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Middle East
2:30 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

From All Sides, Iran Under Siege

Iranians walk through the main bazaar in Tehran in January. Sanctions by the EU and U.S., plus political woes related to the Syrian uprising, have created the most serious crisis faced by Tehran since the 1980s.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 5:19 pm

Iran appears to be facing a crisis more serious than anything it has experienced since its war with Iraq in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, President Bashar Assad's regime is under threat from the widening war in Syria, Iran's sole ally in the Arab world. Domestically, the European oil embargo and U.S. banking sanctions are undermining the Iranian economy, bringing inflation, food shortages and unemployment.

Iran is trying to maintain a defiant posture, without much success.

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Music Reviews
2:23 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

How Jan Garbarek Came To Epitomize Nordic Jazz

A new box set of early albums captures Jan Garbarek's forming saxophone sound — austere and astringent.
Roberto Massoti ECM Records

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 2:22 pm

Saxophonist Jan Garbarek was a teenage protege of American composer George Russell in Norway in the 1960s and later played in Keith Jarrett's Scandinavian quartet. More recently, he has collaborated with the vocal quartet the Hilliard Ensemble, improvising as they sing medieval music.

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Politics
2:23 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Do Voter ID Laws Prevent Fraud, Or Dampen Turnout?

Pennsylvania voters show identification as they sign in to vote during the Republican primary in Philadelphia in April.
Jessica Kourkounis Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:36 pm

Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, key states have adopted voter ID laws and other measures that could affect voter turnout. It's created a national controversy about who will be most affected.

According to the New York Times, 33 states now have laws requiring identification for voting, and five require specific kinds of photo IDs to vote.

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Hypersonic 'WaveRider' Failed

An artist's rendition of an X-51A WaveRider (in white) attached to the wing of a B-52.
Pratt & Whitney

An experimental aircraft that designers hoped would hit 3,600 mph in a test flight over the Pacific on Tuesday "suffered a control failure" and failed in its attempt to go hypersonic, The Associated Press writes.

Its report follows earlier word from Wired magazine's Danger Room blog that it had been told by an "insider familiar with the test" that:

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Planet Money
1:51 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Everybody Always Thinks Inflation Is Higher Than It Really Is

Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 9:30 am

The world is going to hell, and prices are going through the roof. This, more or less, seems to be the perpetual conventional wisdom.

The first half of the statement is debatable. But the second half is clearly wrong at the moment: Prices are not going through the roof.

Prices for U.S. consumers rose by just 1.4 percent over the past year, according to the consumer price index numbers released this morning. In other words, inflation is very low.

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Around the Nation
1:32 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Great Hikes And The Surprises Along The Paths

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan.

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The Two-Way
1:16 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Cheating And Broken Records: At Scrabble Championship, Drama Abounds

Four-time National Champion Nigel Richards. He won again today, becoming the first person to win four National Scrabble Championships and the first to win three titles in a row. A younger player, though, was caught cheating.
North American Scrabble Players Association

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 3:18 pm

The world of competitive Scrabble was jolted yesterday: One of the games' most promising players admitted he was hiding blank letter tiles.

As Mark wrote last year, a similar accusation of cheating was made at the World Scrabble Championships in 2011. But officials refused to strip search the man as an opponent demanded, because there wasn't sufficient evidence.

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The Salt
1:14 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

President Obama's Tour Bus Rolls With White House Home Brew

President Barack Obama gets a beer and a pork chop as he visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Earlier, the president gave a man at a coffee shop a bottle of the White House's home brew.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 10:27 am

It seemed normal enough when President Obama chatted with a coffee shop patron about beer in Iowa Tuesday. The president has shown he's a fan of beer — and it's the most politically expedient, "everyman" beverage a candidate can drink. But then the president told a man at Knoxville, Iowa's Coffee Connection cafe that he travels with his own home-brew — and gave him a bottle to prove it.

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NPR Story
1:04 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Letting Go And 'Giving Up The Ghost'

In the 1980s, Eric Nuzum became convinced that he was being haunted by the ghost of a little girl in a blue dress who lived in his parents' attic.
Dial Press

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:57 pm

Eric Nuzum barely survived his teen years. The period was scarred by depression, drugs and a brief period of institutionalization.

"I felt, my entire teen years, as many people do to some degree, as kind of an outsider, an outcast," he tells NPR's John Donvan. "I often describe myself as feeling like I was an interloper in my own life ... never feeling much of a sense of connection."

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Politics
1:04 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

How Ryan Will Shift Campaign Strategy In Florida

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 1:27 pm

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Ryan steps center-stage, Biden sparks outrage, Romney says let's turn the page, it is Wednesday and time for an...

MITT ROMNEY: Intellectually exhausted...

DONVAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

SENATOR BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

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