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It's All Politics
6:16 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Financial Ties Bind NRA, Gun Industry

In this photo illustration, a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen with ammunition.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:51 am

Leaders of the National Rifle Association plan to break their weeklong silence Friday and make their first public comments on the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

They say they will be speaking for the NRA's 4 million members. But they will also be speaking for the gun industry, which has close financial ties to the association.

The NRA and the gun industry are reeling after last week's massacre. The primary weapon used — an AR-15-style rifle — is one of the most popular guns in America.

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U.S.
5:53 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Is The Border Secure Enough To Tackle The Immigration System?

A hilltop view of the 18-foot fence along the U.S.-Mexico border west of Nogales, Ariz.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 8:10 pm

Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Border Patrol has quintupled in size — growing from about 4,000 to more than 20,000 agents.

The government has constructed some 700 miles of fencing and vehicle barriers. It has placed thousands of ground sensors, lights, radar towers and cameras along the border. And Customs and Border Protection is now flying drones and helicopters to locate smuggles and rescue stranded immigrants.

So here's the question: Is the Southwest border secure?

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The Picture Show
5:28 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

'Miss Subways': A Trip Back In Time To New York's Melting Pot

Selsey was Miss Subways January-March 1964
Courtesy of Fiona Gardner

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 7:13 pm

For more than 35 years, riders on the New York City subways and buses during their daily commute were graced with posters of beaming young women. While the women featured in each poster — all New Yorkers — were billed as "average girls," they were also beauty queens in the nation's first integrated beauty contest: Miss Subways, selected each month starting in 1941 by the public and professionally photographed by the country's leading modeling agency.

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It's All Politics
5:27 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

House Republicans Face Threat Of Primary Challenges In 'Plan B' Vote

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., shown in 2010, has said he would deserve a primary challenge if he voted for House Speaker John Boehner's "fiscal cliff" proposal, which would extend the Bush-era tax cuts only on income of less than $1 million.
John Hanna AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

House Republicans are under a lot of pressure.

House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team are urging them to support his "Plan B" to avoid the automatic tax hikes of the "fiscal cliff." But they're also facing pressure from outside groups that could mount primary challenges against them if they do.

Boehner argues his plan — which would allow the Bush-era tax cuts to stay in place for income under $1 million a year — isn't a tax increase. But a number of conservative groups have come to a very different conclusion.

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Space
4:58 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

In Calif. Gold Country, A Rush That's Out Of This World

A section of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, dubbed "Darth Vader," is studied at a lab at the University of California, Davis. The meteorite is made of carbonaceous chondrite, which contains materials that formed the planets of the solar system.
UC Davis

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

On the crisp, clear morning of April 22, a 50-ton asteroid slammed into the Earth's atmosphere and shattered into countless pieces. Remarkably, they rained down onto Sutter's Mill, Calif., the exact spot where gold was discovered back in 1848, triggering the gold rush. And so follows a story of serendipity and scientific discovery.

"I was out on my hillside burning some branches and so forth, and I heard this sonic boom," says Gold Country resident Ed Allen. "It wasn't just one boom. It was a series of booms, literally right over my head."

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Energy
4:58 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Next In Line For A Fracking Boom, California Looks At The Rules

Most hydraulic fracturing in California is done to extract to oil in areas like this field in Kern County. The state is drafting fracking regulations for the first time.
Craig Miller KQED

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, there's been heated debate about rules that protect groundwater and public health.

California is now wading into that arena with the release of the state's first fracking regulations. The state's earthquake-prone geology, however, could bring particular concerns.

Fracking itself isn't new. The technology behind it, though, has changed.

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NPR Story
4:58 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Letters: Southern Baptist Convention Leader On Guns

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, your letters and we heard from many of you about my conversation yesterday with Dr. Richard Land. He's director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. And the moment that seemed to get most of you writing was Reverend Land's theological justification for gun ownership and the use of lethal force.

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Latin America
4:36 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

'Lost Jews' Of Colombia Say They've Found Their Roots

Baruj Cano, 4, watches as his father and other men from Bello's Jewish community read from the Torah.
Paul Smith for NPR

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 12:38 pm

They are called "crypto-Jews" or "lost Jews," and in recent years they have emerged in remote places as scattered as India, Brazil, the American Southwest and here in Colombia.

They were raised as Christians but believe they have discovered hidden Jewish roots, prompting many to return to Judaism. Many say their ancestors were Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain more than 500 years ago, as the Spanish crown embarked on a systematic persecution of Jews.

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The Salt
4:02 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Big Food And The Big, Silent Salt Experiment

Food companies have begun quietly reducing salt in regular foods because low-salt items like these don't sell as well.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

Have you noticed, perhaps, that some of your store-bought salad dressings or spaghetti sauces taste a little less salty lately?

Probably not. The companies that make those products are doing their best to keep you from noticing. Yet many of them are, in fact, carrying out a giant salt-reduction experiment, either because they want to improve their customers' health or because they're worried that if they don't, the government might impose regulations that would compel more onerous salt reductions.

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It's All Politics
3:18 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Cory Booker Eyes (Chris Christie-Free) Path To His Political Future

Newark Mayor Cory Booker greets a 13-year-old at a relief center for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, in November.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:25 pm

Here was the choice facing Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Run next year against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose popularity would have made the Republican exceedingly difficult to beat; or fix his gaze on the Senate seat now occupied by an 88-year-old fellow Democrat, Sen.

