Digital Life
11:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Hot This Season: Getting In Touch With A Tablet

Customers look at the iPad 2 displayed at an Apple store. Black Friday sales for the iPad were up 70 percent from last year.
Martin Bureau AFP/Getty Images

Tablet computers are on a lot of people's wish lists this year.

A recent Nielsen survey found the Apple iPad is the most wanted gift for kids ages 6 to 12. Some have even taken their appeals to YouTube. But if an iPad isn't in the budget, there are some 30 other tablets out there to choose from.

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Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities
11:01 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

EPA To Unveil New Rules For Power Plants

More than 20 years ago, Congress ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate toxic air pollution. It's done that for most industries, but not the biggest polluters β€” coal and oil-burning power plants.

The EPA now plans to change that later this week, by setting new rules to limit mercury and other harmful pollution from power plants.

When Congress first told the EPA to regulate toxic air pollution in 1990, pediatrician Lynn Goldman was investigating the impact of mercury from mining operations on Native American families living near a contaminated lake.

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The Salt
5:15 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Oregon Senator Pushes Local Pears For School Lunches

Comice pears are super-yummy, but not approved for schookids.
iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 5:18 pm

Mike Naumes thinks Oregon schoolchildren should be eating more Oregon pears. And not just the D'Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc pears approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's School Lunch Program, but the lesser-known Comice pears of southern Oregon's Rogue Valley.

Anyone who's ever tasted a Comice pear would have a hard time arguing with that. They're fat and green, extraordinarily sweet and juicy β€” a world apart from your typical supermarket pear.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
5:03 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

In Mortgage Crisis, Some Banks Agree To Cut Losses

Sharon Jordan (lower left) and her family (clockwise from top left: Rydell, Nikera and Anisha) are working with Bank of America and a Boston nonprofit to repurchase their duplex at its current market price β€” about half of the original value.
Aarti Shahani NPR

There's an unfamiliar trend emerging in America's troubled housing market. Big banks are volunteering to lose money β€” hundreds of millions for themselves and investors β€” in order to save homes at risk of foreclosure. And they're doing it in record numbers.

The year closed with a new trend: In 30 percent of private loan modifications, banks are doing a principal writedown β€” that is, hacking away at the amount owed as far down as the current market value. They're doing it so borrowers can actually afford payments. Two years ago, that 30 percent was just at 2 percent.

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The Two-Way
4:48 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

U.S. Asks Iran For Spy Drone's Return; Iran Says It's Extracting Secret Data

A picture released by the official website of Iran's Revolutionary Guards on December 8, 2011 shows Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh (R) looking at what Iranian officials claim is a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone that crashed in Iran on December 4.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 6:02 pm

The United States is officially asking Iran for the return of a drone surveillance aircraft lost earlier this month.

"We have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," President Barack Obama said during a White House news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking at a State Department news conference, told reporters that the U.S. had "submitted a formal request" for the craft's return, but that "given Iran's behavior to date, we do not expect them to comply."

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Shots - Health Blog
4:24 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

ADHD Drugs Show Little Risk For Most Adults' Hearts

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 11:36 am

Kids aren't the only ones taking drugs for ADHD.

In fact, over the past decade or so, use of the drugs by adults has grown at a far faster rate than it has for children, according to data from drug benefits manager Medco.

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The Salt
3:37 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Who Are The Young Farmers Of 'Generation Organic'?

Maryland farmer Josie Johnson listens to a lecture on extending the farming season using caterpillar tunnels. The lesson was part of a conference for young farmers held in Tarrytown N.Y., in early December.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:12 am

For decades, as young people have been leaving farms behind, the average age of the American farmer has been rising. The last time the government counted farmers, in 2002, the average farmer was 55-years-old.

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Iraq
3:26 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Obama, Maliki Pledge Cooperation After U.S. Pullout

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shakes hands with President Obama in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday. The two leaders met as the U.S. prepares to withdraw the last of its combat troops from Iraq.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met at the White House on Monday and pledged to maintain strong ties after the U.S. withdraws the last of its troops, but nagging concerns remain about Iraq's security and neighboring Iran.

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Middle East
3:19 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Palestinians Bristle At Gingrich Comments

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, speaking here in a Republican debate on Saturday, has angered Palestinians by calling them "an invented people" and "terrorists."
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 11:07 am

It happens every four years: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict crops up as an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Republican front-runner Newt Gingrich brought it to the fore this year when he told The Jewish Channel, a cable channel, that the Palestinians were "an invented people."

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Karen Grigsby Bates is the Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News. Bates contributed commentaries to All Things Considered for about 10 years before she joined NPR in 2002 as the first correspondent and alternate host for The Tavis Smiley Show. In addition to general reporting and substitute hosting, she increased the show's coverage of international issues and its cultural coverage, especially in the field of literature and the arts.

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