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Election 2012
4:00 am
Thu January 5, 2012

GOP Candidates Rush To N.H. Ahead Of 1st Primary

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 6:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. People have been making campaign stops in New Hampshire for months. But now the campaign intensifies for the nation's first primary. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is favored, but other Republican candidates are looking for a strong showing in next Tuesday's voting, and most are crossing the state this week.

NPR's Greg Allen has been following along.

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The Salt
2:57 am
Thu January 5, 2012

How The Russians Saved America's Sunflower

A field of sunflowers in Russia.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 11:42 am

Next time you buy some potato chips, take a look at the list of ingredients. There's a good chance that, right after potatoes, you'll see this: "Sunflower oil."

You might think nothing of it. After all, the sunflower is the state flower of Kansas. Why wouldn't the potato chip industry use this home-grown oil?

But before the sunflower ended up helping to fry potatoes, it had to take a long detour through, of all places, the Soviet Union.

Let's follow this trail from the beginning.

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Science
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

How Fracking Wastewater Is Tied To Quakes

With the skyline of Youngstown, Ohio, in the distance, a brine injection well owned by Northstar Disposal Services LLC is seen in Youngstown on Jan. 4. The company has halted operations at the well, which disposes of brine used in gas and oil drilling, after a series of small earthquakes hit the Youngstown area.
Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 3:00 pm

Small earthquakes in Ohio and Arkansas associated with hydraulic fracturing for natural gas have taken many people by surprise. Gas industry executives say there's no hard evidence that their activities are causing these quakes. But some scientists say it's certainly possible; in fact, people have been causing quakes for years.

In the 1960s, geologists realized that gold mines in South Africa had created small earthquakes. Caverns dug into the earth thousands of feet below the surface collapsed. The "pancake" effect caused quakes — in one case a magnitude-5.2 temblor.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

The Real Holiday Party For Weight Loss Firms? It's Now

Jenny Craig brand ambassador and singer Mariah Carey (left) poses with Dana Fiser (right),CEO of Jenny Craig, at a press conference in New York City in November.
Cindy Ord Getty Images

The New Year is almost always happy for the weight-loss industry. When the holiday gorging ends, the resolutions to shed those extra pounds begin.

Weight Watchers North America president David Burwick says the first week of the year is the biggest week in what is typically his company's most profitable quarter.

"This is our Super Bowl," he says. "The first week of January is our Super Bowl for Weight Watchers."

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Election 2012
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Attacking Super PACs Fueled By Anonymous Donors

A screen grab from an anti-Newt Gingrich ad from the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
Restore Our Future, Inc.

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 8:23 am

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National Security
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Critics Question Pentagon's New Strategy

For two decades, the Pentagon has maintained that it could fight two wars at the same time. But as the Obama administration releases its new military strategy Thursday, some question whether the Pentagon will abandon that long-held commitment.

An early draft of the Pentagon's new strategy, The New York Times reported, said the military would only be able to win one war and spoil an adversary's efforts in a second war.

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Energy
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Solar Panels Compete With Cheap Natural Gas

Barbara Scott and Mac Given in Media, Pa., had 21 solar panels installed last March. With government rebates and tax incentives, Scott says, her family spent $21,000 to install the system.
Jeff Brady NPR

Renewable energy is growing rapidly in the U.S., with wind and solar industries enjoying double-digit growth each year. Part of that growth comes from more homeowners choosing to install solar panels.

With government subsidies, some people can even make a financial argument for installing the panels. But in recent years, the price of one fossil fuel — natural gas — has declined so much that solar panels are having difficulty competing.

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The Arab Spring: One Year Later
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Bahrain: The Revolution That Wasn't

Bahrain is the one Arab country where the government has suppressed a major uprising. Here, protesters wave flags at the Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama on Feb. 20, 2011, when the demonstrations were at their peak.
John Moore/Getty Images

Arab revolts against secular leaders have been much more successful over the past year than those against monarchs. The one monarchy that faced a serious threat was the tiny Persian Gulf island of Bahrain. But after weeks of protests, troops from Saudi Arabia rolled into the country, the Bahraini regime imposed martial law, and a government crackdown followed. Kelly McEvers made several trips to Bahrain this past year and filed this report as part of NPR's series looking at the Arab Spring and where it stands today.

