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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Wed February 15, 2012

As Crackdown Continues, Syria's Assad Calls For Constitutional Referendum

Civilians flee from fighting on Tuesday, after Syrian army tanks enter the northwestern city of Idlib, Syria.
Anonymous AP

As government forces continued to shell the cities of Homs and Hama, Syrian President Bashar Assad announced his country would hold a referendum on a new constitution on Feb. 26.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the state's official news outlet, the new constitution would end the Baath party's monopoly on power. SANA added:

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Malachy, The Pekingese, Becomes Top Dog In The Land

Malachy, a Pekingese, won best in show at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig AP

He took on competition that was much bigger and much faster, but in the end the judges decided Malachy, a Pekingese with a long mop of fur framing his funny little pushed-in face, was the top dog in the land and gave him top honors at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York.

The New York Times describes his win thus:

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Prison Fire Kills More Than 200 Inmates In Honduras

A woman cries after she was informed of the death of her son, who was jailed at the National Prison compound in Comayagua, Honduras.
Orlando Sierra AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 11:15 am

A fire that swept through a prison in Honduras overnight has resulted in death of more than 300 people.

The AP reports that number was given by Lucy Marder, chief of forensic medicine for the prosecutors' office, during a press conference.

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The Two-Way
6:02 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Iran's Ahmadinejad Will Announce 'Key Nuclear Achievements'

Despite international pressure, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listens to a technician during a visit to the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility, 200 miles south of the capital, Tehran, in 2008.
Iranian President's Office AP

Iranian State TV reported yesterday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will make an announcement about "key nuclear achievements," today.

Quoting the official news agency, The New York Times reports that Ahmadinejad will likely "proclaim that a new uranium enrichment plant built inside a mountain near the holy city of Qum was 'fully operational.'"

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Africa
5:22 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Snapping Sea Lion Takes Aim At Shakira

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:31 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

World
5:10 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Warm Canadian Winter Thaws Outdoor Fun

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Politics
3:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Congress May Skip Payroll Tax Showdown This Time Around

Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.

The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.

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Business
3:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Business News

Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne have business news.

Analysis
3:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Israel Blames Iran For Shadow War On Israelis

Originally published on Sun February 19, 2012 7:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

We're following several developments in Iran's confrontation with the west. President Obama's administration is talking of even stricter sanctions against Iran's financial system. That's part of an effort to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

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Europe
3:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Financial Crisis Takes A Toll On Greece's Aesthetics

The Greece debt crisis has forced the country to look to the eurozone for a bailout. But Greece is looking less and less like part of Europe. In the capital Athens, they are still cleaning up from the weekend riots. Even in its tourist precincts, the area is shabby and covered with graffiti.

Asia
2:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

For China's Likely Premier, A Western Influence

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, shown here delivering a speech at a Canada-China business forum in Beijing, on Feb. 9, 2012, is expected to become the country's next premier. In contrast to most other Chinese leaders, Li speaks English and has had considerable exposure to Western ideas.
Diego Azubel AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:31 pm

Third of three parts

The man who's expected to become China's president next year, Xi Jinping, is considered a princeling, the son of a prominent Chinese political figure. But the man who's likely to become premier, Li Keqiang, comes from very different stock.

The son of a minor party official, Li worked as a farmer for four years, before studying law at university.

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The Two-Way
11:01 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Wealthy Colleges See Spike In Fundraising

Stanford University raised $709.42 million in 2011.
Paul Sakuma AP

There are college rankings and there are college rankings: the nation's top colleges, the best basketball teams, the top party schools. Here's another: a list of 20 institutions and the money they received in 2011.

Stanford topped the list, raising more money from private donors that anyone else in 2011 ($709.42 million). Harvard and Yale rounded off the top three with $639.15 million and $$580.33 million, respectively. The survey was released Wednesday by the Council for Aid to Education.

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Governing
11:01 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

N.H. Lawmakers Consider Rolling Back Gay Marriage

Couples Gretchen Grappone and Rose Wiant (left). and Wendy Waterstrat and Holly Henshaw hold hands before their civil union, in front of the Statehouse in Concord, N.H., on Jan. 1, 2008.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:31 pm

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

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Asia
11:01 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Opposition Leader Bets On Myanmar Reforms

Ethnic Karen women welcome opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to War Thein Kha village. The area is in Kawhmu Township, which Suu Kyi is campaigning to represent in Myanmar's parliament.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:31 pm

The military-backed government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, has surprised many skeptics with the pace of its political reforms — releasing political prisoners, easing censorship and making peace with ethnic insurgents.

But none of these reforms have won it as much praise as its efforts to mend fences with opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. After nearly two decades under house arrest, Suu Kyi is now aiming to work for democracy within the system by running for a seat in parliament.

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Media
11:01 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

The Ad Council: 70 Years Of Good Advice

If you've listened to the radio, turned on the TV or seen any billboards, these tag lines are probably pretty familiar:

"Loose lips sink ships."

"Only you can prevent forest fires."

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

"Take a bite out of crime."

They're just a few of the many ads created by the Ad Council, a nonprofit organization that was founded in the 1940s by the leaders of the advertising industry and President Franklin Roosevelt.

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