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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:23 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Meet Manjiro, Japan's Unlikely Teen Ambassador

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 7:50 am

This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club hits the high seas for an adventurous novel called Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The book begins in 1841, and is based on the sprawling true-life tale of Manjiro, whose destiny was almost determined before birth as a son in a long line of fishermen. But a storm blew his life on a new course, and he became one of the first Japanese to set foot in America.

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Law
3:13 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

When The Jury Becomes The Story

Former Sen. John Edwards leaves the federal courthouse in Greensboro, N.C., on Tuesday.
Chuck Liddy MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 9:58 pm

They were called the "giggle gang" — four alternate jurors in the John Edwards trial who wore the same-colored shirt to court on several days.

During nine days of deliberations, much attention was given to the merry band of alternates in the high-profile campaign finance case.

On Thursday, attention swung back to the jury itself, which found Edwards not guilty on one count. The judge declared a mistrial on the other five charges.

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Europe
3:00 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Battered Spanish Economy Nears Tipping Point

A student in Pamplona, holding a sign in the Basque language, protests cuts Thursday in education and other public services by the government. Spain's financial position is weakening and there are fears the country will need a bailout.
Alvaro Barrientos AP

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 9:58 pm

Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.

After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.

A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.

But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.

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It's All Politics
2:50 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Bloomberg Becomes Nanny-State Epitome For Some, Giving Obama A Breather

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large sugary drinks was so hard to swallow it caused some to call him a fascist, a word more often hurled at President Obama.
EMMANUEL DUNAND AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 3:29 pm

If nothing else, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has apparently done President Obama a favor.

His Honor's proposed ban on the sale of supersized sugary fountain drinks in his city made the mayor, at least for some, the epitome of Big Government excess, a place many critics, particularly conservatives, typically reserve for the Obama.

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

For Many Teens, Summer Jobs May Be Thing Of The Past

Tom Auffhammer, 17 (right) scoops ice cream in Syracuse, N.Y. Teens continue to face stiff competition for summer jobs, but a downward trend in summer hiring for teens actually predates the recession.
Michelle Gabel The Post-Standard/Landov

The school year's winding down, meaning teenagers around the country will soon be trying to pull in some extra cash scooping ice cream or manning those kiosks at the mall.

But with the job market still weak, teens are facing stiff competition landing summer jobs. And while the downturn has hit young job seekers particularly hard, it's not just the lingering effects of the Great Recession working against them: the drop-off in teen summer hiring actually began long before 2007.

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