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NPR Ombudsman
2:56 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Learning To Be American In Referring To The President

Brendan Smialowski-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:26 pm

Updated: Nov. 6, 2012, 6:33 p.m.

This is a stealth column being published under the cover of Election Day. I am making an end run around the stylists, bias critics, grammarians, protocol sticklers and conspiracy theorists who follow NPR but are focused on more momentous things today.

These critics have held NPR hostage on a policy that one newsroom wag says should have gone out with the administration of Dwight Eisenhower. So, I am going to be presumptuous and say that I am giving the newsroom future cover to change that policy.

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Planet Money
2:53 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Here's One Number That Makes $6 Billion In Campaign Spending Seem Low

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 11:59 am

Today wraps up what is set to be the most expensive election in the history of the U.S. Total spending on federal campaigns will be about $6 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This includes both official campaign spending and spending by outside groups for the presidential, House, and Senate campaigns.

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Election 2012
2:22 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

In Guam, 'Non-Binding Straw Poll' Gives Obama A Commanding Win

The polls in Guam have closed and the results are in.

President Obama managed a big victory, garnering 72 percent of the votes. That's about 23,067 votes compared to 8,443 votes for Gov. Mitt Romney.

Now for the disclaimers: Guam, 6,000 miles and 18 times zones away from California, is a territory of the United States, so their votes don't count. The presidential part of the vote is considered a "non-binding straw poll." But if you believe in bellweathers, listen up.

Here's what R. Todd Thompson of NPR member station KPRG in Guam told us:

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The Salt
2:20 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Restaurant Meals Mean More Calories And Soda For Kids And Teens

When they eat out at a restaurant, kids consume more calories than they do at home. Here, members of the Long Island Gulls hockey team enjoy a lunch at TGI Friday's back in 2007 in Marlborough, Mass.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

Walk into a fast food restaurant and it's probably safe to assume that whatever deep-fried deliciousness you eat, you'll consume more calories than you would if you ate a well-rounded home cooked meal. That's common sense.

But, public health officials are sounding the alarm about the effect that eating out often – whether at fast food or full service restaurants – is having on our diets, especially in children.

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Russia's Putin Sacks Defense Minister Amid Corruption Scandal

A Russian Army officer walks past Defence Ministry offices in Moscow, on Tuesday. Putin fired defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov over a corruption scandal, the most dramatic change to the government since he returned to the Kremlin for a third term.
Andrey Smirnov AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin today fired his defense minister, who is embroiled in a real estate corruption scandal.

The New York Times reports:

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Africa
1:32 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

All Aboard South Africa's High-Speed Train

Passengers wait to board the Gautrain, Africa's first high-speed train, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug. 2, 2011. The train travels at speeds of up to 100 mph and makes commuting much easier for South Africans accustomed to congested roads and traffic jams.
Li Qihua Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 7:37 pm

Public transit in South Africa can be a bit of a nightmare. Many South Africans have had to depend on the ubiquitous taxivans, which are often overcrowded, dirty and driven recklessly.

But the continent's first rapid rail service, built to ease traffic congestion in South Africa's economic heart, is changing that.

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Oliver Sacks, Exploring How Hallucinations Happen

Oliver Sacks is a physician, author and professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine. He also frequently contributes to The New Yorker.
Elena Seibert Knopf

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:58 am

In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."

He expands on this footnote in his new book, Hallucinations, where he writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders.

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Shots - Health News
12:23 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Drug-Resistant Malaria On The Rise In Southeast Asia

Daw Khin Twon, an undocumented immigrant from Burma, rests at home after receiving malaria treatment at the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand.
Ben de la Cruz NPR

For malaria in Southeast Asia, there's good news and bad news right now. Overall, the number of cases is down, but there's a growing problem of drug resistance in the cases that do crop up.

Researchers worry that superstrains of the parasite — strains immune to the most common medications — could wipe out the recent progress against malaria.

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The Salt
11:41 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Ready-To-Eat Meals Feed Thousands In Wake Of Superstorm Sandy

A young woman helps bag ready-to-eat meals for distribution to the residents of the Lower East Side who remain without power due to Superstorm Sandy on Friday.
John Minchillo AP

When we think of ready-to-eat meals, we usually think of those packets of nutrient-dense soldiers' rations, like the Army sandwich that stays fresh for two years. These pouches of food are typically deployed in the field, and are consequently designed to withstand the abuses of temperature and time that would destroy fresh fare.

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Election 2012
11:24 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Voting Issues: Long Lines In Florida, Confusion In New Jersey

Voters line up to cast a ballot in Crawfordville, Fla.
Mark Wallheiser Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 3:18 pm

As the voting day has progressed, we've seen some reports of irregularities.. Throughout the day, we'll be surveying our reporters and other news organizations and keep track of significant irregularities in this post.

So far, the big problem has been long lines. Some voters have had to wait hours in line to cast their ballot in battleground states like Florida and Virginia and those affected by Superstorm Sandy like New York.

We'll start with Florida:

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