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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Unemployment Rate Stayed At 8.3 Percent In February

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 9:53 am

There were 227,000 net jobs added to private and public payrolls last month and the nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 8.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

We'll have more from the report shortly. And watch for the Planet Money blog to add its take later.

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. White House Comment:

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Unemployment Rate Likely Held Steady At 8.3 Percent, Economists Say

Will more signs such as this be showing up? (Nov. 30, 2011 file photo from San Rafael, Calif.)
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Here's what to expect at 8:30 a.m. ET when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its much-anticipated February jobs report, economists say:

-- "The economy probably created 210,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey, following January's tally of 243,000. The unemployment rate is expected to have held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent."

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Deal To Hand Over Prison To Afghans Is Key To Transition, U.S. General Says

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 7:34 am

Afghan and American officials today signed an agreement that will hand over control of the main U.S. detention center in that country to the Afghan government.

And the American commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan called the agreement "another example of the progress of transition, and our efforts to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for terrorists."

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Around the Nation
7:20 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Oregon Man Stopped For Speeding 3 Times In 1 Hour

When Oregon police stopped Jose Romeo-Valenzuela the first time, he was driving 105 mph. The second time he was driving 98 mph. And the third time, 92 mph. He faces $2,000 in tickets. He was trying to get to court to face drug possession charges.

Around the Nation
7:10 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Florida City Cracks Down On Illegal Highway Signs

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
7:05 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Greece Takes Critical Step Toward Avoiding Bankruptcy

The European Union flag flies in front of the Parthenon in Athens. Greece's EU partners are about to give it another massive bailout.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

The important takeaway from this morning's news about Europe's financial mess:

It seems less likely that Greece will go bankrupt and more likely that it will get another international bailout that hopefully will shore up the nation's economy and prevent a domino-like tumble of other ailing European nations and the unsettling repercussions that could have for the U.S. economy.

As The Associated Press writes:

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Kansas Is Up Next With GOP Nominating Contest

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Kansas holds its Republican presidential caucuses tomorrow. Rick Santorum has been the most active candidate in that state. He's trying to stop Mitt Romney's momentum again. Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda has more.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting) Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick...

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Wal-Mart Ad Targets Regional Grocer Harris Teeter

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a surprising ad campaign from Wal-Mart.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: OK. Charlotte, North Carolina, is the scene of Wal-Mart's latest ad. The commercials here are unusual because they mention a competitor - a small, regional grocery chain - by name.

As Scott Graf of member station WFAE reports, Wal-Mart says it's the first time it's ever done this.

SCOTT GRAF, BYLINE: One of the commercials goes like this:

(SOUNDBITE OF WAL-MART COMMERCIAL)

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Game Developer Double Fine Works Around Publishers

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This week, San Francisco is hosting the Game Developers Conference. It's the largest global event for the industry that makes video and online games. Twenty thousand people from one hundred countries are there right now. And a game that hasn't even been created yet is getting lots of attention.

From member station KQED in San Francisco, Aarti Shahani reports.

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Economy
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Labor Department To Release February Jobless Report

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inkseep. Let's follow up on today's unemployment report. The Labor Department says unemployment stayed where it was, 8.3 percent, but the economy created 227,000 new jobs net.

And we're going to talk about that with NPR's Yuki Noguchi. She's in our studies. Yuki, good morning.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: What stands out here for you?

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Miss. Gov. Bryant Endorses Mitt Romney

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Mitt Romney is on the road again, this time in the deep South. He's campaigning today in Mississippi and Alabama, both states that hold primaries next Tuesday. NPR's Ari Shapiro was at a Romney rally at a port on the Gulf of Mexico.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Mitt Romney left his home in bright spring Boston weather and flew down to where the air is thick and the accents are thicker, a town known as Goula.

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Middle East
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Pace Of Iran's Nuclear Program I Overestimated

Iranians have agreed to meet with Western officials to discuss their nuclear program, amid increasing Western concern about its purpose. Steve Inskeep talks to Paul Pillar about his article in The Washington Monthly entitled "We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran." Pillar teaches in the security studies program at Georgetown University.

Movies
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Review: 'Salmon Fishing In The Yemen'

The new film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen stars Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor. It's a pleasant fantasy whose few attempts at seriousness are best forgotten.

Africa
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Viral Video Educates World On Ugandan War Lord

The American non-profit group Invisible Children aims to raise awareness about Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony. A video the group made has gone viral on the Internet. Steve Inskeep talks to Barbara Among, a journalist with Uganda's Daily Monitor, to find out what Ugandans think of the campaign.

