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Politics
5:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Senators Flex Their Power During Confirmation Process

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's Friday and it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

As if the looming battles over the budget and debt ceiling are not enough, President Obama faces another delicate act with Congress.

INSKEEP: This one too grows out of the Constitution's separation of powers. The president gets to name his cabinet choices - as he's been doing. The Senate gets to confirm or reject them.

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Technology
5:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

CES Vendors Want To Hook Up Your Home

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

That big consumer electronics show in Las Vegas ends today. And while big tech firms like Google and Apple did not attend, an increasingly diverse range of companies took their place. With more and more devices connecting to the Internet, many companies are flocking to this festival of gadgets, hoping to bring all the appliances in your home online. NPR's Steve Henn reports.

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Business
5:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

AmEx Travel Section Bears The Brunt Of Layoffs

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Heading in the other direction, American Express says it plans to lay off more than 5,000 workers in the coming year. These unexpected cuts come despite a strong holiday sales season.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: All told, the layoffs will account for about eight percent of American Express's entire workforce - most from the company's global travel business.

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Business
5:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Looking Back On Bank Of America's Countrywide Debacle

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Five years ago today, Bank of America announced it was buying the troubled subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial for $40 billion. At the time, the financial crisis had not fully revealed itself, and many people thought Bank of America was getting a good deal. Instead, the acquisition has turned into a never-ending legal and financial nightmare. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Business
5:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

International Twitter War Becomes An Opera

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is being set to music. Truth really is stranger than fiction, which is how a TV interview with President Richard Nixon could become a famous play, and how The New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright could create a forthcoming play on the Camp David accords. Now, an international Twitter war is becoming an opera.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Last summer, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized the economic austerity of Estonia.

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Asia
5:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

How Will China's New Leadership Handle Censorship Issue?

A man buys the latest edition of Southern Weekly at a newsstand near the newspaper's headquarters in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, on Thursday. The staff at the influential weekly rebelled to protest censorship by government officials; the newspaper was published Thursday after a compromise that called for relaxing some intrusive controls.
Vincent Yu AP

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:33 pm

In China, one struggle over censorship has been defused — for the moment, at least.

Journalists at one of the country's boldest newspapers have published a new issue after a weeklong standoff that started when censors replaced a New Year's editorial. Now the week's events are being parsed for signals about the direction of China's new Communist leadership.

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The Picture Show
4:35 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Haiti Then And Now: 3 Years After The Earthquake

Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church in downtown Port-au-Prince, Jan. 17, 2010.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 4:07 pm

Evidence of loss remains even three years after a massive earthquake claimed the lives of as many as 200,000 people in Haiti. In the middle of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, there is a cathedral whose sun-washed walls reach into the sky where a roof used to be.

A lone flagpole marks the spot where the National Palace, a symbol of Haiti's government, once proudly stood.

And on a downtown street that once bustled with storefronts, there is now a row of vendors who sell their wares under tent poles and umbrellas.

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Opinion
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

The True Weight Of Water

Craig Childs walks in the desert surrounding the Colorado River delta.
Courtesy of Craig Childs

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Part of the nation's physical landscape is changing. Nature writer and commentator Craig Childs has been watching the dramatic transformation of a mighty river that is running dry.

Small porpoises once swam in the brackish estuaries of the Colorado River delta. Jaguars stalked the river channels and marshes. It's not like that any more, though. The Colorado River no longer reaches the sea in Northern Mexico. It hasn't since 1983.

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Planet Money
3:46 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Black Market Pharmacies And The Big Business Of Spam

Acne medicine, in Turkish.
Dave Keck

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

An apparent feud between two black market pharmacies has shed light on a shady global industry.

"Rx-Promotion and SpamIt probably are responsible for upward of 50 or 60 percent of spam that you and I got in our inboxes over the last five years," said Brian Krebs, a cyber-security reporter who chronicled the alleged feud on his website. "It's just a ridiculous amount of problems that these two guys cause for everybody."

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Economy
3:44 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Geithner Began With 'Smoldering' Economy; What Does He Leave?

In this handout image provided by the White House, President Obama talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the United Nations on Sept. 23, 2010.
The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has had a bruising four years. He took office when the U.S. economy was plunging into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Nominating Jack Lew as Geithner's successor Thursday, President Obama praised his departing Treasury secretary for helping to get the economy back on track.

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The Salt
3:34 am
Fri January 11, 2013

This Butter Sculpture Could Power A Farm For 3 Days

A 1,000-pound butter sculpture is unveiled at the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg last week.
Bradley C. Bower AP

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:49 pm

For more than a week, it was the belle of the ball, the butter with no better: a giant 1,000-pound dairy sculpture that occupied the place of honor at the annual Farm Show in Harrisburg, Pa.

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Latin America
3:33 am
Fri January 11, 2013

After 50 Years, Cuba Drops Unpopular Travel Restriction

A traveler stands at the check-in lobby at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport last year. On Jan. 14, Cuba scraps a much-reviled, decades-old exit permit requirement, easing most Cubans' exit and return.
Dwamons Boylan Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

For the first time in five decades, Cubans will no longer need an "exit permit" to travel. The change, which takes effect Monday, is part of a broader immigration reform by President Raul Castro making it easier for Cubans to go abroad — and also to return.

But critics say the communist government continues to treat travel as a privilege, not a right, and a useful tool to punish dissent.

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Television
3:19 am
Fri January 11, 2013

'Living' In Color, Long Before 'Girls'

Living Single (1993-1998) featured four young, black, professional women in New York — including Queen Latifah as the ambitious head of a small magazine.
E.J. Camp Corbis

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:14 pm

The second season of HBO's critically acclaimed series Girls begins Sunday night, but the show about 20-something girls navigating their social and work lives in New York has itself been criticized for not being diverse enough.

By now, most of you have heard the buzz about Girls: It's written by 26-year-old Lena Dunham, and stars a quartet of young women whose plans sometimes crash face-first into life's nasty realities.

The show's smart dialogue attracted writer Allison Samuels, a cultural critic for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.

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StoryCorps
3:17 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Mother To Daughter: 'That's When I Knew I Was Adopted'

Diane Tells His Name, 61, grew up unaware of her Native American identity. When she discovered the truth in her late 30s, she adopted a child from her Lakota tribe, Bonnie Buchanan.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

Diane Tells His Name, 61, grew up never knowing she was adopted.

"When did you first feel like you were different?" Bonnie Buchanan, 23, asks her mother during a recent visit to a StoryCorps booth.

"Probably elementary school," she replies. "I had a younger sister, and I really didn't like doing the same things that she would do."

Instead of tea parties and dolls, Tells His Name spent her time outdoors, peering at the clouds and stars.

"And my sister was blond, tall and thin like my mother, and I was round and brown," she says with a laugh.

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Business
6:26 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

To Catch Worker Misconduct, Companies Hire Corporate Detectives

Companies are turning to corporate monitors to check on employees who may be misbehaving.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 8:32 pm

As businesses face more complex regulations and heightened scrutiny by prosecutors, companies are turning to investigative firms to help keep watch over their employees.

The idea behind the "corporate monitoring" business is to nip misconduct in the bud before law enforcement catches a whiff of it. These corporate detectives-for-hire are seeing good business these days, and finding new ways to snoop.

We all know our employers have access to tons of data about us. They can see every person we email from our company email account, every phone number we dial from our desk.

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