuals perform exceedingly well and the rest of individuals' performance trails off.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 11:06 pm

For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average.

The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers.

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Commentary
3:02 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Watching 'The Avengers' In India, With A Twist

In The Avengers, the Hulk lives in Calcutta — and doesn't lose his temper over the city's traffic and other problems. That might not ring true to anyone who's been there, says Sandip Roy.
Marvel

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 10:31 am

When I went to see The Avengers the very day it was released, I texted a friend in San Francisco. It seems kind of unfair, I said, that because of the 12-hour time difference, I get to see The Avengers before you do.

Turns out I was a week off. The Avengers actually released in 39 countries around the world, including India, a week before it opens in America.

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Arts & Life
2:17 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Colorful Visions At African-American Art Exhibit

Gene Young American Art Museum

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:50 am

The African-American experience is reflected, right now, on the walls of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Exuberant dancing in Chicago. Laundry on a line in the nation's capital. A girl smiling out from her father's warm jacket — all captured in photographs, paintings and sculptures from the 1920s through the 1990s.

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It's All Politics
7:34 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Could Electoral College Calculus Give Obama An Edge?

AP

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 8:27 pm

Now that President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney are pivoting to the general election, campaign watchers are handicapping the race that counts this fall — the Electoral College.

And right now, the Electoral College map is looking better for the president than the (generally very close) national polls, says NPR's senior Washington editor, Ron Elving.

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The Two-Way
7:27 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

'Zombie' Ants And The Fungus That Saves Them

A zombie ant with the brain-manipulating fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.) having been castrated by an hyperparasite fungus (white with yellow material).
David Hughes Penn State University

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 7:59 pm

As you can probably tell, at least one person on this blog's masthead likes ants.

So we've always been bummed that we haven't had the opportunity to tell you about zombie ants, but today we are glad to report there is a new development in the field. Luckily, it's a good-news report about a fungus that limits the fungus that turns ants into zombies.

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Europe
6:43 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Investors Flee Spain As Economy Spirals Downward

People attend a demonstration in Madrid organized by unions against financial cuts in health and education on April 29.
Dominique Faget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

The news keeps getting worse for Spain. This week came word that the country has fallen back into recession. Meanwhile, Spain's unemployment rate is the highest in Europe. Investors are once again fleeing the country and interest rates on government debt are climbing.

The numbers coming out of Spain these days are stark. The economy contracted at a 0.3 percent rate during the first part of this year. Housing prices are down 21 percent from their peak, and unemployment is nearly 25 percent.

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It's All Politics
6:34 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Romney's Praise Of Gingrich Leads Fox Anchor To Call Politics 'Weird, Creepy'

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith provided the sure-to-go-viral moment of the day with some commentary he made after he read aloud a statement issued by the Mitt Romney campaign after Newt Gingrich officially ended his campaign Wednesday for the GOP nomination.

Smith said:

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Law
6:26 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Key Clemens Witness Leaves Prosecutors Scrambling

Andy Pettitte leaves the courthouse after testifying Wednesday in the perjury and obstruction trial of former teammate Roger Clemens in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

The prosecution at the perjury trial of baseball great Roger Clemens suffered another major setback Wednesday. One of its key witnesses, pitcher Andy Pettitte, conceded that he may have misunderstood his former teammate as saying he used human growth hormone (HGH).

Clemens is charged with lying to Congress when he testified before a House committee that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs.

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The Two-Way
6:16 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

News Corp. Board Gives Murdoch Its Vote Of Confidence

Rupert Murdoch, shown above with his son James (left) last July.
Sang Tan AP

A little more than a day after a committee of British parliamentarians said Rupert Murdoch was "not a fit person" to lead a major international company, the board of News Corp. said they still backed Murdoch's leadership.

NPR's David Folkenflik reports that the board issued the statement of suport unanimously.

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Education
5:48 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Cal State Faculty On Strike Amid A 'Scary Future'

California Faculty Association Vice President Douglas Domingo-Foraste (right) helps Cal State, Long Beach, professor Mark Sugars vote last month on whether to authorize a strike. The strike was authorized Wednesday.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

California State University, the nation's largest four-year, public university system, is in trouble. Wednesday, professors authorized a strike over working conditions and pay, and students began a hunger strike demanding a tuition freeze.

The faculty authorization allows for two-day strikes at each of the schools in system, one after the other. A strike date is pending, though, and will only take place if negotiations fail.

This unfolding crisis is the result of massive state cuts in funding that have pushed higher education in California to the breaking point.

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Business
5:44 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Home Sweet Mobile Home: Co-Ops Deliver Ownership

Gary Thulin, 70, says he used to dream of financial stability. Now, the New Hampshire co-op resident and mobile home owner says he and his wife could sell their home, pay off the loan they took out on it, and still walk away with $10,000.
Dan Gorenstein for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

Judy Stoddard, 71, lives in Carver, Mass., but every weekday morning, she picks herself up out of bed and drives to Boston.

"I do the back roads, which gets me there in an hour and 40 minutes," Stoddard says. "I'm exhausted when I get there. I'm exhausted when I come home."

Stoddard drives those back roads for a reason — she can't see out of one eye. But as long as her rent keeps creeping up, she keeps going back to work.

"I can't retire. I want to keep my house. I put a lot of work in this house. I don't want to lose it," she says.

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