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Politics
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Congress Takes A Break With Looming To-Do List

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. Congress wrapped up its summer session this week and members headed back to their home district. But with public approval ratings of Congress wallowing in the teens and constant headlines about gridlock, a lot of people might be wondering what exactly did the Congress accomplish anyway? For some answers about congressional actions and what is still unfinished, we are joined by NPR's David Welna. Hiya, David.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Hi, Susan.

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Space
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Anxiety Hovers Over Rover's Mars Landing

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

These are tense times for scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. Late Sunday night Pacific Time, they'll learn if nearly a decade of hard work will result in a priceless scientific laboratory landing safely on Mars or if the rover known as Curiosity will turn into a useless pile of junk. Everything depends on what happens during the seven minutes of terror, the time it takes the probe to go from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the planet's surface.

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Sports
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

An Olympic Impression Of London 2012 So Far

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPANDAU BALLET: (Singing) Gold. Always believe in your soul, you've got the power...

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Europe
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Olympics Sets Off British Tears

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

You find out so much about a country, you know, when it's hosting the Olympics. It's almost as if the games lay bare a nation's soul. NPR's Philip Reeves says that is what's happening in Britain. He's finding the experience unnerving, as he explains, in this letter from the Olympics.

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Economy
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Economists Cautiously Applaud Jobs Report

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. In an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy, the Labor Department told us yesterday that the country gained 163,000 jobs in July. That was better than expected but not all signs are pointing up. In a separate government survey, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3 percent. NPR's Chris Arnold is at a gathering of economists in northern Maine. He sent this report.

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The Torch
5:23 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Oscar Pistorius Makes Olympic History In 400 Meters, And Moves On To Semifinal

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, center, became the first amputee to run in the Olympics. He came in second to Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, to advance to the men's 400m semifinals.
Ian Walton Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 5:50 am

Sprinter Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee who has for years sought to race in the Olympic Games, finally got his wish Saturday, when he lined up to run in a preliminary heat in the men's 400 meters in London's Olympic Stadium.

"On the blocks, I didn't know if I should cry or be happy," a breathless Pistorius told a BBC reporter after the race. "And then I was like, no — you've got a job to do. It was just really a mix of emotions. I didn't know what form I was going to be in today. I had a good race tactic, and I stuck to it."

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Participation Nation
4:39 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Going The Extra Inning In St. Louis, Mo.

Marathon baseball players in St. Louis. A recent game helped raise more than $150,000 for a local charity.
Courtesy of World Record Charity Events

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 8:07 am

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:39 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Gathering Of The Viols: The 50th Annual Viola Da Gamba Conclave

Jack Ashworth, Tina Chancey, Lisa Terry and Phillip Serna perform Sunday during the closing banquet of the weeklong conclave at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
Scott Mason

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 1:59 pm

Viola da gamba players are a special breed — a tiny subset in the already small world of early classical music. They rarely meet their own kind, but once a year they come together for a week in July at an annual jam session they call a conclave. Wendy Gillespie, who just finished her term as president of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, says attending the event is the highlight of her year.

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Africa
3:55 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Kenya's Youngest 'Outcasts' Emerge From Shadows

Alice Njeri found work, and her 10-year-old son Mike — who is physically and mentally disabled — received therapy and other services at a community center in Maai Mahiu, outside Nairobi, Kenya.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 4:07 pm

Kenyan Alice Njeri knew by the fourth month that something was terribly wrong with her infant son, Mike. When the baby boy was in the hospital recovering from a case of pneumonia, the doctors told Njeri that he was paralyzed on his left side and mentally disabled.

It appeared that Mike would grow up severely disabled in a country that shunned children with disabilities as curses from God.

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World
3:54 am
Sat August 4, 2012

No Space, Mate: Koalas' Habitat Under Threat

A male koala visits the female enclosure at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia. Koalas are dwindling in number as their habitat along Australia's east coast gives way to urban growth.
Stuart Cohen for NPR

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Earlier this year, the Australian government added the koala to the country's list of endangered species. By some counts, only about 100,000 remain in the wild in a country that once boasted a population in the millions. But many conservationists say the listing doesn't go far enough.

Paul O'Donnell is one of the many volunteers at Friends of the Koala in the northern New South Wales town of Lismore.

"We go out every day for about an hour or so collecting leaf; usually we get about one bin per koala," O'Donnell says.

