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World Cafe
5:35 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Pink Martini On World Cafe

From Portland, Ore., stems a global sound that is powerful in its orchestral beauty. Thomas Lauderdale started Pink Martini more than 15 years ago, a fitting name for the colorful and classy orchestra. Lauderdale's mission was to create a sound that would support political fundraisers for civil, environmental and educational causes, among others. Since then, the group has sold millions of albums worldwide.

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Middle East
5:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

As Syrian War Grinds On, A Rebel Keeps Reinventing Himself

In March 2011, at the beginning of the Syrian uprising, protester Ibrahim Abazid made a massive white flag out of a sugar sack. This picture of him waving the flag in his hometown of Dera'a became a hugely popular image. Now Abazid hopes to serve on a city council in Dera'a.
Courtesy of Ibrahim Abazid

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:51 pm

Ibrahim Abazid had no idea he would be part of a nationwide revolt in Syria — or that his role would keep evolving.

It was March 2011. Some teenagers in his hometown, Dera'a, got arrested for spray painting anti-government slogans outside a school. Rumors began circulating that the teenagers were being tortured while in detention in the southern town.

In the broader region, Arab protesters had been filling the streets for months. Dictators in Tunisia and Egypt had already fallen. Abazid and his friends went to pray.

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Health
5:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Finding New Meaning In The Loss Of A Son

Ronan at 2 years old. "I know Ronan's purpose in life was to shed light on this disease," says his mother, Maya Thompson. "This is why I will continue to fight for childhood cancer for the rest of my life."
Courtesy of Maya Thompson

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:00 pm

This is a story about loss and meaning. It's the story of a boy who died and a mother who tottered at the precipice of despair. It's about faith — not in God, but in the ability to build from ashes.

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It's All Politics
5:00 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Obama Administration Deported Record 1.5 Million People

Employees with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency search Guatemalan immigrants before they are put aboard a deportation flight to Guatemala City on June 24, 2011, in Mesa, Ariz.
John Moore Getty Images

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

Although President Obama supports setting a path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants, his administration deported a record 1.5 million of them in his first term.

In addition, the latest data released by the government in recent days show that an unprecedented 409,849 people were deported for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

The increase from the previous year occurred despite policy changes ordered by Obama to reduce the deportations of otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants.

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Literature
4:43 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Music Books Of 2012

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:55 am

In 2012, writers who tackled musical topics dove deep, got weird, burrowed into a niche; we joyfully followed them to depths we never would have expected when the year began. We devoured works of criticism, history, biography and the Zen of John Cage and Tony Bennett.

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National Security
4:29 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Hagel Would Be First Former Enlisted Soldier To Run Pentagon

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in Amman, Jordan, in 2008.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 11:20 am

Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is said to be on President Obama's short list to be the next defense secretary. But even the possibility of his nomination has stirred up opposition — particularly from members of his own political party.

If Hagel can survive a political ambush in Washington, he would be the first Pentagon chief who saw combat as an enlisted soldier.

The blunt-spoken Hagel favors deeper cuts in military spending and is wary of entangling America in long overseas missions.

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Movie Interviews
4:29 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

'White Christmas': A Concert With Rosemary Clooney

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Merry Christmas. Today we have something truly special, one of my favorite recordings in our archive. It's an onstage concert and interview with Rosemary Clooney, recorded in 1997, five years before her death. Christmas is a perfect time to listen back to this because she starred with Bing Crosby in the classic 1954 film "White Christmas."

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Literature
4:18 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

David Sedaris Reads From His 'Santaland Diaries'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:30 am

You might not expect "Santa's Helper" to be a career-altering gig, but for David Sedaris, it changed everything. The writer and humorist spent a season working at Macy's as a department store elf. He described his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in "The Santaland Diaries," an essay that he read on Morning Edition in 1992.

Instantly, a classic was born. Sedaris' reading has become an NPR holiday tradition. Click the "Listen" link above to hear Sedaris read his tale.

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Arts + Life
4:17 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

'Gangnam Style' And Other Best Memes Of 2012 Say Something About Us

That's a meme: President Obama and gymnast McKayla Maroney struck her "McKayla is not impressed" pose when members of the Olympics team visited the White House in November.
Pete Souza/The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:03 pm

  • Rachel Martin talks with Don Caldwell about 2012's best memes

No big surprise here:

"Gangnam Style" is the No. 1 meme of 2012, according to the memeologists at Know Your Meme.

