Business
2:00 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Dentist Wins Bid For Elvis Presley's Crown

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 1:59 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business this morning is: crowning achievement. At an auction in the U.K. last week, a dentist from Alberta, Canada, paid $10,000 for a crown that once belonged to The King himself: Elvis Presley.

The crown is actually the kind you wear on a tooth. That isn't the only dental collectible this dentist has paid top dollar for. He shelled out $31,000 for a rotten tooth that belonged to John Lennon. He says his waiting room is starting to look like a Hard Rock Cafe, but it's good for business.

Business
2:00 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Business News

Greece has taken almost all the action needed to secure a second bailout from eurozone countries, according to the head of the European currency group. The first loan can now be paid out by March 20, as long as Greece completes a bond swap between Athens and private investors, which should cut the nations privately-held debt in half.

StoryCorps
1:41 am
Fri March 2, 2012

'Life Is Really Good,' Says Cancer Survivor, 12

Jennifer Coursey with her son, 12-year-old Grant Coursey, at StoryCorps in Ukiah, Calif.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:27 am

When Grant Coursey was a toddler, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer often found in young children. A tumor had wrapped itself around Grant's spinal cord and had grown so that it pushed against his lungs.

Now 12, Grant is cancer-free; he received his first "clean" scan 10 years ago in March 2002. He had to undergo several procedures to rid his body of the cancer.

Recently, Grant and his mother, Jennifer, sat down to talk about his young life and how cancer has affected it.

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Fine Art
1:37 am
Fri March 2, 2012

In 'Ocean Park,' Gentle Portraits Of California Light

Richard Diebenkorn's 1975 work Ocean Park #79, features pastel blues, lavenders and aquas — and thin strips of deep red and green at the top to draw the viewer's gaze upward.
The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:31 am

In the late 1960s, while America was in turmoil over the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, a painter in Santa Monica, Calif., was creating a series of tranquil, glowing canvases that made his reputation and transfixed art lovers. Those works — the Ocean Park series — are now on view at the Orange County Museum of Art, about an hour's drive from the place where they were painted.

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Asia
1:36 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Looking For Elephant Ivory? Try China

A Malaysian customs official examines elephant tusks at a port in Kalang. Malaysia has become an ivory transit hub, with African elephant tusks bound for China. Worldwide, authorities seized more than 5,000 smuggled tusks.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:53 am

Armed with tips from animal welfare activists, I recently went on an ivory hunt with my Chinese assistant, Yang, in an antiques market in Beijing.

Activists say China's growing purchasing power is driving global demand for products from vulnerable animals, everything from elephant ivory to rhino horn.

Two huge stone lions stood sentinel outside the four-story market nestled among a forest of buildings off one of Beijing's beltways. In China, vendors usually accost shoppers and try to lure them into stores.

Not here.

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Planet Money
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

What The IRS Could Learn From Mormons

The money Mormons tithe goes to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then is distributed to congregations around the world.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

Many religious traditions stress the importance of charity. But Mormons are remarkable for the amount and the precision with which they give to their church.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that each Mormon in good standing should tithe 10 percent of his or her income. The money goes right to church headquarters in Salt Lake City and then is distributed back to congregations around the world.

"That's written in stone, and preached from the pulpit," says Gordon Dahl, an economist at the University of California, San Diego, who is Mormon.

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Europe
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Putin Heavily Favored As Russians Pick A President

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a campaign speech during a rally of his supporters in Moscow, Feb. 23. Putin is mounting a vigorous campaign in the face of growing opposition but is expected to win Sunday's presidential elections.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:12 am

When Russians go to the polls Sunday, they will have several choices for president. But none is a serious threat to Vladimir Putin, who has been the most powerful figure in Russia for the past 12 years.

Boris Makarenko, a longtime observer of Russian politics, says the candidates arrayed against Putin are all more or less part of what Kremlin leaders call "the systemic opposition."

In other words, he says, they are "the tolerable opposition ... which can never even hope of replacing them in the Kremlin."

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Governing
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Shrinking Community Grants Put Cities In A Crunch

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 4:24 am

Budget cuts approved by Congress in the past two years are trickling down to local communities, and officials there are not happy. They say that reductions in community development block grants will hurt the nation's most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Two years ago, the federal government gave out about $4 billion in such grants to low- and moderate-income communities. This year, the figure is $3 billion — a 25 percent cut. And as that pie has shrunk, those whose slices have shrunk even more are hungry for answers.

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Governing
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Government Backs Up On Rearview Car Cameras

A camera is used instead of a rearview mirror on the Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 10.
Mike Cassese Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 4:47 pm

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Underground Cold War Relics As Doomsday Castles?

Larry Hall shows off the old vents and 9-foot-thick walls of a missile silo he's developing into condominiums.
Frank Morris

One clear threat once menaced civilization: nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The Cold War is over, but decades later, some of the fortifications built to fight that war still dot the American landscape.

Four years ago, Larry Hall bought a nuclear missile silo out on the open rolling land north of Salina, Kan. Hall paid $300,000 and spent much more to clean out all the scrap metal and stagnant water.

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