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The Two-Way
2:22 am
Wed December 11, 2013

As Mandela Lies In State, South Africa Says Goodbye

Graca Machel bids farewell to her husband, Nelson Mandela, whose body lay in state Wednesday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:13 am

Amid a solemn atmosphere, the body of Nelson Mandela lay in state Wednesday at an amphitheater in South Africa's capital of Pretoria, the exact spot where he was sworn in as the country's first black president in 1994, reconciling a land that had been torn by racial divisions for centuries.

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Business
2:19 am
Wed December 11, 2013

GM's New CEO Marks A Return To Tradition

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And here's even bigger news from General Motors, it has chosen a woman as its next chief executive officer, a first in America's auto industry. She's an engineer at the company insider - which could be a lot more important to GM's future than her gender.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Mary Barra follows in the wake of two CEOs from outside the auto industry. Dan Akerson ran a large private equity fund before taking the helm of GM. Before him, it was Ed Whitaker - a telecommunications guy.

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The Two-Way
2:09 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Something For Everyone To Dislike' In Budget Deal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:37 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tamara Keith reports on the budget deal
  • On 'Morning Edition': Sen. Patty Murray speaks with Steve Inskeep

The reviews are coming in for the bipartisan budget deal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and as the Los Angeles Times says, the package seems to have "something for everyone to dislike."

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Health Care
1:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

What's At Stake For States That Reject Medicaid Expansion

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

The Affordable Care Act has produced a surge in the number of people signing up for Medicaid. The ACA offers billions of federal dollars to states to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor. But only 25 states have accepted the federal government's offer, and those that haven't could face economic and budget losses.

World
1:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Police Move In As Protests Continue In Kiev

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Thousands of riot police jostled with protestors in Ukraine overnight. The protestors want their country to sign a trade deal with the European Union. The elected president of the country does not. At issue here is whether their nation tilts a little more toward Western Europe or toward neighboring Russia. NPR's Corey Flintoff is on the line with us from the scene of these protests. And Corey, what's happening now?

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Business
1:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

It's The End Of The Road For VW's Iconic Van

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

The iconic Volkswagen van goes out of production this month in Brazil because of new government-imposed safety requirements. Some of the last of the hippy buses are now rolling off the line.

Strange News
1:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Toy-Gun-Toting Sock Puppet Can't Get Past The TSA

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Strange News
1:49 am
Wed December 11, 2013

These Meeces Are Pieces: A Chess Set Made Of Dead Rodents

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

Rachel Garcia turned 32 dead mice into a chess set. The bishop mice have little bishop hats. The knights hold plastic swords like you'd find in a lemon slice. They're the perfect chess set — if you're willing to touch them.

Science
12:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Megatons To Megawatts: Russian Warheads Fuel U.S. Power Plants

A Soviet SS-21 tactical short-range nuclear missile is shown for the first time in Red Square, at the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 1985.
Associated Press

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

Here's a remarkable fact: For the past two decades, 10 percent of all the electricity consumed in the United States has come from Russian nuclear warheads.

It was all part of a deal struck at the end of the Cold War. That deal wraps up today, when the final shipment of fuel arrives at a U.S. facility.

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Sweetness And Light
12:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Should Character Count In Sports Awards?

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston reacts during the ACC Championship game on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

The Grammy nominations are in, and the talk now is of what actors will be chosen for the Academy Awards, but not once have I heard anyone suggest that any of the singers or actors may not be nominated because of some character deficiency.

Likewise, when it comes to awards in theater or television or dance or literature, I don't ever recall any candidate losing out because of a personal flaw.

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Veterans And Other-Than-Honorable Discharges
12:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Path To Reclaiming Identity Steep For Vets With 'Bad Paper'

Michael Hartnett was a Marine during the Gulf War and served in Somalia. He received a bad conduct discharge for abusing drugs and alcohol. His wife, Molly, helped him turn his life around.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:19 am

When Michael Hartnett was getting kicked out of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was too deep into post-traumatic stress disorder, drugs and alcohol to care as his battalion commander explained to the young man that his career was ending, and ending badly.

"Do you understand what I'm saying to you, son? It's going to be six and a kick," Hartnett recalls the commander telling him.

The "six" was an expected six months of hard labor in the brig. The kick happened at Hartnett's court-martial, and finally woke him up out of the haze.

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Around the Nation
12:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Parents Worry Schools Overlook Girls Who Aren't College-Bound

Kyrah Whatley, 17, is confident she can become a mason after finishing high school. But around the U.S., many parents think schools are not adequately preparing girls for the workforce.
Claudio Sanchez NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

Kyrah Whatley, 17, is a bright student with pretty good grades. But the thought of spending two to four more years in a college classroom is depressing, she says.

