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Presidential Race
6:07 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Urgency Reigns At Vote-Focused NAACP Convention

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 2:59 pm

The NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, holds its annual convention in Houston this week. As in any election season, the group is focused on voting rights and voter turnout. But this year, there's another issue that's front of mind: the dramatically high rate of unemployment rate among African-Americans.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will address the NAACP convention on Wednesday, and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak the following day. NAACP members are ready to hear their plans.

The Race To Register

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Afghanistan
6:06 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

An Afghan boy pushes a wheel on the Naderkhan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan, in May. As more people have crowded to Kabul, the city center has become like a buoy floating in a sea of sprawl.
Ahmad Jamshid AP

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 8:54 pm

Kabul was once a relatively lush haven for several hundred thousand residents. But decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan capital into a barely functioning dust bowl.

The tired infrastructure is crumbling under the weight of nearly 5 million people. And 70 percent of Kabul is now a cramped, ad hoc development where water, sewers and electricity are in short supply.

Somehow, life goes on. But the city seems to be nearing its breaking point.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:13 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Weekend Special: Guess What? Sweat Is Not Smelly! (So Why Do I Smell?)

The Chemical Heritage Foundation via YouTube

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 1:28 pm

It's hot today. Really, really, hot; over a 100 degrees Fahrenheit hot, and so I'm sweating.

Sweating is what we people do to cool off, which is good. But sweating is also what makes me ... what's the word? Odoriferous. (Latinate for stinky, which is not so good.)

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Sunday Puzzle
12:03 am
Sun July 8, 2012

If You Want In The Mix, You've Got To Split The Six

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 5:51 pm

On-Air Challenge: For each six-letter word given, rearrange the letters to make two three-letter words that rhyme. Example: For the word "tweets," the pair of rhyming three-letter words would be "wet" and "set."

Last Week's Challenge From Listener Fred Orelove Of Richmond, Va.: Think of a well-known retail store chain in two words. Remove one letter from its name. The remaining letters, in order, will spell three consecutive words that are synonyms of each other. What are they? Hint: The three words are all slang.

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Author Interviews
5:42 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

Remembering George Szell, Powerhouse Conductor

Michael Charry was the "sorcerer's apprentice" to celebrated 20th-century conductor George Szell. For the last decade of Szell's tenure at the Cleveland Orchestra, Charry was an assistant conductor.

Now, Charry has captured the power of Szell's artistry — as well as his tempestuous personality — in a new biography called George Szell: A Life of Music.

Charry vividly recalls Szell testing him on how many notes he could find in a chord when he first auditioned for the job.

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Your Money
4:44 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

What Does London's LIBOR Mean To The U.S.?

British banking giant Barclays is at the center of an interbank loan rate scandal that caused several high-ranking executives to resign and forced the company to pay $455 million in fines.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 5:24 pm

Many of us were introduced to the term LIBOR for the first time this week, when it was revealed that some banks might have been manipulating the dull but vital interest rates to gain an edge in the market.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:42 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

Avi Avital: A Mandolinist's Unlikely Education

Mandolinist Avi Avital's new album Bach was released June 12.
Uwe Arens Deutsche Grammophon

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:24 pm

Avi Avital is one of the world's leading classical mandolinists, gracing concert halls from Tel Aviv to Munich to New York. But the young Israeli says he discovered the mandolin only by coincidence.

"When I was a kid, I had a neighbor who played the mandolin — the neighbor from upstairs," Avital tells NPR's Guy Raz. "It was one of those buildings where all the doors are open and all the neighbors are friends and more close than relatives. It was like one big family.

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Author Interviews
4:42 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

'Agent Garbo,' The Spy Who Lied About D-Day

Juan Pujol Garcia in his uniform as a lieutenant in the Spanish Republican Army.
Courtesy Tamara Kreisler

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 1:50 pm

Juan Pujol Garcia lived a lie that helped win World War II. He was a double agent for the British, performing so well that they nicknamed him for the enigmatic actress Greta Garbo.

Author Stephan Talty tells the story of this unlikely hero in a new book called Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day.

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Election 2012
3:55 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

Pro-Obama SuperPACs Losing The Money Race

President Obama steps onstage before a campaign event in Poland, Ohio. He recently underlined the importance of campaign finances to supporters in an email that began, "I will be outspent."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 5:28 pm

"I will be outspent." This simple phrase headed an email President Obama recently sent to supporters.

"We can be outspent and still win," the message read. "But we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win." Obama asked for donations of as little as $3 to compete against the deep pockets of Republican challenger Mitt Romney and the super political action committees that back him.

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Around the Nation
8:57 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Scranton's Public Workers' Pay Cut to Minimum Wage

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 4:29 pm

The city of Scranton, Pa., sent out paychecks to its employees Friday, like it does every two weeks. But this time the checks were much smaller than usual. Mayor Chris Doherty has reduced everyone's pay — including his own — to the state's minimum wage: $7.25 an hour.

Doherty says his city has run out of money.

Scranton has had financial troubles for a couple of decades — the town has been losing population since the end of World War II. But the budget problems became more serious in recent months as the mayor and the city council fought over how to balance the budget.

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