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The Salt
8:12 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Norway Braces For A Christmas Without Butter

Because of a butter shortage, there will be fewer krumkake cookies eaten in Norway this Christmas.
iStockphoto.com

Christmas without cookies sounds like something the Grinch would dream up. But that may be the sad fate of many Norwegians, with a national butter shortage less than two weeks before the holiday. No krumkaker. No Berlinerkranser. No sandbakkel. In short, no delicious, butter-infused treats.

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Iraq
8:03 am
Wed December 14, 2011

As U.S. Departs, Iraq Faces An Uncertain Future

U.S. Army Lt. Adam Wilson from Ontario, Calif., shakes hands with Sheik Mahmood Al-Ghizzi, possibly for the last time, on Dec. 5 in Nasiriyah, Iraq. The two men met for a final lunch as the U.S. military prepares to leave Iraq after a nearly nine-year presence.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 7:35 am

As the last U.S. troops prepare to leave Iraq this month, what kind of country are they leaving behind?

Iraq's economy, the security system and the political structure are all functioning to varying degrees, yet all appear fragile.

No one expects Iraq to serve as a beacon of Jeffersonian democracy to the region or the world. The more relevant question at this point is how well it will function as a democracy, period.

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Music Reviews
7:57 am
Wed December 14, 2011

'Three Views' Of Trumpeter Dave Douglas

Dave Douglas' Three Views box set collects three very different quintet albums, featuring So Percussion, his Brass Esctasy band and a group featuring Ravi Coltrane and Vijay Iyer.
Zoran Orlic

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 12:18 pm

There's a nice contrast among the three quintets heard on Dave Douglas' Three Views, sketching out some of his interests. There's no overlapping repertoire or personnel. The Orange Afternoons session features the elastic rhythm trio of pianist Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh on bass and drummer Marcus Gilmore.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Hezbollah's Alleged Ties To South American Cocaine Trade Detailed

Hezbollah members listen to a speech by the group's leader, Â Hassan Nasrallah, via video-link in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Nov. 11, 2011.
Anwar Amro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 7:55 am

There are "new insights into the murky sources of Hezbollah's money," The New York Times reports this morning, that point to "the direct involvement of high-level Hezbollah officials in the South American cocaine trade."

Here's the story's money quote:

"One agent involved in the investigation compared Hezbollah to the Mafia, saying, 'They operate like the Gambinos on steroids.' "

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Terrorism Not Thought To Have Been Motivation Of Attacker In Belgium

Grieving: At a bus shelter that was shattered during Tuesday's grenade and gun attack in Liege, Belgium, people gathered today to express their sorrow and pay respects.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 6:28 am

While it still isn't clear why a man attacked a crowded square in Liege, Belgium, on Tuesday with grenades and gunfire, killing at least three people and injuring more than 120, authorities are saying that evidence indicates terrorism was not his motivation, according to The Associated Press and other news outlets.

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Best Books Of 2011
6:24 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Year-End Wrap-Up: The 10 Best Novels Of 2011

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

This was a terrific year for fiction and a particularly strong year for first-time novelists. Some of the literary debutantes who glide through this "10 best" list are so young, their wisdom teeth probably haven't had time to become impacted yet. Majestically bringing up the rear of the procession are some much-decorated veterans whose sustained achievements in fiction should ensure that the young 'uns don't rest too comfortably on their laurels.

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Wed December 14, 2011

'The Protester' Is 'Time' Magazine's Person Of The Year

Time magazine

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 6:04 am

"The protester" has been named Time magazine's person of the year, it was just announced on NBC-TV's The Today Show and on Time's website.

That covers, most notably of course, those who went to the streets in the Arab Spring movement that swept across much of North Africa and the Middle East.

But as Time writes, protesters have also had major impacts in Greece, Spain, the U.K. and — via the Occupy Wall Street movement — the United states.

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Around the Nation
5:24 am
Wed December 14, 2011

J.C. Penney Shopper Reunited With Lost $300

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. For a Montana woman who lost her Christmas shopping money in J.C. Penney, Black Friday sure looked like a bad deal. Carrie McNeese had stashed $300 in a plain envelope, along with a few receipts and her grandchildren's clothing sizes.

Those few clues, combined with a surveillance tape, helped Penney's loss-prevention supervisor identify the shopper who dropped the envelope, and reunite her with her cash. Now, that is a return policy.

Media
5:17 am
Wed December 14, 2011

'New York Times' Puts An End To Reoccurring Mistake

The paper wrote of horse-drawn carriages in New York's Central Park, calling them "hansom cabs." That's wrong, since the carriages have four wheels. Hansom cabs have two. A Times investigation reveals a reader noted this mistake in a letter to the editor in 1985. The paper published the letter but went on to repeat the error for decades.

