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Movie Reviews
11:12 am
Mon December 24, 2012

David Edelstein's Top 12 Movies of 2012

In Friends With Kids, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) play two best friends who decide to have a baby together while keeping their relationship platonic — so that the baby doesn't interfere with their own romantic relationships.
JoJo Whilden Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:47 pm

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 — a masterpiece. That designation he reserves for the new extended DVD cut of Kenneth Lonergan's film Margaret.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Christmas Day May Bring Tornadoes In Southeast

Looking ahead to Tuesday and Wednesday: the darker the shading, the greater the risk of severe weather.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 7:11 pm

Snow likely won't be the big weather story for much of the nation on Christmas Day, say the forecasters at the National Weather Service and The Weather Channel. But some potentially severe weather is in the forecast.

Tornadoes are possible along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast. Here's what The Weather Channel says about Tuesday:

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Europe
10:06 am
Mon December 24, 2012

A Showdown In Italy Over A Polluting Steel Plant

The ILVA steel plant in Taranto, Italy, provides some 20,000 badly needed jobs in a country with a weak economy. But it also spews carcinogens. A court has ordered a partial shutdown, which the government has rejected.
Yara Nardi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:40 pm

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.

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Best Music Of 2012
9:50 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The Year In Pop Charts: Return Of The Monoculture

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 7:44 am

To capture the year in pop, let's think back to some of its most memorable songs:

  • A left-field hit sung almost entirely in a foreign language, whose throbbing dance beat masked lyrics that were more political than one might suspect.
  • A rock-pop crossover smash about holding onto youth into your thirties, even when your head is throbbing from self-reflection and encroaching decrepitude.
  • A fluttery, buttery pop classic about a girl fretting over — yet exulting in — not knowing where that boy's head is at or where he thinks he's going.
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The Salt
9:38 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That's Oh So Sweet

The oplatek, embossed with a Christmas scene, is shared among family members before Christmas Eve dinner.
iStockphoto.com

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.

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History
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

'Mad Science' Looks At Groundbreaking Inventors

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:56 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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.

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Politics
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Is Congress Making A 'Fiscal Bluff'?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:56 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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.

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Economy
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The 2012 Economy Brought Glad Tidings To Many

Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:56 am

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 year and 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.

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Best Music Of 2012
9:03 am
Mon December 24, 2012

In Memoriam: Musicians We Lost In 2012

Whitney Houston performs in 1988.
David Corio Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 12:26 pm

NPR Music remembers the singers, instrumentalists, songwriters and personalities who died in 2012. Explore their musical legacies by launching our musical interactive here or by clicking on the image.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Mon December 24, 2012

VIDEO: NRA's LaPierre Says No To Ban On Large Capacity Magazines

The National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre.
Molly Riley UPI /Landov

One of the sharpest exchanges during his more than 20-minute long appearance Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press came when National Rifle Association CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was asked why it wouldn't make sense to ban high capacity magazines for guns such as the one used to kill 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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Asia
8:32 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Jakarta's New Governor Seen As A Rising Star

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo fields reporters' questions after meeting with residents of a Jakarta slum. Recent polls say Widodo is currently the most popular choice for Indonesia's president in 2014.
Yosef Riadi for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
8:26 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Firefighters Responding To Blaze Near Rochester, N.Y., Shot And Killed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:38 pm

Two firefighters responding to the scene of a blaze near Rochester, N.Y., were killed today and another two were wounded when a gunman opened fire.

The apparent ambush in Webster, N.Y., was carried out by convicted murderer William Spengler, police believe. He was found dead at the scene, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Spengler, 62, spent 17 years in prison for the 1980 murder of his grandmother.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Forget About Chimneys: Think Wormholes If You Want To See Santa

Science says Santa's been tricking us with that reindeer stuff.
Martti Kainulainen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:40 pm

  • David Greene and Neil deGrasse Tyson on the "science of Santa'

Sorry, Google. Sorry, NORAD.

Your online "Santa trackers" are cool.

But that jolly old elf has you both fooled.

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The Two-Way
6:17 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Top Stories: 'Fiscal Cliff' Looms; NRA Sparks Controversy; Gun Sales Surge

At the Get Some Guns & Ammo store in Murray, Utah, over the weekend, sales were strong and there were empty spots beginning to appear on the wall display of weapons.
George Frey Landov

Good morning.

Our headlines from over the weekend and early today included:

-- Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed.

-- Syrian Airstrikes Hit Bakery: 'Piles Of Bodies'.

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The Two-Way
5:41 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Romney Didn't Want To Run, Son Says

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Election Night in Boston, as he conceded the race to President Obama.
Joe Raedle Getty Images
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Around the Nation
5:38 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Santa Suits Are Getting Bigger

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:33 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Ill. Chef To Make Gigantic Green Bean Casserole

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.

The Two-Way
5:05 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:42 am

On this Christmas Eve there's this not-so-cheery news from The Associated Press:

"Christmas shoppers thronged malls and pounced on discounts but apparently spent less this year, their spirits dampened by concerns about the economy and the aftermath of shootings and storms."

The wire service says that:

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Dec. 24-30: A Spy, A Marshal, An Eavesdropper And A Guantanamo First

Fiction releases from Elmore Leonard, Ellen Ullman, Thomas Caplan and Alex Gilvarry.

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

Three Books...
5:03 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The American Sublime: 3 Books On Faith In The U.S.

Bob Thomas iStockphoto.com

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.

Business
5:00 am
Mon December 24, 2012

No 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Puts Wall Street In A Slump

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 — a Republican plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" came undone.

Europe
4:37 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Spain Tries To Boost Entrepreneurship

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.

Economy
4:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Could 2013 Be A Good Economic Year?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:53 am

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 — then a recession will probably be unavoidable.

Middle East
4:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Syria Airstrike Update

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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Asia
4:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Indians Demonstrate Against Gang Rape

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:45 am

Police in the Indian capital New Delhi had to break up a second day of protests Sunday. Hundreds of people were demonstrating against the gang rape and beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus.

Business
4:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The Tax Deduction That Costs $180 Billion A Year

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:14 am

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.

Author Interviews
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Oscar-winner Emma Thompson Revives 'Peter Rabit'

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 — 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.)

Around the Nation
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Storied Cajun Record Shop Is Going Out Of Business

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:30 am

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.

Europe
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

In Cornwall, Lisa Simpson Rivals Queen Elizabeth

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:41 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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Around the Nation
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Gun Ownership Is A 'Responsiblity To Be Proud Of'

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:30 am

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.

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