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Europe
2:55 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Italy Worries Sicily's Woes Could Have Ripple Effect

Raffaele Lombardo, the governor of Sicily, speaks to reporters after his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Rome last week. Lombardo has been accused of having ties to the Mafia in Sicily.
Alessandro Bianchi Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 3:09 pm

In antiquity, Sicily was known as Greater Greece. Now, the eurozone crisis has led to sharp spending cuts and, with an economy based on public sector wages, Sicily is being called Italy's Greece. The central government fears the region's debt of more than $6 billion could further endanger the country's financial stability.

Worried about contagion, the Rome government is dictating on Sicily tough bailout conditions similar to those international lenders imposed on Greece.

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Poetry Games
4:25 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

'Olimpicamente': In Praise Of Feistiness And Big Feet

Ron Tanovitz

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:14 am

A poet and editor of BOMB magazine living in Brooklyn, Monica de la Torre was born in Mexico City. Her poem "Olimpicamente" is told in the voice of the Mexican taekwondo champion Maria del Rosario Espinoza, who was born in the village of La Brecha, in the state of Sinaloa, where her father was a fisherman. Though of limited means, her parents supported her passion for taekwondo, and in 2008 Espinoza fought her way to a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics. "I am," says the poet, "dumbfounded and positively moved by Maria del Rosario's improbable story."

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Europe
5:35 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Traffic In London Not So Jammed

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 6:24 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Time now for traffic on the 30. London's moving well despite fears the games would clog the city. The M1 highway is busy, but somewhere between normal and nice. And the AP reports inside London no problems at all. The commute to the Houses of Parliament five minutes shorter than normal and bike riders are loving roads cleared of cars for the Olympic races. Wish we were there. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Strange News
5:29 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Japan Plucks Sweden's Ukelele World Record

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 10:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

Japan has edged out Sweden for a world record. No, not the Olympics but the Guinness Record for largest ukulele ensemble. More than 2,000 people in Yokohama went to the street to strum their tiny Hawaiian instruments. Trying to top the record is becoming a sport in its own right. Earlier this month in Cairns, Australia, people took on the Swedish record, but they missed the mark by a 150 strummers.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Sports
4:53 am
Mon July 30, 2012

In Olympic Swimming, Records Smashed, Hopes Dashed

American Dana Vollmer celebrates after her gold medal win Sunday in the women's 100-meter butterfly swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 3:16 pm

The opening weekend of the Summer Olympics was marked by highs and lows, of course, and the swimming pool had its share of both. World records, a stunning loss and a medal for the home team — and that was all in just one afternoon.

Before American Dana Vollmer answers how a 55.98-second 100-meter butterfly — the fastest time ever, and worth a gold medal — feels, consider this: Vollmer was diagnosed as a teenager with two life-threatening heart conditions that prompted her mom to carry a defibrillator to Dana's races.

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Technology
3:04 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Samsung Fight Among Many In Apple's Patent War

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S (left) and Apple's iPhone 4 are displayed at the headquarters of South Korean mobile carrier KT. Apple claims some of Samsung's designs violate its patents.
Ahn Young-joon AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:01 am

An epic battle between the two biggest smartphone makers begins Monday in a federal district court in San Jose, Calif., where computing giant Apple is asking for more than $2.5 billion from rival phone maker Samsung for patent violations.

The suit would be the most expensive patent violation in history, and it's just one front in Apple's war against phones running Google's Android operating system.

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Crime In The City
2:58 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Writer Has A Down-Home Feel For Atlanta's Dark Side

Writer Karin Slaughter has seen the fallout of some of Atlanta's most gruesome crimes and most dramatic transitions.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 6:24 am

Best-selling crime novelist Karin Slaughter (yes, that's her real name) grew up just south of Atlanta in the 1970s and '80s, when the city saw some of its most gruesome crimes: A rash of child murders in which dozens of African-American children disappeared, their bodies turning up in nearby woods and rivers. The realization that horrid crimes can happen even to children changed Slaughter's life.

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Book Reviews
2:58 am
Mon July 30, 2012

A Portrait Of A Country Awash In 'Red Ink'

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 3:15 pm

As the federal debt balloons, reducing it would seem more and more pressing. Yet policymakers remain far apart. Debt, deficit and budget rhetoric is often accompanied by numbers cherry-picked to support a particular political view.

But a new book by Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel lays out the numbers that both political parties face.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:57 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Magnets May Pull Kids With Sunken Chests Out Of Operating Room

A cross-sectional X-ray shows what's called a "sunken chest." The bright circle near the bottom is the spine; the gray blob on the right is the heart.
Living LLC Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 6:24 am

You may not have heard of pectus excavatum — or "sunken chest," as it's commonly known — but there's a good chance you know someone who was born with it.

It's the most common deformity of the chest wall, affecting roughly one in 500 people — boys much more often than girls. And while sunken chest can be corrected with surgery, the procedure is invasive and very painful. Many families won't do it.

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Poetry Games
8:33 pm
Sun July 29, 2012

'Lifting,' And Lifted By, Words

Ron Tanovitz

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:13 am

Poet Ouyang Yu comes to NPR's Poetry Games representing two continents: Asia, where he was born (in China); and Australia, where he moved in 1991. He is a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, literary translation and criticism in English and Chinese.

Of his poem "Lifting," he writes: "Much as I admire weightlifting heroes or heroines, I can't help reminding myself that, however powerful a weightlifter is, he or she can't lift himself or herself up. The magic of the word is that, when well lifted, it has the power to transform."

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