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Music
10:01 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Two Takes On Christmas Music: Sweet And Sour

Bob Dorough circa 1960.
Jon Sievert Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:04 am

What do you get when one of the songwriters behind a beloved children's program and a champion of challenging new music each approach Christmas songs in their own ways?

Not what you might expect.

Saxophonist, composer and MacArthur "genius" John Zorn is also a record producer who runs his own label, Tzadik — the Hebrew word for "righteous one." The top of the label's website reads:

Tzadik is dedicated to releasing the best in avant-garde and experimental music.

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Movies
10:01 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

From Bond To Blomkvist: Daniel Craig's Next Big Role

Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist who teams up with the title character in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is the second iconic character that actor Daniel Craig (right, with Christopher Plummer) has tackled in the space of a half-decade.
Sony/Columbia

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 9:30 am

Actor Daniel Craig is used to taking on iconic characters. In 2006, he famously shook up the 007 franchise as a new, blond James Bond. And his latest on-screen character, though he has somewhat less swagger and not nearly as much style, is almost as well-known.

In David Fincher's film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Craig plays investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, the leading man in a trio of thrillers by Swedish author Stieg Larsson that has sold 65 million copies worldwide.

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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.

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.

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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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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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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Law
12:58 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

SEC Sues Former Freddie, Fannie Executives

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:24 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In federal court in New York this morning, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged six top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with civil fraud. The SEC says the executives of the giant mortgage companies mislead investors about the amount of subprime loans their companies held during the housing bust. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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Africa
5:27 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Thieves Apprehended After Pocket Dialing 911

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. Most thieves don't turn themselves in, but two in Wisconsin did without quite intending to. As the men drove off after stealing DVDs and video games from Target, one thief pocket-dialed 9-1-1. A dispatcher listened as the duo detailed their heist, including how the police would be looking for their Blue Dodge Durango.

That tip led the cops directly to them. After 54 minutes, their call to 9-1-1 finally ended with their arrest.

Around the Nation
5:21 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Secret Santa Drops Krugerrand In Donation Bucket

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with news of a mysterious donation found in a Salvation Army bucket in Pennsylvania. A gold South African Krugerrand - worth about $1,700 - was found in a kettle Wednesday outside a Wal-Mart. This isn't the first time this has happened. The coins seem to appear almost every year near Gettysburg. Similar coins have been discovered in Salvation Army collections from Tennessee to Chicago. Still, no one's figures out who the secret Santa is. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Election 2012
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

GOP Presidential Contenders Done Debating Before Iowa Caucuses

Newt Gingrich stood center state Thursday night in the Sioux City Convention Center. The sharpest elbows did not come from his close rivals, Mitt Romney or Ron Paul. Instead, it was Michele Bachmann who repeatedly went after Gingrich.

Election 2012
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Bachmann Tries To Regain Early Iowa Lead

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann once appeared to be the favored Republican presidential candidate in Iowa. But she's been near the bottom of most polls since. Bachmann is making an aggressive push to finish well in next month's Iowa caucuses, and she embarks on a multi-day bus tour of the state Friday.

Around the Nation
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Fort Hood Soldiers Return From Iraq

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Congress has already OK'ed a bill authorizing more than $660 billion to be spent on defense. Senate approval came yesterday, the same day the Pentagon declared an official end to the war in Iraq. Among the troops coming home from Iraq are the soldiers of the 112th Cavalry 3rd Brigade 1st Cavalry Division.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn was there for their return to Fort Hood, Texas.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Remembrances
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to remember now the acerbic, controversial and always compelling writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens. Vanity Fair, where he was a contributing editor, announced last night that he had died from complications of cancer. He was 62 years old.

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Politics
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Negotiators Reach Deal To Keep Government Open

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

So, it looks like the federal government is not going to shut down at midnight tonight. That's good news. Congressional negotiators say they've reached an agreement to move forward on a trillion-dollar-plus spending plan. It would fund the government through October. There are still some end-of-year issues that haven't been resolved.

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Economy
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Popularity Bankrupts Early Retiree Program

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

A $5 billion federal program to pay for the health benefits of early retirees is proving to be more popular than expected. So popular that it's running out of money earlier than planned. The fund, part of the health care overhaul, was to provide a bridge of insurance coverage until 2014 when early retirees would have many more options under the health care law.

This report is part of a collaboration between Minnesota Public Radio, NPR, and Kaiser Health News.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

DOJ Probe Finds Ariz. Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

Joe Arpaio, the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff, is not backing down. The U.S. Justice Department yesterday accused his sheriff's department in Maricopa County, Arizona of systematically violating the constitutional and civil rights of Latinos. By the end of the day, NPR's Ted Robbins reports, the sheriff was hitting back.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Fierce Reaction To 'If I Were A Poor Black Kid'

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich kicked up some dust recently when he opined that poor kids should be able to work as school janitors to develop a work ethic and avoid becoming, in Gingrich's words, a prostitute or a drug dealer.

This week, a tech writer on Forbes.com is causing a stir in the blogosphere with an advice column titled "If I Were a Poor Black Kid." Gene Marks is not a kid, or black. As he put it, he's middle aged, middle class, and white.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Anonymous Donors Pay Off Kmart Layaway Accounts

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:33 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Our last word in business today is: Mystery Elves. At Kmart stores around the country, anonymous donors are walking in and paying off the layaway accounts of complete strangers. It seems to have started in Michigan, but the holiday spirit spread. Kmart says the stealth benefactors usually ask for accounts that include toys.

Monkey See
10:01 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Diablo Cody Explores The Ugly Side Of Pretty In 'Young Adult'

Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary in Young Adult.
Phillip V. Caruso Paramount Pictures

Charlize Theron is ugly in Young Adult, the new film from the Juno team of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody — both literally and personally. In parts of the film, she still looks like her knockout movie-star self, but in other parts, she looks like she's aged a year for every day since her character, Mavis Gary, left high school.

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Fronteras
1:39 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

U.S. Fingers Connection Between Lebanese Militant Group and a Mexican Drug Cartel

Photo via www.zazugist.com

A federal judge has unsealed a case against a money launderer accused of working with the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico and with Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group labeled a terror organization by the United States. Fronteras Changing America Desk correspondent Michel Marizco reports.

Fronteras
1:36 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

New EPA Rules Could Shutter Power Plants

Photo via www.wn.com

The federal government plans to announce strict air pollution standards this week. From the Fronteras Changing America Desk, Laurel Morales reports that some power plants in New Mexico and northern Arizona may shut down as a result. Power plants are anxiously awaiting additional standards that would reduce particulate emissions.

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