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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Bomb Wreaks Death, Destruction In Damascus

Syria's official news agency distributed this photo of a bus said to have been damaged by today's explosion in Damascus.
AFP/Getty Images

There's been an explosion in central Damascus today and there are reports of multiple deaths and dozens of injuries.

As always in Syria, where the regime of President Bashar Assad tries to control the news, it's difficult to get an accurate sense of just what is going on. The regime is blaming its opponents, who have been protesting against Assad since last spring. Activists are questioning whether the attack was staged by supporters of the regime to make the opposition look bad.

Here's some of what's being reported:

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Strange News
6:58 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Sweden Recognizes File-Sharing Group As Religion

The Church of Kopimisms received approval last month form the Swedish government. The church opposes copyrights in all forms and encourages piracy of all types.

Shots - Health Blog
6:50 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Monkey Experiments Boost Hope For Human AIDS Vaccine

A rendering of a key protein the simian immunodeficiency virus uses to reproduce.
Wikimedia Commons

Researchers trudging down the long and twisted path toward an AIDS vaccine are encouraged by new studies that show an experimental vaccine protects monkeys against infection with a virus that is very similar to HIV.

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Around the Nation
6:50 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Stolen Car Lands Perfectly On Calif. House Roof

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 10:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Around the Nation
6:45 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Winter Wonderland? Not In New England

Unseasonable temperatures and lack of snow have a lot of New Englanders singing the blues. In Maine, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and Nordic skiing are a big part of the winter economy. Downhill ski areas are making due with man-made snow, but those other industries have no choice but to wait for Mother Nature.

Around the Nation
6:40 am
Fri January 6, 2012

After 48 Years, Pa. Detective Retires

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 10:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

We're staying in Norristown, Pennsylvania for a workplace story about Oscar Vance. In two weeks he's retiring from the area district attorney's office where he's worked for nearly half a century. He is leaving as chief detective for Montgomery County, overseeing all investigations that come through the D.A.'s office.

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Around the Nation
6:37 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Ceremonies Commemorate Tuscon Shooting

In Tucson, Ariz., this weekend, ceremonies will mark the shooting one year ago that killed six people and wounded 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords will be in town for the events.

Asia
5:38 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Nations Want Korean Peninsula To Remain Stable

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 10:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The death of Kim Jong Il in North Korea and the rise of his son Kim Jong Un have threatened to undermine the delicate balance of political forces in northeast Asia. It's a complicated part of the world, involving the interests of a still-divided Korean peninsula along with China, the U.S., as well as Japan and Russia. NPR's Mike Shuster has more from Seoul.

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Fri January 6, 2012

N.H. Primary Is GOP's Next Nominating Contest

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been a favorite in New Hampshire, but Rick Santorum is now getting a second look by conservative voters. Steve Inskeep and Linda Wertheimer talk to NPR's Mara Liasson and Ken Rudin about the GOP presidential race.

Business
4:00 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 10:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with predictions for 2012.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Director of the International Monetary Fund says this year will not be the end of the euro currency, despite the debt crisis in Europe. Christine Lagarde said during a visit to South Africa today that sovereign debt is a concern for many European countries, obviously. But the euro currency, she said, is solid.

Business
4:00 am
Fri January 6, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Linda Wertheimer has the Last Word in business.

The Arab Spring: One Year Later
12:01 am
Fri January 6, 2012

The Turkish Model: Can It Be Replicated?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) has been enthusiastically received by Arab Spring countries that look to Turkey as a potential model. Here, Erdogan hosts Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council of Libya, in Istanbul, last month.
Mustafa Ozer AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 11:09 am

In the Arab states that have ousted dictators and begun building new political and economic systems, many are looking to Turkey as an example of a modern, moderate Muslim state that works. Perhaps no country has seen its image in the Arab world soar as quickly as Turkey, a secular state that's run by a party with roots in political Islam. As part of our series on the Arab Spring and where it stands today, NPR's Peter Kenyon examines whether the "Turkish model" can be exported.

