Africa
11:50 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Muslim-Christian Conflict Threatens Central African Republic

Since a coup last spring, the Central African Republic has spiraled towards chaos. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, and civilians are getting caught in the crossfire. Host Michel Martin talks with Lewis Mudge of Human Rights Watch about the growing calls for international intervention.

Landline phones
8:50 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Senate bill could make it easier to end landline phone service

Credit WMUK

Interview with Mike Nofs

    

State Senator Mike Nofs of Battle Creek is chairman of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee he is the sponsor of the bill. 

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Business
7:31 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Confirmation: Selfies Are Forces Of Evil

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. For those who believes selfies are a force of evil, here's confirmation. Darth Vader just posted on Instagram a photo of his face - that is, his iconic black helmet - with the tag GPOM for Gratuitous Portrait Of Myself. The selfie launched the Star Wars Instagram account - a marketing effort by Disney - two full years before the next sequel. It's a pretty good shot, though we have to say a little on the dark side. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

7:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Two candidates still considered for Benton Harbor City Manager

Lead in text: 
Some commissioners want to start search again
BENTON HARBOR - No one is certain what will happen next now that the Benton Harbor City Commission has interviewed the two finalists for the city manager's position. No formal action was taken after the interviews Monday.
6:47 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Four candidates to be interviewed for vacancy on Portage City Council

Lead in text: 
Two former mayors, a former city council member and the candidate who finished runner-up in last election apply to serve
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Kalamazoo Gazette
PORTAGE, MI - Four candidates will be interviewed Dec. 16 to fill a vacancy on the Portage City Council. The Portage City Council Tuesday voted 6-0 to interview the four people who applied to serve the remaining two years on the term of former Councilwoman Elizabeth Campbell: Cory Bailes, Richard Ford, James Graham and Betty Lee Ongley.
6:40 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Battle Creek to demolish two buildings to fight blight

Lead in text: 
Buildings on Capital Avenue Northeast once had retail and upper level apartments
Two vacant commercial buildings on Capital Avenue Northeast are slated for demolition as the city continues to battle against blight. Battle Creek commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept a $64,050 offer from Pitsch Co., which beat out three higher bids, to tear down the buildings at 411, 415, 427 and 429 Capital Ave.
Politics
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition)

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:39 pm

In the debate over whether to cut the food stamp program, members of Congress are looking at two pretty arcane provisions in the law. People who want to cut food stamps call the provisions loopholes. People who don't want to cut food stamps say they're efficient ways to get benefits to those who need them most.

1. Categorical Eligibility

People who qualify for one means-tested program — like welfare — can automatically qualify for other programs — like food stamps. This is called "categorical eligibility."

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Middle East
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Iran's Nuclear Deal Faces Big Test

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are scheduled to visit Iran's heavy-water reactor in the city of Arak on Sunday as part of an international deal on the country's nuclear program.
Hamid Forutan EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:39 pm

The nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers will face its first test this weekend. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are due to make a long-delayed visit to a nuclear site in Iran where plutonium could be produced.

A nuclear reactor and associated production plant in Arak are a special concern because plutonium can be used in a nuclear bomb. Under last month's accord, Iran promised to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Officials on both sides say they are committed to the nuclear deal, but keeping it on track will be a challenge.

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Sports
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NFL Thursday Matchup: 2 Losing Teams Will Still Get Ratings

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It must be said the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars tomorrow night, is not a marquee matchup. The Texans are two-and-10, the Jaguars look a little better, having won three of their last four games, but that was only after losing the first eight games of the season. In fact, these teams combine for the lowest-winning percentage in the history of the NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" games.

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Author Interviews
3:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

A Holiday Photo Book That Puts Families In An 'Awkward' Position

Someone has earned a spot on the naughty list this year.
Courtesy of Three Rivers Press

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:06 pm

In 2009, Mike Bender was horrified to find that his mother had hung a particularly embarrassing family photo.