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The Veepstakes
3:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Ayotte Would Add Youth, Conservatism As VP Choice

Sen. Kelly Ayotte campaigns with Mitt Romney in Portsmouth, N.H., in April.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

That New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is even being considered as Mitt Romney's running mate is somewhat remarkable. After all, New Hampshire has just four electoral votes, and Ayotte has been a U.S. senator — her first elected office — for less than two years.

But if any senator could be said to possess a refreshing charm, it might be Ayotte, 44, a mother of two young children, who still lives in her hometown of Nashua and is married to a former combat pilot.

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Africa
3:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Mali's Cultural Heritage, Old And New, Faces Threats

Mali's popular Festival of the Desert, held each year near Timbuktu, attracts both local and international music stars. The festival took place in January, but the Islamists who have taken control of the area have since banned all entertainment.
Serge Daniel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Mali is a country rich in culture, both old and new.

The banging of hammers on silver echos through the main crafts market in Bamako, Mali's capital. It's usually teeming in a place where you can buy anything, from silver earrings to batik fabric, all of it handmade.

And despite its remote location, Mali has enhanced its cultural reputation in recent years with an annual international music and arts festival in the Sahara Desert near Timbuktu, drawing both African and Western artists.

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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
3:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Grand Ole Goo Goo Sweetens Fans Old And New

The Goo Goo Cluster, a classic gooey treat from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

No one's entirely sure where the Southern treat called the Goo Goo Cluster got its name.

The iconic candy from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year. The confection of marshmallow, peanuts and caramel wrapped in milk chocolate may owe its longevity in part to another Nashville icon: the Grand Ole Opry.

Goo Goo Cluster sponsored the venue's radio broadcasts from 1966 until 2006. In one popular advertisement, stage performers crooned, "Go get a Goo Goo ... it's gooooooood!"

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Opinion
3:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

India's Blackout A Reminder Of How Far We've Come

A girl prepares a meal by candlelight in Jammu, India, during the massive blackout last week.
Channi Anand AP

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

This week, the world's largest democracy experienced the world's largest power outage. Nearly 700 million — that's more than half a billion — Indians were said to have been without power Tuesday. No air conditioning. No traffic lights. No metro system.

Most of the power is back now, but the outage had resonance for me from the long-ago years when I lived in New Delhi and experienced power failures almost as regularly as I did steaming cups of dark, sweet Indian tea.

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Presidential Race
3:52 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Each Read Jobs Numbers Differently

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

The stock market rallied on Friday's jobs report, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 200 points. But what do the numbers mean for the political stocks of President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney? That's harder to measure.

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Around the Nation
3:51 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Soaked In Drought: Lessons From The Dust Bowl

Scorched pastures are spreading across central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest. Technology and techniques developed from previous droughts like the Dust Bowl are helping to save some of today's crops, but there's no substitute for water.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.

"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.

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Music Interviews
12:03 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet: Scat Singing To Its Own Tune

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, left to right: Ginny Carr, alto; Robert McBride, tenor; Holly Shockey, soprano; and Andre Enceneat, bass. The group's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig, came out in May.
Michael G. Stewart

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.

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The Two-Way
4:35 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

From Our Readers: English Only? Look To The Past

Many of our commenters look to America's rich history of immigration in order to form their opinion of the 'English-Only' debate. Interestingly enough, this approach facilitated conclusions on both sides of the issue.

"John G" believes that, "Society, not law, determines the specific language used."

He writes:

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Shots - Health Blog
4:33 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Experts Fear Whooping Cough Vaccine's Shield Is 'Waning'

Pharmacist Kristy Hennessee administers a vaccination against whooping cough in Pasadena, Calif., in 2010. Vaccinations are the most powerful weapon for slowing the epidemic, but there are growing concerns that the current vaccine doesn't last as long as expected.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 7:29 pm

Whooping cough is getting a foothold once again in the U.S., and it seems to be getting stronger. More than 20,000 cases have been reported so far this year, compared with only about 8,500 last year, and Washington State has already declared a whooping cough epidemic.

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Paterno Family Will Appeal Sanctions; NCAA Rejects Attempt

Visitors gather around the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium Saturday in State College, Pa.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images

The family of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno said it intends to appeal the sanctions issued by the NCAA against the university in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

In a letter to the organization, the family repeated its accusations that the sanctions were decided in haste and without due process.

The AP reports that the NCAA quickly responded that their sanctions weren't up for appeal.

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Money & Politics
4:11 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Not Always Clear Who's Funding Politics-Related Ads

Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, leave a speech by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 12:11 am

Prominent Jewish Republicans flew to Israel last weekend to join presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his overseas trip. Among them were casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam.

