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Planet Money
4:58 am
Fri March 23, 2012

How A City Goes Broke

A garbage truck at the Harrisburg incinerator.
MLADEN ANTONOV AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 5:35 pm

This is the first of two stories we're doing on Harrisburg. Read the second story here.

Eric Papenfuse owns a bookstore in Harrisburg, Pa. He used to be on the city agency in charge of basic municipal services — sewer, water, trash.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:01 am
Fri March 23, 2012

How The Health Law Could Survive Without A Mandate

Sally Baptiste from Orlando, Fla., waits outside the U.S. Capitol for the vote on the health care bill on March 21, 2010.
Astrid Riecken Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 12:24 pm

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week on, among other things, whether the 2010 health law can require most Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014.

The so-called individual mandate is the centerpiece of the law, and the conventional wisdom says the rest of the law will crumble if it is found to be unconstitutional.

But many policy wonks say that's not necessarily the case.

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Europe
4:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

With Gunman Dead, France Probes For Answers

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. Good morning.

Mohamed Mehra, the self-confessed gunman who terrorized the French city of Toulouse, was killed yesterday in a shootout with French police. Authorities had hoped to bring him in alive, to find out what drove him to commit the attacks that left seven dead, including three children at a Jewish school. Now, France is left to wonder whether its intelligence services missed signs that could've prevented the tragedy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this report.

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Europe
4:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Portuguese Struggle Amid Austerity Measures

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Thousands of Portuguese workers walked off the job yesterday. They were protesting austerity measures tied to the country's $100 billion bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Let's go to Lisbon now. Lauren Frayer reports that among protesters a sense of despair and confusion are more prevalent than anger.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

GOP Hopefuls Court Louisianans Ahead Of Primary

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now, let's get down to the campaign trail. In the race for the Republican nomination, the scene has shifted to Louisiana which is holding its primary tomorrow. Today, all four of the remaining GOP candidates are campaigning in the state.

Most of the media focus is on Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Both men have won other southern primaries, and both have been in and out of Louisiana all week long, hoping a victory there will keep their slim chances of winning the GOP nomination alive. Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.

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Politics
4:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Obama: 'Brain Power' Key To Curbing Oil Dependency

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 12:24 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

As many of you know, prices at the gas pump are still rising. That can often spell trouble, politically, for a sitting president. And President Obama has spent much of this week touting different kinds of energy as the solution to price spikes. Out on the road, Mr. Obama has promoted a mix of fossil fuels, alternative energy and greater fuel efficiency. Along with solar and wind power, Mr. Obama says brain power can help to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

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U.S.
4:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Outcry Grows As Fla. Shooter Remains Unprosecuted

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's go now to Florida, where late yesterday Governor Rick Scott announced that a new state attorney has been assigned to investigate the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The announcement came as thousands rallied in Sanford demanding justice for Martin. The teen was shot as he walked unarmed in Sanford, a suburb of Orlando. The shooter, George Zimmerman, is a volunteer neighborhood watch captain and he claims self-defense. He's also not been arrested. As NPR's Kathy Lohr reports, the cry is growing louder for an arrest to be made.

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U.S.
4:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

'Stand Your Ground' Law In Focus After Teen's Death

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, even if the shooter, George Zimmerman, is arrested for the death of Trayvon Martin, a conviction could be hard to get because of the controversial law that Kathy mentioned in her report. Let's take a closer look at that law. It's called Stand Your Ground and it allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves when confronted with a threat of violence. It's been on the books in Florida for several years. And as NPR's Greg Allen reports from Miami, it was a source of controversy long before the Martin shooting.

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Asia
4:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

N. Korea Tests U.S. Deal Ahead Of Nuclear Summit

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

North Korea agreed, last month, to freeze uranium enrichment and missile tests in exchange for large amounts of food aid from the United States. American officials thought they had an understanding, but then last week North Korea announced it would be launching a satellite using a long-range missile. As NPR's Mike Shuster reports from Seoul, all this is now threatening to overshadow next week's global nuclear security summit in Seoul, which President Obama is planning to attend.

