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Latin America
4:29 am
Sat October 29, 2011

Small And Isolated, Belize Attracts Drug Traffickers

Special forces troops in Belize march through jungle looking for any sign of marijuana or drug smugglers. Drug traffickers have become increasingly active in Belize and other small nations in Central America.

Nick Miroff for NPR

A couple of decades ago, Colombian drug cartels dominated smuggling operations into the United States. In recent years, the Mexican cartels have taken over.

But Mexico's brutal drug war over the past five years is now pushing some of the drug trade into the smaller, weaker nations of Central America. And the traffickers are increasingly active in the region's least-populated and most vulnerable country, Belize.

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Business
4:09 am
Sat October 29, 2011

After Scandal, Solar Industry Looks On Bright Side

A worker stands next to an array of Sharp solar cell modules at a power plant south of Tokyo in August. Sharp was one of 1,400 solar panel manufacturers in attendance at the Solar Power International conference, where industry optimism was high.

Toshifumi Kitamura AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 8:36 am

Solar power's image has taken a hit lately with the bankruptcy of Solyndra. The California solar panel manufacturer received more than half a billion dollars in Energy Department loan guarantees before going belly up.

But the industry is still optimistic — that much was apparent at the Solar Power International conference held in Dallas in mid-October. Walking into the big hall of the Dallas Convention Center, it was impossible not to be impressed by the huge array of black solar panels hanging from the ceiling.

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The Two-Way
2:26 am
Sat October 29, 2011

Comeback Cards Win It All: St. Louis Takes World Series Title

The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Texas Rangers 6-2 to win the World Series in Game 7 at Busch Stadium in St Louis, Miss., on Friday.

Michael Heiman Getty Images

A World Series that saw plenty of drama, some history and a bit of the bizarre ended Friday night with the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Texas Rangers by a score of 6-2 in the deciding Game 7.

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National Security
2:09 am
Sat October 29, 2011

U.S. Dismantles The Biggest Of Its Cold War Nukes

This undated photo provided by the National Nuclear Security Administration shows the last B53 nuclear bomb. It was dismantled this past week, just outside Amarillo, Texas. It's a milestone in efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons.

National Nuclear Security Administration AP

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 1:10 pm

This past week, the U.S. dismantled the last of its largest nuclear bombs, the B53.

This was a Dr. Strangelove bomb, conjuring up images of armageddon and apocalypse. At the same time, one of the smallest warheads was also removed from the nuclear arsenal.

These are steps the U.S. is taking apart from its arms control agreements with Russia. And thousands more American nuclear weapons are slated for destruction in a process that could take a decade or more.

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Around the Nation
1:18 am
Sat October 29, 2011

New Water Map Washes Away S.F. Urban Legend

A disputed plaque in San Francisco's Mission District features Laguna Dolores. The most recent version of a map of the city's underground waterways removes the lagoon, as it was considered geographically impossible.

Amy Standen

Two creek geologists — people who study underground waterways — recently found themselves in the basement of a porn studio in San Francisco. Janet Sowers and Christopher Richard steered clear of the actors who were filming for Kink.com, an online fetish pornography studio that happened to have a stream running through its basement.

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Monkey See
12:01 am
Sat October 29, 2011

Justin Timberlake On Music, Comedy, And Wearing Out His NPR T-Shirt

Justin Timberlake arrives at the premiere of In Time on October 20.

Frazer Harrison Getty Images

It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)

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Economy
8:03 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Why The Haves Have So Much

Sheets of $100 bills wait to be cut into singles at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. In recent decades, the gap between rich and poor has widened in the United States.

Mark Wilson Getty Images

The Congressional Budget Office released a report this week showing that the gap between wealthy and poor Americans has become much wider than it once was.

What's behind that expanding income gap?

Federal tax policy is part of the story. Those at the top of the income ladder have been the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts over the last three decades.

But the biggest change has come in the shape of the economy itself.

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The Two-Way
6:14 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

'This Is Just Wrong': Weekend Snowstorm Takes Aim For Northeast

Satellite shows precipitation headed toward the Northeast.

NOAA

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 6:39 pm

Yes, it's still October, but the Northeast could be in for quite a snowstorm this weekend. It'll be a "quick, one-day event," says the Weather Channel, but it could dump up to 15 inches in Harrisburg, Pa.; 10 inches in Hartford, Conn.; 12 inches in Concord, N.H.

The Weather Channel adds:

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Politics
5:57 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Groups That Plan To Lobby The Supercommittee

An NPR review found that more than 600 different groups and corporations say they intend to lobby around the work of the deficit reduction committee.

Alykat Flickr

In all, 619 different groups and corporations said they intend to lobby around the work of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known around Capitol Hill as the supercommittee. All of them mentioned the supercommittee or the legislation that created it in their mandatory third-quarter lobbying disclosure forms. Here is an alphabetical list of the organizations:

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The Two-Way
5:00 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Chase Decides To Steer Clear Of Debit-Card Fees

Chase said using one of these won't cost more.

iStock

When Bank of America decided to introduce a $5 per month debit-card fee, consumers weren't happy. One senator even said it amounted to BoA "sticking it to customers."

All that noise might have encouraged JPMorgan Chase & Co. to steer clear. After testing out the concept in Georgia and northern Wisconsin for eight months, the bank said today that it scrapping the pilot next month and would not impose fees anywhere else.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:55 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Aspirin, Colon Cancer And You

Roel Smart iStockphoto.com

For some people at especially high risk of developing colon cancer, taking a couple aspirin a day appears to help protect them from the disease.

A study in The Lancet finds that people with Lynch syndrome, a hereditary predisposition to cancer of the digestive tract, who took aspirin twice a day for a up to 4 years were about 60 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who got a placebo.

