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The Salt
9:05 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Fast-Food Workers Across The U.S. Cry Poverty Wages, Demand Better Pay

Fast-food workers march toward the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Similar rallies occurred in about 100 cities across the U.S.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:57 am

When you're making eight bucks an hour, which is pretty typical in the fast-food industry, it's tough to make ends meet.

And increasingly, the working poor are asking this question: Why am I living in poverty, even when I'm working full time?

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Thu December 5, 2013

American Teacher Is Killed While Jogging In Benghazi, Libya

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:42 am

An American chemistry teacher who spent more than a year teaching at an international school in Libya, was shot and killed Thursday in Benghazi.

The U.S. State Department identified the slain teacher as Ronald Thomas Smith II. He was 33 years old.

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World
7:02 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Abortion In Haiti: Dangerous And Illegal

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to spend some time today talking about issues in health, particularly in the developing world. Later, we're going to hear what it's like to be a trauma doctor in one of Africa's most populous and, yet, still underserved areas. And, hint, her house calls involve a helicopter. That's just ahead.

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Race
7:02 am
Thu December 5, 2013

New York City's Fire Commissioner On Extinguishing Racial Gap

Salvatore Cassano smiles during a news conference following his swearing-in as New York City's fire commissioner.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 3:19 pm

Nearly 250 recruits to New York City's storied fire department graduated on Thursday. The graduating class looks a lot different from the ones before it: Sixty-two percent are members of minority groups. The department has been nearly 90 percent white, a very different demographic than New York City's population.

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The Two-Way
6:36 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama Tells Government To Ramp Up Its Renewable Energy Use

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:44 am

This post was updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Obama says the U.S. government "must lead by example" when it comes to safeguarding the environment, so he's ordering federal agencies to use more clean energy.

Under a presidential memorandum out Thursday, each agency would have until 2020 to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable supplies.

"Government agencies currently get less than 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind," NPR's Richard Harris reports. He adds that:

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The Protojournalist
6:13 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Project Xpat: What It Means To Be An Expatriate

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:37 am

When American expatriate Charles Trueheart was young, he lived all over the world — in Ankara, London, Saigon and Paris. His father was an American diplomat.

When Charlie was older, he moved back to the U.S. He went to college at Amherst. Eventually, he and his wife, Anne Swardson, became international correspondents for The Washington Post.

I was Charlie's editor at the Post for several stories. He is a lovely writer and a good friend.

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The Two-Way
5:37 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Ford Hopes New Mustang Will Get The World's Motor Running

The new 2015 Ford Mustang was unveiled Thursday. The car's new design includes features that are geared toward global markets.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:19 am

Ford unveiled its new Mustang on Thursday, in a splashy event that was undermined a bit by leaked photos that showed the new model's design. And the Mustang will be sold around the globe for the first time since the car was introduced nearly 50 years ago.

From Michigan Radio, Tracy Samilton filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
4:36 am
Thu December 5, 2013

China Bans Bitcoin Trading By Banks

Chinese banks cannot trade in Bitcoins, the digital currency that doesn't recognize international boundaries, China's top regulators said Thursday.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:03 am

China says banks in the country are no longer allowed to trade in Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has sharply risen this year. Chinese citizens, however, are not forbidden from using the currency.

The Bitcoin exchange rate took a hit following Thursday's news from China's central bank.

From Shanghai, NPR's Frank Langfitt filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
3:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

U.S. Economy Grew At 3.6 Percent In Third Quarter; Jobless Claims Dip

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:23 am

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's a rise from the second quarter, when the real gross domestic product tallied a 2.5 percent gain.

The pace of growth is the fastest since the first quarter of 2012, which clocked in at 3.7 percent.

Thursday's release is the "second" estimate for the third quarter, following up on data released in November that put the GDP's increase at 2.8 percent.

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The Two-Way
3:03 am
Thu December 5, 2013

$559K Fine Set For Safety Failures In Deadly Arizona Wildfire

A photo taken by the Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30 shows their position on a ridge, with a red arrow indicating the original location of their lookout. The crew's lookout was the only team member to survive the fire.
Chris MacKenzie Granite Mountain Hotshots

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:16 am

An Arizona employee safety agency has fined the state's forestry division $559,000 for its failures in handling the Yarnell Hill wildfire, which killed 19 elite firefighters from the city of Prescott this summer.

"The agency concluded that State Forestry placed a higher priority on protection of homes and property than firefighter safety," reports the Prescott Daily Courier.

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Europe
2:26 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Love At First Sound: A Romantic Story From World War II

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:15 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. This week a British couple celebrated their 70th anniversary, a romance sparked when he fell in love with her voice. It was World War II. The young RAF pilot was returning from a bombing mission over Germany when a lovely voice came over his cockpit radio guiding him down. Rushing up to the control tower he found a glamorous girl from the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Months later Steve and Maureen Stevens married. Love at first sound. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
1:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Militants Launch Deadly Attack On Yemen's Defense Ministry

Smoke rises from the site of a suicide car bombing at the Defense Ministry in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, Thursday.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 5:19 am

Attackers used guns and bombs to assault Yemen's Defense Ministry compound Thursday, in a bold daytime attack that was reportedly carried out by gunmen dressed in Yemeni military uniforms. At least 20 people reportedly were killed during the attack in the capital city of Sanaa.

