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2:27 am
Tue February 14, 2012

White House Welcomes Chinese Official Xi Jinping

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:28 am

The man who is expected to become China's next president begins highly anticipated meetings in Washington on Tuesday. The trip comes as the Obama administration seeks to shift the emphasis of U.S. strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region — including changes the Chinese aren't sure they like.

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Election 2012
10:05 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Study: 1.8 Million Dead People Still Registered To Vote

A sign at the Feb. 4 Nevada caucuses in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:46 am

Democrats and Republicans don't agree on much. But they do agree that voter registration lists across the country are a mess.

A new report by the Pew Center on the States finds that more than 1.8 million dead people are currently registered to vote. And 24 million registrations are either invalid or inaccurate.

There's little evidence that this has led to widespread voter fraud, but it has raised concerns that the system is vulnerable.

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The Impact of War
10:01 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Building Better Houses For Wounded Soldiers

The Wounded Warrior Home Project is an inventive approach to military housing, serving the needs of wounded soldiers and their families as they continue to serve on active duty at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:02 am

All wars bring innovations — in weapons, and also in ways to repair the damage done. Penicillin is one of the more famous examples: It came into use as a treatment for troops in World War II.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought their own breakthroughs, none more dramatic than the prosthetics that come close to giving back what has been lost. And big advances in treating grievous injuries have meant many more troops coming home alive.

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Asia
10:01 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

A Pragmatic Princeling Next In Line To Lead China

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, shown here in December 2011 waving to students during a visit to Bangkok, Thailand, is in line to become China's leader next year.
Pairoj AFP/Getty Images

Second of three parts

In northwestern China's Shaanxi province, a neatly manicured and landscaped memorial park the size of six soccer fields is one sign of the revolutionary lineage of Xi Jinping, the man set to become China's next leader.

Known as a Communist Party princeling, Xi is the 58-year-old son of Xi Zhongxun, a deputy prime minister and revolutionary hero who died in 2002.

The elder Xi was born in Fuping county in Shaanxi, more than 600 miles southwest of Beijing, and is considered a hometown hero.

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Africa
10:01 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

At 85, Senegal's Defiant President Seeks A New Term

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, 85, greets supporters during a campaign rally in Dakar last week. He is seeking a third term. Critics say he is violating the constitution and should step down.
Gabriela Barnuevo AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:54 am

The Senegalese are known for campaigning loudly, musically and enthusiastically, yet the country's reputation for democracy and stability in turbulent West Africa has taken a knock as it prepares for elections on Feb. 26.

When Senegal's top court gave its blessing last month to President Abdoulaye Wade's third-term ambitions, his opponents angrily took to the streets to demonstrate their disapproval.

Senegal was tense as police clashed with protesters demanding that the president withdraw his candidacy.

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The Two-Way
4:55 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

North Dakota Higher Ed Board Will Sue To Drop 'Fighting Sioux' Nickname

Charles Tuttle, a backer of the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname, watches as a woman signs petitions supporting the nickname on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Dale Wetzel AP

It's an issue that's been controversial since at least the 1960s and, through the years, the University of North Dakota has vacillated on whether to keep its controversial "Fighting Sioux" nickname for its sports teams.

Today that controversy was extended, yet again, when North Dakota's Higher Education Board decided to go to court to challenge a voter referendum that could have forced the university to adopt the name again.

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It's All Politics
4:16 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

What Would The GOP Candidates Do With The Federal Budget? A Look At Their Plans

A sign on a car window at a Feb. 2 rally for Ron Paul in Elko, Nev.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 5:06 pm

It goes without saying that the men who are vying for the Republican presidential nomination found serious flaws with the budget plan President Obama released Monday. But it got us thinking that this might also be a good time to dig into the budget plans offered by the GOP candidates.

All of the candidates want to cut government spending and balance the federal budget. They also want to cut taxes.

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The Two-Way
4:12 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Federal Appeals Court Hears Challenge To California Affirmative Action Ban

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 4:20 pm

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard a challenge to California's 15-year ban on using affirmative action in public college admissions.

As the AP put it, Proposition 209, as it's known, "barred racial, ethnic or gender preferences in public education, employment and contracting." And over the 15 years since it was approved by California voters, that same court has upheld it.

