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7 Billion And Counting
4:42 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Visualizing How A Population Grows To 7 Billion

Watch as global population explodes from 300 million to 7 billion.

Adam Cole, Maggie Starbard NPR

The U.N. estimates that the world's population will pass the 7 billion mark on Monday.

Much of that growth has happened in Asia — in India and China. Those two countries have been among the world's most populous for centuries. But a demographic shift is taking place as the countries have modernized and lowered their fertility rates. Now, the biggest growth is taking place in sub-Saharan Africa.

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7 Billion And Counting
4:39 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Nations Grow Populations, And Face New Problems

Lujiazui, Shanghai's financial district, includes the world's third- and sixth-tallest buildings. The city's population is 23 million.

Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 12:34 pm

NPR's Frank Langfitt has spent the past year reporting in two countries where the populations and the problems could not be more different: South Sudan and China.

The best way to travel in South Sudan is by plane. That's because, in a nation nearly the size of Texas, there are hardly any paved roads.

Earlier this year, I flew to Akobo County, near the Ethiopian border. On the hour-plus flight, I saw cattle herders and acacia trees, but mostly empty landscape. There was little sign of the 21st century — or the 20th.

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Around the Nation
4:33 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Thousands Of Trucking Jobs, But Few Take The Wheel

A truck driver cleans his windshield at a filling station in Milford, Conn. The long hours, weeks away from home and mediocre pay contribute to the trucking industry's shortage of an estimated 125,000 drivers.

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 8:44 pm

Tough as it is to find work these days, tens of thousands of jobs paying middle-class wages are going unfilled.

Open truck-driving jobs require little more than a high school diploma and a month or so of training. But not everybody wants to be a long-haul truck driver, and many who do find they just can't hack it.

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Education
4:21 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Students Born To Illegal Immigrants Sue Over Tuition

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 8:44 pm

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Miami by Florida residents being charged out-of-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities. The students are American citizens — children who were born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants — and they say Florida's regulations violate their constitutional rights.

Wendy Ruiz, a 19-year-old sophomore at Miami Dade College with a 3.7 grade point average, has a plan. She expects to graduate later this year with a two-year associate's degree in Biology.

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Around the Nation
5:31 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Trust In America: Recovering What's Lost

Tents pitched at the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York. The protests are part of a growing distrust in America of government and public institutions.

Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 6:35 pm

Whom do you trust?

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed barely 10 percent of the public trusts the government. But it doesn't stop there: Trust in public institutions like corporations, banks, courts, the media and universities is at an all-time low; the military is one of the few exceptions.

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Middle East
3:00 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Assad Warns Against Outside Intervention

Syrian President Bashar Assad warned of an "earthquake" if any outside forces intervened in his country. Meanwhile, protesters say dozens of people were killed in the last few days, making this one of the bloodiest weekends since the uprising began.

Books
3:00 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Three-Minute Fiction

This round of Three-Minute Fiction attracted 3,400 original stories. NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt from Sleep Lessons by Chad Woody from Springfield, Mo., and Susan Stamberg shares parts of The Edge by Andrew Morris from Andes, N.Y. To see these stories and others go to npr.org/threeminutefiction.

Afghanistan
2:54 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Afghan Success Comes At High Price For Commander

Lt. Col. Jason Morris pays his respects at a memorial service in Sangin, Afghanistan, on Nov. 26, 2010, for three Marines who were killed: Lance Cpl. Brandon Pearson, Lance Cpl. Matthew Broehm and 1st Lt. Robert Kelly. Morris commanded a battalion in volatile Helmand province that suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit in the Afghanistan War.

Lance Cpl. Joseph M. Peterson U.S. Marine Corps

Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 5:57 pm

A year ago, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. By the time their tour ended in April 2011, the Marines of the 3/5 — known as "Darkhorse" — suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. This week, NPR tells the story of this unit's seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home.

First of seven parts

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Author Interviews
2:41 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

From Mafia Soldier To Cocaine Cowboy

In 1986, Jon Roberts was arrested as part a cocaine bust that ultimately unraveled his empire.

