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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Who Is Kim Jong Un? Who Really Knows?

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency distributed this photo of Kim Jong Un on Sept. 23.
hand-out AFP/Getty Images

It's been two years since Kim Jong Un effectively became North Korea's "Great Successor" and heir to the seat of power in the communist nation run by a family dynasty — a dynasty that began with his grandfather, Kim Il Sung (the "Great Leader") and continued with his father, Kim Jong Il (the "Dear Leader").

But in that time about the only new thing we know is that he's two years older and now thought to be in his late 20s. And, that he appears about to become at least the titular head of an impoverished nation that threatens its richer neighbor to the south with nuclear weapons

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Asia
8:03 am
Mon December 19, 2011

North Korea Faces Choices In Post-Kim Jong Il World

What's next now that Kim Jong Il is dead?

Kim, whose official age was 69 but who actually was 70, died Saturday of a heart attack, according to North Korean state media.

He leaves behind a pretty much officially designated heir, his son Kim Jong Un, whose age is about 29. The young man has been given exalted titles including full general but has little experience compared with what his father had under his belt when Kim Jong Il's own father and predecessor, Kim Il Sung, died in 1994.

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It's All Politics
7:04 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Two Weeks Before Caucuses, Many Iowans Still Wavering

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann visits with Pastor Marvin Smith III at the Harvest Baptist Church on Dec. 18 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Eric Gay AP

Only two weeks to go until Iowa Republicans head to their caucuses to begin choosing a presidential nominee and NPR's Pam Fessler reports on Monday's Morning Edition that many are still trying to decide who will win their votes.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

More Than 30 Percent Of Americans Arrested By Age 23, Study Says

The arrest of an Occupy DC protester earlier this month in Washington — one type of arrest that would show up in the researchers' numbers.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

There's been a sharp increase in recent decades in the number of young Americans who report they've been arrested at least once, researchers report in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

While in the mid-1960s about 22 percent of Americans reported having been arrested by the time they turned 23, researchers estimate that the "prevalence rate" for arrests by that age now lies "between 30.2 percent and 41.4 percent."

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Top Stories: Kim Jong Il's Death, Philippines Disaster, Payroll Tax Impasse

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:20 am

Good morning.

The major story of the past 12 hours or so, as we've been reporting, is the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Mon December 19, 2011

For 'The Economist,' Kim Jong Il's Death Means 'Farewell, Earthlings'

The Economist

Known for its sometimes irreverent way of illustrating world events, The Economist magazine has over the years been quite creative when it's cover subject was North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (who died Saturday at the age of 69).

He was "Rocket man" in 2006. The image showed him blasting off into space.

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Around the Nation
5:35 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Santa Claus Chimney Move Backfires On Calif. Teen

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A teenager in Northern California pulled a Santa last week when he shimmied down his parents' chimney. He wasn't carrying gifts but guilt for staying out past his curfew. Predictably, George Herrera got stuck, for 90 minutes until an emergency crew arrived and saw something you usually see in Christmas cartoons - feet dangling from the fireplace. The teen now knows why it takes a jolly old elf to get down a chimney. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:27 am
Mon December 19, 2011

High School Student Suspended For Tebowing

Tyler Carroll organized a kneel-down at his Long Island high school last week, and about 40 students participated. The superintendent called it a safety hazard because the Tebowing blocked the hallways. Carroll serves his suspension on Monday.

Asia
5:20 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Chinese React To Kim Jong Il's Death With Emoticons

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:22 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

We've been following the reaction this morning to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The response of many Chinese is coming through in emoticons, symbols often used in text messages.

The Wall Street Journal reports Kim's death is the most popular topic on China's equivalent of Twitter. And among the more than million posts about him are many decorated with laughing emoticons and victory symbols. But just as many however show broken hearts and candles.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

NPR Story
2:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Libyan Militias Have 1 Day Left To Get Out Of Tripoli

The Libyan government has given armed groups until Tuesday to disarm and depart from the capital. But the deadline is unlikely to be met. It's indicative of the wider problem in Libya where anyone with a uniform and a gun can say they are in charge.

