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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

At Day 2 Of Trial, Promoter Says Michael Jackson Looked Healthy

From The Associated Press:

"Two days before he died, Michael Jackson appeared strong during one of the final rehearsals for his highly anticipated comeback concerts, a promoter told jurors Wednesday as the involuntary manslaughter trial of the pop superstar's physician entered its second day."

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The Two-Way
11:56 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Reebok Agrees To Refund $25M To Those Who Purchased 'Toning Shoes'

Reebok EasyTone shoes.
Reebok

Reebok International Ltd. came to an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission over what the government said were "over-hyped advertising claims" by Reebok that a pair of its specialty shoes could tone leg and butt muscles better than regular shoes.

One TV ad, cited by the FTC, claimed that Reebok's EasyTone shoes tone "your butt up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers, just by walking."

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Shots - Health Blog
11:56 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Saw Palmetto No Better Than Sugar Pill For Prostate Problems

Field of dreams: saw palmetto thriving in Florida's Osceola National Forest.
Geoff Gallice Flickr

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 11:59 am

If you're one of the millions of men who takes the supplement saw palmetto for prostate trouble, there's more evidence that it's not worth the money.

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Around the Nation
11:47 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Going Round In Circles Over Traffic Fix

A traffic circle in the heart of Amman, Jordan.
Mauricio Lima AFP/Getty Images

Over the past decade, the number of roundabouts in the U.S. has increased dramatically, from the low hundreds up to the thousands. Modern traffic circles can cut down on commute time and pollution. Studies have shown that they even reduce accidents. And many American cities are planning to put in more. But there are still a few roadblocks in the way of a true roundabout revolution.

Near a traffic circle in West Los Angeles, a nexus of car culture, NPR put up a handwritten sign that said, "Talk to a reporter about roundabouts."

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Politics
11:40 am
Wed September 28, 2011

America's Love Affair With Nationalism

Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate during the singing of God Bless America during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on Sept. 11 in St. Petersburg, Fl.
J. Meric Getty Images

Picture this: An alternate-reality, suspended-in-space American metropolis where steampunk contraptions –- like propeller-driven dirigibles, squeaky trolley wires and clunky robotic creatures –- operate against a backdrop of clanging liberty bells, red, white and blue powder kegs and jingoistic posters warning: "Patriots! Arm Thyself Against the Foreigners and Anarchists!"

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Europe
11:38 am
Wed September 28, 2011

More Trouble In Greece Ahead Of Debt Inspections

A Greek pensioner burns his emergency tax bill during a protest Wednesday outside the Ministry of Finance in the center of Athens.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Greece's capital city was gridlocked Wednesday as mass-transit workers walked off the job for the third day this week over fresh austerity measures imposed by the government in hopes of securing crucial bailout funds.

The 24-hour strike left Athens without buses, subway trains, taxis or trams. Workers in customs and tax offices also walked off the job, and scores of retirees picketed outside the Finance Ministry to protest pension cuts.

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The Salt
11:31 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Growing Listeria Outbreak In Cantaloupe Prompts Focus On Prevention

Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Fri September 30, 2011 3:23 pm

UPDATE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden said in a press conference today that officials "do anticipate a rising number of cases in days and weeks to come" in the cantaloupe-listeria outbreak, the deadliest in over a decade.

"There are suspect cases that are under investigation" in the state, says Sherri McGarry, a senior advisor in FDA's office of foods, who has been involved in the investigation.

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It's All Politics
10:54 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Florida GOP To Move Up Presidential Primary, Defying National Party

Republicans in the Sunshine State have long been expected to throw the 2012 GOP presidential primary-and-caucus season into its usual chaos.

Reports Wednesday that legislators will schedule the state's primary on Jan. 31, a week earlier than the tentative date for the usual first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential caucuses, would accomplish that.

Florida legislators are determined to have the state GOP primary go fifth in the contest order, behind only the national party-sanctioned early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

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The Picture Show
10:29 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Massive Star Served Sunny Side Up

ESO/E. Lagadec

Researchers at the European Southern Observatory have spotted an enormous, sunny-side-up egg in space.

The fried egg — a massive star surrounded by a double, outer ring of gaseous dust — is the closest yellow hypergiant star found neighboring Earth to date. Yellow hypergiants are rare, massive stars living in a phase of a star's life cycle that generally only lasts a few hundred thousand years — a flash in the lifespan of the galaxy. They consume a lot of energy to burn so brightly.

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Monkey See
10:16 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Amazon Unveils Its Tablet, The Kindle Fire: Can It Compete?

Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon.com, introduces the Kindle Fire at a news conference, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 3:41 pm

Today, Amazon announced the debut of its 7-inch tablet, the Kindle Fire. Available for $199, the Kindle Fire is being positioned as a device that will deliver Amazon's e-books, MP3s, magazines, web browsing, and streaming video for less than half the price of full-featured tablets like the Apple iPad. The Fire is available for preorder starting today, and will ship November 15.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Amazon Unveils $199 'Fire' Tablet And New Kindle Readers

The Kindle Fire.
Amazon.com

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 10:30 am

There's much breathless live-blogging going on in the tech world as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils his company's latest gadgets, including what Bloomberg News first reported will be a $199 tablet computer called Kindle Fire — Amazon's much-anticipated competitor to the iPad.

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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Wed September 28, 2011

At Berkeley 'Increase Diversity' Bake Sale: Protests, Debates

At the bake sale on Tuesday. Protesters to the right. Young Republicans and their supporters to the left.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 11:45 am

The controversial "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" sponsored by young Republicans at the University of California, Berkeley, brought a large crowd of students and others to the school's Sproul Plaza on Tuesday, and the student-run Daily Californian says the climax was a counter-demonstration "that saw hundreds of protesters lie on their backs."

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Al-Qaida Tells Iran: Stop Promoting Sept. 11 Conspiracy Theories

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the U.N. last week.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

The latest issue of Inspire, an English-language magazine believed to be produced by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, chastises the Iranian government and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in particular for spreading "conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11."

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Monkey See
7:42 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Idris Elba: The Man Who Is Luther, Was Stringer, And Could Be James Bond

Idris Elba as John Luther in Luther, which returns on BBC America Wednesday night.
Kerry Brown BBC America

Idris Elba tells Linda Wertheimer on Wednesday's Morning Edition that he didn't come to the United States from the UK to play "black roles," but merely "roles." And he has: roles like Stringer Bell on HBO's dark drug epic The Wire and John Luther, the central character of Luther, a drama series that returns for a second season tonight on BBC America.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Officials Push Back On Mullen's Linking Of Pakistan To Terrorists

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 7:16 am

The Washington Post writes this morning that "Adm. Mike Mullen's assertion last week that an anti-American insurgent group in Afghanistan is a 'veritable arm' of Pakistan's spy service was overstated and contributed to overheated reactions in Pakistan and misperceptions in Washington, according to American officials involved in U.S. policy in the region."

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Did You Hear About Andy Rooney? He's Retiring

Andy Rooney.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 6:52 am

What is it about Andy Rooney that's kept him on the air with CBS for more than 60 years — the last 33 of them as a regular essayist on 60 Minutes?

Is it his sense of humor?

His distinctive voice?

Those bushy eyebrows?

The questions he's always asking?

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Listeria Outbreak Tied To Colorado Cantaloupes; 13 Known Dead

A label consumers might find on the cantaloupes.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 1:55 pm

"The number of deaths linked to Colorado-grown cantaloupes keeps climbing, and it soon could become the second-deadliest U.S. outbreak of a food-borne illness," The Denver Post reports.

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Strange News
6:28 am
Wed September 28, 2011

For A Crocodile, He's Awfully Orange

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 8:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, host: Good morning. I'm David Greene.

Strange News
6:22 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Homesick Minnesotan Makes Logos For State's Lakes

The Land of 10,000 Lakes is being rebranded. Fast Company reports Nicole Meyer missed Minnesota's lakes when she moved away to Phoenix. She's keeping her Midwest roots in mind by designing logos for EACH Minnesota lake. She creates one per day, meaning she will finish in 27 years.

The Salt
6:07 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere, But Not Enough To Waste

Here's a fact worth pondering: Farming accounts for 70 percent of all the water that's used for any purpose, worldwide. And demand for it is growing, along with the planet's population and our increasing appetite for meat. That's according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which recently published this poster and others in a striking series on the vital role of water in growing our food.

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It's All Politics
5:00 am
Wed September 28, 2011

As Anita Perry Hits Campaign Trail, Five Things You Should Know

Anita Perry is increasingly stepping out from behind her husband, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Wednesday she'll campaign solo in Iowa. Here they greeted supporters together during a rally on Sept. 8 in Newport Beach, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 9:05 am

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced plans to run for president, he made a point of noting that it was his wife, Anita, who urged him to go for it, to get out of his "comfort zone."

Step into the fray, she urged.

That fray in recent days has taken a toll on Perry, who had a roundly-panned performance at GOP presidential debate last week followed by a surprising drubbing in Saturday's Florida Republican presidential straw poll.

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Economy
3:26 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Recession A Tougher Hit For The Middle-Aged

Job seekers participate in a career counseling session targeted to an over-50 demographic in the Harlem neighborhood of New York. Human resources professionals say there are fewer leadership positions available, so it may take middle-aged workers longer to find a good job.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 8:11 am

Joblessness can be particularly tough for those in middle age. The recession hit this age group hard, and they aren't getting rehired as quickly during the sluggish recovery.