"The attack took place shortly after working hours started at the ministry, when a suicide bomber drove a car into the gate," a Defense Ministry source tells Reuters.

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Business
1:56 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Reviewers On Amazon Poke Fun At $40,000 TV

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:05 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Samsung is selling an HD television for $40,000. That price tag prompted the following customer reviews on Amazon.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

I was going to send my kids to college, but I had to do what was best for my family.

INSKEEP: Glad it has low energy costs, as I'm on a very tight budget.

MONTAGNE: I hesitated to buy, but I saw double-A batteries were free with the remote.

It's All Politics
1:20 am
Thu December 5, 2013

GOP Family Feud: 'Showboat' DeMint Takes on 'Tyrant' McConnell

Former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, at a news conference earlier this year.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:26 am

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is more than a little aggravated with the Senate Conservatives Fund, and who can blame him.

The youngish but well-financed Tea Party organization has targeted McConnell, a five-termer from Kentucky and highest-ranking Senate Republican, by helping to bankroll a primary challenger and using the race as an intraparty, us vs. them proxy.

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Shots - Health News
12:03 am
Thu December 5, 2013

White House Cites Pre-Existing Condition Case From Its Own Ranks

Michael Robertson, then chief of staff of the Government Services Administration, testifies on Capitol Hill on April 16, 2012. Now chief of staff of the Cabinet Affairs Office in the Obama administration, Robertson has undergone treatment for stage IV colorectal cancer.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:07 am

It's Day 4 of the White House's new messaging push for the Affordable Care Act. Today the goal is to tell the stories of people with pre-existing conditions who are now entitled to coverage under the new health care law.

One such story comes from within the White House.

Michael Robertson, deputy assistant to the president and deputy cabinet secretary, was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer 16 months ago. He was 35.

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Business
11:45 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Banks Come Under Fire For Filling In The Payday Loan Gap

Federal regulators are setting new rules for banks that offer deposit advances.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:05 am

A payday loan is a costly form of credit operating on the fringes of the economy. That's why the target of a new crackdown by federal regulators may surprise you: Instead of a forlorn-looking storefront with a garish neon sign, it's your familiar neighborhood bank.

A small but growing number of banks, including some major players, have been offering the equivalent of payday loans, calling them "deposit advances."

That is, at least, until bank regulators stepped in Nov. 21 and put new restrictions on the loans.

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Food
11:45 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Make The Punch Bowl Your Holiday Party Centerpiece

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:05 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Even though Christmas and New Year are still a few weeks away, we're already well into holiday party season. And punch bowls are often the centerpieces of festive gatherings. For tips on how to make sure the punch bowl does its job as star libation attraction, writer Julia Reed. She's a columnist for Garden & Gun, a Southern lifestyle magazine.

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Health
11:45 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

FDA Expected To Approve New, Gentler Cure For Hepatitis C

A colorized closeup of the hepatitis C virus.
James Cavallini Science Source

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:30 am

The Food and Drug Administration is expected any day now to approve the first in a new class of drugs that can cure the leading cause of liver failure and liver cancer.

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Parallels
10:17 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

China's Military Buildup Reignites Worries In Asia, Beyond

Chinese naval soldiers stand guard on China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning as it travels toward a military base in Sanya, Hainan province, in this undated picture made available on Nov. 30.
China Stringer Network Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:18 am

China has been building up its military strength for some time now, and pushing ever farther from its coastline and into international waters. The real concern now is for miscalculation — particularly with Japan — that ends up in gunfire.

Just six months ago, the Pentagon released its annual report on China's military. Its defense budget was growing. The country was building more stealthy aircraft and submarines. It even bought an aircraft carrier from the Ukraine.

Pentagon official David Helvey highlighted particular areas of concern.

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Shots - Health News
10:16 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

HealthCare.gov Now Allows Window Shopping, And A Do-Over

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:31 am

One thing that's clear about the relaunch of the troubled HealthCare.gov website is that it can accommodate more people.

Federal officials said more than 1 million users logged in on Monday, and nearly that many on Tuesday.

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Shots - Health News
10:14 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Teens Who Feel Supported At Home And School Sleep Better

Solid friendships can help buffer life's stress.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:31 am

A teen's relationship — or lack of good relationship — with parents, pals or teachers may have a lot to do with why most kids aren't getting the nine to 10 hours of sleep that doctors recommend. The hormonal disruptions of puberty likely also play a role.

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Parallels
9:16 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Help-Wanted Ad Shows Depths Of Spain's Unemployment Problem

People line up outside a government unemployment office in Madrid on Oct. 5. Spain has an unemployment rate of 26 percent.
Paul White AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:05 am

Having trouble wrapping your head around southern Europe's staggering unemployment problem?