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Health
4:09 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

UOK? 'Dystextia' Alerts Doctors To Neurological Problems

Doctors used a type of MRI test to look at the blood vessels in the brain of a woman with dystextia. The test confirmed she was suffering from a stroke on the right side of her brain
Archives of Neurology

A young, pregnant woman went for a routine doctor's visit to find out her due date. As she was leaving the office, she got a text message from her husband:

Husband: So what's the deal?

Wife: Every where thinging days nighing

Wife: Some is where!

Husband: What the hell does that mean?

Husband: You're not making any sense.

Turns out the woman was having a stroke. And her garbled texting — something doctors are now calling 'dystextia' — was an early clue to the problem.

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Business
3:51 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Detroit Three Look To Revive Their Luxury Brands

Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., stands next to the Lincoln MKZ. For the first time ever, Ford will promote the Lincoln brand during the Super Bowl.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 7:19 pm

GM, Ford and Chrysler are turning their focus to selling luxury cars — something they haven't succeeded at in decades. They're hoping that success in the competitive but lucrative luxury sector will signal that the U.S. auto industry's comeback is complete.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
3:51 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Pulling Together, Newtown Celebrates Holiday 'As Best We Can'

Mourners put decorations on a Christmas tree, part of a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Holiday greetings, toys and cards have flowed into the town, and some residents say the community feels closer-knit since the shooting.
Zhang Chuanshi Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:18 pm

The days leading up to Christmas are typically bustling in Newtown, Conn. But given the depth of grief in this community since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, preparations for the holiday began very late.

Local shopkeepers say Saturday was the first day many people came out for holiday shopping since the tragedy. Tamara Doherty, owner of the Wishing Well — a shop filled with local crafts, Christmas ornaments, pottery and potpourri — says her business is finally picking up.

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Food
3:51 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Christmas A Busy Season For Tamale-Makers

Tamales in Ofelio Crespo's home on Dec. 20.
Lauren Rock NPR

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:18 pm

For Christmas, Central and Mexican-American families don't crave a holiday turkey; they want a plate of steaming hot tamales.

Gustavo Arellano, author of the book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, says that to him, tamales are more than food. They transmit Latino culture during Christmas.

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NPR Story
3:33 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

No Breakthrough In Sight For Peaceful Transition In Syria

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:18 pm

Amid continued bloodshed in several parts of Syria, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held another round of talks with President Bashar Assad in Damascus. But there was no sign of progress toward a peace deal.

NPR Story
3:33 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Firefighters Trapped And Shot After Responding To Blaze

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:18 pm

Two firefighters died and two others were hospitalized in western New York on Monday. They were shot after responding to a fire in the town of Webster, outside Rochester. Police say the gunman is also dead, and they're not ruling out the possibility that the firefighters were led into a trap.

Music
3:22 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Another Year, Another 'Christmas With The Chipmunks'

The Chipmunks, left to right: Simon, Theodore, Alvin.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:37 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
3:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Whatever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album?

A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 2:38 pm

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

One Comment Says A Lot: Here's Why We're Grateful

Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

We want to say thank you.

Our colleague Kate Myers has been helping us look back on The Two-Way's year — the most popular posts, the most frequent commenters, the heaviest traffic days and other such measures. We'll share some of what she's found in coming days.

But something Kate just turned up strikes us as worth noting right away.

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Science + Technology
1:24 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Kenyan Women Create Their Own 'Geek Culture'

Kenyan Susan Oguya created an app to help farmers in her homeland. Shown here in the office of her company, M-Farm, she also belongs to the group Akirachix, which seeks to bring more Kenyan women into the tech world.
Gregory Warner

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:18 pm

When a collective of female computer programmers in Kenya needed a name for their ladies-only club, they took their inspiration from the Japanese cult film Akira.

"So akira is a Japanese word. It means energy and intelligence. And we are energetic and intelligent chicks," says Judith Owigar, the president of Akirachix.

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Food
1:17 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

A Moveable Feast: What Are You Leaving For Santa?

Aside from the traditional plate of cookies, some households planned to leave Santa gourmet surprises that would land most people on the naughty list at the local gym.
Larry Crowe AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 1:53 pm

Milk and cookies might be the traditional Santa offering on Christmas Eve, but in at least one household, St. Nicholas will be getting smoked salmon and scotch.

It's just one out-of-the-ordinary example we gleaned from a call out to fans of NPR's Facebook page. Many of them involved a different sort of Christmas "spirit" — the kind that could push Mr. Claus over the legal limit, at least during the U.S. leg of his annual aerial circumnavigation.

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