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Weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Hosted by Steve Inskeep, Renée Montagne
Clay Masters

For more than two decades, NPR's "Morning Edition" has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports. With nearly 13 million listeners, "Morning Edition" draws public radio's largest audience.

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Planet Money
2:44 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Public Pensions Are About To Look Less Healthy

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 10:06 am

The health of public pension plans — the retirement plans for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other state and local governments — has gotten plenty of attention lately.

Some plans are hurting, and numbers from state and local governments suggest their public pension plans are underfunded by about $1 trillion.

But that gap between what they owe and what they have on hand today is about to look bigger — much bigger, in some cases.

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The Veepstakes
2:41 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Jindal's Story Intrigues, But Can It Get Him A VP Nod?

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 1:42 pm

Mention Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and a lot of people still remember his 2009 Republican response to President Obama's first address to Congress. In a voice often compared to Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock, Jindal addressed viewers across the nation as if they were primary school students.

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U.S.
2:40 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Rain Over Texas Quenches Dry Lone Star State

Pedestrians stand along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, in May. The state has gotten a reprieve from more than a year of drought.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 1:42 pm

While severe drought is taking hold in the Midwest, Texas is doing better. At this time last year, the state was on fire, crops were desiccated in the field and livestock were slowly starving. But recent rains have almost ended more than a year of record drought.

"If you look at the way we were thinking and feeling on the last July 16, that was desperation. That was despair," says Gene Hall, public relations director for the Texas Farm Bureau.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
2:35 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Olympians' Dilemma: 'Starve My Soul' For Ramadan?

Mohammed Ahmed runs at the NCAA championships in June in Des Moines, Iowa. He's representing Canada at the Olympics and had to decide whether to fast for Ramadan this year.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:12 am

Mazen Aziz, representing Egypt in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has trained for the 10,000-meter, open-water swim for years. It's a grueling race that can take upwards of 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the waves, current or water temperature.

But Aziz is Muslim, and with the Olympics falling during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the 22-year-old athlete had to make a choice: be in top physical condition or maintain a primary tenet of his faith.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:25 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Activists Fear Brazil's Triumph Over HIV Has Fizzled

Drag queens at an outdoor restaurant in Copacabana incorporate safe sex messages into a show of lip-synced songs and risque jokes.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 1:42 pm

Brazil's HIV/AIDS program — which has been praised as a model for developing nations — is now under strain.

When HIV first emerged in the 1980s, Brazil responded quickly to the epidemic. The South American country launched large-scale safe-sex drives and gave away millions of condoms. It offered free treatment to anyone who was infected. The Brazilian government took on international pharmaceutical companies and even broke patents to cut medication costs.

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Asia
2:02 am
Fri July 20, 2012

N. Korean Conundrum: Are Political Changes Real?

In this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service on July 9, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen with a woman in Pyongyang. It's not clear who she is, but a first lady would be a marked departure from the days of Kim's father, who kept his personal life private.
AP

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 9:28 pm

North Korea's army has been swearing oaths of loyalty to leader Kim Jong Un after he was given the new title of marshal of the nation, cementing his position. This comes just days after the army chief was dismissed for illness. Analysts suspect these announcements are masking far deeper changes, but there's disagreement about what it means.

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StoryCorps
9:01 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Two Tough Guys Meet Tough Times, And Each Other

Jake Bainter and "Boston" Bill Hansbury recently visited StoryCorps in St. Petersburg, Fla., where they discussed losing their right legs.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 1:42 pm

Back in 2008, "Boston" Bill Hansbury was learning to live with a prosthetic after losing his leg to an infection. That's when he met Jake Bainter, who was about to have his right leg amputated. The two struck up a friendship, despite a wide gap in their ages — Hansbury was 70, and Bainter was 7.

The pair recently discussed their friendship, and other topics, during a visit to StoryCorps in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"Boston Bill, tell me about the day that we met," says Jake, now 12.

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Around the Nation
7:39 am
Thu July 19, 2012

U.S. Men Held At Border With Canadian Contraband

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:41 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Two young Seattle men came back from a trip to Canada bearing gifts - six chocolate eggs known as Kinder Surprise eggs, because each has a plastic toy inside. They got their own surprise when they reached the U.S. border and agents informed them each egg carried a $2,500 fine. The men told KOMO News they were eventually allowed across without a fine and without the eggs, which are banned in the U.S. as a choking hazard. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Around the Nation
7:30 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Hasselhoff Photos Stolen From Store's Ad Campaign

Cumberland Farms put giant photo cutouts of David Hasselhoff in front of their stores across New England and Florida. The 60-year-old star of Baywatch and Knight Rider is shown smiling, wearing a tank top and promoting iced coffee. Of 570 photos, roughly 550 have been stolen.

