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Space
2:49 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Is Another Moon Mission Written In The Stars?

Apollo 17 was the sixth and final Apollo mission to the moon. Here, lunar module pilot Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, Cmdr. Eugene Cernan and command module pilot Ron Evans pose in the lunar vehicle.
NASA

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:23 am

On Dec. 7, 1972, NASA launched its final human mission to the moon. Forty years later, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan says he'd love to give up his claim to fame as "the last man on the moon."

"I'd like to be able to shake the hand of that young man or young woman who replaces me in that category," Cernan told NPR. "But unfortunately, the way things have gone and the way things are looking for the future, at least the near-term future, that won't happen in my lifetime. And that truly is disappointing."

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StoryCorps
1:51 am
Fri December 7, 2012

3 Years After Parents' Divorce, Son Looks Back

At StoryCorps in the Tri-Cities area of Washington state, Anand Hernandez and his mom, Sarah Avant, discussed his parents' 2009 divorce.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:52 am

Sarah Avant and her 12-year-old son, Anand Hernandez, rarely get a lot of one-on-one time. Anand has two younger siblings, and his parents are divorced.

So it was a big deal when they decided to spend a whole week together — just the two of them. During that time, they visited StoryCorps in Washington state to record an interview together.

"How do you think you are different because your dad and I got divorced?" Sarah asks her son.

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The Salt
6:33 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

U.S. Olive Oil Makers Say Imports Aren't Always So 'Extra Virgin'

Freshly picked Arbosana olives from the Texas Olive Ranch in Carrizo Springs, Texas.
Karen Lee Henry

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:40 am

Italians may still be light-years ahead when it comes to gelato, but when it comes to extra-virgin olive oil? Watch out: U.S. producers are on it.

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Around the Nation
6:33 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Michigan Approves 'Right To Work' Bill As Dems Walk Out

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

Michigan's state house has voted to approve a "right-to-work" bill that would weaken the power of labor unions. Democrats walked out in protest. Audie Cornish talks to Rick Pluta of Michigan Public Radio.

The Two-Way
6:14 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Mormon Church Launches Website On 'Same-Sex Attraction'

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:46 am

The Mormon Church has a new website to clarify its position on "same-sex attraction" and to reach out to all of its members, including gays and lesbians, "with love and understanding."

The launching of mormonsandgays.org follows persistent criticism of Mormon involvement in California's ballot measure banning gay marriage, NPR's Howard Berkes reports. Berkes tells our Newscast Desk that scrutiny continued through Mitt Romney's campaign for president.

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U.S.
6:05 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Crime-Ridden Camden To Dump City Police Force

Camden City Police Chief Scott Thomson says he has shooting investigations "backlogging like burglary cases." Half of his force was laid off last year, and the city says expensive benefits in the police union contract are preventing them from hiring more cops.
Alisa Chang NPR

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 7:54 pm

As the New Jersey city of Camden blasts through its all-time-high homicide record — exceeding 60 murders so far this year — city officials have an unusual solution to rising crime: laying off the entire police department.

Year after year, Camden ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in America based on several categories: murders, rapes, assaults and robberies. But the city says it's too poor to hire more police officers. So it's dissolving its municipal police force and letting the county set up a bigger, cheaper force to replace it.

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Food
6:05 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

In A Family's Lost Cookie, Lots Of Love, And Molasses

NPR's Lost Recipe project helped Pavlos re-create her great-grandmother's jumble cookies.
Courtesy of Nancy Baggett

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 2:09 pm

Frederick Rickmeyer, our hats are off to you and your note-taking ways.

Shortly after the turn of the last century, Frederick started documenting his wife's recipes on the blank memoranda pages of a cookbook. He included titles like My Wife's Own Original Spanish Bun and comments like "as good as ever," along with the ingredients and dates.

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The Two-Way
5:57 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

In Doha, Philippines Negotiator Delivers Emotional Plea For Climate Change Action

Residents carry a relative's coffin along a muddy road in the town of New Bataan, compostela province on Thursday. Nearly 200,000 people are homeless and more than 300 dead after the Philippines suffered its worst typhoon this year.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:14 pm

This kind of thing rarely happens. But today during the United Nation's COP 18 climate change conference in Doha, the lead negotiator for the Philippines broke down.

He delivered an emotional plea for action on the issue of climate change that was made even more dramatic because his country is just now starting to pick up the pieces from a typhoon that has killed hundreds.

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It's All Politics
5:36 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Boehner Faces Conservative Backlash Over 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

House Speaker John Boehner appears at a news conference after a House Republican conference meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

The Internet has not been kind to House Speaker John Boehner in recent days. On Twitter, there are some new, not-so-subtle hashtags going around: #boehnermustgo, #fireboehner and #purgeboehner.

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Around the Nation
5:30 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Post-Sandy Fixes To NYC Subways To Cost Billions

Joseph Leader, chief maintenance officer of the New York City subway system, surveys damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, this week at the South Ferry station.
Joel Rose NPR

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

Most subway stations in New York City affected by Superstorm Sandy have opened by now, but the South Ferry station at the southern tip of Manhattan is still closed. And when you get inside, it's easy to see why.

