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Middle East
4:01 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Islamist Parties At Odds In Egypt's Ongoing Elections

Egyptian soldiers stand in front of campaign posters for candidates from the hard-line Islamist Salafist Al-Nour party, in the coastal city of Alexandria.
AFP/Getty Images

As the Egyptian elections roll on over the course of several more weeks, the incoming parliament looks likely to be dominated by Islamists. But the two leading Islamist blocs have little in common and are doing their best to undermine each other.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists do not get along in Alexandria's working-class slum of Abu Suleiman. Outside one polling station, the tension is thick as campaign workers for each group's political party hand out fliers.

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Author Interviews
4:01 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

A New Look At The Man Behind U.S. Cold War Policy

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 5:55 pm

For much of the Cold War, George F. Kennan was America's best-known diplomat and a leading Soviet scholar. His reputation was based in large part on the 1947 essay he wrote on containment, the Cold War policy that said the U.S. should neither forcefully confront nor meekly appease the Soviets.

Rather, the U.S. should seek to contain Soviet expansion, power and influence in the belief that the communist system would eventually collapse on its own. The U.S. largely adhered to Kennan's road map until the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991.

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Planet Money
4:00 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Can Eurozone Countries Actually Follow Their Own Rules This Time?

Protestors in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens in 2010, demonstrating against the EU's Growth and Stability Pact.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

When the euro was set up in the late 1990s, the Stability and Growth Pact clearly spelled out the criteria for membership: Countries could not have huge debts, and they needed to keep deficits small. And there was no question — the rules explicitly excluded a little country named Greece.

"If you asked someone in Europe whether Greece would join the eurozone, the answer would have been you are mad, " says Loukas Tsoukalis with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:51 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Why Observing Prostate Cancers Is Gaining Ground On Surgery

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 4:26 pm

A federally convened panel of experts says most men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer should be offered the chance to put off treatment in favor of medical monitoring of their condition.

In fact, the panel went so far as to say doctors should stop calling most of these low-risk tumors cancer at all.

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The Salt
3:01 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Bonbons For Breakfast? Most Kid Cereals Pack Enough Sugar To Be Dessert

To many a mom, you can't go much lower than a Twinkie. The famous snack sort of epitomizes nutritional bankruptcy.

So now we learn that breakfast cereals such as Kellogg's Honey Smacks are even worse — in terms of sugar content — than a Twinkie. One cup of the cereal has 20 grams of sugar, compared with 18 grams in the cake. (The recommended serving size on the label is three-fourths of a cup.) Well, that gets our attention.

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Presidential Race
3:00 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

GOP Candidates Affirm Their Support Of Israel

The GOP presidential contenders addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum Wednesday. Lynn Neary talks to NPR's Ari Shapiro for more.

The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Italy Arrests Major Mafia Boss Who Was Hiding In Underground Bunker

Italian policemen escort fugitive mobster Michele Zagaria, center, at the police headquarters in Naples.
Salvatore Laporta AP

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 3:14 pm

Italian police had to drill into a concrete bunker underground to get to Michele Zagaria. As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast unit, the arrest of the mob boss is "huge."

Sylvia adds that Michele Zagaria "is the head of one of the bloodiest clans of the Neapolitan mafia called the Camorra and they've been involved in an enormous number of illegal activity. Probably the most prominent is the illegal transport and disposal of toxic waste, which has become a huge problem in the whole Naples area."

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The Two-Way
2:22 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Senator Calls For Justice's Criminal Division Chief To Step Down

Iowa Republican Charles Grassley took to the Senate floor Wednesday to declare that a senior Justice Department official "needs to go immediately" for allegedly misleading Congress in its 11-month-old investigation of a gun trafficking operation gone bad.

"It's past time for accountability at the senior levels of the Justice Department," Grassley said. "That accountability needs to start with the head of the criminal division, Lanny Breuer."

In a 15-minute speech, Grassley set out two main reasons for demanding Breuer's ouster.

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Newt Gingrich
2:06 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Gingrich's Most Important Adviser: Himself

Newt Gingrich, whose run for president nearly derailed earlier this year when many of his top staffers quit, now sits atop the polls. As a result, his campaign organization is growing. Here, he arrives at a town hall meeting last week in Staten Island, N.Y.
Michael Nagle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 10:29 pm

Back in June, the news out of the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign was dire.

Top staffers quit over differences about strategy, with some citing doubts about the candidate's seriousness — especially when he and his wife went on a cruise to the Greek Islands while his rivals stumped through New Hampshire and Iowa.

But now it's December, and Gingrich suddenly sits atop the polls. As a result, his organization is growing — as is the campaign brain trust. But Gingrich's most important adviser remains himself.

A Front-Runner's Staffing Needs

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It's All Politics
2:01 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Rick Perry Wears Faith On (Barn Coat) Sleeve In New Iowa Ad

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 2:48 pm

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Ex-Penn State Coach Sandusky Arrested On New Charges

Jerry Sandusky.
Pennsylvania Attorney General

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 4:29 pm

Multiple media outlets, including the AP and CNN, are reporting that former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has been arrested again, as new charges of sexual molestation have emerged.

Sandusky is already facing 40 counts related to the sexual assault of children. Sandusky has said repeatedly that he is innocent, but the case has engulfed the Penn State football program in controversy.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

'Col. Potter' Has Died: Actor Harry Morgan Was 96

Harry Morgan, as Col. Potter.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 2:01 pm

Harry Morgan, who came into our living rooms as Col. Potter in M*A*S*-H, as Officer Bill Gannon in Dragnet and in guest star roles on other TV series from Murder, She Wrote to The Love Boat, has died. He was 96.

