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Around the Nation
8:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Tsunami Debris Washes Ashore On Washington Shores

Debris from the tsunami that hit Japan last March is just now starting to show up on the far northwestern shores of the U.S. Some fishermen are worried the floats and other rubble may tangle their nets and affect their livelihood. Ashley Ahearn of the public media collaboration EarthFix headed out to Washington State's Olympic Peninsula to see what's coming ashore.

Around the Nation
8:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Voices From South Carolina On Primary Day

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and the polls are open in South Carolina; first southern state to hold a primary in the race for the Republican presidential nomination of 2012, the stakes are critical. The state has picked the eventual nominee in every year since 1980, and it's sure been a turbulent week with Rick Perry dropping out, Iowa declaring Rick Santorum the winner of its caucuses and Newt Gingrich closing in on Mitt Romney.

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Presidential Race
8:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

A Pollster's Preview Of The S.C. Primary

Clemson University political scientist Dave Woodard has spent the past week polling South Carolina voters ahead of Saturday's primary. Host Scott Simon talks to the former Republican political consultant about South Carolina politics and the results of his Palmetto Poll.

Africa
8:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Spasm Of Religious Violence Sweeps Nigeria

Nigeria is again gripped by deadly religious violence. Friday night, a coordinated series of bomb and gun attacks ripped through the largest city in the nation's Muslim north. The attacks were claimed by a militant sect that seeks to impose Islamic law in Nigeria. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.

Sports
8:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Looking Forward To Sunday Championship Football

Conference championship Sunday is almost as big as the Super Bowl, but without all those distracting halftime wardrobe malfunctions. Host Scott Simon is joined by NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman to discuss the upcoming games.

Politics
8:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

A Fine Line When It Comes To SuperPACs

Under current law, candidates' campaigns are not allowed to coordinate with superPACs, although they clearly benefit from their messages. As result, candidates have performed feats of verbal gymnastics in order to talk about them. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Peter Overby about the role of superPACs in the presidential race.

From Our Listeners
8:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Your Letters: 'Information Diet'; Legal Karaoke

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING AND MUSIC)

SIMON: Last week, we spoke with Clay Johnson, an open-source advocate and digital strategist, about his new book, "The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption."

CLAY JOHNSON: You know, our minds are really wired to be affirmed and to be told that we're right. And that's the central premise of "The Information Diet." It's really, who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they're right?

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History
8:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Remembrance: 1912 South Pole Trip Ends Tragically

One hundred years ago this week, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole with a small crew of men. They all perished on the return trip. In 2008 on Weekend Edition, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reported from the South Pole on Scott's tragic journey. To mark the 100th anniversary, we reprise that story.

World
6:01 am
Sat January 21, 2012

China Hedges Mideast Oil Bets Amid Iran Tensions

China appears to be rethinking its reliance on oil from Iran. Here, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (right) visits with the members of the Saudi Arabia-China Friendship Association on the outskirt of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, earlier this month.
Liu Weibing Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 10:35 pm

China's premier, Wen Jiabao, was in the Persian Gulf this week talking about oil.

China has become increasingly concerned about all the threats of conflict with Iran in the Persian Gulf, which supplies China with a great deal of its oil.

In fact, China is Iran's biggest customer. But Iran was not a stop on the Chinese itinerary — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were.

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Author Interviews
6:01 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Lesson Learned: Don't Fly To North Pole In A Balloon

Knopf

In the late 19th century, scores of celebrated, valorous explorers attempted to reach the North Pole. Groups of explorers from the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia invented clever new equipment, raised money, stirred national pride and enthralled the world by attempting to march, sail or sled to the most cold, remote and unseen place on Earth.

But it was a perilous business: Of the 1,000 people who tried to reach the North Pole in the late 1800s, 751 died during their attempt, author Alec Wilkinson tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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Election 2012
6:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Carolina Blues: N.C. GOP Looks South With Envy

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum shakes hands with supporters prior to speaking during a campaign stop at Captain Steve's Restaurant on Jan. 20 in Fort Mill, S.C. Fort Mill is just over the line from North Carolina, and some voters wish they could cross over for the GOP primary on Saturday.
John W. Adkisson Getty Images

South Carolina voters have a pivotal role Saturday in narrowing the field of Republican presidential candidates.

But after that, South Carolina will get very little political attention. It's solidly Republican and simply not worth the time or money of Democratic presidential hopefuls.

