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10:31 am
Thu December 27, 2012

An Abundance Of Extreme Weather Has Many On Edge

A parking lot full of yellow taxis is flooded as a result of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 30 in Hoboken, N.J.
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:40 pm

Opinion polls show 2012's extreme weather — producing wildfires, floods and drought — has more people making a connection with climate change. For Marti Andrews in southern New Jersey, a turning point was the summer's hurricane-like derecho.

"I don't want to say I freaked out about it, but holy crap, it scared me," she says. It packed winds up to 90 miles per hour and nonstop lightning, which Andrews says looked like some wild disco display in the sky.

"I've never seen anything like that," she says. "I sat there on the couch thinking, 'Oh my God, we're all gonna die!' "

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World
9:59 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Gerard Depardieu's Tax Flight Stirs Fierce Debate In France

French actor Gerard Depardieu speaks outside Paris in March. He recently said he was moving to neighboring Belgium to avoid France's new top tax rate of 75 percent. The news ignited a debate in France over taxes and patriotism.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 6:02 pm

Gerard Depardieu, one of France's most iconic and beloved film stars, is now at the center of a national uproar over French taxes and patriotism.

Depardieu, who has been in around 200 films, says he's moving to Belgium to avoid paying a new 75 percent tax on the superwealthy. The move has divided the country and has focused attention on the Socialist government's controversial new tax policy.

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Woman Who Allegedly Posed As Newtown Victim's Aunt Is Arrested

After the attack: Balloons hung from the Sandy Hook Elementary School sign on Dec. 15. On Dec. 14, six adults and 20 children were killed there before the gunman took his own life.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

A woman who authorities say posed as an aunt of one of the 20 children killed in the attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and used a Facebook account to solicit money for a "funeral fund" has been arrested and charged with lying to federal agents.

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Shots - Health News
8:25 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Stores Recall 'Nap Nanny' After Feds Say It's A No-No

Nap Nanny Generation Two
CPSC

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 12:43 pm

The Consumer Products Safety Commission is fed up with the Nap Nanny.

Three models of the infant recliners — Nap Nanny Generations One and Two, and the Chill — are being recalled voluntarily by some of the nation's biggest retailers, including Amazon.com and Buy Buy Baby. Consumers can get refunds or credit toward another purchase.

The consumer agency says the recliners "contain defects in the design, warnings and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury and death to infants."

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Thu December 27, 2012

George Carlin, Van Halen & '27 Yankees Land On One Great 'Best Lists' List

George Carlin in 1981. The comedian's seven dirty words made the list of best lists.
Ken Howard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:54 am

We continue to be on the watch for the best of the year-end "best-of lists." This one from The New Yorker stands out in our mind:

"The Hundred Best Lists Of All Time."

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It's All Politics
7:14 am
Thu December 27, 2012

When It Comes To Politics, States Are Barely United

Rather than a wave moving in one party's favor, crosscurrents have moved the states apart. One political scientist says, "This hardly ever happens, where the blue states get bluer and the red states redder, instead of the whole country going in one direction."
martinwimmer iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:10 am

States in this country are becoming like an unhappy couple. They've always had their differences, but their arguments have gotten so chronic that they're hardly talking to each other.

Whether the topic is abortion, tax policy, marijuana or guns, Democratic "blue" states such as California and Illinois are bound to take a different tack than Republican "red" states such as Georgia and Kansas.

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Music
7:14 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Former PM Edward Seaga Heralds Jamaica's Music

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:33 am

Former prime minister and music producer, Edward Seaga, compiled an album to mark Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence. It's called, Reggae Golden Jubilee: Origins of Jamaican Music. Host Michel Martin speaks to Mr. Seaga about what he sees as the 100 most significant songs to emerge from the country.

Politics
7:10 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Poking Fun At Politics: A Year In Review

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. My thanks to Celeste Headlee for sitting in while I was away. Coming up, a new way to retire or keep a frail, aging loved one close. It's a new kind of prefab housing that you can set up in your back yard. We'll tell you more about it later in the program.

