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4:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Spanx Founder Makes 'Forbes' Billionaire List

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And we turn now to a group of people worth almost as much as a small country. Today's last word in business goes to Forbes magazine, which has released its 25th annual billionaires list.

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Middle East
4:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Syrian Rebels Regroup After Army Gains Upper Hand

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 4:00 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Western governments are still debating whether to help Syria's rebels. But as they debate, the rebels are finding ways to help themselves.

INSKEEP: Syrians continue arming themselves, even after they retreated from the battered city of Homs. This week, the United Nations' humanitarian chief finally toured that city, including a rebel neighborhood, now mostly abandoned.

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Middle East
3:05 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Egypt's Moves Leave Democracy Advocate Bewildered

Sam LaHood of the International Republican Institute is one of 19 American democracy promoters who face charges of fomenting unrest in Egypt. Here, he is shown last month at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Courtesy IRI

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 4:00 pm

Sam LaHood, the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, spent four weeks holed up at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, sleeping on an air mattress part of the time and trying to fathom why the Egyptians wanted to prosecute him and his pro-democracy colleagues.

Eventually, LaHood's organization and others with employees facing prosecution paid more than $300,000 a person in bail to get them off the Egyptian travel ban, and the U.S. government flew most of them home.

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Monkey See
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

On HBO, A Bestselling Book Becomes A Movie About A 'Dynamic Moment'

Ed Harris as John McCain and Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in the HBO film Game Change.
Phillip V. Caruso HBO

There were a lot of good stories from the 2008 presidential election, including Hillary Clinton's serious run for the Democratic nomination, not to mention the election of the first African-American president. The whole story was covered in the bestselling — and controversial — book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, Game Change.

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Around the Nation
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

In Denver Taxis, Extra Eyes On The Street For Police

Longtime Denver taxi driver Teddy Johnson participates in the "Taxis on Patrol" program, and has made two reports of potential safety issues so far.
Kirk Siegler for NPR

Some days, it would be easy to mistake the Metro Taxi dispatch center in Denver for a police station. Traffic and crime incidents are recorded in a special logbook, as drivers call in descriptions and locations to police.

It's part of a program called Taxis on Patrol. Just a day after the program began, a cab driver helped police make an arrest for a fatal hit-and-run. In the months since, eyewitness calls from cabbies using a bulletin system similar to an Amber Alert have led to hundreds of arrests.

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Presidential Race
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

How Far Apart On Iran Are GOP Candidates, Obama?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in April 2008. Western governments suspect Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. How to handle the possible threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is a major foreign policy concern of the U.S.
AP

Originally published on Sun March 11, 2012 9:10 am

Republican presidential candidates this week — with the exception of Ron Paul — appeared to be trying to outdo each other in saying how tough they would be in dealing with Iran. Speaking before a pro-Israel group, they said President Obama has been weak — "feckless," in Mitt Romney's words.

Obama, meanwhile, was not impressed. He said he'd heard a lot of "bluster" and "big talk" about Iran, "but when you actually ask them specifically what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we've been doing over the last three years."

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

The European Central Bank, As Seen From A Bar On The Coast Of Spain

JOSE LUIS ROCA AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 2:14 pm

"I have a little bar. A drinks bar," says Chadd Ritenbaugh. His bar is called El Catalonia. It's in the port of Marbella, on the Spanish coast.

"Just sun, sand, and sea," he says. "It's just kind of empty at the moment."

Ritenbaugh bought the bar in 2009. Since then, business has gone downhill. He tried, and failed, to sell.

"Nobody's out buying bars right now," he says. "Banks in Spain are not lending a cent — a euro cent."

Chad himself tried and failed to get a bank loan. "Absolutely nothing," he says.

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Japan In Crisis
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

With Radiation, Doubt Grows In Fukushima Farms

A woman picks carrots on her farm as she explains her fears that no one will buy them since the radiation fallout in March 2011 in Fukushima, Japan. A year later, challenges persist for farmers in the region.
Wally Santana AP

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 4:00 pm

The mountain village of Kawauchi lies partly inside the area deemed unsafe because of high levels of radiation in Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Chiharu Kubota uses a high-pressure water gun to hose down buildings there.

Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns immediately after last year's earthquake and tsunami.

