World
5:01 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Sheep Thrills: Senegal's 'Idol'-Style Pageant For Rams

Breeder Pape Dieng massages the head of his ram, Salmane, as judges decide the results of the national final of the televised sheep reality competition Khar Bii, in Dakar, Senegal, on Saturday. Salmane finished third.
Rebecca Blackwell AP

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:02 pm

Senegal is awash with rams — stunning, immaculately groomed specimens, each with its own name and colorful, custom-made collar and tinkling sheep bell.

Everywhere you go, you hear "baa, baa" — sheep in their dozens, or alone, bleating from up above on a veranda or in a specially created enclosure in a backyard.

Many of the rams are bathed lovingly in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, on the fringes of the capital, Dakar. The sheep are fed the best of everything and proudly paraded up and down the beaches.

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Shots - Health News
4:58 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Meningitis From Tainted Drugs Puts Patients, Doctors In Quandary

Matthew Spencer receives intravenous infusions of a potent antifungal drug at home twice a day for an indefinite period to treat a suspected case of fungal infection linked to a contaminated steroid drug that came from New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:58 am

Two weeks after Matthew Spencer got a spinal injection for his chronic back pain, he felt "not quite right." Nothing too specific: worsening headache, nausea.

Then he saw a TV report on a recall of contaminated steroid medication used for back pain.

"I thought, well, I don't know if I had that medicine or not, but maybe I'd better go check it out," Spencer says.

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The Two-Way
7:29 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

After Bad Day For Market, Facebook's Revenue Rise Boosts Stock

Wall Street's bad day — the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 240 points (1.8 percent) — has been followed by something unusual these days: good news about Facebook's shares.

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All Tech Considered
6:36 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Hands On With The New iPad Mini: Lighter, Costlier Than Rivals

The new iPad Mini is displayed after its unveiling at an Apple event in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 11:29 am

  • Hear Laura Sydell's Story On Morning Edition

Apple has unveiled a smaller, cheaper version of its popular iPad tablet. NPR's Laura Sydell attended the event Tuesday in San Jose, Calif., and got a hands-on look at the new iPad mini. Below are her first impressions.

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The Two-Way
6:34 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

59.2 Million Tuned In To Monday's Debate, Smallest Of The Audiences

Watch the wash or watch the debate? This woman was at a laundromat in Manhattan during Monday's debate.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:52 pm

An estimated 59.2 million people tuned in Monday night to watch President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in their third and final debate before the Nov. 6 election, The Nielsen Company reports.

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Politics
5:46 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Charming, Cold: Does Presidential Personality Matter?

With the advent of radio and television, presidential charisma became a more important personality characteristic. Above, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who is rated one of the most charismatic presidents; John F. Kennedy; Bill Clinton.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 9:59 am

As part of NPR's coverage of this year's presidential election, All Things Considered asked three science reporters to weigh in on the race. The result is a three-part series on the science of leadership. In Part 2, Jon Hamilton examined leadership in the animal kingdom.

Charming or cold. Flexible or rigid. Paranoid or impulsive or calculating.

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Middle East
5:02 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Syrian Activists Attack Assad Regime, With Puppets

This episode of Top Goon featured the Syrian president on the left, a member of the security forces on the right, and a photo of the former president, Hafez Assad, who is the father of the current leader.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:07 am

"I'm not crazy," the figure says, standing alone in a dark room, as if trying to convince himself.

"I'm not crazy?" almost a question this time.

"I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy!" he yells, finally making up his mind.

And, of course, he sounds crazy.

Meet Beeshu, an avatar of the embattled president of Syria, Bashar Assad, rendered in papier-mache and mounted on someone's finger. He's the star of the show Top Goon and the inspiration for its title.

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It's All Politics
4:24 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

The Race To 270: A Swing State Scorecard

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:11 am

From now until Election Day, the U.S. might as well consist of just eight or so states, not 50.

Those are the battleground states where President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, their running mates and spouses will be spending much of their time in what remains of the 2012 race for the White House.

It's all about amassing the 270 electoral votes required to be elected president. NPR's analysis of the race at this point suggests the eight states that are most in play are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

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It's All Politics
4:22 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

During Debates, Silence On Some Issues Was Deafening

Demonstrators clash with riot police in Athens while protesting the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 9. The euro crisis is one of several issues that came up little, if at all, during the U.S. presidential debates.
Max Gyselinck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 11:13 pm

It's possible that the presidential debates will be remembered mainly for trivia — Big Bird, binders and bayonets.

But Mitt Romney and President Obama did discuss issues of paramount importance, including taxes, entitlements and the role the U.S. should play in the Middle East.

Those issues — and above all else, the economy — dominated discussion throughout the debate season. That meant other important topics such as immigration were barely mentioned, while others never came up at all.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Update: USAID Says Figures On Flood Aid In Pakistan Misinterpreted

Aug. 28: A flooded road in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Umar Qayyum Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:11 pm

Update at 6 p.m. ET:

Our original headline on this post was "U.S. Pledges Exceed Pakistan's Spending On Its Own Flood Relief." As we reported, the Christian Science Monitor has looked into the details of a Congressional Research Service report and concluded that U.S. aid to Pakistan for flood relief exceeded that country's own spending.

But Ben Edwards, a spokesman at the U.S. Agency for International Development, tells us in an email that:

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