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Africa
3:38 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Poachers Decimate Tanzania's Elephant Herds

Tanzania has been identified as the leading exporter of illegal ivory in recent years. An estimated 10,000 elephants are being slaughtered in the country annually. Here, elephants walk in the Serengeti National Reserve in northern Tanzania in 2010.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 10:17 am

"The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it." — Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

Conrad wrote more than a century ago, when there were no laws against shooting elephants. If anything, today's restrictions on the ivory trade have only increased its value.

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Author Interviews
3:37 am
Thu October 25, 2012

From Ship To Sherlock: Doyle's 'Arctic' Diary

On Thursday, July 29, 1880, Doyle wrote, "Came across a most extraordinary natural snow house, about 12 feet high, shaped like a beehive with a door and a fine room inside in which I sat. Traveled a considerable distance, and would have gone to the Pole, but my matches ran short and I couldn't get a smoke."
Courtesy of University of Chicago Press

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 6:05 am

On June 15, 1880, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a vivid sentence in his diary. It read, "The only difference in the weather is that the fog is thicker and the wind more utterly odious and depraved."

Knowing that he was the creator of Sherlock Holmes, you might think Doyle is referring to the thick London fog drifting outside the windows of 221B Baker Street. But this sentence was written years before the first Holmes novel and it describes a considerably harsher environment — the thick fog and depraved wind of the Arctic, where Doyle traveled when he was 20.

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National Security
3:37 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Energy Independence For U.S.? Try Energy Security

A drilling rig near Kennedy, Texas, on May 9. U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 1:17 pm

Gone from this year's presidential campaign are most mentions of climate change, environmental pollution, or green jobs. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee, prefers to call attention instead to the country's continuing dependence on foreign energy sources.

"I will set a national goal of North American energy independence by the year 2020," Romney declared in August.

The line is now a standard part of Romney's stump speech, and he repeated it in his first two debates with President Obama.

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It's All Politics
6:08 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Obama, Romney Tweak Each Other In Swing States

President Obama at a campaign rally at City Park in Denver Wednesday.
Ed Andrieski AP

With 13 days left until the Nov. 6 election, President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, both included trips to Iowa and Nevada on their schedules. Each tried to fire up his supporters and cast doubts about the other to gain an advantage in a race that appears essentially tied.

At rallies in Davenport, Iowa, and Denver, both swing states where the election is fluid, Obama trotted out attack lines he's used in recent days against the former Massachusetts governor.

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The Two-Way
5:41 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

U.S. Sues Bank Of America Over Mortgage Loans To Fannie And Freddie

The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan filed a lawsuit today that alleges Bank of America Corp. cost American taxpayers more than $1 billion when it sold toxic mortgages — originally issued by Countrywide Financial — to the government controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

NPR's Margot Adler explains it like this to our Newscast unit:

"U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara described the conduct of Countrywide as 'spectacularly brazen in scope.'

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Media
4:53 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Newspaper Endorsements: Prized, But Often Ignored

The power of newspaper endorsements has faded, but candidates still compete for them.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 8:02 pm

This weekend, a slew of newspapers in key swing states including Ohio are expected to release their endorsements for the presidency and other elected positions.

Such external validation is highly prized by candidates, but it's no longer entirely clear why.

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Around the Nation
4:45 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Vote While You Shop: 'Pop-Up' Poll Sites Sweep Iowa

Satellite voting locations, like this one at a Latino grocery in Des Moines, Iowa, are designed to make early voting more convenient.
Sandhya Dirks for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:37 pm

In a number of swing states, early voting means many people are already casting their ballots. Typically, that entails voting by mail or visiting a county elections office.

But in Iowa, satellite voting — where "pop-up" polling stations allow people to vote at convenient times and nontraditional locations — is growing in popularity.

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The Two-Way
4:44 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Rajat Gupta, Former Goldman Sachs Director, Sentenced To Two Years

Rajat Gupta as he arrived at the federal courthouse in Manhattan in June.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Rajat Gupta, who was once a director at Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble, has been sentenced to two years in prison, after a federal jury convicted him of insider trading.

Gupta was convicted of leaking information to Galleon Rajaratnam, the billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group who was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy.

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World
4:40 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

As Somalia's War Ebbs, Mogadishu Dares To Rebuild

Somalis chat at a beach-side restaurant earlier this month. After two decades of civil war, Somali's capital, Mogadishu, is beginning to recover.
Feisal Omar Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 6:37 pm

There is a remarkable change going on in Mogadishu, Somalia — often dubbed the world's most dangerous city. For starters, it may not deserve that title anymore.

Last year, African Union forces drove the Islamist militant group al-Shabab out of Mogadishu. Now, Somalia has a new president and prime minister who have replaced the corrupt and unpopular transitional government.

Hope is edging aside despair, and Mogadishu is coming back to life.

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The Salt
4:38 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Aspartame And Cancer Risk: New Study Is Too Weak To Defend

Diet soda
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:06 pm

We almost brought you news today about a study that appeared to raise some troubling questions about aspartame, the popular sugar substitute found in many common foods like diet soda. Note the key word — almost.

A study due to be published at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and released to reporters earlier in the week under embargo found some correlation between drinking diet soda and an increased risk of leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as a few other rare blood-related cancers.

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