Europe
7:01 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Israel Suspects Extremists In Bulgaria Attack

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 8:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's learn more, now, about an attack in Bulgaria. Seven people were killed, we're told, among them, five Israelis, in a suspected suicide bombing. It happened at a seaside resort town called Burgos. More than 30 more people were injured by this explosion. Israel is calling it a terrorist attack and says it suspects Iran or Muslim extremists. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro joins us on the line, now, from Tel Aviv.

Hi, Lourdes.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Good morning.

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Around the Nation
7:01 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Drought Hits Farmers And Residential Landscapers

The drought is beginning to really sink its teeth into the Midwest. More than three-quarters of the nation's corn acres are in a drought zone. In Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, corn crops are burning up and its causing commodity prices to shoot up. Suburban residents are paying to water their lawns, but it isn't doing much good.

Business
6:09 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Yahoo May Be Marissa Mayer's Biggest Challenge Yet

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:00 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to hear more now about the woman taking the reins of one of Silicon Valley's most famous and challenged companies. Marissa Mayer took the tech world by surprise this week when it was announced she was taking the CEO job at Yahoo. The buzz grew louder when it came out she's pregnant and planning on working during her maternity leave.

Mayer is known for being one of Google's first employees and its first female engineer. NPR's Laura Sydell has this profile of Mayer and what she brings to her new job at Yahoo.

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Around the Nation
6:09 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Civil Rights Group, SCLC, Strives To Remain Relevant

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:00 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The civil rights organization co-founded by Martin Luther King Junior meets in Sanford, Florida today for its annual convention. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference has struggled in recent years with leadership battles and declining membership. Now members want to rebrand the SCLC. Here's NPR's Kathy Lohr.

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Africa
5:36 am
Thu July 19, 2012

U.S. Resident Caught Up In Sudan's Protest Movement

Rudwan Dawod stands in front of a school he helped build in Turalei, South Sudan. The Oregon resident is now detained in Sudan, accused of terrorism after he participated in protests there.
Courtesy of Nancy Williams Dawod

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 11:59 am

American Nancy Williams and Sudanese Rudwan Dawod met in South Sudan, where they were both working. The two fell in love and married, and they're expecting their first child in September. But while Nancy Williams Dawod is home in Oregon, her husband, who has U.S. residency, is in detention in Sudan, facing terrorism charges and possibly a death sentence.

He is due to appear in court next week.

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Middle East
4:24 am
Thu July 19, 2012

An Update On Syrian Bombing

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:01 am

The opposition in Syria delivered a powerful blow to President Bashar Assad's regime Wednesday. A bomb attack killed the country's top security officials. Renee Montagne talks to Liz Sly of The Washington Post about the ongoing clashes.

NPR Story
3:41 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Interest Rate Scandal Follow Up

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:01 am

An influential group of bankers comes up with the critical interest rate known as the LIBOR. The world uses it as a benchmark for how much to charge consumers on mortgages and other loans. For more on how the rate is set, Renee Montagne talks to Gillian Tett of the Financial Times.

NPR Story
3:41 am
Thu July 19, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:01 am

United Airlines posted a deal last week that got Brian Kelly's attention. He writes a blog about frequent flyer miles called "The Points Guy." The flight he was looking at was to Hong Kong that would require four frequent flyer miles.

NPR Story
3:40 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:00 am

Egypt's former spy chief Omar Suleiman was appointed vice president at the peak of the democracy uprising in January of 2011. The official Middle East News Agency said in a brief report that Suleiman died at a U.S. hospital early Thursday.

Human Tissue Donation
2:33 am
Thu July 19, 2012

The Seamy Side Of The Human Tissue Business

Michael Mastromarino (center) appeared in a New York City courtroom for sentencing on charges of corruption, body stealing and reckless endangerment, as the mastermind behind a scheme to loot hundreds of corpses and sell bone and tissue for transplants.
Jesse Ward AP

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:01 am

Part 4 in a four-part series

The human tissue industry has created medical advances for millions of Americans. Tissue taken from cadavers is turned into medical products for the living. A tendon can be used to repair a torn ACL. Veins are used in heart bypass operations. Bone can be turned into plates and screws. They look like something you'd find in a hardware store, but these get used to mend a broken leg. It's a $1 billion-a-year industry that attracts the altruistic, but sometimes the greedy.

