8:41am

Wed February 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Guilty Plea From Jesse Jackson Jr. Over 'Lavish' Spending

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 3:51 pm

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., as he entered court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images
  • NPR's David Schaper reporting

We most recently updated the top of this post at 2:50 p.m. ET.

Saying that "I've never been more clear in my life" about what he was doing, a tearful Jesse Jackson Jr. on Wednesday pleaded guilty to using about $750,000 in campaign funds collected for his congressional races to buy himself presents that included a Rolex watch worth more than $43,000.

The former congressman, a Democrat from Chicago, appeared in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. When he's sentenced in June, he could get a prison term of nearly five years.

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7:57am

Wed February 20, 2013

7:53am

Wed February 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Single-Family Housing Starts Edged Up In January

Going up: A construction worker at a housing development in San Mateo, Calif., in June 2012.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Work was begun on 0.8 percent more single-family homes in January than had been started the month before, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development say.

And the number of single-family starts was up 20 percent from January 2012.

A 26.1 percent drop in starts, from December to January, on construction of apartment buildings and other multi-family homes dampened the news somewhat.

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7:41am

Wed February 20, 2013
Business

Law Change Makes It Harder To Unlock Cellphones

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 8:41 am

Maybe you don't like your mobile phone carrier, but you like your phone and you want to keep it but change providers. An obscure change in federal law makes it illegal to switch without permission from your carrier.

If you have, for example, AT&T, in order to switch to T-Mobile you have to unlock the phone, and AT&T can now stop you from doing that.

The change in the copyright law has some people upset, and they're petitioning the White House for a fix.

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7:13am

Wed February 20, 2013
The Two-Way

'It Felt Like An Earthquake': One Still Missing After Kansas City Explosion

Fire fighters and utility workers at the scene of a massive gas explosion and fire Tuesday night in Kansas City, Mo.
Orlin Wagner AP

"It sounded like thunder, but it felt like an earthquake," Tracey Truitt, a lawyer who was working in a nearby building, tells the Kansas City Star about an explosion Tuesday evening that leveled a restaurant in the city's Country Club Plaza.

At least 16 people were injured and as of early this morning one person remained missing, the Star says.

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6:50am

Wed February 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Pistorius's Story Challenged: Witness Heard Screams And Shots, Police Say

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:41 pm

South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius in a Pretoria court Wednesday.
EPA /LANDOV

A neighbor has told investigators that he heard "gunshots ... a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots" coming from the South African home of Oscar Pistorius in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, a police officer testified Wednesday at a bail hearing for the Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

The witness has also told investigators about "non-stop talking" and sounds "like fighting" coming from Pistorius's home between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

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5:58am

Wed February 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Book News: Hilary Mantel Gets A Sales Boost After Kate Middleton Controversy

Hilary Mantel accepts the Costa Book Of The Year award in January.
Stuart Wilson Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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2:08am

Wed February 20, 2013
Working Late: Older Americans On The Job

When A Bad Economy Means Working 'Forever'

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 7:34 pm

The recession put a dent in Sims-Wood's savings, and she expects she'll have to stay in the workforce "forever."
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Increasingly, people are continuing to work past 65. Almost a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are working, and among those older than 75, about 7 percent are still on the job. In Working Late, a series for Morning Edition, NPR profiles older adults who are still in the workforce.

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2:06am

Wed February 20, 2013
Shots - Health News

Money Replaces Willpower In Programs Promoting Weight Loss

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 5:23 pm

Peggy Renzi (middle) talks with her teammates Erika Hersey (left) and Erica Webster. The three are part of a team of nurses in the Bowie Health Center emergency room in Bowie, Md., who are working together to lose weight.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Sticking to a diet is a challenge for many people, but starting next year, Americans may have an even bigger, financial incentive to keep their weight in check. The new health care law includes a provision that would allow employers with more than 50 employees to require overweight workers who do not exercise to pay more to cover their insurance costs.

Some employers, inspired in part by the success of shows like The Biggest Loser, are already designing weight-loss programs that use money to succeed where willpower has failed.

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2:04am

Wed February 20, 2013
All Tech Considered

In New York, Taxi Apps Raise Objections From Competitors

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 8:56 am

New York City rules will soon permit yellow cab drivers to accept rides through smartphone apps.
Richard Drew AP

Even people who've never been to New York can tell you how to hail one of the iconic yellow cabs there. You just raise an arm and flag one down.

But the city wants to change that. Following the lead of cities like San Francisco and Washington, D.C., New York wants to permit passengers to use smartphone apps to find a cab.

Since Mayor La Guardia established New York's modern taxi system in 1937, there have been two big innovations in cab hailing: the whistle and the red light bulb on top of apartment building awnings.

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