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The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Syrian Military Fired Scud Missiles At Rebels, U.S. Official Says

The Syrian military fired Scud missiles on rebel positions in northern Syria this week, a Pentagon source says. Here, a rebel fighter takes a position last month in the northern city of Aleppo, the scene of heavy fighting in recent months.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:58 pm

The Syrian military fired Scud missiles at rebel forces this week, launching them from near the capital Damascus and targeting opposition fighters in the north of the country, Pentagon sources tell NPR's Tom Bowman.

The development comes at a time when the fighting has been intensifying and the rebels appear to be gaining momentum in a nearly two-year-old battle against President Bashar Assad.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

What North Korea's Rocket Launch Means — And What It Doesn't

This image from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows the long-range rocket Unha-3 as seen at a satellite control center prior to Wednesday's successful launch.
KCNA via KNS AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:31 pm

North Korea's successful rocket launch may conjure up visions of nuclear missiles in the hands of one of the planet's least predictable regimes. But building a satellite launch vehicle doesn't directly translate into an ability to rain warheads on distant enemies.

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Flying High: Cannon Fires Cans Filled With Marijuana Across Mexican Border

They flew in from Mexico: Cans of marijuana found in a field near Yuma, Ariz.
Customs and Border Protection

Last year, smugglers tried using a catapult to get pot into the U.S.

Now, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents say they recently discovered 30 large cans of marijuana in a field near Yuma, Ariz., — and that the barrels apparently landed there after being fired from a pneumatic-powered cannon 500 feet away in Mexico.

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It's All Politics
2:56 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

When It Comes To Entitlements, Obama Feels Heat From Left And Right

A protester at a fiscal cliff rally on Monday in Doral, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:12 pm

Despite his re-election and more Democratic seats in Congress, President Obama has far from a free hand to make the kind of comprehensive deal House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans are demanding — one that includes cuts to entitlement programs.

Strong resistance to that notion is coming from the political left, including warnings that while Obama won't have another re-election, most of his allies on Capitol Hill will be facing voters again.

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Health Care
2:08 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Flu Season 2012: What You Should Know this Year

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 2:56 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This year's flu season started early. Eight states already report widespread flu activity, and doctors say it's a nasty strain this year, too. The good news is this year's vaccine is a good match. But even so, the flu will kill thousands more, probably tens of thousands of Americans, before it runs its course. Why? And what more can we do to reduce that number?

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Politics
2:03 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Obama's Cabinet Reshuffle, What's Next For Hillary?

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:01 pm

President Barack Obama is expected to make some key changes to his second-term cabinet. As Hillary Clinton prepares to step down as Secretary of State, many wonder whether she will run for president in 2016.

NPR Story
1:58 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Sitar Player Remembers The Legendary Ravi Shankar

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:04 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

As you probably heard by now, the great sitar player Ravi Shankar died yesterday at the age of 92. His music arrived in most American ears thanks to George Harrison and the Beatles, whose interest triggered something of a sitar craze back in the late '60s. Harrison played the exotic instrument on a couple of tracks. The Rolling Stones followed suit on "Paint It Black." The electric sitar soon followed. But Ravi Shankar remained the unchallenged master. But what do I know? He's the only Indian-born sitar player I ever heard.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Sources: Syrian Rebels Training On Anti-Aircraft Weapons In Jordan

To date, Syrian rebels have had to rely on small-scale weapons in their fight against the Syrian army. Here, a rebel fighter throws an explosive device toward a Syrian government position in the northern city of Aleppo last month.
John Cantlie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:50 pm

The U.S. has now formally recognized a new Syrian opposition group as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. But the U.S. has repeatedly declined to provide weapons for rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's army.

However, NPR has learned that there are movements behind the scenes. In Jordan, several Syrian sources said that Jordanian authorities, along with their U.S. and British counterparts, have organized training for Syrian rebels on sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons.

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Music Reviews
1:40 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Ke$ha: A 'Warrior' In Search Of Legitimacy

Ke$ha's new album is titled Warrior.
Yu Tsai Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:53 pm

Ke$ha uses a dollar-sign instead of an "s" in the middle of her stage name. It's one of those gestures that's meant to bait her detractors — suggesting before anyone else does that she's only in it for the money. It turns out, though, that like pop stars ranging from Madonna on back to Chuck Berry, Ke$ha wants it both ways: mass-audience success and artistic acknowledgment. For Ke$ha, that's what her album title Warrior means: She's fighting a war on multiple fronts.

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Author Interviews
1:13 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Joseph Kennedy, 'Patriarch' Of An American Dynasty

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:03 pm

By the time he turned 40, Joseph Kennedy was a millionaire many times over and the head of what would soon become one of America's greatest political dynasties. In his new biography of the senior Kennedy, The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, David Nasaw charts Kennedy's life and trajectory from Boston society boy to Hollywood bigwig to controversial ambassador to Great Britain as World War II unfolded on the European stage.

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Federal Reserve Boosts Effort To Lift Economy

The Federal Reserve's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Saying it is concerned that the economy won't be strong enough in coming months to keep adding jobs to the labor market, the Federal Reserve announced this afternoon that is increasing its efforts to give the economy a boost.

And in an unusually specific statement from the central bank, its policymakers said they expect to keep a key short-term interest rate at or near zero percent "as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent."

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Shots - Health News
1:04 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

What Killed Him? A 'Verbal Autopsy' Can Answer

An autopsy helps medical students learn human anatomy in Rembrandt's painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp from 1632.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 4:19 pm

One of the few times we hear about autopsies these days is when a celebrity dies. But post-mortem investigations do more than satisfy our curiosity about Whitney Houston or Notorious B.I.G.

Autopsies tell communities why people are dying.

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Business
1:01 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Chinese Firm Buys Massachusetts Tech Company

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Late today a federal bankruptcy judge gave the nod to a Chinese firm to buy a Massachusetts technology company. A123 Systems makes batteries for electric cars, but some in Congress are fighting to block the deal. Curt Nickisch reports from member station WBUR in Boston.

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Wal-Mart's Lobbying In U.S. To Be Probed By Indian Government

September 2012: Employees celebrate the opening of a Best Price Modern store in Hyderabad, India. Bharti Enterprises manages that and other such stores, which Wal-Mart has invested in.
Noah Seelam AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:12 pm

India's government has approved an inquiry into Wal-Mart's lobbying activities in the U.S. as a heated debate over the retail giant's plans for stores in India moves into a new phase, NPR's Julie McCarthy tells us from New Delhi.

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Can I Just Tell You?
11:45 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Women Can Be Abusers Too

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:40 pm

It's been one of those weeks that makes you not want to open the paper, not want to turn on the news. A young woman with a child in her arms was killed by the father of that child, who then flees and goes on to take his own life.

You might think I am talking about the Kansas City Chief's Jovan Belcher, who shot his girlfriend and his baby's mother, Kasandra Perkins, to death and then drove to the team's practice facility, where he took his own life. But incredibly, I'm not.

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