Masonry, on the other hand, intrigues her. "I'm a kinesthetic learner. ... I learn with my hands," she says.

That's why Kyrah is thinking of joining the Navy as a certified mason right after she graduates from Buchtel High School in Akron, Ohio.

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A Blog Supreme
12:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort Of Guitar God

Jim Hall performs with his trio and fellow guitarist Julian Lage at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:10 am

Jim Hall was a guitar god, but not in the sense that he could blaze through a zillion notes a minute. He was worshipped by guitarists around the world, but you'd never know it from talking to him.

"I don't really have all that much technique anyway, so I try to the best with what I have you know," he said to me earlier this year.

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Politics
1:55 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

House, Senate Negotiators Announce Deal To Avert Another Shutdown

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:30 am

House and Senate negotiators said late Thursday that they reached a budget deal. The agreement would restore some of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, and includes some relatively small deficit reduction over the next two years. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., hammered out the deal, which they characterized as a step in the right direction that would avoid another government shutdown in mid-January if both the House and Senate approve the budget.

The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Bipartisan Negotiators Unveil Budget To Avoid January Shutdown

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announce a proposed spending plan at the Capitol on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 3:07 pm

Congressional negotiators announced Tuesday that they'd reached a budget proposal to restore about $65 billion worth of sequestration cuts in exchange for cuts elsewhere and additional fees.

If approved by both the House and Senate, the plan — hammered out by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington — would avoid another government shutdown on Jan. 15.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday evening, Ryan said the budget plan doesn't raise taxes and that it's a "step in the right direction."

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The Salt
1:14 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Congressional Work On Farm Bill Likely To Spill Into 2014

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., during a Dec. 4 break in negotiations on the farm bill. On Tuesday, Stabenow said the bill likely won't pass Congress until January.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:14 pm

House and Senate negotiators working to finish a farm bill say it is unlikely their work will be completed before the end of the year. The House is only in session for the rest of the week, and according to one of the negotiators, this week's snowy weather has delayed some numbers-crunching needed to figure out how much elements of a possible deal will cost.

"We're going to pass it in January," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., as she left a closed-door meeting to negotiate details of the five-year farm bill.

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The Two-Way
1:05 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Woman Pleads Guilty To Mailing Ricin To Obama, Bloomberg

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:36 pm

A former actress who sent ricin-laced letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pleaded guilty in federal court in Texarkana, Texas, as part of a deal to limit her sentence to no more than 18 years.

Shannon Guess Richardson, a mother of six from Texas, had minor roles in The Walking Dead and The Blind Side. She mailed three ricin-laced letters from New Boston, Texas, near Texarkana, and then contacted police to say that her estranged husband had done it.

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Shots - Health News
12:44 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Popular Antacids Increase The Risk Of B-12 Deficiency

Drugs that reduce acid production can make it harder for the stomach to absorb vitamin B12.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 11:22 am

Acid-inhibiting drugs like Zantac and Prilosec have become hugely popular because they're so good at preventing the unpleasant symptoms of heartburn and acid indigestion.

But the drugs also make it more likely that a person will be short on vitamin B-12. And that can contribute to health problems including depression, nerve damage and dementia.

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The Two-Way
11:56 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Missing Couple, Four Kids Found Safe In Nevada Mountains

This undated family photo provided by the Pershing County Sheriff's Office shows Shelby Fitzpatrick (left) and Chloe Glanton, two of the children who were found "alive and well" after an extensive search in northern Nevada.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:42 pm

A couple and four children who had been missing since Sunday in the mountains of northern Nevada amid subzero temperatures have been found in good shape, officials said.

"We have located the people. They have been taken to the hospital. They are alive and well." Pershing County Undersheriff Thomas Bjerke said Tuesday. "They are in pretty good shape."

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Shots - Health News
11:49 am
Tue December 10, 2013

To Fight Meningitis Outbreak, Princeton Tries European Vaccine

The Ivy League school has begun vaccinating nearly 6,000 students to try to stop an outbreak of type B meningitis in an unusual federal government-endorsed administration of a drug not generally approved for use in the U.S.
Mel Evans AP

Princeton University has started vaccinating students against type B meningitis in an effort to stop an outbreak that's infected at least eight people.

The vaccine isn't approved for general use in the United States, though it is available in Europe, Australia and Canada. But the meningitis strain that hit the New Jersey campus isn't fazed by the vaccines typically used in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration is allowing a Novartis vaccine that's usually sold in other countries to be administered on the Princeton campus.

