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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Texas Turns Down Cook's Offer Of Free 'Last Meals'

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 3:42 pm

Last week the state of Texas said it would no longer let condemned prisoners order practically anything they want for their last meals before execution.

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Middle East
7:54 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Israel Approves 1,100 New Homes In East Jerusalem

Israel's government has given the final go-ahead for the construction of 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem.

The move is sure to heighten tensions, which are already high following a Palestinian move last week to seek U.N. membership.

Israel's Interior Ministry announced Tuesday that it had given the final approval for the new homes to be built in Gilo, a sprawling Israeli enclave in southeast Jerusalem. It said construction could begin after a mandatory 60-day period for public comment.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Home Prices Edged Up In July, Report Says

A "sale pending" sign outside a home in Bath, Maine, in July.
Pat Wellenbach AP

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 7:52 am

July marked a fourth consecutive month of slight gains in home prices in its surveys covering major cities across the nation, researchers who put together the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Obama To Heckler: 'I Agree Jesus Christ Is The Lord'

The man who interrupted President Obama during a fundraiser Monday in Los Angeles is removed from the audience.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 11:01 am

A man shouting "Jesus Christ is God!" interrupted President Obama's address at a fundraiser in Los Angeles last night.

He began by shouting that the "Christian God is the one and only true living God." Then he added that "Jesus Christ is God!" Others in attendance tried to overcome the interruption by chanting "four more years!"

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Today's Top Stories: Eurozone Crisis, Typhoon In Philippines

Good morning.

Today's top story so far in the U.S. seems to be about the government shutdown that isn't going to happen.

As we reported earlier, Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement last night that averted what might have been at least a partial shutdown later this week. And, as often is the case, both sides are claiming vindication.

Meanwhile, other stories making headlines include:

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Both Sides Claim Vindication After Shutdown Is Averted

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky walks to the floor as the Senate prepares to vote on a short-term funding measure .
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 8:28 am

As some last-minute developments and a late-evening deal came together to bring another shutdown showdown to a close last night, Democratic and Republican leaders were both declaring their positions in the latest budget battle had been vindicated.

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Science
2:37 am
Tue September 27, 2011

How Psychology Solved A WWII Shipwreck Mystery

A gun turret on the sunken Australian warship HMAS Sydney. All 645 people aboard the Sydney died.
AP

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 10:52 am

In November 1941, two ships crossed paths off the coast of Australia. One was the German raider HSK Kormoran. The other: an Australian warship called the HMAS Sydney. Guns were fired, the ships were damaged, and both sank to the bottom of the ocean.

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Your Money
2:36 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Smaller Banks Use Free Checking To Lure Customers

Two-thirds of the country's largest banks no longer offer free checking, according to a survey by Moebs Services.
iStockphoto.com

Big banks are beginning to make good on their threat to charge fees for everyday checking accounts. But most banks aren't big banks, and community institutions are hanging on to free checking as long as they can in the hopes of luring away some of the big banks' disgruntled customers.

The larger banks are now enacting what customers like James Miller of Nashville have heard was on the horizon for a year or more: Your free checking account is about to cost you.

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Around the Nation
2:35 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Estate Liquidators See A Frenzy Of Speculation

Gold rings and heirloom jewelry like these pieces displayed in a San Francisco store are fetching record high prices this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The high price of gold and other precious metals is encouraging a new breed of gold diggers — traveling estate buyers who temporarily set up shop in hotels. They offer to pay cash on the spot for gold, diamonds, old Rolexes and collectibles.

Walking into one such event at a hotel, it all seems very professional: A fancy conference room with a 20-foot conference table, with soothing bossa nova music playing overhead.

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World
2:00 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Eurozone's Looming Financial Crisis

For a long time, much of the world saw the eurozone sovereign debt crisis as Europe's problem. Now world leaders, including the United States, realize a eurozone meltdown could have dire consequences for everyone. They are working up a massive rescue plan whose contours are beginning to emerge. Although Britain does not use the euro, that nation's politicians are using their party conventions to issue dire warnings about the euro's fate. And one eminent economist is proposing a novel solution to limit the impact of the European debt crisis.

