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11:06 am
Mon December 24, 2012

A Showdown In Italy Over A Polluting Steel Plant

The ILVA steel plant in Taranto, Italy, provides some 20,000 badly needed jobs in a country with a weak economy. But it also spews carcinogens. A court has ordered a partial shutdown, which the government has rejected.
Yara Nardi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:40 pm

In an effort to safeguard some 20,000 jobs at a time of rising unemployment,
the Italian government has taken an unprecedented step. It has reversed a court order that called for the partial shutdown of Europe's biggest steel plant because it spews cancer-producing dioxins.

The ILVA steel factory in the southern port city of Taranto pits the government versus the judiciary in a battle over health issues and the need for economic revival.

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The Salt
10:38 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That's Oh So Sweet

The oplatek, embossed with a Christmas scene, is shared among family members before Christmas Eve dinner.
iStockphoto.com

Nothing says "I love you," at least in my Polish-American family, quite like the sharing of a thin, flat, tasteless wafer called an oplatek at Christmas.

We're not alone. Before sitting down to Christmas Eve dinner, many families with roots in Poland and other Eastern European countries will take part in this tradition, which has roots dating back hundreds of years.

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Best Books Of 2012
10:31 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Graphic Novels That Flew Under The Radar In 2012

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 3:20 pm

In 2012, several high-profile comics creators added landmark works to their already impressive legacies. With Building Stories, Chris Ware offered 14 volumes of comics, each with its own meticulous, anagrammatic take on despair, and stuffed them into a box.

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Politics
10:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Is Congress Making A 'Fiscal Bluff'?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:56 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee in for Michel Martin. Coming up, the U. S. economy has had an interesting year. I don't need to tell you that we're still facing huge hurdles. But on the other hand, the stock market shot up this year and some sectors are thriving. We'll talk about signs of hope in just a few minutes.

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Economy
10:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The 2012 Economy Brought Glad Tidings To Many

Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:56 pm

After years of recession and slow recovery, maybe you didn't notice. But it turns out, 2012 was a fairly good year for the U.S. economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has risen nearly 14 percent this year and the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest point in four years. Inflation and interest rates have stayed low, allowing families to cut their debt loads.

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Best Books Of 2012
10:08 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 3:20 pm

"Just throw the whole lemon in the food processor for lemon bars."
"Don't just soak your dried beans — brine them!"
"You don't need a whole day (or two) to make a good sauce."

Some of the things this year's cookbooks said to me as I tested them were downright contrarian. But that's the brilliant thing about cooking in a global, crowdsourced, Web-fueled world: People no longer cook according to some received wisdom handed down by a guy in a white toque. They figure it out as they go along, and if they stumble on a shortcut, it's blogged and shared in no time flat.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Firefighters Responding To Blaze Near Rochester, N.Y., Shot And Killed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 1:38 pm

Two firefighters responding to the scene of a blaze near Rochester, N.Y., were killed today and another two were wounded when a gunman opened fire.

The apparent ambush in Webster, N.Y., was carried out by convicted murderer William Spengler, police believe. He was found dead at the scene, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Spengler, 62, spent 17 years in prison for the 1980 murder of his grandmother.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Mon December 24, 2012

VIDEO: NRA's LaPierre Says No To Ban On Large Capacity Magazines

The National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre.
Molly Riley UPI /Landov

One of the sharpest exchanges during his more than 20-minute long appearance Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press came when National Rifle Association CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was asked why it wouldn't make sense to ban high capacity magazines for guns such as the one used to kill 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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Asia
9:32 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Jakarta's New Governor Seen As A Rising Star

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo fields reporters' questions after meeting with residents of a Jakarta slum. Recent polls say Widodo is currently the most popular choice for Indonesia's president in 2014.
Yosef Riadi for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:24 pm

Residents give a boisterous welcome to Jakarta's newly elected governor, Joko Widodo, when he shows up for a town meeting with the residents of a Jakarta slum where residents' shacks overlook the muddy, garbage-strewn waters of the Ciliwung River.

The governor's administration plans to fix chronic flooding here by dredging the river and moving residents into subsidized apartments.

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Forget About Chimneys: Think Wormholes If You Want To See Santa

Science says Santa's been tricking us with that reindeer stuff.
Martti Kainulainen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 1:40 pm

  • David Greene and Neil deGrasse Tyson on the "science of Santa'

Sorry, Google. Sorry, NORAD.

