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It's All Politics
10:47 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Bridge Controversy Could Take Toll On Chris Christie's Future

The George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., on Sept. 2, just days before lanes were closed under mysterious circumstances.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:17 pm

Were access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, the nation's busiest span, closed as political retribution against a mayor who didn't publicly endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's re-election?

The governor denies that politics played a role in the traffic-snarling decision, but the controversy has put an ever-growing stain on Christie's glossy November re-election victory. And the episode could have an impact on Christie's White House ambitions.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Pope Francis Shakes Up Important Congregation For Bishops

Bishop Raymond Leo Burke.
Anonymous ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pope Francis continues to shake up the Vatican establishment. This time, in what observers are calling a major move, he reshuffled the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important organizations in the Vatican.

In the biggest shakeup announced on Monday, Francis removed Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the group and replaced him with another American, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C..

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It's All Politics
9:37 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Obama's Year Of Disappointing The Liberal Base

President Obama talks about drones and national security earlier this year at the National Defense University in Washington.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:56 am

It's been a long, disappointing year for many of President Obama's most ardent supporters.

From drones and Syria to immigration and the Keystone XL pipeline, the list of issues on which the president has induced frustration and disillusionment is not a short one.

And fallout from that restive base is reflected in Obama's dismal year-end poll numbers.

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Shots - Health News
9:08 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Concussion Research Slowed By Shortage Of Donated Brains

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher's body has been exhumed more than a year after he killed his girlfriend and himself so that his brain can be examined for signs of a degenerative condition linked to repeated concussions.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:08 am

Former NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher's body was exhumed last week so doctors can perform tests on the remains of his brain. The family hopes to find out if a degenerative brain disease played a role in Kansas City Chiefs veteran's death last year, when he shot his girlfriend then killed himself.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Tue December 17, 2013

'Rapture' Prophet Harold Camping Dies

Harold Camping speaks during a taping of his show Open Forum in Oakland, Calif., on May 23, 2011.

Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:13 am

Harold Camping, the radio preacher who generated headlines around the world in 2011 with his ultimately wrong predictions that the world was about to end, has died.

According to The Associated Press, Family Radio Network marketing manager Nina Romero says Camping died Sunday at his home in Alameda, Calif. He was 92.

A quick run through some of our headlines (with links) from 2011 may help refresh your memory about Camping's brush with fame:

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All Tech Considered
8:09 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Almost All Tech Execs At White House Supported Obama Campaign

Chad Dickerson, chief executive of Etsy, was among the group of tech leaders visiting the White House. He gave $500 to the Obama campaign.
Etsy

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:51 pm

President Obama just wrapped up a meeting with high-tech luminaries at the White House, focusing on an agenda of how to clean up HealthCare.gov, and how to stop the snooping by the National Security Agency from continuing to cast a pall over high-tech profits.

The group has a lot to discuss. On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the NSA's collection of millions of telephone records may be unconstitutional.

Here's who was invited.

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Microsoft Executive Will Now Run HealthCare.gov

Kurt DelBene, former president of the Microsoft Office Division, talks about Microsoft Office 365 at a news conference in San Francisco, in 2010.
Paul Sakuma AP

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene will take over the operation of the troubled HealthCare.gov website.

DelBene will take over for Jeff Zients, who was appointed by President Obama to rescue the site after it launched with crippling problems. Zients, who Obama had turned to in the past to fix sticky issues, had made it clear that he was not going to stay on the job past December.

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Shots - Health News
7:37 am
Tue December 17, 2013

The Case Against Multivitamins Grows Stronger

Though some people might need more of specific vitamins, multivitamins don't help most people, studies say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:57 am

When I was growing up my mom gave me a multivitamin every day as a defense against unnamed dread diseases.

But it looks like Mom was wasting her money. Evidence continues to mount that vitamin supplements don't help most people and can actually cause diseases that people are taking them to prevent, like cancer.

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The Two-Way
7:34 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Paul Walker, Boston Bombing Among Top 2013 Google Searches

Actor Paul Walker in 2009.
Joel Ryan AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:43 am

What did people search for in 2013? Google released its annual tally of the stories people around the world were most interested in.

