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Europe
2:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Britain Skeptical About Euro

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 5:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

More insular than ever - so says the French newspaper Le Mon, and it was referring to Britain and that country's decision not to join the effort to forge a new European pact. Today, nearly every European leader expressed support for that pact, but not the British prime minister, David Cameron. NPR's Philip Reeves explains.

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National Security
2:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Questions Surround FBI Agent's Disappearance

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 5:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary. The family of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran, is appealing for his return.

DAVID LEVINSON: My name is David Levinson, and I'm speaking on behalf of my mother, Christine Levinson, and my entire family. Please tell us your demands so we can work together to bring my father home safely.

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Politics
1:52 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

New Rules Turn Up Heat On Florida's Redistricting

History shows us that elections can turn on details — a momentary lapse during a debate, the design of a butterfly ballot, who oversees a recount. That's why so much attention is being paid this year in state capitals to redistricting.

Every 10 years, congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn to reflect changes in population.

Although many states have already finished redistricting, Florida is just getting started. And it's turning into a heated political battle.

Defining 'Gerrymandering'

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Latin America
1:51 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Mexico Busts Drug Cartels' Private Phone Networks

Mexican soldiers stand guard behind communication radios seized from alleged drug-cartel members in Veracruz, Mexico, Nov. 23.
Lucas Castro AFP/Getty Images

The Mexican military has recently broken up several secret telecommunications networks that were built and controlled by drug cartels so they could coordinate drug shipments, monitor their rivals and orchestrate attacks on the security forces.

A network that was dismantled just last week provided cartel members with cell phone and radio communications across four northeastern states. The network had coverage along almost 500 miles of the Texas border and extended nearly another 500 miles into Mexico's interior.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse On Saturday, Western States Get Rare View

The reddish hue during the December 2010 total lunar eclipse.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

The last total lunar eclipse of 2011 — and the last one until April 15, 2014 — occurs Saturday morning.

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Books
1:45 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

At The High Court, A Tribute To A 'Chef Supreme'

Frozen Lime Souffle is Justice Ginsburg's favorite dessert.
Occasions Caterers

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 1:13 pm

Walk into the Supreme Court gift shop, and there, among all the books on the history of the court, is a cookbook — yes, a cookbook. Put together by the spouses of the Supreme Court justices, it is a tribute to a master chef, the late Martin Ginsburg, husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

By day, Marty Ginsburg was one of the nation's premier tax law professors and practitioners. By night, he was one of the nation's most innovative and accomplished amateur chefs.

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Arts & Life
1:40 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Bolo Tie Goes High-Brow At Arizona Art Exhibit

This silver Navajo bolo tie features coral, jade, shell and other stones. It is on display at the Heard Museum in Phoenix as part of the bolo tie exhibit.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:42 pm

Arizona celebrates its centennial next year, and to help get folks spruced up for the occasion, the Heard Museum in Phoenix recently opened an exhibition featuring the state's official neckwear — the bolo tie.

The roots of the bolo tie aren't known for sure. But the story goes like this: Back in the 1930s and '40s, when Western swing was in full swing, a cowboy and silversmith in Wickenburg, Ariz., named Vic Cedarstaff was out riding his horse. The wind picked up, and to keep his silver hatband safe, Cedarstaff looped it around his neck.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Malawi Will Review Its Ban On Homosexuality

The government of Malawi announced, yesterday, that it would review its ban on homosexuality. The announcement comes just days after the United States said it would use its foreign aid to advance gay rights. President Obama also directed his agencies to "to find ways to deter countries from criminalizing homosexuality."

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Shots - Health Blog
12:27 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Deadly Fire That Changed How Hospitals Are Built

Rescue workers carry a hospital bed through a flooded corridor at Hartford Hospital in 1961.
The Hamilton Archives at Hartford Hospital

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:12 am

Fifty years ago it was still OK to smoke in hospitals.

And on Friday, Dec. 8, 1961, someone, nobody knows who, dumped smoldering cigarette ashes down a trash chute at Hartford Hospital, igniting a ferocious fire that killed 16 people.

The fire began at 2:38 p.m. Within minutes a ball of flame zoomed from the basement to the ninth floor, blowing out a rickety trash chute door and engulfing much of the floor in flame and smoke.

An investigation into the fire and how it spread led to changes in fire codes for hospitals across the country.

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The Picture Show
12:21 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Russia By Rail: Getting Into Hot Water

The hot water boiler on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a social gathering place, as well as a convenient way to prepare tea, coffee, oatmeal or instant meals.
Laura Krantz NPR

In American offices, it's the water cooler.

On Russian trains? The boiler.

It's where passengers gather to make tea, coffee, oatmeal, soup, instant pasta or instant anything whose preparation demands hot water.

The boiler – standing proud and tall near the train attendant's compartment in each rail car – is a metal canister keeping water scalding and available at any hour.

Occasional passengers - including myself - refer at times to the appliance as a "samovar."

But this risks offending traditionalists.

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Japan's Prime Minister Says Crippled Nuke Plant Will Be Stable By Year's End

This file handout picture shows workers spraying water to cool down the spent nuclear fuel in the fourth reactor building at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO via AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 2:54 pm

Japan's prime minister said that the Fukushima nuclear power plant crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in March is on schedule to be stabilized by the end of the year.