Your online "Santa trackers" are cool.

But that jolly old elf has you both fooled.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Top Stories: 'Fiscal Cliff' Looms; NRA Sparks Controversy; Gun Sales Surge

At the Get Some Guns & Ammo store in Murray, Utah, over the weekend, sales were strong and there were empty spots beginning to appear on the wall display of weapons.
George Frey Landov

Good morning.

Our headlines from over the weekend and early today included:

-- Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed.

-- Syrian Airstrikes Hit Bakery: 'Piles Of Bodies'.

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Romney Didn't Want To Run, Son Says

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Election Night in Boston, as he conceded the race to President Obama.
Joe Raedle Getty Images
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Around the Nation
6:38 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Santa Suits Are Getting Bigger

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
6:33 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Ill. Chef To Make Gigantic Green Bean Casserole

Mark Shoopman is into green beans. The Illinois chef is cooking 270 pounds of beans and 75 pounds of onions. His goal, according to WMBD in Peoria, is the largest green bean casserole in Central Illinois.

The Two-Way
6:05 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:42 am

On this Christmas Eve there's this not-so-cheery news from The Associated Press:

"Christmas shoppers thronged malls and pounced on discounts but apparently spent less this year, their spirits dampened by concerns about the economy and the aftermath of shootings and storms."

The wire service says that:

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Europe
5:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

In Cornwall, Lisa Simpson Rivals Queen Elizabeth

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:41 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, while our politicians are consumed with the deficit deadline, many leaders around the world are taking a step back, putting quill to paper and carefully composing their Christmas messages. In Britain, particular attention will be paid to Queen Elizabeth's message, because this year she's celebrating 60 years on the throne.

NPR's Philip Reeves sent this letter, musing about what it meant to be British as 2012 comes to a close.

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Around the Nation
5:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Gun Ownership Is A 'Responsiblity To Be Proud Of'

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:30 am

Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the debate over gun control has been reignited. Many have said that if there is going to be any action on gun control, law-abiding, responsible gun owners will need to be a part of the conversation. Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep talks to Steven Rinella, a writer and avid hunter, about how he views the current debate.

NPR Story
5:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Time To Address 'Fiscal Cliff' Narrows

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

It is Christmas Eve, a time for good will towards all, for peace on Earth, for setting aside differences. Well, maybe that's not true for everyone this year. On Friday, Congress went home without settling their differences over how to avoid the spending decreases and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff.

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Political Junkie
5:08 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2012

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:43 pm

In political terms, 2012 was not the greatest of years. We witnessed an ugly, personal, petty, and often childish presidential election. Living in a "battleground" or "swing" state often meant being bombarded 24/7 by an incessant barrage of negative campaign commercials. And just as we were finally emerging from the campaign, we ended the year with an unfathomable tragedy, the gunning down of 20 children at an elementary school in Connecticut.

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Around the Nation
4:09 am
Mon December 24, 2012

DUI Charge: Jan. 4 Court Date For Idaho Sen. Crapo

Republican U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo of Idaho was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said. The booking photo was provided by the police department in Alexandria, Va.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:18 am

A conservative U.S. senator from Idaho who has said he doesn't drink because of his Mormon faith has been charged with drunken driving.

Sen. Michael Crapo, a three-term Republican with a reputation as a social and fiscal conservative, registered a blood alcohol content of .11 percent after police pulled his car over in this suburb south of Washington, D.C., authorities said.

The 61-year-old lawmaker, who faces a court date Jan. 4, apologized in a statement issued hours after his arrest early Sunday.

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Shots - Health News
2:21 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Chance To Pause Biological Clock With Ovarian Transplant Stirs Debate

Sherman Silber, a surgeon at the Infertility Center of St. Louis, offers women a procedure that he claims will put their biological clocks on ice.
Courtesy of Infertility Center of St. Louis

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 8:34 pm

When Sarah Gardner was 34, she started getting really worried about whether she'd ever have kids.

"I bought this kit online that said that they could tell you your ovarian reserve," Gardner, now 40, says. These kits claim they can tell women how long their ovaries will continue producing eggs and how much time they have left to get pregnant.

"Well, mine said, 'we advise really you have a baby now.' Well, sadly that letter arrived three weeks after I just split up with my long-term partner. So, yeah, it opened a massive can of worms really," she says.

