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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Thu February 9, 2012

AP: First 10 States Granted Waivers From 'No Child Left Behind'

Following up on a plan he unveiled last September to let states apply to be exempt from basic elements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, President Obama will today announce the first 10 states that have qualified for such exemptions.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Arizona Lawmakers Target Public Workers' Unions

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:21 am

Labor unions plan to rally in front of the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday afternoon to protest four bills quickly moving through the state Legislature that could make last year's Wisconsin labor laws look modest by comparison.

Three of the four bills restrict the way unions collect dues and the way workers get paid for union activities. The fourth bans collective bargaining between governments and government workers: state and local. Unlike Wisconsin, it affects all government employees, including police and firefighters.

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Asia
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

China Laces Up Its Chuck Taylors

Chuck Taylor All Stars are common on the streets of Shanghai. Xuan Zhihui, 62, a retiree from a state-owned factory, wears her daughter's hand-me-down sneakers, which are 15 years old. She says they're really comfortable.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Stroll along a street in downtown Shanghai for very long, and you're likely to run into someone wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. One recent afternoon, Xu Jing was heading back from lunch to her job at an ad company in a pair of raspberry-colored Chuck Taylors.

"They have a young image, upbeat and outdoorsy, sporty," said Xu, 27, explaining the appeal. "Young people with an artistic sense prefer Converse."

Xu was accompanied by Chen Xiaolei, a co-worker who owns three pairs of Chuck Taylor high-tops.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Tai Chi May Help Parkinson's Patients Regain Balance

In a study, patients with Parkinson's disease, a progressive nervous-system disorder, had fewer falls after taking up Tai Chi.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:35 pm

Tai chi, the Chinese martial art involving slow and rhythmic movement, has been shown to benefit older people by maintaining balance and strength. Now, researchers have found that tai chi also helps patients who suffer from Parkinson's disease.

Leona Maricle was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago. At the time, she was teaching math, and she says she had experienced the telltale tremors of Parkinson's for a number of years. She learned how to cope.

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Presidential Race
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Powerful GOP-Linked SuperPAC Has Clear Agenda

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 7:00 am

As some superPACS throw millions of dollars into the Republican primaries, others, such as American Crossroads, are quietly preparing for the day after the primaries end.

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Planet Money
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

What Do The Dow's Daily Swings Mean? Not Much.

Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 3:22 pm

Turn on the news on any given day, and you're likely to hear about the Dow Jones industrial average. It is the most frequently checked, and cited, proxy of U.S. economic health. But a lot of people — maybe most — don't even know what it is. It's just the stock prices of 30 big companies, summed up and roughly averaged. That's it.

And what does the daily movement of this number have to do with the lives of most Americans? Not much.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Potential Conflicts At Freddie Mac Draw Scrutiny

In December, Freddie Mac CEO Charles Haldeman (from left), FHFA acting Director Edward DeMarco and Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams testified on Capitol Hill about the Federal Housing Finance Agency's performance.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

A federal Inspector General's office confirmed Wednesday it is looking into Freddie Mac investments that act as bets against homeowners being able to refinance.

In addition, U.S. senators are expected to probe Freddie Mac's investment practices at a hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Freddie Mac, based in northern Virginia, is the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant whose public mission is to make homeownership more affordable for Americans.

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Middle East
10:01 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

What Do Democracy Promoters Actually Do?

Members of the Egyptian military stand guard as officials raid the offices of a nongovernmental organization in Cairo. Egyptian investigating judges referred international NGO workers to trial for allegedly being involved in banned activities and illegally receiving foreign funds, security officials said.
Mohammed Asad AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 8:33 am

American lawmakers are furious about a mounting diplomatic crisis in Egypt, where dozens of nongovernmental workers, including 19 Americans, could face trial.

The United States says Egypt needs to let pro-democracy groups continue their work to help the country's transition, but Egypt accuses them of operating illegally.

The work of democracy promotion groups has raised suspicions in many countries, but Lorne Craner, who runs the International Republican Institute, says he has never seen anything like what's going on now in Egypt.

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Fabio Capello Quits As Manager Of England's National Soccer Team

England's Italian manager Fabio Capello attends a training session at London Colney, England in May of 2011.
Glyn Kirk AFP/Getty Images

In a surprise twist for one of the world's premiere national soccer teams, Fabio Capello resigned as England coach, today.

The resignation followed an hour-long meeting with top Football Association officials. The association made the news official in a press release posted on its website. The statement read in part:

"The discussions focused on The FA Board's decision to remove the England team captaincy from John Terry, and Fabio Capello's response through an Italian broadcast interview.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:17 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

'Congress Will Act': Fight Over Birth Control Coverage Moves To The Hill

House Speaker John Boehner says Congress will intervene if President Obama doesn't reconsider a decision to compel church-affiliated employers to cover birth control in their health care plans.
Pete Marovich Getty Images

You didn't have to look hard to see this one coming.

