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The Salt
10:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

How Two Bitter Adversaries Hatched A Plan To Change The Egg Business

At the JS West egg farm, south of Modesto, Calif., one chicken house has the new, spacious cages that egg producers and animal welfare advocates say keep chickens happier.
Big Dutchman

Gene Gregory and Wayne Pacelle are the odd couple of American agriculture.

"We were adversaries. Some might say bitter adversaries,"
says Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Rules Requiring Contraceptive Coverage Have Been In Force For Years

In 2002, state lawmakers in Massachusetts approved legislation requiring most employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. One of the groups pushing for the law was the Coalition for Choice, led by Melissa Kogut (center).
Lawrence Jackson AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 6:31 am

There's been no let-up in the debate about the Obama administration's rule requiring most employers to provide prescription birth control to their workers without additional cost.

Here's the rub: The only truly novel part of the plan is the "no cost" bit.

The rule would mean, for the first time, that women won't have to pay a deductible or copayment to get prescription contraceptives.

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Performing Arts
10:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Colonial History, Through The Eyes Of The Colonized

Pascale Armand plays Jekesai, later christened as Ester, who's taken in by a black Catholic missionary when she flees an arranged marriage in 1890s Rhodesia.
T. Charles Erickson McCarter Theatre

Actor and writer Danai Gurira sometimes refers to herself as a "Zimerican": She was born in Iowa, but spent most of her childhood in Harare, Zimbabwe — where her new play, The Convert, is set.

"I grew up there from age 5 to 19," Gurira says. "I'm back there every year, but I feel like there are things that I had to dig out through this process of creating this play."

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Nuclear Safety, Costs Loom Over OK'd Reactors

Steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Southern Co.'s application to begin full construction of the nation's first new nuclear units since 1978 at Plant Vogtle.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 9:56 am

The nuclear industry is celebrating the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to give the go-ahead for a utility company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first license to be granted for a new reactor in the U.S. since 1978. But last year's accident at reactors in Fukushima, Japan, still clouds the future of nuclear power, as does the cost of new power plants.

Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia, where two older reactors already operate.

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Politics
10:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Catholics Split Over Obama Contraceptive Order

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 7:02 am

The conflict between the Catholic Bishops and the White House over contraceptive coverage has American Catholics choosing sides.

Catholics narrowly support the White House position in polls. There are potential political consequences: In presidential elections, Catholics are swing voters. They supported Al Gore in 2000, President George W. Bush in '04 and President Obama in '08.

The GOP presidential hopefuls are certainly using this issue. Framing it as a question of religious freedom is a guaranteed way to fire up the conservative base.

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The Record
10:00 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

What The Grammys Say About Pop Music Now

Skrillex at the Sasquatch Music Festival in May.
C Flanigan FilmMagic

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 7:34 am

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Wants To Sack Military-Appointed Government In Egypt

In the aftermath of a deadly soccer riot, the most organized political group in Egypt called for the sacking of the interim government appointed by the military.

The Muslim Brotherhood said today that the military had failed to lead the country and provide security and economic stability.

The AP reports:

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Economy
3:41 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Birthplace Of 'Robo-Signing' Eyes Deal Critically

A for-sale sign hangs in front of a Homestead, Fla., home. In 2009, Florida lawyer Tom Ice deposed a bank employee who admitted to signing hundreds of mortgage documents in a day without reading them.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 4:57 pm

From the beginning, Florida lawyer Tom Ice says he realized the mass signing of mortgages was more than just a paperwork problem.

"I suspected then, and I suspect now, that we were really just touching the tip of the iceberg," he says.

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It's All Politics
3:09 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

The GOP's 'Meh' Moment On Full Display At Conservative Confab

Enthusiasm for the candidates may have been low, but their portraits were on display at the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Thursday.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 3:20 pm

The Republican presidential candidates won't argue their cases to thousands of conservatives gathered in Washington until Friday when Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are scheduled to speak.

(Ron Paul is skipping the event.)

But if Thursday's opening day of the American Conservative Union's annual star-studded Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC — is any indication, they all have a lot of persuading to do.

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It's All Politics
3:05 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

At CPAC, Hard Lines On Race And Immigration Could Be Awkward

A note to the Republican presidential candidates heading to Washington for the Conservative Political Action Conference: some of the events could make you uncomfortable if you're planning to tack to the center in your general election campaign.

