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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
12:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Panel Round Two

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 4:01 pm

Transcript

CARL KASELL, HOST:

From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Nick Hancock, Alonzo Bodden and Paula Poundstone. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

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Middle East
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Syrian Violence Intensifies As Observers Arrive

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Africa
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

For A Libya In Flux: A Theme Song

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has spent much of this year covering the uprising and civil war in Libya. As she and her Libyan colleagues drove through the streets of Tripoli this week, they often found themselves listening to a legendary American country music song. The lyrics about changing fortunes seemed to ring true for Libya, as she tells us in this reporter's notebook.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: If every conflict has a theme song, then Libya's for me is as unlikely as it is fitting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAMBLER")

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Presidential Race
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Romney Reaches Out To N.H. Voters

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Mitt Romney had one of the busiest public stretches of his presidential campaign this week. A big blue bus with his name on the side rolled along hundreds of miles of New Hampshire roads making more than a dozen stops to meet voters just three weeks before the primary. The campaign called it The Earn It Tour. NPR's Ari Shapiro was along for the ride.

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Education
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

To Make Algebra Fun, Rethink The Problem

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Schools across the country are on break this week, meaning that millions of students don't have to think even about algebra - or are they just missing the algebra that's all around them? We're joined now by our Math Guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University, who joins us this week from member station KJAU in Boulder, Colorado. Keith, thanks so much for being with us.

KEITH DEVLIN, BYLINE: Hi, Scott. Nice to be here.

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Animals
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

A Pigeon's Potential: Learning Abstract Numbers

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Pigeons are not known for their algebra skills or intelligence generally. They don't talk like parrots. They don't make tools out of twigs like some crows.

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Politics
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

GOP Walks Away From Payroll Tax Debacle Bruised

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama is in Hawaii with his family today. Yesterday, just before leaving Washington, D.C., he signed a bill to extend the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits for two months. It was a political victory for the president and for Democrats who had made extending the tax break a priority.

For Republicans in the House of Representatives though, it may have marked a political defeat. NPR's congressional correspondent reporter, Tamara Keith, has more.

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World
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Cape Race: 'Still A Place For A Lighthouse'

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Off the northeastern tip of North America on Newfoundland lies a stretch of the coast known as the graveyard of the Atlantic. The rocky shoreline has sunk hundreds of ships. Reporter Emma Jacobs traveled to the red and white lighthouse on the tip of Cape Race that still warns ships away from the coast.

EMMA JACOBS, BYLINE: The day I visited in late fall was the kind of day the Cape Race lighthouse was built for. Twenty-foot swells rolled in towards the point through a thick fog.

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Food
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Medieval Christmas Cookies Still In Fashion

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Families have passed down Christmas cookie recipes for generations, but few traditions date back further than this one from Medieval Europe.

Marie Cusick reports for NPR from Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

MARIE CUSICK, BYLINE: At Heather Botchlet's bakery in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it's not uncommon for an Amish horse and buggy to pass by.

(SOUNDBITE OF A HORSE AND BUGGY)

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Sports
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Sports To Look Forward To: NBA, NFL Pick Up

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Coming up: A couch potato's holiday. It's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: This weekend, the NBA gets going. The NFL gets extra thrilling. And the Boise State Broncos got to clean out their lockers. The boys in blue demolished Arizona State, 56 to 24 in the MAACO-Las Vegas Bowl. Now they got ahead home while lower ranked teams compete in the official bowl championship series games.

NPR's Tom Goldman joins us from Portland. Tom, thanks for being with us.

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Simon Says
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

How Much Is That Purple Heart In The Window?

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:38 am

There's a Purple Heart in the window of the A-Z Outlet pawnshop in Holland, Mich., right between a silver necklace and an inexpensive watch.

Bryan VandenBosch says a young man walked into his shop just before Thanksgiving to pawn a medal that the U.S. government awards to soldiers who have been "wounded or killed in any action" while serving.

He says that he doesn't know why the young man needed or wanted to pawn his medal.

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Music
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

'White Wine In The Sun' On A Hot Christmas Day

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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The Record
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

K-Pop Blows Up: Korean Music Finds Fans Worldwide

Korean pop group Girls' Generation pose on the red carpet to attend the MNET Asian Music Awards ceremony in Singapore in November.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Korean pop music groups turned a corner in 2011, expanding their audience worldwide, despite the language barrier. Two of the most popular bands are 2NE1, whose music projects ideas of self-worth, and Girls' Generation, which has nine members.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Movies
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Comparing Favorite Holiday Flicks With A Pro

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Christmas falls on a weekend this year; a chance for many families to curl up with a good film that's stood the test of holidays past. But what if you've already seen "It's A Wonderful Life" and "Bad Santa?" What's left? Cameron Crowe joins us now from Los Angeles. Mr. Crowe is the esteemed screenwriter and director whose films include "Say Anything," "Almost Famous," "Jerry Maguire," the documentary "Pearl Jam Twenty," and the just-released, "We Bought A Zoo," starring Ben Affleck's best friend. Thanks for being with us, Mr. Crowe.

