8:00am

Sun December 25, 2011
Iraq

Fears Renewed In Iraq With Wave Of Violence

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 9:44 am

After delivering mass, Monsignor Pius Kasha poses with security officials who are guarding the Syriac Catholic church in the Mansour neighborhood in Baghdad.
Sean Carberry NPR

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Christian Iraqis in Baghdad celebrated Christmas mass today with prayer and music.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONGREGATION SINGING)

CORNISH: This, one week after the last U.S. forces left Iraq for good - a withdrawal that has been followed by a week of bloodshed and political chaos. NPR's Sean Carberry joins us from Baghdad to talk about the latest. Good morning, Sean.

SEAN CARBERRY, BYLINE: Thanks, Audie.

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5:55am

Sun December 25, 2011
Around the Nation

Loose Moose Make Anchorage A Winter Wanderland

A moose catches some rare winter sun at reporter Annie Feidt's home in Anchorage. During the winter, about 1,500 moose roam the city.
Todd Salat

Anchorage, Alaska, probably has more wildlife within its borders than any other city in the world. Bears, lynx and king salmon all coexist with city dwellers — peacefully, for the most part — so it's no shock when the snow piles up in the mountains and hundreds of moose descend on the city each winter.

But learning to live with the quirky beasts takes some patience.

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5:54am

Sun December 25, 2011
Science

Trees In Trouble: Grim Future For Frankincense

Frankincense comes from the Boswellia sacra tree, which grows mainly in the Horn of Africa. The number of trees that produce the fragrant resin could decline by 90 percent in the next 50 years.
scott.zona flickr

The original Christmas presents were gold, frankincense and myrrh. That's what wise men brought to the baby Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew. Frankincense is still used today — for perfumes, incense and traditional medicines — but a new study suggests that its future looks grim.

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5:53am

Sun December 25, 2011
National Teachers Initiative

Peace Game Puts 'Weight Of The World' On Students

Julianne Swope, 11, says the World Peace Game taught her to be more compassionate. John Hunter invented the game to get his students thinking about major world problems.
StoryCorps

John Hunter's fourth-graders are remarkably successful at resolving world crises peacefully.

Hunter, 57, has been teaching for more than three decades. He wanted to get his students to think about major world issues, so he invented the World Peace Game. Students are divided into countries, and then given a series of global crises — natural disasters, political conflicts — that they have to solve.

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1:24am

Sun December 25, 2011
The News Tip On Weekend Edition Sunday

The News Tip: Takeaways From 2011

2011 was a year of intense and compelling news stories: from the Arab Spring, to the nuclear disaster in Japan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

It's often assumed that people bury their heads in frivolous news when hard news is too much to take. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik says that this year media consumers embraced the hard news.

"They were often transfixed by it," he tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish.

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6:00pm

Sat December 24, 2011
The Two-Way

At LAX, TSA Workers Sing Cheer Into Holiday Travel

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 8:20 am

TSA workers sing at Los Angeles International Airport in this screen grab from a USA Today video. The chorus dons Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.
USA Today

Turns out some of those dour security officers who make you take your shoes off at the airport have plenty of Christmas spirit. Travel isn't usually a highlight of the holidays, but at Los Angeles International Airport some of the Transportation Security Administration workers enjoy the season so much they sing.

True to its duties, the LAX TSA Chorus isn't joking. Its singers are actually TSA employees who don Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.

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5:14pm

Sat December 24, 2011
Business

Rapture Or Not, Promise To Care For Pets Stands

iStockphoto.com

Back in May, followers of Harold Camping were preparing for the coming rapture. For some, that preparation included someone to look after their pets.

At the time, animal lover Bart Centre, the creator of Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, had 259 clients whose pets he promised to look after in the event that they were raptured in the next 10 years. Those clients paid $135 for the first pet and $20 for each additional pet.

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3:14pm

Sat December 24, 2011
Author Interviews

A Jewish Perspective On The New Testament

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 5:15 pm

The New Testament is constantly being re-interpreted from a variety of perspectives. From feminists, to socialists, to traditionalists; there's even a version as seen through the prism of Star Wars.

Well now, you can add to the collection The Jewish Annotated New Testament by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler.

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3:00pm

Sat December 24, 2011
Asia

Stain Of Disaster Remains In Some Areas Of Japan

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 5:15 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Ten months ago, reporter Lucy Craft who's based in Tokyo was about to get the story of her career. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami left nearly 16,000 people dead, most of them in northern Japan. Here's a clip from her reporting on that day.

LUCY CRAFT: The scenes of horror playing out on national TV, scenes of biblical proportion, an entire town engulfed in flames. Hundreds of bodies discovered, victims of tsunami waves more than 30 feet high.

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3:00pm

Sat December 24, 2011
Movies

A Sunday Christmas Means A Change For Holiday Movies

The Christmas holidays always mean big money for Hollywood. The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is traditionally the biggest box-office week of the year. But this year something weird is going on: more movies are opening on Sunday instead of the traditional Friday. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with NPR's movie critic Bob Mondello about what this will mean for the holiday movie season.

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