NPR Story
2:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Saudi Prince Buys Stake In Twitter

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a big investment in micro-blogging.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The Saudi Arabian prince Alwaleed bin Talal is investing $300 million in Twitter. The man Time magazine calls the Arabian Warren Buffett says he looks to invest in, quote, "promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact," like Twitter.

NPR Story
2:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Favorite Social Media Tools For 2011

New websites make it easier for people to share not just thoughts, but things like music, photos, favorite recipes and magazine clips. Linda Wertheimer talks to Sree Sreenivasan, digital media professor and dean of student affairs at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, about notable social media tools that cropped up in 2011.

Remembrances
2:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Former Czech President, Playwright Vaclav Havel Dies

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:20 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

If there were a world leader who was the opposite of Kim Jong Il, it might have been former Czech President Vaclav Havel, a man who wanted to believe that truth and love must prevail over hate and lies. Havel died yesterday. He was 75.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Iraq
2:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Former Child Soldier In Sudan Helps U.S. Exit Iraq

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

It's not clear how the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il will affect nuclear talks. Just ahead, we'll explore the concerns about the power transition in the secretive communist state.

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Politics
2:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Fight Over Extending Payroll Tax Cut Flares Up Again

House Republicans are rejecting a bipartisan compromise approved overwhelmingly by the Senate Saturday. The deal would have extended the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits through February.

Analysis
2:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Politics In the News

Millions of Americans, who have benefited from a holiday in paying Social Security payroll taxes, cannot count on that being extended beyond the first of the year. House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that the bipartisan deal worked out by the Senate to keep the tax cut going for another couple of months would not pass muster with House Republicans.

Asia
2:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

North Korea Power Vacuum Ups Security Concerns

The death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has raised security concerns in the Korean peninsula and Asia in general. Linda Wertheimer talks to Stephen Bosworth, former U.S. special representative for North Korea and dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University, about how dangerous the situation is on the Korean peninsula.

Europe
1:29 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Era Of Socialist Leadership Ends In Spain

Spain's outgoing Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (left) talks with Spain's incoming Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy before a meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid on Friday.
Paul White AP

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 10:19 am

On March 11, 2004, al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed nearly 200 Madrid commuters on rush-hour trains. It was Europe's worst act of Islamist terrorism, and it came just three days before an election that Spain's conservatives were expected to win.

The government quickly blamed the attack on Basque separatists, but hours later, it became clear that it was Islamist militants.

"It got people mad about the government," says political scientist Jose Ignacio Wert.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:27 am
Mon December 19, 2011

For Black Girls, Lack Of Exercise Heightens Obesity Risk

Alexandria Johnson got involved with the Anderson Monarchs soccer team when her mother was looking for an affordable way to keep her active.
Todd Vachon WHYY

The evidence of America's obesity epidemic is all around us. But the problem is particularly acute among African-American women.

About half of African-American women in the U.S. are obese, compared to 30 percent of white women. Black women not only carry more weight, but they start piling on extra pounds years before their white counterparts.

So when does it begin, this excess and unhealthful weight? Research suggests the problem starts early, and it may have a lot to do with when girls give up regular exercise.

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Photography
1:26 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Powerful Portraits Capture China's Empress Dowager

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery SC-GR-254

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:20 am

Intrigue! Riches! Sex! Some violence! Not the latest movie plot, but a story that lurks in the background of some 100-year-old photographs of The Empress Dowager — once the most powerful woman in Asia. The mostly black-and-white photos languished for decades in the archives of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Now, they are on display and give a glimpse of Old China at a time when today's China is the picture of modern power.

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Remembrances
8:22 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il Dies At 69

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during a visit to Siberia in August. He died Saturday at age 69, according to state-run North Korean television.
Dmitry Astakhov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:11 am

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il has died of apparent heart failure. He was 69.