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Music
4:10 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

The Ballad Of The Tearful: Why Some Songs Make You Cry

Adele won the song of the year category at this year's Grammy Awards for her tear-jerker "Someone Like You."
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 3:45 pm

Note: A number of listeners responded to this story and said the definition of appoggiatura was incorrect. Music commentator Rob Kapilow has a second opinion here.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:41 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Why Catholic Groups' Health Plans Say No To Contraceptives, Yes To Viagra

Covered? Usually.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

If health insurance plans offered by Catholic-sponsored entities refuse to cover contraceptives for women because of the religion's moral teachings banning artificial birth control, do they cover Viagra for men?

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It's All Politics
3:40 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

With Focus On Obama Budget, Fiscal Watchdog Warns Of Broken Process

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:36 am

As fiscal experts around Washington and beyond pored over President Obama's 2013 budget proposal, one of the nation's most persistent nags about the need for the U.S. to clean up its budgetary act reminded his fellow citizens of just how much a mess the whole process is.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Republicans To Introduce Backup Bill That Extends Payroll Tax Holiday

Facing an end-of-month expiration of the payroll tax holiday, Republicans said they would introduce a backup bill that would extend that tax cut without offsetting its costs with other cuts.

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Music Videos
2:44 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Igudesman And Joo: 'I Will Survive'

Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:29 am

Violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo believe that classical music should be fun. That's why they subvert it whenever they appear on stage.

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Health
2:27 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

For Komen, Walks Will Be Fundraising Test

Several thousand people participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Tyler, Texas, in 2007. Some walkers for this year's races, including the 3-Day walk, are worried that they might have trouble raising money because of the Planned Parenthood controversy.
Scott M. Lieberman AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 10:30 am

Over the weekend, the Susan G. Komen foundation held meetings in 15 cities around the country for people who have registered for this summer's 3-Day walks.

The annual events are key fundraisers for the breast cancer research and treatment organization. But after the recent controversy over Komen's grants to Planned Parenthood, some walkers are worried it might be harder to get donations this year.

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U.S.
2:24 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

U.S. Watches Closely As Oil Drilling Begins Off Cuba

Fishermen work near the Scarabeo-9 oil rig off the coast of Cuba. U.S. officials are concerned about the potential impact in the case of a spill.
Javier Galeano AP

There are big plans for oil exploration in the Caribbean, not far off the coast of Florida. A Spanish company recently began drilling in Cuban waters — just 55 miles from Key West.

The well is the first of several exploratory wells planned in Cuba and the Bahamas. The drilling has officials and researchers in Florida scrambling to make plans for how they'll respond in case of a spill.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Robbed By Man Armed With Machete

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 5:14 pm

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has been the victim of an armed robbery, but is unharmed.

Breyer, his wife, Joanna, and a friend were at the Breyer vacation home on the Caribbean island of Nevis when a man broke in with a machete and confronted them. The intruder fled with about $1,000 in cash. A Supreme Court spokeswoman said no one was hurt, and that the robbery was reported to local authorities. The FBI is said to be aiding in the investigation.

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Energy
2:03 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Natural Gas Boom Energizing The Chemical Industry

A Shell-owned ethylene cracker plant on Pulau Bukom, Singapore. Several U.S. states are competing for a similar plant the company plans to build in northern Appalachia.
Courtesy of Shell Chemicals

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 6:19 pm

Just outside of West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, on the banks of the Kanawha River, sits the Institute Industrial Park. Chemical plants have operated here continuously since World War II, when the local factories cranked out synthetic rubber. Today there are industrial pipes, tanks and buildings stretching in just about every direction.

Soon, there could be more.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Judge Rules Jerry Sandusky Can Receive Visits From Most Grandchildren

Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach charged with sexually abusing boys, pauses while speaking to the media at the Centre County Courthouse.
Alex Brandon AP

A Pennsylvania judge eased some restrictions on Jerry Sandusky's house arrest today. Judge John Cleland said today that Sandusky will be allowed visits by most of his 11 grandchildren, as well as be allowed to walk out onto his porch and in some cases leave his house to assist in his defense.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:36 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

How Much Should Kids Sleep? Nobody Knows For Sure

However much he's sleeping, it's not enough. Right?
iStockphoto.com

Like most parents, I worry that my child isn't getting enough sleep.

Now it turns out doctors have been warning that kids don't get enough sleep for over a century — long before iPads, texting, and YouTube robbed children of peaceful slumber.

