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Morning Edition is hosted by NPR's Steve Inskeep and NPR's Renee Montagne. Kelly Batchelor is the PRE host coordinating regional news, weather, and features of interest to our Eastern North Carolina audiences.

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Around the Nation
3:18 am
Wed November 20, 2013

The Art Of Letter-Writing Isn't Lost On These Scribblers

Do you write letters anymore? A few determined people are doing their best to keep them arriving in U.S. mailboxes.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 11:00 am

When was the last time you wrote a letter?

If the answer is "not recently," then you can count yourself among the millions of Americans who just don't write letters anymore. The post office says the average American home receives only one personal letter about every two months.

But there are a few determined people who are doing their best to wreck that average.

"It's becoming a lost art," says Deb Bruzewski.

Every day she curls up on her plaid couch in her home in Auburn, Mich., to write a few of her 60 letters for the week.

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Africa
3:16 am
Wed November 20, 2013

In Nigeria's Bloody Fight, Who's Gaining The Upper Hand?

Men walk amid rubble after Boko Haram militants raided the town of Benisheik in northeast Nigeria, on Sept. 19. The Islamist group has been waging an insurgency in northern and central Nigeria for the past four years and was recently placed on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 10:51 am

For four years, the Islamist militants of Boko Haram have been waging a deadly campaign in northern and central Nigeria, killing thousands of people. In response, the Nigerian military is cracking down on the group, and the United States last week designated Boko Haram a terrorist organization.

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Sweetness And Light
3:00 am
Wed November 20, 2013

In Basketball, It's Always About What's Next

This year, there are three college players being called "the next LeBron James." Meanwhile, many are speculating about where the first LeBron James, now playing for the Miami Heat, will be next season.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:51 pm

College basketball seems to get started sooner every year, like puberty in American children. Why does everything have to begin so early now, before you have time to get ready for it?

Things move so fast in college basketball that there are three players this year who are being called "the next LeBron James. " In the NBA, most of the talk is already about where the superstars will be next season.

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Around the Nation
7:12 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Word Of The Year: Selfie

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne announcing the word of the year: Selfie. The Smartphone self-portrait. The Oxford Dictionary says it perfectly captures 2013. Selfies lit up social media and dirty ones derailed political careers. Teens even took one with the Pope. The word's come a long way since popping up on an Australian message board a decade ago. It beat out binge watch, meaning marathon TV watching, and twerk. You can look that one up. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
7:05 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Brooklyn Writer Live-Tweets Couple's Breakup

Brooklyn writer Kyle Ayers says he was on his apartment rooftop when he witnessed a breakup. So he decided to tweet what the man and woman were saying.

Middle East
6:15 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Iranian Cultural Attache Killed In Beirut Blasts

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 9:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Two car bombs exploded in Beirut, Lebanon today. They exploded near the embassy of Iran in that city. The roughly two dozens dead include Iran's cultural attaché, we're told. The bombings draw attention for their violence, for their apparent target, Iran, and for the location. Lebanon is next door to Syria where Iran is deeply involved in a civil war supporting the government of President Bashar al Assad.

Let's go next to the New York Times Beirut bureau chief Anne Barnard. She's on the line from there. Hi, Anne.

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Research News
4:23 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Study: Commuting Adversely Affects Political Engagement

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Okay. We all know about the partisan divide in this country - Democrats, Republicans - but there's another political divide. Part of the country is very engaged in the political process and part is not.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Older Americans, richer Americans and better educated Americans are more likely to be politically engaged. Now researchers have found one more factor that seems to shape political engagement, the length of your commute. It comes to our attention as MORNING EDITION focuses on commuting.

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Business
4:23 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Bitcoin Hits Record High After Senate Panel Told It's Legal

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 6:15 am

The cyber-currency was at the center of a Senate panel hearing Monday. Senators are looking into the way Bitcoin was used by the illegal drug marketplace that called itself Silk Road. But even with the scrutiny, Bitcoin investors drove the virtual currency to record highs.

Law
4:23 am
Tue November 19, 2013

How Court's Bus Ruling Sealed Differences In Detroit Schools

In 1973, Ray Litt and a group of Detroiters went to court in an attempt to force the state to desegregate the city's schools.
NPR

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 1:46 pm

It was 40 years ago today that the Supreme Court accepted what became a landmark case about school desegregation. The case was controversial because it involved busing student between a largely African-American city — Detroit — and its white suburban areas. The ruling helped cement differences between urban schools and suburban neighborhoods.

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Code Switch
3:07 am
Tue November 19, 2013

A New Life For An Old Slave Jail

Formerly known as the Alexandria Slave Pen, this ashen gray row house in Alexandria, Va., once housed one of the country's largest slave-dealing firms.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 7:31 pm

President Abraham Lincoln stood on a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., 150 years ago and declared "a new birth of freedom" for the nation.

