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Crisis In The Housing Market
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Low Rates Alone Not Seen Reviving Housing Market

The turmoil in the financial markets has been pushing mortgage rates lower. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages have now fallen to about 4.3 percent, which is very close to the lowest level on record.

But many Americans can't qualify for those low rates, and analysts say these historic interest rates aren't likely to do much to help the housing market.

That is, unless the government intervenes.

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Your Health
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Improv For Alzheimer's: 'A Sense Of Accomplishment'

Many newly diagnosed Alzheimer's patients go through the stressful phase of realizing they are losing their memory while still having enough insight to know that, over time, they will no longer be able to care for themselves.

So a team of researchers from Chicago — a city known for improvisational theater — is testing a new idea of whether unscripted theater games can affect the well-being of these patients.

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Business
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Naming A Company Right Can Spell Success

Christina Baird NPR

One area in the U.S. economy that is booming, despite the sluggish recovery, is technology. Facebook and Groupon are expected to go public in the coming year, and tens of billions of dollars of venture capital continue to pour into the tech industry every year to support new companies.

But one of the first challenges new companies face is coming up with a name, which can be a difficult task.

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World
10:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Arctic Warming Unlocking A Fabled Waterway

The Louis S. St Laurent icebreaker slices its way through the ice of the Northwest Passage.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:33 am

It appears as just a speck on the horizon, a slightly darker shape against a vista of Arctic ice. Soon enough, the ship's bridge makes the announcement: "Polar bear, starboard."

Crew and passengers onboard the CCGS Louis S. St.-Laurent, Canada's largest icebreaker, head to the open deck, binoculars and cameras ready, and watch as the bear lumbers from one ice floe to another, quickly dipping into the inky blue water and effortlessly pulling himself back up again.

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Animals
12:44 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

In WWII, Reindeer Were Our Animal Allies

Only the U.S. and Britain had fully mechanized militaries, historian Tim Francis says. Most other European allies used horses or donkeys to help move supplies. Or, as in the North, reindeer.
VikaValter istockphoto.com

Of World War II's many fronts, the one you've probably never heard about was the theater of war in the Arctic. Combat there centered around a crucial supply route that stretched from North America to the tiny Russian city of Murmansk, across the border from the northern tip of Norway.

"It was not the easiest route," U.S. Naval historian Tim Francis tells NPR's David Greene. And it might have been impossible if it weren't for help from some of Santa's friends.

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It's All Politics
7:59 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Tim Pawlenty Exits 2012 Presidential Race After Poor Iowa Showing

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the 2012 presidential race on Sunday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 9:59 am

Tim Pawlenty made headlines Sunday but not the sort he had hoped to. He announced on ABC News' This Week that he has dropped out of the hunt for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination after coming in a disappointing third in Iowa's Ames Straw Poll.

His campaign, he said:

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Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Obama Gets On Board For Jobs And Confidence

On Monday, President Obama flies to Minnesota to begin a bus tour devoted to job creation, confidence restoration and to reviving his own image as a leader. Guest host John Ydstie talks to NPR White House Correspondent Ari Shapiro about the president's itinerary and the motives behind the trip.

Space
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

End Nears For Mars Rovers' Long Journey

The Mars rover Spirit conked out in May, but its twin, the rover Opportunity, is still functioning and has just arrived at a spot NASA's dubbed Spirit Point. Guest host John Ydstie speaks with geologist John Grant about his decades working on the Mars Rover project.

Middle East
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Libyan Rebels Reach Port City, But Can They Hold It?

Libyan rebels have reached the important port city of Zawiyah, where they are engaged in fierce clashes with government forces. Zawiyah is the site of Libya's sole remaining refinery and it's on the road to Tunisia. If the rebels hold it, they will control the port, the refinery and one of Libya's main roads. Guest host John Ydstie gets the latest on the fighting from NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Libya.

World
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

No Claims For American's Abduction In Pakistan

The whereabouts of an American development expert are still unknown 24 hours after he was abducted by a group of armed men in Pakistan. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports on the abduction of Warren Weinstein, who was within days of leaving the country when he was kidnapped Saturday during a brazen early morning raid on his home.

Africa
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Helping Africa Grow Its Own Food: A Declining Effort

Famines like Somalia's might be a thing of the past if farmers in the Horn of Africa could grow enough crops to protect against hunger. Making that possible would require a number of things, including international development aid to small farmers, but that's been in decline over the past 25 years. Guest host John Ydstie talks to author and Harvard Professor Robert Paarlberg about U.S. investment in farm development in Africa.

Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Bachmann Passes Test Of Iowa's Straw Poll

Less than two months into her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman won Saturday's Iowa straw poll. Bachman won what is considered to be a bellwether event and one measure of a presidential candidate's strength. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

It's Official: Rick Perry Is Running For President

Texas governor Rick Perry declared Saturday that he's entering the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Perry spoke at the Red State Gathering conference in Charleston, S.C. WFAE's Julie Rose reports.

Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Calif. Redistricting Likely To Have National Impact

The political landscape in California is on the verge of drastic change. On Monday, the state's Citizens Redistricting Commission is expected to give final approval to a new map of congressional and legislative districts. Those newly drawn districts, combined with a new primary election system, are likely to shake up California's political status quo for the first time in two decades. Guest host John Ydstie talks to Bruce Cain, director of the University of California Washington Center, about the national implications of redistricting in California.

Strange News
6:00 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Spoiler Alert: You Don't Need Spoilers

Psychologists have found that great stories can't be spoiled. Guest host John Ydstie has more on a UC San Diego study that says film buffs and bibliophiles not only don't mind spoilers, they actually like them.

Sports
4:58 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Young Soccer Players Shoot For Stardom In Europe

South America has produced more than its share of soccer superstars. The soccer giant Real Madrid is banking on Leonel Angel Coira of Argentina to become one of them. Last week the club signed the soccer prodigy to a one-year contract. When the contract expires, young Leonel will be all of 8 years old.

"Well everyone's looking for the next big thing," Tim Stannard, who writes for the soccer publication FourFourTwo, tells Weekend Edition guest host John Ydstie.

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Health
4:34 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Postpartum Depression Clinic The First Of Its Kind

Women suffering from postpartum depression in the United States have not had an overnight clinic to address their specific needs. The new unit at the University of North Carolina, to open Monday, will offer that specialized treatment.
iStockphoto.com

Maria Bruno knew something was really wrong when she put her newborn son, Nicolas, down for a nap and then was too afraid to pick him up.

"I was experiencing anger and rage, and I had suicidal thoughts," she says.

In her desperation, she called her midwife and said, "'I don't know what's wrong, but I can't take care of the baby, and I'm miserable all of the time.'"

Her midwife asked what was wrong. Did she have thoughts of hurting herself? "I just laughed," Bruno says. "I said, 'All the time.'"

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Latin America
4:33 am
Sun August 14, 2011

Argentina's Jewish Villages Keep Traditions Alive

Jaime Jruz, son of Russian immigrants and leader of the Jewish community of Villa Dominguez, is one of the last Jewish gauchos found in this area. Jruz is still working on this farm, where he was born and grew up.
Silvina Frydlewsky for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:43 am

In the 1890s, Russian Jews fleeing anti-Semitic violence and discrimination arrived by the thousands to a remote corner of the Argentine Pampas. They founded hamlets similar to the shtetls they left behind. They spoke Yiddish, built synagogues and traditional Jewish schools — and became farmers and gauchos, the mythical Argentine cowboys.

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Economy
4:24 am
Sun August 14, 2011

How Can Washington Boost Job Growth?

President Barack Obama's Midwestern bus tour will focus on job creation and restoring confidence, but the Federal Reserve doesn't seem very confident about the future.

Last week, the Fed committed to near-zero interest rates until 2013, indicating that the Fed board isn't anticipating much growth in the job market. That's a troubling prospect for Americans, and it leaves a big challenge looming over Washington about whether the government can push growth above the painfully low bar set by the Fed.

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World
9:12 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Famine In Somalia Also Taking Toll On Al-Shabaab

Displaced Somalis waits in a queue for food-aid rations on August 11, 2011 at an IDP camp in Mogadishu. The United Nations has officially declared famine in Somalia for the first time this century.
MUSTAFA ABDI AFP/Getty Images

How can you feed starving people without feeding an insurgency as well? That is one of the challenges the Obama administration faces in providing aid to Somalia.

As the U.S. and other donors scramble to help Somalis survive a famine, some experts see an opportunity of sorts. The drought, they say, seems to be starving the Islamist militia group al-Shabaab of resources, limiting its ability to wreak havoc in Somalia.

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Business
7:16 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Gas Prices, Retail Sales Offer Economic Bright Spots

Shoppers stroll through Sawgrass Mills Mall during the first day of the back-to-school sales tax holiday on Friday in Sunrise, Fla. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5 percent in July.
Wilfredo Lee AP

It may seem hard to believe after such a tumultuous week on Wall Street, but economists do see a few bright spots.

For one, Americans with good credit scores can get some of the best housing bargains in decades. Freddie Mac's latest survey shows the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages has dropped to 4.32 percent. That's down to the half-century lows set during the fourth quarter of last year.

