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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

India's Hazare Begins New Hunger Strike In Corruption Fight

A supporter receives blessings from Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare during the first day of Hazare's hunger strike, in Mumbai, India on Tuesday.
Rajanish Kakade AP

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 1:43 pm

India's anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, 74, has begun another three-day fast in Mumbai just as Parliament begins debate on a bill that would create an office with the authority to investigate corruption.

But, as The Christian Science Monitor reports, Hazare calls the bill "weak and useless." The Monitor adds:

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

VIDEO: Tears From Kim Jong Un As His Father's Funeral Nears

The funeral for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is set for Wednesday in Pyongyang, and it's something of a cliche to say — as basically every story today does — that details about what will happen are largely a mystery.

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Performing Arts
1:14 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

There's Something About 'Matilda'

Kerry Ingram is one of four young actresses portraying the title role in Matilda the Musical.
Manual Harlan Playbill

While pantomime performances of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are traditional English holiday entertainment fare, there's a new hit in town. Londoners are flocking to Matilda the Musical, a souped-up version of Roald Dahl's well-known children's novel, playing in London's West End.

The production by The Royal Shakespeare Company has been proclaimed the best British musical in years. But despite most of the cast being under 16, this show is certainly not just for kids.

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The Salt
12:49 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Inhalable Caffeine: Party Drug Or Handy, Pocket-Sized Boost?

One AeroShot contains 100 mg of caffeine and sells for $2.99, making if roughly comparable to buying a latte.
Breathable Foods

If you've ever lamented the time and effort it takes to brew or procure a cup of coffee, this might perk you up. "Breathable Energy. Anytime. Anyplace."

That's the campaign slogan for AeroShot, a plastic inhaler, roughly the size of a lipstick tube, filled with a powdery, calorie-free mix of caffeine, B vitamins, and citrus flavors. It's slated to hit stores in January, just in time for the New Year.

But some aren't so sure selling caffeine in pocket-sized tubes — and marketing it to young people — is a great idea.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:27 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

For Hospitals, There's No App For Adopting Tablet Computers

Tablets are easy to find at the local coffee shop but are still scarce at hospitals.
iStockphoto.com

Hospitals are often eager to embrace the latest medical technology, but the road to deploying tablet computers has been a little bumpy.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
12:11 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Housing Market Stays Mired In Low Home Price Spin

According to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday, home prices were down 3.4 percent this year as of October — around a 35 percent drop from their peak.
Scott Olson Getty Images

This month, consumer confidence jumped to its highest level since April, a sign that the U.S. economy is starting to mend. But the housing market isn't going along yet with this cheerier mood: Home prices were down 3.4 percent for the year as of October, according to a new report released Tuesday.

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Middle East
11:26 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Dealing With Dictators: Is Exile Or Trial Better?

Critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad have been debating whether it would be better to threaten him with prosecution or encourage him to go into exile. Here, Syrians hold a rally supporting Assad in Damascus this month.
Muzaffar Salman AP

The death toll in Syria keeps mounting, as do the calls for the ouster of President Bashar Assad. But in dealing with Assad, should the international community threaten him with prosecution at the International Criminal Court or offer him a comfortable exile?

That question is being widely debated, and came up several times earlier this year with the ouster of other Arab autocrats. Last month, a United Nations commission found that Syrian security forces loyal to Assad had killed hundreds of children and perpetrated other "crimes against humanity."

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Mom 'Mortified,' Obama Amused When Baby Grabbed President's Mouth

She says now that she "was mortified ... I was so embarrassed."

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Consumer Confidence Rose This Month

American consumers felt better this month about how things are going for the U.S. economy and their own financial situations, the private research group The Conference Board just reported.

Its consumer confidence index rose to 64.5 from 55.2 in November and is back at a level not seen since last April.

But in a statement, the director of the board's consumer research center advises viewing the again with caution.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Sears, Kmart Closings Will Shutter 3 Percent Of Company's Stores

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:09 am

As you know, numbers can often be looked at several ways.

There's the headline that "dozens of Kmart, Sears stores to close" and the topline news that "between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores" are going to be shut down as the retailer looks to trim costs and move ahead after it endured a pretty poor holiday shopping season.

That's a lot of stores, obviously.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Home Prices Fell Again In October

Renzo Salazar, from Real Signs of Ace Post Holding Inc., placed a bank owned sign on top of a for sale sign outside a foreclosed home in Miami last month.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Home prices dropped from September to October in 19 of the 20 cities where it tracks the real estate markets, according to the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report.

According to a statement from David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices:

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Shots - Health Blog
9:35 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Infectious Fungus Common In Household Drains

Looks clean up here, but down below it could be a mess.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:14 am

What gunk lurks in the bathroom sink drain? A fungus that can cause infections in humans, for one thing.

