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NPR Story
3:08 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

The 1914 Christmas Truce Is Set To Music At Symphony Hall

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914, the Boston Pops commissioned a new narrated work that combines words and music. (Courtesy of the Boston Pops)

Audiences who come to see the Holiday Pops can usually expect jaunty chestnuts like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “The Polar Express.”

But this year conductor Keith Lockhart was stirred by a bittersweet episode from history: an impromptu and unsanctioned ceasefire that took place during World War I.

“The particular thing about this story is that the uniting force, the thing that brings people together, is music,” Lockhart explained.

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NPR Story
3:08 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

New Census Tool Allows For Searching Cities By Demographics 

Provo, Utah has been ranked the city with the highest number of young workers. (Wikipedia)

Did you know that the city with the highest concentration of young workers in the U.S. is Provo, Utah? And the city with the most minorities is McAllen, Texas?

This information is all available in a new census bureau report and interactive tool. it’s called “census explorer,” and it’s geared towards young adults between 18 and 34 years old who may be deciding where to live.

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The Two-Way
2:33 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Father Of Jordanian Pilot Held By ISIS Issues Plea For His Release

The father of a Jordanian pilot taken by militants of the self-declared Islamic State is urging his release.

As we reported on Wednesday, Jordan said Flight Lt. Moaz al-Kaseasbeh was captured by ISIS after his plane crashed over northern Syria.

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NPR Story
1:08 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

'Into the Woods' Hits The Big Screen, But Never Left The Stage

Emily Blunt and James Corden star as a baker and his wife in Rob Marshall's new adaptation of Into the Woods. (Disney Enterprises)

Starting Christmas day, audiences can see a new version of Stephen Sondheim’s nearly 30-year-old musical fairy-tale mash-up, “Into the Woods” — this time, on the big screen.

And as the production moves from stage to screen, the high-budget Hollywood version comes with the requisite star power, including Johnny Depp as the iconic big bad wolf, Emily Blunt as a baker’s wife and Meryl Streep as the wicked witch who sets the whole plot in motion.

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Music Interviews
12:13 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Naive, Yet Revolutionary: Ray Davies On 50 Years Of The Kinks

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Merry Christmas. Today, we begin a week-long series of some of our favorite interviews of the year.

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Parallels
11:20 am
Thu December 25, 2014

After 522 Years, Spain Seeks To Make Amends For Expulsion Of Jews

Children gather outside the El Transito synagogue and Sephardic Museum in Toledo, Spain. Founded in 1357, the synagogue was converted into a church following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. Spain is now preparing to pass a law that would allow descendants of the expelled Jews to receive Spanish citizenship.
Gerard Julien AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 10:43 am

As night fell recently over the Spanish city of Toledo, Hanukkah candles lit up empty streets outside the medieval El Transito synagogue.

Folk songs in Ladino — a blend of Spanish and Hebrew — wafted across the garden of the synagogue, which is now the Sephardic Museum.

Sefarad means Spain in Hebrew, and the term refers to Jews of Spanish descent.

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The Two-Way
9:59 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Sierra Leone Puts North On Lockdown Amid Ebola Spread

British health workers lift a newly admitted Ebola patient onto a wheeled stretcher in to the Kerry town Ebola treatment center outside Freetown, Sierra Leone, earlier this week.
Baz Ratner Reuters/Landov

Sierra Leone, the country hardest-hit by an ongoing Ebola outbreak, has imposed a lockdown in the country's north in an effort to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

The BBC quotes local officials as saying that shops, markets and non-Ebola related travel would be shut down. Many public Christmas celebrations had already been banned, according to Reuters.

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Peaceful Protests In Missouri After Latest Police Shooting

A protester shouts at police in Berkeley, Mo., Christmas Eve night.
Kate Munsch Reuters/Landov

A vigil and a march in Berkeley, Mo., were largely peaceful overnight after confrontations between police and protesters Tuesday in the wake of the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old black man by a white police officer.

Antonio Martin was shot and killed on Tuesday after police say he pointed a gun at the officer.

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The Two-Way
7:46 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Pope Francis: 'Many Tears This Christmas'

Pope Francis delivers his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and to the world) blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, on Christmas Day.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Pope Francis, in his Christmas Day blessing in St. Peter's Square, denounced the "brutal persecution" of religious and ethnic minorities and condemned conflicts in Ukraine, Libya and elsewhere.

