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For a man at the center of so many critical government actions, with a portfolio that includes preventing terrorist strikes and cyberattacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller has mostly avoided the limelight since he joined the bureau just a week before Sept. 11, 2001.

As his friend and former CIA Director George Tenet says, Mueller represents a different type.

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It might have seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago, but today in Egypt, former President Hosni Mubarak was released from prison. Mubarak ruled the country as a police state for almost 30 years, but had been behind bars since the 2011 popular uprising centered in Tahrir Square, Cairo. He's still not a free man, though. Judges have ordered him kept under house arrest.

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Good morning. I'm David Greene. If you board a plane excited about a trip but dreading the possibility of a baby crying loudly for the whole flight, this news is for you. The budget arm of Singapore Airlines - called Scoot - is now offering a $14 upgrade to sit in a child-free zone, no one under 12 allowed.

Madrid Creates 'Acoustic Protection Zone'

Aug 22, 2013

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Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

In downtown Madrid, music floats through the air, amateur musicians playing for money. Sadly, many are not that good, but the city is on the case. To shield residents from mediocre musicianship, it's created an Acoustic Protection Zone. Buskers who wish to perform will be talent-tested. A panel will issue permits to those who have what it takes. The rest will be booted off the stage or, in this case, the sidewalk.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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In New York, the city council is poised to vote today on some of the toughest police oversight laws in decades. The vote comes just weeks after a judge ruled that the NYPD violated the civil rights of minorities with its practice of stopping mostly young men of color on the streets.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is appealing the judge's ruling and refusing to back down on a policing program he has championed. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

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This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. We're following developments in Egypt after today's release from prison of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. We'll go to Cairo in a moment. We begin this hour with stories of two military trials in this country. Both involve horrendous massacres.

Of all the creatures in the sea, one of the most majestic and mysterious is the whale shark. It's the biggest shark there is, 30 feet or more in length and weighing in at around 10 tons.

Among the mysteries is where this mighty fish migrates and where it gives birth. Now scientists have completed the biggest study ever of whale sharks, and they think they have some answers to those questions.

No place seems safe these days from someone's terrifying, post-apocalyptic imaginings. Los Angeles is wrecked in the movie Elysium, the South is zombie-ridden in TV's The Walking Dead, and now— thanks to writer Ben Winters — even the quiet streets of Concord are at risk of annihilation.

In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.

Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.

And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.

"I think he was looking for good musicians, and he knew quite a few. He sees the heart of a person."

That's how Cynthia Robinson, founding member of Sly & The Family Stone, characterizes the charismatic frontman's choice of backing players. The band, which pioneered a blend of funk, soul, jazz and pop, began in 1960s San Francisco as a kind of blended family: black and white, men and women.

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This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

Army Private Bradley Manning was sentenced this morning to 35 years in a military prison. The intelligence analyst shared hundreds of thousands of documents with the website WikiLeaks in what prosecutors call the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. The 25-year-old Manning stood at attention as his sentence was handed down in a courtroom in Fort Meade, Maryland.

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Home Depot says it has had "one of the best quarters in its recent history." It credits the recovery in the housing market. Main rival Lowes also benefited from the housing recovery, and strong demand for home refurbishings.

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Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In New Zealand, dogs and cats have put aside their differences. When Rory the cat was brought to a vet last week after eating rat poison, he was on death's door and needed a blood transfusion fast. There was no time to get a donor match, so the vet took a risk and used blood from a doggie donor instead. The inter-species gamble paid off. Rory's owners report the cat is doing well and has shown no signs of wanting to play fetch. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Supreme Court Justices Aren't Email Savy

Aug 21, 2013

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Good morning, I'm David Greene.

A lot of us will happily admit that we're not up on the latest tech trends. Among this group, nine very powerful men and women who like to wear black robes. Last night, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan told a crowd, quote, "The Court hasn't really gotten into email." Yes, Kagan says the justices write memos on paper that looks like it came from the 19th century. And those papers are shuttled from office to office by law clerks. Guess it's one way to avoid spam.

