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Economy
11:42 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Study: Nearly Half In U.S. Lack Financial Safety Net

Nearly 44 percent of Americans don't have enough savings or other liquid assets to stay out of poverty for more than three months if they lose their income, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development.
Atanas Bezov iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 9:03 am

In his inaugural address, President Obama talked about a country where even "a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else." But in reality, that's not always the case. A new report finds that one of the biggest obstacles for many Americans is that they don't have the savings or assets they need to help them get ahead.

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The Two-Way
10:03 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Lanny Breuer, Justice Dept.'s Criminal Division Chief, Says He Will Step Down

Assistant US Attorney General Lanny Breuer in December of 2012.
Ramin Talaie Getty Images

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, the longest serving chief of the Justice Department's criminal division since the 1960s, says he will leave government service in March.

Breuer is announcing his departure a day after a federal judge in New Orleans accepted a guilty plea by BP in connection with the 2010 Gulf Oil spill, the biggest criminal investigation — and at $4 billion, the biggest criminal penalty — in Justice Department history.

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Around the Nation
5:43 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Drought Causes Ripple Effect Along Mighty Mississippi River

International ships call at the busy Port of New Orleans. It's a major shipping convergence point on the Mississippi River. Ships come upriver from the Gulf of Mexico with imports from abroad, and barges come downriver, bringing U.S. goods for export.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:30 pm

The persistent drought is raising questions about how the Mississippi River is managed — both upstream and down.

While cargo traffic upriver has gotten lots of attention, the drought is creating a different set of problems downriver at the mouth of the Mississippi, where saltwater has encroached.

An old-fashioned staff river gauge behind the New Orleans district office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows the Mississippi is running just shy of 6 feet above sea level at the river bend.

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The Salt
4:46 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

In Japan, Food Can Be Almost Too Cute To Eat

Hannari Tofu is a character who shows up on a range of plush merchandise.
Satorare/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 9:49 am

From an early age, Japanese kids are taught to "eat with your eyes," and this emphasis on the visual delights of food can be found in many aspects of Japan's vaunted culture of cute.

Take children's television, for example. Some of the most beloved cartoon characters in Japan are based on food items.

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Asia
4:39 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

As China Builds, Cambodia's Forests Fall

Illegal logging is widespread in Cambodia, and efforts to prevent it have had only a limited impact. Much of the wood is destined for China.
Michael Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

China's demand for natural resources is being felt in a big way in Cambodia.

Illegal logging and economic land concessions are threatening Cambodia's dwindling forests, which now echo the sound of chainsaws.

Prey Lang forest — an eight-hour journey north and east of the capital, Phnom Penh — is one of the forests where illegal loggers see money signs on the trees.

Supply And Demand

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Ancient Manuscripts In Timbuktu Reduced To Ashes

Men recover burnt ancient manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu on Tuesday.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 4:49 am

Update at 6:45 a.m. ET, Jan. 31: New reports from Timbuktu indicate that "most manuscripts were saved."

Our original post:

These photos from Timbuktu, Mali, on Tuesday confirmed what many had feared: Ancient books and texts at a famed library were torched by Islamic radicals before they fled.

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The Picture Show
3:58 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Have We Met Before? Doppelgangers Caught On Camera

Rudi Kistler and Maurus Oehmann, Mannheim 2012
Courtesy of Francois Brunelle

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Francois Brunelle is a French Canadian photographer whose work gives new meaning to the phrase "double exposure."

For the past several years, Brunelle has been documenting doppelgangers — people who happen to look strikingly similar but aren't related. He's on a quest to make 200 black-and-white portraits, and plans to eventually turn the project into a book.

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

VIDEO: Could It Be? American Claims To Have Surfed 100-Foot Wave

Garrett McNamara surfs a huge wave in Nararé, Portugal.
Francisco Salvador via Twitter

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:25 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Sand After Sandy: Scientists Map Sea Floor For Sediment

Highly detailed sonar systems aboard the research vessel Pritchard gave researchers a clear view of the sediment on the seafloor off Long Island.
Courtesy of John Goff University Of Texas

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Congress has now agreed to give some $60 billion to states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. A lot will go to Long Island, one of the hardest hit areas. Besides damages to homes and businesses, its system of protective barrier islands and beaches were partially washed away.

Scientists are trying to find out where that sand and sediment went, and whether it can be used to rebuild Long Island's defenses.

In January. On a boat in Long Island Bay.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Stefan Kudelski, Who Made Sound Recording Portable, Dies

Stefan Kudelski poses with the Ampex-Nagra VPR-5 portable recorder in an undated photograph. The devices were used to record the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.
Courtesy of the Kudelski Group

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 4:42 am

While few outside the film and radio industries may recognize the name Stefan Kudelski, his Nagra recorder — meaning "will record" in Kudelski's native Polish — transformed the world of sound recording for radio, television and film.

