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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Top Stories: Wintry Blast, 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

Snow-covered roads in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images
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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Jobless Claims Fell By 12,000 Last Week

The line at a job fair earlier this month in Manhattan.
John Moore Getty Images

There were 350,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, down 12,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports. That's the lowest level since early March 2008.

The agency adds that "the 4-week moving average," which tends to smooth out some of the volatility that comes with the weekly figures, "was 356,750, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week's revised average of 368,000."

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The Two-Way
6:21 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Putin Signals He Will Sign Law Banning U.S. Adoptions Of Russian Children

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alexi Nikolsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 12:55 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: Michele Kelemen reports.

Saying that he does not see "any reasons why I should not sign it," Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated today that he will approve legislation to bar Americans from adopting Russian children.

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The Two-Way
5:54 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Elder President Bush In Intensive Care

Former President George H.W. Bush in June.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images for HBO

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 11:07 am

Though he is reportedly alert and enjoying a "running banter" with his nurses, former President George H.W. Bush is in the intensive care unit at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

The Houston Chronicle writes that "Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, said the 88-year-old's fever rose on Wednesday, but doctors at Methodist Hospital report he is doing better than the day before. He was admitted to the ICU on Sunday."

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The Two-Way
5:21 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Wintry Weather Blasting Northeast On Its Way Out

Nathan Lee, 5, was using a "wovel" to move snow from his family's driveway earlier today in State College Pa.
Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 11:05 am

Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. More Deaths Reported:

The death toll from this week's massive winter storm that barreled across the nation from the West Coast and is now over New England has risen to at least 15, according to The Associated Press.

Among the latest fatalities to be reported: "A man and a woman in Evansville, Ind., were killed when the scooter they were riding went out of control on a snowy street Wednesday and they were hit by a pickup truck."

Our original post, from 7 a.m. ET:

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Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Courage And Curiosity: The Best Heroines Of 2012

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 10:45 am

The most dangerous trait a woman can possess is curiosity. That's what myths and religion would have us believe, anyway. Inquisitive Pandora unleashed sorrow upon the world. Eve got us kicked out of paradise. Blight on civilization it may be, but female curiosity is a gift to narrative and the quality my five favorite heroines of the year possess in spades.

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Around the Nation
4:56 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Restored Wedding Album Given To Sandy Victims

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Around the Nation
4:41 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Times Square Hosts Good Riddance Day

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:47 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Business
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, if you have BlackBerry at the bottom of the drawer, it turns out it's also at the bottom of the 2012 list of smartphone makers.

Our last word in business is: Bad Call.

The company that makes BlackBerry, Research in Motion, had only 5 percent of the global smartphone market in 2012. That was down from 11 percent the year before. That's according to the market research firm iSuppli. Also in the 5 percent club: Nokia and HTC.

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

Economy
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

5 Days Left To Avoid 'Fiscal Cliff" Extremes

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 3:06 am

President Obama returns to Washington Thursday as do members of the U.S. Senate. They're cutting holiday plans short in hopes of coming up with a deal to avoid the tax hikes and budget cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1.

Business
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

What Does Your Desk Drawer Reveal About You?

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 3:07 am

What do you keep in your desk drawer at work? Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway recently investigated what was in her colleagues' desk drawers, and wrote a column about her findings. She talks to Renee Montagne about some of the items people have, and why they hold on to them.

Business
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Toyota To Settle 'Sudden Acceleration' Lawsuits

Owners of Toyota vehicles that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration have reached a settlement requiring the carmaker to pay as much as $1.4 billion in claims. A judge will review the proposal Friday.

Business
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Real Estate Market Is Expected To Improve In 2013

For the first time in five years, the U.S. housing sector contributed to economic growth in 2012. The foreclosure crisis is evolving and working its way through the system, although there are still lingering concerns.

Latin America
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Modern Day Maya Struggle To Live Amid Poverty

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 7:11 am

The Mayan people of Mexico and Central America received quite a bit of attention this month thanks to a misinterpretation of their calendar. Word spread all over the globe that the ancient culture had predicted the world would end on Dec. 21.

