Space
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Newly Discovered Black Holes Are Largest So Far

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:56 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Word came this week that scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found the two largest black holes known to exist. Each is 10 billion times the size of our sun, and more than 300 million light-years away. Now, we should explain, black holes are known to hold some of the mysteries of our universe. They are so dense, they have so much gravitational pull, that not even light can escape. That makes this discovery all the more remarkable.

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Europe
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

This Time, Germany's Rise Doesn't Worry The French

Opposition politicians and press pundits in France warn that the Sarkozy-Merkel plan to save the Euro will make France subservient to Germany. They say France will lose its sovereignty by giving a German-dominated EU control over French fiscal policy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley pounded the pavement of Paris for days, however, and could not find a single rank-and-file French citizen who shared these fears.

Europe
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Will The EU's All-Nighter Save The Euro?

European Union leaders completed a marathon of treaty negotiations overnight to address the continent's debt crisis. Host Scott Simon checks in with NPR's Philip Reeves about how this new plan will impact Europe.

Politics
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

The Partisan Fight Over Consumer Protection

This week, the Senate blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general chosen by President Obama to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It boils down to yet another partisan fight: Republicans say the agency has too much power, and the White House says they won't weaken an agency that is supposed to protect consumers. Host Scott Simon talks with Joe Nocera, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.

Governing
5:20 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Reconstituting The Constitution: How To Rewrite It?

Junius Brutus Stearns' 1856 painting George Washington Addressing the Constitutional Convention.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 3:09 pm

Most Americans haven't read the U.S. Constitution in a long time, if ever. They may be able to tell you about the Second Amendment, or the Fifth, maybe even part of the First. But other than that? A lot of blank stares.

Christopher Phillips has been leading what he calls "Constitution Café" discussions with people across the country. He's asking Americans to imagine themselves as framers of our founding document.

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David Greene is host of NPR's Morning Edition, with Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne.

For two years prior to taking on his current role in 2012, Greene was an NPR foreign correspondent based in Moscow covering the region from Ukraine and the Baltics, east to Siberia. During that time he brought listeners stories as wide ranging as Chernobyl 25 years later and Beatles-singing Russian Babushkas. He spent a month in Libya reporting riveting stories in the most difficult of circumstances as NATO bombs fell on Tripoli. He was honored with the 2011 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize from WBUR and Boston University for that coverage of the Arab Spring.

The Picture Show
5:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Russia By Rail: Siberia's Serious Cold

A woman is bundled up by the tracks of the Trans-Siberian railway.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 5:12 am

It's tempting, when beginning a visit to the far reaches of Siberia, to dismiss cold as some Russian cliché. Like vodka. And fur hats.

Sure, there'll be vodka — but not at every meal. Maybe I'll buy a fur hat as a souvenir — but I won't actually wear it.

Cold is no cliché. Siberia is cold.

I know cold. I like cold. I grew up in Pittsburgh, skiing, sledding and sitting through Pittsburgh Steeler football games in January, where beers and sodas freeze in plastic cups at your seats.

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It's All Politics
5:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Why Iowa Could Be Rick Perry's 'Alamo' Moment

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks with voter Jane High before speaking at the Scott County Republican party's Ronald Reagan Dinner on Nov. 14 in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 5:07 am

In the hours before Saturday's pivotal Republican presidential debate in Iowa, attention has been riveted on the intensifying battle between front-runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Waiting in the wings, with hope and a prayer — directed squarely at the state's evangelical voters — is, improbably, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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Environment
4:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Climate Activists: To Cut Emissions, Focus On Forests

The world's forests act as massive sponges, sucking carbon from the atmosphere. Above, an aerial photo from 2009 shows massive deforestation in the Brazilian state of Para.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:56 pm

Some climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's tropical forests.

The basic idea is to provide rich countries that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to put carbon in a storehouse.

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University of New Orleans
6:52 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

New UNO President Selected

The University of New Orleans has a new president, selected by the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors from UNO's own community.

Board members meeting in Baton Rouge announced that Peter Fos will be the new president. Fos graduated from UNO in 1972. He's currently program director for health policy and systems management at the LSU Health Sciences Center. Fos says there are two items on his immediate to-do list.

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