Morning Edition for Friday, November 1, 2013

Food Stamp Benefits Set To Shrink

Some 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will see their benefits shrink by an average of 5 percent this week, when additional financing for the food aid program included in the 2009 stimulus expires on Friday.
Many health plans under the Affordable Care Act don't cover abortion. But people won't have an easy time figuring out which ones do and which ones don't. Even insurance brokers don't necessarily have that information. It's surfaced as yet another issue dogging the health exchanges rollout.

FAA Eases Up On Electronic Devices On Flights

The FAA is allowing air travelers to use their computers, smartphones and tablets during just about the entire duration of commercial flights. Actual phone calls will still not be allowed.
As more school districts roll out tablet computers to students, they're debating how much to restrict access to certain websites and games. Some districts shut down wide parts of the Internet, but others are trying to take a more nuanced approach.

'Ender's Game' Movie Shows Hero's Lasting Appeal

Orson Scott Card's science fiction novel Ender's Game has been a touchstone for teenage readers for nearly 30 years. Critic Kenneth Turan says a new film version shows why Ender, the story's hero, is so appealing to young people.

Halloween Brings The End Of 'Thriller' Season

Lots of businesses are winding down now that Halloween is over. One of the more unusual ones: Michael Jackson tribute artists and choreographers who do "Thriller" performances.

The Tail's The Tell: Dog Wags Can Mean Friend Or Foe

Is that a left wag or a right wag? Scientists have previously shown that dogs tend to wag their tails to their right side when they see something friendly, like their owners. But a new study shows that other dogs can actually pick up on these emotional cues.

Are Farm Veterinarians Pushing Too Many Antibiotics?

When it comes to antibiotics on the farm, it's not always a win-win. And when there's a fight, veterinarians are right in the middle of it, pushed back and forth by conflicting loyalties.

Fannie Mae Sues Big Banks

Government-backed mortgage lender Fannie Mae sued nine of the world's largest banks Thursday, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. The lawsuit contends that by manipulating the interest rate banks use to lend money to each other, the banks caused Fannie Mae to lose about $800 million.

Hot Sauce Factory Will Stay Open, For Now

A judge has turned down a California city's attempt to shut down a factory that produces the popular hot sauce Sriracha. Residents complained about pepper and garlic fumes wafting through the air. But a Los Angeles Superior Court judge blocked the city of Irwindale's opening bid to shut down the plant.
Renee Montagne speaks with Gary Locke, U.S. ambassador to China, about U.S.-China relations and his efforts to bridge differences between the world's largest economies.
Woody Tinslow combined his enthusiasms for diving and zombies to create America's first-ever Zombie Apocalypse Diver course. You can get scuba-certified while being chased by zombie divers. The Connecticut course has been so popular it has spawned imitations in Hawaii, Kentucky, Arizona and Guam.

Obama To Meet With Iraqi Leader On Military Aid

President Obama meets at the White House on Friday with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki is planning to ask for more military aid to deal with the growing insurgency in Iraq.

Sorting Through Diverging Reports On Drone Strikes

Steve Inskeep talks with Shuja Nawaz of the Atlantic Council about recent news out of Pakistan about drones.

How Much Is NPR's Brand Worth? $400 Million!*

The value of a brand doesn't include anything physical. It's just the name of the company — and all of the customer loyalty attached to that name.

An Unconventional, But 'Perfect,' Path To Parenthood

Rami Aizic knew he wanted kids. But as a gay man, he was not going to meet the girl of his dreams. Robin Share wanted a child but hadn't met Mr. Right. Then the two found each other, and 14 years later, they have no regrets.

Can Starbucks Do For Tea What It Has Done For Coffee?

Starbucks recently bought the Teavana chain and has opened its first tea bar in New York City. Some say the beverage giant's move into tea could hurt small tea shops. But others say they'll be in a good position to compete the way independent coffee shops compete with Starbucks.

Obama's Nominations Blocked Again In Senate

Senate Republicans have once again blocked President Obama's nominees. Despite a deal in July to let several of the president's picks go through, the rancor has returned with a fresh batch of appointments. Two nominations failed within less than an hour on Thursday, and Democrats may once again threaten to change Senate rules so Republicans can't easily derail another nomination.

What It Takes (And Means) To Learn English As An Adult

The wait to gain entry to adult English language classes can be long. Once you're in, balancing class with family and job obligations can be a challenge. But many immigrants are determined. Ana Perez says she tries to never miss a class: "A day of studying is sacred for me."

Barneys Lawsuit Puts Spotlight On Race And Branding

Steve Inskeep talks to freelance writer Johnnie Roberts and NPR's Gene Demby about the branding of high-end products — and the implications when companies specifically court, or exclude, consumers based on race.
Some hard-liners in Iran are planning a "Grand Day of Death to America" on Monday — the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979. Revolutionary Guards commanders promise the slogan will "echo across the nation."
A Hallmark Christmas ornament has drawn criticism from people who accuse the greeting card company of political correctness and anti-gay bias. The ornament — a tiny sweater — is decorated with the words "Don we now our FUN apparel!" "Fun" replaces the word "gay" from the line in the Christmas song "Deck the Halls." Hallmark says it was trying to avoid misinterpretation and should never have made the change.
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