National

U.S.
4:24 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

U.S. Watches Closely As Oil Drilling Begins Off Cuba

Fishermen work near the Scarabeo-9 oil rig off the coast of Cuba. U.S. officials are concerned about the potential impact in the case of a spill.
Javier Galeano AP

There are big plans for oil exploration in the Caribbean, not far off the coast of Florida. A Spanish company recently began drilling in Cuban waters — just 55 miles from Key West.

The well is the first of several exploratory wells planned in Cuba and the Bahamas. The drilling has officials and researchers in Florida scrambling to make plans for how they'll respond in case of a spill.

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Energy
4:03 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Natural Gas Boom Energizing The Chemical Industry

A Shell-owned ethylene cracker plant on Pulau Bukom, Singapore. Several U.S. states are competing for a similar plant the company plans to build in northern Appalachia.
Courtesy of Shell Chemicals

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 8:19 pm

Just outside of West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, on the banks of the Kanawha River, sits the Institute Industrial Park. Chemical plants have operated here continuously since World War II, when the local factories cranked out synthetic rubber. Today there are industrial pipes, tanks and buildings stretching in just about every direction.

Soon, there could be more.

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Law
3:00 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Mendocino Snuffing Medical Marijuana Experiment

George Hanamoto inspects some marijuana plants he's growing as his wife, Jean, looks on at their home in Mendocino County, Calif., in 2008.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

This story is part of a collaboration between member station KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting's California Watch.

Mendocino County in Northern California is expected Tuesday to end an unusual program that put pot growing under supervision of the local sheriff. It was the first effort of its kind in the nation and proved a success, at least in the eyes of many locals. But federal officials had a different view.

'Finally Part Of The County'

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Three Books...
1:32 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

3 Biting Books For Those Bitter On Valentine's Day

Nate iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 10:54 am

For those who find themselves alone this Valentine's Day, or who reject the holiday altogether, you might not want to read about star-crossed lovers pining for each other and — even worse — winding up together in the end. So here are three alternatives to comfort you this Feb 14. Each novel is just the right length to read in a single night with a box of drugstore-bought chocolates. And although these tales are indeed reflections on love, the characters they follow are skeptics.

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All Tech Considered
12:47 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Braille Under Siege As Blind Turn To Smartphones

The National Federation of the Blind estimates that today only one in 10 blind people can read Braille. That's down dramatically from the 1900s.
Steve Mitchell AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 1:15 pm

Like a lot of smartphone users, Rolando Terrazas, 19, uses his iPhone for email, text messages and finding a decent coffee shop. But Terrazas' phone also sometimes serves as his eyes: When he waves a bill under its camera, for instance, the phone tells him how much it's worth.

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Monkey See
5:33 pm
Sun February 12, 2012

Live-Blogging The Grammy Awards

Singer Adele performs onstage during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2011.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 10:24 am

Tonight at 7:45 p.m., I'll be joined by Stephen Thompson of NPR Music, where we will live-blog the Grammy Awards.

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The Record
6:20 am
Sun February 12, 2012

One Grammy Award You Won't See On TV

Syl Johnson poses for a portrait circa 1972. A box set collecting much of his work has been nominated for two Grammys.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

The 54th Grammy Awards will be handed out Sunday — not all of them during the evening telecast. The winners of the lower-profile categories are announced earlier in the day, and Weekend Edition host Rachel Martin spoke to Ken Shipley, who's nominated for two of those: Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes.

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The Record
9:15 pm
Sat February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston: Her Life Played Out Like An Opera

Whitney Houston performs in 1988.
David Corio Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:32 pm

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Around the Nation
12:01 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Nuclear Safety, Cost Issues Loom As U.S. OKs Reactor

Steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Southern Co.'s application to begin full construction of the nation's first new nuclear units since 1978 at Plant Vogtle.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 11:56 am

The nuclear industry is celebrating the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to give the go-ahead for a utility company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first license to be granted for a new reactor in the U.S. since 1978. But last year's accident at reactors in Fukushima, Japan, still clouds the future of nuclear power, as does the cost of new power plants.

Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia, where two older reactors already operate.

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The Salt
12:01 am
Fri February 10, 2012

How Two Bitter Adversaries Hatched A Plan To Change The Egg Business

At the JS West egg farm, south of Modesto, Calif., one chicken house has the new, spacious cages that egg producers and animal welfare advocates say keep chickens happier.
Big Dutchman

Gene Gregory and Wayne Pacelle are the odd couple of American agriculture.

"We were adversaries. Some might say bitter adversaries,"
says Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.

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Monkey See
12:01 am
Fri February 10, 2012

How One George Lucas Fan Takes Fan Filmmaking Into His Own Hands

One of the posters promoting Jamie Benning's latest fan documentary, Raiding The Lost Ark.
Jamie Benning

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 9:09 am

Blame Jar Jar Binks.

If George Lucas had never created that annoying, slapstick-prone CGI character in The Phantom Menace, history would be different. No amount of "meesa so sorry" can make up for this abomination. And to add insult to injury, Lucas is sending a 3D Jar Jar Binks into theaters on February 10th.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Rules Requiring Contraceptive Coverage Have Been In Force For Years

In 2002, state lawmakers in Massachusetts approved legislation requiring most employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. One of the groups pushing for the law was the Coalition for Choice, led by Melissa Kogut (center).
Lawrence Jackson AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 8:31 am

There's been no let-up in the debate about the Obama administration's rule requiring most employers to provide prescription birth control to their workers without additional cost.

Here's the rub: The only truly novel part of the plan is the "no cost" bit.

The rule would mean, for the first time, that women won't have to pay a deductible or copayment to get prescription contraceptives.

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The Record
12:00 am
Fri February 10, 2012

What The Grammys Say About Pop Music Now

Skrillex at the Sasquatch Music Festival in May.
C Flanigan FilmMagic

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 9:34 am

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Presidential Race
5:00 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

The GOP Elixir: Candidates Campaign On Tax Cuts

GOP presidential candidates (from left) Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul place their hands over their hearts during the national anthem at the start of a debate in Florida last month.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Cutting taxes is part of the DNA of the modern Republican Party. All four of the remaining GOP candidates for president have proposed steep cuts in business and personal taxes, and it sometimes seems like Republicans are competing to show the most enthusiasm for tax cuts.

At a debate last month, former Sen. Rick Santorum said tax cuts were needed to get the economy thriving again — even if they benefit the wealthy.

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The Salt
4:46 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

More Than Miso: Food Writer In Japan Records Struggling Region's Cuisine

Peeled persimmon is a traditional food of Tohoku.
Kyodo /Landov

If there was a Julia Child of Japanese cooking — a witty and passionate interpreter of the cuisine — Elizabeth Andoh would fit the bill nicely.

As an exchange student back in the 1960s, Andoh came to Japan from New York to pursue anthropology. She fell in love, but not just with a local businessman. She is also devoted to parsing and explaining the finer points of Japanese cuisine to the rest of the world, as a writer for Gourmet, cookbook author and culinary teacher in suburban Tokyo.

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