It's All Politics
2:56 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Not So Fast, Newt: Gingrich As Polling Phenomenon

Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich laugh at a presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., in October.
Scott Eells AP

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:32 pm

Poll after poll shows Newt Gingrich with a commanding lead for the Republican nomination for president.

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is the gaudiest yet, giving the former speaker of the House 40 percent among Republicans across the country, nearly double the number for erstwhile front-runner Mitt Romney.

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Iraq
2:39 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

How Much Influence Will Iran Have In Iraq?

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) shakes hands with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during an official meeting in Tehran last year.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 8:36 am

Earlier this month, a ceremony took place in Baghdad that was unthinkable under Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: Ashura, the annual Shiite ritual marking the slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and one of the most revered figures in Shiite Islam.

As the trumpets sounded in Baghdad's notorious Shiite slum of Sadr City, boys and men wearing white shrouds brought swords down onto their shaven heads. Thick red blood gushed onto their faces. Hussein sacrificed for us, the belief goes, and devoted followers are ready to sacrifice for him.

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Christmas Stamps Are OK; Christmas Carols? Not At The Post Office

There's been some consternation on the Web about what happened this weekend at a post office in Silver Spring, Md., when three Christmas carolers — all decked out in shawls, bonnets and a top hat (for the guy) — popped in and started singing.

It seems that one of the USPS managers on duty jumped into action, telling the trio that they couldn't do that because they were on government property.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:15 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Hospitals Torn On Reducing Repeat Admissions

Joseuly Claudio, 53, gets weekly checkups from nurse practitioner Mary McDonagh at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York.
Fred Mogul WNYC

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 4:01 pm

What doesn't kill you, only makes you a repeat customer.

So says Prescott Pharmaceuticals, fictional and macabre sponsor of The Colbert Report.

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Latin America
2:04 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

In Cuba, Dial-Up Internet Is A Luxury

Cuba is one of the least-connected countries in the world, a time-warped place where millions of young people have never been online and a dial-up Internet account is the stuff of dreams.

An undersea fiber-optic cable linking the island to Venezuela was supposed to change that this year. But six months after its completion, frustrated Cubans are still starved for web access.

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Sarah Hulett became Michigan Radio's assistant news director in August 2011. For five years she was the station's Detroit reporter, and contributed to several reporting projects that won state and national awards.

Sarah considers Detroit to be a perfect laboratory for great radio stories, because of its energy, its struggles, and its unique place in America's industrial and cultural landscape.

Before coming to Michigan Radio, Sarah spent five years as state Capitol correspondent for Michigan Public Radio. She's a graduate of Michigan State University.

NPR Story
2:00 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Rancher Discusses Losing Money With MF Global

The bankruptcy of MF Global — and the mismanagement of its clients' money — is causing trouble for a lot of ranchers and farmers. They were major clients of MF Global, buying futures contracts to hedge against swings in the value of their crops and livestock. MF Global cannot account for more than a billion dollars of its customers' cash. Lynn Neary speaks with cattle rancher Tim Rietzke of Coldwater, Kan., about his lost money.

The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Putin Loyalist Resigns As Russia's Speaker Of Parliament

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out in Moscow and other major cities across Russia in open defiance to strongman Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule.
Dmitry Chistoprudov AFP/Getty Images

The protests that have spread across Russia took a big political toll today, when the speaker of parliament announced his resignation. As the AP reports, the move appears to be tailored by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as an attempt to "stem public anger."

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World Cafe
1:58 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Tinariwen On World Cafe

Tinariwen.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 1:59 pm

The only aspect of Tinariwen more urgent and heartbreakingly human than its unique blend of electric rock and North African traditional music is its story. Tinariwen's members fought as rebels in Mali to protect their land and the Tuareg people, and out of the rebel camps formed a counterculture — and a rock band.

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Economy
1:47 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Michigan Town Grapples With Shrinking Public Sector

Inkster, Mich., resident Darrel Osborne says he's noticed the reduced police presence in the city.
Sarah Hulett for NPR

Tammi Warren has lived on the same winding street in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, Mich., all her life. But as she drives down the block in her Ford pickup, Warren points to several houses on her street that stand vacant, casualties of the housing market collapse.

Vacant houses mean less tax revenue for the city, and less revenue makes it harder for Inkster to provide basic city services.

"[The] city of Inkster has eliminated 38 positions," says City Treasurer Mark Stuhldreher. "It's about 25 percent, roughly, of the workforce."

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