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Consumer Confidence Highest Since Before Recession, Survey Says

Here's news that could affect both the economy and the presidential race:

Consumer confidence has improved "in each of the past nine monthly surveys" and is now at "its highest level since October 2007," according to the latest Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. The most recent recession officially began in December 2007, and lasted into early summer 2009.

Since consumers purchase about 70 percent of all the goods and services that businesses produce, they are a critical driving force for the economy. And, since many consumers also vote, how they feel could help determine which candidate gets their support.

But Richard Curtin, chief economist for the survey, notes in his analysis that "consumer confidence was nearly as high in the past two years before the gains were reversed. While gas prices and economic policy debates played a role in the pull backs, changes in job expectations also had a critical impact."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Opulent And Apolitical: The Art Of The Met's Islamic Galleries

Navina Haidar, an Islamic art curator at the Met, says she isn't interested in ideology: "The only place where we allow ourselves any passion is in the artistic joy ... of something that's beautiful."
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Tired Of The Seoul-Sucking Rat Race, Koreans Flock To Farming

More than 80 percent of people in South Korea live in cities. But in the past few years, there has been a shift. Tens of thousands of South Koreans are relocating to the countryside each year.
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Fannie Lou Hamer and the Fight for Voting Rights

Kojo explores the life and legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, a poor Mississippi sharecropper who became an outspoken voice in the civil rights movement and the fight for voting rights.

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Computer Guys and Gal

Chrysler recalls cars to boost their cybersecurity. Microsoft debuts its new Windows 10 operating system. And navigation tech could bring us robotic lawn mowers. The Computer Guys and Gal explain.

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