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Around the Nation
11:02 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Alleged $30M Theft By Comptroller Stuns Ill. City

This November 2011 photo provided by The American Quarter Horse Journal shows Rita Crundwell of Dixon, Ill., at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges she misappropriated more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle.
AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:52 am

The top financial official for the small city of Dixon, Ill., is accused of stealing more than $30 million from city coffers over the past six years. It's a staggering amount of money for the city of just 15,000 residents in northwest Illinois, and federal prosecutors allege she used the funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included horse farms and a $2 million luxury motor home.

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Music Interviews
5:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Anoushka Shankar: A Sitar Player In Andalusia

"There's a very primal, emotional response I feel when I hear flamenco," sitar player Anoushka Shankar says. "It's quite in the belly in a way."
Harper Smith

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:41 am

Anoushka Shankar is the daughter and protege of the renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who is credited with introducing Indian classical music to Western audiences. Now, Anoushka Shankar carries on this tradition in more ways than one. On her new album, Traveller, she goes back in time to make the connections between India and Spain.

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It's All Politics
4:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Obama, Romney Use Opposing Versions Of 'Are You Better Off?'

Mitt Romney's campaign plans on using variations of Ronald Reagan's "Are you better off?" question frequently over the next six months.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:37 pm

Ever since Ronald Reagan posed the killer question to voters in a 1980 debate with then-President Jimmy Carter — "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" — challengers to incumbent presidents have tried to repeat the Reagan magic.

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Mitt Romney
4:11 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

With Eye On November, Romney To Expand Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks with a staffer on the night of the Florida primary in January. Now that he's pivoting away from the primaries to the general election, Romney is expected to quadruple his staff soon.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:41 pm

Now that he's all but certain to be the Republican challenging President Obama in November, Mitt Romney has begun to expand his operations. In the past week, he's named a top aide to head his vice presidential selection team, and his paid staff is expected to soon quadruple in size.

With the president's campaign well-staffed and spread across the map, it's become a game of catch-up for Romney.

There are Republican primary contests in five important states next Tuesday, but with Rick Santorum's departure from the race, they've gotten little attention.

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The Two-Way
4:10 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

3 Secret Service Agents Will Leave Agency Over Prostitution Scandal

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:22 pm

Three agents accused of cavorting with prostitutes during a trip to Cartagena as part of the "advance" team working on President Obama's trip to Colombia are leaving the agency.

The AP reports:

"Of the three workers forced out in the scandal, one is a supervisor who was allowed to retire. Another is a supervisor who has been designated for removal for cause, which requires that the employee be given 30 days' notice and a chance to respond with the help of a lawyer; and a third employee, not a supervisor, has quit.

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Africa
3:44 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Tourists Make Historic Visit To War-Ravaged Liberia

The 150 passengers aboard the National Geographic Explorer cruise ship arrive in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, on April 16. It's reportedly the largest group of tourists to visit the country since the 1970s.
Tamasin Ford for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 8:26 am

Liberia has been better known for conflict than tourism the past couple of decades.

But this week, a group of 150 tourists, many of them Americans, arrived for a brief stay in the small nation on Africa's West Coast. When their cruise liner docked in the capital of Monrovia, they became the largest group of tourists to visit the country in many years, probably since the 1970s.

Dock workers in Monrovia usually unload cargo ships full of secondhand clothes or rice — not a cruise ship full of American tourists.

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It's All Politics
3:43 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Most Small Businesses Don't Quite Fit The Political Picture

Angela Caragan's A Cupcake Co. offers gourmet cupcakes for special events. Like more than 20 million other small-business owners in the U.S., she has no employees.
Courtesy of Angela Caragan

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:28 pm

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a GOP measure to cut taxes on small businesses.

Now, the mental image most of us have of a small business is probably something like this: a handful of employees, a shop, maybe a restaurant or a little tech firm.

It turns out the reality of the nation's 28 million small businesses is, in many cases, quite different.

House Republicans say their tax cut would help millions of small businesses.

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The Two-Way
3:39 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Vatican Says U.S. Nun Association Doesn't Adhere To Church Teachings

The Vatican has ordered a crackdown of an American organization representing most nuns in the United States. The Vatican ordered an investigation of the group in 2008 and today it said it was appointing an American archbishop to oversee a reform of the group.

