8:00am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Trip To Dubai Raises Questions About Pakistani Leader's Future

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:54 am

President Asif Ali Zardari is in Dubai for heart treatment, his office says. But Zardari's government is embroiled in controversy. That has Pakistanis wondering if he might resign while he's out of the country.
Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

With his government embroiled in controversy over a memo that many in Pakistan view as potentially treasonous, President Asif Ali Zardari's sudden departure for medical treatment in Dubai has "people [here] questioning the timing" and wondering if Zardari might be about to step down, NPR's Corey Flintoff reported this morning from Islamabad.

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7:53am

Wed December 7, 2011
Strange News

Alec Baldwin Finds American Airlines Unfriendly

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer. American Airlines filed for bankruptcy last week. Now, they might lose a customer after kicking Alec Baldwin off a New York flight. Baldwin tweeted he was reamed out for playing the mobile game Words with Friends after lights out for electronic devices.

He later boarded another American Airlines flight but hinted it might be his last. He tweeted: There's always United. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

7:45am

Wed December 7, 2011
Strange News

'MythBusters' Confirms Cannonball Can Destroy House

The Discovery Channel program MythBusters took safety precautions, going to a California firing range for a segment involving a cannon. They aimed the cannon at water-filled barrels and a concrete wall. But when they fired, the cannonball sailed over the targets, toward a house. People sleeping inside woke to find the cannonball ripped through the house and it struck a minivan.

7:30am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Syria's Assad: 'We Don't Kill Our People'

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 7:35 am

President Bashar Assad during his interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters.
ABC News

"We don't kill our people ... no government in the world kills its people, unless it's led by a crazy person."

So says Syrian President Bashar Assad to ABC News Barbara Walters in an interview that's airing across several of the network's shows today.

Pushing back against reports from the United Nations and witnesses in several Syrian cities, Assad denied that his security forces have killed thousands of civilians.

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6:50am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Internal Probe, Criminal Charges Still Pending In W.Va. Mine Disaster

It's been a busy week for the 29 families of the coal miners who lost their lives last year in the explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.

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5:06am

Wed December 7, 2011
Politics

How Payroll Tax Cut Affects Social Security's Future

President Obama put Congress on notice Tuesday in a speech in Osawatomie, Kan.

He said that unless a temporary payroll tax cut is extended this month, 160 million Americans would see their taxes go up next year by an average of $1,000. But there's concern on both sides of the political aisle that the payroll tax holiday might be undermining the solvency of Social Security.

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5:04am

Wed December 7, 2011
Monkey See

Disappointing 'Redneck' TV Shortchanges The American South

Skipper Bivens of Animal Planet's Hillbilly Handfishin'.
David Yellen Animal Planet

Oklahoma hand fisherman Skipper Bivins is obviously a man who enjoys his work.

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5:04am

Wed December 7, 2011
Asia

Clean Air A 'Luxury' In Beijing's Pollution Zone

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:37 pm

Chinese walk to work midday as heavy smog hangs over downtown Beijing.
Stephen Shaver UPI /Landov

On the way to school, my kids and I play a guessing game: How polluted is the air today? We use an app linked to the air pollution monitor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and we try to guess the day's exact level on the Air Quality Index, and whether the air is dangerous.

These days, chances are that it could well be. For more than half of the past 60 days, the air pollution has hit levels hazardous to human health. Experts estimate long-term exposure to such pollution could reduce life expectancy by as much as five years. But I don't tell the kids that.

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5:03am

Wed December 7, 2011
Your Money

In Policing Fashion, Moms Find A New Power Online

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

After J.C. Penney advertised a shirt many people found sexist, Lauren Todd launched an online petition. This screengrab was taken from Change.org, after J.C. Penney removed the shirt from its inventory.
Change.org

Angry consumers have been turning to online petitions to try to change what retailers put on their store shelves. This fall, J.C. Penney had to scrap a shirt that read "I'm Too Pretty To Do Homework, So My Brother Has To Do It For Me," after an online backlash by consumers calling the shirt sexist. Other retailers are also feeling the pressure.

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5:02am

Wed December 7, 2011
House & Senate Races

Virginia Senate Race: Familiar Faces, Fresh Pressure

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 8:36 am

George Allen, a former U.S. senator and Virginia governor, speaks to employees of an auto parts manufacturing plant near Roanoke, Va., on Oct. 5. Allen is trying to recapture the Senate seat he lost in 2006.
Stephanie Klein-Davis AP

A debate in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday kicks off what promises to be one of the most closely watched and expensive U.S. Senate races in 2012.

The seat in question is being vacated by Democrat Jim Webb, who has chosen not to run for a second term. Running to replace him are two former Virginia governors: Republican George Allen, who held the Senate seat before Webb defeated him in 2006, and Democrat Tim Kaine, who recently served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

It's a race likely to revolve around two key issues: President Obama and the economy.

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