In a "special broadcast" Monday from the North Korean capital, state media said Kim died on a train due to a "great mental and physical strain" during a "high-intensity field inspection" Saturday. It said an autopsy done Sunday "fully confirmed" the diagnosis.

Kim Jong Il wanted his successor to be his son, Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be in his late 20s. But there was no immediate word on a new leader in North Korea.

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The Two-Way
4:01 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Former Envoy To Iraq Says Situation Still 'Very Fragile'

Paul Bremer, former Head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, seen here in 2007, says he believes the U.S. pullout of Iraq is premature and that the country is still very fragile.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

The war in Iraq is officially over and the last troops have pulled out of the country after a nearly nine-year long conflict.

Many of the architects and officials that were a part of the war are now looking back and reflecting on whether it was worth it, and if perhaps the ending of the war came too soon.

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The Impact of War
4:01 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Report: High Levels Of 'Burnout' In U.S. Drone Pilots

Around 1,100 Air Force pilots fly remotely piloted aircraft – or drones. These planes soar over Iraq or Afghanistan but the pilots sit at military bases back in the United States.

A new Pentagon study shows that almost 30 percent of drone pilots surveyed suffer from what the military calls "burnout." It's the first time the military has tried to measure the psychological impact of waging a "remote-controlled war."

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Remembrances
2:06 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Albright Remembers Havel As An Artist, Hero

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, left, talks to Czech former President Vaclav Havel, right, at a conference in 2007. Albright remembers her friend as an artist, a jazz lover and as an inspiration to the Czech people.
Petr David Josek AP

Originally published on Sun December 18, 2011 4:32 pm

Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright who led a revolution to bring down the country's communist regime, died Sunday morning at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic. He was 75.

Havel's close friend, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, was born in Czechoslovakia. She says he fit right in the center of the modern history of Eastern Europe.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

As War Ends, Iraqi Exile Looks Back

As troops withdraw from Iraq, it's a bittersweet day for Brandeis University Professor Kanan Makiya. On April 9, 2003, Makiya watched the fall of Baghdad on television from the Oval Office, alongside President George W. Bush. The former Iraqi exile was an outspoken critic of Saddam Hussein's crimes against the Iraqi people and had advised the President on the invasion of Iraq. Makiya tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz he believes the war was worth it for the Iraqi people — but perhaps not for the Americans.

Politics
11:52 am
Sun December 18, 2011

Run Against Gingrich? Cooter From 'Dukes' Did

With just a few weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich is leading the pack for the Republican presidential nomination.

Given the possibility that President Obama could be facing Gingrich in the campaign next fall, it seemed like a good time to check in with someone who has experience running against the former speaker of the House.

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Music Interviews
8:58 am
Sun December 18, 2011

A TV Singing Star Champions The Pop Standard

After taking the top honor on America's Got Talent, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. has released his debut album, That's Life.
Courtesy of the artist

Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. caught a lot of people off guard when he opened his mouth to sing at his televised audition for America's Got Talent. The dreadlocked former car-washer is 6'4" and in his late 30s, but when he belted the first notes of the pop standard "I've Got You Under My Skin" like a certain blue-eyed crooner, audiences and judges alike delightedly voiced their surprise.

Murphy's own social circle was harder to win over. He tells NPR's Guy Raz that at first, his family members laughed at the thought of him singing Sinatra.

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Remembrances
7:10 am
Sun December 18, 2011

Vaclav Havel, Leader Of The Velvet Revolution, Dies

Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright who led a revolution to bring down the country's communist regime, has died. During the communist era, Havel was one of Eastern Europe's foremost dissident writers and champion of human rights.

Havel died Sunday morning at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic, his assistant Sabina Dancecova said. He was 75.

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Science
6:00 am
Sun December 18, 2011

'The Onion' Of Medical Journals Pokes Fun At Studies

For the past 13 years, North America's medical community has had its own version of The Onion. The Canadian Medical Association Journal's "Holiday Reading" segment in its December issue brings satire and spoofing to its medical studies, with some unintended consequences. Host Audie Cornish talks with Barbara Sibbald, editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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