North Carolina, on the other hand, could go either way, and the Obama campaign is already digging in. The Charlotte region straddles both states and leads a sort of "double life" in politics.

Too Far North

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Politics
5:59 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Florida's Unpopular Governor Retools His Image

Florida Gov. Rick Scott delivers the State of the State address to a joint session of the Florida Legislature last week.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 2:19 pm

One thing you can say about Florida's economy: It's not quite as bad as it was a year ago.

When the state's new governor, Republican Rick Scott, took office, Florida faced a $3.5 billion budget shortfall. A year later, Scott is working with the Legislature to close a still-daunting $2 billion budget gap.

But Scott has another challenge: overcoming his image as one of the nation's most unpopular governors.

Private Sector Background

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Europe
5:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

New U.S. Ambassador Already Facing Critics In Russia

Michael McFaul, the architect of the reset of relations with Russia, is now the U.S. ambassador to Moscow as the countries work through a series of difficult issues. Here, McFaul is shown at his Jan. 10 swearing-in at the Sate Department, a ceremony presided over by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Astrid Riecken Getty images

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 10:31 am

In the early days of the Obama administration, Michael McFaul made his mark as the architect of the so-called reset of relations with Russia.

Now, as the new U.S. ambassador to Moscow, McFaul may need to reset relations once again as the two countries go through another rough patch.

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Law
5:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Privacy Lawyers Process Megaupload Copyright Case

The Justice Department's massive copyright case against the file-sharing website Megaupload.com had the Internet world hopping this week. But it also got lawyers talking, about the scope of a criminal investigation that spanned eight countries and the hard-nosed tactics that the government deployed.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:50 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Michael Fassbender, Mushrooms

Uncomfortably Numb: For Brandon (Michael Fassbender), the endless pursuit of sex doesn't involve any particular pleasure — only a driving obsession.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 11:17 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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It's All Politics
12:31 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Iowa GOP Officially Declares Santorum The Iowa Caucus Winner

Rick Santorum is officially the winner of the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican presidential caucus. The state Republican Party reversed itself from a previous assertion that it would not declare one, given problems at eight precincts, as The Des Moines Register reported.

In a news release late Friday, the party said it called the race "in order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results released Jan. 18 by the Republican Party of Iowa."

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The Record
7:00 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Four Views On Megaupload

Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Kim Schmitz, also known as Kim Dotcom, (from left to right) are remanded in custody in New Zealand on Friday.
David Rowland EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 7:08 pm

When the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI shut down the web site Megaupload yesterday, there were many responses, from outrage to confusion to applause, and nearly as many questions. One that stood out was simple: If Megaupload provides a service that can be used for legal pursuits, are they legally responsible for the users who use it to illegally share copyrighted material?

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Music Interviews
7:00 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Jessie Baylin: Searching For A Certain 'Spark'

Jessie Baylin says she wanted her new album, Little Spark, "to be nostalgic but still fresh and modern."
Mike Hallock

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 6:42 pm

The album Little Spark evokes a sound you might have heard 40 years ago, piercing through the static of your AM radio. The big string sections and angelic choruses are all there, echoing the hallmarks of classic orchestral pop. But Little Spark is the work of a modern singer-songwriter named Jessie Baylin.

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Music News
6:51 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Artists React To Mexico's Drug War With Music And Poetry

Astrid Hadad performs in Mexico.
Betto Arcos

Javier Sicilia is a novelist and a poet. In 2009, he was awarded Mexico's prestigious Aguascalientes National Poetry Prize. This September, he read a poem dedicated to his son, Juan Francisco, at a rally:

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Latin America
5:46 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Amid Scandal, Colombia Dismantles Spy Agency

A member of Colombia's secret police, or Administrative Department of Security, listens to intercepted telephone calls in 2009. Reports of illegal wiretapping by secret police contributed to President Juan Manuel Santos' 2011 decision to close the agency.
William Fernando Martinez AP

President Juan Manuel Santos announced late last year that he was liquidating Colombia's troubled intelligence agency, and the country, he said, knew exactly why.

The Administrative Department of Security, or DAS, had been mired in scandal by reports of agents illegally wiretapping government critics and selling classified information to drug lords.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:23 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Administration Stands Firm On Birth Control Coverage

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the contraceptive rule "unconscionable."
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 7:08 pm

Despite a furious lobbying effort by the Catholic Church, the Obama administration today said it won't weaken new rules that will require most health insurance plans to offer women prescription contraceptives at no additional out-of-pocket cost.