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Religion
3:06 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Pope Expected To Address Drug Violence In Mexico

Pope Benedict XVI is expected to speak out against drug violence during his visit to Mexico, which begins Friday. Here, an actor is shown in front of a poster announcing the pope's visit Wednesday in the Mexican city of Leon, Guanajuato state.
Hector Guerrero AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 12:24 pm

Pope Benedict XVI begins a visit Friday that takes him to Mexico, a country with around 100 million Catholics, and to Cuba, a place where church leaders have played an increasingly active role in seeking change.

There are sensitive issues in both countries that the pope is likely to address in some form. In Mexico, it's the brutal drug war that has claimed roughly 50,000 lives over the past five years.

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Monkey See
12:01 am
Fri March 23, 2012

'Mad Men' Returns On Sunday, To The Delight Of Its Excitable Fans

Jon Hamm plays Don Draper on Mad Men, which returns this Sunday night.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

On Friday's Morning Edition, Elizabeth Blair investigates one of television's pressing questions: Why has Mad Men been off the air so long? It's returning this Sunday night with a two-hour season premiere, but it's still puzzled some viewers that it has been off for such a long time.

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StoryCorps
10:00 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Two Lost Souls Find Each Other In A Hospital

Winslow and Dorothy Jackson met at a hospital six years ago and have since decided to see the world together.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 1:39 pm

Winslow Jackson was divorced when he met Dorothy Biebrich in 2006 at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

She was widowed.

They also both had multiple sclerosis.

"On my birthday, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; three years later, my wife left, and we were divorced," Winslow, 62, said during a recent visit to StoryCorps in Atlanta. "And that was, undoubtedly, the saddest time of my life, because I felt so stranded."

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It's All Politics
6:48 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Obama Returns To Oklahoma Talking Oil

President Obama announces support for building an oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas, Thursday in Cushing, Okla.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 7:00 pm

Thursday marked the first time President Obama has visited Oklahoma since running for the White House in 2008. He didn't win the state four years ago, and he's not expected to carry the traditionally red state this November, either.

But one Oklahoma town took center stage Thursday as Obama wrapped up a two-day tour of four states promoting his energy policy.

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The Two-Way
6:45 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Reports: Robert Bales To Be Charged With 17 Counts Of Murder

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales during an August 2011 training exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Spc. Ryan Hallock AFP/Getty Images

The Army soldier suspected of going on a shooting rampage in Afghanistan will be charged with 17 counts of murder, the AP, NBC News and Reuters are reporting.

The news organizations are pinning the report on unnamed U.S. officials.

NBC News reports Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will face six additional counts of assault and attempted murder in connection the March 11 massacre in southern Afghanistan.

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The Two-Way
6:36 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Top Executives Quit Komen After Planned Parenthood Controversy

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 6:46 am

There have been several high-profile resignations from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure amid calls for the group's founder and chief executive to resign, media reports say.

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The Two-Way
6:22 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Or Maybe They're Just Throwing Darts

Lana Turner, center, is an interested listener as actress Ava Gardner leans over her to chat with Fernando Lamas, who is famous for saying, "It's better to look good, than feel good."
AP

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 7:14 pm

Why do economists keep getting it wrong?

For months, the job market's strength has been exceeding economists' predictions. It happened again today: the Labor Department's weekly report on first-time jobless claims came in at just 348,000 — the lowest level in four years.

Most economists had predicted about 355,000 people had applied for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 17. So why do they keep missing the mark?

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Law
6:03 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Canadian Asked For Death, But Now Wants Life

Ronald Allen Smith is the only Canadian on death row in the United States. Since Canada has abolished the death penalty, Canadians have been advocating for clemency for Smith.
Courtesy of Montana State Prison

The only Canadian on death row in the United States is in the Montana State Prison, about an hour and a half southeast of Missoula. After almost three decades, he is asking the governor of Montana for mercy. The request for clemency is the last chance Alberta native Ronald Allen Smith has of avoiding execution.