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Music Reviews
3:04 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Sharon Van Etten: Hypnotically Complicated

Sharon Van Etten's third album, Tramp, comes out Feb. 7.
Dusdin Condren

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:58 pm

Like most pop singers, Sharon Van Etten seems to love repetition — a technique used aggressively in ad jingles and Top 40 hits, but also in more hypnotic and emotionally complicated ways. Van Etten's new record, Tramp, is full of repeated riffs, drones and phonemes, and they're more intense and emotionally packed than ever. Songs like "Serpents" display her expansive voice and coiled songwriting, and are earning Van Etten a good deal of attention.

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It's All Politics
3:03 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Why Estimating Delegate Counts Could Backfire

When it comes to counting GOP delegates this year, there seem to be as many different tallies as there have been primary contests. NPR launched its own delegate tracker this week. As we noted on Wednesday, it only counts delegates officially awarded by state or party rule.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Comparing The Candidates Tax Plans

GOP presidential candidates (from left) Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul place their hands over their hearts during the national anthem at the start of a debate in Florida last month.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 3:00 pm

Cutting taxes is part of the DNA of the modern Republican Party. All four of the remaining GOP candidates for president have proposed steep cuts in business and personal taxes, and it sometimes seems like Republicans are competing to show the most enthusiasm for tax cuts.

At a debate last month, former Sen. Rick Santorum said tax cuts were needed to get the economy thriving again — even if they benefit the wealthy.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Protesters At Apple Stores Demand 'Ethical' Products

Sarah Ryan, left, and Shelby Knox, with Change.org arrive at the Apple store at Grand Central to deliver petitions asking Apple to change its manufacturing practices.
Mary Altaffer AP

In an effort to protest the working conditions in the Chinese factories that make Apple products, demonstrators delivered a petition to six different Apple stores in four different countries.

The petition, which asks the country to make "ethical" products, included about 250,000 signatures. Organizers said they were delivering them to Apple stores in Bangalore, London, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Sydney and New York City.

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It's All Politics
2:59 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Young Republicans Gather In Washington — And Eye An Opportunity In November

President Obama greets students after speaking at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan 27. Young Republicans say they see an opportunity in 2012 to dent Obama's popularity among the youngest voters.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

As the annual Conservative Political Action Conference began Thursday in the nation's capital, NPR's Michel Martin spoke to young Republicans who explained how they hope this year to change the dynamics from 2008, when young voters flocked to Barack Obama.

Their strategy? Focus on the economy.

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Law
2:50 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Gay Marriage Opponents Take Battle To The Ballot

Gov. Chris Gregoire (left) embraces Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Seattle Democrat, after the Washington state House voted Wednesday to legalize gay marriage.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 4:15 pm

Washington may soon become the seventh state to legalize gay marriage. Lawmakers passed the bill Wednesday, and it has the governor's support.

Before it takes effect, though, it's likely to face a referendum challenge in November. Same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in a handful of states this year, and supporters have yet to win a statewide vote.

The 'Sanctity Of Marriage'

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The Salt
2:46 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

More Than Miso: Food Writer In Japan Records Struggling Region's Cuisine

Peeled persimmon is a traditional food of Tohoku.
Kyodo /Landov

If there was a Julia Child of Japanese cooking — a witty and passionate interpreter of the cuisine — Elizabeth Andoh would fit the bill nicely.

As an exchange student back in the 1960s, Andoh came to Japan from New York to pursue anthropology. She fell in love, but not just with a local businessman. She is also devoted to parsing and explaining the finer points of Japanese cuisine to the rest of the world, as a writer for Gourmet, cookbook author and culinary teacher in suburban Tokyo.

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Movie Reviews
2:30 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

'Chico And Rita' And All That Jazz

Havana Heat: The title characters meet cute and swing hard in Chico and Rita, an animated love story with an infectious Latin groove.
GKIDS

In the 11 years since the Oscars introduced an award for Best Animated Feature, the category has been dominated by children's movies, often with computer-animated pandas, penguins and ogres at their center. This year's a little different. Two of the animated films are subtitled, and one is definitely aimed at adults: the Spanish film Chico and Rita, an animated love story steeped in jazz.

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Religion
2:28 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Bishops Stand Strong Against Birth Control Mandate

A bishop grasps his pectoral cross during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2011.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 4:15 pm

The Obama administration has drawn fierce criticism over a new rule requiring religiously affiliated charities, universities and hospitals to provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans. Now, that mandate has created a stalemate between American Catholic bishops and the White House that shows few signs of easing.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:22 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

When Flu Pandemics Hit, Closing Schools Can Slow Spread

Students at a University of London class in Mexico City wear masks to protect them against swine flu in May 2009. High schools and universities closed by the pandemic had just reopened across Mexico.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 3:46 am

Everyone knows that when your kids get the flu, they stay home from school.

But what does it take to justify closing the school down entirely? That's a question we should probably answer before the next big pandemic hits.

