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7:04 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Republicans Divided Over Potential Strike On Syria

Republican congressional leaders support an American military strike in Syria, but the rank-and-file membership is divided. GOP Congressmen Doug Collins of Georgia and Luke Messer of Indiana serve on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. They talk about the debate in the Republican caucus.

Krulwich Wonders...
6:52 am
Fri September 6, 2013

What We Can Never, Ever Know: Does Science Have Limits?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 8:10 am

I got two books in the mail that, if they could have, would've poked, scratched and ripped each others' pages out. I don't know if Martin Gardner and Patricia Churchland ever met, but their books show that there are radically, even ferociously, different ways to think about science. Gardner died last year. He was a science writer whose monthly "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American was wildly popular. Patricia Churchland is a philosopher who teaches at U.C. San Diego.

The issue between them is: How much can we know about the universe?

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Shots - Health News
5:45 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Scientists Put A 'Sixth Sense' For Numbers On Brain Map

A sixth sense? A small patch of neurons on either side of the brain recognizes how many dots are on a screen. As more dots appear, active neurons shift to the right.
Courtesy of Ben Harvey/Utretch University

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 7:25 am

One of the most famous scenes in the movie Rain Man unfolds when a waitress drops a box of toothpicks on the floor. Dustin Hoffman's character, Ray, takes a look and says, "82, 82, 82." He quickly sums the numbers, declaring, "Of course, 246 total."

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The Two-Way
5:24 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Obama Has No 'Intention' To Strike Syria If Congress Says No

President Obama on Friday at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 6:22 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': White House adviser Tony Blinken talks with NPR's Steve Inskeep

"The president of course has the authority to act" even if Congress does not support his plan for a military strike on Syria, White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep earlier today.

But Blinken also said of the president that it is "neither his desire nor his intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him."

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Obama To Address Nation About Syria On Tuesday

President Obama during his news conference Friday in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 5:44 am

Saying he will continue to "make the best case" in coming days for taking military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, President Obama has announced that he will speak to the American people Tuesday about why he's come to that conclusion.

Obama's statement came Friday at the start of a news conference he's holding in St. Petersburg, Russia, where the G-20 Summit of world leaders wrapped up Friday. He spoke for about 50 minutes. We followed along. Scroll down to see what the president had to say.

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Parallels
4:51 am
Fri September 6, 2013

The Deadly Checkpoint That Divides Syria's Biggest City

Syrian rebel fighters run run for cover during clashes Wednesday with government forces in Aleppo. Syria's largest city has been bitterly divided since heavy fighting broke out more than a year ago. The government army controls the western part of the city; the rebels control the east. Residents risk sniper fire as they cross back and forth.
Aleppo Media Center AP

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 6:39 am

It's a typical day — which means it's a very dangerous one — at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing point that separates the eastern part of Aleppo that's held by Syrian rebels and the western part that's held by President Bashar Assad's army.

Despite the risks, street vendors still shout about their merchandise on offer and residents carry on with their daily shopping. An old man urges his wife to hurry so they can cross back to the other side before trouble erupts, which it does with regularity.

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The Two-Way
3:51 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Jobless Rate Ticks Down To 7.3 Percent; 169,000 Jobs Added

A recruiter for Cigna greets a job seeker at a career fair in Philadelphia over the summer.
Mark Makela Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 9:30 am

The nation's jobless rate dipped to 7.3 percent in August from 7.4 percent in July as 169,000 jobs were added to public and private payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated Friday morning.

The figures were roughly in line with what economists had been expecting to hear.

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The Two-Way
3:21 am
Fri September 6, 2013

U.S. Embassies In Lebanon And Turkey Tell Some Staff To Leave

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 4:39 am

Citing "threats to U.S. Mission facilities and personnel," the State Department has told "non-emergency personnel and family members" at its embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, to leave the country.

Also, State "urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of current safety and security concerns."

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The Two-Way
2:51 am
Fri September 6, 2013

'Pretty Solid Jobs Report' Likely; Will Fed Then Dial Back?

The scene last month at a "Beyond the Dream" job fair in Brooklyn, N.Y. Data on the month's job growth and unemployment rate are due Friday morning.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 4:35 am

Economists expect to hear that about 180,000 jobs were added to payrolls and that the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 7.4 percent last month when the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues its highly anticipated report about the August employment situation at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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Politics
2:33 am
Fri September 6, 2013

What It's Like Living In A Bankrupt City

Some of the many boarded up store fronts along Weber Street in Stockton, Calif., in 2012. The Stockton City Council voted to declare bankruptcy last year, making it the largest city in U.S. history to enter Chapter 9 to that time.
Peter DaSilva EPA /Landov

Crime has been bad on the south side of Stockton. Katherine Anderson, a lifelong resident of the Northern California city, says she's almost gotten used to hearing shots fired in her neighborhood.

