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It's All Politics
5:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Democrats Tackle Politics Of Income Inequality

White House National Economic Council Chairman Gene Sperling speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Monday. With Congress back, the Senate is expected to work on a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 2:26 pm

President Obama and fellow Democrats, just back from a long holiday break, are immediately embracing a legislative agenda that would increase the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance benefits to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless in America.

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Shots - Health News
5:25 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Medicare Officials Seek Authority To Ban Harmful Prescribers

Pill bottles in a locked room deep inside the building that houses the Los Angeles County Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force.
Tracy Weber ProPublica

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:55 pm

Medicare plans to arm itself with broad new powers to better control — and potentially bar — doctors engaged in fraudulent or harmful prescribing, following a series of articles detailing lax oversight in its drug program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services described the effort Monday in what's known as a proposed rule, the standard process by which federal agencies make significant changes.

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Shots - Health News
4:56 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How Much Does A New Hip Cost? Even The Surgeon Doesn't Know

How much is that hip implant in the X-ray? Only the hospital administrator and the company that made it know for sure.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 1:07 pm

What will a gallon of milk set you back? How about a new car? You probably have a rough idea.

But what about a new knee or a hip replacement? Chances are you have no clue. And you aren't alone. The surgeons who implant the devices probably don't know either, a survey finds.

Medicare spends about $20 billion each year on implanted medical devices. Nearly half of the total goes to orthopedic procedures. As the population ages and more Americans get joint replacements, the spending on implants is likely to keep rising.

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Foul Weather In Britain Linked To U.S. 'Polar Vortex'

High tide storm waves batter the Cumbrian coast, completely inundating the harbor wall at Whitehaven on Monday.
Ashley Cooper Barcroft Media/Landov

Britain's southwest coast is getting slammed by a winter storm, with high winds driving waves as high as 27 feet ashore in an unusual event that meteorologists say is likely linked to the bone-chilling "polar vortex" gripping much of the U.S.

The U.K. Met Office is warning of continued "exceptionally high waves."

It said the waves were triggered by a large, deep depression in the Atlantic which was "whipping waves up" out at sea.

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The Two-Way
4:32 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Don't Just Shiver, Here Are 3 Cold-Weather Experiments To Try

A bubble freezes in very cold weather.
SimonSaysBaka via YouTube

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:37 pm

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Africa
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 2:28 pm

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

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Iraq
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Al-Qaida-Linked Militia Gains Control Of Fallujah

Robert Siegel talks to independent journalist Jane Arraf about the takeover of Fallujah and Ramadi by an al-Qaida-linked group. Arraf is based in Baghdad and was in Fallujah three weeks ago.

Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Forest Service May Try To Recoup Rim Fire Costs With Logging

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a large salvage logging operation in the area affected by last year's historic Rim Fire, which burned 410-square miles of California's Sierra Nevada. The proposal is meeting stiff opposition from environmental groups who say the land is better left untouched.

Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Giving Up Info To Drive A Worthy Risk For Maryland's Undocumented

Maryland has just become one of several states that allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses. Such licenses are issued as long as the immigrants show some form of legal ID — such as a passport — and they will have to take road exams. But critics worry about security risks, and costs to the state.

Law
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Halts Gay Marriages In Utah

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously granted a stay in the Utah gay marriage case, putting a stop to the weddings until an intermediate appeals court has heard and ruled on the matter. It could be a potentially precedent-setting case.

Education
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

UNC May Have Passed Football Players With 'Phantom' Classes

The University of North Carolina is embroiled in an academic fraud case involving students who received high grades for classes that were never held. Many of those students happen to be football players. The case has resulted in the indictment of a professor, who was a department chair. Audie Cornish talks to Dan Kane, an investigative journalist at The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh.

Sports
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Many Fans Not Sad To See End Of Bowl Championship Series

On Monday night, Florida State and Auburn battle for the national college football title. It will be the last championship under the much maligned Bowl Championship Series, or BCS. A new playoff system kicks off next season, but will it be better?

Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Powerful 'Polar Vortex' Makes Rare Appearance In U.S.

Jason Samenow, The Washington Post's weather editor and chief meteorologist of the Capital Weather Gang, tells Robert Siegel about the weather phenomenon known as the "polar vortex." It means frigid temperatures and wind chill in much of the country.

Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Dangerously Low Wind Chills Pummel Much Of U.S.

"Historic" — that's one of the terms being used to describe the brutally cold temperatures across the Midwest and other parts of the country. Some temperatures are the lowest recorded in two decades, many in the single digits or below zero with wind chills predicted as low as minus 50.

Politics
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:11 pm

The Senate returned from its two-week holiday break on Monday. Senators confirmed the nomination of Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve Board and delayed a vote on an extension of unemployment insurance.

NPR News Investigations
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Army Takes On Its Own Toxic Leaders

NPR interviewed dozens of current or former soldiers who said they have struggled under toxic leaders.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:15 am

Top commanders in the U.S. Army have announced publicly that they have a problem: They have too many "toxic leaders" — the kind of bosses who make their employees miserable. Many corporations share a similar problem, but in the Army's case, destructive leadership can potentially have life or death consequences. So, some Army researchers are wondering if toxic officers have contributed to soldiers' mental health problems.

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Environment
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Arctic Methane Bubbles Not As Foreboding As Once Feared

European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.

Digital Life
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Google Glass Devotee Knows You're Staring

Wired writer Mat Honan has spent much of the past year wearing Google Glass, the device that brings the Internet, a camera and other high-tech features right to your face — literally. He says the reaction from his family and friends has definitely been mixed.

World Cafe
4:16 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

World Cafe Next: U.S. Royalty

U.S. Royalty.
Courtesy of the artist
  • Listen Two Songs By U.S. Royalty

Our first World Cafe: Next artist of the new year is the Washington, D.C., band U.S. Royalty. Led by brothers John and Paul Thornley, the group will release its second album (Blue Sunshine) on Jan. 21. After a year of touring and the death of the Thornleys' father, U.S. Royalty found a way to infuse its polished new album with the raw energy of its live shows.

All Songs Considered
4:00 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Question Of The Week: What Are Your Music Resolutions For 2014?

NPR

I began last year with some ambitious goals as far as music goes. I vowed to go to more live shows, to pay more attention to lyrics and to spend more time in general with the albums I hear. This was in addition to losing weight, writing a novel and quitting World Of Warcraft. (Ha ha, just kidding! Why would anyone quit World Of Warcraft?).

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