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Shots - Health News
2:20 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Like Girls, Boys Are Entering Puberty Earlier

According to a study published in Pediatrics, boys are entering puberty six months to two years earlier than they did in past studies.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 10:23 am

It's been known for a while that girls start puberty earlier than they did in the past, sometimes as young as 7 or 8. But it's been unclear whether boys also go through puberty earlier. Now, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics helps answer that question.

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The Salt
2:18 am
Mon December 24, 2012

At Christmas, A Roman Holiday Revolves Around The Food

Christmas chocolate and sweets on display at a Christmas market at Piazza Navona on Dec. 20 in Rome.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 10:05 am

The city of Rome may be the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, but as far as bright, glitzy decorations, Christmas there has always been a rather sober affair.

And yet at Christmastime, there's one area where Romans pull out all the stops — the dinner table.

Even with the economic crisis, outdoor markets, grocery shops and fishmongers are crowded with customers.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
2:16 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Toy Donations Pour Into Newtown For The Holidays

Christmas stockings with the names of shooting victims hang from a railing in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:48 pm

The Monday after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., toys and stuffed animals began arriving by the truckload. Ten days later, the gymnasium at Edmond Town Hall in the center of Newtown is full of them.

"When I realized that it was getting so large, I thought that we should get this to the children before the holidays," says Ann Benore, a caseworker for Newtown Social Services.

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Business
4:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

When The Glass Ceiling Is A Baby: Working Through Motherhood

Defense Undersecretary for Policy Michele Flournoy talks with Marines Lt. Gen. John Paxton on Capitol Hill in 2010. Flournoy has since left her position to spend more time with her three children.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:44 pm

Among the candidates President Obama may nominate for the next defense secretary is Michele Flournoy, formerly the highest-ranking woman in the Pentagon.

Flournoy is a mother of three, and in February, she stunned her colleagues when she stepped down from her job as undersecretary of defense for policy to spend more time with her children.

It wasn't an easy decision, but it's a dilemma that many working mothers face. While some call for changes in workplace policy to make caring for families and working easier, others argue women ultimately have to make a choice.

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Middle East
4:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

Sifting Through Conspiracy: A Look At Yasser Arafat's Death

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 7:34 am

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just tuning in, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was buried under so many feet of concrete in 2004 that it took gravediggers six hours to get to his body last month. And his body was exhumed because his widow suspects he was murdered, poisoned by the radioactive element polonium 210.

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Music
4:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

A Musical Montage, As Hosted By Guy Raz

On his last day as the host of weekends on All Things Considered before moving to NPR's TED Radio Hour, Guy Raz looks back at some of his memorable music interviews from the past 3 1/2 years.

The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

Mug Shot Websites Charge When You're Charged, For Now

Philip Kaplan and Debra Jo Lashaway were both arrested, then cleared of their charges. Their court files were sealed, effectively removing the arrests from their public record, but their mug shots linger on websites that make money by charging people to remove their arrest photos. Now, they're part of a lawsuit that argues their right to publicity has been violated.
Courtesy of Scott Ciolek

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:43 pm

In August 2011, Debbie Jo Lashaway was charged with theft. She was arraigned and booked in Lucas County, Ohio, and her mug shot was taken.

Seven months later, the charges were dismissed and her record was sealed — effectively removing the theft charge from her public record. Six months after that, she even won a judgment against the man who accused her of theft, declaring the charge bogus and awarding her thousands of dollars in damages.

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Asia
4:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

Hitler's Hot In India

A clothing store in Ahmadabad, India, sparked controversy earlier this year, as reporter David Shaftel reports in Bloomberg Businessweek. The city tore down the store's name in October, flummoxing the owners who refused to change it.
Ajit Solanki AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:42 pm

All over India, an unusual name has been popping up on signs in restaurants and businesses: Hitler.

Yes, Hitler. As in Adolph. Just last year there was even a Punjabi movie called Hero Hitler in Love.

To understand why a name generally associated with mass murder is turning up on storefronts around the country, reporter David Shaftel investigated and wrote about it in a recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Sun December 23, 2012

Syrian Airstrikes Hit Bakery: 'Piles Of Bodies'

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:42 pm

Syrian activists are reporting that a government airstrike has killed tens of people at a bakery near the central city of Hama.

A video posted by anti-regime activists could not be verified, but shows a mass of rubble and bodies in front of a charred building. Rescuers shout as they look for survivors among the dead.

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