National News from NPR

The difficulty Libyan rebels are having moving their leaders to Tripoli from their temporary capital in Benghazi pales in comparison to the daunting task they face trying to set up a new, post-Gadhafi government. Continued fighting in Tripoli and elsewhere in Libya are hampering efforts to set up an interim government in the next two weeks as planned. There's in-fighting between key leaders whose unity is cracking now that Moammar Gadhafi is gone. Libyans also have to build from scratch many institutions that are key to creating any meaningful democracy.

During a recent trip to Syria, I managed to sneak away from my minders one night and spend an evening with a man in the capital, Damascus, who's an IT engineer by day and an activist by night.

I was able to see up close that protesting in Syria is not just a matter of raising your fist. It's a matter of life and death.

Let's start this story with how I was able to meet the activist.

Why didn't Moammar Gadhafi choose a comfortable retirement in exile when he had the chance?

It's an age-old question for faltering dictators. When some are losing their grip on power, they are pragmatic and look for a cushy home abroad rather than face the wrath of their angry compatriots.

Weight training is touted as the cure for many ills. But if the goal is to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the only way to go, exercise scientists say.

We're not talking about muffin tops, the annoying bit of pudge that rolls over a woman's waistline and is featured in those strange Internet ads. Rather, this is gut fat lodged around internal organs, which could look like a beer belly from the outisde. It's considered a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Few stories in the past week or so have touched more hearts that that of Hawkeye, the loyal Labrador retriever who lay down next to the flag-draped casket of his master, U.S. Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson.

One of the 30 U.S. military personnel killed in Afghanistan when their helicopter was hit by enemy fire on Aug. 6, Tumilson was remembered at a funeral service in Rockford, Iowa, on Aug. 19.

All residents of New York City who live in low-lying areas must evacuate their neighborhoods by 5 p.m. ET Saturday because Hurricane Irene is headed their way, Mayor Michael Bloomberg just announced.

Reuters says an estimated 250,000 people are affected. The city is opening shelters. Bloomberg said this has never been done before.

In Chile Protests, A Teenager Is Dead, 1,400 Arrested

Aug 26, 2011

A two-day strike culminated in a massive march that left a 16-year-old dead and close to 1,400 arrested in Chile, yesterday. The AP reports:

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

I'm Michel Martin and you're listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, as the Eastern United States confronts a severe tropical storm, possibly hurricane, East Africa is still facing drought and famine. We'll get an update on the crisis that has already caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes in the Horn of Africa. NPR's West Africa correspondent is on the scene and she'll tell us more but first it's time for our political chat.

No Big Rescue Plans From Fed Chief Bernanke

Aug 26, 2011

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

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

DAVID GREENE, host:

And I'm David Greene.

Nervous investors - and these days that's most investors - were all ears this morning as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered a speech in Wyoming. The investors were listening for any clues about additional steps the Fed might take to shore up the sagging economy. Bernanke did not outline any big rescue plans, but he did say the Fed has tools it can use if necessary.

Yes, it was Albert Einstein who unified space and time together into a single, coherent whole. As a physicist I can say that was a pretty impressive feat, but as parent — slogging across interstate whatever on the last weekend of the summer — I have to ask: What's the big deal?

Anyone stuck in vacation traffic with kids in tow can tell you that Space and Time have always been unified but not in the wiggly, abstract sense my buddy Al Einstein was talking about.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, host:

That is part of the reason the government is urging people to begin now taking this storm very seriously.

Craig Fugate heads the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and he joins us on the line from Washington, D.C.

Good morning.

Mr. CRAIG FUGATE (Administrator, FEMA): Good morning.

Real Clowns Steal Fake Jewelry

Aug 26, 2011

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, host:

Good morning, I'm David Greene. Two clowns walked into a Colorado jewelry store this week, guns blazing. The men wore white face paint, black lipstick and wigs. They pointed guns at employees and forced the owner to unlock his jewelry cases. The clown duo made off with the loot. But the joke was on them, Sonny's Rocks Jewelry Store in Denver does not display real jewelry. The display cases are full of fake gold and platinum, which is exactly what ended up in the clown's garbage bags.

Over the next few weeks, we're producing stories about the business of putting on free concerts, how they work and what they bring to their communities. Last week's Weekend Edition Saturday story covered non-profit concert presenters in New York City.

Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow has one of the most arresting voices of any young singer you're likely to hear this year: He's got the heartbreaking falsetto of a Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and the raspy soul of a Ray LaMontagne, in a way that sounds both fragile and grand.

When the Walter Reed Army Medical Center was slated for closure back in 1995, the goals were to improve care for wounded soldiers, and to save money. The final patients left this past week.

But with closing Walter Reed now estimated to cost more than $1 billion more than originally predicted, it could take many years before the military will realize any savings.

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