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Around the Nation
6:42 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Calif. Air Quality Affected By Lack Of Rain

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:12 am

California's drought is having a big impact on air quality. Winter storms usually clean out pollution, but without any rain the air is staying stagnant and could present a health risk.

Parallels
6:40 am
Wed January 22, 2014

What's At Stake In The Syrian Peace Conference

A man runs with a child after an attack Tuesday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Activists said President Bashar Assad's military carried out an airstrike.
Ammar Abdullah Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 9:34 am

With a major push from the U.S., a new Syrian peace conference opened Wednesday in Switzerland, the first such effort since the middle of 2012. It wasn't easy getting everyone there, and it will be harder still to achieve a breakthrough.

Here are a few key things to know about the conference:

1. What's the goal?

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Middle East
5:30 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Peace Conference On Syria Opens In Switzerland

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's go next to Switzerland, where the Syrian peace conference began this morning, with diplomats making public statements filled with accusations and acrimony - just how you'd want to start a peace conference. The civil war has gone on for almost three years now, killing well over 130,000 people and displacing some nine million others. Much of the fight hinges on whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should remain in power. Let's go now to NPR's Deborah Amos, who's covering the talks. Deborah's on the line. Hi, Deborah.

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Business
5:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Quicken Loans Offers $1 Billion In NCAA Bracket Promotion

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:12 am

The finance company is offering a $1 billion prize to whoever correctly picks each game in the men's NCAA tournament. The odds of correctly picking every game are more than 9 quintillion to 1.

Business
5:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Banks Challenged By Economy Despite Positive Earnings

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Over the past week or so, most of the country's banks have reported their profits for the last quarter of 2013. The numbers, mostly, have better than most analysts expected. After a rough few years, most big financial institutions are faring pretty well. But there's some debate about how sustainable the numbers really are.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Business
5:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Global Economic Recovery To Keep Strengthening

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:12 am

The International Monetary Fund has updated its outlook for the world economy. The IMF boosted its forecast for global growth slightly. It also hiked its estimate for U.S. growth.

Business
5:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Sears To Close Flagship Store In Downtown Chicago

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a Chicago farewell.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Sears announced its closing its flagship store in downtown Chicago as part of an ongoing effort to cut expenses. It was once the largest retailer in Chicago. In fact, it was the namesake for the Sears Tower, the country's second tallest building.

One executive said that ever since it moved from the Sears Tower - which is now the Willis Tower - the downtown Chicago Sears has lost millions of dollars.

Around the Nation
5:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Punishing Winter Temperatures Drain Propane Supplies

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And this latest winter storm and those freezing temperatures are putting a strain on already low supplies of propane in the Northeast and Midwest. Millions of Americans use the liquefied gas to heat their homes. And as NPR's Tovia Smith reports, they're paying more and getting less this winter season, which started early, thanks to the extreme cold of the polar vortex.

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Europe
5:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Anti-Government Protests In Ukraine Turn Deadly

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:12 am

New laws to curb protests are in effect in Ukraine but anti-government demonstrators remain on the streets of the capital Kiev. For more on the protests that have turned deadly, Renee Montagne talks to David Stern, a reporter for the BBC.

Code Switch
5:23 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Poll Findings: On Cuban-Americans And The Elusive 'American Dream'

Cuban immigrants are handed forms to fill out by an immigration and naturalization official in Miami on Dec. 3, 1984, so they can become permanent residents of the United States.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 9:11 am

Among Latinos, no group may have achieved the American dream as fully as Cuban-Americans.

Since arriving here, as a community, they've prospered. Surveys show they graduate from college at greater rates and have higher levels of homeownership than most other Latino groups.

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