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Europe
2:42 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Belgian Town May Sue Over Soggy Weather Forecasts

People enjoy a sunny day on the beach in Knokke, on Belgium's North Sea coast, in April 2011. This summer, the weather hasn't been as nice — and resort owners and officials are feeling litigious over a pessimistic weather forecast.
Nicolas Maeterlinck EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:06 am

Parts of Europe are experiencing extremely rainy weather this summer. But some tourist towns in Belgium and the Netherlands say their season has been blighted too — not by bad weather but by bad weather forecasting.

The mayor of the Belgian seaside resort of Knokke says it's a crime that tourism there is down this year. He means that literally.

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The Two-Way
6:56 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

To Combat West Nile, Dallas Will Spray Pesticide From Planes

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, center, holds a news conference in front of a plane that will be used for aerial spraying in Dallas.
LM Otero AP

Residents of Dallas received this robo call today:

According to The Dallas Morning News, that's Dallas City Hall Spokesman Jose Luis Torres warning residents to stay inside this evening, because the city has decided to spray pesticides from airplanes.

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The Two-Way
6:50 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

South African Police Open Fire On Striking Miners, More Than 30 Killed

Police surround miners killed in Marikana, South Africa, on Thursday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 7:03 am

Update at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 17. Death Toll Increased:

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Shots - Health Blog
6:33 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Global Smoking Survey Paints A Grim Picture

A man smokes a bidi on "No Tobacco Day," May 31, in Allahabad, India. These small, hand-rolled cigarettes are popular in India and Bangladesh because they are far cheaper than regular cigarettes.
Rajesh Kumar AP

Today we have a fresh look at smoking rates around the world, and the news isn't good.

A survey covering 60 percent of the world's population shows high rates of tobacco use in some countries, with more than 50 percent of men in Russia, China and Ukraine smoking between 2008 and 2010.

Although the statistics for women are better — only 11 percent of woman reported using tobacco — the number of people quitting is shockingly low, dropping below 20 percent in China and India.

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All Tech Considered
6:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

What's In Your Wallet? Wait, You Don't Need One

A barista processes a customer's payment using Square, a device that turns a mobile device into a card swiper. More businesses are using the devices to simplify credit card payments. Others are embracing technology that allows consumers to pay with their cellphones.
Jeff Wheeler MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:39 pm

Most Americans pay with plastic or cash when they visit the grocery store, buy their daily coffee, or fill up the gas tank. But a growing number of large companies are trying to change that.

Google, Starbucks and Wal-Mart are among the many firms that are eager to replace consumers' wallets and stores' cash registers, with smartphones and other mobile devices.

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The Two-Way
6:16 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

United Nations Will End Observer Mission In Syria

With a political solution seemingly out of reach, the United Nations will begin recalling its military observers. They will, however, set up a political office in Damascus.

NPR's Michele Kelemen sent this report to our Newscast unit:

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The Salt
5:21 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Coffee Is The New Wine. Here's How You Taste It

Samantha Kerr prepares coffee at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore, MD.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:03 am

The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.

Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.

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Europe
5:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Raid In Russia Brings Underground Sect To Light

Gumar Ganiyev opens the gates of the compound where members of the Islamic sect he belongs to have lived in seclusion since the early 2000s outside Kazan, capital of the Russian province of Tatarstan, earlier this month.
Nikolay Alexandrov AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:41 pm

The recent headlines in the Russian press were sensational: Members of a reclusive Islamic sect were said to be living in an isolated compound with underground burrows, some as deep as eight stories underground, without electricity or heat.

Reporters have descended on the compound, on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, but have had only limited access and have not been able to confirm all the allegations by Russian officials.

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Middle East
5:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Attack In Pakistan Puts Government On Defense

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 1:06 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Pakistan last night, Taliban militants attacked an air base near the capital. The attack came amid reported preparations for a Pakistani military offensive. The target of that offensive: the militants' hideouts along the border with Afghanistan.

NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Islamabad.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Nine Taliban men in army uniforms and suicide belts battled Pakistani troops for more than two hours, killing of security official before being gunned down themselves.

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Law
5:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Is 'Deferred Action' A Real Change For Ariz. Youth?

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Here's the latest flashpoint in the between the state of Arizona and the federal government over immigration policy. Yesterday, the U.S. government began accepting applications for Deferred Action, a temporary reprieve from deportation for young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Just hours later, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed an executive order denying state benefits to those who qualify. That includes obtaining a driver's license.

