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Economy
11:09 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Workers May Be Missing, Or Maybe Just Retiring

Is the economy strengthening, or is the jobless rate falling only because so many people are dropping out of the workforce?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:52 am

For more than four years, the unemployment rate has been sliding down — from a 10 percent peak to today's 6.7 percent.

But does that reflect a fast-strengthening economy? Or is the rate falling only because so many people are dropping out of the workforce?

In coming weeks, members of Congress and the Federal Reserve Board will be making big policy decisions based upon their best understanding of those unsettled questions.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:09 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Treat Yourself To A 'Huh?'

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 7:14 am

You drop a ball. You drop a key. You drop a piece of lead. They each slip from your hand and tumble to the ground. But you have an orderly mind (you're a physicist) and, to you, falling things don't seem haphazard — they seem neat. The unruly world has rules, laws. So instead of saying "Bummer!" you say, "Of course! How beautiful! How logical!"

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Deceptive Cadence
11:09 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Guess Who's Singing The National Anthem At The Super Bowl?

From taffeta to tackles: Soprano Renee Fleming has been tapped to sing at Super Bowl XLVIII.
Karin Cooper Courtesy of Washington National Opera

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 1:05 pm

She's probably not among your first, or second, or 10th, or 20th-round guesses, but the NFL just announced that American soprano Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

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The Salt
11:08 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Why Letting Kids Serve Themselves May Be Worth The Mess

Adults tend to overestimate how much small children can eat, a child development researcher says.
Getty Images/iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 3:58 pm

When it comes to feeding little kids, adults know best. But some nutritionists now argue that children could also benefit from a bit of autonomy at mealtimes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that parents let kids as young as 2 years old serve themselves at home. And in 2011, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advised that child care providers should serve meals "family-style" — present kids with a few different dishes and allow them to take what they want.

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

American Held In North Korea Asks U.S. To Secure His Release

American missionary Kenneth Bae leaves after speaking to reporters at Pyongyang Friendship Hospital on Monday.
Kim Kwang Hyon AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 1:38 pm

American missionary Kenneth Bae, who's been held for more than a year in North Korea following his arrest and trial on espionage charges, spoke to reporters for Western media on Monday, calling for the U.S. government to help win his freedom.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Book News: Amazon Wants To Ship Products Before You Even Buy Them

An employee prepares an order at Amazon's fulfillment center in San Bernardino, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 10:34 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

U.N. Rescinds Offer For Iran To Take Part In Syrian Peace Talks

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the media during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sunday.
Jason Szenes EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 3:06 am

This post was updated at 4:35 p.m. ET.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has withdrawn an invitation to Iran to participate in Syrian peace talks after groups opposing President Bashar Assad's regime threatened a boycott of the discussions if Tehran got a seat at the table.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Top Stories: Jailed American's Plea; Syrian Peace Talks

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:23 am

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

N.J. Lt. Gov. Denies Strong-Arming Mayor Over Sandy Relief Funds

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joins Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno (right) at a statewide prayer service in Newark marking the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, in October.
Eric Thayer AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 3:34 pm

New Jersey's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is firing back at Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who says Superstorm Sandy recovery funds to her city were held up when she refused to sign off on a politically connected real estate deal.

Zimmer said over the weekend that during a mall opening event in May, Guadagno pulled her aside to say she needed to "move forward" on the real estate deal or "we are not going to be able to help you."

Zimmer says she asked the state for $100 million in aid. She received around $142,000.

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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Rosetta Space Probe Gets Interplanetary Wake-Up Call

Rosetta, the European Space Agency's cometary probe with NASA contributions, is seen in an undated artist's rendering.
NASA Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 12:01 pm

... That's the message received from a bleary-eyed comet-chasing space probe on Monday, much to the relief of ground-based controllers who sent it a long distance wake-up call after nearly a three-year nap.

The European Space Agency received the communique from deep space on schedule at 1 p.m. ET from Rosetta, some 500 million miles away on a trajectory to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August. It's been in sleep mode to conserve power.

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Oxfam: World's Richest 1 Percent Control Half Of Global Wealth

Local villagers scavenging coal illegally from an open-cast mine in a village near Jharia, India, in 2012.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 3:16 pm

Just 1 percent of the world's population controls nearly half of the planet's wealth, according to a new study published by Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.

The study says this tiny slice of humanity controls $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion people.

Other key findings in the report:

-- The world's 85 richest people own as much as the poorest 50 percent of humanity.

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History
12:50 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

A Promise Unfulfilled: 1962 MLK Speech Recording Is Discovered

A recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering this address to the New York State Civil War Centennial Commission in 1962 was recently discovered by the New York State Museum.
Courtesy of New York State Education Department

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 4:44 pm

Last fall, curators and interns at the New York State Museum were digging through their audio archives in an effort to digitize their collection. It was tedious work; the museum houses over 15 million objects. But on this particular day in November, they unearthed a treasure.

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The Salt
12:50 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

How Food Hubs Are Helping New Farmers Break Into Local Food

Marty Travis (right) started the Stewards of the Land food hub in 2005. His son Will helps him transport food from local farms to area restaurants.
Sean Powers Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 1:10 pm

Lots of consumers are smitten with local food, but they're not the only ones. The growing market is also providing an opportunity for less experienced farmers to expand their business and polish their craft.

But they need help, and increasingly it's coming from food hubs, which can also serve as food processing and distribution centers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 240 of them in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

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Code Switch
3:16 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

No 'Cohabitation' For Alabama State's First Female President

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd, Alabama State University's first female president.
Debbie Elliot NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:48 pm

Alabama State University will soon have its first female president. But trustees at the historically black college put a stipulation in her contract that critics say is a setback for equality.

Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd will become the president of her alma mater next month. Her contract requires the 58-year-old engineer to move into the president's home on the Alabama State University campus in Montgomery.

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Planet Money
3:15 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Why U.S. Taxpayers Started — And Stopped — Paying Brazilian Cotton Farmers

Robert Smith NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:20 pm

Note: This is an update to a story we initially published in 2010.

In 2002, Pedro Camargo had a job in Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture. He was annoyed by the subsidies the U.S. government payed to U.S. cotton farmers.

"We want to compete farmer against farmer, and not Brazilian farmer and American farmer with the help of the US government," he told me. "Not only is that not fair; it's not following the rules."

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