Africa
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

U.S. Command Fights Terrorists On African Soil

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

Back in January, Navy Seals rescued an American aid worker who was held for months by Somali pirates. That moment shone a spotlight on the U.S. military's newest regional command - Africom, the U.S. Africa Command, which was created in 2007. One of its biggest concerns is dealing with terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and its regional affiliates. Renee spoke with the head of Africom, General Carter Ham.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning.

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Business
4:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Legendary Guitar Maker Fender Files For IPO

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's one more sales pitch for you. Today's last word in business is your chance to buy a legendary brand.

Fender made guitars held by everyone from Buddy Holly to Jimi Hendrix to Bruno Mars - and maybe even smashed by a few of them. And now Fender has filed paperwork for an initial public offering. The company is looking to raise some $200 million. This company, based in California, wants to pay down debt, and get into new markets like India and China.

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The Picture Show
3:53 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Before And After: Japan's Wreckage And Recovery

Yuko Sugimoto (right) stands reunited with her 5-year-old son, Raito, on a road in Japan's Miyagi prefecture, 2012. This photo was taken at the same place where she was photographed immediately after the tsunami in March 2011.
Toru Yamanaka and Roslan Rahman AFP/Getty Images

On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m. (JST) Japan changed as a nation. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the largest to ever hit the island nation, and subsequent tsunami claimed more than 16,000 lives. One year later, the recovery efforts continue, as does the mourning.

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The Two-Way
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Is Buying 'The New Republic'

www.tnr.com

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Social media meets old media:

Saying that he's convinced "the demand for long-form, quality journalism is strong in our country," Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that he's buying The New Republic.

That's a magazine, as Steve says, which is four times older than its new owner. Hughes is 28.

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Rebuilding Japan
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

A Year On, Japan Is Still Looking For The Road Ahead

Members of the media, wearing protective suits and masks, visit the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power station during a press tour, in northeastern Japan's Fukushima prefecture, Feb. 28. Japan is marking the first anniversary of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake, which triggered the worst nuclear accident in the country's history.
Kimimasa Mayama AP

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

A year after suffering the worst nuclear accident in its history, Japan is still struggling to understand what happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant in the country's northeast.

Last week, an independent commission released a report arguing that Japan narrowly averted what could have been a far deadlier disaster and that the government withheld this information from the public.

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History
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Girl Scouts: 100 Years Of Blazing New Trails

Brownies from Troop 65343 in Brookline, Mass. recite the Girl Scout pledge. Enrollment in the organization has declined since the 1980s, but a modernizing makeover and new focus on minority and immigrant communities have helped some.
Tovia Smith NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Lucille Ball as part of the same club. But they were all, at one time, Girl Scouts. Founded 100 years ago in Savannah, Ga., the Girl Scouts now count 3.2 million members.

Girl Scout cookies have become as much of an American tradition as apple pie. At a busy intersection in Brookline, Mass., a gaggle of Girl Scouts stand behind a folding table piled high with boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas and Shortbreads.

"They are really, really good," the troop collectively assures a prospective buyer.

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Rebuilding Japan
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Trauma, Not Radiation, Is Key Concern In Japan

A worker is given a radiation screening as he enters the emergency operation center at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 20.
AFP/Getty Images

One year ago this Sunday, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan triggered a tsunami that killed 20,000 people. It also triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.

But health effects from radiation turn out to be minor compared with the other issues the people of Fukushima prefecture now face.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Forget The Robots: Venture Capitalists Change Their Health Care Investments

Surgical robots like this one are wildly expensive. Before the economic troubles began, investment in such high-tech medical devices was plentiful. Now, hospitals are looking for comparatively simple solutions to cut costs: streamline medical billing and even investing in $1 catheters that can save upwards of $50,000.
Frank Perry AFP/Getty Images

It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.

Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.

But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Meet Claudia, The High-Tech Cow

Technology at rest.
Adam Davidson NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Here's the secret of the modern dairy farm: The essential high-tech advances aren't in machinery. They're inside the cow.

Take a cow like Claudia. She lives at Fulper Farms, a dairy farm in upstate New Jersey. Claudia is to a cow from the 1930s as a modern Ferrari is to a Model T.

In the 1930s, dairy farmers could get 30 pounds of milk per day from a cow. Claudia produces 75 pounds a day.

To appreciate a cow like Claudia, you have to know where to look.

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The Two-Way
6:04 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Miss. Supreme Court Upholds Former Gov. Barbour's Pardons

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R).
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 6:11 pm

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled today that Gov. Haley Barbour's controversial pardons are valid. Barbour handed out about 200 pardons on his way out of office in January and about 10 of them had been challenged in court.

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