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Fishermen Benefit From Clean-Plate Fine

Feb 15, 2013

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Clean your plate. You heard that from your mom. Now a restaurant in Sapporo, Japan says that to its customers. If you order their signature dish, it's all you can eat - a bowl of rice topped with salmon roe - you must eat it all or pay a fine, which goes to hardworking fishermen. But one server says that hardly ever happens because most diners clean their plates.

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

With Congress headed for a recess, prospects are dimming for a deal to keep the nation from falling off the next fiscal cliff - sequestration. That's the term for automatic spending cuts that go into effect March 1.

NPR's Mara Liasson explains how the White House and Congress got to this impasse and why it's so hard to get past it.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

As we've been hearing, clock is ticking on the sequester. That is the Washington term for the across-the-board cuts that will take effect March 1, unless Congress acts to put them off.

The impact the $85 billion reduction in government programs could have became a bit clearer yesterday, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

The lives of the 26 people murdered by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December were eulogized and celebrated after the tragedy. But many discussions about Lanza's first victim, his mother, Nancy, were marked by both sympathy and suspicion, particularly as the news emerged that she had taken her son to shooting ranges.

The film No revisits the moment in Chile's history when 56 percent of the country voted to oust a dictator from power. It's the tale of the ad campaign that helped persuade Chileans to cast their ballots against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a national referendum.

"This is an epic story, the story of a triumph," says Director Pablo Larrain. "It's how they defeat a dictator — probably one of the biggest bastards that we ever had in humankind."

The potential Democratic Party contest for a U.S. Senate seat between 89-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg and 43-year-old Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker had been shaping up to be a generational battle royale.

Alas, it won't happen now that Lautenberg has announced that he won't run for re-election in New Jersey's 2014 Senate race. In a statement, the octogenarian senator said:

Pope Hurt Head Last Year On Trip To Mexico

Feb 14, 2013

Earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing he was resigning from his post as head of the Roman Catholic Church. It was the first time a sitting pope had stepped down in nearly 600 years.

As Mark wrote on Monday, Benedict cited his "advanced age (85) and diminishing strength," as reasons for his decision.

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the oldest member of the senate, announced today that he will not seek re-election.

The New York Times reports:

Artist Works To Keep Immigrants In The Picture

Feb 14, 2013

Ramiro Gomez Jr. is working fast enough to draw the least amount of attention, but slowly enough to make every detail stand out. He describes the rush he gets as "therapeutic."

Senate Democrats offered an alternative Thursday to the sequester, the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to hit March 1.

Despite dire warnings in congressional hearings this week, many on Capitol Hill seem resigned to the sequester.

The operator of Florida's Crystal River nuclear plant sent shockwaves through the state when it announced recently that it was shutting down the facility for good.

When nuclear plants have closed elsewhere, locals have cheered. But in Citrus County, it's been more like a death in the family.

At Fat Boy's Bar-B-Q restaurant in Crystal River, owner Bubba Keller says he's worried about what's going to happen to the community. "I mean, things are already tough," Keller says. "If this makes it worse, don't know if I can hang in there."

A cloture vote on the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary failed in the Senate, today.

That means Senate Republicans succeeded — with a vote of 58 to 40 — in keeping the Hagel nomination from coming before a final vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled the cloture vote after Republicans refused to give unanimous consent to proceed with the final vote.

When it comes to treating a lazy eye, there's evidence that turning the lights off may help — if you're a kitten.

A study in the latest issue of Current Biology reports that kittens with a type of visual impairment known as amblyopia, or lazy eye, were able to regain normal eyesight after being plunged into total darkness for 10 days.

Remember Sen. Marco Rubio's paean to his Florida neighborhood in giving the Republican response to the State of the Union address?

The massively popular Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood started humbly about 20 years ago. Nollywood movies were shot as cheaply and as quickly as possible, then released straight to VHS.

Nollywood caught on globally, and piracy was a major factor in the industry's growth, as copies of copies of Nollywood tapes sold on street corners from Lagos to Harlem. In the early 2000s, Nollywood distribution shifted from VHS to discs — and now, the movies are also beginning to stream online.