Jon Roberts Crown Publishing Group

Jon Roberts was born into the Mafia.

His father, Nat Riccobono, and his uncles came to New York City from Sicily and made money by running shady businesses throughout New York in the late 1940s. After his father was deported and his mother died, Roberts moved from home to home until he was 16 and joined his uncles in the Mafia.

By the time Roberts was 26, in 1978, he was a practiced criminal — committing robberies and dealing cocaine in New York City; but he was getting bored. That's when he moved to Miami and started working with the Colombians, importing cocaine.

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Science
2:15 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Invasion Of The Mind-Controlling Parasites

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite, seen here in brain tissue, that can alter the behavior of the host. It can make rodents attracted to cats, leaving them vulnerable to getting eaten.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 6:35 pm

A few months back, something terrible happened to millions of flies around Washington, D.C.

"We were getting literally hundreds of reports of these crazy dead flies everywhere — on vegetation, on sign posts," says Mike Raupp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland.

He says the flies were attacked by a mind-controlling fungus.

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Music Interviews
12:50 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

The U.S. Army's Rock 'N' Roll Past

A rare photo of East of Underground in performance. The band formed while its members were stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War.

Courtesy of Now Again Records

The thought of army music evokes a certain tradition — say, trumpets and drums in the style of "Pershing's Own." But that tradition was set on its ear back in the late 1960s and early '70s, when the PFCs stationed overseas formed their own pop bands. And instead of breaking them up, Army brass sent them on tour.

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Business
11:29 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Aussie Court Ends Qantas Strike, Fleet Grounding

Qantas planes could be flying again within hours after Australia's labor relations tribunal ruled n favor of the carrier over the labor dispute that's seen the company ground its entire fleet.

Fair Work Australia ordered the three unions in contract negotiations with Qantas to terminate all of their rolling work stoppages and other industrial action that have been going on for months. That's the outcome that Qantas hoped for and the government wanted when it referred the dispute to the labor relations board.

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The News Tip On Weekend Edition Sunday
8:20 am
Sun October 30, 2011

The News Tip: Don't Listen To Pay Wall Naysayers

Getting people to pay for news online isn't easy, but back in March, The New York Times gave it a shot. The pay wall was seen as a risky move at the time, but the Gray Lady's third-quarter profit reports are in, and the results are better than expected. The paper's profits are up, and the Times has seen a boost in digital subscribers.

Considering these results, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has this news tip: "If you only listen to the naysayers, you'll never succeed."

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World
8:00 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Obama's Economic Trip Across The Pond

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 12:45 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Efforts to solve the European debt crisis are sure to be front and center when leaders of the 20 big countries that make up the G-20 meet in France later this week. President Barack Obama arrives in France on Thursday for the summit meeting. And NPR's Scott Horsley joins us for a preview. Hey there, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Hi, Audie. Good to be with you.

CORNISH: So, is there any relief at the White House that European countries appear to be getting a handle on the Greek debt crisis?

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Middle East
8:00 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Can Oil Fuel Libya's Reconstruction?

Transcript

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Africa
8:00 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Kenya-Somalia Tension Rises Amidst Drought

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 12:45 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

In drought-stricken East Africa, Somali militants have vowed war on neighboring Kenya. It happened after Kenya sent hundreds of troops across the border to search out and destroy Islamist militants. The cross-border action followed a series of kidnappings and attacks in Kenya, targeting aid workers and Western tourists. Kenya now says its forces won't leave Somalia until the threat is over.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is in Kenya's capital of Nairobi, and joins us now.

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Around the Nation
8:00 am
Sun October 30, 2011

In Idaho, Banks Sue Hard-Hit Homeowners

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For many, losing a home is the definition of hitting bottom. But there are former homeowners finding themselves in an even tighter spot than they thought was possible. They've lost their homes and wrecked their credit ratings. Now lenders are pursuing them for the debt that remains.

StateImpact Idaho's Molly Messick has this story.