At one point during the swine flu outbreak in 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, "The potential benefits of preemptively dismissing students from school are often outweighed by negative consequences," such as disruption of classes and hassles for parents.

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Economy
2:19 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

The Mortgage Deal: A Reality Check

A member of the Occupy Wall Street movement places tape over a window of a foreclosed home during a march in the impoverished community of East New York in Brooklyn in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The $26 billion deal Thursday reached by the federal government, most states and the nation's largest banks to compensate homeowners for abusive foreclosure practices was hailed as a landmark agreement. But it's unlikely to end the mortgage mess that has depressed property values and left millions of homeowners owing more than their homes are worth, analysts say.

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

PepsiCo Says It Will Cut 8,700 Jobs Worldwide

Kandral McKenzie delivers Pepsi products in New York on Thursday.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 2:08 pm

PepsiCo, the maker of Pepsi soda and Doritos chips, said it will cut 8,700 jobs worldwide. That represents about 3 percent of its 300,000 person global work workforce.

The announcement also comes just after the company announced better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. The Financial Times reports that net income for the company rose 3 percent to $1.4 billion and revenues were up 11 percent to $20.1 billion.

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Winter Songs
2:01 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Winter Songs: Paul Simon, The Bard Of Bad Weather

Paul Simon.
Mark Seliger

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 1:22 pm

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Around the Nation
1:46 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Over Bowls Of Soup, Donors Find Recipe For Change

Jon Landau serves others at PhilaSoup, a soup group based in Philadelphia.
Linton Weeks NPR

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 4:15 pm

The Soup Movement in America is based on a simple recipe: Bring a bunch of people together to eat soup. Ask each person for a modest donation — say $5. Listen to a few proposals about how people might use that pool of money for a worthwhile project. Vote on the best proposal, and give all the money to the top vote-getter. Go home full and fulfilled.

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Latin America
1:30 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Fighting Fit, Venezuela's Chavez Roars Back

President Hugo Chavez waves during a military parade in Caracas, Venezuela, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of a failed coup attempt he led. After battling cancer last year, Chavez has returned to his high-profile, fiery ways.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 4:15 pm

Last year was a tough one for Venezuela's firebrand leftist president, Hugo Chavez, who has frequently taunted the United States during his 13 years in power.

In June, a cancerous tumor was discovered in Chavez's abdomen, forcing him to dramatically scale back public appearances as he sought treatment in Cuba. Some predicted that the end was near.

But this year, Chavez has returned to his outspoken ways — just in time for his re-election campaign.

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The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Steve Jobs' FBI File Reveals People Who Knew Him Had A Mixed Opinion Of Him

Steve Jobs.
Jeff Chiu AP

The FBI has released the files it kept on Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. The 191-pages are part of a background search the FBI undertook in order to clear him for an appointment made to the President's Export Council by George W. Bush in 1991.

For the background check, the FBI conducted 30 interviews with friends, family, neighbors and former colleagues. What emerged was a portrait of a man admired for his brilliance but whose personal life and character are often questioned. It's not unlike the picture painted in Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography "Steve Jobs."

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Escaped 'Rhino' Successfully Captured In Tokyo

Netting the escapee.
BBC News

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 1:40 pm

In 2010, it was a guy dressed up in a tiger suit that wouldn't have scared many toddlers. One year keepers successfully captured a "zebra."

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Call It 'Gulf Of America,' Not Gulf Of Mexico, Lawmaker Says In Bit Of Satire

Sept. 2005: Hurricane Rita enters the Gulf of Mexico — or Gulf of America, as Mississippi House Rep. Stephen Holland would say.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 4:26 pm

Update at 3:25 p.m. ET. It's Satirical, The Lawmaker Says:

Daniel Cherry of Mississippi Public Broadcasting just talked with Rep. Stephen Holland — the Democratic lawmaker who's getting a lot of attention for introducing a bill to rename the Gulf of Mexico to Gulf of America.

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Fun, Fun, Fun 'Til Council Takes The Frisbee Away

A surfer watches the waves just before sunset at Will Rogers State Beach in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.
Reed Saxon AP

Throwing a frisbee or a football on a Los Angeles County beach in the summer could cost you $1,000.

As NPR member station KPCC reports, the L.A. Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a revision of a 37-page ordinance that outlines acceptable behavior on county beaches.

KPCC reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
11:58 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Feds Find Wide Variation In Serious Infections Linked To Catheters

Inattention to catheters used often in ICUs can lead to serious infections.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:09 pm

Across the country, 1 in 6 hospitals has high rates of one of the most serious kinds of preventable infections — those caused by catheters inserted into large veins, according to new data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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