Marian McPartland, who gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation — died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.

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Elmore Leonard, sometimes called the Dickens of Detroit, created some of the most memorable characters in modern crime fiction. The 87-year-old writer died after suffering a stroke several weeks ago. Until then, he had never stopped writing. His first book, published in 1953, was a Western. Later, he turned to crime novels and left an indelible imprint on that genre. NPR's Lynn Neary has this remembrance.

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Rosie the Riveter, with one of the most famous clenched fists in American history, embodied the message of hardworking women during World War II: We Can Do It. Now a nonprofit is hoping to carry on that legacy. In a little more than a month, the historic Michigan factory where Rosie and thousands of other women built B-24 bombers could face the wrecking ball. That's unless the Yankee Air Museum can raise enough money to salvage part of that massive plant.

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Some of America's biggest retailers announced new steps yesterday aimed at improving safety standards in Bangladesh's troubled garment industry. Wal-Mart and the Gap were among the companies that formed a group called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety after the deadliest accident ever in the garment industry.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper has approved Kodak's plan to emerge from court oversight. That paves the way for it to be a much smaller company focused on commercial and packaging printing.

The plan received the judge's approval on Tuesday, and the company hopes to put it into effect as soon as Sept. 3, reports Kate O'Connell of member station WXXI in Rochester, N.Y.

As the average age of the American farmer has crept up to 60, fewer young people are filling in the ranks behind them. That's prompted some to ask if young people even want to farm anymore.

The quick answer is yes, just not in the same numbers as they used to. And surveys indicate many of them don't want to farm in conventional ways.

The ugliest, most ill-conceived physical addition to sports scenery was the construction, a few years ago, of the Arthur Ashe tennis stadium at the U.S. Open. Typical U.S. supersize. We'll be bigger than everyone else, so there.

Alas, in the upper reaches of this charmless behemoth you need a GPS to find the players somewhere down there at sea level. Worse, should it rain, which it has a wont to do in New York, there are no players on the court and you get wet.

Several vintage sports have seen resurgence among young people lately: roller derby, kickball and even bocce ball. But one century-old sport hasn't just found new fans; it's getting an urban makeover.

Welcome to hardcourt bike polo. On a hot, sunny day in Roseville, Minn., the second day of the 2013 North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship is about to begin.

Obamas Welcome New Puppy To The White House

Aug 20, 2013

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Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with news of a new member of the First Family. Bo may be the first dog but he's no longer the only dog. He now has a sister - Sunny. She's just over a year old and, like Bo, she's a Portuguese water dog. She'll likely join Bo in some official duties like greeting kids at the annual Easter egg hunt. The White House blog says Sunny was born in Michigan. And we'll believe that, after we see the birth certificate. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Good morning, I'm David Greene.

Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana has an annual basketball challenge for incoming freshmen: Hit a shot from half court, win free tuition for a semester. No one had ever done it until this year. Markus Burden was picked randomly from the crowd. He missed twice and then sunk the shot.

He told the college paper this gives his family more financial breathing room. His mom told him to enjoy all of this attention - briefly - then hit the books.

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Pro baseball hasn't done much to inspire lately, think doping. But here is a story that might restore your faith in the good of the game.

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GREENE: In Alabama earlier this season, the Minor League Birmingham Barons welcomed back some veteran players from a seminal year in the team's and the city's history.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And now, ladies and gentlemen, doing our first pitch tonight, our 1964 Barons.

Farmers are getting older. In the last census taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 25 percent of farm operators were more than 65 years old. Neighbors and younger farmers would like to have their land. But for a variety of reasons, it's hard to convince an older farmer to give it up.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. A dramatic turn of events in Pakistan this morning where a court has indicted the country's former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, in the murder of Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was an internationally known name and a popular former prime minister of Pakistan who was making a political comeback in 2007 when she was assassinated at a campaign rally.

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