The Associated Press reports that the actor's daughter-in-law, Beth Morgan, said he died at his home in Brentwood, Calif., after a bout with pneumonia.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:10 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Teenage Girls Will Still Need A Prescription For 'Plan B'

In a surprising twist, the Obama administration has overruled the Food and Drug Administration and will not allow teenage girls to buy the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step without a prescription.

The decision punctuates one of the longest-running public health sagas in recent memory. The FDA had decided that a version of the morning-after emergency contraceptive pill could be sold without a prescription regardless of the age of the buyer.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Morning-After Pill Won't Be Available Without Prescription To Younger Girls

The Food and Drug Administration will not be removing age restrictions for a morning-after birth control pill — a decision that's likely to prolong a fight that has raged for more than eight years.

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The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

At Sentencing, Rod Blagojevich Says He's 'Unbelievably Sorry'

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich arrives for the verdict in his corruption retrial at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago on June 27.
John Gress Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 3:00 pm

Update at 1:33 p.m. ET. Judge James Zagel has sentenced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in prison. The AP reports that it is "one of the stiffest penalties for corruption in a state with a history of crooked politics."

On his way out of the courthouse, Blagojevich said "we're going to keep fighting on through this adversity. This is a time to be strong."

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Around the Nation
12:24 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Dozens Arrested As Police Clear Occupy S.F. Camp

Police officers surrounded the Occupy San Francisco encampment at Justin Herman Plaza early Wednesday.
Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of police officers cleared Occupy protesters from a camp in San Francisco early Wednesday, giving them a five-minute warning before dismantling the tent city and arresting at least 70 people.

Police cars, fire engines and ambulances surrounded the campsite and blocked off the area around Justin Herman Plaza during the raid, which began shortly after 1 a.m.

A few officers lingered at daybreak Wednesday as trash crews raked up paper and plastic bottles, removed chairs and other belongings that had accumulated at the camp over the past two months.

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News
12:14 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Joining Forces With The Left, Occupy Swarms Capitol

Hundreds of demonstrators marched on Capitol Hill Tuesday to occupy the offices of their members of Congress during the "Take Back the Capitol" protest in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, they plan to target K Street.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

After bringing their grievances to the doors of Congress on Tuesday, protesters from across the nation plan to take aim at Washington's other vilified powerbrokers: lobbyists.

By lunchtime on Wednesday, storied K Street, which is home to the lobbying arms of many large corporations and industries, is expected to be choked with as many as 3,000 community activists, unemployed protesters, union members and Occupy Wall Street participants.

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Commentary
11:49 am
Wed December 7, 2011

'Occupy': Geoff Nunberg's 2011 Word Of The Year

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 4:04 pm

Geoff Nunberg, the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, is the author of the book The Years of Talking Dangerously.

If the word of the year is supposed to be an item that has actually shaped the perception of important events, I can't see going with anything but occupy. It was a late entry, but since mid-September it has gone viral and global. Just scan the thousands of hashtags and Facebook pages that begin with the word: Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Slovakia. Occupy Saskatoon, Sesame Street, the Constitution. Occupy the hood.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Prosecutor Won't Seek Death Penalty For Mumia Abu-Jamal

One of the highest-profile murder cases in recent decades just took another important turn: "Philadelphia's district attorney announced this morning that he will not continue to seek the death penalty for Mumia Abu-Jamal," WHYY reports.

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Though Accusers Are 'Credible,' No State Charges Against Syracuse Coach

A local prosecutor says he believes two men who have alleged that a former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach sexually abused them when they were children are credible — but can't pursue charges because the statute of limitations has passed.

The Associated Press reports that the decision by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick only means that there won't be a case brought against Bernie Fine under state law. "A federal probe is ongoing," AP notes.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Shouldn't Rush Be In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson (left) and singer/bassist Geddy Lee.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Pardon this blogger for a moment of venting.

We've heard today that the new inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the performers category are Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Laura Nyro, Donovan and The Small Faces.

I don't have any problem with the honorees.

As usual, it's who still isn't in the hall that irks me.

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It's All Politics
10:34 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Gingrich's Proposals On Child Labor Stir Attacks, But Raise Real Issues

Newt Gingrich's proposal to put poor children to work because, he says, they're not learning the "work habit" in public housing projects has been condemned by critics as worthy of a Dickens novel.

Those who followed the GOP presidential candidate's tumultuous legislative career in Washington say Gingrich's latest foray into child welfare is not an anomaly.

As House Speaker in the mid-1990s, Gingrich proposed banning welfare benefits for children born to unmarried young women and using the funds to build orphanages for youngsters whose parents were failing them.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Mexico Says It Blocked Plot To Smuggle Gadhafi's Son Into Country

Saadi Gadhafi at January 2010 news conference in Tripoli.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 10:10 am

A report in Canada's National Post that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's "playboy son Saadi made plans to flee to a Mexican beach resort whose celebrity visitors include Kim Kardashian, Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga," has prompted Mexico's interior secretary to say today that his country's intelligence service has broken up the plot, The Associated Press says.

According to the AP:

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Shots - Health Blog
9:44 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Call Now To Get A Medicare Enrollment Extension

If you need more time to make a decision on your Medicare plan, get on the phone right away.
iStockphoto.com

Federal officials are extending today's deadline some people picking a Medicare prescription drug or private health plan because of the crush of last-minute sign-ups.

There's a catch. The extension is available only to seniors who seek official help with their decision by the close of business today, said a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

And one other thing, the extension is only three days long.

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