"I've been here for 29 years," says Smith, who has spent more of his life inside the state's maximum security block than he has spent outside of it. He has tried to think about his crime as little as possible.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:56 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Answers To Your Questions About The Health Care Overhaul Law

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 6:05 pm

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the health care overhaul law that President Obama championed and Republicans rejected — turns two on Friday.

The law is headed to the Supreme Court on Monday, where the Justices begin hearing three days of arguments about the constitutionality of the law. Ahead of the big day, we asked for questions from our audiences online and on air. Here's a sampling of questions, edited for clarity and length, and the answers.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Coroner: Whitney Houston's Death Ruled Accidental Drowning

Pop diva Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room on the eve of the 54th Grammy Awards.
Getty Images Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 5:48 pm

The Los Angeles County coroner's office is saying that pop star Whitney Houston drowned in her hotel room tub on Feb. 11.

USA Today reports the coroners listed the cause of death as: "drowning and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use."

They add:

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Movie Reviews
5:30 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

'Hunger Games': Mortal Combat As Appointment TV

Are You Not Entertained? TV host Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) takes the celebrity interview to new lows when chatting up the young combatants in the to-the-death Hunger Games — including Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).
Lionsgate

Hungry for a good dystopia? Well, as you may be gathering from reports of the millions of tickets sold before prints were even shipped to theaters, author Suzanne Collins has a feast for you in the first movie installment of her young-adult trilogy The Hunger Games.

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The Two-Way
5:17 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Goldman Sachs Scours Emails To Hunt For 'Muppets'

Kermit the Frog on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where he was honored.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

In the aftermath of the "take this job and shove it" scandal, Goldman Sachs has embarked on a muppet hunt.

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It's All Politics
5:13 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

As Health Care And Politics Collide At Home, Obama Heads Abroad

President Obama signs the national health care law at the White House on March 23, 2010.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

As the Supreme Court debates the constitutionality of his signature domestic policy achievement next week, President Obama will be keeping his distance from the events in Washington.

A coincidence of timing puts the president in South Korea for a global nuclear security summit on Monday and Tuesday, as the Supreme Court holds the first two of its three days of historic oral arguments on the new national health care law.

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Judging The Health Care Law
5:05 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

How Health Care Ruling Could Shift The GOP Debate

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signs into law a new health care reform bill during an April 12, 2006, ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston. The bill made Massachusetts the first state in the country to require that all residents have health insurance and has become a centerpiece of criticisms leveled by Romney's opponents in the 2012 presidential race.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 6:05 pm

As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments about President Obama's health care law, supporters and opponents are planning a flurry of rallies, press conferences and phone banks to remind people why the law is so great — or so terrible. Republicans have been energized by their desire to see the law repealed, but the issue could be more complicated for the GOP than it seems.

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The Salt
4:26 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Kitchen Calamity? Now You Can Tweet For Help

The Twitter feed @food52hotline offers confused cooks advice round the clock.
iStockphoto.com

Troubled when your creme won't brulee at 3 a.m.? Food52 Hotline can help.

The 24-hour, cooking advice Twitter feed is the brainchild of Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, two veteran New York food writers and editors who founded the site Food52.com.

The site focuses on crowdsourcing recipes and food news, so it makes sense that they would want to crowdsource cooking advice, too.

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It's All Politics
4:14 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Insider Trading Ban Passes Congress, But Some See Missed Opportunity

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, shown in August 2011, criticized the STOCK Act that passed Thursday, saying it didn't go far enough.
Brian Ray AP

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 7:59 pm

The Senate passed a bill Thursday to explicitly ban insider trading by members of Congress and the executive branch, and that means the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act is headed to the president's desk.

But this STOCK Act is quite a bit weaker than earlier versions.

The STOCK Act has been on a glide path ever since an explosive 60 Minutes story last fall highlighted the issue of members of Congress apparently profiting on nonpublic information.

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