The AP reports:

"Temperatures of the three melted reactor cores have fallen below the boiling point and radiation leaks have significantly subsided, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

US Military Keeps Wary Eye On Asia's Space Race

In Asia's Space Race: National Motivations, Regional Rivalries, and International Risks, Naval Postgraduate School professor James Clay Moltz discusses the potential militarization of fast-growing space programs in China, India, and Japan--and why US military officials are keeping watch.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Inbreeding To Blame For Bedbug Renaissance

Presenting at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, researchers said bedbugs can survive many generations of inbreeding, allowing one pregnant female to cause a building-wide infestation. Biologist Rajeev Vaidyanathan discusses that study, and another on pesticide resistance.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Engineers Give The Jump Rope A Spin

When they both worked at Princeton, Howard Stone and Jeff Aristoff used to play basketball at lunchtime. One day, when Dr. Stone was warming up with his jump rope, the two wondered if anyone had mathematically modeled the shape of the rope. The two researchers decided to give it a whirl.

Food
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Debating Genetically Modified Salmon

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 12:37 pm

Transcript

JOE PALCA, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Joe Palca. Ira Flatow is away this week. The biotech company AquaBounty Technologies of Waltham, Massachusetts, has developed a genetically modified Atlantic salmon that grows twice as fast as regular salmon. How has it done this? By tinkering with the salmon's genome, adding a growth hormone gene from one fish plus an antifreeze gene from another.

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Research News
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Python Could Help Treat Heart Disease

Adult Burmese pythons can swallow prey as large as deer. Now, researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder say the way the python's heart balloons after it eats could help treat human heart disease. Molecular biologist Leslie Leinwand discusses her team's python experiments.

Research News
12:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Rats Show Empathy, By Freeing Trapped Companions

Reporting in Science, researchers write of an experiment in which rats worked to open the cages of trapped rats, but not empty or dummy-filled cages. Author Peggy Mason discusses empathy in non-primates, and the value rats place on freeing a companion--about equal to that of a stash of chocolate chips.

The Two-Way
11:15 am
Fri December 9, 2011

As Candidates Decline, Will Trump Moderate A Debate? 'Don't Know,' He Says

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich listens at right as Donald Trump talks to media after a meeting in New York.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 12:33 pm

The news that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) have decided not to participate in the Dec. 27 Republican presidential debate that businessman/TV personality/self-proclaimed potential independent presidential candidate Donald Trump is supposed to be moderating means just two GOP contenders would be left for the event:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).

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Sports
10:55 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Larry Kelley: The Life Of The First Heisman Winner

On Saturday, college football's best player will be awarded the Heisman Trophy in New York. This year's front-runners attend Baylor University, Stanford University and University of Alabama; but 75 years ago, the Heisman winner was a Yale man. In 1936, at a time when the Ivy League was a hotbed of football talent, Yale end Larry Kelley was the first to win a Heisman Trophy.

Movie Reviews
10:17 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Spies Like Them: 'Tinker, Tailor' And Other Odd Ilk

Operative Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) goes undercover in Hungary to find out more about a possible Russian spy within the U.K.'s secret intelligence agency.
Focus Features

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 12:28 pm

Most people will find the first 20 minutes of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy difficult to follow — I did, and I've read John le Carre's novel and seen the haunting 1979 BBC miniseries starring Alec Guinness, although decades ago.

The movie is chopped up into short scenes featuring people we don't know working for a circus — what? — and for someone called "C," and talking about a woman called Karla? Meanwhile, the star, Gary Oldman, doesn't say a word for the first 18 minutes.

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Economy
9:35 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Trade Deficit Shrinks For Fourth Straight Month

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in October to its lowest point of the year as Americans bought fewer foreign cars and imported less oil. Exports of American-made autos also fell.

Movie Interviews
9:21 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Herzog's Doc Brings Prehistoric Paintings To Life

Anthropologist Nicholas Conard (left) and filmmaker Werner Herzog examine artifacts from the Chauvet caves in southern France.
Mark Valesella IFC Films

This interview was originally broadcast on April 20, 2011. The Cave of Forgotten Dreams is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

In 1994, three French cave explorers discovered hundreds of prehistoric paintings and engravings on the walls of the Chauvet Cave in southern France.

Carbon dating has since shown that the depictions of rhinoceroses, lions, cave bears, horses, bison, mammoths and other animals are between 30,000 and 32,000 years old.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Virginia Tech: Same Gun Killed Officer And Suspect

A student paused Thursday evening at the memorial for the victims of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. There was another vigil last night, following Thursday's killing of a campus police officer.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 5:39 pm

Virginia State Police and other officials briefed reporters this morning about Thursday's shooting on the campus at Virginia Tech, in which a campus police officer was killed and the suspect apparently later shot himself and died. We updated as it happened and put those posts in chronological order after the briefing was over.

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The Fresh Air Interview
9:00 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Fresh Air Remembers Soul Singer Howard Tate

Soul singer Howard Tate died last Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 72.
Brian Branch-Price AP Photo

Originally published on Sun February 5, 2012 6:28 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on October 27, 2003.

Soul singer Howard Tate, who rose to prominence in 1967 with the hit "Get It While You Can," died on Friday. He was 72.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:56 am
Fri December 9, 2011

With Doubts, FDA Panel Votes For Yaz And Related Contaceptives

Katie Anderson, shown with her mother, Beth, in 2010, suffered a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Her symptoms started within a month of taking the birth control pill Yaz.
Jane Greenhalgh NPR

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 3:52 pm

Doubts have been growing about Yasmin, Yaz and their sister contraceptives for several years now. And those doubts reached full flower at a Food Drug Administration advisory panel on Thursday.

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