Middle East
2:00 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Resolve Of Syria's Pro-Government Forces Hardens

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 3:41 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

When President Obama met yesterday with the king of Jordan, much of their talk focused on Jordan's neighbor, Syria. Both governments are trying to figure out how to pressure Syria's president to step down. So far, 10 months of protest by Syria's own people hasn't convinced Bashar al-Assad to do that. Instead, he's cracked down.

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Afghanistan
2:00 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Exploring Peace Talks With The Taliban

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 4:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Around the Nation
2:00 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Calif. Gov. Brown's Speech To Outline More Cuts

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 3:36 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The economy may be improving but state governments are still working to repair the damage to their books. We're keeping track with a series of reports, and we go this morning to the nation's most populous state, which has some of the nation's largest problems.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here in California today, Governor Jerry Brown gives the State of the State address. He'll outline more cuts to government programs while asking voters to approve a measure to raise taxes. Here's NPR's Richard Gonzales.

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Asia
2:00 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Ambassador Locke Shares His Impressions Of China

Gary Locke is Washington's ambassador to Beijing. He took over the post after Jon Huntsman left. Locke is the first U.S. ambassador to China to have roots in that country — his ancestors hail from a village in southern China. He serves at a time of enormous change, a time when many Americans see China as a threat. Ambassador Locke talks to Steve Inskeep about his impressions of China and its government.

Governing
1:39 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Secretaries Of State At Center Of Election Battles

Scott Gessler gives a victory speech on Nov. 2, 2010, after being elected secretary of state in Colorado.
Jack Dempsey AP

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 10:30 am

In his first year as Colorado's secretary of state, Republican Scott Gessler has been sued eight times.

He has outraged Democrats by rewriting the state's campaign finance rules, tangled with counties over which voters they can send mail-in ballots to, and attracted national attention for participating in a fundraiser to pay off a campaign finance fine levied by his office.

"We've definitely shaken up the status quo, and I think that's happened a bit in some other states, too," he says.

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Environment
10:01 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Cleaner Air In L.A. Ports Comes At A Cost To Truckers

A truck passes shipping containers at China Shipping at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the busiest port complex in the U.S., near Long Beach, Calif. Stricter emissions standards have cut down on air pollution from the trucks, which has been one of the most significant sources of air pollution in California for many years.
David McNew Getty Images

The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest in the nation. They also have some of the dirtiest air, thanks to thousands of cargo trucks that pass through each day.

But this month marks the beginning of a new era, as tighter emissions standards go into effect.

'100 Percent Clean Energy'

A common trope in environmental stories is to put things in terms of jobs vs. the environment. But that's not what happened in the case of the ports.

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Europe
10:01 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Hungary Faces EU Action Over New Constitution

People gather to protest against Hungary's new constitution outside the Opera House in Budapest on Jan. 2. Critics say the document curbs democracy.
Ferenenc Isza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 9:03 am

Veteran Hungarian broadcaster Gyorgy Bolgar, who hosts a popular daily news/talk call-in show on Klubradio, gets a daily earful from ordinary Hungarians upset with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Many here fear that Orban, a dissident during the communist era, and his conservative Fidesz party are pushing the country backward.

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Europe
10:01 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

French Dilemma: How To Burn Off All That Overtime?

France's 35-hour work week has resulted in some workers accumulating vast amounts of overtime that they are required to use this year. The problem is particularly acute at some hospitals. Here a woman speaks with a doctor at the Conception Hospital in Marseille on Tuesday.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 6:32 am

France's 35-hour work week has plenty of critics who say it has sapped the country of its competitiveness and is tying companies in knots. And to make their case, a leading example is the current state of overtime at French hospitals.

Along with five weeks of annual leave, French employees get time off if they work more than 35 hours in a week. At the Hopital Vaugirard, a public hospital in central Paris, employees have accumulated more than 2 million days off in the past decade.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Cruise Ship Disaster Puts Focus On Safety Concerns

The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side after running aground on the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. One maritime workers union called the disaster a "wake-up call" highlighting long-standing safety concerns and what it sees as lax regulation.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 5:50 am

The dramatic Costa Concordia accident off the coast of Italy is calling attention to the regulation of the cruise line industry. Experts say there are plenty of rules, but enforcement can be spotty.

Some of the survivors of last week's disaster described the rescue effort as chaotic and disorganized. The crew had not yet conducted a required emergency drill during the cruise.

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