The Adelsons were in the audience Sunday when Romney gave a policy speech in Jerusaleum. And at a fundraising breakfast Monday, Sheldon Adelson sat by Romney's side.

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The Torch
3:49 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Saudi Arabia's First Female Olympian Makes History In Judo Match

Wojdan Shaherkani of Saudi Arabia (left) met Melissa Mojica in the women's +78 kg judo in London. Their match was short, but historic.
Quinn Rooney Getty Images

It's nearly time to set The Torch to "dim" for the night, but we must note something historic that happened today: Wojdan Shaherkani competed for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics, becoming the first woman ever to do so.

Shaherkani wasn't a threat to win her match against Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica. After all, Shaherkani is only 16, and her highest level of achievement in judo is a blue belt. Their match only lasted 1 minute and 22 seconds.

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The Two-Way
3:34 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman Is Headed Back To Jail

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Dave Martin AP

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been sentenced to 78 months in prison.

It means Siegelman is headed back to prison after he was freed to appeal his case. The AP gives us some background:

"Siegelman, 66, and former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for the governor appointing Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board.

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Health
3:11 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

New York Officials: Breast Milk May Be Best 'Formula'

City leaders want to encourage more new moms to breast-feed their babies. One of several "Latch on NYC" posters promoting the initiative.
Courtesy of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

Starting next month, dozens of hospitals will participate in "Latch on NYC," an initiative aimed at encouraging new moms to breast-feed instead of using baby formula.

Health care professionals say breast-feeding is better for both mother and baby.

But critics — many of them mothers — say the city is inserting itself where it doesn't belong.

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Movies
2:54 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Franchises Age, But Their Stars Stay Forever Young

Jeremy Renner stars in The Bourne Legacy, the latest in a franchise previously fronted by Matt Damon. But when an actor departs a Hollywood cash cow, it can be less a death knell than a chance for rejuvenation.
Mary Cybulski Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

The Bourne Legacy, which opens in theaters this week, is the fourth thriller in the series, and the first without either Jason Bourne or the star playing him, Matt Damon. They're suddenly not necessary, even though the series is named for Bourne? Why am I not surprised?

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Arts & Life
2:44 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Monroe's Legacy Is Making Fortune, But For Whom?

Marilyn Monroe's will reveals a quieter, more complicated side to her legacy.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

Marilyn Monroe, a global symbol of beauty, glamour and sex, died on Aug. 5, 1962. Fifty years later, she's still in style — and making more money than ever. Monroe's come-hither expression is emblazoned on posters, T-shirts and refrigerator magnets. She's become a multimillion-dollar brand, but that may never have happened if not for the will she left behind, a document that reveals a much quieter — and more complicated — side to her legacy.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
2:44 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Rumors Of Doping Swirl Around Chinese Swimmer

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. The Chinese swimming champion Ye Shewin has accused a U.S. coach of acting unprofessionally when he suggested she was doping. That's after the 16-year-old blasted past her opponents to win two Olympic gold medals.

It's been a dramatic week for her. Instead of reveling in breakout-star status, she left a controversy in her wake. From London, NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: The London games ended quietly for Ye Shewin.

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The Torch
2:42 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Track Cyclist's Admitting To Intentional Crash Won't Bring Investigation

The British sprint team of Philip Hindes (front), Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy won a gold medal Thursday, but remarks by Hindes caused concerns about athletes' ethics to resurface. The IOC says it will not investigate.
Bryn Lennon Getty Images

If one thing is clear at these London Games, it's that not doing one's best is not only uncool — it's not allowed. Witness the badminton-to-worstminton scandal that erupted earlier this week, when players turned the tournament structure into a "farce" by attempting to lose in order to manipulate their seeds in the next round.

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Sports
2:40 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Gymnast Gabby Douglas A Breakthrough Olympic Star

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 4:06 pm

Gabrielle Douglas has gone from being a little girl who talked her mom into letting her pursue gymnastics to a gold medal Olympian.

The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Reuters Says Its Website Was Hacked, Fake Syria Stories Posted

The wire service Reuters says its blogging service was compromised today. The people responsible, Reuters said, took the opportunity to post a fake news story about Syria.

Reuters reports:

"One of the false posts purported to be an interview with Riad al-Asaad, the head of the Free Syrian Army.

"'Reuters did not carry out such an interview and the posting has been deleted,' the Reuters statement said.

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