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Author Interviews
12:01 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Growing Up Muslim And Midwestern In 'Dervish'

In American Dervish, playwright and author Ayad Akhtar draws from his own Midwestern childhood to tell the coming-of-age story of 10-year-old Hayat Shah, the son of Pakistani immigrants, whose humdrum world of baseball and video games is interrupted by the arrival of a family friend from Pakistan: the glamorous Mina, who's fleeing a disastrous marriage.

The spiritual and lively Mina lights up the glum Shah home, and Hayat falls under her thrall.

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Google Slaps Its Own Wrist Over Chrome Pay-For-Blogging Flap

Google is "downgrading the search result ranking of the company's own Web browser, Google Chrome, for 60 days," as PC World reports, because some bloggers ending up being paid to mention Chrome during a recent ad campaign.

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The Two-Way
4:55 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Mom Kills Intruder, Dead Man's Alleged Accomplice Faces Murder Charge

The story of how 18-year-old Sarah Dawn McKinley shot and killed a man who authorities say was breaking into her house on Saturday has been getting lots of attention because of the 911 phone call she made and the already tragic circumstances surrounding the incident.

McKinley, of Blanchard, Okla., called 911 to say that a man was trying to get inside her mobile home and that she feared for her life and that of her 3-month-old son. She asked the 911 operator if she could shoot him if he got inside.

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It's All Politics
4:55 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

GOP Candidates Laud Bachmann, Who Departs Without Endorsing A Former Rival

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announces an end to her campaign for president on Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 5:09 pm

Several former rivals of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann were quick to applaud the now-suspended campaign run by the only woman to have sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Jon Huntsman said Bachmann added an "energetic and passionate voice" to the campaign. Mitt Romney called Bachmann a friend with a "titanium spine." And Newt Gingrich extolled Bachmann's "considerable talent" and "great courage."

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Mile-High Health Concerns Leave Steelers Star On The Bench For Playoff Game

In the past two games, Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark has 18 tackles, 14 of them unassisted. But Clark won't be playing when the Steelers face Denver at Mile High Stadium Sunday, due to his sickle cell trait condition.
Christian Petersen Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 5:11 pm

When the Pittsburgh Steelers start the NFL playoffs Sunday with a road game in Denver, they'll do it without free safety Ryan Clark. That's because Clark, who has 100 tackles and the confidence of his coaches, also has sickle cell trait, which can cause severe complications at high altitudes.

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The Salt
4:30 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Feds To Rein In Use Of Some Antibiotics On Animals

Chickens in a mechanized hatchery, in Monroe County, Alabama.
Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 4:28 pm

The Food and Drug Administration is moving to stop the use of some antibiotics on animals. The agency wants to prevent overuse of these drugs so that bacteria don't develop resistance to them.

The announcement affects antibiotics called cephalosporins, drugs used widely to treat things like pneumonia or skin infections in people.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:08 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Gaps In Health Coverage Can Disrupt Preventive Care

Interruptions in insurance coverage can be enough to deter people from getting preventive care.
iStockphoto.com

People without health insurance don't get enough preventive care — simple but important things like vaccinations and blood tests.

But surely having insurance every now and then is better than none at all, because people can get caught up on their tests when they are covered, right?

That's a widely held view, and one that would be good news to the millions of people who go on and off health insurance each year. Some of them are losing or changing jobs. Others slide on and off Medicaid as they take on temporary work, marry or divorce.

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Asia
4:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

In China, Curious Case Of Fraud Grows Stranger Still

Doris Phua, chief executive of Da Vinci, answers questions during a press conference in Beijing in July, after CCTV accused it of selling fake furniture at high prices. Later, the company said it paid the CCTV reporter more than $150,000 through a public relations company to halt further stories.
STR AFP/Getty Images

The Da Vinci furniture company showroom in Shanghai looks like a salon in Versailles. The price tag on a gilt-covered, Italian-made grandfather clock: more than $40,000.

So it was big news last summer when China Central Television — the government's flagship network known as CCTV — reported that some of Da Vinci's ornate furniture didn't come from Italy, but from a common factory in South China.

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The Two-Way
3:58 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Judge Robert Carter, An 'Architect Of Desegregation,' Has Died

Robert Carter, who was a key member of the legal team that convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw segregated public schools in 1954's landmark Brown v. the Board of Education decision, died Tuesday. He was 94.

According to The New York Times, "the cause was complications of a stroke, said his son John W. Carter, a justice of the New York Supreme Court in the Bronx."

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Middle East
3:43 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Egypt's Street Kids Are Revolution's Smallest Soldiers

In Egypt, a disturbing trend has emerged in recent clashes between protesters and security forces: children placing themselves on the front lines.

