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Every weekday for over three decades, NPR's Morning Edition has taken listeners around the country and the world with two hours of multi–faceted stories and commentaries that inform, challenge and occasionally amuse. Morning Edition is the most listened–to news radio program in the country.

Nobel Prize Winner Proves Teacher Wrong

Oct 10, 2012

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Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It was the sort of report card that could crush a budding young talent. In 1949, a teacher at Eton belittled John Gurdon's dreams of becoming a scientist as quite ridiculous. If he can't learn simple biological facts, the teacher sniffed, pursuing science would be a waste of time. Gurdon eventually did go on to study zoology. And this week his breakthrough in reprogramming cells received the Nobel Prize for Medicine. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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This week has brought one of the most disturbing images to emerge from years of conflict, in Pakistan. A 15-year-old girl lies in a hospital bed, with a bullet wound in her head. This is her punishment. She had the courage to demand the right for girls to get an education, and because she criticized violent Islamist militants who aim to stop girls, like her, from doing that. From Islamabad, NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

A House committee is investigating last month's attack that killed the ambassador to Libya and three other Americans at a consulate in the city of Benghazi. And today, senior State Department officials will be on the receiving end of politically-charged questions. Republicans say that the Obama administration rejected repeated requests for more security.

NPR's Michele Kelemen has more.

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And staying here in California, our last word in business is lights, camera, sold.

The sale of Variety is officially a wrap. The venerable 107-year-old show biz daily has been bought for $25 million by Penske Media, the owner of Variety's upstart online rival Deadline.com. Like its longtime competitor, the Hollywood Reporter, Variety has had trouble making the switch to digital media, but it still turns a profit. So in the language that Variety helped make famous, Penske seems to believe this deal will be boffo and not a flopola.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

All this week, we've been reporting on the winners of this year's Nobel Prizes. And today in Stockholm, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The chair of the Nobel Prize committee for chemistry described the importance of the discovery by giving the assembled reporters a little scare.

For the past decade, scientists have been toying with the notion of encapsulating medicine in microscopic balls.

These so-called nanospheres could travel inside the body to hard-to-reach places, like the brain or the inside of a tumor. One problem researchers face is how to build these nanospheres, because you'd have to make them out of even smaller nanoparticles.

For our series First and Main, Morning Edition is traveling to contested counties in swing states to find out what is shaping voters' decisions this election season. The latest trip took us to Larimer County, Colo.

Richard Branson is not your average entrepreneur. He dropped out of school at 15 and, despite suffering from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, went on to found Virgin Group, a business empire that includes airlines, cellphone companies, banks, hotels, health clubs and even a space travel business.

The U.S. Supreme Court returns on Wednesday to the emotional issue of affirmative action in higher education. The court will once again hear oral arguments on the issue, this time in a case from the University of Texas.

Over the past 35 years, the court has twice ruled that race may be one of many factors in determining college admissions, as long as there are no racial quotas. Now, just nine years after its last decision, the justices seem poised to outright reverse or cut back on the previous rulings.

My first protocol on rooting in sports is that you should stick with the teams that you grew up with. I know we're a transient society, but that's just it: Continuing to cheer for your original hometown teams is one way of displaying the old-fashioned value of allegiance.

If you grew up in Cleveland, say, and moved somewhere Sun Belt-ish, I know how hard it is, but the measure of whether you are a good person is that you must remain loyal to the Browns and Indians and that team that LeBron James left behind.

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Kitten In Engine Survives Car Trip

Oct 9, 2012

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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NPR's business news starts with a passage to India.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

As part of Solve This, NPR's series on major issues facing the country, we're examining the presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. After looking at President Obama's strategy, it's time to examine the plan of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Jerry Sandusky is expected back in a Bellefonte, Pa., courtroom Tuesday for a sentencing hearing. The former Penn State assistant football coach was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. Now young men, some of the victims will be given an opportunity to tell the court how the abuse affected their lives.

Sandusky has been in a county jail since the jury convicted him on 45 out of 48 counts, but after the hearing, he likely will be moved to a state prison.

'Mr. Penumbra' Bridges The Digital Divide

Oct 8, 2012

Author Robin Sloan has spent time on both sides of the digital divide, both as a short-story writer and an employee at Twitter — where he described his job as "something to do with figuring out the future of media."

Singer-songwriter Tift Merritt has been compared to Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris. She also has received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album. The kind of music she makes doesn't attract much commercial attention — and that seems to suit her just fine.

At a recent academic conference, Michigan State University professor Natalie Phillips stole a glance around the room. A speaker was talking but the audience was fidgety. Some people were conferring among themselves, or reading notes. One person had dozed off.

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NPR's business news starts with slower growth in East Asia.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Bruce Osterweil is a lucky man to live just a short walk from where San Francisco's Golden Gate meets the cold, rough waters of the Pacific Ocean. He is also a lucky man to have married his wife, Patricia Furlong, who has long provided the family's health insurance through her job at a small financial consulting firm.

But last month, Osterweil's wife turned 65 and decided to retire, and although she may walk away with a crystal bowl or a golden watch for all those years of service, she will also walk away from her company's generous health insurance benefits.

After failing to predict the Arab Spring, intelligence officials are now exploring whether Big Data, the combing of billions of pieces of disparate electronic information, can help them identify hot spots before they explode. The intelligence community has always been in the business of forecasting the future. The question is whether tapping into publicly available data — Twitter and news feeds and blogs among other things — can help them do that faster and more precisely.

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, frantically tore up millions of files gathered during decades of spying on its own citizens.

More than two decades later, the vast array of secret papers collected by the Stasi is still in huge demand. So far this year, 70,000 people have applied for access to the Stasi archives.

Many are young Germans — some searching for information about relatives, others just eager to know more about their country's past.

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