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The Salt
8:18 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Meet A Man On A Mission To Save Rare And Unusual Figs

One of Bassem Samaan's Pan e Vino fig trees, propagated from the yard of an Italian restaurant in Bethlehem, Pa.
courtesy Bassem Samaan

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:02 am

In the backyard of an unassuming suburban home in Bethlehem, Pa., is a global cornucopia of botanical heritage. Almost 300 varieties of fig grow here, most of them with roots in Europe, Asia or Africa, and each one collected and propagated by Bassem Samaan, a 34-year-old Lebanese native with an unusually green thumb and an obsession with figs.

Samaan is one of a handful of eccentric gardeners around the world whose goal is to save and preserve rare or unusual fruit varieties — trees that may never have commercial value and which may barely cling to existence.

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Deficit To Total $1.1 Trillion, Unemployment To Stay Above 8 Percent, CBO Says

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 8:33 am

Expect to hear about this from the campaign of Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney as he continues to take aim at President Obama's record on the budget and the economy:

The Congressional Budget Office reports this morning that "for fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30), the federal budget deficit will total $1.1 trillion ... marking the fourth year in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion."

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Wildfires Have Burned Nearly 7 Million Acres So Far, Up 6 Percent From Last Year

A photograph from June 8, 2002 shows flames from the Hayman wildfire, which burned in in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver.
Bryan Dahlberg/FEMA Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 3:08 pm

There's word this morning of another wildfire, this time outside the community of Manton in Northern California, where "dozens of buildings, many of them likely homes, have been destroyed," as The Associated Press reports.

Wildfires out West have been a constant topic this summer, it seems, on The Two-Way and other news outlets.

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It's All Politics
7:15 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Romney and GOP Strike Deal With Ron Paul Loyalists Before Convention

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, after speaking in Berkeley, Calif., in April.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 10:55 am

GOP officials and the Mitt Romney campaign have cut a deal with Texas Rep. Ron Paul's campaign to allow some — though not all — of Paul's delegates from Louisiana and Massachusetts to be seated at the Republican National Convention. The status of Maine's delegates remains unsettled.

The compromise would appear to avert a potential public clash with Paul supporters during the convention's opening day Monday.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:33 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Clinics Go Mobile To Take Health Care To The Street

Jamari Brighthaupt, 11, gets blood drawn by registered nurse Rae Montilla at the Georgetown Pediatric Mobile Clinic.
Jessica Camille Aguirre NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 1:38 pm

Matt Levy, medical director of community pediatrics at Georgetown University, calls mobile health clinics permanently temporary.

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Prince Harry Exposed: Photos Show Up Of Naked Royal 'Cavorting' In Vegas

Prince Harry, fully clothed, watching a beach volleyball match at the Olympic Games in London on Aug. 8.
Pascal Le Segretain Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 8:17 am

We absolutely, positively will not make a reference to the crown jewels.

Oops, we just did.

It seems that last Friday night in Las Vegas, Prince Harry — third in line to the throne over in England and one of the world's most eligible bachelors — did some "cavorting with two naked women in a Las Vegas hotel room," as the London Evening Standard puts it.

The evening apparently involved some "strip billiards."

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The Two-Way
5:51 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Texas Sheriff: Sacred White Buffalo Was Not Slaughtered

Lightning Medicine Cloud, a sacred white buffalo, last June.
LM Otero AP

The mystery surrounding the death of a rare white buffalo and the claim by some Lakota Sioux in Texas that it had been killed by other Native Americans deepened Tuesday. A local sheriff announced that investigators believe the animal died of a bacterial disease and said the case is now closed.

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Around the Nation
5:39 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Restaurant Request: Please Don't Pass The Salt

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:35 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Robber Thwarted By Pot-Wielding Kitchen Worker

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
5:11 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Romney's Pick Of Ryan Hasn't Changed Race, Polls Signal

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, left, shakes hands with his choice for running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Monday in in Manchester, N.H.
John Moore Getty Images

Two new polls come to much the same conclusion about the 2012 presidential campaign:

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Participation Nation
5:03 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Seize The Clay In Philadelphia, Pa.

Checking out a wall display of art from the Claymobile.
Courtesy of The Clay Studio

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 9:42 am

When I moved to Philadelphia seven years ago, I was looking to take a ceramics class. Instead I found a wonderful community-minded program in which I've made lifelong friends, unleashed children's creativity and touched their hearts. They in turn have touched mine.