The AP reports:

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Energy
3:04 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

New Rules To Curb Pollution From Oil, Gas Drilling

Oil and natural gas drillers use equipment like this to separate the liquid, gas and sand that come out of wells at the beginning of hydraulic fracturing operations.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:34 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.

Currently, waste products from the drilling operations, which include a mix of chemicals, sand and water, can be pumped into open enclosures or pits, where toxic substances can make their way into the air. The new rules will require this fluid to be captured by 2015, and flared — or burned off — in the meantime.

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Energy
3:04 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

As Gasoline Goes Up, Natural Gas Cheaper Than Ever

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 3:54 pm

At the same time gasoline prices are soaring, the cost of electricity is falling. The reason? Cheap and plentiful natural gas. A utility in Massachusetts has just sliced rates by 34 percent. Coming out of a recession, the lower electricity prices are quietly boosting the economy and providing some welcome savings to businesses and families.

NPR Story
2:41 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Argentina Tries To Nationalize Oil Company

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 3:54 pm

Argentina's Congress is expected to approve a bill to nationalize the country's largest oil company. Melissa Blocks talks with Simon Romero, the Brazil bureau chief for The New York Times.

Remembrances
2:36 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Dick Clark, 'Bandstand' Host, Dead at 82

Pop culture icon Dick Clark died Wednesday at age 82. He started his career as a college disc jockey and went on to shape the way America viewed music, TV game shows and New Year's Eve. Here, he hosts American Bandstand in 1958.
ABC Photo Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 12:59 pm

Dick Clark, affectionately known as the "world's oldest teenager," has died. He was 82, and had suffered a heart attack while in a Santa Monica hospital for an outpatient procedure.

Richard Wagstaff Clark became a national icon with American Bandstand in the 1950s, hosting the show for more than 30 years. Clark also hosted the annual New Year's Eve special for ABC for decades. He weathered scandals, hosted game shows and renewed his Bandstand fame with a new generation by producing the nostalgic TV drama American Dreams.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:13 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

What We Can Learn From Warren Buffett's Prostate Cancer

Billionaire Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, will be treated for prostate cancer starting in July.
Shuji Kajiyama AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 2:25 pm

Benjamin Davies, a urologic cancer specialist, doesn't mince words.

On Twitter today, the good doctor said he would fire on the spot any medical resident who biopsied the prostate of an 81-year-old man.

And that would include Warren Buffett, the 81-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, who disclosed Tuesday that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

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The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Dick Clark, Legendary Producer, Has Died

Dick Clark.
Danny Moloshok AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 7:24 pm

Dick Clark, the legendary television producer who became a national icon with American Bandstand in 1950s, has died. He was 82.

Clark, known as the the "world's oldest teenager," produced American Bandstand for over 30 years.

"The original American Bandstand was one of network TV's longest-running series as part of ABC's daytime lineup from 1957 to 1987. Over the years, it introduced stars ranging from Buddy Holly to Michael Jackson to Madonna," the AP writes.

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World Cafe
2:12 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Emeli Sande On World Cafe

Emeli Sande.
Courtesy of the artist

Emeli Sande is young, but she already has an enviable list of accomplishments under her belt. Along with a specialty in neuroscience from the University of Glasgow, she's become a global R&B phenomenon at just 23. The U.K. soul singer wrote her first song at 11 and began participating in music competitions in her teens. Given her powerful vocals and keen understanding of what makes a great song, there was little doubt that her debut would be a doozy — especially once her first single, the soulful "Heaven," became a worldwide hit.

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Organizations Can't Be Sued For Torture, High Court Rules

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 1:15 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that organizations cannot be sued for the torture under the Torture Victim Protection Act.

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The Two-Way
12:43 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Escort Offers New Details Of Secret Service Scandal

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 2:25 pm

The New York Times just posted what it says are the first public comments from the Colombian woman whose argument with a U.S. Secret Service agent last week revealed the so-called summit scandal.

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The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Pat Summitt Steps Down As Tennessee's Basketball Coach

This file photo shows Tennessee women's basketball head coach Pat Summitt talking with reporters during the Southeastern Conference basketball media day, in Hoover, Ala.
Dave Martin AP

Pat Summitt, college basketball's winningest coach, has stepped down as coach of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team.

