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Solve This
4:06 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Afghanistan Deadline Awaits Next U.S. President

Afghan children run to school on Sept. 24. Whoever takes over as the next U.S. president will have to determine how many troops will remain after the December 2014 deadline to help with long-term security.
Jeff Pachoud AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:24 am

How does a president bring the war in Afghanistan to an end? There are 68,000 American troops serving in the country as the war enters its 12th year.

The war hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign, and polls show American voters are tiring of the war. But the next commander in chief will find the Afghan war among the most difficult of many foreign policy challenges.

Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney appear to agree on a date: the last day of December 2014. That's when the Afghan security forces are scheduled to takeover.

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It's All Politics
4:06 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Massachusetts Senate Race Gives New Meaning To Gender Politics

Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (left) answers a question during a debate against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren on Monday at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, Mass.
Matt Stone AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:24 am

Despite its liberal reputation, the home of Jack Kennedy and Tip O'Neill has never elected a woman as governor or senator. And in Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown's tight re-election race with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, gender could prove the difference.

When Brown won his Senate seat in a special election in 2010, he came away unscathed by something his female opponent at the time would have had a much harder time explaining away. He posed nude for Cosmopolitan when he was 22 to help pay for law school.

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Economy
4:05 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Reading Between The Candidates' Economic Lines

A for-sale sign hangs in front of a Homestead, Fla., home. In terms of the housing market, the presidential candidates differ most on regulation.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 11:17 am

As we approach the presidential election in November, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates in a new segment called Reporter Hotline. This week, we answer inquiries about the candidates' policies on housing and taxes.

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Presidential Race
4:04 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Taxes Are Certain, But What About Romney's Cuts?

Supporters watch Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak on Friday in Abingdon, Va. Romney started off his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but has backed off that somewhat.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:24 am

Republican Mitt Romney started his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but now he has changed course. He's warning middle-class families not to raise their hopes too high.

Romney couldn't have been more emphatic than he was last November at a candidates' debate in Michigan.

"What I want to do is help the people who've been hurt the most, and that's the middle class," he said. "And so what I do is focus a substantial tax break on middle-income Americans."

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Economy
3:29 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Unemployment Numbers Are Kept Under Guard

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And undoubtedly, the president and Governor Romney were up early Friday morning reading and eagerly awaiting the unemployment numbers. Almost immediately after they were announced, theories began to circulate that maybe, just maybe, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was cooking the books to help the president's re-election.

Back in August, Caitlin Kenney of NPR's Planet Money team went to investigate just why those numbers are such a closely held secret.

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Business
3:20 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Why Companies Use Software To Scan Resumes

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

The Labor Department announced on Friday the lowest unemployment rate since January 2009. Most big companies use software to screen resumes and ultimately move that unemployment number. These programs can be a big help for hiring departments, but a hindrance for job searches everywhere.

Politics
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Defense Companies Hold Off On Pink Slips, For Now

Air Force F-22 Raptors, made by Lockheed Martin, are prepared for flight operations at Langley Air Force Base. Despite the looming defense spending cuts that would go into effect in January if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction plan, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors announced this week they would not issue layoff notices.
Gary C. Knapp AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Major defense companies said this week they will not send out layoff notices to warn of big job cuts in January, taking away the prospect of embarrassing layoff notices right before the November elections.

That's led to charges that the White House overstepped when it told the industry the notices are not needed.

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Music Interviews
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Ultraísta: Radiohead's Knob-Twister Takes Off

Detail of the cover art from Ultraísta, the debut album from Nigel Godrich's new trio.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:58 pm

At the beginning of 1997, Nigel Godrich was a relatively unknown recording engineer. He'd been looking for a band that would trust his instincts as a producer, and he'd finally gotten his chance — with the band Radiohead. By the end of 1997, Godrich was one of the most talked-about names in music.

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Presidential Race
2:56 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

The NPR Third-Party Candidate Debate

Moderator Jim Lehrer sits at his desk before last Wednesday's debate between President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Denver. For third-party candidates, getting into a presidential debate is practically impossible.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:00 pm

What's it like to be a third-party candidate running for president? Ralph Nader can tell us.

"You're excluded from the debates," he says. "You spend an exhausting amount of time, until Labor Day, trying to get over the ballot access barriers. Your petitioners are harassed in the streets; you're subjected to baseless lawsuits by one party or another."

Nader has run for president three times – four if you count the time he ran unofficially. In 2000, he managed to win almost 3 percent of the national vote.

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Simon Says
6:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Does Voting Early Prompt Hasty Choices?

Voters cast their ballots during early voting in Bowling Green, Ohio. Early voting began Oct. 2 in the battleground state, five weeks before Election Day on November 6.
J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Nov. 6 is 32 days away, but for millions of Americans, there is no longer an Election Day.

