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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
1:25 am
Mon February 25, 2013

What Will Happen To All The Letters People Sent to Newtown?

A drawing from a child sent to Newtown. Illustrator Ross MacDonald, who wants to archive and preserve art like this sent to the town after the elementary school shootings, calls it "both profoundly moving and just a beautiful piece of folk art."
Courtesy of Ross MacDonald

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:11 am

Two months after the massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut, letters, cards and gifts continue to arrive in Newtown each day, but the town is not sure what to do with it all.

The outpouring of grief started arriving just days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School — poetry, stories, banners and posters. Soon the halls of Newtown's Municipal Center and buildings all over town were packed with messages from children and parents, from a soldier in Afghanistan and an inmate at a California prison.

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The Salt
1:23 am
Mon February 25, 2013

The Microwave Miracle Of Cooking In Mugs

Washington Post Food and Travel Editor Joe Yonan whips up some macaroni and cheese in an NPR mug.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 2:50 pm

Lunchtime is around the corner, and your tummy is rumbling. If you've got a microwave, a mug and a few basic ingredients, you can cook up a meal right in the office.

Morning Edition's David Greene recently started microwaving scrambled eggs in a mug for those early mornings on hosting duties. It led him to wonder about the other possibilities of this culinary art.

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Monkey See
12:33 am
Mon February 25, 2013

The Oscars Broadcast, Zooming Way Past Cheeky To Land Squarely On Crass

Adele performs the theme song to "Skyfall."
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:36 pm

If you like Argo (which won Best Picture), the movie Chicago (which made a couple of appearances) and jokes about women (which just kept coming), you probably had a substantially better night than the average viewer, who was subjected to Seth MacFarlane's delivery of one of the worst hosting performances in Oscar history.

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Religion
3:41 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

Catholic Church At Crossroads: Demographics, Social Issues Pose Challenges

Pope Benedict XVI has been the leader of the Catholic Church for eight years and is the first pope to retire since 1415.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 12:42 pm

When Pope Benedict XVI said he was stepping down, he broke a tradition that had been in place since 1415. The pope, who gave his final blessing Sunday, leaves the Catholic Church in the midst of changing social views and demographic shifts among its followers.

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Sports
3:40 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

Jimmie Johnson Wins Second Daytona 500; Danica Patrick Makes Historic Leads

Jimmie Johnson celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Chris Graythen Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 10:59 pm

A big first for Danica Patrick, but an even bigger second for Jimmie Johnson.

Patrick made history out front at the Daytona 500, only to see five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson reclaim his spot at the top in the end.

Johnson won his second Daytona 500 with a late push on Sunday, grabbing the spotlight from Patrick as she faded on the final lap. Patrick became the first woman in history to lead laps in "The Great American Race" and was running third on the last lap, but slipped to eighth in the late push for position.

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Music Interviews
3:23 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

Turning A Glacier Into A Tuba: Ice Music From Norway

Ice musician Terje Isungset plays the ice blocks at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Scott Suchman

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 7:52 pm

  • Terje Isungset (ice) with Mari Kvien Brunvoll (vocals)
  • "A Glimpse of Light" by Terje Isungset

For Terje Isungset, the cold weather in Washington, D.C., this week is no problem. The Norwegian musician was in town to perform as part of the Kennedy Center's "Nordic Cool" series, and he needed low temperatures to keep his instruments in good shape.

He has chimes, drums, a marimba and a "tube-ice" (like a tuba). They're all carved out of shimmering ice, harvested from the frozen lakes of Ottawa, Canada, and shipped to the Kennedy Center for an hour of melting music.

It's worth the effort, Isungset says, to get the perfect sound.

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NPR Story
2:59 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

Jimmie Johnson wins Daytona 500

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 3:41 pm

Jimmie Johnson has won the Daytona 500, one day after crash during a race there injured fans. Danica Patrick, who was hoping to make history, finished eighth. Jacki Lyden gets the latest from NPR's Mike Pesca.

Author Interviews
1:48 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

Historical Fiction Gets Personal in 'Philida'

Random House

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 3:44 pm

André Brink is one of the most well-known anti-apartheid writers in South Africa. His latest novel Philida, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is set in 1832 in the South African Cape, just two years before emancipation.

The title character lodges a complaint against her master, Francois Brink, who is also the father of her four children. He'd promised her freedom, but then backs out and marries a wealthy white woman.

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Music Interviews
1:19 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

In 'Fulton Blues,' Corey Harris Resurrects Memories Of Southern Neighborhood

Corey Harris' new album is titled Fulton Blues.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 7:53 pm

A new album by bluesman Corey Harris pays tribute to one Southern neighborhood with a particularly haunted past.

Fulton Blues is named for a district in Richmond, Va., that was once home to a large number of the city's middle class African-American families. But by the 1960s, Fulton had fallen on hard times. Its scenic views of the James River and easy access to downtown made it a target for "urban renewal," as it was euphemistically called in the Virginia Statehouse. The residents of Fulton were evicted and the neighborhood was razed.