In a press release, the university said she will now hold the title of head coach emeritus and Associate Head Coach Holly Warlick will take her place.

In that release Summitt said:

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

In Colorado, Frozen Cows Are A Conundrum In Conundrum

The Conundrum Creek Cabin where the cows met their unfortunate end. Photo taken on April 6.
Brian Porter AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:45 pm

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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Poll: Most Americans Link Climate Change To Unusual Weather Events

In this Aug 3, 2011 file photo, Texas State Park police officer Thomas Bigham walks across the cracked lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake, in San Angelo, Texas.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 12:25 pm

Most Americans believe that global warming has played a role in a series of unusual weather events during the past year.

A poll released today by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 72 percent of Americas believe global warming played a role in the very warm winter the United States just experienced.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Drinking On The Job: Is 2012 The New 1966?

Actor Jon Hamm in a scene from AMC's Mad Men. The show is set in the 1960s — but today, many companies provide their employees with ready access to alcohol.
Ron Jaffe/AMC AP

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The Salt
9:52 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Plan To Slaughter Horses For Human Consumption Is Met With Distaste

No, that's not beef — it's horse meat, at a butcher shop in France. Horse remains a popular food in many countries, but often makes Americans squeamish.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 11:25 am

When the ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption was lifted in the U.S. last November, it was only a matter of time before someone applied to start the practice up again.

That person is Rick De Los Santos, a New Mexico rancher and owner of Valley Meat Co. If the USDA approves his application to have a former beef slaughterhouse inspected, it would allow the first slaughter of horses in the U.S. since 2007.

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Retired Couple Bought Winning Mega Millions Ticket In Illinois

Merle and Patricia Butler (at right) accepting their ceremonial check earlier today.
Illinois Lottery

The winning ticket in Illinois from last month's record $656 Mega Millions lottery has been turned in by a retired couple from the little town of Red Bud, Ill.

"Merle Butler, 65, and his wife Patricia, 62, accepted the giant check Wednesday morning," as Chicago's WLS-TV reports.

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National Security
9:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Where's the Line Between Profiling, Policing?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll check in with Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris, one of our regular contributors. He just won a Pulitzer Prize and we hope he's still taking our calls to tell us about the new films coming out this summer. That's in just a few minutes.

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Science
9:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

What Can We Learn From Video Games?

The White House is making what some would call an unconventional investment. It's studying the benefits of video games on those who play them. White House senior policy analyst Constance Steinkuehler is at the head of that research and she discusses the initiative with host Michel Martin.

The Two-Way
9:22 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Take That, Kids: Jamie Moyer Is Oldest Pitcher To Win An MLB Game

Jamie Moyer of the Colorado Rockies after his record-setting win Tuesday night in Denver.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

He's not as old as some bloggers (sigh!), but the Colorado Rockies' Jamie Moyer is now the holder of an impressive age-related record.

Tuesday night, at the age of 49 years, 150 days, he became the oldest pitcher to ever win a Major League Baseball game.

Playing in Denver, the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-3. "Moyer worked seven innings, allowing no earned runs on six hits," The Denver Post reports.

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Music Reviews
8:46 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Jenny Scheinman's 'Mayhem' Hard To Pin Down

Jenny Scheinman's (left) quartet represents players raised on and used to playing all kinds of music.
Michael Gross

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 10:24 am

Violinist Jenny Scheinman's band and new album are both called Mischief and Mayhem. The record was made just after her quartet played a week at the Village Vanguard, but despite the jazz cred of regular Vanguard appearances, their stylistically fluid music draws on a lot of traditions.

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The Salt
8:43 am
Wed April 18, 2012

13th-Century Food Fights Helped Fuel The Magna Carta

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 1:06 pm

Imagine it's England, 1209, and you're a wealthy baron. You arrive home from London one day to discover that King John's minions have once again raided your stores of grain. It's the king's right, of course — he has a large household and armies to feed — and there's a promise of compensation.

But all too often that payment arrives late, if at all. And there was that incident last year where the bailiff was caught selling the seized goods instead of handing them over to the king's men.

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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Swedish Official Calls 'Racist Cake' A Piece Of Provocative Art

The cake, with artist Makode Aj Linde "performing" as the screaming head.
Facebook.com

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