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It's All Politics
12:01 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Rick Santorum: The Underdog With A Loud Bark

Rick Santorum receives a call at his campaign headquarters during his Senate re-election bid in 2006. The former senator was attempting to keep his Pennsylvania Senate seat, which he later lost to Democrat Bob Casey, Jr.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is campaigning in New Hampshire after finishing a very close second in the Iowa caucuses. His success in the Hawkeye State was a surprise because Santorum was polling in the single digits there just a few weeks back.

For Santorum, surprising the political establishment is nothing new. Since he was first elected to Congress in 1990 — at 32 years old — Santorum has made a career out of being the underdog and usually winning.

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Forget Stocks Or Bonds, Invest In A Lobbyist

Money goes in. More money comes out.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 12:17 pm

Corporations don't lobby Congress for fun. They lobby because it helps their bottom line. Getting a regulation gutted or a tax loophole created means extra cash for the corporation. But getting laws changed can be very expensive. How much money does a corporation get back from investing in a good lobbyist?

It's a messy, secretive system so it was always hard to study. But in 2004, economists found a bill so simple, so lucrative, that they could finally track the return on lobbying investment.

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Author Interviews
12:01 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Actor, 'Spy'

istockphoto.com

In author Thomas Caplan's new novel, The Spy Who Jumped Off The Screen, the president asks movie star Ty Hunter to return to action as a secret agent.

Caplan himself is personally acquainted with a former commander in chief. President Clinton and he were once roommates.

"I was a student at Georgetown University. When we arrived as heady freshmen in 1964, because of the alphabet, I was assigned a room next to Bill Clinton," Caplan tells Morning Edition host Linda Wertheimer. "And we've remained friends ever since."

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All Songs Considered Blog
10:43 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Music To Make You Move: Help NPR Create The Ultimate Workout Mix

Are you ready for another set? Clearly, we're pros at mixing music with getting in shape.
May-Ying Lam NPR

Originally published on Sat January 14, 2012 11:49 am

You know it because countless magazines have screamed it at you from the checkout line. Because the gym you walk past every morning is waiving its initiation fee. The holidays are over. It's time to get in shape. So pull on your gym shorts and tighten the laces on your running shoes.

Oh yeah, and don't forget your headphones. You're going to need some motivation, and nothing gets the job done like music. Need proof? We just happen to have some, courtesy of neuroscientist Robert Zatorre, who spoke with Morning Edition's Linda Wertheimer.

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StoryCorps
10:00 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

CEO Looks At A Veteran, Sees A Business Partner

Craig Williams (left) spoke with his business partner, Richard Bennett, at StoryCorps in Norristown, Pa.
StoryCorps

In 2008, Richard Bennett had been out of the Marines for nearly three years after being injured in Iraq. That's when he caught the attention of Craig Williams, who was looking for a partner to help expand his successful construction business in Norristown, Pa.

"I had developed a pretty solid construction company, and I wanted a partner," says Williams, 44. "As an African-American businessman, I wanted a young African-American soldier coming home. It seemed like a great opportunity to provide an opportunity."

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It's All Politics
6:25 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Five Days Before New Hampshire Primary, Confident Romney Ventures South

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign stop with college students Thursday in Concord, N.H.
Jim Cole Associated Press

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 6:53 pm

Most of the Republican presidential candidates are focused on New Hampshire, which holds its primary next Tuesday.

But while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney began his day campaigning in New Hampshire, by the afternoon he was in South Carolina, which holds its primary Jan. 21.

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Around the Nation
5:55 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Sinking Ship? Saving The Historic Kalakala Ferry

Not Dead Yet: On July 3, 1935, the Kalakala started daily ferry service between Seattle and Bremerton, Wash. Today, it sits unused in a nearby Tacoma dock.
Martin Kaste NPR

There's an old joke: The two happiest days in a man's life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.

That's certainly been true for the owners of the Kalakala, a historic art deco ferry that currently resides in the Puget Sound. Launched in 1935, the vessel's trials and tribulations have become the stuff of legend in Seattle.