It was his second "Urbi et Orbi" ("to the city and to the world") message since becoming pope last year, the pontiff also lamented the deadly Taliban attack on a school in Pakistan that killed 149 people, mostly children, and the deaths of thousands due to Ebola in West Africa.

"Truly there are so many tears this Christmas," he said.

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Thu December 25, 2014

NYPD Sorts Out Threats, Plans Funerals For Liu And Ramos

Officer Rafael Ramos (left) and Wenjian Liu were killed on Saturday in an attack by a gunman in a Brooklyn neighborhood.
NYPD EPA/Landov

Authorities in New York City are monitoring threats made against police since two officers were fatally shot on Saturday, and are upping security at some stationhouses.

The gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, shot and killed Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in their patrol car before committing suicide. He had posted messages on social media suggesting the assault was revenge for deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of authorities.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu December 25, 2014

'The Interview' Gets Nationwide Theatrical Release

A poster for The Interview, which will open in nearly 300 theaters on Christmas Day. The movie is also being shown on streaming services.
Jim Ruymen UPI/Landov

The Interview, the comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will open today in nearly 300 independent theaters nationwide.

The movie is already available to watch on streaming services such as YouTube, Google Play, Microsoft's Xbox Video and a dedicated website.

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Goats and Soda
6:03 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Ebola Survivor: 'You Feel Like ... Maybe ... A Ghost'

Dr. Senga Omeonga pictured outside St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital in Monrovia. Omeonga moved to Liberia from DRC in 2011. He contracted Ebola but survived it.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 4:06 pm

Dr. Senga Omeonga met us under a huge mango tree outside St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Behind the main building, several dozens of disinfected rubber boots worn by health care workers were propped upside down on stakes planted on a patch of lawn.

This is the hospital where Omeonga works as general surgeon and the head of Infection Prevention Control. It's also where he came down with Ebola on Aug. 2.

He says his days in treatment were "a living hell." And the experience has changed his view of the world — and the way he treats patients.

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Animals
6:00 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Dog Races To Catch Up With Ambulance

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Around the Nation
6:00 am
Thu December 25, 2014

28 Years Later, Lynda Alsip Gets Her Mustang Back

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Around the Nation
4:13 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Ecologists Take On Tiny Green Beetles That Infest Ash Trees

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:00 am

Copyright 2014 WYSO-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wyso.org.

Book News & Features
3:52 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Demand For Audio Books Keeps Penguin Random House Recording

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:00 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
3:52 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Barry Manilow: I Jump At The Chance To Do A Christmas Album

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:00 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
2:34 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Unexpected Life Found In The Ocean's Deepest Trench

Schmidt Ocean Institute/HADES YouTube

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 4:39 pm

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Around the Nation
2:29 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Christmas Tree Farmers Invest Long-Term In The Holiday Spirit

The Carrolls, who once raised cattle, decided three decades ago to raise Christmas trees instead. The trees take seven to 12 years to mature.
Courtesy of Claybrooke Farm

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 7:09 pm

When you step into the bright red barn at Claybrooke Farm in Louisa, Va., it instantly feels like Christmas. A pot of hot cider bubbles on the stove. Friends, neighbors and extended family make wreaths while owner John Carroll hauls in wood for the fire. It's gray outside, but the barn is full of holiday cheer.

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Parallels
2:28 am
Thu December 25, 2014

The French Go Crazy For 'An American In Paris'

The stage version of the Hollywood classic An American in Paris combines British, French and American artistic traditions and stars Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild in the roles made famous by Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly.
Marie-Noelle Robert Courtesy of Theatre du Chatelet

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 2:49 pm

Parisians are going gaga over An American in Paris, the first-ever stage production of the 1951 Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron and with a musical score by George Gershwin.

The performance at Paris' Chatelet theater is getting rave reviews and has completely sold out. It's not hard to see why: The stage comes alive with the story of an American artist and the young French dancer he falls in love with. It's filled with fabulous dancing and all those great Gershwin tunes.