Look no further than a single Ikea furniture store on Spain's Mediterranean coast.

The Swedish retailer plans to open a new megastore next summer near Valencia. On Monday, Ikea's Spanish website started taking applications for 400 jobs at the new store.

The company wasn't prepared for what came next.

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The Two-Way
7:03 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Report: Threat Of Mandatory Minimums Used To Coerce Guilty Pleas

In August, Attorney General Eric Holder told federal prosecutors to no longer hit low-level drug offenders with charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences. But it's not yet clear how broadly that directive is being interpreted.
Stephen Lam Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 4:44 am

A new report says the Justice Department regularly coerces defendants in federal drug cases to plead guilty by threatening them with steep prison sentences or stacking charges to increase their time behind bars.

And for the first time, the study by Human Rights Watch finds that defendants who take their fate to a judge or jury face prison sentences on average 11 years longer than those who plead guilty.

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Movie Interviews
1:34 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

On Becoming Llewyn Davis, A Hero Who Excels At Failing

Oscar Isaac as the titular character in Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.
Alison Rosa Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:10 am

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Around the Nation
1:26 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Pipeline On Wheels: Trains Are Winning Big Off U.S. Oil

A train leaves the Rangeland Energy company's crude oil loading terminal near Epping, N.D. So far this year, 60 percent of all oil produced in North Dakota left the state by rail. One economist says there aren't enough oil tankers to fill the demand.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:28 pm

The oil boom in the United States is creating another boom — for the railroad industry.

So far this year, in North Dakota alone, 140 million barrels of oil have left on trains. Shipments of crude oil by rail are up almost 50 percent over last year — and this upward trend is expected to continue.

A visit to the world-famous Tehachapi Loop, part of a winding mountain pass in Southern California, demonstrates the scale and reach of the oil boom in the middle of the country. As a train full of oil tanker cars rumbles past, it's hard not to think of it as a pipeline on wheels.

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Code Switch
12:32 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Telemundo's 'Highly Unusual' Resurrection of 'El Señor'

Rafael Amaya plays drug lord Aurelio Casillas on El Señor de los Cielos.
Billy Coleman Telemundo/NBC Universal

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:22 pm

Telemundo recently announced that its telenovela El Señor de los Cielos (Lord of the Skies) will be back for a second season; production began this week in Mexico City. This resurrection sets it apart from almost every other telenovela because, unlike American soap operas, telenovelas have a clear beginning and a definitive ending, airing for a set number of episodes.

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The Salt
12:24 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

These Days, School Lunch Hours Are More Like 15 Minutes

Students at Lowell High School in Michigan sit down for lunch. Shorter lunch breaks mean that many kids don't get enough time to eat and socialize.
Emily Zoladz Landov

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 4:09 am

It's lunchtime at Oakland High School in Oakland, Calif., and that means fence hoppers. Several kids wear mischievous grins as they speedily scale a 12-foot-high metal perimeter.

In theory, anyway, Oakland High is a "closed campus." That's done in the interest of safety and security and to cut down on school-skipping. It means kids can't leave during school hours without parental consent, especially at lunchtime. But it doesn't stop several students from breaking out.

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Around the Nation
12:19 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Nothing Says Christmas Like 700 Screaming Faces

An ornament honoring Edward Munch's The Scream is part of an annual Christmas tree erected at Union Station in Washington, D.C., and decorated by the Embassy of Norway.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:20 pm

As it has done for the past 16 years, the Embassy of Norway decorated a Christmas tree at Union Station in Washington, D.C. — a gift to the American people to say thanks for helping Norway during World War II.

This year is no different. The tree was lit in a ceremony Tuesday evening, but what stands out is the nature of the ornaments that adorn the artificial tree: In addition to small American and Norwegian flags, the tree is decked out with 700 shining decorations with the iconic image from Norwegian Edvard Munch's painting The Scream.

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Shots - Health News
12:17 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Fertility Drugs, Not IVF, Are Top Cause Of Multiple Births

Nurses tend newborns at Sloane Hospital for Women in New York City.
Pat Carroll Getty

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 4:29 am

Drugs that help women become pregnant have replaced in vitro fertilization as the main culprit behind high-risk multiple births, according to a study looking at births of triplets and higher-order multiples.

"IVF, which is usually the one we tend to point fingers at, was not the leading culprit," says Eli Adashi, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brown University who was senior author of the study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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It's All Politics
12:03 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Immigration Advocates Face Hurdles In GOP House Districts

Immigration advocates gather Tuesday outside the fence for the lighting of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:39 pm

Want to understand why House Republicans aren't onboard with an immigration overhaul? Take a close look at the districts they represent.

Hispanics today make up 17 percent of the nation's population and are the fastest-growing ethnic group. But an NPR analysis of U.S. census data shows they live disproportionately in districts represented by Democrats. The average Democratic district is 23 percent Latino; the average Republican district, less than 12 percent.

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