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New Orleans had endured so much - the Civil War, yellow fever, the Depression and a string of spectacular political shenanigans, but its award-winning daily newspaper, the Times-Picayune, has not been able to survive as a daily. Eileen Fleming of member station WWNO reports now on the diminution of a paper that's continued reporting during the darkest days of Hurricane Katrina.

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April and May are fairly quiet times for Maine lobstermen and women, with the height of the summer season still a couple of months away. This year, strange things are happening on the ocean floor. Many of the lobsters have prematurely shed their hard shells, and lobstermen are hauling large numbers of soft-shelled lobsters much earlier than usual.

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon in the kick-off segment of Weekend Edition's "Taste of Summer" series.

A Quinnipiac University poll out this week found Mitt Romney with a 6-point lead over President Obama in Florida. That would seem to be very good news for the presumptive Republican nominee in what may be the biggest swing state this fall.

As the wind whips across the scrub grass in southern Argentina, a crane unloads huge bags of artificial sand for oil workers preparing for the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of a well.

Water mixed with chemicals and tiny ceramic beads are then blasted underground at high pressure. This mixture helps create fissures, allowing oil and natural gas to flow.

Energy analysts believe there are billions of barrels of oil and gas buried in a desert-like patch in Patagonia.

One of the ways Spaniards console themselves amid their failing economy is with their beloved sport of soccer. If you can't afford tickets to a game, it's always on TV in your local bar.

"For an escape from work, economic problems — just enjoy it and support your team," says soccer fan Ivan Rassuli, who's having a beer as he watches a match at a bar. "Everybody likes football. Maybe like the NBA or baseball in the United States."

But futbol, as Spaniards call soccer, has followed the same sorry trajectory as Spain's economy.

Failure To Pay Taxes

Chicago's 49th Ward is better known as Rogers Park. It's a neighborhood of middle-class houses and apartment buildings, home to Loyola University. It's known for diversity and an affordable, laid-back kind of cool.

But the 49th has a new claim to fame: In 2009, the ward's alderman, Joe Moore, became the first elected official in the country to hand over the purse strings to his constituents. Three years later, the experiment is still attracting new residents to planning meetings.

Forming Ideas

Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor who went after the Gambino crime family, al-Qaida and even the White House in court — not to mention several Illinois politicians — is leaving his job as U.S. attorney in Chicago.

The career prosecutor, known as "Eliot Ness with a Harvard degree," will leave a legacy as a tenacious corruption buster, though some criticize his style as overzealous.

When the summer travel season begins, airline passengers typically brace for delays as vacationers fly in larger numbers and the inevitable weather-related disruptions occur.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees the nationwide system of air traffic control, is hoping to make some of those delays a thing of the past. It's developing what it calls "Next Generation" technology. The NextGen program will modernize the air traffic control system, transforming it from radar to GPS-based technology.

Observing Memorial Day

May 25, 2012

Like many Americans, we plan to take Memorial Day off. And while a three-day weekend is always fun, this holiday is a somber one.

We were reminded of that reading an Op-Ed from Tom Manion in today's Wall Street Journal. Manion served in the military for 30 years and his son, Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq when he was just 26-years-old.

Manion delivers an emotional piece that attempts to answer a complex question: Why do they serve?

Did you know most people smile when they are frustrated?

Look at this picture:

The one on the right came from frustration; the one on the left is genuine.

But when researchers asked participants to act frustrated, 90 percent didn't smile; however, when researchers made participants frustrated, 90 percent smiled.

Does Dish Network have the right to offer a commercial-free experience for its customers? Or does that infringe on broadcasters' copyrights?

As you might expect, CBS, NBC and Fox are not very happy at the prospect and filed suit yesterday against the TV provider to stop it from rolling out its "AutoHop" service.

Keep Kids Away From Laundry Detergent Packs

May 25, 2012

Something that looks good enough to eat can sometimes turns out to be a really big mistake.

Take those small, brightly colored single-use packs of laundry detergent that are becoming popular. To a curious toddler or small child, they look like candy.

But once inside childrens' mouths, the tempting packs can burst, releasing a concentrated blast of irriitating detergent. Already this year there have been at least 250 cases of illness from the packs reported to poison control centers across the country.