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Election 2012
5:03 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

How Does South Carolina Work Its GOP Crystal Ball?

Republican presidential candidates, left to right: former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul at a debate Thursday in Charleston, S.C.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary may be the last good chance for Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's challengers to stop his march to the nomination. Every election year since 1980, the winner of South Carolina's Republican primary has gone on to win the nomination.

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The Salt
4:50 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Feeding The World Gets Short Shrift In Climate Change Debate

Families displaced by drought line up for food this week in Mogadishu, Somalia.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Food is getting elbowed out of the discussion on climate change, which could spell disaster for the 1 billion people who will be added to the world's population in the next 15 years. That's the word today from scientists wondering why food and sustainability get such short shrift when it comes to thinking about how humans will adapt to climate change.

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Late Tuskegee Airman Gets Arlington Honors As 'Red Tails' Film Opens

Family, friends and admirers salute the casket of Luke Weathers, Jr., one of the original Tuskegee airmen, at his burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

A member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen was buried in Arlington National Cemetery this morning, the same day that Red Tails, a film dramatizing the pilots' heroic feats, was released in U.S. theaters.

During World War II, Luke Weathers Jr. "shot down two German fighter planes while escorting a damaged bomber to its base," the AP reports.

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Books
4:18 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Talk Nerdy To Me: Three Reads For Your Inner Geek

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 7:08 pm

If you're seriously into reading, chances are, if you're not a nerd, then you've at least got some nerdy DNA somewhere in your intellectual genome. I know I do. But as a reader I sometimes feel like I'm being asked to identify with a hero who isn't nearly geeky enough — a hero with uncorrected vision and excellent orthodontics and really good hair. Sure, he's nice, but I doubt I would have wanted to sit at his table in the cafeteria in high school.

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Election 2012
4:05 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

In Backing Romney, Haley Seen As Political Enigma

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wish a happy birthday to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (left) at Romney's campaign headquarters in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, one of the Tea Party's early superstars, has seen her approval ratings fall, and some of her core supporters are baffled by Haley's endorsement of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Haley won election in 2010 as a true fiscal conservative, capturing the endorsement of Sarah Palin, who said Haley was willing to challenge the good old boys of the state's politics.

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Presidential Race
4:04 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

GOP Candidates Appeal To An Adversary And Lose

Joseph Nixon, attorney for the Rick Perry campaign, speaks to the media outside federal court in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 13. A federal judge refused Perry and other candidates' request to be added to the Virginia ballot.
Steve Helber ASSOCIATED PRESS

Federal judges have been getting hammered pretty hard in this Republican presidential campaign.

Rick Santorum has joked about banishing liberal, federal judges to Guam. Erstwhile candidate Rick Perry has been a longtime advocate for states' rights, calling himself a "tenth amendment believing governor." And Newt Gingrich has repeatedly criticized the country's judicial system, targeting what he calls quote "activist judges."

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Presidential Race
3:22 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Does Regionalism Matter Anymore, Y'all?

The presidential election brings out the media's obsession with regional differences. Reporters and politicians do stand-ups from cornfields in the Midwest, beaches in California, honky-tonks in Texas — and in front of this sand sculpture of the GOP candidates in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last weekend.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

The race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is fixing to get, as we Southerners tongue-in-cheekly say, about as slippery as a greased pig in a hog wallow. Nasty as a old possum in a croaker sack. Murky as South Carolina swamp mud.

The Republican primary focus is shifting to the South, where folks talk and act different from the rest of the country. And where they look for different characteristics in candidates than other regions of the ...

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Election 2012
3:22 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

For South Carolina Voters, Jobs May Matter Most

Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at Seven Oaks Park this week in Irmol, S.C. Jobs are likely to be an important issue for South Carolina voters in Saturday's primary, with the state's unemployment rate at 9.9 percent.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 7:08 pm

In a presidential election that most expect will be all about the economy, South Carolina is a state where economic issues are front and center. The state's unemployment rate is 9.9 percent, well above the national rate. But even that number is deceptive. There are pockets around the state where the conditions are much more severe. In Lancaster County, for example, the rate is above 12 percent.

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Law
3:21 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

5 Questions, Answers About The Megaupload Case

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, in an Auckland, New Zealand, court Friday.
TV3 AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 4:30 pm

The arrests of four executives of Megaupload, a major Internet file-sharing site, have triggered an online backlash, and raised fresh questions about electronic piracy and copyright violations. What's behind the controversy? NPR asked two experts to help clarify the facts behind the arrests.

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