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Economy
3:26 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

After Overcoming Early Obstacles, Yellen Assumes Fed's Top Job

Janet Yellen smiles as President Obama announces her nomination for Federal Reserve chairwoman on Oct. 9.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Ben Bernanke hands over the reins at the Federal Reserve to Janet Yellen on Friday. The Fed's vice chairwoman will be the first female ever to lead the nation's central bank. It's a position many view as the second most powerful in the country.

The world of central banking is largely a man's world. But Yellen has been undeterred by such barriers since she was in high school in Brooklyn. Charlie Saydah, a former classmate, says she was probably the smartest kid in the class. Yellen was "clearly smart, and she was smart among a lot of smart kids," he says.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Tesoro Refinery Blast Reflects Industry-Wide Problems

Safer practices and better steel could have prevented a deadly explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash., in 2010, according to a new report from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.
Scott Butner via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/90994404@N00/8574143283/

The blast killed seven workers.

The federal investigators also said problems they found with cracked, corroded steel at refineries in Anacortes and elsewhere "strongly suggest an industry-wide problem."

On the first anniversary of the April 2010 blast, the Chemical Safety Board released preliminary findings: Microscopic cracks in the steel of a poorly maintained piece of equipment called a heat exchanger led to the explosion.

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The Salt
2:20 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Southern Fishermen Cash In On Asia's Taste For Jellyfish

Cannonball jellyfish soak up the sun on a South Carolina beach. Fishermen are now pursuing the pest that used to clog their shrimping nets.
Courtesy of Steven Giese

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 2:39 pm

On the Southeast coast of the U.S., jellyfish have earned a lengthy rap sheet for stinging beachgoers and getting tangled in shrimpers' nets. But lately, the tides have turned for shrimping, and some fishermen in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are reaping profits from their local pests, the cannonball jellyfish, or "jellyballs."

"The shrimp season [of 2013] was the worst ever in history here," says Howell Boone, a shrimp trawler in Darien, Ga."The jellyfish industry has been about the best thing that's happened to us."

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Shots - Health News
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

More Republicans Push For Fixing, Not Repealing, Obamacare

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

A rift is growing between Tea Party activists and other Republicans over health care.

Some influential conservatives are now saying the Affordable Care Act is too entrenched to repeal.

Take the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an influential business lobbying group. When the ACA passed in 2010, the chamber got behind the lawsuit to fight it at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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It's All Politics
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

After 3-Day Retreat, GOP Battle Plan Still Only An Outline

Speaker of the House John Boehner (right) speaks during the leadership press conference at the House Republican Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md., on Thursday. Friday's press conference, on the last day of the retreat, was canceled.
JIm Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:19 pm

House Republicans headed back to Washington on Friday from a resort along the frozen waters of the Chesapeake Bay. They were there for a three-day retreat aimed at mapping out a legislative strategy for this midterm election year.

One of the most pressing issues they face is the need next month for Congress to raise the nation's debt limit. GOP lawmakers seem leery of another debt ceiling showdown, and their leaders are pushing to act on immigration this year.

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Politics
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Former Christie Appointee Claims N.J. Gov. Knew About Lane Closures

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

In a letter released by his attorney, the Port Authority official who personally oversaw the George Washington Bridge lane closures is alleging that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the action. David Wildstein asserts that evidence exists that will contradict Christie's claims to ignorance about the motives behind the lane closures.

Energy
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

State Dept. Delivers Unwelcome News For Keystone Opponents

A protest of the Keystone XL pipeline last March along its proposed route near Bradshaw, Nebraska.
NH AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 8:45 pm

The U.S. Department of State says Canada's production of tar sands crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be affected by the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

That assessment came Friday as part of a massive environmental review by the State Department — the analysis fills 11 volumes.

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Middle East
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Assad Regime Slows In Handing Over Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Syrian government is also supposed to be surrendering its lethal chemical arsenal. But the handover of toxic chemicals to an international coalition is way behind schedule. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, that's causing real concern.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Under an agreed plan, hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals were supposed to be moved to a Syrian port by the end of December and loaded onto international ships. That plan is now a month behind schedule and the U.S. is not happy. State Department spokesperson, Jennifer Psaki.

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Middle East
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Syria Peace Talks Take A Break

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

No tangible results, that verdict today from Syria's foreign minister as peace talks wrapped up in Geneva. Despite the lack of progress, opposition delegates say they gained new support by standing face to face with representatives of Bashar al-Assad. The U.N. mediator is asking both sides to return to talks on February 10th. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and begins our coverage.

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Politics
2:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Obama Hosts Business Leaders, Hopes They Change How They Hire

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama summoned business leaders to the White House today. His message: Hire people who've been out of work for a long time. It's just the latest example of the president trying to get things done without having to turn to Congress. So far, more than 300 companies have promised to re-examine their hiring practices to make sure that they are not discriminating against the long-term unemployed.

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