5:43pm

Fri December 9, 2011
U.S.

Congress Won't Recess To Block Obama Appointments

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 6:45 am

The U.S. Capitol is seen above in 2009 as senators worked late into the night on legislation. The light signifying that Congress is in session may remain on this holiday season as well, since House Republicans have said they will remain in a pro-forma session.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked confirmation votes on two of President Obama's most high-profile nominees this week — one for a seat on a federal appeals court, the other to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Traditionally, the end-of-the-year holidays have allowed presidents to bypass Congress and give such thwarted nominees recess appointments. But an angry President Obama is quickly leaning that this might not be the case this year.

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5:38pm

Fri December 9, 2011
The Two-Way

Scientists Find Studying For Test To Become London Cabbie Enlarges Brain

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 5:42 pm

A taxi driver stands outside his cab in London, England.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

To become a cab driver in London, you have to acquire "The Knowledge," which is their fancy way of saying that you have to memorize all the streets in London. It's quite a process that takes most three to four years to complete.

Now, scientists have found that studying for the test makes your brain bigger. The U.K. Press Association reports:

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5:05pm

Fri December 9, 2011
The Salt

The Surprising Ingredient In Raw Cookie Dough That Could Make You Sick

So tempting, but don't do it. Raw cookie dough can indeed make you sick.
iStockPhoto.com

Cookie dough may be one of the joys of the holiday season, but it's dangerous, at least for people who nibble it raw.

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4:12pm

Fri December 9, 2011
Music Interviews

Classical Contemporaries Perform With A Ghost

Cellist Zuill Bailey and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian reanimate the late composer Manuel de Falla on The Spanish Masters.
Dario Acosta Photography / Lisa Marie Mazzucco

What's it like to perform with a ghost?

"There was no pianist breathing or cueing me," cellist Zuill Bailey says. "The good news is that he was very consistent." Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian adds, "It's absolutely true — it takes a little bit of adjusting."

Bailey and Bayrakdarian are talking about their accompanist: the late — very late — Manuel de Falla, who died in 1946. With the help of new recording technology, the two have performed de Falla's Seven Popular Spanish Songs for a new release, The Spanish Masters.

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3:59pm

Fri December 9, 2011
Music Interviews

A Jazz Pianist Gets His Big Break — At Age 85

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Boyd Lee Dunlop was discovered in a Buffalo nursing home, wrestling music from a dilapidated piano. His debut album is called Boyd's Blues.
Brendan Bannon

Back in the 1930s, Boyd Lee Dunlop taught himself to play music on a broken piano left out on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. Only half the keys worked.

He also taught his little brother Frank to play the drums while they were growing up. Frankie Dunlop went on to record with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, among other jazz greats. Boyd Lee Dunlop went to work in the steel mills and rail yards of Buffalo, occasionally playing piano at local clubs.

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3:51pm

Fri December 9, 2011
The Two-Way

Russian Government Says It Will Permit Massive Protest This Weekend

Riot police officers detain a man in a mask depicting Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during an opposition protest in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
Olga Maltseva AFP/Getty Images

In an unusual move, the Russian government announced today will allow the opposition to host a massive protest in Moscow this weekend.

RIA Novosti, the government's official English-language outlet, said the protesters will be allowed to remain the streets for four hours. RIA Novosti adds:

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3:44pm

Fri December 9, 2011
The Salt

When Smugglers Try To Transport Drugs In Cheese

Seven pounds of methamphetamine hidden into nacho cheese and jalapeno containers were seized by customs officials at the border crossing in San Ysidro, Calif. this week.
Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

There's a river of nacho cheese flowing north from Mexico to the United States. This week, a would-be drug smuggler thought 7 pounds of methamphetamine might go unnoticed in the stream.

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3:14pm

Fri December 9, 2011
The Two-Way

Netherlands Apologizes To Indonesia For 1947 Massacre

Indonesian widow Wanti Dodo, 93, whose husband Enap was killed during the 1947 massacre in Rawagede by Dutch troops.
Rome Gacad AFP/Getty Images

We were immediately struck by this picture:

It's of Wanti Dodo, 93, an Indonesian woman who lost her husband in a 1947 massacre. Dodo was in the audience in Rawagede, West Java when the Netherlands offered an official apology to Indonesia, today.

The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia Tjeerd de Zwaan apologized for the massacre that killed at least 150 boys and men. The Jakarta Globe provides a bit of history:

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3:00pm

Fri December 9, 2011
Technology

A Look At Mobile Technology Used In Retail

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Here's another challenge for traditional retailers. Companies like Amazon and eBay now offer apps for your Smartphone that take a lot of the legwork out of comparison-shopping. While you're in a store, just take a picture of an item or scan the barcode on the box. You'll find out where else to get it and you might even get an extra discount for buying it on the spot.

Stephen Hoch teaches marketing at the Wharton School of Business and consults for some retailers.

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3:00pm

Fri December 9, 2011
National Security

Questions Surround FBI Agent's Disappearance

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary. The family of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran, is appealing for his return.

DAVID LEVINSON: My name is David Levinson, and I'm speaking on behalf of my mother, Christine Levinson, and my entire family. Please tell us your demands so we can work together to bring my father home safely.

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