Fri August 19, 2011

Gadhafi's Former No. 2 Defected, Libyan Rebels Say

Originally published on Fri August 19, 2011 3:48 pm

Libyan rebels say a close Moammar Gadhafi associate who was once the No. 2 top regime official has defected in another blow to the increasingly isolated Libyan leader.

Abdel Salam Jalloud helped Gadhafi stage the 1969 coup that propelled him to power and transformed Libya from a monarchy to a republic. He was Gadhafi's most trusted deputy for two decades but began to clash with the leader starting in the 1990s.

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Fri August 19, 2011
Music Interviews

Amy LaVere: Shaking Heartbreak

Amy LaVere's new album is called Stranger Me.
Courtesy of the artist

In 2009, it was a difficult year for singer-songwriter Amy LaVere: Her producer died, her guitarist quit, and she split up with longtime boyfriend Paul Tyler, who had also been her drummer. LaVere poured her emotion into her writing, and the album that resulted was this year's Stranger Me.

"I went into this [album] probably with more insecurity than I have ever had," LaVere tells NPR's Laura Sullivan. "Just even the title of the record, Stranger Me, is me saying I don't really know who I am in this."

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Fri August 19, 2011

The Healing Power Of Blues Dancing

A couple dances at the Polish Club in San Francisco, which hosts a night of blues dancing every Monday.
Alexis Estrada

Blues was once called the devil's music, but for many, it has transformative, healing power. Every Monday night in San Francisco's Mission District, devout blues followers descend upon the Polish Club for a night of dancing in an unconventional style.

Blues dancing, which requires participants to appear to be in love with their dancing partners — including strangers — has helped some at the Polish Club to turn their lives around. Click the link at the top of the page to hear the story of three dancers who say they've felt changed by power of the blues.

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Fri August 19, 2011
Middle East

Syria's Crackdown Provokes Sharp Debate

In a photo taken during a guided government tour, Syrian soldiers raise their weapons while holding a picture of President Bashar Assad as they leave the eastern city of Deir al-Zour on Aug. 16, following a 10-day military operation.
- AFP/Getty Images

Over the past five months, the Syrian military has repeatedly used tanks and heavy weaponry on cities and towns that are centers of protest.

As has been the case most every Friday since March, demonstrators turned out in huge numbers after the midday prayers, and there was more violence. Activists said that Syrian security forces fired at protesters across the country, reportedly killing at least 20.

Assessing whether this Syrian strategy is working depends on who you ask — and what version of the military crackdown in Syria you accept.

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Fri August 19, 2011
NPR Story

Summer Sounds: Panting

Commentator Andrei Codrescu adds to our arsenal of Summer Sounds with an essay about the panting of his two dogs. They have very different personalities, but share the panting gene.


Fri August 19, 2011

Target Takes Aim At Walmart, With Some Success

Originally published on Sat August 20, 2011 10:04 am

Christian Hernandez stocks shelves earlier this month at a Target store in Miami. Target reported strong profit numbers in the second quarter of 2011 in its continued battle with Walmart stores over discount retail dominance.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Target has Walmart's price-conscious customer base in its sights, and its aim is improving, analysts say.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp., the nation's third-largest retailer, reported profits up 3.7 percent to $704 million for the quarter ending July 30 over the same quarter last year. Although profits for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. were even better — profits for the quarter were $3.8 billion, up 5.7 percent from a year ago — the company's sales at U.S. stores open for more than a year fell for the ninth consecutive quarter.

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Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

High Profile Law Firm Withdraws From John Edwards' Defense Team

Former U.S. senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, indicted for alleged campaign violations, is losing part of his trial team. The high profile Wall Street law firm that has led his defense is withdrawing.

Until now, Edwards has been represented by former White House Counsel Gregory Craig and former Associate White House Counsel Cliff Sloan from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. But apparently for both financial and tactical reasons, Edwards is switching lawyers.

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Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Baseball's Clemens Should Be Tried Again, Prosecutors Argue

"Prosecutors in the Roger Clemens perjury case say they made an honest mistake in showing jurors inadmissible evidence and the baseball star should face another trial," The Associated Press reports.

Back in July, on the second day of proceedings, federal Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial. As NPR's Nina Totenberg reported:

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Fri August 19, 2011

In Japan, Restoring Photos For Tsunami Victims

Becci Manson has spent the past few months on Japan's northeast coast restoring photos damaged by the tsunami.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Each week, tsunami survivors gather at temporary housing centers in the city of Yamada along Japan's northeast coast. They sing songs to cheer themselves up and comb through salvaged photos.

One morning, Miyoko Fukushi finds an old picture from the opening day of her daughter's elementary school. It's a formal shot of the students' mothers, wearing kimonos with their hands in their laps. Fukushi, 77, points to a younger version of herself.

"I was chubbier when I was young," she says with a laugh.

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Fri August 19, 2011
Music Interviews

Shusmo: Funky New Yorkers With Middle Eastern Roots

Tareq Abboushi leads the New York band Shusmo with his buzuq, a kind of Middle Eastern lute.
John Rogers

The Arabic word shusmo is a place holder for something whose name you can't think of, similar to the English "whatchamacallit." That makes it a good fit for the New York band Shusmo, whose combination of traditional Middle Eastern instruments and Western funk can be tough to classify.

Led by the Palestininan-born Tareq Abboushi, Shusmo has a new album titled Mumtastic. Abboushi tells Weekend Edition Saturday guest host Jacki Lyden that he grew up hearing both Western and Arabic music in his hometown, the West Bank city of Ramallah.

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