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12:55pm

Wed November 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Bernanke: Pace Of Progress 'Likely To Be Frustratingly Slow'

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a press briefing at the Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

In a press conference following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke painted a mixed picture of the economy.

The bottom line, he said is that "the pace of progress is likely to be frustratingly slow."

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12:39pm

Wed November 2, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Secret To A Long, Healthy Life: Bike To The Store

Putting the shopping bags in the bike basket rather than in the car trunk could deliver big health benefits.
Hajime Ando Flickr

What would you say to a cheap, easy way to stay slim, one that would help avoid serious illness and early death? How about if it made your neighbors healthier, too? It could be as simple as biking to the store.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin were wondering if getting people out of their cars just a wee bit would create measurable improvements in health. health. So they gathered up data sets on obesity, health effects of pollution, and air pollution caused by automobiles in 11 Midwestern cities, and did a mashup.

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12:25pm

Wed November 2, 2011
The Salt

Should Farm Kids Be Allowed To Drive A Tractor? Some Say It's Too Dangerous

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 5:11 pm

Drew Wilber, 14, works on his parents' 20-acre farm near Boone, Iowa, during his day off from school on Columbus Day.
Peggy Lowe for NPR

For a lot of farm kids, "learning to drive" means learning to drive a tractor before ever driving a car.

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11:56am

Wed November 2, 2011
It's All Politics

Herman Cain And The Race Card

Here we go again with the race-card business.

Questioning the motives of those seeking the truth about the sexual harassment allegations against him when he led the National Restaurant Association, Herman Cain said he suspects critics on the political left of attacking him for racial reasons.

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11:34am

Wed November 2, 2011
Politics

In Kansas, Politics Over 'Obamacare' Strains Policy

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 4:40 pm

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback answers questions in July about his policy regarding the new federal health care law. During his campaign for the governor's office last year, he said: "What we'll do in Kansas is we'll do what we're required to do, but we're gonna fight it all the way."
John Hanna AP

A few months ago, Kansas seemed ahead of the game in preparing for an important requirement of the federal health law. The state had started to plan for exchanges — online marketplaces to help individuals and small businesses compare and buy health insurance.

But politics is intervening.

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11:29am

Wed November 2, 2011
Middle East

Syria Accepts Arab League Plan To End Crisis

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi and Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim listen during a meeting to discuss the situation in Syria, in Cairo on Wednesday.
Mohammed Hossam AFP/Getty Images

Syria accepted an Arab League proposal calling for it to withdraw armored vehicles from the streets and stop violence against protesters in a bid to end the country's seven-month-old political crisis that has led to the deaths of some 3,000 people.

The agreement was announced by Qatar's Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim, who urged Damascus to follow through with action on the ground. Syria has continued its bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters despite international condemnation and previous promises of reform.

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11:22am

Wed November 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Syria Agrees To Withdraw Military From Cities; Free Prisoners

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi (L) sits next to Qatari Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani during a ministerial meeting at the 22-nation organization's Cairo headquarters on the situation in Syria.
Mohammed Hossam AFP/Getty Images

The Arab League, which had sent a delegation to Syria to try and bring the seven-month conflict between protesters and the government to an end, announced that Syria had agreed to withdraw its military from residential areas and release political prisoners.

The AP reports:

The proposal calls on Syria to withdraw all tanks and armored vehicles from the streets, stop violence against protesters, release all political prisoners and begin a dialogue with the opposition within two weeks.

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10:52am

Wed November 2, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Study: Regular Drinking Appears To Boost Breast Cancer Risk

A woman at a wine tasting in Napa Valley, Calif., in 2005.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Women who raise a glass just a few times a week appear to have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those who are teetotalers.

A study that looked at the drinking habits and development of breast cancer in more than 100,000 nurses found those who drank more had a small but detectable increase in breast cancer compared with those who drank less.

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10:41am

Wed November 2, 2011
Movie Interviews

Bill Nighy: From 'Love Actually' To 'Page Eight'

In Page Eight, Bill Nighy plays Johnny Worricker, a spy trying to help his neighbor Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) discover how her brother died.

Masterpiece Classic

Bill Nighy shot to international stardom after playing an aging rocker in the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually. The part led to roles in the movies Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest, Notes on a Scandal, Valkyrie, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Before his film career took off, Nighy acted on the British stage and in television. He returns to the latter in the BBC drama Page Eight, which will be broadcast stateside on PBS on Nov. 6.