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The Salt
6:49 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Pride And Prejudice: For Latinos, Tamales Offer Up A Delicious Serving Of Both

Many Americans are familiar with cornhusk-wrapped tamales. But those aren't my favorite.
Chicago Tribune MCT via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 3:10 pm

It's Christmas Eve, and many Latinos will celebrate the holiday tonight by unwrapping a delicious little present: tamales.

At its essence, a tamale consists of masa (a type of starchy corn dough) that's been wrapped in leaves, then steamed or boiled. Some come bundled in corn husks, others in plantain, banana or mashan leaves. Some are sweetened with molasses, others spiced with mole. Some are plain, others filled with meats or vegetables.

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Theater
6:32 am
Sat December 24, 2011

A Homecoming For Rachel Griffiths On Broadway

In the Broadway play Other Desert Cities, Brooke (played by Rachel Griffiths) forces her family to confront the truth behind her brother's suicide.
Joan Marcus Lincoln Center Publicity

Australian actress Rachel Griffiths, best known in the U.S. for her work on HBO's Six Feet Under and ABC's Brothers and Sisters, has made an acclaimed Broadway debut in the new play Other Desert Cities.

Griffiths, who is well-known in Australia for her stage work, tells NPR's Scott Simon she would have been happy if all she had ever done was act onstage.

"Theater was where I began and what I really thought my career would be in Australia," she says. "That was my thing. ... The movies were an unexpected joy, and television even more unexpected."

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Hard Times: A Journey Across America
6:12 am
Sat December 24, 2011

In Camden, S.C., A Family's Generations Talk Race

Sisters Ernestyne James Adams (right) and Althea James Truitt are concerned about the economy and today's political climate.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 12:07 am

Part of a series

With the 2012 presidential election on the horizon, NPR's Debbie Elliott heads to Camden, S.C., to hear from the close-knit Gaither-James family. Like other African-Americans — considered the political base for President Obama — they're concerned about the economy and today's political climate.

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Animals
6:11 am
Sat December 24, 2011

To Flirt In Cities, Birds Adjust Their Pitch

Have you ever been at a bar where it was just too loud to hit on anybody? Birds feel your pain.

A big part of being a bird is singing, often to attract other birds. Sometimes it's hard to do that amid all the noise in a city. For birds, it's like living in a bar, scientist Peter Marra says.

"Those sounds compete with low-frequency sounds," Marra says, and that makes it hard for birds that sing at a lower pitch to hook up.

But there's no stopping love, and Marra has found that those birds are changing their tune.

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Around the Nation
6:11 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Secular Opponents Of Holiday Displays Get Creative

A skeleton dressed in a Santa Claus costume is part of the holiday displays at the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, Va. Many local residents are not pleased with the "Skele-Claus" or other displays by secular activists and atheists.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Joseph, Mary, and ... the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Nativity scenes have long been a part of holiday displays at city halls and small-town courthouses across the country. This year, some proponents of secularism are finding new ways to protest the time-honored tradition. They're putting up their own versions of the creche — and causing quite a commotion in places like Leesburg, Va.

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Energy
5:10 am
Sat December 24, 2011

After Fukushima: A Changing Climate For Nuclear

The crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station is seen through a bus window on Nov. 12. The four reactors that failed were stabilized this month.
David Guttenfelder AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

This year has something unpleasant in common with the years 1979 and 1986. In 1979, a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania melted down. In 1986, the Soviet reactor at Chernobyl blew up and burned.

This year's meltdown occurred in Fukushima in Japan, and nuclear power isn't likely to be the same as a result.

Nuclear power had enjoyed 25 years of relative quiet, but the Fukushima accident reminded people that despite improvements in safety, nuclear plants could still go horribly wrong.

For some, though, nothing has changed much.

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Asia
5:10 am
Sat December 24, 2011

In Japan, Radiation Fears Reshape Lives

Japanese shoppers remain concerned about radiation levels in food following the country's nuclear accident in March. Shoppers are shown here in a Tokyo supermarket.
Lucy Craft NPR

Nine months after Japan's nuclear accident, life in Tokyo seems to have snapped back to normal, with a vengeance. The talk shows are back to their usual mindless trivia about pop stars and baseball contracts. The date of the tsunami and nuclear accident, March 11 — known here as just 3/11 — has faded into the background.

