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Book Reviews
4:16 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

A Midcentury Romance, With 'Sunlight' And 'Shadow'

John Craven Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

New York, New York, it's a wonderful town! And Mark Helprin's new near-epic novel makes it all the more marvelous. It's got great polarized motifs — war and peace, heroism and cowardice, crime and civility, pleasure and business, love and hate, bias and acceptance — which the gifted novelist weaves into a grand, old-fashioned romance, a New York love story that begins with a Hollywoodish meet-cute on the Staten Island Ferry.

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Books
3:59 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Poverty Informs J.K. Rowling's New Novel For Adults

Author J.K. Rowling arrives at the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in Leicester Square in central London.
Matt Crossick PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 12:00 pm

  • Listen to Part One of the Interview
  • Hear the Extended Interview

The extended interview above includes parts one and two of the Morning Edition interview, plus additional material.


J.K. Rowling has a new novel. She's moved away from Harry Potter, the boy wizard whose stories prompted millions of kids to obsess over books big enough to serve as doorstops. Having concluded that series, she's written a novel for grown-ups called The Casual Vacancy, a story of troubled teenagers and their even more troubled parents.

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World Cafe
3:52 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Hacienda On World Cafe

Hacienda.
John Peets

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 3:48 pm

San Antonio's Hacienda is a family band featuring brothers Abraham, Jaime and Rene Villanueva, as well as their cousin Dante Schwebel. The Tex-Mex rockers had just started the band and recorded their first demo when they had an encounter that would change the course of their careers. In 2005, they met Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys; after listening to their demo, Auerbach took them under his wing.

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The Salt
3:51 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Greek Credit Crisis Forces Winemakers, Food Canners To Adapt

Winemakers like Stellios Boutaris, shown near his vineyard outside Naoussa, Greece, and other business leaders have been forced to pursue new financial tactics because credit is hard to come by.
Jim Zarroli NPR

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

When the economic crisis erupted in Greece and the bottom fell out of the domestic wine market, the Kir-Yianni vineyard outside picturesque Naoussa decided to adapt. Like other wineries in Greece, it has increasingly tapped the export market, successfully marketing and selling wine in Europe, the United States and even China.

"If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us," says Stellios Boutaris, the son of the company's founder. "It's going to make us stronger."

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Pop Culture
3:51 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Pow, Crash, Boom! Marvel Thrashes DC On Screen

The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — upwards of $600,000,000 domestically. Based on characters in Marvel comics, The Avengers was released on DVD on Tuesday.
Walt Disney

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — more than $600 million domestically. And it's only going to make more, especially with the DVD release this week.

The Avengers features characters from Marvel Comics, but the No. 2 movie of the year was based on a character from rival DC Comics — Batman. It's just the latest skirmish in a long, long, long-running battle between Marvel fans and DC fans.

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Asia
3:25 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Tokyo's Governor Stokes The Island Feud With China

China, Japan and Taiwan all claim the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands as sovereign territory. On Tuesday, coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan dueled with water cannons after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around the islands.
Yomiuri Shimbun AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 2:25 am

Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.

Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:23 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Scientists Go Deep On Genes Of SARS-Like Virus

Cheryl Gleasner, a research technologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, works with a genome sequencing machine designed for disease surveillance. Since the SARS epidemic in 2003, advances in sequencing technologies have greatly speed up the ability to detect and track a new virus.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 2:51 pm

When an unknown virus emerges, disease detectives turn to gene sequencers — not magnifying glasses — to identify the culprit.

So when a new type of coronavirus killed a man in Saudia Arabia and hospitalized another in the U.K., investigators got cracking.

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The Two-Way
3:22 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Freddie Mac Didn't Harm Homeowners, Inspector General Says

In January, NPR and ProPublica reported on a potential conflict of interest at Freddie Mac, a mortgage giant sponsored by the federal government. The stories noted that even as Freddie Mac was writing rules making it harder for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, it also was stepping up investments in securities that gain when homeowners remain stuck in high-rate loans.

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Author Interviews
2:12 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

'Sutton': America's 1920s, Bank-Robbing 'Robin Hood'

Hyperion

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 2:49 pm

After the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer was so angry at banks, he says, he decided to write about the people who rob them — in the form of fiction, since he's not an economist.

"I thought it would be healthy to live vicariously through a bank robber at that moment that bankers were ruining the world," Moehringer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

In his first historical novel, Sutton, Moehringer writes from the point of view of Willie Sutton, whom he calls the "greatest American bank robber."

