Morning Edition for December 27, 2011 Hear the Morning Edition program for December 27, 2011

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As many as 5,000 private security contractors will be protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The U.S. Embassy compound (above) and several consulates will have about 15,000 workers, making it the largest diplomatic operation abroad. Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Landov

No U.S. Troops, But An Army Of Contractors In Iraq

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St. Paul resident Lois Neisen, left, drives a Ranger truck off the line after workers have checked that the vehicle's hood, doors and gas cap are flush at the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minn., Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 during a media tour. Neisen has worked at the Ford plant for 21 years. Her husband retired from the plant, and her son worked at the plant for a time. Jennifer Simonson/MPR Photo hide caption

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Jennifer Simonson/MPR Photo

Historic Ford Plant Site Likely A Tough Sell

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Syrian security forces shot Rabih al-Zain, a 30-year-old Syrian, while he was trying to help wounded civilians in Homs, Syria. Doctors and ordinary Syrians and Lebanese are helping treat the wounded, putting their own safety at risk. Deborah Amos/NPR hide caption

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Deborah Amos/NPR

Doctors Risk Their Lives To Treat Syrian Protesters

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A woman votes in the Jan. 29, 2008, Florida primary in Miami Shores. Marc Serota/Getty Images hide caption

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Marc Serota/Getty Images

Early Florida Primary Could Sow Confusion, Not Clout

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Anthony Hamilton at the Los Angeles shoot for the video for "Woo" in November. Adrian Sidney/Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

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Adrian Sidney/Courtesy of the artist.

Anthony Hamilton Has Something To Prove

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Chris Carl, foreman of the Shelburne Limestone Corp. quarry in South Wallingford, says Vermont's weather woes helped to more than double the quarry's business. Nina Keck/Vermont Public Radio hide caption

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Nina Keck/Vermont Public Radio

In Vermont, Gravel And Road Business Is Up

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