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Books
2:08 am
Thu July 19, 2012

A Network Head Reflects In 'Interview'

David Westin was the president of ABC News from 1997 to 2010.
Rene Macura AP

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 9:10 am

On Nov. 7, 2000, producers and editors at ABC News prepared to make a very public decision.

It was election night, with George W. Bush facing off against Al Gore. And it was, memorably, undecided until the early hours of the following morning, when other TV networks began calling the election for Bush.

David Westin, then the president of ABC News, recalls the agony as his network's elaborate election unit was beaten on the call — they had held back.

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Presidential Race
2:07 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Tax Professionals Scrutinize Mitt Romney's Returns

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Bowling Green, Ohio, on Wednesday.
J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 8:58 am

President Obama's campaign continues to hammer presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney over the GOP challenger's refusal to release more of his tax returns. Romney has provided one year's record and promised a second year's worth of returns. But even some of his fellow Republicans now say that's not enough.

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World
2:06 am
Thu July 19, 2012

The Cost Of Women's Rights In Northwest Pakistan

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:31 pm

Earlier this month, 25-year-old Farida Afridi, who ran an organization that provides information for women about their rights, was gunned down in the street, near the city of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. No one has been arrested for this killing. In all likelihood no one will be.

On July 4, Afridi was leaving her home to go to her office in Peshawar. What happened next shocked the local community, says Zar Ali Khan, who heads a consortium of activist groups in Peshawar.

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Dead Stop
2:03 am
Thu July 19, 2012

A Muslim Cemetery Helps To Ease Funerals' Strain

At the Garden of Peace cemetery in Flint, Mich., Muslims are buried in accordance with traditional Islamic burial rites.
Sami Yenigun NPR

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 1:52 pm

The Garden of Peace cemetery opened when the Islamic community in Flint, Mich., needed a place to bury their dead in accordance with their religion. After operating for only a couple of years, the cemetery has already welcomed a diverse group of American Muslims.

Tucked in the left corner of an open field, on a breezy, buggy, warm summer morning in Flint, lie parallel rows of identical headstones. There are roughly 30 of them, all facing the same direction.

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World
8:57 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Syrian Regime Hit By Deadly Blast In Damascus

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's follow up now on what appears to be a serious blow to the regime in Syria today. A blast repeatedly killed the country's defense chief, the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad and wounded other top officials. This explosion, we're told, occurred inside the tightly guarded national security headquarters in Damascus. To sort out what we know, or don't know, about this incident so far, we've called Neil MacFarquar. He's a correspondent for the New York Times. He's in Beirut. Welcome back to the program.

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Around the Nation
6:55 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Following Up On Feline Mayor Story From Tuesday

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Media
6:48 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Gotcha Story Idea Backfires On Conservative Blogger

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

London 2012: The Summer Olympics
6:20 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Indian Atheltes Want A Medal And A Government Job

India's Sandeep Sejwal swims his way to gold in the 100-meter men's breaststroke at the 2006 South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. Sejwal, who competed in the Beijing Olympics two years later, has a government job with India's railway that accommodates his heavy training schedule.
AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:18 pm

For athletes anywhere, just qualifying for the Olympics can be a full-time job. But in India, training full-time is a luxury few can afford. That means many athletes work part-time government jobs. And for some, it can result in a job for life.

In return for putting in an appearance at the office, athletes like shooter Suma Shirur get a monthly salary and time to train.

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Business
4:28 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Are Pagers Obsolete?

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story is for people who go for old-school technology. If you're the kind of person who owns a tube television - not one of those flat screens - nothing wrong with that. Or maybe you're the kind of person who has an old Walkman with cassette tapes hiding in a drawer somewhere. Maybe you even still use it. And if you're holding on to technology that others have deemed obsolete, you are not alone.

Reporter Tracey Samuelson found some dated devices in a place that might surprise you.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEPING)

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Business
4:17 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Would-Be Homebuyers Appear To Be More Confident

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the nation's homebuilders are feeling more optimistic than they have since March, 2007, just before the beginning of the Great Recession. What's more, the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index has posted its largest one-month gain in roughly a decade.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: David Crowe, the chief economist at the Home Builders Association says things are definitely looking up. It's a trend that began last September.

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Economy
3:33 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Economic Update

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 4:58 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

If Ben Bernanke is frustrated by the economy, as he seems to be, he might look at a recent issue of The Economist magazine. Editors there see enough strength that they saw fit to print an illustration of Uncle Sam as a bare-chested muscleman.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk about that and more with regular guests on this program, Zanny Minton Beddoes of The Economist. Welcome back to the program.

ZANNY MINTON BEDDOES: Nice to be here.

INSKEEP: And David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal. Hi, David.

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