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On Aging
7:10 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Putting Granny Into A Pod

People hoping to provide care and independence for aging loved ones may want to consider the 'granny pod.' That's a high-tech cottage set up in your backyard. Host Michel Martin speaks to Socorrito Baez-Page, who bought one for her mother. Also with them is Susan Seliger, regular contributor to The New York Times' 'New Old Age' blog.

Race
6:42 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Census Bureau Rethinks The Best Way To Measure Race

A crowd crosses the street in midtown Manhattan.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Possible revisions to how the decennial census asks questions about race and ethnicity have raised concerns among some groups that any changes could reduce their population count and thus weaken their electoral clout.

The Census Bureau is considering numerous changes to the 2020 survey in an effort to improve the responses of minorities and more accurately classify Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and multiracial populations.

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Shots - Health News
5:39 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Random Acts Of Kindness Can Make Kids More Popular

A hug is good for Mom, and good for her daughter.
iStockphoto.com

In the aftermath of Christmas, a parent could be forgiven for thinking that materialism has trumped human kindness.

Take heart. Children can easily become kinder and more helpful. And that behavior makes them more positive, more accepting and more popular.

At least that's how it worked for fourth- and fifth-graders in Vancouver, Canada. Researchers there have been studying empathy and altruism in schoolchildren for decades.

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The Two-Way
5:38 am
Thu December 27, 2012

EPA Administrator Jackson Stepping Down

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is stepping down.

The Associated Press reports that:

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The Two-Way
5:15 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Consumer Confidence Dips; New Home Sales Rise

American consumers aren't feeling quite as confident this month as they were in November.

The widely watched Consumer Confidence Index from the private Conference Board declined to 65.1 in December from 71.5 the month before. It also fell slightly in November from October.

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The Salt
4:51 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Hospital Bids Bye-Bye To Big Macs, Others May Follow Suit

Visitors to one Kansas City hospital will no longer be able to buy a Big Mac on the premises.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:25 am

The McDonald's at the Truman Medical Centers' main campus in Kansas City, Mo., has closed, ending an epic, two-decade stint inside the hospital and making it the fifth health facility in the past few years to give the Big Mac the boot.

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The Two-Way
3:57 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Top Stories: Wintry Blast, 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks

Snow-covered roads in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Jeff Swensen Getty Images
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Latin America
3:04 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Maya Struggle With Poverty, Honoring Their Roots

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 4:11 am

The Mayan people of Mexico and Central America received quite a bit of attention this month thanks to a misinterpretation of their calendar. Word spread all over the globe that the ancient culture had predicted the world would end on Dec. 21.

The news attracted tens of thousands of tourists, who flocked to Mayan sites to await the prophecy. Since the world didn't end, the tourists went home. And now the modern-day Mayas go on with their lives marked by high rates of poverty and dependent on migration.

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The Two-Way
2:54 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Elder President Bush In Intensive Care

Former President George H.W. Bush in June.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images for HBO

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:07 am

Though he is reportedly alert and enjoying a "running banter" with his nurses, former President George H.W. Bush is in the intensive care unit at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

The Houston Chronicle writes that "Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, said the 88-year-old's fever rose on Wednesday, but doctors at Methodist Hospital report he is doing better than the day before. He was admitted to the ICU on Sunday."

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The Two-Way
2:21 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Wintry Weather Blasting Northeast On Its Way Out

Nathan Lee, 5, was using a "wovel" to move snow from his family's driveway earlier today in State College Pa.
Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:05 am

Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. More Deaths Reported:

The death toll from this week's massive winter storm that barreled across the nation from the West Coast and is now over New England has risen to at least 15, according to The Associated Press.

Among the latest fatalities to be reported: "A man and a woman in Evansville, Ind., were killed when the scooter they were riding went out of control on a snowy street Wednesday and they were hit by a pickup truck."

Our original post, from 7 a.m. ET:

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Around the Nation
1:56 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Restored Wedding Album Given To Sandy Victims

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Around the Nation
1:47 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Times Square Hosts Good Riddance Day

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Business
11:34 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 1:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, if you have BlackBerry at the bottom of the drawer, it turns out it's also at the bottom of the 2012 list of smartphone makers.

