Thu December 22, 2011

'Twas The Busiest Week All Year For Shipping

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:36 pm

Bill Ferguson, a courier for FedEx, loads his truck at a sorting facility in Chicago on Dec. 12 — the company's busiest day in its history.
M. Spencer Green AP

This week marks the busiest time of the year for shipping services like UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service. The post office handled 600 million cards and letters alone on Tuesday, and UPS says it is delivering 300 packages per second, on average.

At one FedEx facility in Washington, D.C., the logistics of last-minute shipping are on full display.

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Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

NORAD's Santa Tracker Switches On Saturday

They'll see him when he's flying.

Assuming his elves haven't come up with some sort of stealth technology to cloak his movements, it's almost time again for children of all ages (who have access to computers or smart phones, that is) to follow the jolly guy's travels via the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa tracker.

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Thu December 22, 2011
It's All Politics

In New Hampshire, Romney Aims For Common Touch, With Mixed Results

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 4:10 pm

Romney pumped his own gas at a stop on his bus tour.
Ari Shapiro NPR

As he continued his bus tour on Thursday, Mitt Romney may have been hoping to connect with regular folks. At a service station in Randolph, N.H., he pumped the gas himself.

But voters weren't necessarily buying his 'just folks' demeanor. When he joked with a woman at the service station about buying a classic car her family owns, she asked, "$10,000?" — an echo of his unfortunate bet with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a recent debate.

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Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Bradley Manning's Hearing In WikiLeaks Case Concludes

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 3:27 pm

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, left, is escorted from a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on Thursday.
Patrick Semansky AP

The military hearing to decide whether Pfc. Bradley Manning, 24, will face a court-martial has come to an end in Fort Meade, Md. As the AP reports, during the hearing a military prosecutor argued that Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, had "defied the nation's trust" by allegedly leaking 700,000 documents, including tens of thousands of classified diplomatic cables, to the website WikiLeaks.

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Thu December 22, 2011

Pentagon: U.S., Pakistan Share Blame In Shooting

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:36 pm

Pentagon spokesman George Little, speaking Thursday, said U.S. and Pakistani forces both made mistakes that contributed to the Nov. 26 shooting that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers along the border with Afghanistan.
Luis M. Alvarez AP

The U.S. military said Thursday that U.S. and Pakistani forces both made mistakes in a U.S. helicopter attack that killed two dozen Pakistani troops in November along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The Pentagon released the findings of its investigation that said a lack of trust, miscommunication and faulty map information all contributed to the shooting.

"For the loss of life and lack of coordination between U.S. and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses, we express our deepest regret," said Pentagon spokesman George Little.

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Thu December 22, 2011

Get Into The Holiday Spirit With Scandinavian Glogg


In snowy Norway, nothing evokes Christmastime like a pot of glogg brewing on the stove. The traditional Scandinavian winter drink mixes wine, port and brandy with spices like caraway, cardamom and cinnamon to make for a brew that smells divine and tastes even better.

Urd Milbury, cultural attache from the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and her husband, Todd, teach NPR's Lynn Neary how to make the holiday treat.

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Thu December 22, 2011
Brain Candy

At Year's End, Reflecting On Cycles In Modern Life



Today, we mark the winter solstice, in three days, one of the major holidays of the religious calendar, followed by an entirely arbitrary start of the New Year. All of us observe cycles, patterns that regulate our lives from season to season, or Olympiad to Olympiad, or the return of the 17-year cicadas. Some, like the solstice, are dictated by celestial mechanics. Others - well, we've simply invented: spring cleaning, for example, or spring training. What's the cycle you live your life by?

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Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Because Of Somali Pirates, Ocean Racers Are In A 'Stealth Zone'

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 2:08 pm

The Groupama Sailing Team (shown here on Dec. 10 near Cape Town, South Africa) is somewhere out ahead in the "stealth zone."
Volvo Ocean Race Getty Images


Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

North Korea: 'Peculiar Natural Wonders' Reported In Tribute To 'Dear Leader'

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 2:10 pm

This handout picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 21 shows members of the Korean People's Army crying for late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang.
KNS AFP/Getty Images

As we've reported before, North Korea's state news agency is fond of assigning supernatural occurrences to their Dear Leader. Over the past two days, the news agency has published an array of stories about Kim Jong Il's death. But late yesterday and today, they are revealing that "peculiar natural wonders" occurred just as Kim died.

Here's the news via the Korean News Service in Japan:

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Thu December 22, 2011
Holiday Music

Some Christmas Tunes From Rebecca Kilgore And Pals

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 11:24 am

This interview was originally broadcast on December 19, 2005.

In time for the holidays, Fresh Air presents an in-studio concert. Singer Rebecca Kilgore, trombonist Dan Barrett and pianist Rossano Sportiello played at the NOLA studios in Manhattan.

Kilgore is one of the leading interpreters of American songs. She became known for her work with pianist and composer Dave Frishberg.

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