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A Tunisian politician received death threats in recent days. Chokri Belaid was in a high-profile position. He was among the leaders of a group of politicians urging Tunisia to remain a secular state. That brought him into conflict with religious parties. Despite the death threats, his family says Belaid refused to limit his activities, and as he left home this morning someone shot and killed him.

Guards On World Cafe

Feb 6, 2013

Richie Follin is the leader of the Brooklyn pop-rock band Guards. Listening to the group, it's hard not to mention the singer's older sister, Madeline Follin of Cults, as their shared upbringing and influences are obvious.

Beyond literal lineage, Cults and Guards share an aesthetic of buzzy and revitalized old-school pop. In perfect little-brother form, though, Guards is a bit edgier — a little grungier and more eclectic in a way that people with cool older siblings often are.

Fifteen years ago, Denis Gagnon bought a company that made a product nobody really liked: hand dryers. But he quickly managed to turn Massachusetts-based Excel Dryer into an innovator with the Xlerator — a high-speed dryer that cut drying time from more than 30 seconds to less than 15.

The Justice Department said Tuesday it could seek more than $5 billion in damages from Standard & Poor's, the nation's biggest credit ratings company, a day after it sued the company, alleging that S&P defrauded investors by giving triple-A ratings to risky subprime mortgage investments.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday became the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since the 1970s, the latest sign of the thawing of relations between the rival Muslim nations.

Ahmadinejad received a red-carpet welcome as Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi greeted him on the tarmac at Cairo International Airport with a kiss on each cheek.

Under Egypt's former leader, Hosni Mubarak, a visit like this would never have happened.

Festival In The Desert On World Cafe

Feb 5, 2013

In light of ongoing conflicts in Northern Mali, we checked in with Chris Nolan, an organizer of Festival in the Desert — the music festival that takes place each January in the Sahara region where much of the recent fighting has occurred. On today's installment of World Café, Nolan discusses the festival's history and elaborates on the decision to postpone the event this year.

In addition to leading Phish, one of rock's most beloved jam bands, Trey Anastasio has built a successful solo career in the past 10 years with his Trey Anastasio Band.

The Helio Sequence On World Cafe

Feb 4, 2013

Hailing from Beavertown, Ore., singer-guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer-keyboardist Benjamin Weikel started playing together in 1996. Three years later, the duo self-produced its first EP and officially formed The Helio Sequence.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

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