The news attracted tens of thousands of tourists, who flocked to Mayan sites to await the prophecy. Since the world didn't end, the tourists went home. And now the modern-day Mayas go on with their lives marked by high rates of poverty and dependent on migration.

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Sports
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Looking Back On The Year In Sports

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 2:53 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Time now to talk sports. This year we had a lot to celebrate in the sports world. Think summer Olympics in London. Also a lot to deplore. There were steroids in the world of bicycling and another NHL lockout. So much to cover, we reached out to NPR's sports gurus Tom Goldman and Mike Pesca. They've covered many of the top stories this year and they join me to talk about some of their favorite moments.

Hey, guys.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, David.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hi, David.

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Around the Nation
2:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Holiday Travelers Stranded By Severe Weather

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 3:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A series of rare December tornados flattening homes in the South added to the winter woes of millions of Americans from Texas to Maine. Faced with heavy snow, rains and high winds throughout, hundreds of flights have been canceled, leaving many holiday travelers stranded. NPR's Claudio Sanchez has this report.

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Digital Life
1:29 am
Thu December 27, 2012

In Rapid-Fire 2012, Memes' Half-Life Fell To A Quarter

A screengrab from the "Kony 2012" online video about the Central African warlord Joseph Kony, which skyrocketed in popularity after its release in March. It was criticized, then forgotten, just as quickly.
via YouTube

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 2:34 am

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Technology
1:28 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Music-Streaming Services Hunt For Paying Customers

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 6:58 am

2012 has been a strange year for content creators — authors, producers, musicians. It was a year when the very idea of physical ownership of a book or CD or even a song file became almost passe.

It was also the year in which music-streaming services like Spotify and Pandora launched major efforts to convince people to pay for something they didn't own. But it's been slow going.

Music-streaming services have been trying to win over two types of customers: a younger generation that doesn't buy at all and an older generation that still likes owning physical albums.

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Music Interviews
1:28 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Rye Rye Just Wants To Be 'Young And Playful'

Rye Rye.
Meeno Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 6:58 am

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Around the Nation
1:27 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Connecticut Left To Reconcile Tragedy With Its Proud Gun History

The Coltsville factory's blue dome has long been a landmark in Hartford, Conn. The Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company began building factories in the area in 1855.
Bob Child AP

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 10:05 am

Connecticut has suddenly become the epicenter of the nation's gun control debate in a way no one there could have foreseen. The Newtown school shootings have brought calls for restrictions on firearms, in the state that once led the world in creating modern weaponry.

If you drive past Hartford on the interstate, you'll see the blue onion dome high atop the factory that once was the Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. The gunmaker has long since left its Hartford factory, but it still makes guns nearby.

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U.S.
1:26 am
Thu December 27, 2012

For Veterans, The Wait For Disability Claims Grows Longer

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs began the year with a promise to cut wait times disability benefits claims. Instead, the backlog of pending claims has worsened.
Karen Bleier Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:46 pm

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Joe's Big Idea
1:26 am
Thu December 27, 2012

The Quest For The Perfect Toothbrush

A drawing from Michael Davidson's 2012 patent for "Toothbrush And Method Of Using The Same."
Patent 8,108,962 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 2:34 am

There are some consumer products where every year brings new innovations. Computers get faster, cellphones get lighter, cars get new bells and whistles.

It's easy to imagine why inventors are drawn to redesigning these products — the technology for making them is changing all the time.

But what about consumer products that have been around for a long time? For the toothbrush, the answer is a resounding yes.

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Author Interviews
1:25 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Shake It Up! Vintage Cocktails Are Ripe For Revival

American bartender Harry Craddock mixes a drink at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1926. Craddock is known for helping to popularize the Corpse Reviver, one of the drinks featured in historian Lesley Blume's book about vintage cocktail culture.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 2:34 am

It's the holiday season and for some people that means celebrating with friends, family and cocktails. But instead of settling for the standard martini or Manhattan, author and historian Lesley Blume suggests you reach for a taste of bygone cocktail culture.