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Parallels
7:14 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Israeli Startup Offers Kids Social Media Training Wheels

Many children want to participate in social media sites like Facebook before they're old enough to legally sign up.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 4:14 am

Two years ago, Itay Eshet's daughter told him she wanted a Facebook account. She was 10 years old.

Facebook's great, Eshet told her, but it's not for kids. So instead they built a new social network for preteens called Nipagesh, which means "let's meet" in Hebrew.

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Costs Of Shutdown And Health Website Highlight 'Wastebook'

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., issues his Wastebook each year.
Coburn.Senate.gov

Older Two-Way readers will remember the monthly Golden Fleece Awards from former Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wis., who spotlighted ways the federal government was wasting money.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has picked up that mantle in recent years with his annual Wastebook.

On Tuesday, Coburn released his 2013 edition, where he points to:

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Health
7:06 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Are Americans Getting Smarter About Obesity?

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:17 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later this hour, we're going to deal with some common holiday dilemmas, such as how to deal with tantrums at the mall, how to deal with people who get a little too cute at a holiday gathering and how to move your spending habits from the naughty to nice column, at least for next year. That's all coming up.

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Mega Millions Jackpot Swells To $636 Million

A woman picks her Mega Millions lottery numbers at a shop in New York's Penn Station on Tuesday. The Mega Millions jackpot soared to $636 million on Monday, still short of the $656 million U.S. record set in a March 2012 drawing.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:55 am

Update at 12:43 p.m.

The Mega Millions jackpot is now the second-highest lottery jackpot in U.S. history: It swelled to about $636 million, on the back of strong ticket sales ahead of the drawing at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

On Monday, lottery officials estimated that the jackpot had risen to $586 million. And there could be a Christmas miracle: The jackpot could reach a seemingly impossible $1 billion if no one wins by Dec. 24. That would shatter the record of $656 million, set in a March 2012 Mega Millions drawing.

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The Protojournalist
6:13 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Project Xpat: How It Sounds To Live In Russia

Mark Kelleher

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:57 am

American expat Mark Kelleher, 56, is an English teacher in Chelyabinsk, Russia. He has lived there for a dozen years with his Russian wife, Tatiana. They have twin daughters, Caitlyn and Maggie, who are 7.

**

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The Salt
6:03 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Industrial Meat Bad, Small Farm Good? It's Not So Simple

Somali refugees lead their herds of goats home for the night outside Dadaab, Kenya. A new study shows that animals in many parts of the developing world require more food — and generate more greenhouse emissions — than animals in wealthy countries.
Rebecca Blackwell AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 6:53 am

To feed all 7 billion of us, address climate change and live longer, we all need to eat less meat. From Al Gore to the Meatless Monday movement to Harvard epidemiologists, that's been the resounding advice offered to consumers lately.

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The Two-Way
5:41 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Names New CEO

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, will be next chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world with a $40 billion endowment.

The AP reports that the foundation has been looking for a CEO since Jeff Raikes announced his retirement in September.

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The Two-Way
5:27 am
Tue December 17, 2013

India-U.S. Row Over Diplomat's Arrest In New York Escalates

Indian workers remove Tuesday a barricade that had been erected as a safety measure outside the main entrance of U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The move follows the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.
Saurabh Das AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 3:03 am

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

At issue is the arrest last week of Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York.

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Around the Nation
5:26 am
Tue December 17, 2013

From 'Death Jars' To Wasps: A Quest To Stamp Out The Stink Bug

The invasive brown marmorated stink bug has become an expensive nuisance for U.S. farmers. It has spread to 40 states and eats about 100 different crops.
Matt Rourke AP

The brown marmorated stink bug doesn't just smell bad. It's also been causing trouble for homeowners and farmers from New Hampshire to California for the past three years.

No predators are eating the invasive species fast enough to keep it under control, but researchers think they may have found a solution to the stink-bug menace.

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The Two-Way
4:56 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Six U.S. Soldiers Reported Killed In Afghan Crash

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 6:11 am

The crash of a military aircraft Tuesday in Afghanistan killed six members of the International Security Assistance Force who were on board, military officials say, and NPR's Tom Bowman has been told by military sources in a position to know that all six were Americans.

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Shots - Health News
4:42 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Medicare Names Best And Worst Hospitals For Joint Replacements

Before you have get a new hip, you might want to check the government's list of best and worst hospitals for the operation.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:58 am

Around a million people get hip or knee replacements a year, and those operations cost Medicare and private insurers a lot of money. For the first time, the federal government is evaluating how good a job individual hospitals are doing.