Stockton has long had a problem with drugs. But there's been more crime because Stockton is broke.

Until Detroit's recent filing, Stockton's bankruptcy was the largest in U.S. history. Given widespread police layoffs and retirements, the city's gang intervention and narcotics teams have both closed shop. The result was a murder rate that last year broke all local records.

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Middle East
2:23 am
Fri September 6, 2013

White House 'Exhausts' Diplomatic Options On Syria

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 7:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A single sentence sums up President Obama's challenge in winning congressional support for a strike on Syria. Congressman Elijah Cummings said it yesterday on NPR's TELL ME MORE.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

REPRESENTATIVE ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Let me tell something. When you've got 97 percent of your constituents saying no, it's kind of hard to say yes.

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Around the Nation
2:21 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Florida's Byler Sextuplets Turn Six Years Old

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 7:40 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Florida's first sextuplets turn 6 this week. And the Byler kids have also started kindergarten - each in separate classrooms.

Apparently, it's been a tough transition with a lot of tears. It's the first time the five brothers and one sister have been on their own since they were born. It also made more work for their mother. She had to bake 120 cupcakes so that each of the six children would have enough for each classroom party.

Around the Nation
2:21 am
Fri September 6, 2013

It Could Soon Be Drone Hunting Season

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 7:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

It may soon be drone hunting season. Deer Trail, Colorado, is considering a plan to issue hunting licenses for drones. It's a protest against federal surveillance. And even though the proposal has not passed, the Denver Post says 983 people applied. Now, you'd think the federal government would laugh off this notion that there would ever be a drone over Deer Trail. Instead, officials have warned against shooting them.

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

The Two-Way
2:20 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Book News: Sushmita Banerjee, Indian Author Who Fled Taliban, Shot Dead

Author Sushmita Banerjee poses at a 2002 news conference announcing the launch of the movie Escape From Taliban, which is based on her memoir A Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife.
Sebastian D'Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 2:58 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
2:20 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Report: 'Iran Plots Revenge' If U.S. Strikes Syria

A U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz earlier this week in the Red Sea. The ship is among U.S. military assets in the region.
Nathan R. McDonald UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 4:31 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Scott Horsley reports from the G-20 Summit

"The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria," The Wall Street Journal reports.

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It's All Politics
2:18 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Q&A: How To Do Political Coverage Better In The Twitter Age

Reporters watch the final minutes of the presidential debate between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney last October in Denver.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Curious about how social media sped up news cycles, amplified trivial events on the trail and enabled Washington's "worst tendencies" during the 2012 presidential race, one of the nation's top young political reporters decided to take a deeper look.

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Parallels
12:05 am
Fri September 6, 2013

India's New Central Banker Steps Into A Perfect Storm

Raghuram Rajan, the new head of the Reserve Bank of India, has his work cut out for him. India's economic growth has crashed, its currency has plunged and prices are up.
Rajanish Kakade AP

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 3:54 pm

Raghuram Rajan, the new governor of India's central bank, swept into office this week infusing a sense of optimism.

He announced hard-headed measures Wednesday that remove uncertainty that has characterized the Reserve Bank of India's moves.

By Friday, Indian equities and the rupee were clawing back.

But analysts say the exuberance — and honeymoon with the suave MIT-trained economist — is unlikely to last.

After decadelong high growth rates, India is now the sick man of Asia.

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National Security
12:05 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Secretary Napolitano Finishes Up At Homeland Security

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 7:40 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Today is Janet Napolitano's last day as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Napolitano is leaving Washington D.C., heading for California, to become at the end of this month, president of the University of California System. NPR's Brian Naylor sat down with Napolitano yesterday for a look back at her tenure as head of one of the government's largest and most complex departments.

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Sports
11:05 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Olympic Committee To Announce 2020 Summer Games Host

Tokyo's 2020 candidate city logo.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 9:22 am

Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the International Olympic Committee will announce the host of the 2020 Summer Games. The committee is choosing from among Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. The contenders all have strong selling points, but each also has serious issues clouding its bid.

Violent Crackdown Hangs Over Turkey's Bid

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Business
10:38 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Rates Come Down On Jumbo Mortgage Loans

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 7:40 am

There is something new and different for home mortgages: Jumbo loans are being made at lower interest rates than traditional home loans. That's kind of like a first class airplane ticket being cheaper than riding in coach.

At first this seems crazy. For as long as anybody can remember, homeowners have had to pay a premium to get jumbo loans. That's because they're not guaranteed by the federal government. If they're not guaranteed, they're riskier, so they cost more in interest payments.

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Shots - Health News
9:54 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

After A Decade, Congress Moves To Fix Doctors' Medicare Pay

I think I see the problem.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 2:59 am

Hear the words health care and Congress, and you think fight, right?

