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Michele Norris, Robert Siegel, Melissa Block

NPR's evening news magazine.

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Economy
2:56 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

End Of Winter Drives Nation's Gas Prices Uphill

Reports indicate that gas pump prices are at their highest level on record for this period of the year, but consumers might see a break in the near future — if all goes well.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

If you've been behind the wheel recently, you already know gasoline prices are up.

The national average price for regular gas rose to nearly $3.75 a gallon Tuesday, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

"Retail prices have gone up for each of the last 33 or so days — dating back to about Jan. 17," says Denton Cinquegrana, executive editor at the Oil Price Information Service.

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Around the Nation
2:09 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Cold War Bunker Network Repurposed For 21st Century Threats

WBT radio's bomb shelter in Charlotte, N.C., part of a government-funded emergency communications network, as it looked in 1963.
Courtesy of Jerry Dowd

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

There's an underground bunker at a radio station in Charlotte, N.C., where time has stopped. Built decades ago to provide safety and vital communications in the event of a nuclear attack, it's now a perfectly preserved relic of Cold War fear that's gained new relevance.

The secret bunker is part of the office lore that old-timers at WBT Radio whisper to the newbies. That's how radio host Mike Collins learned of it back in the 1980s.

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Asia
1:52 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Amusement Park Planned In The Town Where Bin Laden Hid Out

The Hazara Heritage Park will be built on the edge of Abbottabad, Pakistan, set in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Developers in Pakistan will soon break ground on a new amusement park and outdoor activity center, a private, $30 million project billed as a state-of-the-art facility that will bring jobs to a hard-hit area.

But there's one issue that's raising some eyebrows: the site is in Abbottabad, not far from the place where Osama Bin Laden secretly lived until American forces killed him.

This does not trouble Sheikh Kaleemuddin, the project director, who is effusive about the picturesque spot where he plans to build.

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National Security
1:13 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

A Wounded Soldier Stands Tall At Reunion With His Platoon

As part of homecoming ceremonies at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state in January, Army Spc. Tyler Jeffries — with crutches and prosthetic legs — joins his unit in formation as the national anthem is played. The homecoming marked the first time Jeffries had seen his platoon since he lost both his legs in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan last October.
Florangela Davila for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 6:18 pm

U.S. Army Spc. Tyler Jeffries spent most of last year in Afghanistan, on dusty, hot patrols in the villages outside Kandahar. Last fall, on Oct. 6, his tour ended three months early.

"I was clearing an area and I had the metal detector. Then we had word that there was two guys coming toward our position," Jeffries recalled later that month.

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Planet Money
12:18 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Why Buying A Car Never Changes

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

"Buying a car sucks," Scott Painter says. "It's something that most consumers fear."

Back in the '90s, Painter started a company to try to change this. "The name of the company was Cars Direct," he says. "The mission was to sell cars directly."

Painter wanted his company to build virtual dealerships that would let people go online and buy cars. But after talking with a few car execs, he realized nobody would even consider his idea.

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Middle East
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Newly Displaced Syrians Head For Turkish Border

Syrian people wait at a customs gate at the Turkey-Syria border near Reyhanli, Turkey, last week. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing central Syria, heading to southern Turkey.
Gaia Anderson AP

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 7:01 pm

A new surge of Syrian refugees is swamping humanitarian aid agencies in southern Turkey, where official refugee camps are full.

But the newcomers may be just the tip of the iceberg. In central Syria, civilians under attack by combat jets, tanks and artillery have fled towns and villages north of the city of Hama, and thousands are on the move.

"What they do now, they burn everything ahead of them. They bomb this area with everything they've got," says Hossan Hamadah, a Syrian-American from Texas.

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U.S.
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

What Happens When Someone Else Gets Your Tax Refund

Todd Macy, a banker from Marin County, Calif., was the victim of identity theft. Nearly a year after filing his return, he's still waiting for his federal tax refund.
Courtesy of Todd Macy

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:27 pm

If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.

The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.

Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.

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Movie Interviews
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Quvenzhane Wallis: "If I Have To Be Fierce, I'll Be Fierce"

Quvenzhane Wallis plays Hushpuppy in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:38 pm

Quvenzhane Wallis was just 5 years old when she auditioned for a role in the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild, and 6 when she shot the movie. Now, at age 9, she is the youngest ever to receive a best actress Oscar nomination.

In the film, Quvenzhane plays a wild child named Hushpuppy, who lives with her sick father in a ramshackle, isolated community called the Bathtub, on the fringes of the Louisiana coast.

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Remembrances
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Longtime Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies At 80

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The basketball world lost both a huge fan and one of its most innovative team owners today. Jerry Buss turned the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA's glamour franchise and won 10 championships. Buss died early this morning at the age of 80. NPR's Ted Robbins has this remembrance.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Jerry Buss once said: I don't just want winners, I want champions. And, boy, did he get them. Yet when Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he remembered feeling humbled back in 1979 when he bought the Lakers.

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Around the Nation
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Maker's Mark Reverses Course On Lower Alcohol Content

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 3:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

An update now to a story we reported last week, a story about a dramatic change in the lives of whiskey drinkers. Well, some of them at least - the ones who drink Maker's Mark bourbon, because Maker's Mark cut its alcohol content, watered it down from 90-proof to just 84. They said it was because they had to meet bigger demand.

JERRY RODGERS: People just went bananas.

BLOCK: This is Jerry Rodgers, who knows his Maker's.

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