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Afghanistan
3:18 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Afghans View Peace Talks With Hope, Suspicion

Taliban fighters walk with their weapons after joining Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat province, last month. Thirty fighters left the Taliban to join government forces in western Afghanistan. The Taliban announced recently that they would open a political office in Qatar ahead of talks with Washington.
Aref Karimi AFP/Getty Images

The surprise announcement last month that the U.S. and the Taliban could soon begin peace talks in the Gulf state of Qatar may have increased the chances of a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

But Afghans are treating the prospect with equal measures of hope and suspicion — perhaps more of the latter from the government of President Hamid Karzai.

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Movie Interviews
3:02 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Sharon Van Etten: Learning How To Rock

Sharon Van Etten says that when she writes music, "it's to heal."
Dusdin Condren

Originally published on Sun February 5, 2012 4:01 pm

Sharon Van Etten was once an aspiring songwriter in Tennessee, but she had no idea how the music industry worked. So she moved to New York City and took an unpaid internship working for a record label.

"I started doing mail orders and then learned my way around the music blogs," Van Etten says in an interview with Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "I didn't know what a music blog was at the time."

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Jobs Numbers May Boost Obama Re-election Effort

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 6:54 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with fresh evidence that the U.S. economy is on the mend. The unemployment rate fell unexpectedly last month to 8.3 percent. And according to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added nearly a quarter million workers to their payrolls. As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, it's not only good news for the economy and the nation, it's also good news for President Obama and his re-election campaign.

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Economy
3:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Jobs Numbers Surprise Economists

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 6:54 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

January's weather looked like spring in much of the country, and today's monthly employment report suggests it's spring in the job market, too. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Nobody expected that job creation in January would be this strong, or that the unemployment rate would fall again to 8.3 percent – nobody including John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo.

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Middle East
3:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

In Egypt, Military Blamed For Targeting Soccer Fans

Violent protests continued for a second day in Egypt in response to the deadly riot at a soccer match earlier this week. Many of the protesters claim authorities chose not to stop the soccer riots as retaliation against fan groups — known as Ultras — who had a hand in the country's political uprisings last year. Melissa Block talks with Adel Iskandar, Lecturer in media studies at Georgetown University, about the role of the Ultra football fan clubs in Egypt's politics.

Sports
3:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

The Physics Of A Football Player's Performance

The New York Giants' Brandon Jacobs is a 6'4", 270 pound running back. And with that kind of size, you think he'd be able to run right through would-be tacklers, especially when he only needs to pick up a few yards. But he often can't — Jacobs's stats are below average in those situations. A couple NFL greats and a physics professor have the answer.

Business
3:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Facebook's IPO And The Average Investor

The social network filed to go public earlier this week and is hoping to raise $5 billion in a huge IPO. The markets are buzzing, but what might it mean for an individual investor? Melissa Block gets the story on how high profile IPOs work from Dennis Berman, Marketplace editor at The Wall Street Journal.

Shots - Health Blog
2:57 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Many Hits, Rather Than A Big One, Pose Greatest Concussion Risk

Members of the Jefferson High School football team took 200 to more than 1,800 hits to the head in a season.
Purdue University

High school football players have changes in their brain function long before they have recognizable signs of a concussion, according to a new study.

The more hits a player got, the more brain function changed. The findings support the growing belief that a concussion comes as the result of a succession of insults, not just one bad hit.

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The Salt
2:30 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Prison Meal Deal: Where The Staff Serves Lunch ... And Time

Inmate Calvin Hodge, in the second week of a five-week rotation as head chef, stirs gravy in preparation for lunch at the Fife and Drum Restaurant at the Northeastern Correctional Center in Concord, Mass., Jan. 26.
Photos by Erik Jacobs for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:04 am

The Fife and Drum Restaurant offers a daily lunch bargain that sounds hard to pass up: For just $3.21, you get a hot, tasty meal, made mostly from scratch and delivered to your table by friendly waiters.

So what's the catch? You have to go through security before you're served.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

After A Tepid Start, Cities Like Rome, Denver Receive Winter Battering

A man dressed as a Roman Gladiator stands in front of the ancient Colosseum as snowflakes fall in downtown Rome on Friday.
Angelo Carconi AP

Denver and Rome could not be farther apart. But today one city used to massive snow storms is facing a blizzard so big it cancelled 310 flights, even though the Denver airport has 500 workers clearing the snow. The other one hasn't seen this much snow since the '80s.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli told our Newscast unit the 1.5 inches of snow in Rome and the 16 inches that have accumulated in the northern suburbs have meant that very few attended schools and big tourist attractions like the Colosseum were closed.