In Let's Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition, Blume outlines more than 100 lesser-known oldies that are both delicious and delightful. She joins NPR's David Greene to discuss cocktail history and how to make vintage recipes part of a modern-day party.

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Author Interviews
3:35 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

'Law & Order' Meets Tom Clancy In Dick Wolf's First Novel

Dick Wolf is an Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and creator of the TV series Law & Order.
MMXII James Chen Photographer, Santa Barbara William Morrow

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

If Dick Wolf's record in television is any indication, his debut novel, The Intercept, could be the first of dozens.

These days, Wolf says, episodes of the Law & Order franchise he created run or rerun an average of 109 times a week. He jokes with NPR's Robert Siegel that one secret to the series' longevity is how many of the shows originally aired at 10 p.m.

"The reason it repeats so well, in my opinion," he says, "is because half the audience has fallen asleep and can't remember: How does this end?"

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Law
3:32 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Toyota Reaches $1 Billion Deal On Accelerator Lawsuits

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

A plaintiffs' attorney says Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement exceeding $1 billion in a class-action lawsuit involving complaints of unintended acceleration in its vehicles. Robert Siegel talks with NPR's Sonari Glinton about the deal, which still needs a judge's approval.

Economy
3:32 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

The Fed Boosts The Economy, But What About The Risks?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a news conference in Washington on Dec. 12. Some economists worry the Fed has set the stage for inflation as well as stock and housing bubbles by keeping interest rates low.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

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

The Federal Reserve continued to keep its foot on the accelerator in 2012, using unusual tactics to try to boost economic growth. But there's disagreement among economists about whether the Fed's policies were effective or whether the risks to the economy outweighed the rewards.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Toyota Moves To Settle 'Sudden Acceleration' Lawsuits For More Than $1 Billion

Toyota has agreed to spend more than $1 billion to resolve lawsuits stemming from "unintended acceleration" cases. In November, the company displayed new cars at the Los Angeles Auto show.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 5:27 am

Owners of Toyota vehicles that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration have reached a settlement that could require the carmaker to pay as much as $1.4 billion in claims, according to the auto maker and the law firm representing Toyota customers.

U.S. District Court Judge James Selna, at whose direction the many lawsuits over the "runaway car" fears were consolidated in 2010, will review the proposed settlement Friday.

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NPR Story
3:18 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Legalized Pot Creates Quandary For Adults In Wash.

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Washington State, parents and drug counselors are in a quandary. Now that recreational marijuana is legal, they're wondering how to talk to kids about pot.

NPR's Martin Kaste has that story from Seattle.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Ten, nine, eight, seven...

CROWD: Nine, eight, seven...

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Under the Space Needle, marijuana enthusiasts counted down to the moment of legalization.

CROWD: Two, one...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

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Shots - Health News
3:02 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

How A Drug Shortage Hiked Relapse Risks For Lymphoma Patients

The number of new drug shortages each year in the U.S., from 2001 through Dec. 21, 2012.
University of Utah

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

Katie Alonzo was stunned when doctors told her they couldn't get a drug her 10-year-old daughter, Abby, was taking to fight lymphoma.

"When a doctor says, 'This is what you need to take.' And then all of a sudden somebody tells you, 'Well, that is what you need to take but this isn't available so we're going to try this instead,' it's very scary," say Alonzo, who lives in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

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U.S.
2:34 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Debating The Impact Of An Immigration Crackdown

John Steinbach shows a day laborer in the parking lot of Ricos Tacos Moya a photo he took of him for an ID.
Lauren Rock NPR

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

In 2007, when Virginia's Prince William County ordered police to check the immigration status of anyone they had "probable cause" to suspect was in the U.S. unlawfully, the impact was swift at family restaurant Ricos Tacos Moya.

"Suddenly nobody showed up," says Stacey Moya, an employee, and daughter of the owner. "Nobody was around. Not one soul. We would go hours without any customers, any clients. Nothing."

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