'Nothing Is Better'

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Author Interviews
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

'Fragile Beginnings': When Babies Are Born Too Soon

Dr. Adam Wolfberg had two daughters and another on the way when his wife, Kelly, went into labor. But this joyous occasion had come much too soon — Kelly was three months away from her due date. After just 26 weeks in the womb, their baby daughter Larissa entered the world by emergency cesarean section and was whisked into the neonatal intensive care unit of a Boston hospital. It was the same hospital where Wolfberg was doing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and his medical background turned out to be a mixed blessing.

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StoryCorps
6:21 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

A Mom Becomes A Man, And A Family Sticks Together

Les and Scott GrantSmith visited StoryCorps in San Diego to discuss how they moved on together, after a crisis point.
StoryCorps

This spring, Les and Scott GrantSmith will mark their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple raised two daughters along the way. But 15 years ago, they hit a crisis that nearly shattered their family. Les was keeping a secret, and that became a problem. But they solved it as a family, in a way that kept them together and happy.

In the weeks leading up to that day back in 1997, Les was certain of two things: She was a mother who loved her daughters — and she was also transgender, the term for someone born in a body of the wrong sex.

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Utah Legislature Votes To Prohibit Schools From Teaching About Contraception

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 6:07 pm

A bill "that would let schools skip teaching sex education and prohibit instruction in the use of contraception" is headed to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's desk after the state Senate today approved it by a 19-10 vote, The Salt Lake Tribune writes.

Schools would need to focus on "abstinence-only" instruction.

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It's All Politics
6:05 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Ron Paul's In-It-To-Win-It Strategy Is 'Not Far-Fetched,' Campaign Manager Says

Texas Rep. Ron Paul (right) talks with the his presidential campaign manager, Jesse Benton, backstage at the Republican Party's Iowa straw poll last August.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 10:34 am

Texas Rep. Ron Paul hasn't won any of the 23 Republican presidential primaries or caucuses already in the 2012 history books.

He's captured only 29 delegates, just 5 percent of those awarded in contests to date. (Front-runner Mitt Romney has 340 committed delegates, 58 percent of those officially allotted, according to NPR calculations.)

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Money & Politics
6:05 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Pro-Romney SuperPAC Spent Big On Super Tuesday

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at a town hall meeting in Bexley, Ohio, last month. Romney won Ohio by less than 1 percent in Tuesday's primary.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 10:39 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's six primary wins on Super Tuesday didn't come cheap. An NPR analysis shows that last week alone, the Romney campaign and the pro-Romney superPAC combined spent nearly $7 million on TV ads.

Less than $1 million of that was spent by Romney's official campaign, while the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future — which has almost exclusively engaged in negative advertising this year — spent $5.7 million.

That's compared to $220,000 spent on ads last week by the superPAC supporting former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

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The Salt
5:55 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

When Food Aid Goes Local, Some Say It Works Better

A worker piles sacks of corn at a market in Guatemala City.
Daniel LeClair Reuters /Landov

There's finally some careful research that goes a long way toward resolving one of the hot debates over food aid — whether it's better to ship bags of rice and corn from the United States, or to buy food close to where it's needed. Emergency food supplies will be needed this summer, for instance, in the Sahel region of Africa.

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Europe
5:37 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Uncertainty Looms As Greek Debt Deadline Nears

People walk past the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens. Greece toughened its stance to push creditors to accept a debt swap and take heavy losses, just one day before the Thursday deadline for completion of the deal to avert default.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Stock prices rebounded somewhat Wednesday, one day after their biggest sell-off of the year. What caused prices to plunge Tuesday was an all-too-familiar problem: the Greek debt crisis.

European officials have cobbled together a deal to keep Greece from defaulting, and investors all over the world who hold Greek bonds are weighing their options. They're worried about what could happen if they reject the deal.

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Movies
5:23 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

In 'Mosquita Y Mari,' A Tale Of Self And Community

(From left) Pineda, writer-director Aurora Guerrero and Troncoso pose for a portrait during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 2:32 pm

The film Mosquita y Mari — the first narrative feature by a Chicana director to screen at the Sundance Film Festival — is both the singular vision of writer-director Aurora Guerrero and a crowdsourced production that could not have been made without multiple communities coming together.