Europe
2:00 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Greek Parliament Weighs Property Tax Amid Protests

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 6:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, host: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, host: And I'm David Greene. Greece's government hopes to approve a new property tax in parliament today. There is wide opposition to the measure from a Greek public that's already feeling the pain from austerity measures. The government says the new tax is a must to prove that the country deserves more international bailout money to prop up the Greek economy. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us on the line from Athens.

Sylvia, good morning.

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U.S.
2:00 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Senate Deal To Avert Shutdown Goes To House

Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 6:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, host: It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, host: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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Media
1:34 am
Tue September 27, 2011

News Corp.'s U.K. Actions Under Scrutiny In U.S.

The News Corp. headquarters in New York City.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

The British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is in negotiations to pay several million dollars to settle the claims of the family of a slain girl whose mobile voice mail messages were hacked by a private investigator for one of its tabloids. Murdoch would personally pay more than $1.5 million to charity as part of the deal.

But that's only the latest fallout for News Corp. in the phone hacking and bribery scandal there.

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Retirement In America: The Not-So-Golden Years
1:32 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Retirement: Reality Not As Rosy As Expectations

According to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, life in retirement is better or the same as it was before, but it is worse for a substantial minority in key areas, including health and finances.
David Goldman AP

Americans pride themselves on being optimistic. But Robert Blendon, of the Harvard School of Public Health, says that may not be such a good thing when it comes to planning for retirement. For many Americans, it is proving harder than they imagined, according to a a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Senate Strikes Deal That Likely Averts Government Shutdown

It looks like the government will be funded until Nov. 18. According to multiple news reports, Senate leaders announced they have come to an agreement that will likely avoid a partial shutdown of the government.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Texas Convict Sets House On Fire To Return To Prison

Randall Lee Church was 18 when he was convicted and sentenced to life for fatally stabbing a man. That was 1983 with just glimmers of the Internet and ideas of mobile phones.

So when he was released after 26 years in prison, he was overwhelmed and lost.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

VIDEO: Atop Washington Monument, Visitors Scrambled During Quake

Visitors near the top of the Washington Monument headed for the stairs as it rocked back and forth. Debris was falling inside.
National Park Service

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Afghanistan
2:48 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Killing Deals Another Blow To Afghan Peace Talks

Afghans carry the coffin of Afghanistan High Peace Council head and former President Burhanuddin Rabbani during his burial ceremony in Kabul, Sept. 23. A suicide bomber assassinated Rabbani on Sept. 20, which further complicates the thorny issue of negotiating with the Taliban.
Ahmad Masood AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 6:22 pm

Afghanistan buried a former president last week, but there is concern in Kabul that something else may have been buried as well: the peace process. In nearly two years since the U.S. opened the prospect of negotiations with the Taliban, progress has been hard to discern.

The assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was also the head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, may have quashed any negotiations that were under way. It also may have given new strength to those who never supported the idea of talking with the Taliban.

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The Two-Way
2:43 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Dead Sea Scrolls Are Now Online

The Dead Sea Scrolls are 2,000 years old and very sensitive to direct light. At the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where they are housed, the scrolls are rotated every few months to minimize the damage. As Bloomberg explains it, the Great Isaiah Scroll, which is the most ancient biblical manuscript on Earth, is so sensitive that only a copy of it is on display.

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The Salt
2:30 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Lemongrass Brings Essential Spark To Southeast Asian Cooking

A freshly tossed Thai lemongrass salad is served on betel leaves at Naj, a Bangkok restaurant
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 5:06 pm

Imagine you're trekking through the concrete jungle of just about any Southeast Asian city. The first thing you notice is the smorgasbord of smells, some enticing, others downright rank. Amid the urban odor-rama, one sweet herbal fragrance stands out. It's lemongrass. And it's just about everywhere.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:11 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Why Does A Virus Jump From One Species To Another?

A man readies a cow for the International Highland Cattle Show in Glasgow, Scotland. Researchers say genetics and the amount of time animals and humans spend together can affect how viruses spread between species.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Earlier this year we heard about a curious case of leprosy that jumped from armadillos to humans. We also know that a certain nefarious flu came to us via water fowl, and HIV likely affected chimpanzees before humans.