World
5:01 am
Wed December 14, 2011

British Woman's South Pole Trek Could Set Record

Felicity Aston on her Antarctic trek.
Courtesy of Felicity Aston

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 4:52 pm

One hundred years ago Wednesday, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team were the first to reach the South Pole on skis. Veteran traveler Felicity Aston is nearing another first: becoming the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone.

Reached by NPR by satellite phone early Wednesday morning, Aston was about a degree and a half — 100 miles — from the South Pole. For Aston, a degree is about four days skiing. She's been skiing for 20 days. Overall, Aston will travel about 1,000 miles.

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Fate Of Payroll Tax Cut, Jobless Benefits Uncertain As Lawmakers Haggle

Outside the Capitol, there's goodwill. Inside, less so.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:17 am

A veto threat. Finger-pointing. The end of some jobless benefits.

We've been through all this before this year and we're going through it again as 2011 draws to a close.

As The Associated Press says:

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Europe
2:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

French Parliament Moves To Ban Prostitution

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:02 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the middle of a debt crisis and with a French presidential election looming, lawmakers from the left and right found something to agree on: prostitution. After years of taking a relaxed approach to prostitution, France may be about to outlaw the practice - not on the seller's part, but on the buyer's. Eleanor Beardsley has the story.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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Race
2:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Holder Vows To Enforce Civil Rights Protections

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Business
2:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Business News

Steve Inskeep has business news.

Europe
2:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Italian Lawmaker to Debate Strict Austerity Measures

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:02 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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Business
2:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

The Last Word In Business

As a publicity stunt, audio company Behringer has come out with an 8-foot wide by 4-foot high iPod docking station. It weighs 700 pounds and costs $30,000.

Afghanistan
2:00 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Defense Secretary Panetta In Afghan Capital Kabul

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Let's get a look, now, at two war-torn countries. One that Americans are leaving, and another that they would like to leave. One is Iraq whereas, we'll hear in a moment, departing U.S. troops leave behind some unresolved conflicts.

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Chompsgiving To Chew Year's: Holiday Dishes
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Christmas Eve, A Feast, Fry Pans And Seven Fishes

There is no set menu for the southern Italian Christmas Eve tradition called the Feast of the Seven Fishes — and no one seems to know why there are seven. Stumped about what to make for your own feast? Here, a dish for stuffed squid submitted as part of this series on holiday food traditions.
iStockphoto.com

The southern Italian Christmas Eve tradition known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes has become a tradition for Italian-American families as well.

Cindy Coddington, who grew up with the traditional meal in her family, remembers the day as a whirlwind of family and fry pans.

"Ours was fried shrimp, fried scallops, pan-fried smelts, calamari cut up in rings and fried. And I'll tell you after the holidays, you really couldn't stand the sight of any more fried food...for a while," Coddington says.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

When It Comes To Marriage, Many More Say 'I Don't'

Marriage — it's so last century. A new report finds that the share of all U.S. adults who are married has dropped to its lowest on record.
iStockphoto.com

The share of all U.S. adults who are married has dropped to a record low 51 percent, according to a new report. If the trend continues, the institution will soon lose its majority status in American life.

The report being released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center finds new marriages dropped a sharp 5 percent last year, which is very likely related to the bad economy. Pew senior writer D'Vera Cohn says it fits with a larger trend.

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Business
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Kodak Shifts Focus, Zooms In On Commercial Printing

This camera was for sale in Australia when Kodak announced that it would close its Melbourne manufacturing plant in 2004 due to a rise in digital photography. A decline in the sale of digital cameras has caused the company to again shift focus, this time towards commercial printing.
Robert Cianflone Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 7:42 am

The photography pioneer Kodak has been dogged by bankruptcy rumors, its stock has tumbled, and its cash reserves have shrunk. But the company says it expects a strong fourth quarter as it fights toward profitability in 2012.

"I grew up in a Kodak family — aunts, uncles, father, brother-in-law," says Linda Nau. Her connection to the company is similar to that of a lot of native Rochesterians. Nau herself even worked at Kodak.

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Africa
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

African Migrants Caught In Brutal Libyan Limbo

A Libyan security guard stands next to African immigrants in the port of Tripoli on Dec. 5, 2011, after authorities foiled their attempt to illegally immigrate to Europe. Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans have been stranded or imprisoned in Libya, suspected of being mercenaries for former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:02 am

Thousands of sub-Saharan Africans are either stranded or imprisoned in Libya in the wake of the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi — and they haven't been having an easy time. Many have been detained and abused, accused of being mercenaries in Gadhafi's army.

On a recent day at the military airport in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, a Libyan fighter lines up 115 Nigerians to be deported.

