NPR Story
3:29 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Task Force Recommends Changes At Maryland's Prisons

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 10:12 am

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jennifer Ludden. A scandal at a Baltimore jail this year prompted Maryland to review procedures that all of its state and local detention centers. Dozens of correction officers and others are accused of conspiring with gang members in the jail, smuggling in drugs, even having sex with inmates.

GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: I share the public's revulsion at these allegations and we have a zero tolerance policy towards corruption of any kind.

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NPR Story
3:29 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Senate Follows House, Passes Budget Deal

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Despite some very loud grumbling, both chambers of Congress have approved a two-year federal budget plan. This drops the odds of a federal government shutdown early next year, but it certainly does not end the debate over federal spending.

INSKEEP: NPR's Tamara Keith is on the line this morning to talk about one figure from the agreement, which suggests the scale of budget fights ahead. And Tamara, what's the figure?

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Business
3:29 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Even If FCC Relaxes Rules, Delta Won't Allow In-Flight Calls

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If you ever fly, you've heard it countless times: You cannot use your cellphone while en route to your destination. Federal rules will not allow it. That could change now, as the FCC considers relaxing those rules. But in advance of that decision yesterday, Delta Airlines said it plans to remain committed to high altitude quiet time.

Here's NPR's Kathy Lohr.

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Shots - Health News
2:26 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Congress Poised To Permanently Fix Its Medicare Payment Glitch

It's health results β€” not the number of treatments β€” that should count, leaders say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:56 am

The two-year budget deal approved by the Senate on Wednesday is aimed at preventing another government shutdown.

It also includes a familiar annual rider β€” language to avert a steep pay cut to doctors who treat Medicare patients. But this time might be different, with a fix that lasts. After more than a decade of temporary solutions, it appears Congress might be on the verge of permanently solving its persistent problem in the way it makes Medicare payments to doctors.

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Parallels
2:06 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Brazil's Post Offices Help Deliver Christmas Wishes

Volunteers look through children's letters to Santa at a post office in Salvador in northeastern Brazil's Bahia state. The campaign is part of a more than 20-year tradition to help those less fortunate to have gifts for the holiday.
Raul Spinasse DPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:47 pm

"Dear Father Christmas," the letter reads, "my name is Larissa. I know that you are very busy and that you live a long way away in the North Pole, but I'd like to ask you for a gift because my mother doesn't have enough money to buy what I want."

There are piles of similar letters β€” many decorated with stickers, drawings and hand prints β€” lying on makeshift tables in the main hall of the post office in downtown Sao Paulo.

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Animals
2:05 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Russian Demand Fuels Comeback Of North American Fur Market

A model displays a creation by Russian designer Igor Gulyaev during the Volvo Fashion Week in Moscow on Oct. 27, 2011.
Mikhail Metzel AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

North American fur is booming.

Not in North America, necessarily, but "you can't keep fur in stock in Russia," says furrier Greg Tinder. "The higher the price tag you put on it, the faster it sells."

Tinder, who left Saks Fifth Avenue to start his own label, says the East has always been a furrier's dream β€” think big, plushy Soviet-era hats. But now, with Russia's economy on the rise, there's some new money on the block, and designers know that.

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All Tech Considered
2:04 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Bay Area's Steep Housing Costs Spark Return To Communal Living

Residents of the Embassy House, a communal home near San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, eat dinner together every Sunday.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 11:08 am

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

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The Salt
2:00 am
Thu December 19, 2013

This Stanford Ph.D. Became A Fruit Picker To Feed California's Hungry

Sarah Ramirez runs an organization that brings excess produce to the hungry. Here, she gleans apples from a front yard.
Scott Anger KQED

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 9:16 am

By some estimates, we Americans throw away about 40 percent of our food, from the cabbage that's wilting in our refrigerators, to the fruit that's falling off the orange tree in our neighbor's backyard.

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Government
5:48 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Disability parking changes take effect Jan. 1st

Most drivers with state disability parking placards will pay at parking meters starting January 1st. Β The new law will require anyone with a blue or red placard to start inserting coins at meters in Illinois. Β Mary Riseling is with the Illinois Secretary of State's Office. She says the change means an increase in revenue for cities with metered parking:

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The Two-Way
4:59 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Senate Approves Budget Deal, Reducing Chances Of A Shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), walks to the chamber for the final votes on the bipartisan budget deal on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:24 pm

The Senate passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal aimed at easing automatic spending cuts and avoiding a government shutdown, following a House vote on the measure last week.

The vote by a simple majority was absent the partisan brinksmanship that has become a hallmark of budget deals in recent memory.

The appropriations committees in both chambers must now set in stone a $1.012 trillion fiscal 2014 spending bill before current spending authority expires. Congress also faces a spring 2014 to raise the debt ceiling β€” another potential partisan standoff.

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