Catholics and GOP candidates have attacked the Obama administration's plans to require most employers — including religious hospitals and schools — to provide coverage of prescription contraceptives. Now the debate is moving to Capitol Hill.

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The Salt
4:12 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Does Offering Smaller Portions At Restaurants Help People Eat Less?

About one-third of diners who were offered a smaller portion of noodles or rice at a Chinese takeout restaurant chose it.
iStockphoto.com

A server offers you the option to downsize the fried rice side in your Chinese takeout order by half. She tells you that if you accept her offer, you'll save at least 200 calories.

Do you take it?

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It's All Politics
4:06 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Buoyant Santorum Takes Campaign To Texas — And Corrals Some Perry People

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Bella Donna Chapel in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday.
Rex C. Curry Associated Press

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 5:09 pm

Fresh off his hat trick in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned in Texas on Wednesday, speaking to a group of pastors at Bella Donna Chapel in the town of McKinney.

Forty miles north of Dallas, where black prairie dirt meets the fresh poured concrete of suburbia, this is Rick Santorum country.

This used to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry country.

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National Security
3:38 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

A New Weapon Against Nukes: Social Media

This satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, taken in 2010, shows the Yongbyon nuclear complex in North Korea. The Institute for Science and International Security monitors satellite images for updates to nuclear facilities.
DigtialGlobe AP

Here are two things you don't often hear mentioned in the same sentence: social media and nuclear weapons.

Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state for arms control, quickly links those two unlikely partners in conversation. She's behind a campaign to discover how new communications tools can help rid the world of some of the dangers of nuclear weapons.

Crowdsourcing Nuclear Problems

Gottemoeller is an avid user of Twitter, and it made her wonder how Twitter and other methods of crowdsourcing a problem can help her in her work.

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Asia
3:05 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Home Of Noted Beijing Architect Reduced To Rubble

Liang Sicheng, known as the father of modern Chinese architecture, lobbied Mao Zedong to preserve ancient buildings in Beijing. Despite efforts to have his former courtyard home in Beijing preserved as a cultural relic, it was recently demolished.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 5:09 pm

Down a quiet Beijing alleyway on a recent day, as the winter wind whistles, two men stand guard over a pile of bricks hidden behind a corrugated iron fence.

The pile of rubble was once the home of the man known as the father of modern Chinese architecture, Liang Sicheng. The Orwellian reason for its demolition? "For maintenance," according to a Xinhua news agency report, citing the developer, Fuheng Real Estate company.

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Science
3:02 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

'Amasia': The Next Supercontinent?

This map shows what the Earth's landmass looked like in the Precambrian Era, about 738 million years ago.
Chris Scotese University of Texas at Arlington

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 8:33 am

The Earth's continents are in constant motion. On at least three occasions, they have all collided to form one giant continent. If history is a guide, the current continents will coalesce once again to form another supercontinent. And a study in Nature now shows how that could come about.

You can think of continents as giant puzzle pieces shuffling around the Earth. When they drift apart, mighty oceans form. When they come together, oceans disappear. And it's all because continents sit on moving plates of the Earth's crust.

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Mitt Romney
2:59 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Conservatives Worry Romney's Vision Is Cloudy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters at a rally in Denver on Tuesday.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 6:20 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's losses on Tuesday, while not very meaningful in the race to accumulate delegates, have raised questions once again about his ability to inspire passion from his party's base and about his viability in the general election.

Rival Rick Santorum's victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota dealt a setback, if not exactly a body blow, to Romney — whom Santorum routinely dismisses as a candidate with a big machine but no core.

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Education
2:53 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Detroit Schools' No. 1 Mission: Getting Kids To Class

George Eason, an attendance agent with Detroit Public Schools, sets out to visit homes and check in with parents about school attendance.
Larry Abramson NPR

Ask Detroit teachers about their biggest challenge and many will say, "You can't teach kids who don't come to class." Last year, the average Detroit public high school student missed at least 28 days of school.

Now, as part of its effort to get parents more involved, the district has launched a major initiative to improve attendance. The effort includes parent workshops and attendance agents charged with pushing parents to send their kids to school every day.

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Music Reviews
2:46 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

On 'Karimba,' Peruvian Band Melds World Sounds

The band Novalima is undeniably Peruvian, but the music on their new album Karimba is infused with sounds from around the world including dub, salsa and club music.

It's All Politics
2:34 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Counting The GOP Delegates, But Not Before They're Official

GOP hopeful Rick Santorum, shown greeting supporters in Minnesota on Tuesday, drew votes in the Feb. 7 contests. But he didn't win any delegates.
CRAIG LASSIG EPA /Landov

In honor of Tuesday's delegate-free caucuses and primary, NPR is launching a 2012 Delegate Tracker.