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now have early voting, which is under way even now in eight states. Hundreds of thousands of votes have already been cast, most before this week's presidential debates or Friday's jobs report, and all ahead of the three future debates and any unforeseen October event that might test the mettle of a candidate.

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Presidential Race
6:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Economic News Brightens Obama Rally

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Health
6:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

States Struggle To Manage Meningitis Scare

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Nearly two-dozen states are watching for new cases of a rare kind of meningitis, caused by fungal contamination in injections for back pain. Officials say the shots were custom made by a Massachusetts pharmacy that shipped about 17,000 doses to states from New York to California. While the disease cannot spread from person-to-person, at least five people have died and dozens more are sick. The outbreak first showed up in Tennessee as we hear from Daniel Potter of member station WPLN.

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Sports
6:05 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Wild-Card Wins And Anxiety-Prone Players

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Major League Baseball premiered its new high-stakes, single game wild-card playoff round last night. But a controversial call involving a famously vague old rule is at the center of attention today. The - eh-eh - defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in that game. The Baltimore Orioles put away the Texas Rangers. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now. Morning, Tom.

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Latin America
5:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Chavez's Socialism At Stake In Venezuelan Election

A picture of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was on display this week at a state-run market that provides subsidized food and basic goods in Caracas.
Eitan Abramovich AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:17 pm

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces his most serious election test in 14 years of power. Though he has easily beaten his adversaries in the past, Chavez now confronts a 40-year-old former governor who has been electrifying the crowds.

The stakes are high. If Chavez loses, it could mean the end of his socialist experiment in the oil-rich nation.

In speech after speech, Chavez is like the Chavez of old — bombastic, loud, defiant, with grand dreams about projecting Venezuelan influence worldwide.

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Economy
5:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Jobs Report Has Surprising Results

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The jobless rate fell sharply to 7.8 percent in September, which happens to be exactly where it was when President Obama took office. That's according to the U.S. Labor Department's latest monthly jobs report. But even though the unemployment rate dropped, the Labor Department's payroll survey reveals that businesses did not significantly hire new people. NPR's Yuki Noguchi has this report on how experts are interpreting the numbers.

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Author Interviews
5:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Fallen 'Lion': How The 'House Of Assad' Came Down

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Asia
5:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Former Cricket Star Leads Pakistan Drone Protest

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We spoke with Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan's Justice Party yesterday. We contacted him at his home in Islamabad before he set off on his march to protest drone attacks. Mr. Khan, thank you very much for being with us.

IMRAN KHAN: My pleasure.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Why are you leading this march?

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Deceptive Cadence
4:26 am
Sat October 6, 2012

The MacArthur 'Genius' Bow Maker Who Makes Violins Sing

Over the past four decades, Benoit Rolland has made more than 1,400 bows for violins, violas and cellos.
Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Among the 23 recipients of the MacArthur "genius" grants this past week: an economist, a mathematician, a photographer, a neuroscientist, and a Boston-based stringed instrument bow maker.

Benoit Rolland acknowledges that the violin reigns supreme as the star of the strings, capable of fetching millions of dollars at auction. But what about the bow? "A violin with no bow is not a violin, that's clear," says Rolland.

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Author Interviews
3:59 am
Sat October 6, 2012

A Love Song To Family, New York In 'Sunlight'

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

When we get an early glimpse of Harry Copeland, he's falling in love in an instant, with a girl he sees on the Staten Island Ferry. Her hair "trapped the sun and seemed to radiate light," he writes, "and with New York in 1947, when it brimmed with color, light, drama and a babble of voices that reminded him of the world he fought to save as a paratrooper in World War II."

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Asia
3:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

U.S. Drones Navigate Murky Legal Path In Pakistan

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone sits on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in southern Afghanistan in 2010. The U.S. has been using drones in Pakistan for years. The Pakistanis initially claimed the drone attacks as the work of their own military, but the strikes have become a source of friction.
Massoud Hossaini AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:15 pm

The U.S. has been carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan for some eight years, but it's done so under a policy that has emerged piecemeal over that time.

"It started in 2004, when drones were really an oddity," says Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was on the State Department's policy planning staff when it all started during the Bush administration.

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Economy
3:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Holiday Jobs Come With Uncertainty For Workers

Retailers expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra holiday workers this year, but the hours can be scarce — and unpredictable.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Retailers across the country expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra workers this holiday season to help with the anticipated spike in sales. Retail workers who have been hustling year-round for more hours are looking at that news with a jaded eye — because the vast majority of these seasonal jobs will disappear after December, sending many of these workers back scrounging for more work.