Medicare has identified 95 hospitals where elderly patients were more likely to suffer significant setbacks and another 97 hospitals where patients tended to have the smoothest recoveries. (It's a long list that you can sift through here.)

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The Two-Way
3:10 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Edward Snowden Seeks 'Permanent Political Asylum'

Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with The Guardian.
Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:24 am

Updated at 11:04 a.m.

Edward Snowden says "permanent political asylum" will give him the freedom to talk about U.S. surveillance programs.

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The Two-Way
2:25 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt And KISS Are In The Rock Hall

Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain in 1993. He took his own life in 1994.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 3:23 am

We can stop wagging our tongues about KISS not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The hall says its 2014 inductees are:

-- Cat Stevens

-- Peter Gabriel

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The Two-Way
1:47 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Bipartisan Budget Deal Passes Key Test In Senate

It may seem to some like a holiday miracle, but the Senate moved ahead on a bipartisan budget plan Tuesday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 2:09 pm

Updated at 10:27 a.m. ET: Moving Ahead:

The Senate voted 67 to 33 on Tuesday to move forward on the two-year, bipartisan budget plan that restores some of the automatic spending cuts of recent years, trims spending in other areas and appears to have put on hold until 2015 the bitter battles that led to this year's partial government shutdown.

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Around the Nation
1:45 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Mass. Brothers Not Too Old To Pose With Santa

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:30 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
1:40 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Seahawks Beat Giants And Surpise Chevy Dealer

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:30 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The Seahawks 23-to-nothing victory over the New York Giants is great news for Seattle, except for the folks at Jet Chevrolet. The Seattle-area dealership pledged to give 12 people $35,000 apiece if the Seahawks shut out the Giants. The car guys never expected to pay up. What are the odds? But just in case, they insured the bet, so they're only out about seven grand.

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

Business
11:34 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways For Years To Come

Some Steinway company representatives and employees — like Wally Boot, pictured here — have been working for the company for decades. Boot is the last person to touch every piano that leaves the factory in Queens, N.Y.
Craig Warga Bloomberg/Getty

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:30 pm

For 160 years, the pianos made by Steinway & Sons have been considered the finest in the world. So when hedge fund billionaire John Paulson recently bought the company, it struck fear in the hearts of musicians: Would the famously handcrafted pianos be changed, for the sake of efficiency? Paulson, who owns several Steinways himself, says nothing will change.

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Race
11:34 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Chinese-American Descendants Uncover Forged Family Histories

William Wong (standing) poses with his parents and nephew in an old family photo. Wong's mother immigrated to the U.S. from China as his father's "sister" to bypass the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Courtesy of William Wong

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:30 pm

What if you discovered the last name you've lived with since birth is fake?

That's what happened in many Chinese-American families who first came to the U.S. before World War II, when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese laborers from legally entering the country.

The law, formally repealed by Congress 70 years ago Tuesday, prompted tens of thousands of Chinese to use forged papers to enter the U.S. illegally.

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Around the Nation
11:34 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

FAA To Soon Pick Sites For Commercial Drone Testing

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:30 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Six states will soon be chosen as commercial drone test sites. So major companies like Amazon say they're hoping to use drones to ship products. But first, the Federal Aviation Administration has to figure out how to fly them safely in civilian airspace. Nevada is one of the states that wants to give commercial drones a try, as Will Stone from member station KUNR reports.

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Business
11:34 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Italian Police Arrest 4 In Holiday Extortion Case

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:30 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is a Christmas con.

Just when we want to be thinking about generosity around the holidays, a story of extortion.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Police in Italy have arrested four alleged mafia gangsters for forcing shop owners to buy poinsettias for as much as $140 each. Owners who refused to partake in the Christmas special would have their shops vandalized.

Read more
Business
11:34 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Glaxo To Stop Paying Doctors To Promote Drugs

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:30 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with new rules for Glaxo.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: The head of British - the British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, told The New York Times yesterday that the company will stop paying doctors to promote its drugs. Pharmaceutical firms commonly pay physicians to speak at medical conferences - a practice criticized as a conflict of interest.

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