There are roughly half a million people behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes in America. But no one really knows how many people have been sentenced to long prison bids since the laws known as Rockefeller drug laws first passed 40 years ago.

What's clear is that tough sentencing laws, even for low-level drug dealers and addicts, shaped a generation of young men, especially black and Hispanic men.

As the Carnival Triumph drifted for days in the Gulf of Mexico, we wondered: Instead of undertaking a slow, arduous tow to Mobile, Ala., wouldn't it have been easier — and more comfortable for passengers — to send an empty cruise ship to the area and evacuate the 3,143 passengers?

Many of the drugs we take aren't actually digested — they pass through our bodies, and down through the sewer pipes. Traces of those drugs end up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife. Nobody's sure what effect they have.

Now, a paper being published in Science magazine finds that drugs for anxiety drugs — even at these very low levels — can affect the behavior of fish.

President Obama will cap off a busy week of politicking with some R&R in Florida.

Obama plans to travel to the West Palm Beach area for what his spokesman called "some well-deserved downtime."

"He's going to spend Presidents Day weekend relaxing with some friends," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "There's no work on the schedule."

In a federal court today, prosecutors said former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor misappropriated $2 million of her late husband's charitable foundation because of a gambling addiction.

During a period between 2000 and 2008, reports the San Diego Union Tribune, prosecutors say O'Connor gambled away more than $1 billion.

The paper reports:

Apparently, the undead aren't even welcome in the ever polite Great North.

Today we got more troubling news for the world economy: Germany's GDP slipped 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012, sending the Eurozone deeper into recession.

The Guardian spoke to Carsten Brzeski and analyst for ING, who said:

A future without weeds would be a kind of farmer utopia, but currently, herbicide-resistant "superweeds" are part of today's reality. Some researchers, though, are looking for a solution that seems ripped from science fiction: weed-seeking robots.

A Valentine's Campaign To End Violence

Feb 14, 2013

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

This morning, hundreds of Somali men and women gathered in a community center in Mogadishu after a flash mob. Campaigners in Parliament Square in London held up one finger while MPs debated violence against women inside Westminster. And hundreds of Egyptian sang and danced after 10 a.m., Cairo time, all that from live coverage provided by The Guardian. Events all marked V-Day and its One Billion Rising campaign, designed to boost awareness of violence against women all over the world.

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. You can soon add US Airways to a long list that includes TWA, Pan Am, Eastern, Western, Braniff and so many others. US Airways will merge with American. The new American Airlines will be the world's largest, and after decades of consolidation, one of just four major airlines in the U.S.

'Zero Dark Thirty' Renews Torture Debate

Feb 14, 2013

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. One of the most critically acclaimed and most popular films of the year, "Zero Dark Thirty," is up for five Oscars, including Best Picture. The film follows the hunt for Osama bin Laden and sparked controversy for its depiction of CIA interrogation techniques, including water boarding.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ZERO DARK THIRTY")

JASON CLARKE: (As Dan) Come on, give it to me. Hasam(ph) was a friend of Gramzi Yusef(ph). You guys met in Iran back in the '90s.

NASA calls it a "small near-Earth asteroid."

And though "2012 DA14" will come within about 17,000 miles of our planet and be closer than some satellites, the space agency assures everyone that "there is no chance that the asteroid might be on a collision course with Earth."

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the new U.S. and International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, commander in Afghanistan, has only been in charge for a few days, and already he's been summoned to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office for what looks like a dressing down, according to a press release from the president's office.

Dunford was called in to discuss what was initially reported as an ISAF airstrike in Kunar province that killed 10 civilians late Tuesday night.

Toward the end of his life, President Richard Nixon found some redemption by secretly advising President Bill Clinton on foreign issues.

New declassified documents, on display at the Nixon Library, released by the Clinton Library and obtained by the Associated Press, show that Nixon sent Clinton a letter after he won the presidency.

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