The fungus in question (genus Fusarium) can cause sinus infections and funky toenails. On rare occasions it kills people with weak immune systems. More recently, it has caused serious eye infections in people who wear contact lenses.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Top Stories: Yemeni Leader May Be Treated In U.S.; Syria Moves Tanks

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:08 am

Good morning.

If you're just getting into the swing of things after a long Christmas weekend, welcome back. If you're still on vacation, we're jealous.

Our early headlines:

-- Activists Condemn Syrian Army's 'Show,' Say Tanks Didn't Move Far.

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It's All Politics
8:35 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Santorum Goes Hunting For Pheasants — And Votes — In Iowa

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum celebrates after shooting a bird at Doc's Hunt Club in Adel, Iowa on Dec. 26.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 12:12 pm

With just one week until the caucuses, Republican presidential candidates will be everywhere in Iowa this week. Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are all riding buses around the state while Ron Paul makes multiple appearances — a last-minute bid to motivate Republicans to come out and vote for them next Tuesday.

But no candidate has spent more time in Iowa than former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The day after Christmas was a holiday for most, so Santorum went hunting — with cameras.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Activists Condemn Syrian Army's 'Show,' Say Tanks Didn't Move Far

A Syrian tank driving through the city of Homs on Monday (Dec. 26, 2011).
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 8:49 am

"Syria's army suspended days of punishing attacks on the restive city of Homs," The Associated Press writes, "and began withdrawing its tanks Tuesday just as Arab League monitors visited the area and met with local leaders, activists and officials said."

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Lost Money: $41 Billion In Gift Cards Haven't Been Redeemed Since 2005

You may have given one — or two, or three. You may have gotten one — or two, or three.

Gift cards.

The presents that show up in Christmas stockings all across America. The go-to gifts for aunts and uncles trying to please those finicky teenaged nieces and nephews. The tokens of affection that may say "I got this on the way over here."

And, also, the gifts that sometimes never get used.

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Business
7:44 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Company To Close Dozens Of Sears, Kmart Stores

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Sears closing stores.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The holiday shopping season has gone well for some retailers, but apparently not for Sears Holdings, the company that owns Sears and Kmart. It plans to shut down up to 120 stores. Sears operates 4,000 outlets in the U.S. and Canada right now. The company says Kmart sales of clothing and consumer electronics fell, and at Sears there was not much demand for home appliances.

Around the Nation
7:36 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Nativity Scene Goat Makes A Run For It

A Minnesota man provided live puppies, a llama and a goat to a nativity scene, but the goat escaped. The Fergus Falls Journal reports the goat has been spotted but not caught.

Around the Nation
7:31 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Ill-Gotten Gains Shouldn't Be Posted On Facebook

Isaiah Cutler, 18, is in jail accused of burglarizing a market with three friends and taking thousands in cash and merchandise. An hour later, he supposedly posted pictures of the fellows and their stash on Facebook. A relative saw the photos, alerted grandma and she called the cops.

NPR Story
4:00 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Worst CEOs: A Check Up From The Head Up

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:53 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Some of the most spectacular business failings of 2011 were created or enhanced by the very people who should have provided protection against failure: the CEOs.

To tell us about some of the worst offenders, we're joined by Sydney Finkelstein, of Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business. He is the author of "Why Smart Executives Fail."

Welcome to our program.

SYDNEY FINKELSTEIN: Thank you, Linda.

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Tue December 27, 2011

The Last Word In Business

Steve Inskeep has the Last Word in business.

NPR Story
4:00 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Syrian Doctors Risk Their Lives To Treat Protesters

The Arab League is formally launching its monitoring mission in Syria Tuesday. It's not certain they'll get to the central city of Homs, an opposition stronghold under siege by the Syrian army. There, doctors are forced to treat injured anti-government protesters in an underground network.

Business
4:00 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Business News

Steve Inskeep has business news.

Technology
4:00 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Anonymous Arm Says It Hacked Stratfor

In Texas, a private intelligence company has apparently been hacked by the loosely organized activist group Anonymous. Some members claim they obtained personal information about Stratfor's clients, as well as thousands of credit cards numbers which were then used to make donations to charities. But other members have disavowed the hacking job. Freelance journalist Quinn Norton, who has profiled Anonymous for Wired Magazine, talks to Linda Wertheimer about the breach.

Asia
4:00 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Can North Korea Afford Kim Jong Il's Funeral?

As North Korea prepares for the funeral of leader Kim Jong Il, attention is being focused on the country his son, heir apparent Kim Jong Un, will inherit. Like almost everything to do with North Korea, the picture of how the country's economy works is cloudy.

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