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The Two-Way
2:56 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Gun Control: 'Only Modest Change' In Opinion Since Newtown Shootings

A Sig Sauer handgun on sale at a shop in Tucker, Ga.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:25 am

"The public's attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported Thursday afternoon.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Former Official Sentenced To 35 Years For Role In Rwanda's Genocide

An international criminal court has found a former Rwandan government official guilty of genocide and other crimes, sentencing him to 35 years in prison for his role in the Hutu-led government's murder of ethnic Tutsis on an epic scale. The trial is the last stemming from events 18 years ago.

As Gregory Warner reports for NPR's Newscast unit:

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Politics
2:10 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Assault-Style Weapons In The Civilian Market

According to Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center, more people in the United States die every year from gun-related incidents than have been killed in all terrorist attacks worldwide since the 1960s.
iStockPhoto

As the country reels after Friday's massacre in Newtown, Conn., the question of how assault rifles like the one used at Sandy Hook Elementary School entered the civilian market is front and center.

The semi-automatic weapon found at the site where Adam Lanza shot to death 20 children and six adults, for example, is a variant of a type of gun developed for troops during Vietnam.

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

At Benghazi Hearing, Sen. Kerry Urges More Diplomatic Resources

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., led a Senate hearing Thursday on the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:28 pm

Sen. John Kerry is considered the leading candidate to become the next secretary of state, and that gave added weight to his remarks Thursday as he oversaw testimony on the most volatile foreign policy issue in recent months: the deadly Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi.

The two top deputies of the current secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, acknowledged that the State Department failed to provide adequate security in Benghazi, which has remained extremely volatile following last year's ouster of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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Shots - Health News
1:47 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Merck: Niacin Drug Mix Fails To Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:59 pm

Niacin, a B vitamin that raises "good" cholesterol, has failed to benefit heart disease patients when taken in tandem with a statin drug that lowers "bad" cholesterol, according to drug maker Merck.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Newtown Shootings Inspire '26 Acts Of Kindness' Campaign

A woman and child earlier this week at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:33 pm

The idea is simple:

Do "26 acts of kindness" — one for each of the 20 children and six adults killed last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Since NBC News' Ann Curry tweeted that idea earlier this week, it's taken off. Thousands have tweeted back to her about things they've done.

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The Salt
12:44 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Elixirs Made To Fight Malaria Still Shine On The Modern Bar

Shaken with splash of malaria drug, please. The original James Bond martini is made with gin, vodka and Kina Lillet, a French aperitif wine flavored with a smidge of the anti-malaria drug quinine.
Karen Castillo Farfan NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:23 am

This week, our colleagues over at the Shots blog have been talking a lot about malaria. And, here at The Salt, that got us thinking about one thing: gin and tonics.

As you probably know, tonic is simply carbonated water mixed with quinine, a bitter compound that just happens to cure a malaria infection, albeit not so well.

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Children's Health
11:53 am
Thu December 20, 2012

What Does Autism Have To Do With It?

Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza has been described as "quiet" and "different." Unconfirmed reports have suggested that he may have had autism or Asperger's syndrome. Host Michel Martin looks at the speculation about Lanza, and talks about the myths and truths about autism and Asperger's syndrome with two moms and a child psychiatrist.

Business
11:32 am
Thu December 20, 2012

From Shoes To M&M's, Custom-Made Products Take Off Online

High school student Jon Ledbetter designs his own "NikeiD" sneakers. Ledbetter can post his designs on Nike's website, where other shoppers can also order them.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:53 pm

It wasn't long ago that all consumers went to retail stores to buy things. These days, of course, you can get just about anything online. Some companies are now taking that shopping experience to the next level, allowing customers to design almost anything individually — from a trench coat to a batch of M&M's.

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Armored Backpacks, Volunteer Guards Among Responses To School Shootings

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley stood guard Wednesday at Hughson Elementary School in Modesto, Calif.
Ed Crisostomo MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:47 am

The latest stories about how the nation is reacting to last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, include:

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Shots - Health News
11:09 am
Thu December 20, 2012

The Gun Lobby's Favorite Part Of The Health Law

There's wide disagreement on whether firearms in your closet are your doctor's business.
iStockphoto.com

Did you know the Affordable Care Act stands up for gun rights? The "Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights" section says the health law's wellness programs can't require participants to give information about guns in the house. It also keeps the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from collecting data on gun use and stops insurance companies from denying coverage or raising premiums on members because of gun use.

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Sales Of Existing Homes Hit Three-Year High

San Francisco: A "sold" sign in front of a home earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:04 am

There was a 5.9 percent rise in sales of previously owned homes in November from October, the National Association of Realtors says.

At their 5.04 million annual rate, sales were the highest since November 2009.

"Momentum continues to build," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says in the organization's report.

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Thu December 20, 2012

NYSE Being Bought For $8.2B By Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:34 pm

The New York Stock Exchange will be acquired by IntercontinentalExchange of Atlanta in a deal valued at about $8.2 billion, the two rivals confirmed Thursday morning.

In matching press releases, they say the sale "combines two leading exchange groups to create a premier global exchange operator diversified across markets including agricultural and energy commodities, credit derivatives, equities and equity derivatives, foreign exchange and interest rates."

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Third Quarter Economic Growth Revised Up Again

The best estimate of how quickly the economy was growing in the third quarter has been revised upward again — a sign that as summer turned into fall things were better than first thought.

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The Two-Way
8:31 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Blizzard Warnings In Upper Midwest; Possible Tornado In Alabama

A snow plow made its way down a county road in Waupun, Wis., earlier today.
Jeffrey Phelps EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:26 pm

A winter storm that has brought blizzard conditions to parts of the Upper Midwest from Iowa into Minnesota and Wisconsin has authorities urging folks to stay off the roads and airlines warning of flight delays at Chicago's O'Hare and other airports in the region.

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