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Food
2:26 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

The Bittersweet Tale Of An Odd Christmas Cookie Sandwich

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We've asked you to tell us what you eat on Christmas Day, regardless of whether you celebrate the holiday. And one thing we've learned from your emails, many of you do share common food traditions: puddings, cookies, eggnog. And some of you have your own little bit of quirk, like Sarah Schwab's(ph) family in Milwaukee. They have a special drink.

SARAH SCHWAB: It's called a Holiday Harvey.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Africa
2:23 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Islamist Militant Groups On The Rise In Africa

Robert Siegel talks to Ofeibea Quist-Arcton and Tom Bowman about the U.S. fight against terrorism in Africa, where the number of Islamist militant groups is on the rise — some with close ties to al-Qaida.

Around the Nation
2:22 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Instead Of Celebration, Christmas A Time For Solace In Newtown

In Newtown, Conn., Christmas is very different this year, a little more than a week after the shooting at an elementary school. Eight families that attend St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church lost children to the tragedy. Parishioners came to Christmas masses there seeking solace, and priests gave a message of hope and comfort.

Religion
2:21 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Pope Calls For Peace And Hope In Middle East

Robert Siegel shares Christmas messages from the Pope and Queen Elizabeth.

Middle East
2:20 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

'Prophet School' Trains A New Generation In Israel

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:34 am

Hear the word "prophet" and the names Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jesus or Mohammed may come to mind. While these are figures from the distant past, Rabbi Shmuel Fortman Hapartzi is training a new generation of prophets for a new age.

Fortman runs the Cain and Abel School for Prophets in Tel Aviv. It's named for the sons of Adam and Eve who, in the Bible, were the first human beings born of woman to speak directly to God and therefore, Fortman says, the first prophets.

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Food
2:20 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

For Many, Christmas Morning Means Beloved Breakfasts

caption
sweetbeatandgreenbean

Because Christmas Day means good cheer and good food for many, All Things Considered asked you to describe what you eat on the holiday — whether you celebrate Christmas or not. You told us about tamales, pickled squid, homemade soup and (of course) Chinese food.

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Movies
2:20 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Fact Checking 'Argo': A Great Escape That Takes Some Leaps

Jack O'Donnell (Brian Cranston) and Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) are tasked with saving six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis.
Claire Folger AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:06 pm

Several of the films contending for top prizes this year have one thing in common: They all say they're inspired by true events.

Among them are Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Hitchcock and Ben Affleck's Argo, which chronicles a covert operation that involved creating a fake Hollywood film to rescue six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis. (The Americans posed as the picture's production crew to escape the country.)

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Animals
2:20 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Study: Red Noses Help Reindeers Cope With Polar Air

Rudolph is of course known as the red-nosed reindeer, and scientists say they may know why that's the case.

Physiologist Dan Milstein with the University of Amsterdam and a group of colleagues examined the noses of several living reindeer.

"There was a much richer amount of blood vessels present inside Rudolph's or reindeer's nose in comparison to humans," Milstein says.

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The Salt
1:58 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Computers May Someday Beat Chefs At Creating Flavors We Crave

Does bell pepper and black tea sound appetizing? A computer may think so.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:06 am

Mario Batali, watch your back.

Computer scientists at IBM have already built a computer that can beat human contestants on the TV quiz show, "Jeopardy." Now it appears they're sharpening their intellectual knives to make a computer that might someday challenge the competitors on "Iron Chef."

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Arts & Life
8:19 am
Tue December 25, 2012

No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 2:20 pm

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely — if indirectly — celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. We're speaking about E.T.A. Hoffmann, original author of The Nutcracker.

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Books
8:18 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood'

A shopper browses in a branch of the Icelandic book chain Penninn-Eymundsson.
Courtesy of Bryndís Loftsdottir

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 12:46 am

In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."

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The Salt
7:33 am
Tue December 25, 2012

'Canadian Peanut Butter' Connects Mainers To Their Acadian Roots

Robert Bisson of Bisson and Sons Meat Market in Topsham, Maine, with his granddaughter. The butcher shop sells traditional cretons during the holidays.
Lauren McCandlish NPR

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 12:08 pm

Last Christmas, we told you about tourtières, the savory meat pies Canadians serve around the holidays. Now, we bring you cretons, a Québécois delicacy found throughout Canada and parts of New England this time of year.