But while the horror has receded, for many of us, particularly women with families, things will never be the same.

There's no getting past the fact that the nuclear accident dumped radioactive particles into the atmosphere, soil and sea.

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Law
6:31 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Justice Department Blocks New S.C. Voting ID Law

The Justice Department has blocked a new South Carolina voting law, saying it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The state law requires voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. The Justice Department says the law disenfranchises minorities, but the state says it protects against voter fraud. For more, Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Pam Fessler.

The Two-Way
5:34 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Work, Life Balance: VW Agrees To Switch Off After-Hours Email

VW workers will no longer get off-hours email on their BlackBerries
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

In an always-connected world, the line between work and life is often blurred. Now, Volkswagen has announced that it is shutting down after-hours email for German employees who are handed Blackberrys.

The BBC has details:

"Under the arrangement servers stop routing emails 30 minutes after the end of employees' shifts, and then start again 30 minutes before they return to work.

"The staff can still use their devices to make calls and the rule does not apply to senior management.

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The Salt
5:02 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Tourtiere: A French-Canadian Twist On Christmas Pie

If you happen to spend Christmas Eve in Canada — especially Québec — you might lucky enough to be invited to a festive dinner after midnight mass. The feast is an old tradition from France called revellion, and it's something to look forward to after a long day of fasting.

"They'll have a huge feast, with sweets and lobster and oysters, everything," says Thomas Naylor, executive chef to the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. "But, in Quebec at least, you'll always have tourtière. It will be the center of the reveillon."

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Britain's Prince Philip Is Hospitalized

(FILES) A file picture taken in June shows Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, attending a reception at Buckingham Palace.
John Stillwell AFP/Getty Images

After experiencing chest pains, Britain's Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has been hospitalized.

The AP reports:

Prince Philip, 90, was taken from Sandringham, the queen's sprawling estate in rural Norfolk, to the cardiac unit at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge for "precautionary tests," a spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said.

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The Two-Way
4:10 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Another Mass Protest Expected In Russia This Weekend

Alexei Navalny, a leader of Russia's political opposition, speaks at a meeting to discuss a Dec. 24 opposition rally protesting election results in Moscow.
Mikhail Metzel AP

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 4:15 pm

Tens of thousands are expected on the streets of Moscow tomorrow. As The Guardian reports, 50,000 have said they will show up on "Moscow's Sakharov Prospect, named after the late leading Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov," and thousands more will march across the country.

As we've reported, the protests stem from disputed parliamentary elections and come months before a crucial presidential election that will test Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's 12-year hold on power.

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Monkey See
4:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

For 'Downton' Fans, A New Season And A New Book

Brendan Coyle is John Bates and Joanne Froggatt is Anna Smith in Downton Abbey, which returns January 8 to PBS.
Nick Briggs PBS/Masterpiece

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 8:08 am

It's almost here. And by "it," we mean the new season of Downton Abbey, the UK-produced drama about the Crawley family and their servants that PBS imported for Masterpiece Classic with great success. Series two has already run in the UK, but if you've been good and patient and resisted the urge to obtain it by illicit means, your wait is nearly over: the new season begins on PBS on January 8th.

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Science
3:50 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Taj Hotel Staff Were Mumbai's Unlikely Heroes

Indian firefighters attempt to put out a fire as smoke billows out of the historic Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, which was stormed by armed gunmen in November 2008.
Indranil Mukherjee AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 10:18 pm

On Nov. 26, 2008, terrorists simultaneously attacked about a dozen locations in Mumbai, India, including one of the most iconic buildings in the city, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

For two nights and three days, the Taj was under siege, held by men with automatic weapons who took some people hostage, killed others and set fire to the famous dome of the hotel.

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Music Interviews
3:30 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Songs To Annoy You This Holiday Season

Twisted Sister in 2008, posing backstage at a live performance of its holiday album, A Twisted Christmas.
Mark Weiss WireImage

This is the time of year that either has you humming about a one-horse open sleigh or bah-humbugging the various versions of "Jingle Bells" you've heard in stores, on hold and in commercials. Wherever you reside on the Christmas cheer spectrum, we have something to annoy even those who wear reindeer sweaters.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:13 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Poked and Prodded For 65 Years, In The Name Of Science

Experiences in youth shape our health in old age. That's the key lesson from the world's longest-running medical study.
iStockPhoto.com

One night in early March, well over a hundred people gathered together in the British Library in central London to celebrate their collective 65th birthday.

I was lucky enough to tag along.

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