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The Two-Way
5:28 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

New Consumer Czar: 'This Is A Valid Appointment'

Richard Cordray, incoming head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stands offstage after President Obama spoke about the economy in Ohio on Wednesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Richard Cordray, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, defended his appointment in an interview with All Things Considered today.

"This is a valid appointment," he told NPR's Robert Siegel. "But, again, I'm not going to be distracted by the details of that. My job is to be the director of this consumer bureau, to look out for consumers across the country and I'm going to focus 100 percent on that job."

Robert asked if he was just going to "ignore whatever litigation might develop from that" and Cordray said, "that's correct."

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Animals
5:11 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Zoo Crafts Love Nest To Save Ozark's Salamanders

An adult Ozark hellbender is typically brown or green with black markings that help it blend in with its rocky river-bottom habitat.
Jeff Briggler Missouri Department of Conservation

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 6:27 pm

It's flat. It's slimy. And it hides under rocks on the river bottom. It's the Ozark hellbender, and at up to two feet in length, it's one of the world's largest salamanders.

But Ozark hellbenders are disappearing: Fewer than 600 are left in the rivers of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Scientists have been making a huge effort to get them to breed in captivity. And now, thanks to a major effort at the Saint Louis Zoo, 2012 could be the year of new hope for hellbenders.

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Planet Money
4:57 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

How A Computer Scientist Tried To Save Greece

Diomidis Spinellis used a mind map like this to find tax cheats.
Flickr user: MyThoughtsMindMaps

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 12:13 pm

It's like a bad joke. Why did the Greek government borrow so much money?

Because it couldn't get its own citizens to pay taxes.

The Greek government estimates that one third of taxes owed never get paid. And apparently it was far easier to borrow money even at outrageous rates than to make Greeks pay what they owe.

So in 2009, the Greek finance ministry called in an unlikely hero: A methodical, computer science professor at Athens University, Diomidis Spinellis.

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Presidential Race
4:48 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Spotlight Shines On Late Riser Rick Santorum

Then-Sen. Rick Santorum is interviewed after a debate with his Democratic challenger, Bob Casey, in 2006. Santorum later lost the Senate seat to Casey.
Alex Wong Getty Images for Meet the Press

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 10:29 am

Rick Santorum has been upsetting elections from the beginning.

He was only 32 years old when he toppled a seven-term incumbent in a majority Democratic district in western Pennsylvania.

Just four years later, Santorum rode the Republican wave of 1994 into the Senate representing Pennsylvania. And from the beginning, Santorum has stood for unwavering social conservatism, especially on the issue of abortion.

"Give the baby a chance to live," said Santorum while delivering a speech on the Senate floor in 1997.

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Europe
4:40 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Fears Grow Over Faulty French-Made Breast Implants

French-made breast implants produced by the Poly Implant Prothese company have been found to be faulty and are at the heart of a growing health scandal.
Sebastien Nogier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 6:27 pm

A scandal involving French-made breast implants continues to widen.

The implants contain industrial-grade silicone that causes abnormally high rupture rates, according to critics. They have been sold in many countries in Europe and beyond, though not in the United States. Now, the French government has opened a criminal investigation into the company.

French television showed footage on Thursday of investigators and a judge searching the factory of the Poly Implant Prothese company, or PIP, in southern France.

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Animals
4:35 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Dog Trained As Ultimate Whale Pooper Snooper

Trainer Liz Seely looks on as Tucker takes to the bow and sniffs the waves.
Ashley Ahearn KUOW

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 6:33 pm

Killer whales in Puget Sound aren't doing very well. They were placed on the endangered species list in 2005, and there are several hypotheses for why they're not recovering.

In Puget Sound, a team of researchers is relying on a secret weapon with a killer nose to figure out what's wrong with the orcas in Northwestern waters.

'A Treasure Trove Of Information'

Scientists suspect lack of food, boat traffic and pollution are to blame, but no one knows for sure. Some think the answer might be found in the whales' wake — specifically, their poop.

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