All Things Considered

Weekdays starting at 4 p.m.
Melissa Block, Michele Norris, and Robert Siegel
Jack Hopke

In-depth reporting that transforms the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special — sometimes quirky — features.

With the GNO Info Minute at 5:59 p.m.

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World
3:50 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

U.S. Military Seeks Its Role In Troubled North Africa

Gen. Carter Ham, who heads the U.S. Africa Command, meets with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last September. Amid upheaval in the region, AFRICOM is still attempting to define its mission.
Farouk Batiche Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:53 pm

The recent crises in northern Africa, from Libya to Mali to Algeria, have raised a host of questions about the role of the American military command responsible for the entire continent.

Founded in 2007, the United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM, was created to train African militaries so U.S. troops would not be called upon in times of crisis.

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The Two-Way
2:42 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Panetta Lifts Ban On Women In Combat Roles

In a May 9, 2012 photo, Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. Female soldiers are moving into new jobs in once all-male units as the U.S. Army breaks down formal barriers in recognition of what's already happened in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kristin M. Hall AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 7:04 am

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decided to lift a ban that prohibited women from serving in combat, a congressional source tells NPR's Tom Bowman. The move opens up thousands of front-line positions.

Panetta is expected to announce the decision along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.

Citing "senior defense officials," the AP adds:

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Shots - Health News
2:35 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Scientists Put An End To Moratorium On Bird Flu Research

Health workers in Nepal culled chickens and destroyed eggs following an outbreak of bird flu in Kathmandu in October 2012.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:53 pm

Controversial experiments on bird flu could resume within weeks because leading influenza researchers around the world have finally called a halt to an unusual moratorium that has lasted more than a year.

The voluntary pause in the research started back in January 2012. Scientists had genetically altered the bird flu virus H5N1, changing it in ways that allowed it to spread through the coughs and sneezes of ferrets — the lab stand-in for people.

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Asia
12:43 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

'Friends' Will Be There For You At Beijing's Central Perk

Customers chat at a Beijing cafe modeled after the Central Perk cafe in the hit American sitcom Friends, in 2010. Nearly a decade after the series ended, the popularity of Friends continues among young Chinese, who use the show as a language-learning tool and enjoy its depiction of young Americans.
Ng Han Guan AP

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:53 pm

Almost a decade since the end of the hit American TV series Friends, the show — and, in particular, the fictitious Central Perk cafe, where much of the action took place — is enjoying an afterlife in China's capital, Beijing. Here, the show that chronicled the exploits of New York City pals Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey is almost seen as a lifestyle guide.

Tucked away on the sixth floor of a Beijing apartment block is a mini replica of the cafe, orange couch and all, whose owner Du Xin introduces himself by saying, "Everyone calls me 'Gunther' here."

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Burning Cheese Closes Norwegian Road For Days

A truckload of brunost cheese, like the kind seen here, recently caught fire in a Norwegian tunnel.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:53 pm

It was probably a first for Norway when a truck trailer full of sweet goat cheese caught fire near the town of Narvik late last week, blocking a road tunnel. it took four days for firefighters to put out the flames. No one was hurt. Norwegian Broadcasting says the tunnel was so badly damaged that geologists are checking it for safety, and any lingering toxic gases.

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It's All Politics
5:12 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

NAACP President On 'Commonality' of Selma, Seneca Falls and Stonewall

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 7:48 pm

In his inaugural address, President Obama made reference to historic events in the women's rights movement, the black civil rights movement and the gay rights movement.

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Environment
4:52 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

In Second Inaugural, Obama Makes Climate A Priority

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," President Obama said Monday during his second inaugural address.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 7:48 pm

President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.

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U.S.
4:52 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

States Become Battlegrounds For Nation's Deep Abortion Divide

Abortion opponents march to a rally at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Kansas is among several states that have enacted new restrictions on abortion in recent years.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 7:48 pm

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Thousands of activists on both sides of the issue are holding rallies marking the day at state capitals across the country.

In the decades since the decision, abortion has been one of the most debated and legislated issues in the nation. And state legislatures, which are increasingly passing laws restricting abortion, have become the debate's key battlegrounds.

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It's All Politics
4:52 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

President's New Term Doesn't Mean New Day In Congress

The U.S. Capitol at sunrise on Monday, before President Obama's second inauguration. While the president raised big issues in his inaugural address — climate change, gay rights, immigration, the shooting of schoolchildren — none of them appear to top the agenda of Congress, which returned to work Tuesday.
Drew Angerer EPA /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 7:48 pm

The Senate picked up Tuesday exactly where it left off nearly three weeks ago. By a twist of the rules, the Senate chamber remains in its first legislative day of the 113th Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he's kept things at the starting point so that he and his fellow Democrats have the option of changing the rules on the filibuster by a simple majority vote.

"The Senate will take action to make this institution that we all love, the United States Senate, work more effectively," Reid said Tuesday. "We'll consider changes to the Senate rules."

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Shots - Health News
3:57 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Growing Pains As Doctors' Offices Adopt Electronic Records

Patient William Wishart, age 4 months, looks on as Dr. Melanie Walker uses a portable computer to enter information from his exam into an electronic medical records system, in North Raleigh, N.C., in November.
Chris Seward MCT /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 7:48 pm

Information technology has transformed much of the American economy, but its use in health care still lags, especially when it comes to electronic medical records.

Here's an example: The state of Colorado runs a computerized registry where any provider who gives a child a vaccine can report that information. The system should help kids stay current with their immunizations.

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