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Around the Nation
2:22 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Beached Dolphins Keep Cape Cod Rescuers Busy

Mother and calf common dolphins are transported to the beach by a team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the New England Aquarium before being released back into Cape Cod Bay on Jan. 14. So far, area rescuers have counted 147 dolphin strandings this winter alone.
Julia Cumes AP

Dolphins have been stranding themselves along the shores of Cape Cod, Mass., since the Pilgrims' times, and this winter is no different. What is different is how long the latest round of strandings has lasted — almost a month. So far, rescuers have counted 147 strandings and 38 successful rescues and releases.

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World
2:21 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

In Russia, Punk-Rock Riot Girls Rage Against Putin

Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot stages a protest in Moscow's Red Square against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Members were arrested and detained briefly after their mid-January protest.
Pussy Riot

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:18 am

Anti-government protests in Russia are taking many different forms, from mass rallies and marches to defiant street art and music.

Just recently, members of a feminist punk group were arrested in Moscow's Red Square after they performed a song ridiculing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The group, which calls itself Pussy Riot, says it's planning more stunts before March's presidential elections.

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It's All Politics
2:10 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

After Glum Night, Romney May Find Signs Of Hope In Colorado Swing County

A Mitt Romney supporter holds up a sign showing her love for Romney and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow at a rally for the GOP presidential candidate at Arapahoe High School this week in Centennial, Colo.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 5:09 pm

While Rick Santorum won Colorado along with two other states last night, he did not win the key Colorado county of Arapahoe.

Political experts say Arapahoe has been on the winning side in nearly every presidential election of the past four decades.

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World Cafe
2:05 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

The Front Bottoms On World Cafe

The Front Bottoms.
Lucia Holm Courtetsy of Reybee

Brian Sella and Mathew Uychich of the New Jersey band The Front Bottoms have been playing together for years.

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

CNN Suspends Roland Martin Over Super Bowl Ad Tweets

Roland Martin attends the premiere of "Just Wright" at Ziegfeld Theatre in May of 2010 in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

CNN's political commentator Roland Martin has been suspended, because of tweets sent out during the Super Bowl that organizations like GLAAD called homophobic.

NPR's David Folkenflik reports that the network was also reacting to online criticism of Martin. David filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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The Picture Show
1:05 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

A Mom And A Baby Find Out What's Really Rural In California

A path through farmland leads to the ocean in Loleta, Humboldt County, Calif.
Lisa Hamilton Real Rural

Most moms probably don't want their babies around pot growers, but San Francisco-based writer-photographer Lisa Hamilton is totally cool with it.

In fact, her baby, Ada, is a little over a year old and has probably already seen more of California than most Californians. And that, to Hamilton, is a problem.

For her, the basic issue is exemplified by something like this: We can see what a stranger in Japan is having for lunch on Instagram. But we can't so easily see where that lunch came from, or who harvested the ingredients.

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Middle East
1:00 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Hamas, Palestinians Sign Unity Agreement

Robert Siegel speaks with Daoud Kuttab, director general of a Palestinian media organization and the Community Media Network in Amman, Jordan, about the unity agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Middle East
1:00 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Egyptian Judge Details Charges Against NGO Workers

Egyptian authorities have released details of the charges against 43 people, including 19 Americans, who worked for democracy-building NGOs around the country. Cairo says the suspects were carrying out political, not civil society activities, particularly after the revolution began just over a year ago.

The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Instead Of Bail, Fla. Judge Orders Man To Take His Wife To Dinner, Bowling

A screen capture of Judge John "Jay" Hurley.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 1:52 pm

Domestic abuse cases are never easy. But one in Florida has gotten a different kind of attention, today, because of a judge's ruling that instead of bail, called for a man to treat his wife to flowers and dinner and then take her bowling.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Israel Isn't Going To Attack Us, Iran's U.N. Ambassador Says

Originally published on Sun February 12, 2012 7:22 am

Asked this afternoon if he thinks Israel will attack his nation anytime soon in a bid to destroy work Iran is doing on nuclear technology, the Persian nation's ambassador to the United Nations told NPR, "I don't think that is going to happen."

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

10 Years After '02 Winter Games, Salt Lake Considers Another Olympics

American figure skater Sarah Hughes won gold at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Jacques DeMarthon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 2:02 pm

Just hours before the symbolic rekindling of the Salt Lake Olympic cauldron, officials in Utah today sought to rekindle the 2002 Olympic spirit, announcing they're considering another Olympic bid.

The disclosure at the Utah Olympic speedskating oval in suburban Kearns, comes exactly 10 years after the 2002 Winter Games began.

"Ten years ago, Utah 'Lit the Fire Within,' and today that flame still burns bright," said Gov. Gary Herbert (R). In fact, as celebrations of the 2002 anniversary begin, some Utahns are wearing their official Olympic volunteer coats again.

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