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Robert Seigel & Melissa Block

Live news from National Public Radio.

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Can U.S. Embassies Be Safe Without Being Unsightly?

The U.S. Embassy in central London in 2009.
Shaun Curry AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 6:05 pm

There's been a tug of war between aesthetically pleasing and safe when it comes to American embassies around the world.

Many embassies have been slammed as bunkers, bland cubes and lifeless compounds. Even the new Secretary of State John Kerry said just a few years ago, "We are building some of the ugliest embassies I've ever seen."

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The Salt
3:27 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Family Dinner: Treasured Tradition Or Bygone Ideal?

From left: 8-year-old Celedonia, 3-year-old Gavin, Amy Spencer and Doug Brown gather around the kitchen as Doug prepares a fruit salad for dinner.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 2:06 pm

When we asked you (via our Facebook page) to tell us about the weekday challenges your families face, given the competing demands of work, commutes, schoolwork and activities, you didn't hold back. Especially on the subject of squeezing in a family dinner.

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Middle East
3:08 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Sanctions Bite, But Iran Shows No Signs Of Budging

An Iranian woman shops at a supermarket in the capital, Tehran, on Feb. 22. International sanctions have hurt Iran's economy, but prospects for a breakthrough on Iran's nuclear program are dim as negotiators meet in Kazakhstan.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 11:31 am

A new round of international talks on Iran's nuclear program is under way in Kazakhstan, where the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are asking Iran to give up any thought of building a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from sanctions.

Western leaders do not predict a breakthrough, but they say small steps could be taken that would increase confidence on both sides.

Still, it's hard to imagine how such negotiations could proceed with lower expectations for progress.

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Shots - Health News
6:10 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Governors' D.C. Summit Dominated By Medicaid And The Sequester

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks during a panel discussion at the National Governors Association 2013 Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:31 pm

When the nation's governors gathered in Washington, D.C., over the weekend for their annual winter meeting, the gathering's official theme was about efforts to hire people with disabilities.

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Economy
4:53 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Too Soon To Blame Payroll Tax For Stagnant Retail Sales?

Wal-Mart is one of several large retailers that say an increase in the payroll tax may hurt U.S. sales in the months ahead.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:23 pm

For Darden Restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster, its earnings projections out last week were not pretty. Sales will fall, it said, and company CEO Clarence Otis called higher payroll taxes a "headwind."

After a two-year tax break, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security payments, went back up to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. The 2-percentage-point increase is an extra $80 a month in taxes for someone earning $50,000 a year.

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