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Shots - Health News
2:50 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Medicare Starts To Reward Quality, Not Quantity, Of Care

In a push to improve quality, Medicare will pay some hospitals more and others, including Boston's Massachusetts General, less.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

It's no longer enough for hospitals to just send a bill to Medicare and get paid.

The nation's biggest insurer is starting to dole out bonuses and penalties to nearly 3,000 hospitals as it ties almost $1 billion in payments to the quality of care provided to patients.

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U.S.
2:23 am
Fri December 21, 2012

New TSA Standards: Carry On Small Snow Globes and Pies, Keep Checking Jam

One of these snow globes doesn't belong onboard. The one on the left, which is about the size of a tennis ball, is permitted in your carry-on luggage. The one on the right is not.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

The airline industry predicts some 42 million of us will be flying this holiday season, and that this weekend before Christmas will be one of the busiest periods.

For tips on how to get through what's expected to be some long security lines, we turn to the Transportation Security Administration's Lisa Farbstein. She says there's a useful guide on the TSA's homepage that allows you to type in an item to see if it's allowed in your carry-on, as well as a mobile app.

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The Salt
2:23 am
Fri December 21, 2012

A Pie-Making Encore: Start With The Perfect Recipe, Serve With Love

The foundation of a good pie starts with the crust.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 8:00 am

It's high season for pie-making. And when we came upon this touching story about a bunch of women gathering to bake fresh apple pies for the people of Newtown, Conn., it warmed our hearts here at The Salt. Truly.

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StoryCorps
2:22 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Santa Claus Is Driving To Town

In December, when Boyd Applegate isn't driving his big-rig truck, he dresses up as Santa and hand-delivers gifts under Christmas trees. It's a pastime he's enjoyed for more than 20 years.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Boyd Applegate never set out to become a real bearded Santa Claus. No, the calling found him.

The 56-year-old, who was last on StoryCorps talking about volunteering at the polls on Election Day, is a big-rig truck driver. He's logged nearly 5 million miles on the road.

"Santa Claus was a byproduct of truck driving," he explained to his sister, Rhonda Dixon, at StoryCorps. "Because I drive a truck, I can have a beard that's a little bit longer than most people."

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Business
2:21 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Not Your Grandma's B&B: Traditional Inns Transform For Young Travelers

Innkeepers are combating old stereotypes about bed and breakfasts. The Abbott Room at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield, Vt., was renovated in 2009 to reflect more modern tastes.
Jumping Rocks

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

There is a war going on. The enemy is an innocuous little piece of ornamental fabric.

When the Professional Association of Innkeepers launched the Death to Doilies Campaign this year, the approach was tongue-in-cheek, but the message of change was serious: The doily has had the run of bed and breakfasts for too long.

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The Salt
2:21 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Drought, Economics And Your Holiday Feast

Think your prime rib holiday dinner is more pricey this year? You're right. But maybe not for the reason you think.
Todd Patterson iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Nobody really wants to think about economics, the famously dismal science, while sitting down at a table loaded with love and calories. Like it or not, though, supply and demand drive food production and set the price of dinner.

So, in a season of feasts, what are the business stories on your holiday menu?

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Politics
9:18 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

House Pulls 'Plan B' Tax Measure From The Floor

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Shots - Health News
5:32 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

YouTube-Inspired Food Dares: Don't Try This At Home, Kids

GloZell demonstrates the chubby bunny challenge.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 10:20 am

Back in March, we told you about the "cinnamon challenge" — a game of dubious origin that involves eating a tablespoon of cinnamon powder without any liquid to wash it down. Experts at the nation's network of poison centers were warning parents about the game after the number of calls related to teens ages 13 to 19 increased dramatically from 2011. Their symptoms included choking, gagging, vomiting and other respiratory problems.

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The Two-Way
5:31 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

In Christmas Message, Queen Elizabeth Returns To 3-D After 59 Years

Queen Elizabeth II wears 3-D glasses during a visit to the University of Sheffield, in 2010. This year, the queen's annual Christmas message will broadcast in 3-D.
WPA Pool Getty Images

It's been 80 years since Britain's royal family began broadcasting a Christmas message — and 60 years since Queen Elizabeth took up the duty. Now, the monarch will deliver her 2012 holiday address in 3-D.

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It's All Politics
5:05 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Financial Ties Bind NRA, Gun Industry

In this photo illustration, a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen with ammunition.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:51 am

Leaders of the National Rifle Association plan to break their weeklong silence Friday and make their first public comments on the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

They say they will be speaking for the NRA's 4 million members. But they will also be speaking for the gun industry, which has close financial ties to the association.

