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Law
5:52 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Supreme Court Takes Up Same-Sex-Marriage Cases

Edith Windsor, 83, is asking the Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. When Windsor's female spouse died, the federal government, acting under DOMA, required Windsor to pay estate taxes that she would not have owed if her spouse had been a man.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday that for the first time it will tackle the issue of same-sex marriage. Defying most expectations, the justices said they will examine two cases, presenting the possibility that the court could decide all the basic issues surrounding same-sex marriage in one fell swoop.

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Around the Nation
5:49 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

More Teachers 'Flipping' The School Day Upside Down

High school sophomore Jessica Miller watches her chemistry teacher's lectures on an iPad. Class time is used for working through problems and quizzes, rather than lecturing.
Grace Hood KUNC

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 9:12 am

Welcome to the 21st century classroom: a world where students watch lectures at home — and do homework at school. It's called classroom flipping, and it's slowly catching on in schools around the country.

When Jessica Miller, a high school sophomore in rural Bennett, Colo., sits down to do her chemistry homework, she pulls out her notebook. Then she turns on an iPad to watch a video podcast. Whenever the instructor changes the slide, Miller pauses the video and writes down everything on the screen.

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Europe
5:49 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Nurse Who Took Prank Call At U.K. Hospital Is Dead

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

A nurse at a London hospital who took a hoax call about Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge was found dead on Friday. Jacintha Saldhana let through a call from an Australian radio station purporting to be the Queen calling about the ailing Duchess.

The Two-Way
5:44 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Damascus Airport Becomes A Target In Syria's War

Syrian rebels say they now consider the Damascus International Airport to be part of the battle zone in their fight against Syria's government. Here, a U.N. vehicle is unloaded at the airport on May 12.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:00 pm

Syrian rebels declared the Damascus International Airport a "military zone" on Friday as part of their push to seize important symbolic and strategic locations held by President Bashar Assad's government.

Rebels say the airport is a camp for Syrian government soldiers and is the main transit point for weaponry believed to be supplied by Russia and Iran.

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Environment
5:17 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

At Doha Climate Talks, Modest Results At Best

Delegates attend the last day of the U.N. climate talks in Doha, Qatar, on Friday. U.N. climate negotiators locked horns on the final day of talks in Doha to halt the march of global warming, deeply divided on extending the greenhouse gas-curbing Kyoto Protocol and funding for poor countries.
Karim Jaafar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

United Nations climate talks ran into overtime on Friday night, as diplomats pressed for whatever small advantage they could achieve.

As usual, the talks, which are being held in Doha, Qatar, involve closely interwoven issues. They include the usual wrangling over money, as well as early efforts in a multiyear process that is supposed to result in a new climate treaty.

Part of that involves finding a graceful way to phase out the Kyoto treaty, which has not proved to be a successful strategy for dealing with a warming planet.

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History
4:39 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Company Auctions Off Letters From Freud, Van Gogh

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In the age of text messages, Twitter and Gchat, it's easy to consider the art of letter writing a lost one. But if you've got money to spare, why not lose yourself in the words of someone famous - like artist Vincent Van Gogh?

JOSEPH MADDALENA: (Reading) I myself believe that the annoyances one experiences in the ordinary routine of life do as much good as bad. The thing that makes on fall ill, overcome by discouragement today, that same thing gives us the energy, once the illness is over, to get up and walk to discover the next day.

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Around the Nation
4:36 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Unemployment Falls To Lowest Rate In Four Years

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in November, that's the lowest it's been in four years. The Labor Department's latest jobs report released this morning showed employers added more jobs than expected.

But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, economists warn these new numbers aren't what they appear to be.

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U.S.
4:24 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

School District Owes $1 Billion On $100 Million Loan

Students leave Miramonte Elementary, in the Clovis Unified School District in Los Angeles. School districts across California have taken out loans requiring payments that far exceed the original loan amounts.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:10 pm

More than 200 school districts across California are taking a second look at the high price of the debt they've taken on using risky financial arrangements. Collectively, the districts have borrowed billions in loans that defer payments for years — leaving many districts owing far more than they borrowed.

In 2010, officials at the West Contra Costa School District, just east of San Francisco, were in a bind. The district needed $2.5 million to help secure a federally subsidized $25 million loan to build a badly needed elementary school.

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Movies
4:24 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Hollywood Heights: The Ups, Downs And In-Betweens

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise at the Writer's Guild Awards in Beverly Hills in 1998.
Ron Wolfson Landov

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

Hollywood can make any actor look imposing by shooting from a low angle or building sets with short door frames. But the fact is that we want our heroes big and our villains bigger, and the average male actor is about the same size as the average American male — roughly 5 foot 9 1/2. And some very "big" stars have been a good deal less than that.