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10:39am

Wed November 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Federal Reserve Holds Off On Any New Economic Policy

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 12:39 pm

Citing stronger economic growth, the Federal Reserve announced it is not making any changes to its monetary policy.

As the AP reported earlier, economists were expecting this wait-and-see approach because they figured the Fed would want time to assess whether its policy from August and September was spurring growth.

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10:30am

Wed November 2, 2011
Author Interviews

Joan Didion: Crafting An Elegy For Her Daughter

In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion contemplated how the rituals of everyday life were fundamentally altered after her husband died suddenly in 2003. The book was published in 2005, just months after Didion's only child, her daughter Quintana Roo, died at age 39.

Didion pieces together her memories of her daughter's life and death in her new book Blue Nights. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that she was unable to start mourning her daughter's death until she started writing again.

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10:15am

Wed November 2, 2011
It's All Politics

New Hampshire Chooses Jan. 10 As Primary Date

The schedule for the first four Republican presidential caucuses and primaries appeared officially set Wednesday with New Hampshire announcing that it would hold its first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 10.

That would come exactly seven days after the Iowa caucuses, which were moved to Jan. 3, the first Tuesday of the new year, and which will kick off the process by which Republicans will choose their party's nominee to contest President Obama for the White House.

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9:30am

Wed November 2, 2011
The Salt

How Fear Drove World Rice Markets Insane

Nothing is more basic and simple than food. Yet it comes to us courtesy of a long, complicated supply chain that spans the globe.

That chain delivers food cheaply — but it can break. Four years ago, it blew up in most spectacular fashion, affecting hundreds of millions of people who rely on rice for sustenance. That crash — the great rice crisis of 2008 — was a true disaster for some of the poorest people in Asia and West Africa.

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9:07am

Wed November 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Pakistan Gives India 'Most Favored Nation' Trade Status

Indian Border Security Force soldiers (in khakhi) and Pakistani Rangers (in black) perform the daily retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan border in Wagah. It's hoped that freer trade will reduce tensions between their two nations.
Narinder Nanu AFP/Getty Images

The news today that Pakistan's cabinet has moved to normalize trade with India — giving its neighbor "Most Favored Nation" status — is being viewed as a positive first step toward the possible normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nuclear rivals.

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9:00am

Wed November 2, 2011
Politics

In Voter ID Debate, A Few Go Against Party Lines

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 4:42 pm

Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama is in favor of voter ID laws. He says that over the years there have been numerous allegations of absentee voter fraud — and even a handful of convictions — in Alabama.
Dave Martin AP

The debate over requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls has been a heated one. Democrats accuse Republicans, who support such laws, of wanting to suppress the votes of minorities, the elderly and the poor. Republicans accuse Democrats, who oppose ID rules, of condoning voter fraud.

It's a sharp partisan divide. But a few people have gone against the tide — and they're getting some political heat for doing so.

A Democrat Criticized For Fraud Concerns

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8:54am

Wed November 2, 2011
Space

Exploring 'The Hidden Reality' Of Parallel Worlds

A massive galaxy cluster about 3 billion light years from Earth.
Chandra X-ray Observatory Smithsonian Institution/Flickr

This interview was originally broadcast on January 24, 2011. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws Of the Cosmos is now available in paperback. Greene is also hosting a NOVA series based on his book The Fabric of the Cosmos.

Our universe might be really, really big — but finite. Or it might be infinitely big.

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8:45am

Wed November 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Audie Cornish Will Fill In For Michele Norris On 'All Things Considered'

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 8:46 am

Audie Cornish
Steve Barrett NPR

Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish will be filling in for Michele Norris on All Things Considered for a year, starting in January, NPR just announced.

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6:55am

Wed November 2, 2011

6:35am

Wed November 2, 2011
The Two-Way

French Newspaper Firebombed After Satire Involving Prophet Muhammad

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 6:36 am

Charlie Hebdo's publisher, known only as Charb, talked to journalists today (Nov. 2, 2011) in front of his publication's burned-out offices.

Alexander Klein AFP/Getty Images

The Paris offices of a French newsweekly that in its latest issue "invited" the Prophet Muhammad to be a guest editor and satirically wrote of what a "soft version" of Sharia law might be like, were burned early today.

According to The Associated Press:

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6:10am

Wed November 2, 2011

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