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Automaker Fiat announced its commitment to remain in Italy after a meeting Saturday between the company's CEO and the country's president.

Fiat had threatened to shut down its operations in Italy unless it received additional state assistance. The crisis came at a time the entire country is undergoing a steep decline across all industrial sectors.

When you walk into a McDonald's in India, it doesn't feel that much different from one in the U.S. That is, until you try to order.

When McDonald's first came to India 15 years ago, it ditched the Big Macs and Quarter Pounders to try to fit in in a country where cows are sacred and most people frown on eating beef. The chain tried re-creating its American classics with lamb, but it was a flop.

Ihab Abu Nada's family lives down a series of dark narrow alleyways in Gaza City. The house has two bedrooms for the seven people living there — the kitchen and the bathroom are in the same space, and the roof is made of tin and frequently leaks.

Still, most of the Palestinian family's income goes into paying the rent.

Ihab's picture adorns a cracked wall; it's a simple memorial. Earlier this month, after being unable to find work, the 18-year-old set himself on fire and died. The family is still in mourning.

If you had a sudden urge to put a horn on your head, not use your knees and chew on some leaves, you may be catching the spirit of World Rhino Day. It's being celebrated all over the world with art shows, auctions, walk-a-thons and lectures with the theme of "Five Rhino Species Forever."

Residents of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, are engaging in a community-wide flushing of toilets today.

Is it a symbolic washing away of waste? A sign of protest? A commode "flash mob?"

None of the above.

Labor Unrest In S. African Mines Spreads

Sep 22, 2012

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After saving money for years, Lola Sanchez was finally able to buy a car refitted with a ramp and space for a wheelchair in the back for her teenage son, who has cerebral palsy.

A nurse used to come each day to help with her son's care. That service was cut amid government austerity measures, though Sanchez still gets a small check every month.

"What I need is physical help, even more than financial assistance," Sanchez says, "because I can't physically lift him on my own."

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As one of the last three countries in the world where polio is still endemic, Pakistan has launched an aggressive campaign to eradicate the virus.

It's had good results in many places, but just last week health officials say they discovered three new cases, which they deem a serious setback in their eradication efforts.

Getting the polio vaccine to children in urban slums is a huge challenge for health workers, who face many physical and social barriers.

A Look At Islam And Free Speech

Sep 21, 2012

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I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, we'll dig into our digital mailbox to hear from you about stories and interviews that caught your attention or provoked some push-back this week. That's BackTalk, and it's in just a few minutes.

(Check below for updates.)

Tens of thousands of people are protesting in all of Pakistan's major cities today, NPR's Jackie Northam reports from Islamabad, as those who oppose U.S. policy in the region continue to use outrage over an anti-Islam video to whip up anti-American sentiment.

There are also reports of new protests in other Muslim nations, including Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Record Soap Bubble Holds 181 people

Sep 21, 2012

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The Downside Of Tax Havens? Paperwork.

Sep 21, 2012

We were curious how hard it would be to set up an offshore company, so this summer we bought two. We at Planet Money are now the proud owners of "Unbelizable Inc." in Belize and "Delawho? LLC" in Delaware. The whole process was quick and easy.

At least that's how it seemed at first — until we got an email from David Buckley, a tax lawyer at Rogin Nassau, telling us we had just walked into an IRS sinkhole.

Buckley described it as "a minefield of U.S. tax obligations," and he said he was worried about me. (The companies are in my name.)

Something horrible has happened in Berlin.

You won't see it on TV or in the newspaper, but I know about it. So do my neighbors.

That's because there's a lamppost on our street, festooned with a note that reads, "A HORRIBLE ACCIDENT HAS HAPPENED." And naturally, once you see a note like that, you have to find out more.

As it turns out, the note was written by 29-year-old Maira Becke. But before I reveal her calamity, I must first explain the significance of lamp posts here in Berlin.

The protests and violence aimed at U.S. interests in the Middle East have set off a domestic debate about what the U.S. could or should do to relate to new political movements in the region. The Obama administration says it will continue to engage the region. The campaign of Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, says the U.S. needs to do more to lead.

But there are others who say that both parties have it wrong, and that U.S. policies from both Republican and Democratic administrations have failed.

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Two days before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on Americans in Libya, three U.S. officials met pro-government militias working to provide security in the city of Benghazi.

In that meeting, which included the American economic and political counselors, Mohammed el Gharabi, a leader of a prominent militia, says he warned the Americans that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating.

Assassinations are becoming rampant; no one is safe, including militiamen like himself, he says he told the Americans.

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Americans Abroad, Working Under Fire

Sep 20, 2012

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Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. Sam Bacile, made her look like a religious bigot by "having hateful words put in her mouth" when he dubbed a new soundtrack into the anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims that has sparked violence and protests around the Muslim world, one of the actresses in the video charges.

The headlines on the press releases that started showing up yesterday, here at The Salt certainly got our attention. Just one sample: "BREAKING NEWS: New Study Links Genetically Engineered Food to Tumors."

More than 500 people presumed to be university students today broke through police barricades and got into Islamabad's diplomatic enclave as they protested against the anti-Islam video that has sparked sometimes deadly demonstrations in many Muslim nations, NPR's Jackie Northam reports from the Pakistani capital.

Ansar al-Sharia, the ultraconservative armed Islamist group accused of taking part in the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, denies it was involved. But the group's leadership stopped short of condemning the deadly attack. A top U.S. counterterrorism official says they are looking at the group in connection with the assault.

Ansar al-Sharia is one of the most powerful Islamist militias in eastern Libya. The brigade claims hundreds of men who fought, with U.S. and NATO support, to unseat strongman Moammar Gadhafi last year.

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last week has led to dueling versions of what unfolded that night in Benghazi.

To hear the Obama administration tell it, the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was spontaneous — and staged by local extremists who saw an opportunity to hijack peaceful demonstrations against an offensive film.

The Libyans have a different view. They say it was a premeditated strike, launched by foreign fighters with ties to al-Qaida.

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