The platform is still coated with dirt more than a month after the storm. The tile walls are covered in grime from the tracks all the way up to the ceiling 25 feet overhead. There's debris dangling from the exit signs; the escalators look like they may never work again.

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It's All Politics
5:04 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

DeMint's Exit Creates Political Ripples, Raises Questions For Tea Party

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., speaks to the media after a Republican caucus luncheon last year. He's joined by (from left): Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:51 am

When Thursday dawned in Washington, some things seemed certain: The fiscal cliff fight would continue; the National Christmas Tree would be aglow by evening, and Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina would continue to be the Senate's most important Tea Party voice.

So much for Washington certainties.

With his surprise announcement that he was exiting the Senate to head the Heritage Foundation think tank, a job that paid his predecessor $1 million annually, DeMint brought to an end his role as the Tea Party's godfather in the Senate.

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Economy
5:02 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Businesses, Not Consumers, Sour On Economy

Shoppers carry bags during Black Friday sales at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Mass. Right now, consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

When it comes to the economy, consumers and business owners have very different takes right now. Consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.

In a word, business owners are bummed.

"What we've found is that a lot of that optimism is not there right now," says Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup, which polled these small-business types just after the election.

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Middle East
4:54 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

U.S., Russia Try To Find Common Ground On Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a speech at Dublin City University in Ireland on Thursday. She also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Syria.
Kevin Lamarque AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

As Syrian fighting intensifies in Syria, diplomatic efforts are also heating up.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the main international envoy to Syria were all in Dublin for an international gathering Thursday. The meeting came as Syria's opposition tries to get better organized to offer a real alternative to President Bashar Assad's regime.

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It's All Politics
3:59 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

White House Dismisses Constitutional Challenge In Debt Ceiling Saga

White House spokesman Jay Carney briefs reporters Thursday at the White House. "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period," he said.
Charles Dharapak AP

White House spokesman Jay Carney put an end to intense speculation Thursday about whether President Obama would do an end run around Congress with one simple line: "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period."

Some Democrats had been urging Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit — a bold move that would take away Republican leverage in the ongoing negotiations over taxes and spending.

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Shots - Health News
3:57 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Nigeria Pressured To Clean Up Lead-Contaminated Villages

A boy works at an illegal gold mine in northern Nigeria. Lead from these mines has sickened thousands of children in the region.
David Gilkey NPR

The Nigerian government has been slow to fulfill a promise it made last spring. And, its sluggishness is putting kids at risk for lead poisoning, the advocacy group Humans Rights Watch says.

Last May, the Nigerian government pledged roughly $5 million to clean up lead contamination around illegal gold mines in northwest Nigeria. But so far, that money hasn't been released.

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Health
3:57 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Perfection Is Skin Deep: Everyone Has Flawed Genes

When researchers looked at the genetic sequences of 179 individuals, they found far more defects in the patterns of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs than they expected.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:19 pm

We all know that nobody's perfect. But now scientists have documented that fact on a genetic level.

Researchers discovered that normal, healthy people are walking around with a surprisingly large number of mutations in their genes.

It's been well known that everyone has flaws in their DNA, though, for the most part, the defects are harmless. It's been less clear, however, just how many mistakes are lurking in someone's genes.

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Around the Nation
3:32 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

To Trim Down, Spelman Trades Sports For Fitness

Spelman College has dropped NCAA athletics in favor of a comprehensive fitness program. The school now offers classes like Zumba to help encourage all students to exercise more.
Courtesy of Spelman College

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

For the past decade, Spelman College, a historically black women's school in Atlanta, has fielded NCAA teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and other sports. But when its small Division III conference started dwindling, college President Beverly Tatum says the school decided it was time to change focus.

"We have to ask ourselves: What is the cost of the program and who is benefiting? How many people are benefiting? Is the benefit worth the cost?" Tatum asks.

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Protests Erupt In Michigan Capitol, After Governor Unveils Right-To-Work Bill

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 9:22 pm

Police arrested several protesters and they sprayed irritants at a crowd gathered at the Michigan State House today.

As the Detroit Free Press reports, State Police used "chemical munitions" when the crowd tried to rush the Senate floor.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

With Looting, Syria's Army Isn't Winning Hearts And Minds

A Syrian soldier aims his rifle during clashes with rebel forces in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday. Syrian soldiers have been taking over private homes and apartments, and have sometimes looted and trashed them, according to Syrian civilians.
HOPD AP/SANA

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:35 pm

Editor's Note: Throughout the Syrian uprising, the government has allowed few foreign journalists and other outsiders into the country. In this report, a Syrian citizen describes life in the capital, Damascus. For security reasons, NPR is not identifying the author.

As the Syrian military struggles against rebel fighters, it seems the army has not been paying a lot of attention to winning the hearts and minds of civilians.

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

PHOTOS: In Washington, A Historic Day; Gay Marriage, Marijuana Are Legal

Jeri and Amy Andrews laugh as they wait in line outside of the King County Recorder's Office on Wednesday in Seattle, Washington.
David Ryder Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:26 pm

History was made at midnight in Washington on two fronts last night: Bans on both gay marriage and recreational marijuana use were lifted.

As you might expect, as the sun set and the clock struck 12, there were scenes of celebration across the state's biggest city. The pictures tell the story, so with that here are five photographs from Seattle.

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