"It was a vacation photo. It was my dad's 50th birthday. I was 13," he says. "My dad had my brother and I do a Rockette's kick with our skis. We were on top of a mountain, right by the lift, and I just remember feeling, you know, stuck in that pose: This. Is. Awkward."

But as an adult he realized that the photo was not only awkward — it was hilarious.

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Sweetness And Light
3:07 am
Wed December 4, 2013

To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'?

Fox sportscasters Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson appear during the 2005 Super Bowl pregame show in Jacksonville, Fla.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:39 pm

The Sunday pregame shows feature interchangeable ex-players and ex-coaches saying the same banal things, one after another.

"They've got to cut down on turnovers."

"They've got to convert more third-down situations."

And so on. There's no human interaction, just mirthless recitations. But on female-centered shows like The View and The Talk, the hosts actually discuss, argue, hash things out, laugh for real and behave like flesh-and-blood human beings. And they dare do it all without a net, before a live audience.

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Parallels
3:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

There And Back Again: One Afghan's Journey To Find Home

An Afghan man rides a horse at sunset on Nadir Khan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan. Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape the Taliban-controlled country, only to return after 12 years living in England.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 9:28 pm

In 2000, Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. He spent 12 years in England getting educated and becoming a documentary filmmaker.

Last year, he gave up life in the West and returned home to southern Helmand province. Now, he's the father of twins and he's working in a rural government office while trying to readjust to life in a conservative society that he finds dysfunctional.

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8:33 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Kalamazoo County Commissioners say more discussion needed before changing retiree pensions and health care

Lead in text: 
Several commissioners say county has made promises to retired employees
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Kalamazoo Gazette
KALAMAZOO, MI - While Kalamazoo County may make considerable changes to its retiree health care and pension plans in 2014, it became clear Tuesday commissioners want to discuss the issue at length before approving any adjustments.
8:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Unions, retirees plan for appeal of Detroit bankruptcy ruling

Lead in text: 
Bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday that Detroit's bankruptcy process can proceed
While activists who fear cuts to retiree pensions protested outside the courthouse, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Tuesday found Detroit eligible for bankruptcy and gave the city the go-ahead to pursue adjustments to retirement benefits as part of its restructuring plan, despite pensions being explicitly protected by the state constitution.
7:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Senate committee approves bill that makes it easier to end landline service

Lead in text: 
Battle Creek Senator Mike Nofs says safeguards added to ensure reliable phone service
LANSING - Legislation that would make it easier for phone companies in Michigan to discontinue traditional landline service cleared a hurdle Tuesday despite concerns from some consumers and businesses. Senior citizen groups and others are worried they'll lose access to vital phone, medical alert and alarm services.
Politics
6:39 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Obama Offers Second Chance For Missouri Court Nominee

Ronnie White, then-chief justice-elect of the Missouri Supreme Court, talks with reporters in June 2003.
Kelley McCall AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:50 pm

President Obama has made it a priority to choose federal judges who are diverse in terms of race or gender. But for the most part, he's avoided controversy for those lifetime appointments.

That's why the nomination of a Missouri lawyer named Ronnie White has raised the eyebrows of experts who've been around Washington for a while. Old hands remember that White was rejected for a federal judgeship back in 1999 after a party line vote by Senate Republicans.

Now, in what experts say could be an unprecedented step, he's getting another chance.

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Technology
6:39 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

FCC Proposes AM Radio Changes To Give The Band A Boost

For years, sports broadcasts were a staple of AM radio. But now, AM seems to be mostly a mix of talk shows and infomercials, and the Federal Communications Commission wants the band to be relevant again.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:24 pm

AM radio once played a central role in American life. The family would gather around the Philco to hear the latest Western or detective drama. The transistor radio was where baby boomers first heard the Beatles and other Top 40 hits. And, of course, there's no better way to take in a ballgame.