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From Our Listeners
5:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Letters: The Liberal Ayn Rand?

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:57 pm

Melissa Block reads letters from listeners about a conversation with Yale history professor Beverly Gage about her article for Slate, which asks, "Why is there no liberal Ayn Rand?"

The Two-Way
5:16 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

After Review, 'Time Magazine' Will Reinstate Fareed Zakaria's Column

Fareed Zakaria.
Emmanuel Dunande AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:22 pm

Time Magazine says it has completed a review of Fareed Zakaria's work and it has decided to reinstate his column.

A Time spokesman sent this statement to reporters:

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The Two-Way
4:52 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

EBay Says Users Will No Longer Be Able To Sell Magic, Potions, Curses

A "powerful" love potion for sale on eBay. The "buy it now" price is $21.
eBay

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 5:04 pm

It's a tough day for the Harry Potters among us: Ebay said today that beginning in September it will no longer allow the sale of some, um, metaphysical products.

Among them: advice, spells, curses, hexing, conjuring, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions and healing sessions.

The Los Angeles reports:

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Romney Says He Paid A Tax Rate Of At Least 13 Percent

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney writes on a whiteboard during a news conference Thursday in Greer, S.C.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 5:15 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday revealed a bit more about his tax history, telling reporters: "I never paid less than 13 percent" in the past 10 years.

The Obama campaign's response: "Prove it."

Romney's statement came during an appearance in South Carolina and followed weeks of demands — mostly from Democrats, but also from some Republicans — that Romney release several years of his tax returns.

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Mom And Dad's Record Collection
4:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Loving An Album To Death Makes A Music Fan For Life

Little Darrin Wolsko spent a chunk of his childhood playing his father's copy of The Beatles self-titled album, best known as The White Album, over and over.
Courtesy of the Wolsko family

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:19 pm

All this summer, All Things Considered is digging into the record collections of listeners' parents to hear about one song introduced by a parent that has stayed with you.

Among the many records Darrin Wolsko spun while donning a red cape around 1985, The Beatles' self-titled release best known as The White Album got the most plays — "to the point where I destroyed the album. I shredded this album to pieces," Wolsko says.

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NPR Story
4:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

On The Campaign Trail, Biden Chained To A Stump Speech

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 7:23 pm

Vice President Joe Biden has taken a lot of heat from the Romney campaign for telling a predominantly black audience that Romney would unchain Wall Street and put them back in chains. He made the remarks in Danville, Va., Tuesday. Here's a longer part of that speech that's gotten less airplay.

NPR Story
4:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Rebutting Tax Criticism, Romney Gives A Number

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:19 pm

Mitt Romney told reporters Thursday that he has never paid less than a 13 percent tax rate over the past decade. Until now, the presumptive Republican nominee had sidestepped questions about his personal income taxes. Romney has come under withering criticism over the tax issue from President Obama's campaign and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Two-Way
3:21 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

News Media's Credibility Ratings Have Slipped Sharply, Survey Says

Pew Research Center

"Believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports today.

Its latest national survey signals that "the falloff in credibility affects news organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as The New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR."

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Environment
3:21 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

When This Oil Spills, It's 'A Whole New Monster'

An oil sheen appears along the shore of the Kalamazoo. More than 800,000 gallons of oil entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Heavy rains caused the river to overtop existing dams and carried oil 30 miles downstream.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:19 pm

Sometime in the next few months, David Daniel probably will have to stand by and watch as bulldozers knock down his thick forest and dig up the streams he loves.

His East Texas property is one of more than 1,000 in the path of a new pipeline, the southern stretch of what is known as the Keystone XL system.

For years, Daniel has tried to avoid this fate — or at least figure out what risks will come with it. But it has been difficult for him to get straight answers about the tar sands oil the pipeline will carry, and what happens when it spills.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Facebook Shares Battered As Insiders Are Allowed To Sell

An illustration of an Apple iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen in front of the login page.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 3:42 pm

At one point today, Facebook's stock price sunk to a new low. At about $19.69, it was worth about half of what it was initially sold for in May.

Bloomberg explains that what is happening is that early investors in the company — including founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg — were allowed to sell some of their stocks for the first time today.

Bloomberg adds:

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