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On Wednesday, President Obama and a number of special guests celebrated the groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is expected to open in 2015.

President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's corporate tax system would sharply cut the taxes that U.S. companies pay. But it would also eliminate many of the loopholes that help them pare down what they owe.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the proposal unveiled Wednesday should appeal to both Democrats and Republicans, by doing what both sides "say is important to do ... which is lower the rate, broaden the base [and] eliminate the underbrush of unnecessary subsidies and loopholes and special provisions that complicate the tax code."

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti wants more transparency so he made his cabinet disclose their finances. That sparked so much interest, the government website crashed. Ministers own real estate in New York, Brussels and Paris. One made $9 million last year.

Syrian government troops are continuing to bombard the central city of Homs. The United Nations says more than five thousand people have been killed during the 11-month uprising. Syrian activists say the number is much higher. Yesterday, two foreign journalists were among those killed.

The Last Word In Business

Feb 23, 2012

Renee Montagne has the Last Word in business.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Before they made it to the Oscars, the nominated films — not to mention all the films that didn't make the cut — were viewed by some 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Many of those movies were shown in small, private, rented screening rooms all over Hollywood.

The studios have their own screening rooms, of course, but often directors want a more private place to screen works in progress — with no studio suits in sight.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times in London spent a career documenting the peril that others faced, which meant the American reporter shared their danger. Her paper says she was killed today by artillery fire that struck the Syrian city of Homs. French officials affirm a French photojournalist has also been killed.

Activists in the Syrian city of Homs say rockets struck the house where the two journalists were staying. Syrian troops have been shelling the city. French officials identify one journalist as photographer Remi Ochlik. The Sunday Times of London confirms the other was American reporter Marie Colvin.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. It used to be easy to cross the border between the U.S. and Canada. Today, there's more scrutiny, as Boston area college students now know. Buses took the students on a ski trip in Quebec. On the way back, the buses were stopped. Vermont state troopers cited 26 students for alcohol. In their defense, the drinking age in Quebec is 18, compared with 21 in the United States. But it was harder to explain the drugs that were onboard the buses. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Dog Chases Mountain Lion Up A Tree

Feb 22, 2012

When California officials responded to a call in a wealthy Bay area suburb Tuesday, they found that an 85 lbs. German Shepherd named Cody had scared a mountain lion 30 feet up a tree. The dog is smaller than what big cats have been known to eat.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now, to a less controversial collaboration. Last night, the president and first lady hosted a blues night at the White House. They were marking Black History Month, and guests included legends B.B. King, and also newcomers like Trombone Shorty.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Not to mention, Mick Jagger and Buddy Guy, who nudged the president to join the band for an impromptu guest vocal.

BUDDY GUY: I heard you singing Al Green. So you done started something. You gotta keep it up now.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

A 'Favored Daughter' Fights For Afghan Women

Feb 22, 2012

On the day she was born, Fawzia Koofi nearly died after being left outside in the unrelenting Afghan sun. But against all odds, Koofi survived and went on to become Afghanistan's first female deputy speaker of Parliament. Today, Koofi's name is floated in discussions about whether Afghanistan is ready for a first female president.

Rihanna And Chris Brown: The Saga Continues

Feb 21, 2012

Just about three years after he violently assaulted her, R&B singer Chris Brown is back with pop star Rihanna — musically, at least. On Monday night, each released a new version of a previously released song. Both remixes feature the other party, and both are causing quite the stir.

Nature Lovers Forced To Store 30,000 Books

Feb 21, 2012

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A couple who met working in a bookstore in Denver have spent their marriage amassing books about their passion - nature. Tales of birds and bees and literature like "The Mad Farmer" poem spill out of every corner of their home - 30,000 volumes. Now the house is up for sale and they're scrambling to find storage. One admirer joked to the Denver Post, it's a thin line between collecting and hoarding, but this collection is the best. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. A look at a factory in Pakistan tells you a lot about how the country works. The high security air force complex makes jet fighters and weapons systems and consumer electronics. The military is deeply involved in the economy, so its workers are making a low budget tablet computer. With Pakistani engineering and Chinese hardware, they make their version of a popular American product. The original is Apple's iPad. The copy is the PACPAD. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Here in Washington, a new branch of the Smithsonian will highlight the African-American experience. It will be called the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Tomorrow, President Obama speaks at the groundbreaking on the National Mall - that great stretch of open space that is lined with museums for much of its length.

This newest museum is scheduled to open in 2015, and NPR's Allison Keyes has a preview.

Rhythm in music is about timing — when notes start and stop. And now scientists say they've found a curious pattern that's common to musical rhythm. It's a pattern also found in nature.

There area a lot of bad movies out there. Some movies are so bad that they're good. For some reason people love them. Is there an art to making films that are deliberately bad? Can a company be successful by producing bad movies?

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The March issue of the medical journal, Pediatrics, features a striking editorial. It begins with the following sentence: A new pediatric problem is in town. That new problem, according to the editorial, is gender identity disorder in children. Pediatricians are apparently seeing more young patients who express an interest in changing their gender. NPR's Alix Spiegel reports.

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Some new research throws into question things we say all the time about the Internet. The research focuses on Twitter, the service that lets many millions of people send short messages to each other from computers or cell phones. It's commonly said that social networking like this is revolutionary, that it's created new communities, even that it's obliterated geography. You can connect with people who share common interests, not just people who happen to live nearby. NPR's Shankar Vedantam is here to explode all that. Hi, Shankar.

Jeremy Lin Jerseys To Go On Sale In China

Feb 21, 2012

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business follows up on the business of Jeremy Lin, the Chinese-American sensation for the New York Knicks. You know, if you had a dollar for every news story that has used puns on his name, like linsanity, you would be lincrediably wealthy, but we would never lindulge in such things. So let's go straight to the way people are making money.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

One more Arab nation is changing a longtime leader. Yemen's president for 33 years was Ali Abdullah Saleh. Today, millions of Yemenis vote. And they're being asked to ratify a plan under which Saleh's vice president will replace him. NPR's Kelly McEvers is in Yemen's capital Sana'a.

And, Kelly, where exactly are you in the capital city?

The film Saving Face is nominated for an Oscar. It chronicles the lives of acid-attack survivors in Pakistan. Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy talks to Renee Montagne about what happens to some of the victims.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)NPR's business news starts with lower European markets.) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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Hard as it may be to believe, it is Spain, not Greece that has Europe's highest jobless rate - almost one in four workers are unemployed in Spain. Official statistics are based on the number of people who register for unemployment benefits.

But as Lauren Frayer reports, Spaniards have a secret: many collect a paycheck while they're on the dole.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Spanish language spoken)

The financial battle for the Republican nomination is tightening. Candidates spent a lot of cash in January — what with contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. Also spending a lot of money, as it turns out, were the richly financed superPACS that support the candidates.

Reports filed at the Federal Election Commission on Monday night show just how important a superPAC can be.

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