The NRA and the gun industry are reeling after last week's massacre. The primary weapon used — an AR-15-style rifle — is one of the most popular guns in America.

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U.S.
4:53 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Is The Border Secure Enough To Tackle The Immigration System?

A hilltop view of the 18-foot fence along the U.S.-Mexico border west of Nogales, Ariz.
Ted Robbins NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:10 pm

Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Border Patrol has quintupled in size — growing from about 4,000 to more than 20,000 agents.

The government has constructed some 700 miles of fencing and vehicle barriers. It has placed thousands of ground sensors, lights, radar towers and cameras along the border. And Customs and Border Protection is now flying drones and helicopters to locate smuggles and rescue stranded immigrants.

So here's the question: Is the Southwest border secure?

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

House Republicans Face Threat Of Primary Challenges In 'Plan B' Vote

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., shown in 2010, has said he would deserve a primary challenge if he voted for House Speaker John Boehner's "fiscal cliff" proposal, which would extend the Bush-era tax cuts only on income of less than $1 million.
John Hanna AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

House Republicans are under a lot of pressure.

House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team are urging them to support his "Plan B" to avoid the automatic tax hikes of the "fiscal cliff." But they're also facing pressure from outside groups that could mount primary challenges against them if they do.

Boehner argues his plan — which would allow the Bush-era tax cuts to stay in place for income under $1 million a year — isn't a tax increase. But a number of conservative groups have come to a very different conclusion.

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The Picture Show
4:09 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

'Miss Subways': A Trip Back In Time To New York's Melting Pot

Selsey was Miss Subways January-March 1964
Courtesy of Fiona Gardner

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:13 pm

For more than 35 years, riders on the New York City subways and buses during their daily commute were graced with posters of beaming young women. While the women featured in each poster — all New Yorkers — were billed as "average girls," they were also beauty queens in the nation's first integrated beauty contest: Miss Subways, selected each month starting in 1941 by the public and professionally photographed by the country's leading modeling agency.

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Energy
4:03 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Next In Line For A Fracking Boom, California Looks At The Rules

Most hydraulic fracturing in California is done to extract to oil in areas like this field in Kern County. The state is drafting fracking regulations for the first time.
Craig Miller KQED

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, there's been heated debate about rules that protect groundwater and public health.

California is now wading into that arena with the release of the state's first fracking regulations. The state's earthquake-prone geology, however, could bring particular concerns.

Fracking itself isn't new. The technology behind it, though, has changed.

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Latin America
3:36 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

'Lost Jews' Of Colombia Say They've Found Their Roots

Baruj Cano, 4, watches as his father and other men from Bello's Jewish community read from the Torah.
Paul Smith for NPR

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 11:38 am

They are called "crypto-Jews" or "lost Jews," and in recent years they have emerged in remote places as scattered as India, Brazil, the American Southwest and here in Colombia.

They were raised as Christians but believe they have discovered hidden Jewish roots, prompting many to return to Judaism. Many say their ancestors were Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain more than 500 years ago, as the Spanish crown embarked on a systematic persecution of Jews.

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Space
3:34 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

In Calif. Gold Country, A Rush That's Out Of This World

A section of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, dubbed "Darth Vader," is studied at a lab at the University of California, Davis. The meteorite is made of carbonaceous chondrite, which contains materials that formed the planets of the solar system.
UC Davis

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

On the crisp, clear morning of April 22, a 50-ton asteroid slammed into the Earth's atmosphere and shattered into countless pieces. Remarkably, they rained down onto Sutter's Mill, Calif., the exact spot where gold was discovered back in 1848, triggering the gold rush. And so follows a story of serendipity and scientific discovery.

"I was out on my hillside burning some branches and so forth, and I heard this sonic boom," says Gold Country resident Ed Allen. "It wasn't just one boom. It was a series of booms, literally right over my head."

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The Salt
3:02 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Big Food And The Big, Silent Salt Experiment

Food companies have begun quietly reducing salt in regular foods because low-salt items like these don't sell as well.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

Have you noticed, perhaps, that some of your store-bought salad dressings or spaghetti sauces taste a little less salty lately?

Probably not. The companies that make those products are doing their best to keep you from noticing. Yet many of them are, in fact, carrying out a giant salt-reduction experiment, either because they want to improve their customers' health or because they're worried that if they don't, the government might impose regulations that would compel more onerous salt reductions.

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It's All Politics
2:25 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Cory Booker Eyes (Chris Christie-Free) Path To His Political Future

Newark Mayor Cory Booker greets a 13-year-old at a relief center for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, in November.
Julio Cortez AP

Here was the choice facing Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Run next year against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose popularity would have made the Republican exceedingly difficult to beat; or fix his gaze on the Senate seat now occupied by an 88-year-old fellow Democrat, Sen.