Kudelski, inventor of the first portable professional sound recorder, died Saturday in Switzerland at the age of 84, according to a statement from the Kudelski Group.

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Senate Confirms John Kerry As Next Secretary Of State

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has been confirmed by the senate to become the next secretary of state.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The United States Senate voted today to confirm Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state.

Just five days ago, Kerry, a democratic senator from Massachusetts, testified before the committee he chaired. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reported at the time, the hearing was a love fest.

Kerry is decorated Vietnam war veteran and the son of a diplomat. He has served in the Senate since 1985.

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Shots - Health News
2:38 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Hey, Kid, You Could Be A 'Disaster Hero'

In Disaster Hero, disaster specialist Dante Shields (far right) and his sidekick Mika (seated) guide players through games about emergency preparedness.
Disaster Hero

To teach kids about coping with trouble, even the doctors in the emergency room figure a video game is the way to to go.

So the American College of Emergency Physicians has created Disaster Hero, an online game, that can help kids learn what to do before, during and after earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

The game is geared toward children in grades 1 through 8. There are three levels pegged to kids' reading ability.

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Animals
2:28 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions Of Creatures Every Year

Out For Lunch? Researchers estimate that billions of birds and small mammals are killed by cats in the U.S. annually.
Vishnevskiy Vasiliy iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

The battle between cat lovers and bird lovers has been going on for a long time. Cats and birds just don't mix. But trying to get a handle on how many birds and other animals are being killed by cats isn't easy. Just figuring out how many cats there are is tough enough.

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Research News
2:27 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Swiss Scientists Discover Dung Beetles Use The Milky Way For GPS

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. And we have a story now about celestial navigation - that is, looking to the sky for guidance.

BLOCK: But before we get too lofty, this story also happens to be about dung beetles. And so we start with this lowly central unpleasant fact about dung beetles.

ERIC WARRANT: Dung beetles and their grubs eat dung and everything about dung beetles has to do with dung in some form.

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Africa
2:24 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

U.S. May Build Base For Drones In Northwest Africa

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're going to head west now, from Egypt across Libya to Niger. The Pentagon has signed a deal with the government there. The agreement could allow the U.S. to establish a forward base in Niger so that it could operate drone aircraft across northern and western Africa. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been reporting on the U.S. military's growing presence on the continent. He joins me now here in the studio.

And Tom, how close is the U.S. to actually setting up a drone base in Niger?

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Education
2:21 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Union Backs 'Bar Exam' For Teachers

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, says a bar exam for K-12 teachers would test a person's knowledge based on the subject he or she was hired to teach.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

The system for preparing and licensing teachers in the U.S. is in such disarray that the American Federation of Teachers is proposing a "bar exam" similar to the one lawyers have to pass before they can practice.

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U.S.
2:21 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Debate Over Rebuilding Beaches Post-Sandy Creates Waves

Ongoing beach nourishment, like this project in Viriginia Beach, has been the topic of debate. Some people say it's needed to protect beach communities; others decry the costs.
Pam Spaugy U.S. Army

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 10:49 am

For a half-century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been in the beach business, dredging up new sand as shorelines wash away. Federal disaster aid for Superstorm Sandy could provide billions more for beach rebuilding, and that has revived an old debate: Is this an effective way to protect against storms, or a counterproductive waste of tax dollars?

On a recent blustery day at Virginia Beach, the latest beach nourishment project is in full swing. A bulldozer smooths out pyramids of sand, and on the horizon, a large, black hopper dredge appears with another load.

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It's All Politics
2:08 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Rubio's Role In Immigration Plan Leaves Even Limbaugh Somewhat Speechless

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks Monday in Washington at a news conference announcing a bipartisan plan to overhaul the nation's immigration laws.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 2:42 pm

Rush Limbaugh has been spending a lot of time calling the new plans for an overhaul of immigration laws little more than "amnesty" for some 11 million undocumented immigrants already in this country. A lot of time, that is, except for the 15 minutes of an extremely deferential interview Tuesday with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Report: Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera Among Baseball Stars Linked To Doping

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees during a game in 2012.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 1:49 pm

The Miami New Times has a bombshell of a report, today: According to records leaked to the paper, a Miami clinic provided Major-League All Stars with performance enhancing drugs.

The list includes the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz and the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez.

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Europe
12:43 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

How A Spanish City Went Boom, Then Bust

Valencia spent more than $1.5 billion to build the City of Arts and Sciences, the museum complex shown here in a photo from summer 2011.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

The Spanish region of Valencia has been called the "California of Spain" for its gorgeous Mediterranean coastline and modern architecture.