And you'd be forgiven, particularly because the House has now voted some 40 times in the past two years to repeal or otherwise undo portions of the Affordable Care Act.

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StoryCorps
9:53 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Remembering A Boss Who Led A Team To Safety On Sept. 11

Connie Labetti, 52, was able to escape one of the World Trade Center buildings on Sept. 11, 2001, thanks to her boss, Ron Fazio.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 8:46 am

Connie Labetti worked on the 99th floor of the south tower — the second World Trade Center tower to be hit on Sept. 11, 2001.

She made it out of the building thanks to her boss, Ron Fazio. He, however, did not survive. Fazio was one of 176 Aon employees who died that day. He was 57.

"He's the reason I'm here, there's no question about it," 52-year-old Labetti says. "Most of us survived that day because of him."

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

The Other G-20 Drama: Obama And Brazilian President Rousseff

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attends the first working meeting of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 2:49 pm

While everyone has been focused on Syria, including the dramatic meeting of two world leaders at odds over the situation, there was another bit of drama unfolding Thursday at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia:

President Obama was late to dinner apparently because he was busy trying to smooth over a conflict with Brazil.

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The Salt
1:41 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Was Your Chicken Nugget Made In China? It'll Soon Be Hard To Know

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 7:52 am

Here's a bit of news that might make you drop that chicken nugget midbite.

Just before the start of the long holiday weekend last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that it was ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.

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The Two-Way
1:39 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

German Police Raid Christian Sect For Alleged Child Abuse

View of the village of Klosterzimmern near Deiningen, Germany on Friday. The village is home to the religious community 'Zwoelf Staemme' ('Twelve Tribes').
Daniel Karmann EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 8:31 am

Two communities affiliated with a U.S.-founded Christian sect have been raided by German police, who removed 40 children after allegations of abuse.

Officials say they acted after receiving evidence of ongoing child abuse at the two communities in Bavaria belonging to the Twelve Tribes, according to Germany's Spiegel Online.

According to the BBC, more than 100 officers were part of the operation to remove the children, who were placed in temporary foster homes.

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Arts & Life
1:10 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

'Smitten Kitchen' Author On Learning To Love Kale

Food blogger Deb Perelman was initially a kale skeptic — until this Kale Salad With Pecorino And Walnuts changed her mind.
Deb Perelman

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Kale has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Once relegated to the sidelines as a mere garnish, the green now appears on 400 percent more restaurant menus than it did four years ago.

But not everyone has bought into the gospel of the vitamin- and mineral-rich green. Even Deb Perelman, who writes the blog and cookbook Smitten Kitchen, was initially a kale skeptic.

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Arts & Life
1:09 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Swing Your Partner: W.Va. Circles Back To Square Dancing

A couple takes to the floor in Harmon, W.Va., in 2012. West Virginia is trying to revitalize its square-dance tradition.
Jessie Wright-Mendoza for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Square dancing, once a pillar of small-town life, is making a comeback in West Virginia. A statewide project is trying to help communities preserve and promote this part of their cultural heritage.

Marlinton, W.Va., is one of the towns taking up the cause. Its square dances can gather a crowd, but residents still worry about attracting the attention of the next generation.

If you go to a square dance in Marlinton, there are some rules to follow. First of all, leave your stereotypes at the door, says Becky Hill, who works on The Mountain Dance Trail initiative.

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It's All Politics
1:03 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Even In An Obama Stronghold, Voters Saying 'No' On Syria

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., gestures as he speaks in an Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in May 22.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 1:31 pm

Among the hurdles in the House to authorizing U.S. strikes on Syria: Many lawmakers say that back home there's very little support for military action.

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U.S.
12:20 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

BP Wants To Halt Deepwater Horizon Claims Process

Crude oil that leaked from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sits on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.
Chris Graythen Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:21 pm

BP is fighting the settlement it agreed to last summer that let the oil company avoid thousands of potential lawsuits over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Just after the spill, when oil was still gushing into the Gulf, BP touted the $20 billion it set aside for claims. But now it says the claim process is corrupt and is hoping a court will overturn the settlement that established the claims fund.

Ending the claims would mean stopping a well-oiled machine.

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The Salt
12:07 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Japanese Whiskey Teases U.S. Consumers By Playing Hard To Get

Suntory's 30-year-old Hibiki whiskey took home the top award at the International Spirits Challenge in 2003. This unexpected triumph was Japanese whiskey's big coming-out party on the global spirits stage.
Courtesy of Suntory

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 2:31 pm

Scotland is the de facto king of whisky. But now an unlikely challenger — Japan — is making a name for its whiskey far beyond its borders. Unfortunately for Americans, this highly coveted Japanese whiskey is very hard to come by.

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