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It's All Politics
1:59 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

White House Dismisses Constitutional Challenge In Debt Ceiling Saga

White House spokesman Jay Carney briefs reporters Thursday at the White House. "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period," he said.
Charles Dharapak AP

White House spokesman Jay Carney put an end to intense speculation Thursday about whether President Obama would do an end run around Congress with one simple line: "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period."

Some Democrats had been urging Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit — a bold move that would take away Republican leverage in the ongoing negotiations over taxes and spending.

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Around the Nation
1:58 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

To Trim Down, Spelman Trades Sports For Fitness

Spelman College has dropped NCAA athletics in favor of a comprehensive fitness program. The school now offers classes like Zumba to help encourage all students to exercise more.
Courtesy of Spelman College

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 pm

For the past decade, Spelman College, a historically black women's school in Atlanta, has fielded NCAA teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and other sports. But when its small Division III conference started dwindling, college President Beverly Tatum says the school decided it was time to change focus.

"We have to ask ourselves: What is the cost of the program and who is benefiting? How many people are benefiting? Is the benefit worth the cost?" Tatum asks.

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Shots - Health News
1:57 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Nigeria Pressured To Clean Up Lead-Contaminated Villages

A boy works at an illegal gold mine in northern Nigeria. Lead from these mines has sickened thousands of children in the region.
David Gilkey NPR

The Nigerian government has been slow to fulfill a promise it made last spring. And, its sluggishness is putting kids at risk for lead poisoning, the advocacy group Humans Rights Watch says.

Last May, the Nigerian government pledged roughly $5 million to clean up lead contamination around illegal gold mines in northwest Nigeria. But so far, that money hasn't been released.

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Shots - Health News
1:57 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Perfection Is Skin Deep: Everyone Has Flawed Genes

When researchers looked at the genetic sequences of 179 individuals, they found far more defects in the patterns of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs than they expected.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 8:19 pm

We all know that nobody's perfect. But now scientists have documented that fact on a genetic level.

Researchers discovered that normal, healthy people are walking around with a surprisingly large number of mutations in their genes.

It's been well known that everyone has flaws in their DNA, though, for the most part, the defects are harmless. It's been less clear, however, just how many mistakes are lurking in someone's genes.

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The Two-Way
12:50 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Protests Erupt In Michigan Capitol, After Governor Unveils Right-To-Work Bill

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 7:22 pm

Police arrested several protesters and they sprayed irritants at a crowd gathered at the Michigan State House today.

As the Detroit Free Press reports, State Police used "chemical munitions" when the crowd tried to rush the Senate floor.

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The Two-Way
11:59 am
Thu December 6, 2012

With Looting, Syria's Army Isn't Winning Hearts And Minds

A Syrian soldier aims his rifle during clashes with rebel forces in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday. Syrian soldiers have been taking over private homes and apartments, and have sometimes looted and trashed them, according to Syrian civilians.
HOPD AP/SANA

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 12:35 pm

Editor's Note: Throughout the Syrian uprising, the government has allowed few foreign journalists and other outsiders into the country. In this report, a Syrian citizen describes life in the capital, Damascus. For security reasons, NPR is not identifying the author.

As the Syrian military struggles against rebel fighters, it seems the army has not been paying a lot of attention to winning the hearts and minds of civilians.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Thu December 6, 2012

PHOTOS: In Washington, A Historic Day; Gay Marriage, Marijuana Are Legal

Jeri and Amy Andrews laugh as they wait in line outside of the King County Recorder's Office on Wednesday in Seattle, Washington.
David Ryder Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:26 pm

History was made at midnight in Washington on two fronts last night: Bans on both gay marriage and recreational marijuana use were lifted.

As you might expect, as the sun set and the clock struck 12, there were scenes of celebration across the state's biggest city. The pictures tell the story, so with that here are five photographs from Seattle.

The Salt
10:29 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Fruitfly Nose Says Steer Clear Of Deadly Food, Human Nose Not So Reliable

Now we know why we'll never see a common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) sitting on a beet.
Jan Polabinski iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:10 pm

The earthy smell of a fresh beet may spark delicious thoughts for us, but for a fruit fly, that smell screams danger.

Geosmin, a naturally occurring chemical that gives beets, fresh soil and corked wine their distinctive smell, is also cranked out by bacteria deadly to fruit flies. And it turns out that the tiny flies have a direct pathway from nose to brain made just to detect that smell — and avoid the toxic microbes that produce it.

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Movie Interviews
10:27 am
Thu December 6, 2012

In 'This Is 40,' Family Life In All Its Glory

"Were going to blink and be 90," Debbie tells Paul. "We have to make a choice to make things different."
Suzanne Hanover Universal Studios

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 3:22 pm

Since earning a cult following for his acclaimed television show Freaks and Geeks, writer, producer, and director Judd Apatow has become a brand name. He has a new movie out this month — This Is 40 — and also guest-edits the January "Comedy Issue" of Vanity Fair.

He's an executive producer for the HBO show Girls and previously wrote, produced and directed the 2005 comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Thu December 6, 2012

'Anonymous' Hacker Convicted For Attacks On PayPal, Mastercard

The "Anonymous" logo is seen on a tablet screen.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:36 am

A hacker associated with the collective Anonymous has been convicted in Britain today for attacks against the websites of PayPal, Mastercard and Visa.

Christopher Weatherhead was found guilty following the guilty pleas of three others — Jake Birchall, Ashley Rhodes and Peter Gibson. If you remember, the four were arrested for orchestrating denial of service attacks against the companies because they had stopped processing payments for WikiLeaks.

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