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It's All Politics
1:53 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Romney's Nevada Problems Explained By A Political Scientist Who Voted For Him

Mitt Romney at a Las Vegas fundraiser last week.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:04 pm

Nevada, with its six electoral votes, is far from the biggest Election Day prize sought by President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

But in a race that could be so close that neither candidate can afford to concede a single electoral vote, Nevada is being courted by the candidates to a degree far greater than its size would suggest.

Also, while Obama carried the state by 12 percentages points in 2008, the Great Recession hit the state hard, with widespread foreclosures and high unemployment.

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Young Man Who Helped Capture Gadhafi Dies After Being Tortured

Friends and relatives of Omran Ben Shabaan carried his coffin Tuesday after it arrived as the airport in Misrata, Libya.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:58 pm

A year ago, Omran Ben Shaaban was among the young men who helped capture Moammar Gadhafi as the former Libyan leader tried to hide in a drainage ditch.

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Animals
1:21 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Mammalian Surprise: African Mouse Can Regrow Skin

The African spiny mouse has the ability to regrow large patches of skin and hair without scarring.
Ashley W. Seifert Nature

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

Scientists have discovered that a mouse found in Africa can lose large patches of skin and then grow it back without scarring, perhaps as a way of escaping the clutches of a predator.

The finding challenges the conventional view that mammals have an extremely limited ability to replace injured body parts. There are lizards that can regrow lost tails, salamanders that can replace amputated legs, and fish that can generate new fins, but humans and other mammals generally patch up wounds with scar tissue.

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World
1:15 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Badger Battle: British Animal Lovers Protest Cull

Badgers have been blamed for spreading disease among cattle in Britain. But a campaign to cull the badgers has been met with opposition from prominent figures like Queen guitarist Brian May, who joined this rally in Bristol earlier this month.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

The badger, a stalwart of BBC nature programs, is one of Britain's most beloved animals and is a protected species.

To many English dairy farmers, though, this timid omnivore with the black and white stripes is a mobile biological weapon, exposing their cows to bovine tuberculosis through its urine and saliva.

And they've persuaded the British government to sanction extreme measures.

This month, the government issued licenses allowing trained marksmen to wipe out 70 percent of the badger populations in two pilot areas.

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Music Reviews
12:59 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

After 26 Years, The Sam Rivers Trio Resurfaces

Sam Rivers' trio with Dave Holland and Barry Altschul (not pictured) recently released its 2007 reunion show on CD.
Ken Weiss Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 2:12 pm

Jazz multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers, who died at 88 in December 2011, recorded with many trios in the 1970s. But his most celebrated trio was barely recorded at all. In 2007, it played a reunion concert — its first in 26 years.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:40 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Knee Replacements Are All The Rage With The Medicare Set

Ouch!
Ken Tannenbaum iStockphoto.com

Spend a little time where seniors hang out and there's a good chance you'll hear about somebody getting a new knee — maybe two.

Some figures pulled from Medicare data analyzed in the latest JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, help explain why.

There are about 600,000 knee replacements a year now, at a cost of around $15,000 a piece. All told, the tab for all that orthopedic work is about $9 billion a year, the JAMA study says.

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

City Folk Are More Likely To Read This Post

Remember these? They're most important to those who live in small towns, a new survey shows.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Reinforcing some things you might have suspected, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, along with the Knight Foundation, report today that a national telephone survey of adults finds:

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Education
12:10 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Librarians Reach Out To Spanish Speakers

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:49 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

We just talked about the changing demographics in this country. In fact, the Pew Research Center says Latinos will make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population by the year 2050. So we talked about how that might affect our public schools, but there's another group that's paying very close attention to these changes, and that's librarians.

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Race
12:09 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

School Segregation Persists, New Report Says

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:49 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, a new documentary follows a harrowing day in an Oakland, California emergency room, where the policy questions about health care play out in real life. We talk with the director of "The Waiting Room." That's in just a few minutes.

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Election 2012
12:08 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Weighing Candidates' Foreign Policies

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 4:31 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, it's been nearly 60 years since public schools were legally desegregated, but new research shows schools are still divided. That's in just a few minutes.

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The Salt
11:35 am
Wed September 26, 2012

If GM Apples Don't Brown, How Can You Tell If They're Rotten?

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking.
Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 3:13 pm

In the fairy-tale world, a shiny red apple can lead to a poisonous end. But some see two genetically engineered green apple varieties, poised to become the first to gain U.S. Department of Agriculture approval, as similar harbingers of doom.

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