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Planet Money
4:42 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Why GDP Is Like GPA

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 10:53 am

GDP contains multitudes. Everything we manufacture. Every plumber who fixed a sink, every accountant who carried the one and divided by five — all the goods and services we produced.

It was invented by a guy named Simon Kuznets during the the Great Depression, when everybody wanted to know just how bad things were.

Now the number is put out by Steve Landefeld at the government's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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NPR's Back-Seat Book Club
4:33 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Kids' Book Club: A 'Graveyard' Tour With Neil Gaiman

Emily Davis for NPR

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 6:27 pm

Welcome to the first installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! We've invited all of our younger listeners to join us for conversations with authors of kids' books. We kicked off the club with The Graveyard Book, a thrilling Halloween treat from Neil Gaiman that won the Newbery Medal in 2009. Gaiman loves Halloween and all the creepy fun that goes along with it.

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Studio Sessions
4:20 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Tony Bennett's Art Of Intimacy

Michael Katzif NPR

When you think of American classics, you might think of baseball, Abe Lincoln, apple pie ... and Anthony Dominick Benedetto. That's Tony Bennett to you.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

White House Orders Independent Review Of Energy Department Loans

The White House today ordered an independent review of the Energy Department loans that were made under a clean-energy loan program to companies like Solyndra.

The AP reports:

The announcement of an independent review came as House Republicans prepared to meet next week for a possible vote on a subpoena of White House documents related to Solyndra Inc.

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Music
4:03 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

A Musical Style That Unites Mexican-Americans

Mono Blanco, a veteran Son Jarocho band from Veracruz, performs in Los Angeles.

Betto Arcos

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 1:10 pm

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Opinion
3:45 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

For Witty, Warm, Wonderful Advice, We Asked Beth

istockphoto.com

Amy Dickinson writes the Ask Amy advice column for the Chicago Tribune. Her column appears in 150 newspapers across the country.

I think the best advice is simply good advice.

It's helpful, useful and delivered with respect.

Ask Beth's specialty was advising young people about relationships, sexuality, and sexual behavior. This is a tricky business because kids and teens are often misinformed — or simply uninformed.

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It's All Politics
3:42 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Mitt Romney Criticized For Slow Motion, Climate-Change 'Flip Flop'

Mitt Romney.

JIM WATSON AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 4:00 pm

Mitt Romney drew barbs Friday for his continued shift to the ideological right on the climate change issue.

Actually, the criticism for Romney that blew in from both the political right and left came as critics accused him of a full flip flop on global warming.

Romney's political foes jumped on comments he made in Pittsburgh Thursday at a campaign appearance.

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Newt Gingrich
3:39 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Could Gingrich Be Next GOP Challenger To Surge?

Newt Gingrich is introduced before the start of a Republican presidential debate earlier this month in Las Vegas.The former House speaker is hoping for a surge after a highly anticipated Iowa caucus poll is released this weekend.

Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 9:36 pm

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich remains a long shot for the Republican presidential nomination.

He's been polling a distant fourth in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as in pivotal, winner-take-all Florida — all contests that will play out in January.

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The Two-Way
3:39 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Bin Laden Capture Earns Leon Panetta A $10,000 Bottle Of Wine

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 4:23 pm

It was a bet made as a joke. Last New Year's eve, California restaurateur Ted Balestreri had then-CIA director Leon Panetta and about 28 others over for a dinner party. He was talking to his guests about his wine collection, when the 141-year-old bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild came up.

It was the oldest wine in his possession and Balesteri said he wouldn't serve it, but if Panetta captured Osama bin Laden he would uncork the $10,000 legendary bottle of wine.

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Environment
3:18 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Want To Improve Your Lawn? Don't Bag Those Leaves

The National Audubon Society considers fall leaves to be "natural vitamins" to use in yards.

iStockphoto.com

Every year, about 8 million tons of fallen leaves end up in landfills.

That's according to Melissa Hopkins of the National Audubon Society, who offers alternatives to raking up leaves and throwing them away.

"A lot of people think that when leaves fall, you need to really quickly scoop them up and get rid of them," she tells NPR's Melissa Block as they take a look Block's backyard in Washington, D.C., covered in a blanket of leaves. "We think about leaves as vitamins. They are free vitamins that naturally occur in your yard."

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Week In Politics: Executive Orders; Income Inequality

Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks, of the New York Times.

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Cards Force First World Series Game 7 Since 2002

In dramatic fashion, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers Thursday night to force the first game 7 in the World Series since 2002. Michele Norris talks with sportswriter Stefan Fatsis about the game and how it ranks among other thrilling World Series games of the past.

The Two-Way
2:59 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Watchdogs Take Back Claim About $16 Muffins

Federal watchdogs now concede they made a mistake when they criticized the Justice Department for paying $16 each for muffins at a conference. But they also say Justice still needs to be careful about how it spends taxpayer money.

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Youth Radio
2:54 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Injured Vet Becomes Symbol For Occupy Oakland

A photograph of Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen is seen Thursday at a vigil. Olsen was severely injured during a standoff between police and protesters in Oakland, Calif., two days earlier. He remains hospitalized.

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The bloodied face of a 24-year-old Iraq veteran has become a symbol for protesters in Oakland, Calif., drawing attention to the level of force used by police and sparking criticism of the mayor's handling of the Occupy movement.

Scott Olsen came to Occupy Oakland after work Tuesday night to support the protesters. Witnesses say that when clashes broke out, he was struck in the head by a projectile fired by police — either a rubber bullet or a tear gas canister. He was hospitalized with a fractured skull.

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