8:07am

Thu December 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Diplomatic Shift? Russia Acknowledges Assad May Be On Way Out

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 12:33 pm

Northwest of Aleppo, Syria, this week, rebels were in control of this Syrian military base.
Herve Bar AFP/Getty Images

"Syria's most powerful ally, Russia, said for the first time Thursday that President Bashar Assad is losing control of his country and the rebels might win the civil war, dramatically shifting the diplomatic landscape at a time of enormous momentum for the opposition," The Associated Press writes.

Here's what Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, according to the AP:

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4:53am

Thu December 13, 2012
Business

Examining The Health Savings Account Deduction

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

We continue with our series: The 12 Days of Tax Deductions. It's Morning Edition's way of making sense of the jungle of tax deductions, credits and breaks that political leaders are sorting through as they try to wrestle more revenue out of the tax code.

4:53am

Thu December 13, 2012
Business

Fed To Keep Short-Term Interest Rates Low

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve now says it intends to keep its benchmark interest rate exceptionally low until the unemployment rate reaches six and a half percent. It's the first time the Fed has named a specific thresh-hold for when it would begin raising interest rates.

NPR's John Ydstie has more.

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4:53am

Thu December 13, 2012
Politics

Most Of Congress In The Dark On 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 11:44 am

Of the 535 members of Congress, not many appear to be in the loop about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. That makes the rest nervous about having to vote on a bill on short notice despite misgivings about what's in it. But this is often how major deals get accomplished in Washington.

In these budget negotiations, the names Boehner and Obama come up most often โ€” and virtually all the rest are on the outside looking in.

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4:53am

Thu December 13, 2012
Business

Business News

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with supervising banks in the EU.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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4:53am

Thu December 13, 2012
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

CALM is an acronym for a new law that takes effect Thursday. It stands for the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, and it means you won't have to jump for your TV remote the second commercials air. The law says the volume of commercials needs to be the same as the programs they're coming out of.

Emily is the producer and fill-in host for Morning Edition. She is also a reporter and producer for Stateside.

Before working for Michigan Radio, Emily hosted and produced an award winning weekly talk show on Michigan State University's student radio station, IMPACT 89FM. Some of the feature stories she has contributed over the years at WKAR-FM, WJR-AM and Michigan Radio have been recognized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the Society for Professional Journalists.

Emily holds a B.A. in music education and is currently working on her Master's in Telecommunication at MSU.

3:35am

Thu December 13, 2012
The Salt

Archaeologists Find Ancient Evidence Of Cheese-Making

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 12:19 pm

Archaeologists believe that ancient farmers used pots made from these pottery shards to make cheese รขย€ย” a less perishable, low-lactose milk product.
Nature

As any cheese maker will tell you, it's not that hard to make cheese. You just take some fresh milk, warm it up a bit, and add something acidic to curdle it. Then, once it has cooled, you drain off the whey โ€” the liquid part โ€” and you're left with cheese.

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3:28am

Thu December 13, 2012
Planet Money

Will A $1.9 Billion Settlement Change Banks' Behavior?

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 11:55 am

Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

If a kid does something bad and you want to discipline him โ€” give him a timeout, say, or take away a toy โ€” there are some basic principles that seem to work.

The punishment needs to happen quickly after the bad behavior. And it needs to be significant enough to get noticed. Those rules aren't just for kids; they need to hold true for any type of punishment to be effective.

But if you're a federal regulator punishing a bank, it can be tough to be swift enough and to levee a penalty that's severe enough to make a difference.

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3:26am

Thu December 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Report On CIA Interrogation Tactics Revives Torture Debate

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:03 am

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have opposing views about a report detailing CIA detention and interrogation practices.
Alex Wong Getty Images

In a closed-door meeting Thursday, lawmakers will consider whether to approve a secret report that chronicles CIA detention and interrogation practices โ€” including methods that critics have compared to torture.

That report โ€” along with the release of a new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden โ€” is rekindling an old debate about whether those methods worked.

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