Middle-aged workers face more financial demands than other age groups and are too young to retire, yet they also don't have as much time to work their way up again from the bottom rung like younger workers.

Networking For A New Job

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Business
3:26 am
Wed September 28, 2011

'Lean Startup' Advice: Think Big, Start Small

Small startup companies have an advantage, says author Eric Ries: they can test innovative ideas quickly. Here, workers in London talk at TechHub, an office space for technology entrepreneurs.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Some of our best ideas supposedly come to us in the shower: a business to start, an industry to shake up. Or maybe not, says entrepreneur Eric Ries.

"When we're in the shower, when we're thinking about our idea — boy, does it sound brilliant. But the reality is that most of our ideas are actually terrible," he says. "But it's hard to know which are the brilliant ones, and which are the crazy ones, until we actually test them against reality."

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Europe
3:26 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Will U.S.-Russia Reset Survive A Putin Presidency?

Russia's leading political party, United Russia, called for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (left) and and President Dmitry Medvedev to effectively switch jobs when Russia holds elections next year. Putin previously served as president from 1999-2008.
Yekaterina Shtukina AP

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 12:59 pm

Vladimir Putin's planned run for the presidency next year comes as no surprise to U.S. policymakers. But it may make their lives more complicated and signal a return to more troubled times in U.S.-Russian relations.

Russia's dominant political party, United Russia, nominated Putin as its presidential candidate on Saturday. That virtually assures him that he will return to his old job, which he held from 1999 to 2008. The current president, Dmitry Medvedev, will be the candidate to replace Putin as prime minister.

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Latin America
3:25 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Education Is Latest Casualty In Mexico's Drug War

In Acapulco, Mexico, teachers are out on strike at more than a hundred schools because of spiraling violence related to the country's drug war. Here, a child looks at a sign announcing the closure of a school in Acapulco, Sept. 1.
Pedro Pardo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 2:41 pm

In the coastal Mexican city of Acapulco, teachers are out on strike — not over wages, working conditions or pensions, but because of crime.

Teachers say they're being extorted, kidnapped and intimidated by local gangs and they're refusing to return to their classrooms until the government does something to protect them. Over the last two years, drug cartels fighting for control of Acapulco have terrorized the once-popular tourist resort.

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Life In Retirement: The Not-So-Golden Years
3:24 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Boomers 'Delusion' About Health In Retirement

Seniors at the Greenspring Village Retirement Community in Springfield, Va., play Wii bowling.
Julie Rovner/NPR

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 1:11 pm

Most baby boomers say they're planning on an active and healthy retirement, according to a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. And, in a switch from earlier years, more than two-thirds recognize the threat of long-term care expenses to their financial futures.

But some experts worry that when it comes to their health, boomers are still woefully unprepared — or worse, in denial.

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Herman Cain
3:19 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Cain's Catchy 9-9-9 Tax Plan Draws Interest, Doubters

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday. He won a GOP straw poll there with 37 percent of the vote.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Last weekend, pizza magnate Herman Cain did something that surprised the political world: He came in first in a Florida GOP presidential straw poll.

One way Cain has attracted the attention of Republican voters is with what he calls his 9-9-9 plan. It's a cleverly marketed idea for changing the nation's tax code.

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Middle East
3:19 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Syrian Leader Digs In For A Long Battle

Despite domestic and international pressure, Syrian President Bashar Assad has pursued an aggressive crackdown on protesters, and the outcome of the seven-month-old uprising is far from clear.
Muzaffar Salman AP

After seven months of protests in Syria, the international community has stepped up economic pressure, and some of Syria's traditional allies have turned into critics.

Yet President Bashar Assad presses on with a relentless and bloody crackdown, and his government seems to be operating on its own timeline when it comes to the uprisings that have already toppled several Arab regimes.

The events in Syria suggest it's time for a reassessment of the Arab spring, according to Vali Nasr, a former U.S. government adviser and Middle East scholar at Tufts University.

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Planet Money
11:58 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

The Dream Of Europe And The Bailout Of Greece

Peace symbol
Michael Probst AP

"We need Greece," Maurice Minot, a Frankfurt taxi driver, told me, swerving in excitement. "We need Spain, we need Italy. It's the dream for Europeans, for more than a hundred years."

For Minot, as for many Germans on both sides of the debate, the question of bailouts goes beyond narrow self interest. It gets at what it means to be German, and what it means to be European.

Klaus Frankenberger, an editor at the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, points to the painful labor reforms Germany went through a few years ago.

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