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Favorite Sessions
6:03 am
Tue December 25, 2012

The New Standards: A Supergroup Celebrates 'Snow Days'

The New Standards recently performed "Snow Days" for The Current in Minneapolis.
Steven Cohen The Current

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:50 am

A jazz trio and Minnesota music supergroup, The New Standards features singer and pianist Chan Poling of The Suburbs, singer and bassist John Munson of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare, and vibraphonist Steve Roehm of Electropolis and Billy Goat. With a repertoire composed largely of holiday classics and unexpected covers of contemporary pop and rock favorites, the band has long been a must-see live, but it's also hit the studio a handful of times, releasing albums in 2005 and 2008.

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Around the Nation
5:27 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Is Santa's Sleigh Powered By Caribou?

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:19 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Santa Amazes Deaf Boy's Mother

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
4:16 am
Tue December 25, 2012

'Morning Edition' Salutes Those Working On Christmas

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We hope that you're spending this holiday around the people who matter most in your lives. But not everyone has the day off. And we wanted to hear from people who are working today. So, we called out on NPR's Facebook page and we heard back from hundreds of people - from soldiers to snow plow drivers. We called a few of them up and put together this audio portrait of people working today. We're calling it Christmas on the Clock.

LAURA PARKS: Really busy.

BUTCH TRAYLOR: And very hectic.

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Business
4:12 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Is Wall Street's Love Affair With Apple Over?

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

Let's begin our show this Christmas Day with a look back at a business development this year that took many investors by surprise. Just over three months ago, Apple's stock hit a record high - for a few days in September a single share was selling for more than $700. But since then, Apple's stock has tanked. In December, it traded briefly below $500 a share.

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Asia
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Christmas In India

Carolers from St. Columba's School in New Delhi stage their annual Christmas program, where the student body is Catholic, Sikh and Hindu.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 3:43 pm

India, the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, marks the birth of Jesus with a national holiday.

Indians call Christmas bara din, or the Big Day.

Chef Bhakshish Dean, a Punjabi Christian, traces the roots of Christianity in India through food.

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Around the Nation
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

N.Y. Firefighters Ambushed At Blaze

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

In upstate New York yesterday, a gunman ambushed firefighters as they were responding to a house fire in the suburban town of Webster. Sixty-two-year-old William Spengler killed two firefighters and injured two others before he took his own life. Police believe that Spengler set the fire to lure the firefighters to the scene. NPR's Joel Rose has been covering the story and he joins us now.

Joel, good morning.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Good morning.

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Business
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

The Finale Of '12 Days Of Tax Deductions'

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now each day we've been looking at those gifts - big and small - that the government gives us in the form of tax benefits and we have finally hit the final day in our series that we've called the Twelve Days of Tax Deductions.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS")

GREENE: And so on this 12th day of tax deductions, we thought we would just dig into a grab bag of a lot of deductions you may or may not even know about.

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Business
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Online Sales Increase 16 Percent This Holiday Season

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, so the final numbers are not in yet, but it looks like the Christmas shopping season was just OK. There were some bright spots, particularly in online sales.

NPR's Ina Jaffe reports.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: The frenzy of Black Friday calmed down considerably over the course of the Christmas shopping season. Major chains began offering big discounts as the holiday approached and that'll cut into profits.

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Business
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with possible port shutdowns.

A federal mediator says port operators and workers will start talking to each other again. The clock is ticking because a contract extension expires Saturday for longshoremen from Maine to Texas. Talks broke down last week. Retailers are pushing hard for mediation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Business
4:08 am
Tue December 25, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business: Dueling Santa Trackers.

We've heard for a while how NORAD tracks Santa's progress on Christmas Eve. Turns out Google is following Santa's path as well. But when NORAD, powered by Microsoft, placed him over Japan, Google cited him over Australia. When Google had him in Iceland, NORAD said no, it was Argentina. Both say he's made all of his drop-offs though, which means he's not using Apple Maps.

That's the business news from MORNING EDITION on NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Africa
2:41 am
Tue December 25, 2012

U.S. Military Builds Up Its Presence In Africa

Gen. Carter Ham is head of the U.S. African command. An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., will begin helping train African militaries beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:22 am

An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., some 4,000, soldiers, will begin helping to train African militaries. The idea is to help African troops beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.