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Around the Nation
11:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

New Orleans' Rat Fighters Go Beyond Baiting Traps

A rat forages for food in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans in 2006, a year after Hurricane Katrina. Blighted buildings and fewer people led to an increase in the city's rat population.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:30 am

Marvin Thompson knew he faced a difficult task when he was hired last year as principal at John McDonogh High School in New Orleans.

"The day that I pulled up to this building, I thought it was condemned," Thompson says.

The structure, built in 1898, was sagging and leaky and missing entire window panes. Inside, students were underperforming academically.

And then, there were the rats. Thompson and his two children didn't even finish unpacking his office before they discovered that problem.

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Parallels
11:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

As Inflation Soars, Venezuela's Leader Opts For Drastic Steps

A woman and her child are barred from a supermarket that was closing its doors to ration milk products in Caracas on Nov. 15. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected after the death of Hugo Chavez in March, is facing growing criticism over economic problems that include shortages of basic goods and inflation that's topped 50 percent this year.
Jorge Silva Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:30 am

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has closely followed the economic policies of his predecessor, and by one measure, he has already outpaced Hugo Chavez — inflation.

Inflation has hit 54 percent this year, giving Venezuela one of the highest rates in the world and far surpassing the relatively high rates under Chavez, which sometimes topped 20 percent a year.

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Music
11:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Indie-Pop Albums That Make The Cut Are More Than Mere Collections

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:30 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days?

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular.

CORNISH: OK. So...

(LAUGHTER)

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Around the Nation
11:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Texas Ice Storm Plus Sand, Traffic Equals 'Cobblestone Ice'

Cobblestone ice has made travel downright dangerous. Over the weekend, Ross Hailey of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram captured this truck driving over cobblestone ice in Haltom City.
Ross Hailey Star-Telegram via KERA

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:30 am

The ice storm that's blanketed North Texas streets and highways has spawned a new name: cobblestone ice.

Cobblestone ice — sounds poetic, doesn't it?

Not if you've had to drive through it.

So what is it?

Ryan LaFontaine of the Texas Department of Transportation says cobblestone ice is a combination of ice accumulation and sand laid down by TxDOT and city trucks — which traffic compresses together to form a cobblestone-type surface, a thick layer of frozen ruts and potholes. In some places, it's several inches deep.

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Latin America
11:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Ex-Brazilian President Kubitschek Was Murdered, Commission Says

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:30 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A probe into the death of one of Brazil's most celebrated presidents has determined he was murdered. It was thought that the former leader died in a 1976 car crash but an investigation has found he was assassinated by the military junta that once ruled the country. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that the revelation is renewing calls for Brazil's amnesty law to be revised so that the killers can face justice.

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Will A Handshake Lead To Better U.S.-Cuba Relations?

In this image from TV, President Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:00 pm

In everyday life, a handshake is rather ordinary. But when President Obama shook hands Tuesday with Cuban leader Raul Castro at a memorial service for the late South African President Nelson Mandela, this was how it was described:

-- "a simple gesture that signaled possible thawing between the leaders of the two Cold War foes"

-- "an unprecedented gesture"

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Business
11:04 am
Tue December 10, 2013

GM Gives A Woman The Keys To Drive Its Future

Mary Barra speaks at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year. General Motors has picked her to lead the company.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:29 pm

She's not the first woman to head a global corporation.

Ginni Rometty runs IBM, and Indra Nooyi heads PepsiCo. Don't forget Ursula Burns at Xerox and Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard. There's Marissa Mayer at Yahoo.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Tue December 10, 2013

WATCH: Goats Escape Avalanche

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:08 am

Gawker brings us this video posted on Monday of a herd of chamois goats that make a seemingly miraculous escape from an avalanche on an Alpine mountain face. It occurs in the Rhone-Alpes near Pralognan-la-Vanoise, not far from the border between France and Italy.

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Shots - Health News
10:52 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Despite Big Market In Florida, Obamacare Is A Hard Sell

Enroll America outreach workers talk to congregants at the Mt. Calvary Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
Eric Whitney

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 9:39 am

Getting people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act remains an uphill battle in much of Florida.

Politicians in the state erected roadblocks to the law from the beginning — from joining in the 2010 lawsuit to thwart the law to placing restrictions on what insurance helpers called navigators can tell people seeking advice.

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Code Switch
10:33 am
Tue December 10, 2013

In A Small Missouri Town, Immigrants Turn To Schools For Help

Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:30 am

This story comes to us from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting project that focuses on agriculture and food production issues. You can see more photos and hear more audio from the series here. Wednesday, we'll have a story from a meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kan., which takes a proactive stance toward its newest immigrants.

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