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House & Senate Races
5:08 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Longtime Rep. Kucinich Is Down, But Maybe Not Out

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, thanks his wife, Elizabeth, while conceding defeat in his race against Rep. Marcy Kaptur at Rubin's Restaurant and Deli in Cleveland on Tuesday.
Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 6:08 pm

Ohio's Super Tuesday contest wasn't just about the presidency. Two members of Congress there faced primary challenges — and were defeated. On the Republican side, four-term Rep. Jean Schmidt lost a challenge to Iraq War veteran Brad Wenstrup.

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The Two-Way
4:52 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Sun Sends Solar Flares Speeding Toward Earth; Will Hit Thursday [VIDEO]

This image of a huge and powerful solar flare was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory Tuesday.
NASA

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 12:15 pm

The sun ejected two huge solar flares Tuesday, and NASA says that we here on Earth may notice the effects of magnetic fields and ionized gases that it estimates will arrive around 1:25 a.m. ET Thursday. So, if you detect some electronic interference — say, your GPS doesn't work right — blame it on the sun.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:50 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

1 In 3 Americans Is Having A Hard Time Paying Medical Bills

iStockphoto.com

While politicians and soon, the Supreme Court, are fighting about the fate of the Affordable Care Act, a new government study finds that a growing number of Americans are having difficulty coping with the high cost of health care.

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The Salt
4:35 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Inhalable Caffeine Maker Gets Warning Letter From FDA

A woman holds an AeroShot inhalable caffeine device in Boston.
Charles Krupa AP

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to the maker of a caffeine inhaler that's marketed around college campuses. The agency says it's concerned about misleading claims about the product and its safety.

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Scientists Say They've 'Cornered' The Elusive 'God Particle'

Fermilab and the Tevatron sit in the Illinois countryside near Chicago.
AP

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 5:37 pm

Scientists from Fermilab say they've basically "cornered" the elusive Higgs boson — that's the particle that some have nicknamed the "God Particle," because it is thought to give atoms mass and is also a key component of the Standard Model.

This is complicated stuff, of course, but essentially the scientists at Fermilab say they found a bump in their data that suggests the existence of the particle. That bump corresponds to the evidence scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have found.

Here's a bit of explanation from the Fermilab press release:

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Around the Nation
3:24 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

'Les Bon Temps Rouler' To The Auction Block

A 1974 Gremlin covered with Mardi Gras beads is part of the auction lot of items from the former Kenner Mardi Gras Museum. The car is expected to draw several bids.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 6:08 pm

In New Orleans, the 2012 Mardi Gras is just a memory. But for those who collect Mardi Gras memorabilia, the celebration lasts all year.

Some of those collectors will be at the Kenner Mardi Gras Museum on Thursday. It's about a half-hour drive from the French Quarter — not a convenient trip for many tourists, and declining attendance is one reason it closed after two decades. Now its collection will be auctioned.

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The Two-Way
3:21 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Brazil Moves To Ease Soccer Beer Ban, As World Cup Spat With FIFA Grows

Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo says his country no longer recognizes FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke as a spokesman after Valcke slammed Brazil's World Cup preparations.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 3:30 pm

Brazil took a step toward relaxing its strict ban on alcohol at soccer stadiums Tuesday, responding to World Cup organizers' concerns. The Federation International de Football Association is pushing for the change so it can make Budweiser the "Official Beer of the FIFA World Cup" when Brazil hosts the event in 2014.

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Middle East
3:18 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Christians Provide Free Labor On Jewish Settlements

Evangelical Christians from the U.S. are living and working at Jewish settlements in the West Bank for weeks at a time. The Christians see Jewish expansion in the area as fulfilling biblical prophecy, though the settlements are a contentious issue between Israelis and Palestinians. Here volunteers harvest grapes.
Courtesy of Heather Meyers

Originally published on Sun March 11, 2012 9:09 am

It's wet and windy day in Shilo, a Jewish settlement in the central part of the West Bank that has about 10,000 residents.

In addition to the settlers, there are a few extra people staying in Shilo on this day. They are Christian volunteers from the U.S. who have spent the morning pruning the grape vines. Now, with a winter storm beating down on the hills, the volunteers are stomping with their mud-splattered boots and North Face rain gear.

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Election 2012
3:00 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Fall Senate Races Shaping Up

Political writer Shira Toeplitz of CQ Roll Call talks with Melissa Block about the high profile Senate races taking shape in 2012.

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