The American troops will head over in small teams over the course of the next year. The Dagger Brigade returned to Kansas last year from a deployment to Iraq, where it trained and advised that country's security forces.

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Middle East
2:14 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Dig Finds Evidence Of Pre-Jesus Bethlehem

The Israel Antiquities Authority says archeologists have found the oldest artifact that bears the inscription of Bethlehem, a 2,700-year-old clay seal with the name of Jesus' traditional birthplace.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:13 am

Thousands of Christian pilgrims streamed into Bethlehem Monday night to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's the major event of the year in that West Bank town. But Israeli archaeologists now say there is strong evidence that Christ was born in a different Bethlehem, a small village in the Galilee.

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U.S.
2:04 am
Tue December 25, 2012

In Pursuit of Recognition: An Undocumented Immigrant's Resilient Fight

Sofia Campos, 23, is the head of the United We Dream campaign — a national network of youth-led immigrant organizations. Campos was born in Peru, but grew up in California, entirely unaware of her undocumented status until she tried applying for college scholarships.
Courtesy of Sofia Campos

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Unlike many undocumented immigrants, Sofia Campos is not afraid to give her real name.

"It's deliberate, and it's liberating," she says. "It's kind of a shock to hear somebody say, 'I am undocumented' or wear the 'I am undocumented' T-shirt, just in your face."

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Economy
2:03 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Back To The Economy Of The '90s? Not So Fast

A lone employee oversees Hewlett-Packard workstations being assembled at a plant on Jan. 1, 1993. Huge improvements in computer technology propelled the economy during that decade.
Ovak Arslanian Time

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Throughout the debate over taxes and the "fiscal cliff," there's been a lot of looking backward — to the 1990s. The economic expansion of the 1990s was the longest in recorded American history.

Democrats say the economy thrived under the leadership of President Bill Clinton, including his tax rate increase on high earners. Republicans say government didn't spend as much then and that growth didn't really take off until the GOP took control of Congress in 1995.

So what actually happened in the '90s? What made them tick?

A Unique Boom

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Tarantino's Genius 'Unchained'

Django confronts Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the man who owns his wife.
Andrew Cooper The Weinstein Co.

There's a wordless sequence in Quentin Tarantino's anti-bigotry neo-Spaghetti Western exploitation comedy Django Unchained in which Jamie Foxx, as recently freed slave Django, hitches up his horse and, along with the man who bought him his freedom — Christoph Waltz's Dr. King Schultz — sets off on an elegiac amble through a snowy western landscape. It's one of the most gorgeous sequences of any film this year, a reverie borrowed, with love, from rare snowscape Westerns like McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Sergio Corbucci's 1968 The Great Silence.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

In Paris, Misery And Music Blended For The Big Screen

Jean Valjean and young Cosette (Isabelle Allen), two of the most iconic characters in contemporary musical theater, come to the big screen.
Laurie Sparham Universal Pictures

Half an hour into Tom Hooper's adaptation of the long-running stage musical Les Miserables, he fixes his camera on Anne Hathaway's tortured, tear-streaked face, and she delivers what ought to become one of the great moments in musical cinema history — right up there with Dorothy singing wistfully of a land far away, Gene Kelly swinging happily around damp lamp poles, and a problem like Maria singing to the grassy Austrian hillsides. She's that good.

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Middle East
3:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

As Syrian War Grinds On, A Rebel Keeps Reinventing Himself

In March 2011, at the beginning of the Syrian uprising, protester Ibrahim Abazid made a massive white flag out of a sugar sack. This picture of him waving the flag in his hometown of Dera'a became a hugely popular image. Now Abazid hopes to serve on a city council in Dera'a.
Courtesy of Ibrahim Abazid

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:51 pm

Ibrahim Abazid had no idea he would be part of a nationwide revolt in Syria — or that his role would keep evolving.

It was March 2011. Some teenagers in his hometown, Dera'a, got arrested for spray painting anti-government slogans outside a school. Rumors began circulating that the teenagers were being tortured while in detention in the southern town.

In the broader region, Arab protesters had been filling the streets for months. Dictators in Tunisia and Egypt had already fallen. Abazid and his friends went to pray.

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