With a 17-hour workweek, Onieka O'Kieffe is left with a lot of time on her hands. Too much time. She said she very often sleeps 12 hours a day just because she can.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:57 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Romney Health Care Debate Claim Gets Corrected By His Own Staff

Mitt Romney speaks during the presidential debate Wednesday in Denver.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:17 pm

Independent fact checkers have not been particularly kind to Mitt Romney since Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver. But one of the candidate's claims turned out to be so far off the mark that he had to be corrected by his own aides — a fact not unnoticed by the Obama campaign.

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The Two-Way
3:57 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Fallout From Financial Crisis: Thousands Of Nigerian Kids Poisoned By Lead

Women and their children wait for medication and instructions on how to use it at the clinic in Dareta, Nigeria. Treating children with high levels of lead is a painstaking process that works only if their environment at home is free from lead.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:27 pm

Gold in general has great PR. It's slick, it's hip, it's bling. But in a remote corner of West Africa, it's killing children.

Lead from illegal gold mines in northwestern Nigeria has sparked what Doctors Without Borders has called the worst case of environmental lead poisoning in years.

The catastrophe is part of the fallout from the collapse of the U.S. housing market.

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Middle East
3:56 am
Sat October 6, 2012

A Whitewashed Wall Erases Egypt's Revolution

An Egyptian man waves a bullet casing in front of a mural that was painted on a recently whitewashed wall in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:43 pm

A massive graffiti mural in Cairo's Tahrir Square documenting the political turmoil in Egypt was whitewashed earlier this month. The next night, several hundred artists and supporters were back, covering the wall in new images and anti-government slogans.

Medical student and painter Doaa Okasha, 20, was outraged when she found out the original mural was gone.

"It's our history there. This wall explains a lot of what happened in the last months, and it's very important to us," she says. "They easily come and erase everything, and we don't accept that."

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Music Interviews
12:03 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Josephine Foster: A 'Vibrating Voice' To Shake The Soul

Josephine Foster's newest album is titled Blood Rushing.
Jessica Knights Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Don't try to pigeonhole Josephine Foster. She has recorded albums of psychedelic rock and Tin Pan Alley, music for children, blues, Spanish folk tunes, 19th century German art songs and a song cycle based on the poems of Emily Dickinson. Although her soprano may be a little unusual, it's arresting.

Foster recently released a new album, Blood Rushing. She spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about finding her voice, collaborating with her husband, singing at funerals and embracing small-town life.

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Around the Nation
9:07 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Border Patrol Agent's Death May Have Been Accidental

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. There's new information tonight about the shooting of two border patrol agents along the Arizona-Mexico border earlier this week. One of the agents was killed in that incident. Well, the FBI now says that there are strong preliminary indications that the shooting was accidental and only involved the agents on the scene. NPR's Ted Robbins is following the story and joins me from Tucson. And, Ted, it sounds like the FBI is saying this is a case of friendly fire. What more do you know?

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Shots - Health Blog
4:33 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak Update: List Of Hospitals Released

The government has named 75 medical facilities that received a potentially contaminated drug suspected of infecting 47 patients with meningitis nationwide.

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The Two-Way
4:12 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Officials Investigating Whether Border Patrol Was Killed By Friendly Fire

U.S. Border Patrol agent Nicholas J. Ivie.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 6:28 pm

The shooting death of a Border Patrol agent along the Arizona-Mexico border may have been the result of friendly fire. The FBI said a preliminary investigation indicates the death of one agent and the injury of another "were the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents."

NPR's Ted Robbins tells our Newscast unit the FBI was investigating the possibility of friendly fire and that today Homeland Security Janet Napolitano flew to Arizona to review the case and meet with the dead agent's family.

He filed this report from Bisbee, Ariz.:

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Shots - Health Blog
3:27 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Arabian Coronavirus: Plot Thickens But Virus Lies Low

Different types of coronaviruses can cause a simple cold or a deadly respiratory illness, such as SARS.
BSIP UIG via Getty Images

It now appears that the new coronavirus found on the Arabian Peninsula is more widespread than initially thought, even though only two people are known to have gotten sick from it.

At first it seemed likely that the two known cases of illness from the new cousin-of-SARS virus may have been exposed in or near the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

U.S. Speedskating Launches Disciplinary Panel For Skate Tampering Incident

Simon Cho of the U.S. celebrates during the 500 meter men's final race at the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Dresden in 2011.
Jens Meyer AP

U.S. Speedskating apologized today, after one of its athletes admitted that he tampered with the skates of a competitor.

"I speak for everyone at U.S. Speedskating — our staff, athletes and Board of Directors — when I say that we are shocked and disappointed by Simon [Cho's] actions," Tamara Castellano, marketing director of U.S. Speedskating, said in a prepared statement. "We would like to apologize to Speedskate Canada and Olivier Jean, as well as all of the Canadian athletes who competed in Warsaw, for the actions of our athlete."

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