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Europe
11:25 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Irish Women Emerge From Shadows Of 'National Shame'

Candles burn outside grounds of Leinster House, placed by relatives of victims of the Catholic-run work houses known as the Magdalene Laundries in Dublin, Ireland, on Feb. 19.
Peter Morrison AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 10:45 am

In post-independence Ireland, thousands of women found themselves incarcerated in church-run laundries. For the first time, the state has apologized for their treatment.

These women were a diverse group: former prostitutes, unwed mothers, orphans, homeless women, convicts and industrial school transfers put in the care of the Catholic Church.

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Auction Halted Of Banksy Mural Removed In London

A man inspects a plastic cover placed over an artwork attributed to Banksy in London. The stencilled image depicts a poor child making Union Jack flags on a sewing machine and is located on the wall of a Poundland discount shop in the Wood Green area of north London.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 12:18 pm

Last week we told you about the uproar surrounding the auction of a piece of art by mysterious graffiti artist Banksy that disappeared from its home on a wall in north London.

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It's All Politics
9:40 am
Sun February 24, 2013

As Deep Cuts Loom, Continued Appeals For A Deal, Finger-Pointing

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 8:01 am

With less than a week before the across-the-board-spending cuts go into effect, Republicans and Democrats are sounding off about the sequestration.

"There's easy ways [sic] to cut this money that the American people will never feel," Rep. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said on Fox News Sunday. "What you hear is an outrage because nobody wants to cut spending ... and it will be somewhat painful, but not cutting spending is going to be disastrous for our country."

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Karzai Asks U.S. Forces To Leave Key Afghan Province

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 11:08 am

We're getting word that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered U.S. special forces to leave Wardak Province within two weeks amid allegation of torture and disappearances centering on Afghans who are part of the U.S. forces.

Update at 1:07 p.m. ET. Order Came After Report

NPR's Sean Carberry is reporting on the move for our Newscast unit. Here's what he says:

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The Two-Way
7:46 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Paul C.P. McIlhenny, CEO Of Company That Makes Tabasco Sauce, Dies

Paul C.P. McIlhenny reigns as Rex as he arrives at Canal Street during Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans on Feb. 28, 2006, six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. McIlhenny, the CEO and chairman of the company that makes Tabasco sauce, died Saturday in New Orleans. He was 68.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 9:44 am

The CEO and chairman of the company that makes Tabasco sauce has died in New Orleans. Paul C.P. McIlhenny was 68.

McIlhenny died Saturday, according to a Sunday statement from the Avery Island, La.-based McIlhenny Co.

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Delivers Final Sunday Blessing At Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing Sunday during his last Angelus noon prayer, from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Domenico Stinellis AP

Pope Benedict XVI has given his final blessing before he steps down from the papacy on Thursday.

Here's more from The Associated Press:

"Benedict told the crowd that God is calling him to dedicate himself 'even more to prayer and meditation,' which he will do in a secluded monastery being renovated for him on the grounds behind Vatican City's ancient walls.

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Middle East
3:46 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Israel Restores Wetlands; Birds Make It Their Winter Home

Cranes fly at sunset above the Hula Valley of northern Israel in January. Millions of birds pass through the area as they migrate south every winter from Europe and Asia to Africa. Some now stay in the Hula Valley for the entire winter.
Menahem Kahana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:45 am

Like many countries, Israel tried to drain many of its swamplands, then realized it was destroying wildlife habitats. So the country reversed course, and has been restoring the wetlands of the Hula Valley in the north.

The effort has had a huge and rather noisy payoff. Unlike many birding sites, where the creatures take off when you approach them, you can practically touch the cranes that inhabit the Hula Valley.

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Europe
3:06 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Greeks Ask Themselves: Who's A Greek?

Stephanos Mwange, a Greek-born citizen of Ugandan descent, says his love for Greek history and mythology have inspired him to act ancient Greek tragedies such as Hecuba. He's a well-known actor, though his positive experience as a naturalized Greek citizen is exceptional. Most from a similar background say they've been made to feel like foreigners.
Courtesy of Sotiria Psarou

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:36 am

When it comes to immigration, Greece faces a dilemma: The country needs new, young people because like the rest of Europe, it faces a falling birth rate and an aging population.

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National Security
3:05 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Overseas Trip A Road Test For Secretary Of State Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press prior to talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the State Department in Washington on Friday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 5:34 am

John Kerry sets off Sunday on his first foreign trip as secretary of state, visiting Europe and the Middle East.

One dominant theme of the trip will be how to resolve the crisis in Syria, where an estimated 70,000 people have been killed over the past two years. Kerry is portraying his trip as a listening tour, and he expects to hear a lot about Syria.

He told reporters recently that he wants to talk with U.S. allies about how to persuade Bashar Assad to agree on peace talks that would end the Syrian leader's bloody rule in Syria.

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Shots - Health News
3:05 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Ancient Chompers Were Healthier Than Ours

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:55 am

Prehistoric humans didn't have toothbrushes. They didn't have floss or toothpaste, and they certainly didn't have Listerine. Yet somehow, their mouths were a lot healthier than ours are today.

"Hunter-gatherers had really good teeth," says Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA. "[But] as soon as you get to farming populations, you see this massive change. Huge amounts of gum disease. And cavities start cropping up."

