3:49pm

Wed March 6, 2013
Music News

Britain's Brass Bands: A Working-Class Tradition On The Wane

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:49 am

Cornetist Adam Rosbottom rehearses with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band in January. The band was founded in South Yorkshire, England, in 1917.
Christopher Werth

The world often feels full of fading traditions, from drive-in movie theaters to the dying art of good old-fashioned letter writing.

For the British, add brass bands to that list. Traditional brass bands have played an important cultural role in working-class British communities for centuries. But some warn that without funding, they could become a thing of the past.

Take the Grimethorpe Colliery Band in South Yorkshire. The band was originally formed in 1917, and nearly 100 years later, a group of tuba, euphonium and other horn players still bears the band's name.

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3:47pm

Wed March 6, 2013
It's All Politics

Obama's Outreach To GOP: More Optics Than Opportunity?

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 4:21 pm

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire at the Capitol last month. The senators are among a group invited to dine Wednesday with President Obama.
Alex Wong Getty Images

President Obama recently acknowledged the obvious: He doesn't have the supernatural powers necessary to do a mind meld, Jedi or otherwise, with Republican congressional leaders that would lead to pacts on fiscal policy or anything else for that matter.

But if he doesn't have the power to force meetings of the minds with his Republican opponents, he can at least still get meetings with them.

Popping up on the president's schedule all of a sudden was a Wednesday night dinner at a Washington, D.C., hotel with a group of GOP senators.

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3:30pm

Wed March 6, 2013
U.S.

Even Where It's Legal, Pot Producers Weigh The Business Risks

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:49 am

Medical marijuana on display at the grand opening of the Northwest Cannabis Market's Seattle location in February. While recreational pot use is now legal in Washington, the state has not yet issued rules governing the industry.
Elaine Thompson AP

Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to answer questions on everything from gun control to the Department of Justice's failure to prosecute Wall Street. But he was also asked about an issue proponents of marijuana legalization have been following closely: what the DOJ plans to do about Colorado and Washington state, which have defied federal law by legalizing recreational use of the drug.

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3:30pm

Wed March 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

Hear That? In A Din Of Voices, Our Brains Can Tune In To One

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:49 am

Scientists say that understanding how the cocktail party effect works could help people who have trouble deciphering sounds in a noisy environment. Guests make it look easy at a Dolce and Gabbana Lounge party in London in 2010.
Paul Jeffers AP

Scientists are beginning to understand how people tune in to a single voice in a crowded, noisy room.

This ability, known as the "cocktail party effect," appears to rely on areas of the brain that have completely filtered out unwanted sounds, researchers report in the journal Neuron. So when a person decides to focus on a particular speaker, other speakers "have no representation in those [brain] areas," says Elana Zion Golumbic of Columbia University.

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3:29pm

Wed March 6, 2013
The Salt

Can Milk Sweetened With Aspartame Still Be Called Milk?

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:45 am

Morgan Barnett, 7, drinks from containers of 1 percent milk and chocolate milk during lunch at a school in St. Paul, Minn., in 2006.
Eric Miller AP

The dairy industry has a problem. Despite studies demonstrating milk's nutritional benefits, people are drinking less and less of it.

Even children are increasingly opting for water or other low-cal options — including diet soda and artificially sweetened sports drinks.

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3:28pm

Wed March 6, 2013
The Two-Way

Arkansas Legislature Embraces Strictest U.S. Abortion Law

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:42 am

Arkansas has approved a law banning most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, as both houses of the state's legislature vote to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The Republican-backed Human Heartbeat Protection Act will become the nation's most restrictive law.

In vetoing the Senate version of the bill Monday, Beebe said that it "would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability."

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2:27pm

Wed March 6, 2013
Planet Money

If The Catholic Church Were A Business, How Would You Fix It?

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:49 am

Now that Pope Benedict XVI has officially gone into retirement, the next leader of the Catholic Church has a lot to consider, including finances.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

The next pope will be the spiritual leader of the world's Catholics. He will also be leading a multibillion-dollar financial empire. And from a business perspective, the Catholic Church is struggling.

We talked to several people who study the business of the church. Here are a few of the issues they pointed out.

1. Globally, the church's employees are in the wrong place.

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2:26pm

Wed March 6, 2013
The Two-Way

Missing Soviet Soldier Found Alive In Afghanistan After 33 Years

Destroyed Soviet tanks and armored vehicles in Afghanistan, a grim legacy of Moscow's decade-long occupation that began in 1979.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

More than three decades ago, Soviet soldier Bakhretdin Khakimov went missing in Afghanistan after he was wounded in battle with Afghan mujahedeen forces.

His whereabouts remained unknown until two weeks ago, when he was tracked down by a team from the Warriors-Internationalists Affairs Committee, a Moscow-based nonprofit that looks for Soviet MIAs in Afghanistan.

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2:26pm

Wed March 6, 2013
The Two-Way

Sen. Rand Paul Launches An Old-Fashioned Filibusterer On Brennan Nomination

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 10:31 pm

Sen. Rand Paul.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul has been talking for hours on the floor of the Senate today in an effort to delay the nomination of John Brennan for CIA chief.

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1:56pm

Wed March 6, 2013
The Two-Way

Economy Growing At 'Modest To Moderate Pace,' Fed Says

There was "modest to moderate" economic growth across the nation as the year began, the Federal Reserve says in its latest "beige book" review of conditions around the nation.

According to the central bank, five of its 12 districts "reported that economic growth was moderate in January and early February." Those five: Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, Richmond and St. Louis.

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