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National Security
1:54 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

In The Hunt For Al-Qaida, Drone Program Expands

U.S. Army Sgt. Don Stolle launches a Raven surveillance drone from Achin, Afghanistan, on Aug. 30. The drones have been widely used in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and now the military plans to employ them in other areas as it tracks suspected terrorists.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 2:45 pm

The Obama administration is expanding its controversial drone program to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

The Washington Post first reported last week that the administration was setting up secret bases for the unmanned aircraft all over the region. U.S. officials say the drone surveillance will allow them to keep watch on terrorists in Yemen and Somalia. The question is whether the program will eventually go a step further and include armed drones to kill terrorists before they strike.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Saudi Women Get The Vote

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 5:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Over the weekend, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced that women will get the right to vote and to run in municipal elections, but not until 2015. And King Abdullah said women will be appointed to the Shura Council, which advises the monarchy. This in a country where women still don't have the right to drive.

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Commentary
1:00 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Impending Doom — Or Not?

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Now that fall is officially here, many of us are trying to cool off from a long hot summer. But commentator Andrei Codrescu is just getting warmed up.

ANDREI CODRESCU: It's been a year like a ride in hell's own at Disney World. From weather the politics, the world seems bent out of shape. But this may be the result of extensive coverage, rather than an unusual number of disasters.

I watched an episode of "The Hour," set in the days of the Cold War and remembered just how different things used to be.

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Environment
1:00 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

New York's New Shipping Plan Sparks Feud

New York state is poised to implement new rules that could have a major impact on the global shipping industry. Invasive species sometimes move from place to place in "ballast water" — that's the water ships suck in and discharge to level their loads. Officials in New York want all that ballast water treated to kill any "living pollution" before it reaches their harbors. But the treatment technology is expensive and untested. Because the state serves as a gateway to the Great Lakes and ports in New Jersey, other states and countries are disputing the new rules.

The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Report: As Economy Slows, So Does Cocaine Use

People make changes during a bad economy. Some change less diapers, while others eat out less often. The New York Post reports that in a cost-councious world even vices suffer:

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Politics
12:25 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Political Ads Target TV, But Not Everyone Is Tuning In

According to a new survey, 31 percent of voters said they had not watched live TV in the past week. Young voters, according to the poll, are much less likely to watch TV in real time — or even on a TV.
iStockphoto.com

If you watched the Emmy Awards recently, you may have seen an ad inviting viewers to "fight" for President Obama's jobs plan.

"The next election is 14 months away," Obama says in the ad. "And the people who sent us here, they don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months."

Although the election is more than a year away, it's not keeping political commercials off of our TV screens. Yet, according to a new survey, the audience for those ads is shrinking.

Young People Aren't Watching Live TV

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai: A Global Icon Of Conservation

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai in 2009.
Charley Gallay Getty Images for NAACP

Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, has died of cancer in a Nairobi hospital. She was 71. Maathai, of Kenya, became a Nobel laureate in 2004 for her work promoting environmental stewardship, empowering women and peaceful resistance to violence.

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It's All Politics
11:59 am
Mon September 26, 2011

Flashback: Herman Cain's 1994 Bill Clinton Debate On Health Care

Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 9:34 am

Herman Cain, who won the Florida Republican presidential straw poll over the weekend, is no newbie when it comes to showing up career politicians. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was just the latest one to be Hermanized by the former Godfather's pizza company executive.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Mon September 26, 2011

Two Tibetan Monks Set Themselves On Fire In China

Exile Tibetan monks hold a candle light vigil in Dharmsala, India, as they react to news reports of self-immolation by two Tibetan monks at the Kirti Monastery in Sichuan province's Aba prefectuture, China.
Ashwini Bhatia AP

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 12:20 pm

Right after they waved the banned Tibetan flag and said "long live the Dalai Lama," two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese government's strict control of their religion.

The Free Tibet Campaign says that over the past six months, four monks have chosen self-immolation in Tibet.

"This shows not only the level of suffering and desperation of Tibetans but also the extreme actions they are willing to take to draw the world's attention to the situation in Tibet," they write.

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