7:16am

Thu October 27, 2011
The Commonwealth

McConnell Weighing in on Big 12 Debate

The New York Times is reporting that U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is lobbying the Big 12 conference to select the University of Louisville over West Virginia University to fill the vacancy.  It had been expected that NCAA leaders were going to announce the Mountaineers’ move to the conference as part of a realignment earlier this week, but now sports analysts are calling it “50-50″ chance on whether the Cardinals will be selected instead.

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7:12am

Thu October 27, 2011
Strange News

For One Arizona Bride, Something Blew

A wedding video shows a couple pouring two bottles of sand into one to represent their union. Then a lot more sand arrives as a full-fledged Arizona sandstorm blasts through, turning the scene dusty red.

7:10am

Thu October 27, 2011
The Two-Way

European Debt Deal: Markets Rally Because It Could Have Been Worse

Originally published on Thu October 27, 2011 10:17 am

A pedestrian passes a vendor selling Greek flags in Athens on Wednesday (Oct. 26, 2011). Greece's crushing debts triggered the latest crisis.

Thanassis Stavrakis AP

Marathon talks that ended around 4 a.m. local time today in Brussels produced a deal that European leaders hope will mark the beginning of the end of the continent's debt crisis, as NPR's Eric Westervelt reports for Morning Edition.

And financial markets are rallying on the news.

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5:41am

Thu October 27, 2011
Middle East

Iran's Largest Banks Swindled Out Of $2.6 Billion

The banking scandal has political implications in Iran, and the president's top adviser, Rahim Mashaei, has come under criticism. He's shown here in a 2007 photo.

Paul White AP

A bank fraud scandal of unprecedented proportions is shaking domestic politics in Iran.

Several of Iran's largest banks have been swindled out of an estimated $2.6 billion. The scandal has sparked a widening investigation with more than 30 arrests so far. It has also led to charges that some of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's closest advisers were involved.

On its face, it appears it was easy for some of Iran's most important bankers to steal so much money.

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5:41am

Thu October 27, 2011
Technology

Phone Cameras Challenge Point-And-Shoot Compacts

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:18 am

These two images were taken at the same time of day — one with a digital camera, and one with an iPhone 4S.

Mallory Benedict and Cristina Fletes NPR

Nearly every new smartphone has a better camera than its predecessor. One of the latest is Apple's iPhone 4S — but there are plenty of other cellphones with advanced cameras on the market, such as the HTC myTouch 4G and the Samsung Galaxy SII.

The cameras are so good, in fact, that it raises the question of whether it's worth it for amateur photographers to own a separate point-and-shoot camera.

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5:40am

Thu October 27, 2011
Law

In Boston Terrorism Trial, A Free Speech Defense

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 8:25 am

Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday in an unusual terrorism trial, involving a young Massachusetts man named Tarek Mehanna. What makes this case unusual isn't the alleged terrorist's plot. It's his defense: the First Amendment.

Mehanna's lawyers asked the judge Wednesday to instruct the jury about free-speech rights under the U.S. Constitution. Prosecutors say 29-year-old Mehanna tried to help al-Qaida by promoting its cause in an online blog. Mehanna's attorneys say he was just exercising his right to free speech — and isn't a terrorist at all.

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5:40am

Thu October 27, 2011
Politics

Protests Pick Up Steam; Will Obama Get Burned?

It's not clear yet whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will be a good thing or a bad thing for Democrats. That's why President Obama always treads carefully when asked about them.

"People are frustrated, and that frustration has expressed itself in a lot of different ways," he said Tuesday on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "It expressed itself in the Tea Party. It's expressing itself in Occupy Wall Street."

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5:38am

Thu October 27, 2011
Economy

Back From China: Furniture Maker Returns To N.C.

After working as a consultant for several years in China, Bruce Cochrane (above) has returned to his native Lincolnton, N.C., to open a new furniture plant (below).

Greg Collard WFAE

The self-proclaimed "world's largest furniture market" in High Point, N.C., is the industry's showpiece event, where manufacturers hawk their products to retailers. And this week, the market also has an old-school component: a large pavilion dedicated to furniture that's made in America.

In fact, there are signs that market conditions stemming from China's fast growth could spur a comeback for furniture makers in the United States.

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5:00am

Thu October 27, 2011
NPR News Investigations

Native Survivors Of Foster Care Return Home

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 6:02 pm

When Dwayne Stenstrom was 8 years old a state worker told him that he and his brother were going to a special camp for the summer. Instead, he spent 12 years in foster care.

John Poole NPR

Part 3 of a three-part investigation

Dwayne Stenstrom is a professor of American history. His office is lined with towers of obscure books and poetry on the walls. There's even a copy of the Declaration of Independence in a binder.

He teaches this document like many other professors, beginning with, "We hold these truths to be self evident." But he stops on another phrase — "the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages."

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4:15am

Thu October 27, 2011
Energy

The Global Coal Trade's Complex Calculation

To feed China's insatiable demand for coal, U.S. companies are trying to sell and ship the lucrative commodity to the Asian market from new West Coast ports. Above, the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant are seen on the outskirts of Beijing.

Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

This is the second of two reports on plans to export U.S. coal to China.

Coal producers in Wyoming and Montana are hoping new export terminals will be built in Washington state so they can ramp up their sales to China. Activists are trying to stop those ports, in part because they're concerned about global warming. But a thriving export market could also drive up the price of coal here in the United States, and that has climate implications as well.

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