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Latin America
5:20 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's Traffic Is A Circus, So Send In The Clowns

The Brazilian city of Olinda has a novel approach to taming its ever-growing traffic problem: traffic clowns known as palhacos.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

On a busy avenue in Olinda, in northeastern Brazil, two men in wigs, big red noses and full clown makeup are squeaking horns and making a good-natured ruckus.

"Where's your helmet?" shouts one as a motorcyclist whizzes by. "Fasten your seat belt!" calls out the other.

Uncle Honk and Fom Fom are traffic clowns, or palhacos, hired by the city to make the roads a bit safer. They lean into traffic, making exaggerated gestures, like the sweep of the arm to mimic fastening a seat belt, and a mimed reminder to never drink and drive.

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The Two-Way
5:17 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Blame Miley Cyrus: University Removes Wrecking Ball Sculpture

A college student copies Miley Cyrus.
Twitter

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:35 pm

Eighteen years after it was placed there, a wrecking ball sculpture that has sat on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., has been removed and put into storage.

And you can blame Miley Cyrus.

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It's All Politics
5:13 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Atheists Start PAC To Elect Nonreligious Candidates

Bishop McNeil, who isn't a cleric despite his name, speaks to reporters Wednesday at a news conference to introduce the Freethought Equality Fund PAC.
Frank James NPR

Americans who count themselves among the "nones" — as in atheists, agnostics or those of no definite religious affiliation — have launched a new political action committee.

The goal? To support the election of like-minded lawmakers or, at a minimum, candidates committed to upholding the constitutional separation between church and state.

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Business
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

The Man Who Made Toyota A Modern Success Dies At 100

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

A giant of the auto business died yesterday, a few days after he turned 100. Eiji Toyoda was president and later chairman of Toyota. The family name is T-O-Y-O-D-A. Toyoda played a key role in the company going worldwide, especially Toyota's move into the U.S. market. Micheline Maynard covers the automotive industry. She's a contributing editor for Forbes these days. Welcome to the program.

MICHELINE MAYNARD: Thanks for having me, Robert.

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Economy
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Fed Decides Not To Taper Bond Buying Yet, Surprises Analysts

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The stock market hit new highs today after the Federal Reserve made a surprise announcement. Investors and economists had expected the Fed to start winding down it's $85 billion a month stimulus program at its policymaking meeting today, but it didn't. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, the Fed said it wanted to make sure a recent improvement in the economy and labor market continued before pulling back its stimulus.

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Middle East
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Turkey's Detente With Kurdish Militants On Verge Of Collapse

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The conflict in Syria is causing problems for its neighbors beyond the violence that's spilling over their borders. In Turkey, which has strongly backed Syrian rebels, one of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most important political efforts is in danger of collapsing.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports on dimming hopes for a peace process between Turkey and its Kurdish minority.

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Latin America
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

A Cable Car Ride Gives Insight Into Rio's 'Pacified' Favelas

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:46 pm

Brazil's favelas, or slums, are notoriously violent places, and in recent years, the Brazilian government has attempted to establish order through police-run "pacification" programs. A cable car ride above several favelas gives a clearer view of what's happened in the communities in recent years.

Latin America
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's New Middle Class: A Better Life, Not An Easy One

Roberto de Carvalho (left), who maintains a truck fleet in Recife, Brazil, is shown here with his daughter Sandra, 22, wife Enilda and daughter Susana, 16. The family makes just enough to belong the rapidly expanding ranks of the country's middle class, though they still can't afford a house or even a car.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Tens of millions of Brazilians have risen out of poverty over the past decade in one of the world's great economic success stories. The reasons are many: strong overall economic growth, fueled by exports. A rise in the minimum wage. A more educated workforce. And big government spending programs, including direct payments to extremely poor families.

But becoming middle class in Brazil means a better life, not an easy one. The new, lowest rung of the middle class is what in the U.S. would be called the working poor, with monthly incomes of between $500 and $2,000.

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Theater
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Daniel Craig Heads Back To Broadway With 'Betrayal'

Daniel Craig, at right, is probably best known as the current incarnation of James Bond. He's in rehearsal now for a Broadway production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, alongside Rafe Spall and Rachel Weisz — who plays his wife, and is that in real life, too.
Brigitte Lacombe

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

A revival of Harold Pinter's play Betrayal is in rehearsal now in New York. It's the story of an affair, and it unfolds backward in time, from the lovers sharing a post-romantic drink to the passion they first experienced seven years earlier. Along the way, much deception — betrayal, even — is revealed.

Daniel Craig, who stars as the jilted Robert, tells NPR's Robert Siegel that the show, first performed in 1978, still feels "surprisingly contemporary. ... When you have someone as good as Pinter, it remains timeless. And the themes are timeless. It's just good writing."

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Sports
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Why Will So Few Fans Go See The Cleveland Indians Play?

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:31 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, what's novel about this year's Major League Baseball playoffs, and what's the matter with Cleveland? Each league has two wild-card teams these days, in addition to three division winners. The wild cards will have a single-game playoff.

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