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Music
4:24 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Lianne La Havas On World Cafe

Lianne La Havas.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 5:33 pm

Lianne La Havas has toured with Bon Iver, sung with Willy Mason and recorded her debut album with producer Matt Hales, better known as Aqualung. More than most, she can attest to the benefits of knowing the right people, but La Havas also has heaps of talent on her side.

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The Two-Way
4:15 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Winning Ticket Submitted For Second Half Of Powerball Jackpot

The remaining winner of the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot has come forward to claim their share of the prize, according to lottery officials in Arizona, where the winning ticket was sold, according to ABC 15 TV in Phoenix.

The Nov. 28 drawing produced two winning tickets: one in Arizona, and one in Missouri, where Cindy and Mark Hill have already claimed their share of the prize.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Supreme Court Will Review Two Gay Marriage Cases In 2013

Same-sex marriage proponent Kat McGuckin of Oaklyn, N.J., holds a gay marriage pride flag in front of the Supreme Court Nov. 30, 2012. The court says it will review two cases related to same-sex marriage in 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:05 pm

The Supreme Court has decided to take up cases involving California's Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, and a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The justices' rulings on the cases are likely to be announced next June, after arguments are heard in the spring. Advocates on both sides of the issue were welcoming the news.

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Shots - Health News
3:35 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Unusually Early Flu Season Intensifies

The number of states experiencing widespread flu doubled in the past week.
CDC

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 4:07 pm

This year's unusually early flu season is continuing to intensify, federal health officials say.

The number of states now reporting widespread flu activity doubled to eight in the past week, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's.

Last week Alaska, Mississippi, New York and South Carolina were reporting widespread flu. Now, Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island have joined the list.

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News
3:14 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Black, Latino Groups: It's Our Turn, Mr. President

The National Urban League's Marc Morial (center) joins other civic leaders speaking outside the White House after they met with President Obama last month.
Toby Jorrin AFP/Getty Images

After African-American and Latino voters turned out in record numbers to reelect President Obama, leaders for both groups are turning up the pressure on him to return the favor.

They say that minorities, who put aside their disappointments with Obama's first term to support him again, now expect the president to spend his political capital on policies that will help their communities begin to recover from the recession. In the post-election euphoria, some leaders claim, certain voters are saying, "It's our turn."

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The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

'Jet' Magazine Features Its First Gay Male Couple

Photo from Jet's wedding section.
Via GLAAD

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 3:51 pm

Many African-Americans are buzzing about the latest edition of Jet magazine, which for the first time features a gay male couple in its popular section for wedding announcements.

The magazine's Dec. 10 issue display of Ravi Perry and Paris Prince, who held their wedding ceremony in their backyard in Worcester, Mass., is being praised by LGBT activists and some readers as a societal breakthrough given the magazine's reputation for reflecting traditional black cultural mores for 61 years.

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It's All Politics
2:54 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Most Expensive Presidential Campaign Ended In Sprint To Spend

Competing yard signs near Evans City, Pa., four days before the election. The campaigns of President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney each raised more than $1 billion during the race.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 4:07 pm

A campaign marked by money, fundraisers (including the infamous one that produced Mitt Romney's "47 percent" moment) and superPACs finished with spending sprees across the board.

The Washington Post noted "manic activity" in the final days of the presidential race, and sums up the numbers:

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Best Books Of 2012
2:48 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

A Wintry Mix: Alan Cheuse Selects The Season's Best

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:50 pm

It's that time of year again — the leaves have fallen, the dark comes early, the air brings with it a certain chill — and I've been piling up books on my reading table, books I've culled from the offerings of the past few months, which because of their essential lyric beauty and power stand as special gifts for you and yours.

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It's All Politics
2:42 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Who's Behind The Fiscal Cliff Lobbying Effort?

As the White House and Congress continue to wrangle over a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" and its billions in automatic spending cuts and tax increases, we wanted to take a look at who is spending big to influence the debate behind the scenes.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Mystery On Fifth Avenue: A Constant Line Outside Abercrombie & Fitch

A model at the front entrance to the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:34 pm

Every day I walk down Fifth Avenue on my way to work. I pass glittering holiday store windows, the Salvation Army ringing its bells and the sparkling tree at Rockefeller Center.

But for months I've noticed a mystery: Only one store has huge lines outside before it opens: Abercrombie & Fitch.

Perhaps 90 people stand on line every day before opening, rain or shine. It's been going on for years and not just during this season.

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All Tech Considered
2:27 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Big Brother Is In Your Pocket (But You Get A Discount)

Care To Share? Wireless carriers are launching programs allowing customers to receive rewards based on information their smartphones share — such as their location, app usage and Web surfing data.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Customer loyalty programs have been around for years. You think nothing of giving the supermarket or pet supply store your personal information. In exchange you get a card or a key ring tag that you present at checkout to get a discount.

Now wireless carriers are taking it a step further, raising alerts from privacy advocates.

Verizon and AT&T recently launched programs allowing customers to receive rewards based on information their smartphones share with the carriers.

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