What's more, there's no solid scientific basis for pediatricians' recommendations on the amount of time children need to sleep. That's the word from researchers in Australia, who combed the literature to find out how children's sleep time — and doctors' sleep recommendations — have changed over decades.

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It's All Politics
1:17 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Pew Poll: Good News For Santorum, Better News For Obama

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:36 am

A new Pew Research Center poll reinforces the frustrating political reality for Mitt Romney that he's unable to convince some key conservative constituencies within the Republican Party that he's one of them.

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World Cafe
1:04 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Bright Moments On 'World Cafe: Next'

Bright Moments' debut album, Natives, comes out Feb. 21.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 9:36 pm

With its fresh, upbeat sound, Bright Moments' debut album Natives will likely sound familiar when it's released later this month.

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

U.N. Human Rights Chief Says She's 'Appalled' At Violence In Syria

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay delivers remarks during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the human rights situation in Syria on Monday.
Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 1:08 pm

Navi Pillay, the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, stopped just short of saying that crimes against humanity had been committed by the government of Bashar Assad in Syria.

In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Pillay laid out her case for why she thinks the Security Council should refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.

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The Salt
1:01 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Why You Should Raise Urban Chickens At Your Own Risk

One of the few baby Cochin chicks that survived the trip to Sara Sarasohn's home in Berkeley, Calif. last week.
Sara Sarasohn/NPR

At my grocery store in Berkeley, Calif., an organic head of lettuce is less than $2. An organic chicken costs as much as $17.

But believe me: That chicken is worth every penny.

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It's All Politics
12:43 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

We Read The 2013 Budget So You Don't Have To

A congressional staffer collects copies of the president's 2013 budget request from the Senate Budget Committee on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong Getty Images

NPR reporters are analyzing the president's 2013 budget proposal. We'll be adding to this post as we get additional budget breakdowns. Check back for updates.

Overview

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Shots - Health Blog
12:38 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Cosmetic Surgery Rebounds, A Little, After Dip

Plastic surgeons say they're getting busier lately.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 12:45 pm

If you're looking for signs that the U.S. economy might be getting a little better, check out the latest stats on cosmetic plastic surgery.

The number of surgical procedures rose 2 percent to 1.58 million in 2011, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. It's the second year in a row that cosmetic operations increased by 2 percent.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

China Confiscates iPads Over Trademark Argument

Chinese authorities are pulling iPads from store shelves after a Chinese company complained that it owns the name "iPad." According to The Wall Street Journal, the action comes after Proview (Shenzhen), a Chinese affiliate of Hong Kong manufacturer Proview International Holdings Ltd., filed for an injunction against Apple.

The Journal adds that Proview (Shenzhen) registered the name "iPad" in 2001. The paper adds:

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The Two-Way
11:38 am
Mon February 13, 2012

'Crisis Management' After More Arrests At British Tabloid

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 12:19 pm

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media empire appears to be under siege.

Five more journalists at The Sun were arrested over the weekend as part of a U.K. investigation into alleged bribery of police officials and others by the British tabloid. Four current and former Sun journalists were arrested last month.

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Three Books...
11:32 am
Mon February 13, 2012

3 Biting Books For Those Bitter On Valentine's Day

Nate iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:54 am

For those who find themselves alone this Valentine's Day, or who reject the holiday altogether, you might not want to read about star-crossed lovers pining for each other and — even worse — winding up together in the end. So here are three alternatives to comfort you this Feb 14. Each novel is just the right length to read in a single night with a box of drugstore-bought chocolates. And although these tales are indeed reflections on love, the characters they follow are skeptics.

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Mine Disaster Investigators To Visit White House, But Not Obama

Super Bowl and World Series champions do it. Olympic athletes do it. War heroes do it. They all get to visit the White House and meet with an admiring President of the United States.

This Wednesday, the federal mine safety regulators who investigated the deadly 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia will travel to the White House and Capitol Hill. An email to the group lists morning tours of the White House and the Capitol and a "special White House event" at 2 p.m.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Venezuela's Chávez Gets Rival In Presidential Race

Henrique Capriles gestures after wining the opposition presidential primary in Caracas, Venezuela on Sunday.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will face a young state governor in the October presidential election. Henrique Capriles, 39, emerged victorious this weekend after the opposition held its primary elections.

The Guardian reports that Capriles won in a landslide. The paper adds:

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