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Economy
7:52 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Where Europe's Bailout Falls Short

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 4:23 pm

Over the next few weeks, European leaders have a big task ahead of them. They have to begin fleshing out that big bailout plan unveiled to so much fanfare in Brussels this week. The plan represents the most comprehensive effort so far to resolve Europe's grinding debt problems, which have done so much damage to the world's financial markets this year, but some issues may require a global effort to solve.

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Around the Nation
6:48 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Competition Gets Fiercer In Salem's Scare Industry

Witch Mansion is a new haunted house in Salem, Mass. With animatronics and 3-D effects, it opened right next door to the Nightmare Factory, a more traditional haunted attraction.

Adam Starr Witch Mansion

For most of the year, Salem, Mass., looks like many other historic New England towns. Come October, though, the streets are packed with portable toilets, fried dough vendors and carnival rides. It's a major tourist attraction thanks to its infamous 17th-century witch trials.

Tourists line up for psychics' parlors, face-painters and wax museums, but haunted houses are the biggest draw.

Marshall Tripoli has been in the haunted attractions business in Salem for 21 years. He owns the five-year-old Nightmare Factory, where he says his motto is "Care how you scare."

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7 Billion And Counting
5:29 am
Sun October 30, 2011

When Humans Hit 7 Billion, Will It Happen In India?

The maternity ward at Swami Dayanand hospital in northeast Delhi, the most densely populated district in India. U.N. demographers say the world's 7 billionth citizen could be born in India on Oct. 31.

Diana Derby NPR

The world is anticipating the birth of its 7 billionth person, as the United Nations predicts that the milestone baby will be born on Monday, Oct. 31. Demographers say the baby might be born in India, where an average of 51 babies are born every minute.

To get a feeling for the kind of world in which our 7 billionth citizen could grow up, it's worth a visit to the place that India's Census Bureau has identified as the densest place in the country.

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Presidential Race
2:59 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Cain's 9-9-9 Plan A Hard Sell In Anti-Tax N.H.

The attractiveness, and simplicity, of Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan — a nine percent federal income, corporate and sales tax — has catapulted the Georgia businessman to the head of the Republican presidential field. But for some states, such as New Hampshire, which doesn't have a sales tax, 9-9-9 wouldn't be simple at all.

People in New Hampshire, to put it mildly, dislike taxes.

"New Hampshire is definitely an anti-tax state," says Andy Smith, director of the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire.

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Hard Times: A Journey Across America
2:13 am
Sun October 30, 2011

NPR's 'Hard Times' Series Reporters Begin Journey

Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 2:49 pm

Millions of Americans are hurting financially, and they're worried about their future.

Fourteen million people are unemployed, and millions more are realizing that the jobs and the income and the home values they once had may never come back.

NPR has been reporting these stories for years, but in November, two reporters take the story on the road.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
6:17 pm
Sat October 29, 2011

Official: No 'Silver Bullet' To Solve Housing Crisis

President Obama announces his housing initiative to help homeowners with federally guaranteed mortgages refinance their homes, in Las Vegas on Monday.

Ethan Miller Getty Images

Earlier this week, President Obama announced a plan to help homeowners refinance their mortgages.

The White House says it will help millions of people hold onto their homes through a government-backed modification program. But critics are skeptical the plan will be a success, in part because of the dependence on the good will of banks to voluntarily join up.

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Space
4:13 pm
Sat October 29, 2011

Spy Satellite Engineer's Top Secret Is Revealed

Phil Pressel designed cameras for the government's top-secret Hexagon project. He's only recently been able to speak about his life's work.

Roger Guillemette/SPACE.com

Every day for decades, engineer Phil Pressel would come home from work and be unable to tell his wife what he'd been doing all day.

Now, Pressel is free to speak about his life's work: designing cameras for a top-secret U.S. government spy satellite. Officially known as the KH-9 Hexagon, engineers called it "Big Bird" for its massive size.

Until the government declassified it last month, Hexagon had been a secret for 46 years.

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Afghanistan
3:00 pm
Sat October 29, 2011

Americans Killed In Suicide Bombing In Afghanistan

A suicide bomb in Kabul Saturday killed a dozen Americans, making this the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan's capital since the war began a decade ago. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz gets the latest from reporter Rod Nordland of the New York Times.

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