More than ready to leave, the women and men gather their meager belongings.

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Iraq
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Tensions Feared As U.S. Leaves Disputed Iraqi City

Iraqi soldiers take part in a graduation parade in Kirkuk on Monday. The oil-rich city is a mix of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and others. Its future status is a source of tension within Iraq.
Marwan Ibrahim AFP/Getty Images

As American troops leave Iraq, the one place in the country that's most likely to erupt into violence, at least in the short term, is the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The city is a complicated ethnic mix of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and others. The question of whether it belongs to the autonomous Kurdish region in the north or to the Arab-dominated central government of Baghdad has long been a point of contention.

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Asia
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

And You Thought The Tiger Mother Was Tough

Wolf Dad XiaoBaiyou at home, where he drew up more than a thousand rules for his kids. Any transgression earned the kids a beating with a feather duster, either on the legs or on the palm of the hand.
Louisa Lim NPR

Tiger Mother Amy Chua, the super-strict Chinese-American disciplinarian, became an overnight sensation in the U.S. this year when she wrote about her tough parenting style. But she looks like a pussy cat next to her mainland Chinese equivalent, "Wolf Dad" Xiao Baiyou.

Xiao is the latest media sensation in China — a father who not just beat his son and three daughters, but boasts about how he did it.

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Education
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Florida Charter Schools Failing Disabled Students

Tres Whitlock types on the DynaVox tablet that serves as his voice. Whitlock, 17, has cerebral palsy and can't speak on his own. He is trying to enroll in a Hillsborough County charter school, but has yet to enroll because of concerns about the therapy and services he needs.
John O'Connor StateImpact Florida

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 10:33 am

Tres Whitlock is stuck in a public school where he feels ignored. He wants out.

The 17-year-old would-be video game designer researched his options online and found his perfect match: Pivot Charter School.

"It's computer-based, and I think I will do better," he says.

But when Whitlock tried to enroll in the school, he found a series of barriers in his way. The reason? He has cerebral palsy, and school officials say they don't have anyone to take Whitlock to the bathroom.

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Newt Gingrich
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

On The Hill, Gingrich Made Friends And Enemies

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 1:59 am

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is new to his front-runner status, but he's hardly new to Washington.

He has spent decades weaving relationships in and around government — starting with his successful campaign to win the House majority back in the early 1990s. Some of his most ardent supporters now worked with him back then — but some of his angriest opponents did, too.

'He's A Quality Guy'

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Mitt Romney
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

As Governor, Romney Balanced Budget By Hiking Fees

When it comes to taxes, the field of Republican presidential candidates is unified: Keep them low and certainly don't raise them.

In both his runs for the White House, Mitt Romney has hewed to this Republican line. But whether he cut or actually raised taxes as governor of Massachusetts is a subject for debate.

All politicians like to talk about cutting taxes. But at the state level during tough economic times, many end up cutting spending while raising taxes because they have to balance their budgets.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

New Gary, Ind., Mayor Has A Big Job Ahead Of Her

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:02 am

Gary, Ind., is among the most troubled cities in the Midwest, but some residents are starting to feel a bit more optimistic.

That's because they've just elected a new mayor with an Ivy League pedigree and some big ideas. Her name is Karen Freeman-Wilson and when she's sworn in at the beginning of the new year, she'll become the first African-American female mayor in the history of the state of Indiana.

But Freeman-Wilson isn't interested in the symbolism. She says her first job will be to promote Gary.

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Sweetness And Light
8:00 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Look, Ma, I'm In The End Zone!

Even In Canada: During the CFL's Grey Cup title game in November, Arland Bruce (1) and Andrew Harris of the BC Lions choreographed their moves to celebrate a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Vancouver.
Jeff Vinnick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 8:39 am

Hear ye, hear ye: The court of public opinion will now come to order in the class-action suit by disturbed football fans against dopey football players who act like imbeciles in the end zone after scoring a touchdown.

Your honor, the plaintiffs call to the stand a man of great taste, good manners and exquisite judgment –– namely, me.

What is this?

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Presidential Race
4:48 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

As Caucuses Loom, Iowans Bemoan Lack of Face Time

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks Tuesday at the Lincoln Cafe in Belle Plaine, Iowa. Among GOP candidates, Santorum had the state to himself on Tuesday.
Chris Carlson Associated Press

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 9:38 pm

The Iowa caucuses — the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating season — take place in three weeks. That means there's precious little time for candidates to make their case and close the deal with Hawkeye State Republicans.

But candidates were tough to find in Iowa on Tuesday. Only former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — a big underdog in the race — was there. In fact, many Iowans note that this year candidates have spent fewer hours in the state than before recent presidential caucuses.

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