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Pop Culture
1:53 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

3 Hidden Themes Of This Year's Super Bowl Ads

Many of this year's Super Bowl ads, like this one from CareerBuilders.com, play off our affection for animals.
CareerBuilders.com AP

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 10:01 am

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Economy
1:53 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Have Economists Got It Wrong About The U.S.?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pauses during a hearing before the House Budget Committee on Feb. 28, 2007.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 11:23 am

Five years ago, a subprime mortgage firestorm was melting down the U.S. economy, but most analysts didn't see it happening.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying before Congress in February 2007, said the housing sector "is a concern, but at this point we don't see it as being a broad financial concern or a major factor in assessing the course of the economy."

If he and the vast majority of economists were blind to the economic and financial calamity taking shape then, could they also be missing the start of a huge economic boom now?

A boom? Really?

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

'Anonymous' Follows Hacking Of FBI-Scotland Yard Phone Call With Attacks

The Greek Ministry of Justice website after it was hacked earlier today.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

A day that began with the Anonymous hackers posting a nearly 17-minute recording of a conference call between officials of the FBI and Scotland Yard has been followed with some tweeted taunting of law enforcement and the news media, and the hacking of websites for the Greek Ministry of Justice, Boston Police Department and lawyers who defended a U.S. Marine at the center of the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

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It's All Politics
1:24 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

If Romney Misspoke About 'Poor' Why Did He Later Repeat Statement?

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 3:10 pm

(Revised at 2:19 pm ET)

In an interview Thursday, Mitt Romney said he "misspoke" when he infamously said earlier in the week that he was not concerned about the very poor because they had a safety net, and the very rich but, instead, was focused on the middle class.

Speaking of the CNN interview that has caused Romney a world of trouble, the Republican presidential frontrunner told Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun during an interview program called Face to Face:

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Health Care
12:56 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Komen Issues Apology In Planned Parenthood Flap

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 12:57 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's Business News starts with a reversal from the Komen Foundation. The Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation has just announced that it will not pull its funding for Planned Parenthood after all. The breast cancer charity endured a massive backlash when it announced, earlier this week, it would no longer give Planned Parenthood money for breast cancer screening. NPR's Julie Rovner joins us to explain the turnaround. And Julie, what exactly did the Komen Foundation say this morning?

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

BBC Accuses Iran Of 'Bullying' Its Persian Service Employees

Saying officials have undertaken yet another campaign of "bullying and harassment" of its Persian service staff, the BBC called on the Iranian government to "repudiate the action of its officials."

In a blog post, the BBC's Director General Mark Thompson also called on the international community to "put maximum pressure on Iran to desist in this campaign of intimidation, persistent censorship and a disturbing abuse of power."

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Business
12:45 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

January's Jobless Rate Shows Spurt Of Growth

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 12:57 pm

The Labor Department said the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, well beyond many economists' expectations. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent.

The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Rights Group Says Syrian Security Forces Detained, Tortured Children

A young boy carries the Syrian-rebel adopted flag during an anti-regime demonstration in the Syrian village of al-Qsair, not far from Homs.
Alessio Romenzi AFP/Getty Images

Human Rights Watch has a harrowing report out today about what it says is the targeting of children by Syria's government forces.

"Children have not been spared the horror of Syria's crackdown," Lois Whitman, children's rights director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "Syrian security forces have killed, arrested and tortured children in their homes, their schools or on the streets. In many cases, security forces have targeted children just as they have targeted adults."

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Education
12:00 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Las Vegas Principal Hopes To Beat The Odds

Nevada has the lowest high school graduation rate in the country. But now a multi-million dollar federal grant is helping one district turn its schools around. Host Michel Martin speaks with a principal who spent last Saturday knocking on the doors of students who dropped out, encouraging them to come back to school.

The Swing State Project
11:37 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Battered By The Bust, Nevada Voters Search For Slivers Of Hope

Las Vegas resident Jillian Batchelor, 29, voted for Obama in 2008 but says now, "I'm voting Republican all the way this time."
Becky Lettenberger NPR

The brutal recession has wracked Nevada, where soaring unemployment and foreclosure numbers tell the story of the state's misery. But its importance as a swing state in the 2012 presidential contest has only been enhanced in the four years since it went for Democrat Barack Obama.

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