Our last word in business is: Bad Call.

The company that makes BlackBerry, Research in Motion, had only 5 percent of the global smartphone market in 2012. That was down from 11 percent the year before. That's according to the market research firm iSuppli. Also in the 5 percent club: Nokia and HTC.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Economy
11:34 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

5 Days Left To Avoid 'Fiscal Cliff" Extremes

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 12:06 am

President Obama returns to Washington Thursday as do members of the U.S. Senate. They're cutting holiday plans short in hopes of coming up with a deal to avoid the tax hikes and budget cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1.

Around the Nation
11:34 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Holiday Travelers Stranded By Severe Weather

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 12:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A series of rare December tornados flattening homes in the South added to the winter woes of millions of Americans from Texas to Maine. Faced with heavy snow, rains and high winds throughout, hundreds of flights have been canceled, leaving many holiday travelers stranded. NPR's Claudio Sanchez has this report.

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Digital Life
10:29 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

In Rapid-Fire 2012, Memes' Half-Life Fell To A Quarter

A screengrab from the "Kony 2012" online video about the Central African warlord Joseph Kony, which skyrocketed in popularity after its release in March. It was criticized, then forgotten, just as quickly.
via YouTube

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:34 pm

Last June, a young woman in Texas uploaded a Justin Bieber fan video. She seemed a little .... unhinged.

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Technology
10:28 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Music-Streaming Services Hunt For Paying Customers

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 3:58 am

2012 has been a strange year for content creators — authors, producers, musicians. It was a year when the very idea of physical ownership of a book or CD or even a song file became almost passe.

It was also the year in which music-streaming services like Spotify and Pandora launched major efforts to convince people to pay for something they didn't own. But it's been slow going.

Music-streaming services have been trying to win over two types of customers: a younger generation that doesn't buy at all and an older generation that still likes owning physical albums.

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Music Interviews
10:28 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Rye Rye Just Wants To Be 'Young And Playful'

Rye Rye.
Meeno Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 3:58 am

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Around the Nation
10:27 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Connecticut Left To Reconcile Tragedy With Its Proud Gun History

The Coltsville factory's blue dome has long been a landmark in Hartford, Conn. The Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company began building factories in the area in 1855.
Bob Child AP

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:05 am

Connecticut has suddenly become the epicenter of the nation's gun control debate in a way no one there could have foreseen. The Newtown school shootings have brought calls for restrictions on firearms, in the state that once led the world in creating modern weaponry.

If you drive past Hartford on the interstate, you'll see the blue onion dome high atop the factory that once was the Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. The gunmaker has long since left its Hartford factory, but it still makes guns nearby.

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Joe's Big Idea
10:26 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

The Quest For The Perfect Toothbrush

A drawing from Michael Davidson's 2012 patent for "Toothbrush And Method Of Using The Same."
Patent 8,108,962 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:34 pm

There are some consumer products where every year brings new innovations. Computers get faster, cellphones get lighter, cars get new bells and whistles.

It's easy to imagine why inventors are drawn to redesigning these products — the technology for making them is changing all the time.

But what about consumer products that have been around for a long time? For the toothbrush, the answer is a resounding yes.

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U.S.
10:26 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

For Veterans, The Wait For Disability Claims Grows Longer

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs began the year with a promise to cut wait times disability benefits claims. Instead, the backlog of pending claims has worsened.
Karen Bleier Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 9:46 am

Kevin English served three tours as a Marine in Iraq. When he came home to Arizona, he suffered from vicious headaches and neck pain that made it hard to keep a job. The worst day, he says, was when he found he couldn't lift a simple aluminum ladder.

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Economy
12:32 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

The Fed Boosts The Economy, But What About The Risks?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a news conference in Washington on Dec. 12. Some economists worry the Fed has set the stage for inflation as well as stock and housing bubbles by keeping interest rates low.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 2:24 pm

The Federal Reserve continued to keep its foot on the accelerator in 2012, using unusual tactics to try to boost economic growth. But there's disagreement among economists about whether the Fed's policies were effective or whether the risks to the economy outweighed the rewards.

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