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It's All Politics
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

After 3-Day Retreat, GOP Battle Plan Still Only An Outline

Speaker of the House John Boehner (right) speaks during the leadership press conference at the House Republican Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md., on Thursday. Friday's press conference, on the last day of the retreat, was canceled.
JIm Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:19 pm

House Republicans headed back to Washington on Friday from a resort along the frozen waters of the Chesapeake Bay. They were there for a three-day retreat aimed at mapping out a legislative strategy for this midterm election year.

One of the most pressing issues they face is the need next month for Congress to raise the nation's debt limit. GOP lawmakers seem leery of another debt ceiling showdown, and their leaders are pushing to act on immigration this year.

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Shots - Health News
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

More Republicans Push For Fixing, Not Repealing, Obamacare

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

A rift is growing between Tea Party activists and other Republicans over health care.

Some influential conservatives are now saying the Affordable Care Act is too entrenched to repeal.

Take the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an influential business lobbying group. When the ACA passed in 2010, the chamber got behind the lawsuit to fight it at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Politics
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Former Christie Appointee Claims N.J. Gov. Knew About Lane Closures

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

In a letter released by his attorney, the Port Authority official who personally oversaw the George Washington Bridge lane closures is alleging that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the action. David Wildstein asserts that evidence exists that will contradict Christie's claims to ignorance about the motives behind the lane closures.

Energy
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

State Dept. Delivers Unwelcome News For Keystone Opponents

A protest of the Keystone XL pipeline last March along its proposed route near Bradshaw, Nebraska.
NH AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 8:45 pm

The U.S. Department of State says Canada's production of tar sands crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be affected by the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

That assessment came Friday as part of a massive environmental review by the State Department — the analysis fills 11 volumes.

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Middle East
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Assad Regime Slows In Handing Over Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Syrian government is also supposed to be surrendering its lethal chemical arsenal. But the handover of toxic chemicals to an international coalition is way behind schedule. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, that's causing real concern.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Under an agreed plan, hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals were supposed to be moved to a Syrian port by the end of December and loaded onto international ships. That plan is now a month behind schedule and the U.S. is not happy. State Department spokesperson, Jennifer Psaki.

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Middle East
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Syria Peace Talks Take A Break

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

No tangible results, that verdict today from Syria's foreign minister as peace talks wrapped up in Geneva. Despite the lack of progress, opposition delegates say they gained new support by standing face to face with representatives of Bashar al-Assad. The U.N. mediator is asking both sides to return to talks on February 10th. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and begins our coverage.

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Politics
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Obama Hosts Business Leaders, Hopes They Change How They Hire

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama summoned business leaders to the White House today. His message: Hire people who've been out of work for a long time. It's just the latest example of the president trying to get things done without having to turn to Congress. So far, more than 300 companies have promised to re-examine their hiring practices to make sure that they are not discriminating against the long-term unemployed.

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NPR Story
1:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Researchers Create Pizza That Lasts 3 Years

Military researchers in Natick are using cutting-edge pizza technology to create state-of-the-art slices that can last up to three years at 80 degrees. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Pizza is an American favorite, with 93 percent of Americans eating pizza at least once a month. In Natick, Mass., researchers are using cutting-edge technology to creating state-of-the-art slices for the U.S. military.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Bruce Gellerman of WBUR delivers our report.

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NPR Story
1:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Massive Super Bowl Security Preparations Underway

Super Bowl security measures have involved dogs, boats, divers and military jet drills. Reuters reporter Scott Malone speaks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about the huge security measures in place for the Super Bowl stadium in New Jersey and the Super Bowl street fair in New York City.

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NPR Story
1:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

'Peter Brook: The Tightrope' Is A Rare Look At A Legendary Director

Theatre and film director Peter Brook, left, and his son, director Simon Brooks, pose during the 69th Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2012 at Venice Lido. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Peter Brook: The Tightrope” is a documentary about famed director and theatrical sage Peter Brook.

The film, directed by Brook’s son, Simon Brook, is a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a unique exercise called “the tightrope,” which Brook uses to help his actors give extraordinary performances.

NPR’s Trey Graham brings Here & Now a review of the film.

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The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Police Say White Powder Mailed To N.J. Hotels Was Cornstarch

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 2:32 pm

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are investigating a suspicious white powder that was mailed to several New Jersey hotels near the site of Sunday's Super Bowl — but there were no reports of injuries and preliminary tests suggest the substance was cornstarch.

NPR's Margot Adler reports that the white powder was found in letters mailed to five New Jersey hotels. Another letter was sent to the Midtown Manhattan law office of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. A worker in the mailroom at Giuliani's office opened the letter.

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Music Reviews
1:08 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Too Much Of A Good Thing? Jane Ira Bloom's Beautiful Ballads

Jane Ira Bloom.
Johnny Moreno Courtesy of the artist

When soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom plays Kurt Weill's "My Ship" on her new album Sixteen Sunsets, a pale glow around her notes comes from a simple special effect: pointing her horn under the hood of a piano whose strings are free to resonate. Bloom has always been preoccupied with sound, and has one of the prettiest, clearest tones around on soprano.

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Book Reviews
1:08 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Midwestern Memoir Tracks 'Flyover Lives' Of Author's Forebears

The second best quality Diane Johnson has as a writer is that she's so smart. Her first best quality — and one that's far more rare — is that she credits her audience with being smart, too. Whether she's writing fiction, biography or essays, Johnson lets scenes and conversations speak for themselves, accruing power as they lodge in readers' minds.

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

U.S. Issues Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review

Pipefitters work on construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline's southern portion outside Tulsa, Okla., last January.
PR Newswire

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 2:11 pm

The State Department says that production of Canadian tar-sand crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be increased if the Keystone XL pipeline goes ahead — and therefore would do little to contribute to climate change.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

School's Out For Online Students In 'State Sponsors Of Terrorism'

Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Stanford University computer science professors who started Coursera, pose for a photo at the Coursera office in Mountain View, Calif., on Aug. 2, 2012.
Jeff Chiu AP

Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria are all U.S. government-designated state sponsors of terrorism. They're also the places where students who tried to log on to classes on Coursera this week were greeted with this message:

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