That same year, an African-American man named Lewis Henry Bailey experienced his own rebirth. At age 21, Bailey was freed from slavery in Texas. His journey began in Virginia, where he was sold as a child in a slave jail.

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
3:06 am
Tue November 19, 2013

'You Just Get Used To It': An LA Commuter's Diary

Neville Amaria's commute to work used to take up to 1.5 hours each way. He carpooled with colleagues including Stefanie McNally, Cristina Cooper and Bryan Kim. The gang passed the time by sleeping and snapping photos of unlucky commuters.
Courtesy of Cristina Cooper

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 8:50 am

For two years, Neville Amaria carpooled to his office in Los Angeles. That puts him in the same category as about 10 percent of American workers, who drive or ride to work in a car with two or more passengers.

Even still, Amaria's carpool stood out for its extremes. His mega-commute lasted two to three hours, round trip. And he did it with up to four co-workers squeezed into the car with him — most carpoolers only ride with one other passenger.

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U.S.
3:05 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Little-Known Immigration Mandate Keeps Detention Beds Full

The federal immigration detention center in Florence, Ariz., is one of about 250 such facilities around the country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is required to house 34,000 immigration detainees per day, nationwide.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 5:04 pm

Imagine your city council telling the police department how many people it had to keep in jail each night.

That's effectively what Congress has told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a policy known as the "detention bed mandate." The mandate calls for filling 34,000 beds in some 250 facilities across the country, per day, with immigrant detainees.

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Around the Nation
3:04 am
Tue November 19, 2013

After Floods, Some Colo. Rivers Aren't Where They Used To Be

Excavators work to restore the original channel of Left Hand Creek. The creek's diversion structures sit clogged with mud, debris and stagnant water.
Jim Hill KUNC

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 7:34 am

In Colorado, farmers are scrambling to recover from September's historic floods — floods that decimated miles of roadways, cut off entire towns and sent rivers and creeks into areas they'd never been before.

Like Tim Foster's immaculate front yard.

"It was beautiful," he says. "I had four large blue spruces. We had hundred-year-old cottonwoods all along the bank. We had our irrigation and our pumps. It was just gorgeous."

Read more
Business
6:09 am
Mon November 18, 2013

More LED Lights Used In Holiday Displays

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. In the movie "Christmas Vacation" Chevy Chase's character attaches thousands of Christmas lights to his roof with a staple gun. When the lights go on, utilities have to boost their power to avoid a blackout. That would not happen today. Stores are selling more LED lights this year, which use less energy.

Around the Nation
5:49 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Yarn Bombers Strike Statues In Portland, Ore.

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:09 am

It takes a real craft-oriented city to experience yarn bombing. The latest soft hit: statues decked out in holiday knitwear. Two dolphin statues now sport red and green sweaters. A deer statue wears a pompom cap and legwarmers.

Law
4:29 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Hundreds Arrested In Massive Child Pornography Ring

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We start this story with a warning. Some people may find the subject unsettling. People with kids in the room may wish to skip the next six minutes. Years ago, police in Toronto, Canada began tracking a suspect in their city. With the help of police in other nations, they quietly began linking him to a global network of people trafficking in child pornography.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
4:27 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Boeing's 777x Wins Multiple Orders At Dubai Airshow

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Dubai Air Show kicked off this weekend, a chance with people in the aviation industry to see and be seen, and show off technology and usually to announce a lot of the sales. In the first three hours of the show, more than $150 billion in airplane orders were announced. And the biggest beneficiary was Boeing. The Seattle-based company said it had orders for more than 350 of its new passenger jets. There's still a question of where those aircraft will be built. NPR's Nathan Rott reports.

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Middle East
4:15 am
Mon November 18, 2013

After Stalemate, Regime Troops Gain Against Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:09 am

The Syrian army has been gaining significant ground against the rebels around the capital and in the north city of Aleppo. Analysts say the regime has better allies, superior fire-power and in this sectarian battle, has finally integrated Shiite forces from Hezbollah into a formidable force that is effective against disunited rebels.

Politics
3:31 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Obama Shifts To Foreign Policy Goals During Second Term

A breakthrough on Iran's nuclear program could shape history's view of President Obama.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:10 pm

The White House has been fighting to prevent the disastrous rollout of the health care law from defining President Obama's second term. While that struggle continues, another story is unfolding this week that could shape this president's legacy.

Diplomats from the U.S. and other countries are going to meet for a second round of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, and a breakthrough there could shape history's view of Obama.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:25 am
Mon November 18, 2013

States Aim To Cure Hyperpartisanship With Primary Changes

To fight hyperpartisanship and redistricting aimed at keeping politicians safe in their district, some states are experimenting with new primary voting systems.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:42 pm

Several states are trying to do something about so-called hyperpartisanship by changing the way congressional districts are drawn and the way elections are held.

Their goal: force members of Congress to pay more attention to general election voters than to their base voters on the right or left.

John Fortier, the director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, which is working on ways to make politics less dysfunctional, says U.S. political parties have become more polarized.

Read more

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