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Latin America
3:27 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Haiti's Quake Damaged National Palace To Be Razed

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Haiti plans to clear away a symbol of the country's devastation. The earthquake in 2010 ruined the National Palace, one of the most spectacular buildings in Port-au-Prince.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've been looking at some recent photographs. They show the white building still standing, if barely. The earthquake did not knock down its elegant rows of columns. But the white dome on top was left sloping at a dangerous angle, the supporting walls half-crushed beneath its weight.

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Business
3:23 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Chinese Factories Improve Conditions Where iPads Are Made

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 2:11 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Politics
3:23 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Sen. McConnell Reaches Out To Tea Party Supporters

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:55 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Kentucky yesterday, there was another sign of Tea Party clout. Mitch McConnell - minority leader in the U.S. Senate, and Kentucky's most powerful politician - turned up at his first-ever Tea Party rally. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: This was not McConnell's first Tea Party rally. He participated in a Tea Party event in 2010.] This year, Tea Party candidates have scored upsets in Republican primaries in Missouri, Texas and Indiana. That's where longtime Senator Richard Lugar lost.

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Law
3:11 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Jury To Decide Apple's Patent Case Against Samsung

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 2:10 pm

What your next smart phone or tablet computer might look like is in the hands of a California jury. In one of the biggest patent infringement cases ever, Apple is suing Samsung — charging that in creating its products, Samsung ripped off iPhone and iPad technology. Samsung countered with its own allegations.

This case is complex, the legal issues are daunting, and the jury's decision has to be unanimous.

"What's at stake here is the future of smartphones and the tablet market," says intellectual property expert Christopher V. Carani.

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Election 2012
3:11 am
Wed August 22, 2012

GOP Platform Committee Adopts Abortion Position

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:20 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.

A deadline came and went yesterday and Todd Akin remains on the ballot for United States Senate in Missouri. On a radio program, the Republican said his party was overreacting in the effort to drive him out of the race.

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Election 2012
3:11 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Obama Highlights Steps To Affordable Education

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:23 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Battleground states are not always neighbors. And for President Obama, yesterday was one of those days when a candidate stops in one and flies across most of the entire country to another. Mr. Obama was in Ohio and then Nevada, visiting college campuses. This morning he'll keep with the education theme at a high school near Las Vegas. The president has been highlighting steps he's taken to make higher education more affordable.

Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: How many students do we have here?

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Middle East
1:06 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Syrian Conflict Stokes Unease In Lebanon

Lebanese masked gunmen from the al-Mokdad clan gather for a news conference in Beirut's southern suburbs on Aug. 15. The Mokdads, a large Lebanese Shiite Muslim clan, said they kidnapped at least 20 Syrians to try to secure the release of a family member abducted by Syrian rebels near Damascus this week.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:43 am

In Lebanon, a wave of kidnappings and an alleged plot to destabilize the country with bombings — both related to the uprising in Syria — are shaking Lebanon's precarious sectarian balance.

That's been apparent on al-Mokdad Street in south Beirut, which has been tense in recent days. The Mokdads are a large Shiite clan who control the street that is named for them. Young men with pistols in their pockets cruise the street on motor scooters, acting as the clan's lookouts.

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Around the Nation
1:05 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Trying To Tame The (Real) Deadliest Fishing Jobs

Crew members of a scallop boat float in their survival suits during a drill in Point Judith, R.I.
Jesse Costa WBUR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 2:09 pm

On the fishing-boat piers of New England, nearly everyone knows a fisherman who was lost at sea.

Boat captain Joe Neves remembers when a crew member got knocked overboard. "We heard him screaming 'Help me!' " Neves says, grimacing. "But you know, on the water at night, your head is like a little coconut." They didn't find him.

Mike Gallagher discovered a friend who was entangled in still-running hydraulics. "I knew right away he was dead," he says.

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It's All Politics
1:04 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Are Independents Just Partisans In Disguise?

Don Nichols iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:31 am

Independent voters have grown in recent years into a mega voting bloc. By some estimates they outnumber registered Republicans, and even registered Democrats.

Every election cycle, independents generate enormous amounts of interest as candidates, pollsters and the media probe their feelings. These voters are widely considered to hold the key to most elections.

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First And Main
1:04 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Wis. State Senator Connects Her Politics To Her Past

Wisconsin state Sen. Jessica King stands at the corner of Main Street and Algoma Boulevard in downtown Oshkosh. She won her seat in a senatorial recall campaign last year.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:35 pm

As the presidential election nears, Morning Edition is visiting swing counties in swing states for our series First and Main. We're listening to voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year. This week, we're spending time in Winnebago County, Wis., where we spoke with two women — one Democrat, one Republican — who embody their state's Midwestern charm and spirit of self-reliance. First, we hear from the Democrat.