Activists say several have been killed or wounded in recent months by gunfire and tear gas. Plus, one out of every four protesters thrown in jail following clashes in December was a child.

Their advocates say most, if not all, of these kids live on Cairo's streets, and that they see the revolution as a way to escape their isolation from society.

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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Pro-Piracy Group Says It's Now A Recognized Religion In Sweden

A screengrab of a Kopimi symbol, used by the Missionary Church of Kopimism to signify a site's willingness to be copied.
Kopimi

The Missionary Church of Kopimism has one central belief: that it's okay to copy information, in any form.

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Asia
3:29 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Indonesian Economy Booms, Its Infrastructure Groans

Motorists inch their way in heavy traffic in Palembang, Sumatra, in Indonesia. The nation's rapid growth is overwhelming its weak public infrastructure.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 10:40 pm

Indonesia has one of the world's fastest growing economies, and it's already the largest in Southeast Asia. This growth and stability recently earned it a major credit upgrade at a time when Western countries are fearful of downgrades.

Yet this vibrant economy has an Achilles' heel: its crumbling, overwhelmed infrastructure.

The problem becomes painfully apparent this time every year, when the rainy season fills commuters with dread in the capital, Jakarta, and many other cities.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Obama Appoints Cordray To Head Watchdog Agency

Congressional Republicans reacted angrily to President Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Congress had been holding "pro forma" sessions every few days to prevent such recess appointments.

The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Gordon Hirabayashi Has Died; He Refused To Go To WWII Internment Camp

"This order for the mass evacuation of all persons of Japanese descent denies them the right to live," Seattle native Gordon Hirabayashi wrote in 1942. "I consider it my duty to maintain the democratic standards for which this nation lives. Therefore, I must refuse this order of evacuation."

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

U.S. Carmakers, VW, Report Big Gains In Auto Sales For 2011

A Jeep Wrangler is seen at a dealership in Chicago. Powered by a newly designed fleet of vehicles, the brand saw a sharp rise in sales in 2011.
Scott Olson Getty Images

America's big three automakers all experienced double-digit sales growth in 2011, helping the U.S. market continue its rebound from a dismal 2009. With annual reports out today, Chrysler says its sales were up 26 percent, while General Motors and Ford Motor Co. reporting gains of 13 and 11 percent, respectively.

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It's All Politics
1:50 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

McCain Endorses Romney

Saying he's there "to make sure we make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America," 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain just returned to New Hampshire to endorse the White House bid of his one-time rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

McCain and Romney fought a hard battle for the GOP nomination n 2008, after which Romney endorsed the Arizona senator.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:38 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Number Of Twins Soars As Older Moms Turn To Fertility Treatments

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 1:40 pm

The number of twins born each year in the United States has more than doubled since 1980, federal health officials reported Wednesday.

For most of the last century the rate at which American women gave birth to twins remained steady at about 2 percent of all births.

But the rate increased steadily between 1980 and 2009, according to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics. And by 2009, more than 3 percent of all births produced twins.

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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

As EU Mulls Oil Embargo, Iran Remains Defiant

Reuters and Bloomberg are both reporting that the European Union is close to imposing an embargo on Iranian oil. The Wall Street Journal goes a step further, saying that now that Greece has dropped objections to the ban, the EU has reached a preliminary agreement.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

What The Close Race In Iowa Means For N.H.

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 2:17 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Concord, New Hampshire. But in Iowa, Romney ekes out an eyelash gold. Ron Paul settles for bronze, and a sweet silver for Santorum. It's Wednesday and time for a...

RICK SANTORUM: Game on.

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

SENATOR BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

The Back Of The Republican Pack Weighs Options

Rep. Michele Bachmann suspended her campaign. Texas Gov. Rick Perry headed home to reassess his bid after Iowa. And while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Rep. Ron Paul carry the momentum into New Hampshire and South Carolina, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman promise to continue their campaigns.

Iraq
1:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Uncertainty For Iraqi Translator After Withdrawal

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 2:24 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
12:47 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Boeing Says It Will Close Wichita Plant That Employs 2,160 Workers

Boeing plans to close its Wichita plant, where in 2005 members of the Machinists Union voted to go on strike, seen in this file photo.
Larry W. Smith Getty Images

Boeing Co. says it will shut down its Wichita facility, which specializes in maintaining and modifying the company's planes for military or government use. The plant is slated to close by the end of 2013.

The closure could devastate a portion of the local economy, according to The Wichita Eagle:

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