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The Two-Way
1:56 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Gun Control: 'Only Modest Change' In Opinion Since Newtown Shootings

A Sig Sauer handgun on sale at a shop in Tucker, Ga.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:25 am

"The public's attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported Thursday afternoon.

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Former Official Sentenced To 35 Years For Role In Rwanda's Genocide

An international criminal court has found a former Rwandan government official guilty of genocide and other crimes, sentencing him to 35 years in prison for his role in the Hutu-led government's murder of ethnic Tutsis on an epic scale. The trial is the last stemming from events 18 years ago.

As Gregory Warner reports for NPR's Newscast unit:

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Asia
1:22 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

A New Generation Takes Power In Northeast Asia

Within the past year, North Korea, China, Japan and South Korea have all elected new leadership. The shifting powers in Northeast Asia have major implications for a region the includes three of the world's major economies.

Around the Nation
1:19 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

The Secrets Of Making Time Fly While You Wait

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

The holidays might summon images of the traditional family dinner or wool-clad carolers, but we might want to forget equally likely moments: that frustrating wait for the bus, the anxiety next to an immobile luggage carousel. So what do you do to keep calm and content while waiting out life's inevitable delays? Besides your smartphone, what do you use to fill waiting time? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email: talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION.

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Politics
1:10 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Assault-Style Weapons In The Civilian Market

According to Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center, more people in the United States die every year from gun-related incidents than have been killed in all terrorist attacks worldwide since the 1960s.
iStockPhoto

As the country reels after Friday's massacre in Newtown, Conn., the question of how assault rifles like the one used at Sandy Hook Elementary School entered the civilian market is front and center.

The semi-automatic weapon found at the site where Adam Lanza shot to death 20 children and six adults, for example, is a variant of a type of gun developed for troops during Vietnam.

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Commentary
1:10 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Geoff Nunberg's Word Of The Year: Big Data

Adam Gryko iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:18 pm

"Big Data" hasn't made any of the words-of-the-year lists I've seen so far. That's probably because it didn't get the wide public exposure given to items like "frankenstorm," "fiscal cliff" and YOLO.

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National Security
1:10 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Preparing For The World Of 2030

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. A new report for the National Intelligence Council describes the world of today as a transition point in world history, like 1815, 1919, 1945 and 1989, when the path forward was not clear-cut, the report says, and the world faced the possibility of different global futures.

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

At Benghazi Hearing, Sen. Kerry Urges More Diplomatic Resources

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., led a Senate hearing Thursday on the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:28 pm

Sen. John Kerry is considered the leading candidate to become the next secretary of state, and that gave added weight to his remarks Thursday as he oversaw testimony on the most volatile foreign policy issue in recent months: the deadly Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi.

The two top deputies of the current secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, acknowledged that the State Department failed to provide adequate security in Benghazi, which has remained extremely volatile following last year's ouster of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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Shots - Health News
12:47 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Merck: Niacin Drug Mix Fails To Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:59 pm

Niacin, a B vitamin that raises "good" cholesterol, has failed to benefit heart disease patients when taken in tandem with a statin drug that lowers "bad" cholesterol, according to drug maker Merck.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Newtown Shootings Inspire '26 Acts Of Kindness' Campaign

A woman and child earlier this week at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:33 pm

The idea is simple:

Do "26 acts of kindness" — one for each of the 20 children and six adults killed last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Since NBC News' Ann Curry tweeted that idea earlier this week, it's taken off. Thousands have tweeted back to her about things they've done.

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The Salt
11:53 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Elixirs Made To Fight Malaria Still Shine On The Modern Bar

Shaken with splash of malaria drug, please. The original James Bond martini is made with gin, vodka and Kina Lillet, a French aperitif wine flavored with a smidge of the anti-malaria drug quinine.
Karen Castillo Farfan NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:23 am

This week, our colleagues over at the Shots blog have been talking a lot about malaria. And, here at The Salt, that got us thinking about one thing: gin and tonics.

As you probably know, tonic is simply carbonated water mixed with quinine, a bitter compound that just happens to cure a malaria infection, albeit not so well.

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Children's Health
10:53 am
Thu December 20, 2012

What Does Autism Have To Do With It?

Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza has been described as "quiet" and "different." Unconfirmed reports have suggested that he may have had autism or Asperger's syndrome. Host Michel Martin looks at the speculation about Lanza, and talks about the myths and truths about autism and Asperger's syndrome with two moms and a child psychiatrist.

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