But now Valencia epitomizes the worst of Spain's problems. It had the country's most inflated property market and the biggest crash. Its landscape is littered with empty and half-finished buildings. Valencia has also had an unusually high number of politicians indicted for corruption.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Those 'Hygienic' Toilet Seats At O'Hare May Not Be So Clean

A concourse at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

If you have to go while at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, then you need to know this:

"Motorized 'hygienic seats' that a controversial new janitorial contractor installed recently at O'Hare Airport are not very hygienic after all," the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Judge Approves BP's Manslaughter Plea In 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 1:03 pm

A federal judge has approved a guilty plea by BP to manslaughter charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The approved deal includes a record $4 billion in criminal penalties.

Eleven workers on the Deep Water Horizon rig died in the April 2010 explosion. BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges for those deaths and to lying to Congress about the amount of the oil spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico.

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Myanmar Lifts Ban On Public Gatherings

Food vendors wait for customers at a ferry pier in Yangon on January 28.
AFP/Getty Images

In another sign that Myanmar continues its march toward democracy, the state-run newspaper reported that the government has lifted a ban on public gatherings of more than five people.

The BBC reports that the law dates back to 1988, "when a military government took power after crushing pro-democracy protests."

The newspaper, the BBC reports, said the law was removed because it violated the constitution, which now guarantees freedom of expression.

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Latin America
11:21 am
Tue January 29, 2013

For Your Next Caribbean Vacation, Haiti ... Maybe?

Mont Joli Hotel looks out over Cap-Haitian in northern Haiti. The owner says he's usually fully booked and plans to double the hotel's capacity. Haiti is trying to expand its tourism infrastructure and tap in to the multibillion-dollar Caribbean travel market.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Haiti used to be a tourist hot spot in the Caribbean. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton regularly recounts how he and Hillary honeymooned in Haiti in 1975. There used to be a hopping Club Med just outside Port-au-Prince, but it closed in the '90s.

Now, the Haitian government is trying to revive some of its former allure, launching an aggressive campaign to market the poorest country in the hemisphere as a vacation hub.

President Michel Martelly says tourism could be a major driver of economic growth and could help lift Haitians out of poverty.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Tue January 29, 2013

If You're Along The Eastern Seaboard, Look Up! NASA Has A Light Show For You

A Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket.
NASA

If you're along the Eastern Seaboard tonight, it might be worth your while to look at the sky this evening.

NASA's Wallops Flight Facility is scheduled to launch a sounding rocket that will release "two red-colored lithium vapor trails in space."

As Space.com reports, those trails might be seen across the Mid-Atlantic and perhaps as far north as Canada and as far south as northern Florida.

Space.com explains how these trails will produce a "night sky show:"

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World
10:57 am
Tue January 29, 2013

From Here To Timbuktu: Myth And Reality At The World's Edge

Timbuktu was once considered so remote that the Paris-based Societe de Geographie offered 10,000 francs to the first non-Muslim to reach the city and report back.
Chris Kocek iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:16 pm

Timbuktu conjures up images of long camel caravans out on the edge of the sand-strewn Sahara — a remoteness so legendary that the ancient city is still a byword for the end of the earth.

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Money Coach
10:17 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Retirement Accounts: Don't Rob Peter To Pay Paul!

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, we have the latest installment in our series Social Me. We'll talk about how educators could use their students' social media habits to figure out how they learn.

But first, to matters of personal finance: We want to talk about retirement. While earlier generations might have had a pension, now millions of Americans, if they have any savings, probably have some kind of retirement account like a 401K.

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Parenting
10:13 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Social Media: OMG! Do Parents Get It?

From tablets and iPhones to Twitter and Instagram, technology is changing the way children interact with the world. Host Michel Martin talks with a roundtable of parents about encouraging digital exploration, while keeping kids safe.

Education
10:08 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Topping College Graduate Rates, Is It Worth It?

President Obama wants the nation to produce 8 million more college graduates by the year 2020. But can it be done, and how much would it cost? Host Michel Martin puts those questions to Anthony Carnevale, Director and Research Professor of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The Salt
10:02 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Why Chicken Wings Dominate Super Bowl Snack Time

Blame sports bars for the chicken wing boom, especially on Super Bowl Sunday.
jeffreyw Flickr.com

Take a look at this remarkable graph — is it the stock market? Home sales?

Nope. Click on the blue box in the lower right-hand corner and you'll see that the blue line tracks the number of chicken wings that Americans bought at grocery stores over the last year. See that mighty surge of wing-buying in early February? Apparently, you just cannot have a Super Bowl party without chicken wings — millions and millions of chicken wings.

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