Planet Money
11:01 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

China's Giant Pool Of Dollars

There is an advantage to strengthening the currency for people in China: It makes their imports cheaper. A clerk counts bank notes in a bank in Nantong, east China's Jiangsu Province.
Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 10:08 am

China's central bank is sitting on a giant pool of U.S. dollars. It's the world's biggest holder of foreign reserves, worth over $3 trillion at last count.

All that money has piled up because every year, China exports more than it imports; it runs a trade surplus.

There are lots of reasons for China's trade surplus. In the past few decades, China has built an amazing manufacturing ecosystem. It's become the factory to the world.

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The Salt
11:01 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

In France, Politicians Make Halal Meat A Campaign Issue

French President Nicolas Sarkozy listens to a butcher during a visit to the butchery pavilion at the Rungis international food market, near Paris, in February.
Anna Maria Jakub Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 8:29 pm

A provocative comment by an extreme right presidential candidate has started a debate that is dominating the French presidential campaign. France may be in the middle of an economic crisis, but politicians seem more interested in talking about halal meat and religious dietary rules.

It all began when National Front Party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.

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Race
11:01 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Voters May Break Up Fight Over 'Fighting Sioux'

The University of North Dakota's Brad Eidsness makes a save during a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Since 2005, there have been a series of lawsuits and legislative actions over the nickname for the school's athletic teams, the "Fighting Sioux."
Josh Holmberg AP

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 7:34 am

The state Supreme Court in North Dakota is about to consider this question: Can lawmakers require a college to name its sports teams after a Native American tribe?

For decades, University of North Dakota teams have been known as the "Fighting Sioux." It's a name some see as an honor and others find demeaning. Now, the long fight over the Fighting Sioux may be settled in a courtroom.

2,400 Logos And A 'Vexing' Dispute

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Author Interviews
11:01 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

The Wild And Crazy 'Tweets Of Steve Martin'

Steve Martin has won two Grammys for his comedy albums. His film credits include Father of the Bride, Parenthood and The Spanish Prisoner.

After 40 years on the stand-up stage, countless comedy albums and iconic movies, Steve Martin is still finding new ways to make people laugh.

The comedian got on Twitter in 2010, and by now he has attracted nearly 2.5 million followers with his funny and slightly demented tweets.

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The Two-Way
5:08 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Santorum: Puerto Rico Must Adopt English If It Wants Statehood

Carlos Diaz, 84, reads local newspaper "El Vocero" with a front page depicting both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and a headline reading, "The National Battle Arrives on the Island."
Christopher Gregory Getty Images

Rick Santorum waded into a controversial issue today when he gave an interview to El Vocero, one of the biggest newspapers in Puerto Rico.

The issue? The island's primary language.

The paper asked the former Pennsylvania senator if he would back Puerto Rican statehood if Spanish along with English remained its official languages.

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House & Senate Races
4:29 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

King Returns: Ex-Gov. Fights For Snowe's Senate Seat

Former Maine Gov. Angus King has been out of office since 2003. He currently teaches at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
Joel Page AP

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It's All Politics
4:05 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Romney Might Like The View From Peoria

Peoria, Ill., as seen from across the Illinois River.
Jeff Haynes Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 9:10 pm

Mississippi and Alabama were big wins for Rick Santorum in the fight for the GOP presidential nomination.

While never considered strong for Mitt Romney, those states further revealed the vulnerabilities of his campaign, specifically, problems identifying with many elements of the Republican base.

The next big contest is Tuesday in Illinois.

It's a state rich in delegates (69) and in something else that should be good news for Romney: more moderate Republicans. But he still needs to connect with even those voters.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

'Whitey' Bulger's Girlfriend Pleads Guilty Of Helping Him Evade Police

This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows Catherine Greig, the longtime girlfriend of Whitey Bulger.
AP

In a deal with prosecutors, the longtime girlfriend of mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger pleaded guilty to helping him evade capture from police.

Bulger, if you remember, was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., last June. He is the most notorious mob boss in Boston and was wanted for his alleged role in 19 murders.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:01 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Doctors Revamp Guidelines For Pap Smears

Cells gathered during a Pap test. Those on the left are normal, and those on the right are infected with human papillomavirus.
Ed Uthman Wikimedia Commons

Women should get screened for cervical cancer far less frequently than doctors have long recommended, according to new guidelines released Wednesday.

More than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the United States, and more than 4,000 die from the disease.

For years, doctors have recommended that women start getting Pap smears every year or two to try to catch signs of cancer early, when it's easiest to prevent and treat.

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The Salt
3:56 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Fish And Spices Top List of Imported Foods That Make Us Sick

More than 75 percent of the fish consumed in the U.S. is imported.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 3:58 pm

Disease outbreaks with imported foods are on the rise, and fish and spices are the foods most likely to cause problems.

It's not that imported foods are any nastier than home-grown, according to a presentation today from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's that we're eating a lot more of them.

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