This was a strange and wonderful year for young adult fiction — but also a confused and divisive one. We learned that 55 percent of young adult fiction was read by adults. Debates raged over what constituted a young adult novel versus an adult novel. Apologetic grown-ups sneaked into the teen section of the bookstore, passing subversive teens pattering into the adult paranormal and literature and mystery shelves.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. It's the dawn of a new era at the Big Pit National Coal Mining Museum. The former mine in Wales celebrates the fossil fuel that sparked the Industrial Revolution. Now it's embracing solar energy. Renewable Energy World reports that 200 newly installed solar panels could save the property as much as $650,000 over 25 years on power. Put another way, the museum celebrating coal won't have to dig so deep to pay the electric bill. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, honoring a devoted lawmaker. Some officials are slammed for missing votes, but Vyacheslav Osipov was there for vote after vote - or not precisely there. This member of Russia's parliament voted on 31 different measures, despite being dead. The rules allowed other lawmakers to cast votes for him by proxy. He is now off the voting roles, but set a political milestone. Usually the dead only vote to get people into office. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
For the first time in its history, South Korea has chosen a woman as its leader. Park Geun-hye is promising reconciliation with her domestic opponents and dialogue with North Korea. She captured 52 percent of the vote in an election yesterday. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul.
And today's last word in business is something many equate to being as fun as doing taxes - dental work. A dentist in Sweden is offering $45 gift cards. It's an effort to entice 20-somethings who've stopped coming in for cleanings now that they're living on their own. That gift may go over as well as Hermey the elf's ambitions in the 1964 TV special, "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer."
CARL BANAS: (as Head Elf) What? You don't like to make toys?
This is, of course, the season of giving and the time for last-minute cash donations. They have to be made by December 31st if you want to deduct the amount on your 2012 tax form. The charitable deduction is the next kink of tax break in our series, the 12 Days of Tax Deductions.
That is something nearly everyone agrees on. If the fiscal cliff is not avoided, it could do some serious harm to the U.S. economy. So let's talk further about whether Congress and the White House are close to some kind of agreement. We'll bring in NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, good morning.
Suppose you run a business, you want to open a store but local zoning laws make your preferred location off limits? If you're the Mexican branch of Wal-Mart, according to The New York Times, you just bribe an official to alter the zoning map.
David Barstow is one of the reporters of the latest Times investigation of Wal-Mart and bribery in Mexico.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
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Last week's elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was not the first massacre of recent years. It wasn't even the first massacre of this year, nor was it the first in which children were among the victims.
It wasn't long ago that all consumers went to retail stores to buy things. These days, of course, you can get just about anything online. Some companies are now taking that shopping experience to the next level, allowing customers to design almost anything individually — from a trench coat to a batch of M&M's.
People all over the world have been expressing their sympathies to the residents of Newtown, Connecticut, trying to find ways to reach out to surviving victims and their families. For some that means personal visits. For others sending gifts or raising money. Craig LeMoult of member station WSHU reports.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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Every morning, the staff of this program sits around a table and talks through the news of the day. And yesterday, the talk grew a little heated. One of our colleagues noted that people talk about gun control after last week's shootings at a Connecticut school, but it's not always clear what different people mean by gun control or what could really work.
Salt is one of those dangerously tasty substances. We add the magical crystals of sodium chloride to almost everything that we cook or bake, and according to many public health experts, we add too much.
They want us to cut back, to lower our risk of heart attacks or strokes.
Yet when you really start looking for ways to do this, you run into a paradox and a scientific puzzle.
First, the paradox. Too much salt may kill us, but our bodies need some of it to survive.
Friday is the last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar, sparking talk about the possible end of the world. About two years ago, a rumor began circulating on the Internet that the French village of Bugarach, population 200, would be the only place to survive this apocalypse.
But despite many news stories of people flocking to the village, less than two weeks before "doomsday," there was no one on the streets. Houses were shuttered against the cold.