When parents deploy to a war zone overseas, their absence can have ripple effects that are felt long after they return. Parents and their children often struggle to figure out how to be a family again after leading separate lives for months or years. Now, there's an effort to make the transition from combat life to home life less rocky.

From now until November, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at one of those similarities: They both signed health care overhaul laws based on an individual mandate.

This is the tale of a single tweet and its far-reaching consequences in China.

In April 2011, retired forestry official Fang Hong posted a scatological tweet, mocking a powerful Chinese politician, Bo Xilai, the Chongqing party secretary.

Spanish Lender Requests $24 Billion Bailout

May 25, 2012

A troubled Spanish lender has asked the government for 19 billion euros ($24 billion) of public money to keep the bank from collapsing.

As The New York Times reports, this is far beyond what the government was expecting when it took over Bankia and "its portfolio of delinquent real estate loans."

In its periodic report on Iran's nuclear program, the United Nation's nuclear watchdog said it found traces of uranium enriched to a level higher than it had previously reported.

NPR's Mike Shuster filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"When International Atomic Energy Agency monitors carry out routine inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, they take environmental samples to help them determine the nature of uranium enrichment underway.

You know all those lawsuits now pending around the country charging that the Obama administration's rule requiring most health insurance plans to offer no-cost contraception is a violation of religious freedom?

Well, a whole bunch of supporters of the rule are chiming in now to say that argument has no legal merit.

MIT Builds A Needle-Free Drug Injector

May 25, 2012

The needle and syringe are icons of modern medicine.

But a device developed at MIT to squirt medicines quickly and pretty much painlessly through the skin suggests that the future of medicine could be needle-free.

The first sneak peak a few weeks back inside journalist David Maraniss' highly anticipated biography of President Obama served up glimpses of the president as a young man in romantic relationships, with information gleaned from early girlfriends.

For South Sudan, 2011 was monumental. After decades of war, South Sudan became its own nation.

But as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton has told us, that process of emerging from a conflict with its northern neighbor that left it poor and isolated, has been fraught with more fighting.

Five years in prison. Then five years of probation and wearing an electronic monitoring device. The shame of being a registered sex offender. Not being able to get a job. His dream of playing in the NFL destroyed, possibly forever.

Brian Banks, now 26, has gone through all that.

It's All Politics, May 24, 2012

May 25, 2012

This week, Ken Rudin and Ron Elving discuss Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker criticizing the president's tactics on Bain Capital, the Tea Party's goals in next week's Texas Senate primary, and general dysfunction in D.C. In other words, it's the Booker "Tea" Washington edition of the podcast.

The divisive battle to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker moves into its final phase in coming days with debates, a continuing flood of out-of-state ad money, and polls that suggest the incumbent is poised to fend off Democratic challenger Tom Barrett.

Here's a look at where things stand between the Republican Walker and Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, heading into Friday night's televised debate, the first of two before the June 5 rematch. (Walker defeated Barrett in the 2010 governor's race, 52.2 percent to 46.5 percent.)

Ban Ki-moon: There's No Plan B For Syria

May 25, 2012

By any definition, the situation in Syria is atrocious with an estimated 10,000 people killed since the uprising started more than a year ago. The latest international effort to reach a ceasefire is on the ropes.

And, last night, during an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seem to give little hope for a resolution.

Late spring in a New England vegetable garden is usually a time for the last asparagus, the crisp lettuce and arugula, the first pea shoots, and the first sprouting of warm-weather crops like peppers and zucchini. What you don't expect to see planted in your beds are snapping turtles. But that's just what turned up in mine twice this week.

The historic first docking of a commercial spacecraft at the International Space Station orbiting above Earth happened without a hitch today, as SpaceX's Dragon capsule arrived with supplies for the crew orbiting high above Earth.

Just before 10 a.m. ET, astronauts aboard the space station successfully grabbed the capsule with a robotic arm. A little after noon ET, the pulled the Dragon into its docking space.

Here's news that could affect both the economy and the presidential race:

Consumer confidence has improved "in each of the past nine monthly surveys" and is now at "its highest level since October 2007," according to the latest Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. The most recent recession officially began in December 2007, and lasted into early summer 2009.