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It's All Politics
4:56 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann Wins Iowa Straw Poll

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her husband, Marcus, wave to the crowd after she speaks at the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. Bachmann won the poll with 4,823 votes.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 8:40 am

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Republican presidential straw poll on Saturday, edging out Ron Paul, the Libertarian Texas congressman and quadrennial White House hopeful.

Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third, capturing less than half of the totals brought in by the top two finishers.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was not on the ballot, ended up in sixth place with 718 votes, besting Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Thaddeus McCotter.

Romney and Huntsman were on the ballot, but did not actively compete.

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It's All Politics
1:02 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Perry Jumps Into Presidential Race Touting Texas Job Growth

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announces that he will run for the Republican presidential nomination, in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

As the rest of the Republican field jockeyed for support in Iowa's straw poll Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a feisty late entry into the presidential race before hundreds of conservative bloggers in South Carolina, encouraging voters to "give a pink slip to the current residents of the White House."

Perry launched his bid touting his home state's record of job creation as a central reason to elect him, but Texas' economic picture is more complex than what the governor shares on the stump.

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It's All Politics
12:29 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

Straw Poll Voters Look For 'Breakout' In GOP Field

They love "the Huckster" in Iowa, and he loves them back.

And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says that Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a "tactical error" by shunning Saturday's straw poll, instead opting to announce his candidacy for president today in South Carolina.

"He's raining on the parade in Iowa," said Huckabee, taking a break from signing books for the happy crowd mobbing him Saturday morning. "I'm not against Rick at all, but this is the biggest day of the year for Iowa Republicans."

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Around the Nation
12:16 pm
Sat August 13, 2011

No Judges In The "Karaoke Cab," Just Good Times

Care for a little karaoke before you reach your destination?
Meghan Keane NPR

Some cab drivers might stay silent with customers in their cars. Others can talk your ear off. Joel Laguidao just wants to sing with you.

Laguidao has become known as the "karaoke cab driver." While driving for Red Top Cab Co. on weekend nights around Arlington, Va., he sings favorites like Journey's "Faithfully" and Bon Jovi's "Bed of Roses."

It started about three years ago. Laguidao grew tired of the FM radio offerings and bought a karaoke machine. He has two small monitors for reading lyrics, a large silver microphone and a thick song catalog.

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The Record
10:54 am
Sat August 13, 2011

In New York City, Free Summer Concerts Feel The Burn

Patrons at a 2007 New York Philharmonic concert in Central Park. This year, the Philharmonic abruptly cancelled its annual summer concert series for the first time since 1965.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Over the next few weeks Weekend Edition Saturday will be producing stories about the business of putting on free concerts, how they work and what they bring to their communities. Last week's story was on free shows at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

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Economy
10:37 am
Sat August 13, 2011

How A Recession Rewires Your Toleration For Risk

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on August 11, 2011. US stocks made another dramatic comeback after a stunning fall on Thursday, in another day of extreme volatility in markets around the world.
Stan Honda/AFP Getty Images

This past week the stock market took a serious nose-dive, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 500 points on Thursday. As a result, investors across the board have been flocking to safer investments. Now you might expect older people to cash out in order to save their nest eggs — but young people? The standard investment advice would be to hold tight. Turns out, they're actually the ones fleeing from stocks the fastest.

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Europe
7:29 am
Sat August 13, 2011

'Boredom And Alienation' May Factor Into UK Riots

Youths steal electrical goods from a store in Birmingham, central England, on August 9. While the riots started after a man was shot to death by police in north London, their actual cause continues to be debated.
AFP/Getty Images

It's been more than a week since the fatal shooting of a man by police in London. Riots that erupted after the killing of Mark Duggan have shaken England since. Many people are divided over the real reasons behind the riots, questioning how much is due to the current recession or alienation or boredom among young people. Some have suggested poor parenting is to blame.

Cultural critic and novelist Diran Adebayo grew up in north London, in a neighborhood next door to Tottenham, where the riots first broke out.

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Europe
6:00 am
Sat August 13, 2011

Germany, France Tend To A Euro In Crisis

The swings in the U.S. market underline the contradictions in the European Union's economic underpinnings. The two most powerful nations in the EU plan a summit to seek a way out. Guest host Jacki Lyden talks with NPR's Tom Gjelten.

Politics
6:00 am
Sat August 13, 2011

Obama's Leadership Brings Few Hails To The Chief

Republican presidential candidates are working to position themselves for November, but the man currently in the oval office seems to be losing his footing. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with Ted Widmer, director and librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, about presidential leadership and recent criticism of President Barack Obama's leadership style.

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