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Morning Edition

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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.

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And today's last word in business concerns another unlikely franchise, "Jersey Shore."

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: I love "Jersey Shore."

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I love Guido.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JERSEY SHORE")

Turkey, Syria Exchange Fire For A 2nd Day

Oct 4, 2012

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

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

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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.

Women in the U.S. military have been flying warplanes for years, and recently began serving in artillery and tank units. But they're still barred from direct ground combat.

Now, for the first time in the course's 35-year history, the Marine Corps is putting the first women through its grueling Infantry Officer Course: 86 days crawling through obstacle courses, lugging heavy machine guns, navigating the woods at night.

Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, the top trainer at Marine Base Quantico in Virginia, says there's a good reason the course is so tough that 1 in 5 Marines fail.

If you want to gain a good insight into Pakistan's economic situation, just look at a few of the country's newspaper headlines on any given day. The language says it all: prices soar, stocks plunge, budget deficit swells, foreign investment evaporates — and the list goes on.

Now, analysts are increasingly worried that the faltering economy could join Pakistan's pervasive insurgency and repeated political upheavals as another serious threat to the country's stability.

At a back alley in Washington, D.C., an innocent bike rider came upon a Prius driving right at him head-on. The Prius, in turn, was being chased by a 10-foot boulder.

The bike rider had accidentally stumbled into "The Alley of Doom."

For one day, anyone who showed up to this alley in the U Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., could take a free turn at playing Indiana Jones — donning a fedora and whip and fleeing from a gigantic, rolling boulder.

James Bond — the film franchise, that is — is turning 50. But if 007 is getting up there in years, his gadgets will never get old.

Throughout the series, the creators have always come up with wild gear for Bond to bring along on his missions — while often taking a lot more creative license than they might have needed. They've come up with pieces that were inventive and prescient at best, impossible in the real world at worst, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells NPR's David Greene.

A young boy in Canada wondered where butterflies go in the winter — and spent 40 years trying to answer that question.

In 1973, Dr. Fred Urquhart — all grown up by then — placed an ad in a newspaper in Mexico looking for volunteers to tag and observe butterflies and find their destination. A woman named Catalina Aguado and her American husband, Kenneth Brugger, answered that ad. They spent two years searching in remote parts of Mexico.

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Michelle Obama Wins Cookie Recipe Contest

Oct 3, 2012

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For more on the junk economy, see this slideshow.

There's a neighborhood in New York City that has always been a mystery to us. Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, around 29th street, is the wholesale district. There you can find rows of narrow storefronts packed to the ceiling with trinkets. Racks and racks of fake gold chains. Acres of souvenir lighters and walls of belt buckles. Plastic, plastic, plastic toys.

The latest poll by NPR and its bipartisan polling team [pdf] shows President Obama with a 7-point lead among likely voters nationally and a nearly identical lead of 6 points in the dozen battleground states where both campaigns are spending most of their time and money.

Early Voting Gets Underway In Ohio

Oct 3, 2012

Transcript

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Early voting began in Ohio yesterday. More than a million people have signed up for mail-in ballots, and thousands more began voting in person. From member station WKSU, M.L. Schultze reports.

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When President Obama and Mitt Romney debate tonight, many people will ask if their claims are true. Each one has already been asking that about the other side.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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NPR's business news starts with good news for automakers.

A paradox of American health care is that hospitals are sometimes rewarded for doing things badly.

Patients who are discharged, for example, shouldn't have to come right back because they got worse after getting home. But if they do come back, hospitals benefit because they can fill an empty bed and bill for more care.

The federal government says, in fact, that Medicare alone pays $17.4 billion a year for unnecessary return visits.

Google's self-driving robotic cars have been on the roads in California for two years, but they have been operating in a legal limbo. These cars were not explicitly forbidden, but laws governing self-driving vehicles didn't exist.

The 007 theme is one of the most famous themes in movie history. The infamous guitar riff that gives the theme its secret agent feel was performed by Vic Flick, who spoke to Morning Edition about the day he played it, 50 years ago.

In 1962, Flick was a 25-year-old studio guitarist who was asked to help give the James Bond theme more of a punch. Composer Monty Norman, who wrote the theme, was scrambling to complete the score for the first Bond movie, Dr. No. He'd scratched out a rough draft of the theme, but Flick says it fell a little flat.

The presidential debates are expected to cover a wide range of topics, from the economy to foreign policy to health care. Wednesday night's debate will focus on domestic policy — and one topic that's likely to come up is energy.

It's a subject that is certainly on the minds of voters in Larimer County, Colo. Last week, in a rural area outside Fort Collins, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan held a campaign event in a warehouse at Walker Mowers, a family-owned manufacturer of lawn mowers and tractors.

In western Michigan, there aren't enough apples to pick because bad weather decimated 85 to 90 percent of the crop. But Washington state has the opposite problem — there's an abundance of apples, but not enough pickers.

This should be the happiest, busiest time of year in Washington apple orchards. But now — just as the peak of apple harvest is coming on — Broetje Orchards manager Roger Bairstow is wincing.

So, we found out that the National Football League is too big to fail. But not so big that it couldn't make a complete fool of itself and show to the world that its owners are stingy, greedy nincompoops.

Not so big that it couldn't make its commissioner, Roger Goodell, stand out in front, looking lost and small, so that their erstwhile tough-guy commander suddenly became an errand boy, losing respect and dignity that will be hard to regain the next time he needs it.

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Survey: Bald Man Are Perceived As Manlier

Oct 2, 2012

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A new deployment of U.S. military aircraft to Okinawa has sparked protests and reignited residents' long-simmering resentment of America's military presence there. Opponents say the vertical takeoff Osprey has a poor safety record and poses a danger to inhabitants of the densely populated Japanese island.

U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is surrounded by the city of Ginowan. At Futenma No. 2 Elementary School, 200 yards outside the base, the roar of rotor blades can be so deafening that classes can't be held without keeping heavily reinforced windows shut.

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Retailers Pay More For Fraud-Related Costs

Oct 2, 2012

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Richard Lapointe confessed in 1989 that he stabbed, raped and killed his wife's 88-year-old grandmother two years earlier. But in the 23 years since, experts in criminal justice have come to better understand how sometimes people make false confessions — especially someone with brain damage, like Lapointe. On Monday, Connecticut's state Appellate Court ordered a new trial, saying prosecutors wrongly withheld potentially important evidence.

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