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Around the Nation
4:59 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Fingerprint Scans Create Unease For Poor Parents

A pilot program in Mississippi requires low-income parents who receive subsidized child care to submit to biometric finger scans like this one, at Northtown Child Development Center in Jackson. Some parents and day care workers say the rule is unnecessary and discriminatory, but state officials say it will save money and prevent fraud.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

Some Mississippi parents are learning a new routine when they drop their kids off at day care centers that are taking part in a new pilot program aimed at combating fraud and saving the state money.

Under the program, the state scans parents' fingerprints to capture biometric information, and that information is turned into a number. Then, at a day care center, parents dropping off or picking up their kids put their fingers on a pad, and a small keyboard records the exact time a child is checked in or out.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
4:54 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Should We Legalize Drugs?

Theodore Dalrymple (left) and Asa Hutchinson argue against legalizing drugs in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Samuel LaHoz
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
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In Colorado and Washington, voters recently approved measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Supporters say legalization will generate tax revenue, move the trade into the open, and free up law enforcement resources.

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Around the Nation
4:53 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

There's Oil On Them Thar Campuses!

Students in environmental science professor Jeffery Stone's class watch as a seismic shaker truck rolls through Indiana State University's campus.
Tony Campbell Courtesy of Indiana State University

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

Imagine going to college and finding an oil rig on campus. That's becoming increasingly likely as oil and gas companies use a controversial technique commonly referred to as fracking to extract resources from land underneath campuses across the country.

Environmental science professor Jeffery Stone will never forget the day the earth shook on Indiana State University's campus in Terre Haute.

"They did it like in eight-second pulses, and you could feel the whole sidewalk wobble like an earthquake almost," Stone says.

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It's All Politics
4:53 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Tough Turkey: People Have A Harder Time Getting Pardons Under Obama

President Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, at last year's turkey pardoning ceremony.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

Presidential pardons usually take the world by surprise. There's no advance notice — the White House just sends out an announcement with the names of those receiving clemency. Thanksgiving is one lighthearted exception.

On Wednesday, President Obama will once again take part in the traditional turkey pardoning at the White House. But while the business of pardoning humans is more serious, it's also increasingly rare.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
4:53 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Thousands Of Trees Gone, Ripped Out By Sandy

Ken Chaya created a map that charts every single tree in New York's Central Park. He stands next to one of the thousands of trees uprooted by Sandy.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

New York City lost almost 10,000 trees from the winds of Superstorm Sandy and the nor'easter that followed. That's far more trees lost in the city than in any other storm for which tree damage was recorded.

Walking through Central Park, Ken Chaya peers past a stone arch, observing the damage and uprooting of about 800 trees. He knows more about the park's trees than just about anybody else; he created a map that charts every single one of the roughly 20,000 trees.

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Shots - Health News
4:45 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Making Sense Of Colors And Shapes In The Toilet

A physician examines a patient's urine flask in this 17th century print by Isaac Sarrabat.
CollectionImages from the History of Medicine (NLM)

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:30 pm

If you haven't heard, yesterday was World Toilet Day, and its sponsors, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and the World Toilet Organization, suggest you take a moment to consider the profound luxury of good sanitation. A mind-boggling 2.6 billion people on Earth don't have toilets, and WSSCC and WTO are among the parties set on bringing that number down.

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Europe
3:31 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

In Brussels, Be Kind ... Or Be Fined

Tired of boorish behavior, the mayor of Brussels pushed for a new law that imposes stiff fines for infractions ranging from sexist, racist or homophobic comments to failing to clean up after your dog.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

The Grand Place in downtown Brussels can be a feast for the senses: the wafting scent of hot waffles, shop windows chock-full of chocolate, exquisite Baroque architecture.

But that's not all you'll find on the quaint cobblestone streets as the city that serves as both the capital of Belgium and the headquarters of the European Union. There's also puke, dog poop, trash, spit, drug addicts, drunks and brawls.

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Shots - Health News
3:28 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Administration Lays Down Rules For Future Health Insurance

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

You've got questions about the health law? The Obama administration has some answers. Finally.

Now that the Supreme Court has found the Affordable Care Act constitutional and the president's re-election made clear that big chunks of the law will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, the administration is finally releasing rules of the road that states and insurance companies have been clamoring for.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

So What Did The Mars Rover Find On Mars? You Tell Us

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity cut a wheel scuff mark into a wind-formed ripple at the "Rocknest" site to give researchers a better opportunity to examine the particle-size distribution of the material forming the ripple. The rover's right Navigation camera took this image of the scuff mark on the mission's 57th Martian day.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 8:21 am

Talk about a tease! Our friend Joe Palca reported some pretty big news today on Morning Edition.

The scientists working on the Mars Curiosity rover mission have found something "earthshaking," some data that is going "be one for the history books."

But John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the rover mission, stopped there. He'll say nothing more until the rover conducts more tests to prove this wasn't a fluke.

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World
2:58 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Blasphemy Charges On The Rise In Pakistan

Students demand the reopening of the Farooqi Girls High School in Lahore, Pakistan, in early November. A mob attacked the school in October, accusing a teacher of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. It takes just one accusation to lead to an arrest under Pakistan's stringent blasphemy laws.
Arif Ali AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

Pakistan has had 27 blasphemy cases filed so far this year, a figure that alarms human rights groups, who say the law is frequently used to persecute religious minorities.

In a case that has drawn international attention, a judge on Tuesday dismissed blasphemy charges against a Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, ending a three-month order for her and her family.

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