Morning Edition for February 7, 2012 Hear the Morning Edition program for February 7, 2012

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Born in 1812, English writer Charles Dickens was born 200 years ago on Feb. 7. Rischgitz/Getty Images hide caption

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Rischgitz/Getty Images

Dickens At 200: A Birthday You Can't 'Bah Humbug'

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A vulture picks at a dead steer. Ranchers say many cattle have died because of the drought that has ravaged much of Mexico. Jason Beaubien/NPR hide caption

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Jason Beaubien/NPR

Drought Ravages Farms Across Wide Swath Of Mexico

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Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles (center) waves to supporters on Oct. 12, 2011. Capriles is the front-runner in the opposition primary election to pick a candidate to run against President Hugo Chavez. The primary is scheduled for Feb. 12. Ariana Cubillos/AP hide caption

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Ariana Cubillos/AP

United Opposition A Challenge To Venezuela's Chavez

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Iranian-born Menashe Amir (shown here in 2006) hosts a call-in show on Israel Radio's Farsi service, one of the few forums for direct discourse between Iranians and Israelis. Gali Tibbon/Getty Images hide caption

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Gali Tibbon/Getty Images

Jews With Ties To Iran And Israel Feel Conflicted

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During his pending trip to the United States, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping hopes to reunite with Iowans he met back in 1985, during an agricultural mission to America. Here, Xi attends a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden last August. AFP/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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AFP/AFP/Getty Images

China's Heir Apparent Rekindles Early Ties To Iowa

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A tax proposal on the table in Massachusetts could discourage sugar consumption a bit by making sugary foods more expensive. Umberto Salvagnin/Flickr hide caption

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Umberto Salvagnin/Flickr

Could Taxes Or Food Stamp Restrictions Tame America's Sweet Tooth?

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With the Russian presidential election set for next month, the heavily favored candidate, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, visited the election center last week as it prepared for the polls. Yana Lapikova/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Yana Lapikova/AFP/Getty Images

The Mood Shifts For Russia's Putin In His Hometown

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A student prepares to speak in opposition to proposed tuition increases at a University of California Board of Regents meeting in July 2011. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

UC Students Propose Alternative To Tuition Increases

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Kanye West's "All Of The Lights" is one of the five nominees for Song of the Year at the 2012 Grammy Awards. Chris Hyde/Getty Images hide caption

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Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Get To Know The Song Of The Year Nominees: Kanye West, 'All Of The Lights'

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