It's time for end-of-year lists. Fresh Air movie critic David Edelstein stubbornly refuses to either place his top picks in numerical order or make his list an even number of 10. Instead, he places his 12 favorite films from 2012 in alphabetical order, from Amour to Zero Dark Thirty.
Of the 12 films he picked for 2012, not one, Edelstein says, would he call the "M"-word â€” a masterpiece. That designation he reserves for the new extended DVD cut of Kenneth Lonergan's film Margaret.
In an effort to safeguard some 20,000 jobs at a time of rising unemployment, the Italian government has taken an unprecedented step. It has reversed a court order that called for the partial shutdown of Europe's biggest steel plant because it spews cancer-producing dioxins.
The ILVA steel factory in the southern port city of Taranto pits the government versus the judiciary in a battle over health issues and the need for economic revival.
Nothing says "I love you," at least in my Polish-American family, quite like the sharing of a thin, flat, tasteless wafer called an oplatek at Christmas.
We're not alone. Before sitting down to Christmas Eve dinner, many families with roots in Poland and other Eastern European countries will take part in this tradition, which has roots dating back hundreds of years.
Switching gears now. When you think of inventors, you probably think of Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Nikola Tesla. But of course there are many people, especially people of color, who've created things that we used every day and yet we might not have heard of them. It was an African-American, for instance, who helped develop the modern traffic light and a Japanese man who thought up instant coffee.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee in for Michel Martin. Coming up, the U. S. economy has had an interesting year. I don't need to tell you that we're still facing huge hurdles. But on the other hand, the stock market shot up this year and some sectors are thriving. We'll talk about signs of hope in just a few minutes.
After years of recession and slow recovery, maybe you didn't notice. But it turns out, 2012 was a fairly good year for the U.S. economy.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has risen nearly 14 percent this yearand the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest point in four years. Inflation and interest rates have stayed low, allowing families to cut their debt loads.
Residents give a boisterous welcome to Jakarta's newly elected governor, Joko Widodo, when he shows up for a town meeting with the residents of a Jakarta slum where residents' shacks overlook the muddy, garbage-strewn waters of the Ciliwung River.
The governor's administration plans to fix chronic flooding here by dredging the river and moving residents into subsidized apartments.
Mark Shoopman is into green beans. The Illinois chef is cooking 270 pounds of beans and 75 pounds of onions. His goal, according to WMBD in Peoria, is the largest green bean casserole in Central Illinois.
In light of the often tortured interweave of faith and politics in American life, we sometimes forget that our country was first settled by those seeking freedom not from religion but to practice their own versions of it: French Protestants and English Puritans. In many ways, religion is our founding fact. These books explore the vital undercurrent of faith in the expression of American life.
Wall Street didn't get much of a gift at the end of last week. The Dow lost 120 points, or nine-tenths of a percent, on Friday. The slump is partly tied to events in Washington last week â€” a Republican plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" came undone.
In Spain, entrepreneurship is largely a high-class hobby. Family money and connections have long been the best indicators of small business' success. A recent World Bank report ranked Spain lower than Bangladesh and Afghanistan on the ease of starting a business. Now Spain's ruling conservatives want to change that.
Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of IHS Global Insight, talks to Steve Inskeep about his economic forecasts for 2013. Among his predictions: the U.S. recovery will gradually pick up steam. Unless it falls off a cliff â€” then a recession will probably be unavoidable.
International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met with Syrian leaders today hoping to solve that country's bloody conflict, but the bloodshed goes on. There are reports of explosions in Damascus today, government forces are battling rebel fighters, and civilians continue to perish in large numbers. The relentless violence, including an airstrike yesterday on a bakery, is draining hope for any diplomatic solution. NPR's Peter Kenyon filed this report from Istanbul.
Morning Edition's series, the Twelve Days of Tax Deductions, zeroes in on some of the tax breaks lawmakers are grappling with as they hammer out a budget deal, to raise revenue, cut spending and avoid the end-of-year "fiscal cliff." On Day 11, we look at the deduction for employer sponsored health insurance.
Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:34 am
After more than 80 years, Emma Thompson's The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit brings Beatrix Potter's beloved character back for a romp around the Scottish countryside â€” and lots of rule breaking. Thompson says Peter Rabbit's "disrespect for authority" is one of the things she loves about him. (This piece initially aired on October 11, 2012 on Morning Edition.)
Record shops have been closing across the country in recent years, victims of the digital music revolution. But the closing of Floyd's Record Shop in Ville Platte, La., is different. For 56 years, Floyd's hasn't just sold records, it has helped revitalize Cajun music. Floyd's is closing its doors for good on Christmas Eve.
Now, while our politicians are consumed with the deficit deadline, many leaders around the world are taking a step back, putting quill to paper and carefully composing their Christmas messages. In Britain, particular attention will be paid to Queen Elizabeth's message, because this year she's celebrating 60 years on the throne.
NPR's Philip Reeves sent this letter, musing about what it meant to be British as 2012 comes to a close.
Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the debate over gun control has been reignited. Many have said that if there is going to be any action on gun control, law-abiding, responsible gun owners will need to be a part of the conversation. Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep talks to Steven Rinella, a writer and avid hunter, about how he views the current debate.