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The Salt
2:27 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Inside The Indiana Megadairy Making Coca-Cola's New Milk

Cows rotate in the milking parlor at Fair Oaks Farms, a large-scale dairy and tourist attraction, near Rensselaer, Ind.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 10:49 am

Coca-Cola got a lot of attention in November when it announced that it was going into the milk business. Not just any milk, mind you: nutritious, reformulated supermilk.

It also invited ridicule. "It's like they got Frankenstein to lactate," scoffed Stephen Colbert on his show. "If this product doesn't work out, they can always re-introduce Milk Classic."

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Around the Nation
2:26 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Pittsburgh Tries To Attract Enterprising Immigrants And Refugees

The city of Pittsburgh is hoping that drawing more skilled immigrants will give it an entrepreneurial boost.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 2:54 pm

When Ammar Nsaif was 8, in Iraq, he often thought about his future wife and kids, about the car and house and business he'd own. As an adult, he became an electrical engineer and made his 8-year-old self proud.

"Before the war, I did many things," Nsaif says. "My cousins, my friends, my neighbors, they know Ammar. He's working, making business. I did very well."

But he lost everything when he fled Bagdad suddenly, in 2006. Nsaif, 39, says he received a death threat from terrorists over his work with an American company. They already had killed one of his older brothers.

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Parallels
2:26 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Pope Francis And His Gift For Blending The Spiritual And The Political

Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience, on Dec. 17, in Vatican City. Even among non-Catholics, the pope's popularity is high.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:00 am

In the 21 months since his election, the first pope to take the name of Saint Francis has emerged as a moral leader on the global stage, addressing both Catholics and the world beyond.

A recent Pew worldwide survey showed an overwhelmingly favorable view of the pope. And that was before his crucial role in the U.S.-Cuba thaw was revealed.

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Parallels
2:25 am
Thu December 25, 2014

A Century Ago, When The Guns Fell Silent On Christmas

British and German soldiers fraternizing at Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day 1914. World War I was raging at the time, but front-line troops initiated the truce, which they documented in photos and letters. Commanders on both sides were furious when they learned of it.
Courtesy of Imperial War Museum

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:00 am

A century ago, young men in Europe were killing each other by the tens of thousands. World War I, which had erupted just a few months earlier, was raging. Yet on a frozen Christmas Eve, the guns briefly fell silent.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become the stuff of legend, portrayed in films, television ads, and songs. On this 100th anniversary of the cease-fire, it is possible to reconstruct the events of that day from letters, diaries, and even the recorded spoken words of the men who experienced the truce.

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The Salt
2:24 am
Thu December 25, 2014

A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

At Calcutta's famous New Market, vendors do brisk business in fruitcake as Christmas approaches.
Sandip Roy for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 6:00 am

Denzil Saldanha is over 80 but far from retired.

He takes orders on the phone, surrounded by workers, newspapers spread out in front of them, cutting slices of fruitcake with thick almond icing.

The family-run Saldanha Bakery and Confectionery is making 600,000 pounds of cake this Christmas. Denzil's daughter Debra Saldanha, who gave up banking to join the family business, says customers appreciate that it's all made to order.

"They get the smell of hot cake coming out of the oven and literally wafting in the air," she says.

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The Two-Way
4:48 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Mishandling Of Ebola Sample May Have Exposed CDC Technician To Virus

Stringy particles of Ebola virus (blue) bud from a chronically infected cell (yellow-green) in this colorized, scanning electron micrograph.
NIAID Science Source

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 12:54 pm

Federal health officials are investigating an incident involving the mishandling of the Ebola virus at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's headquarters in Atlanta.

The incident involved the material used in an experiment with the Ebola virus, the CDC said in a statement released late Wednesday. The material was accidentally moved from a high-security lab to a low-security lab on Monday. As a result, there's a possibility that one lab technician may have been exposed to the virus. That person will be monitored for 21 days for any symptoms.

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World
4:09 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Music Interviews
4:09 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Director John Carpenter On The Sound Of A Terrifying Film

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

All this week, we're hearing about the music behind the movies.

(SOUNDBITE OF VARIOUS MOVIE THEME SONGS)

SIEGEL: We've been hearing from composers across the genres. And today, we add screams.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HALLOWEEN")

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Around the Nation
3:36 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Choir Attracts Singers From LA's Skid Row

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 4:09 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:25 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 4:09 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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