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Sweetness And Light
8:09 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Serena Williams Takes Tennis For A Ride

Serena Williams returns a shot during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in Mason, Ohio.
Tom Uhlman AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 11:44 am

For the first time in a long time there is actually more than a modicum of interest in the women's side of a Grand Slam tournament. And, of course, it's all strictly due to a party of one: Serena Williams.

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac Forms In Atlantic, Puerto Rico Under Storm Watch

The National Hurricane Center's five-day forecast of Tropical Storm Isaac.
NWS

The National Hurricane Center says we have a new named tropical storm in the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Isaac has winds of 40 mph, but it is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday afternoon.

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Around the Nation
4:02 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Where Cyclists Once Rode, Ghost Bikes Stand Vigil

Ryan Nuckle helped found New York City's Ghost Bike Project in 2005, after three cyclists were killed in a single month.
Nellie Large for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:06 am

On a muggy summer afternoon in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a dozen people are hard at work on the patio behind a local church. They're stripping old bicycles of their brakes, cables and chains, and sanding and spray-painting them white.

But behind the lighthearted chatter, there's a more somber purpose to this gathering: They're building "ghost bikes."

Painted all white and adorned with colorful notes and flowers, ghost bikes are the cycling community's equivalent of roadside shrines dotting the highway; they mark the spot where a rider was killed in traffic.

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All Tech Considered
4:02 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Study To Test 'Talking' Cars That Would Warn Drivers Of Unseen Dangers

Connected car technology could warn drivers when vehicles ahead of them suddenly brake.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 7:55 pm

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
3:13 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Boston Plans For 'Near-Term Risk' Of Rising Tides

Some scientists predict that by 2050, climate change and an accompanying rise in sea level will lead to frequent flooding in Boston.
jeffgun Flickr

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 4:13 pm

While many cities around the country grapple with drought and excessive heat this year, city planners in Boston have something else on their minds: the prospect of rising water.

In this coastal metropolis, scientists and computer models predict that climate change could eventually lead to dramatic increases in sea level around the city. Coupled with a storm surge at high tide, parts of the city could easily end up under water.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:11 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Decline In Circumcisions Could Prove Costly

ended coverage for routine circumcisions under Medicaid." href="/post/decline-circumcisions-could-prove-costly" class="noexit lightbox">
Nurse Angie Hagen tends to a newborn boy in the nursery at Denver Health medical facility in Denver in June 2011. The following month Colorado ended coverage for routine circumcisions under Medicaid.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 5:15 am

Fewer boys are being circumcised these days, and that could add to health costs down the road.

Over the past two decades, circumcision rates in the U.S. have fallen to 55 percent from a peak of about 79 percent. Insurance coverage for the procedure has also fallen — particularly under Medicaid — and is a factor in the decline.

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The Salt
2:44 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Kenya's Answer To Barbecue Is Part Celebration, Part Test Of Manhood

Kenyan cook Mwangi grills up nyama choma, which usually involves nearly all the parts of a goat, at the popular Sagret Hotel in Nairobi.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:59 am

In Nairobi, Kenya, when friends want to celebrate a birthday, the end of bachelorhood or a graduation, they often go out for goat. This communal and culinary tradition in Kenya is called nyama choma — literally, roasted meat. While it's usually goat, some places offer beef, chicken and lamb. If you know where to look, you can even get illegal zebra and and wildebeest meat.

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Election 2012
2:42 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Biden And Ryan Share Faith, But Not Worldview

This composite image shows Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (left) and Vice President Biden. Both men are Catholic, but their worldviews are strikingly different.
Jose Luis Magana/Thanassis Stavrakis AP

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 5:36 pm

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate, Catholics passed a milestone. For the first time in history, both vice presidential candidates, Ryan and Vice President Biden, are Catholic.

But if Biden and Ryan share the same faith, they couldn't be further apart in their cultural and political worldviews. On issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, taxes and Medicaid, they are miles apart.

How can that be?

Reflecting 'The Old And The New'

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It's All Politics
2:40 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

GOP Platform Anti-Abortion Language Includes No Exceptions For Rape, Incest

Republican National Committee officials on Monday unveiled the stage inside of the Tampa Bay Times Forum in preparation for the Republican National Convention.
Tim Boyles Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 6:47 pm

In Tampa, Fla., a week ahead of their national convention, Republicans are drawing up their party platform. There are muted disagreements over a few issues, such as immigration and same-sex marriage. But at least within the platform committee, one of the least controversial issues discussed this week is abortion.

With little discussion, the committee on Tuesday adopted the same anti-abortion language it included in GOP platforms in 2004 and 2008. It seeks passage of a constitutional amendment that would extend legal rights to the unborn, essentially banning abortion.

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