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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Fri December 20, 2013

No Widespread Misconduct In Secret Service, Investigators Say

U.S. Secret Service

"Although individual employees have engaged in misconduct or inappropriate behavior, we did not find evidence that misconduct is widespread," concludes a report from the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. The IG's investigation was launched after the 2012 scandal over some agents' behavior while they were on a mission in Colombia.

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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Have Yourself A Tacky Little Christmas

Solid Color Neckties

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:55 am

Maybe it all started with ugly Christmas sweaters. Or with cheesy inflatable Santas. Or hideously inappropriate tree ornaments. But Christmastime – at least its visible trappings and accoutrements – seems to be getting tackier.

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Business
11:13 am
Fri December 20, 2013

U.S. Economy's 3rd-Quarter Growth Beats Projections

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with some good news on the economic front.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The U.S. economy grew by 4.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, and that's significantly higher than the earlier projection of 3.6 percent. The upward revision comes mostly thanks to stronger consumer spending, and it is the fastest jump in growth in almost two years. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Salt
11:04 am
Fri December 20, 2013

They're Back! Chesapeake Oysters Return To Menus After Rebound

A plate of Sweet Jesus oysters grown in Chesapeake Bay by Hollywood Oyster Co. in Hollywood, Md.
Katy Adams Courtesy Clyde's Restaurant Group

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 12:44 pm

The history of the Chesapeake Bay oyster hasn't always been a pure one. So you could forgive a chef for being skeptical about the big bivalve comeback being staged in D.C. and the surrounding area this winter as oyster season gets underway.

But many mid-Atlantic chefs are actually cheering. That's because a major public-private effort to re-establish the oyster as a quality local food product — as well as a weapon against water pollution — seems to be working.

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The Two-Way
10:38 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Sen. Baucus Tapped To Be Ambassador To China

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Confirming one of the week's less-secret secrets, the White House announced Friday morning that President Obama intends to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to be the next ambassador to the People's Republic of China.

The 72-year-old Baucus has been in the Senate since 1978. He is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

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Code Switch
10:16 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Diaspora Sounds Alarm As Dominicans Face Statelessness

Dominicans of Haitian descent protest outside the Constitutional Court in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Oct 3.
Manuel Diaz AP

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 2:09 pm

Politicians in the Dominican Republic have long courted Dominicans in the U.S. for votes. That relationship has strengthened in the past couple of years; in 2011, the Dominican government established seven representatives for its communities abroad.

And that influence means activism in the U.S. matters back on the island.

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Well, Morgan Freeman Did Play Nelson Mandela In A Movie

Oops.
Twitter

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 1:04 pm

Among the memorials to Nelson Mandela put up across India is a billboard in Tamil Nadu that features a photo of actor Morgan Freeman, not the iconic anti-apartheid hero from South Africa who died earlier this month.

The businessman who paid for the sign says it will be replaced with one that has the right image.

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The Two-Way
9:18 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Economy Looks Better, At Least In Rearview Mirror

At a Ford plant in Michigan, workers load a battery into a Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid vehicle. The economy picked up speed in the third quarter. Economists caution, though, that it may slow in coming quarters.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 1:14 pm

The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, a significantly faster pace than first thought and its strongest showing since the end of 2011, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday.

After each quarter, the agency spends the next three months reporting and revising its figures on gross domestic product growth.

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Health Care Rules Relaxed Again, 'Backlash' Follows

HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:06 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: Julie Rovner on the latest changes to the health care program (with an introduction from Jean Cochran)

Word from the Obama administration that Americans who recently had their health insurance canceled will be allowed to buy "catastrophic policies" mostly intended for young adults has upset the insurance industry, NPR's Julie Rovner tells our Newscast desk.

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Shots - Health News
7:49 am
Fri December 20, 2013

How Fraud Flourishes Unchecked In Medicare's Drug Plan

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:47 pm

With just a handful of prescriptions to his name, psychiatrist Ernest Bagner III was barely a blip in Medicare's vast drug program in 2009.

But the next year he churned them out at a furious rate — not just psychiatric drugs, but expensive pills for asthma, cholesterol, heartburn and blood clots.

By the end of 2010, Medicare had paid $3.8 million for Bagner's drugs — one of the highest tallies in the country. He added another $2.6 million the following year, records analyzed by ProPublica show.

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Latin America
7:43 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Cuba Loosens Restrictions On Buying New Cars

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:13 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Visitors to Cuba describe a journey back in time. The government of the Castro brothers restrained the auto market, leaving ancient cars on the streets, many made in the U.S. But the market is loosening.

Around the Nation
7:43 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Overturned Truck Spills Holiday Hams

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene. We hope you don't think we ham it up too much on this show, but apologies for this morning's traffic report here at the bottom of the hour. Let's get an update on that interstate ramp outside Atlanta. It was clogged yesterday, not with cars, but ham - 40,000 pounds of it. A semi truck hauling the ham overturned, spilling pork and fuel everywhere. Fortunately the driver was not hurt but that's a lot of wasted holiday ham, unless you like it with a side of diesel.

The Two-Way
7:10 am
Fri December 20, 2013

'Huge Win For Victims Of Sexual Assault' In Defense Budget

Tim Shaffer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:11 am

"The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature," The Associated Press writes this morning.

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Business
7:05 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Shop On The Web Or In The Store; Each Has Risks

A customer prepares to sign a credit card slip Thursday at a Target store in Miami. The giant retailer says 40 million payment cards nationwide may have been compromised by data theft.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:37 am

Back in ye olden days — say, a decade ago — many holiday shoppers worried about using credit cards to buy gifts online. They feared their information would end up in the hands of computer hackers.

Turns out, walking into a store and swiping a credit card can be plenty risky, too.

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Fri December 20, 2013

When Obama Takes Questions Today, What Should He Be Asked?

President Obama's most recent news conference at the White House was on Nov. 14.
Fang Zhe Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:05 am

Update at 10:02 a.m. ET. News Conference Set For 2 P.M. ET:

The White House just announced that the president will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. ET.

So, we've changed our original headline from "If Obama Takes Questions ..." to "When."

Note: The president's sessions with reporters often get started a little late.

Our original post picks up the story:

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