Tourists are seen in front of the "Gran Jaguar" Mayan temple at the Tikal archaeological site in Guatemala, where ceremonies will be held to celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle known as Baktun 13 and the start of the new Maya Era on December 21.
It is Dec. 20, 2012 — and citizens of Earth are panicking, consumed by the idea that the world will end Friday, something they say was predicted by Mayan astronomers. Of course, most people are not panicking, and Maya expert David Stuart says no one should. The calendar, he says, has plenty of room to go.
As the holiday travel season approaches, the Federal Aviation Administration is under pressure to allow more widespread use of e-readers on commercial flights.
Passengers can now use devices such as Kindles, iPads and Nooks while in flight, but not during takeoffs and landings. The FAA says it is studying the matter, but the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and a U.S. senator say it's time to act.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 4:44 am
When the students of Sandy Hook Elementary return to class after the holiday break, they'll be attending a different school. They'll also have an interim principal who will be a familiar face to some: Donna Page, who retired from Sandy Hook two years ago.
As NPR's Zoe Chace reports, the news was announced by a voicemail sent to the parents of Sandy Hook's students, in which Page (pronounced Pa-jhay), told them, "It is with a heavy heart full of love that I connect with you today. You may not know me, but I know you. I was principal of Sandy Hook School for 14 years."
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:34 pm
Anyone hoping that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre might change dynamics in the nation's capital when it comes to the issue of guns met some level of Washington reality on Wednesday.
President Obama held a news conference to announce his response to the Connecticut killings of 26 grade-schoolers and educators, including his naming of Vice President Joe Biden to head a team that will recommend in a month actions that might help prevent future Sandy Hooks.
When a human tragedy occurs on the scale of the Newtown shootings, clergy are invariably asked an ancient question: If God is all-knowing, all-powerful and benevolent, why does he allow such misfortunes?
There's even a word for reconciling this paradox: theodicy, or attempting to justify God's goodness despite the existence of evil and suffering.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 7:04 am
Want to eat sustainably? Then eat bugs.
That's the word from the Dutch, who are doing their best to make a scientific case for the environmental benefits of insect proteins. Reduce greenhouse gases? Check. Produce more edible protein while using less land than more traditional livestock? Check.
Mourners attended funerals for three children and a first-grade teacher in Newtown, Conn., Wednesday, the third day of services for the victims of a mass shooting that has reignited debate over gun control in the U.S.
Victoria Leigh Soto, 27, is the first Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher to be laid to rest.
Robert Bork, nominated by President Reagan to the Supreme Court, is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing, Sept. 15, 1987.
Credit John Duricka / AP
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden, D-Del., and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., on Sept. 17, 1987, during Robert Bork's confirmation hearings. Both Biden and Kennedy ultimately voted against confirming Bork to the Supreme Court.
Robert Bork, whose failed Supreme Court nomination provoked a lasting partisan divide over judicial nominations, died Wednesday at age 85.
A former federal judge and conservative legal theorist, he subsequently became a hero to modern-day conservatives. And as solicitor general in the Nixon administration, he played a small but crucial role in the Watergate crisis. In what came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre, he fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox after the attorney general and deputy attorney general refused President Nixon's firing order and quit.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 5:35 pm
Advocates of stricter gun control legislation are hoping that history will not repeat itself.
Last Friday's shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., have shaken the country, but it's unclear whether the intense feelings of the moment will translate into legislative action. Many times in the past, outrage over gun violence has dissipated before Congress has chosen to act.
With days ticking down to the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts deadline, President Obama took his case to the American public again on Wednesday — and House Republicans were not happy about it. House Speaker John Boehner responded with a statement that barely lasted a minute as the House prepared to vote on competing plans to avert the tax hikes but which do not address the spending cuts.
South Korea will have its first woman president with the election of Park Geun-hye after a very tight election. With most of the votes counted, Park was elected with a small majority over her liberal opponent. Park's father was the country's military dictator for 18 years.