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The Two-Way
3:04 am
Sun February 24, 2013

In China, Not Everything Has Changed

Shen Lixiu, 58, says she had her front teeth kicked out in a re-education through labor camp. Chinese authorities say they are considering "reforms" to a system that is coming under increasing public criticism.
Frank Langfitt NPR

A lot of journalism about China focuses on the country's rapid and stunning changes, but equally telling are the things that stay the same. I did my first story on China's re-education through labor camps back in 2001.

I met a former inmate named Liu Xiaobo for lunch in Beijing. Liu, soft-spoken and thoughtful, had written an article mourning those who had died in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. He had also called for democracy.

So, one day, police took him from his house and charged him with "slandering the Communist Party" and "disrupting social order."

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Sat February 23, 2013

Flipping The Switch: What It Takes To Prioritize Electric Cars

A Ford Focus electric concept car with a home charging unit on display at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., in January.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 8:48 am

"Electricity is the most likely out of all of the alternative fuels ... to be the next fuel for the consumer."

That's what Jonathan Strickland of the website HowStuffWorks tells NPR's Jacki Lyden.

But electric vehicles are not without their controversies or challenges. One of the biggest questions is how a transition from gasoline to electric fuel can actually take place.

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Author Interviews
3:35 pm
Sat February 23, 2013

Craving Solitude In 'Ten White Geese'

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 4:40 pm

Gerbrand Bakker's new international best-seller, Ten White Geese, opens with a mysterious woman alone on a Welsh farm. Humiliated by an affair with a student, she turns up alone at the farm, looking for nothing and no one. She answers to the name Emily, but that is actually the first name of the American poet about whom she is writing her doctoral dissertation. Her husband has no idea where she is.

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It's All Politics
3:01 pm
Sat February 23, 2013

Top GOP Voter ID Crusader Loses Virginia Election Panel Post

Hans Von Spakovsky in his official FEC photo taken during former President George W. Bush's administration.
FEC.gov

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:24 am

To those who closely follow the voter ID wars, Hans von Spakovsky is a household name, one of the nation's leading crusaders against voter fraud, and also one of its more controversial. Days before the 2012 election, The New Yorker profiled him as "the man who has stoked fear about imposters at the poll."

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NPR Story
2:51 pm
Sat February 23, 2013

Oscars By The Numbers

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 4:40 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

You're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Anthony Breznican said he can't predict Oscar winners. But here's a guy who says he's done just that. Conor Gaughan is the chief strategy officer for Farsite, and they've been looking at all kinds of data to predict who will take home those little golden men.

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NPR Story
2:51 pm
Sat February 23, 2013

Week In News: Sequestration Looms

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 4:40 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Later in the show, a haunting and sometimes menacing Dutch novel, a talk with former Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr and backstage at the Oscars. But first, we're back to the sequester debate.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Instead of compromising, instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans, they'd rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class.

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NPR Story
2:51 pm
Sat February 23, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction Reading: 'Voice Mail Is For ...' And 'Chubby Bunny'

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 8:20 pm

NPR's Bob Mondello and Tamara Keith read excerpts from Round 10 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. The entries are "Voice Mail Is For Suckers" by Kristin Bonilla of Fulshear, Texas, and "Chubby Bunny" by Katie Camlin of Warrensburg, Mo. Read the full stories below and see other submissions and past winners on our Three-Minute Fiction page.

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Oscars 2013: The 85th Annual Academy Awards
11:56 am
Sat February 23, 2013

The Four Biggest Best Picture Oscar Upsets, Statistically Speaking

The cast of Crash celebrates after its surprise upset of Brokeback Mountain for best picture, at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 12:28 pm

By the time the curtains rise on the Academy Awards ceremony each year, Oscar-watching prognosticators are already reasonably sure which films are going to take home top prizes.

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It's All Politics
11:37 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Bloomberg's Anti-NRA Message — And Money — Could Sway House Race In Chicago

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control superPAC has poured more than $2 million into a Democratic primary in Chicago for a U.S. House seat.
Brendan McDermid Reuters/Landov

One of the most important events in the national gun violence debate will take place Tuesday — in the snows of Chicago, a thousand miles from Newtown, Conn., or Washington, D.C.

That's where Democratic voters will choose their nominee to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. Because the district is so heavily Democratic, the winner will almost certainly be sworn in at the Capitol following the April general election.

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Obama Administration Urges Supreme Court To Rethink DOMA

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:34 am

The Obama administration is following through on its relatively newfound support of gay marriage. On Friday, the administration filed a legal brief with the Justice Department that urges the Supreme Court to strike down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

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The Two-Way
9:17 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Syrian Opposition Group Boycotts International Meetings

Government forces patrol a district under their control in Aleppo, Syria, on Friday.
AFP/Getty Images

Syria's main opposition group is declining invitations to international meetings to protest what it calls the "shameful" failure by world leaders to end violence there.

"The international silence on the crimes committed every day against our people amounts to participating in two years of killings," the Syrian National Coalition said in a statement released Friday and reported on by Agence France-Presse and other news organizations.

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