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5:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Eminem matches Michigan children's charity donations

Lead in text: 
Wolverine Human Services helps kids between the ages of twelve and eighteen who were victims of abuse and neglect.
DETROIT, MI - The donations keep pouring in for an Eminem-backed fundraising campaign to support a Michigan-based charity that helps the needs of children in Detroit, Flint and other areas of the rapper's home state.
Parallels
5:11 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Will Progress On Nuke Talks Mean More Engagement From Iran?

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Nov. 24 in Geneva, after the announcement of a deal halting parts of Iran's nuclear program.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 9:01 pm

The U.S. and other major powers have been holding historic negotiations with Iran to try to curb that country's nuclear program. But Washington still has many other concerns about Iranian behavior. And while some diplomats may hope to build on the nuclear talks to push Iran to play a more constructive role in the region, experts remain skeptical.

Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says there are a couple of ways to look at the negotiations with Iran.

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Environment
5:01 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ready — Or Not. Abrupt Climate Changes Worry Scientists Most

Puddled meltwater very likely primed this ancient edge of the Antarctic's Larsen Ice Shelf to rapidly disintegrate over just several weeks. This view of the splintered mix of frozen bergs is from a Feb. 21, 2002, satellite image.
Landsat 7 Science Team/NASA/GSFC

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:09 pm

An expert panel at the National Academy of Sciences is calling for an early warning system to alert us to abrupt and potentially catastrophic events triggered by climate change.

The committee says science can anticipate some major changes to the Earth that could affect everything from agriculture to sea level. But we aren't doing enough to look for those changes and anticipate their impacts.

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Music Reviews
4:53 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

27 Years Ago, Keith Jarrett Was A One-Man Band

Keith Jarrett circa 1986.
Toshinari Koinuma Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:57 pm

Keith Jarrett is a jazz legend. His catalog of recordings includes solo piano improvisations, trio and quartet works, classical performances, early sessions with Charles Lloyd and late ones with Miles Davis. But there's nothing quite like Jarrett's new double-CD set No End: It was recorded in his home studio in 1986, and he plays all the instruments — notably drums, bass and electric guitar.

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Code Switch
4:43 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Why Chaucer Said 'Ax' Instead Of 'Ask,' And Why Some Still Do

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele talk Ax vs. Ask with NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji.
Sonari Glinton NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:39 pm

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Remembrances
4:06 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Televangelist Paul Crouch, Who Started Trinity Network, Dies

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:39 pm

Televangelist Paul Crouch, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died Saturday at the age of 79. The Pentecostal minister's broadcasting network came to be the world's largest Christian television system with Praise-a-Thon fundraising efforts that brought in as much as $90 million a year in mostly small donations.

Parallels
3:47 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Some Turkish Churches Get Makeovers — As Mosques

The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:11 pm

A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.

It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.

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3:27 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Auto union may increase dues

Lead in text: 
If approved, members of United Auto Workers will likely pay a half hour more of hourly pay per month.
The United Auto Workers is considering its first dues increase for members since 1967, according to union sources and memos posted on local union websites. UAW members currently contribute two hours of straight-time pay to the union each month.
2:46 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

State approves Vicksburg's plan to get out of debt

Lead in text: 
Vicksburg will help pay off its $3.5 million debt by selling extra village properties, debt refinancing, and by cutting the village’s budget by one percent.
VICKSBURG, MI - The state has approved a deficit reduction plan for Vicksburg, the village's third attempt to reorganize and reduce its $3.5 million debt. Village Clerk Tracy Locey and Village President Bill Adams said Monday that the state notified the village of its approval in a brief letter.
Parallels
2:28 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

The High Price Egyptians Pay For Opposing Their Rulers

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood run from tear gas during clashes with riot police near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on Nov. 22.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:11 pm

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.

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Author Interviews
1:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:16 pm

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

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Author Interviews
1:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:41 pm

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

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1:15 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Judge rules Detroit eligible for bankruptcy

Lead in text: 
Ruling could clear way for cuts in pensions
The city of Detroit today officially became the largest municipality in U.S. history to enter Chapter 9 bankruptcy after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes declared it met the specific legal criteria required to receive protection from its creditors.

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