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8:15am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Kim Jong Un's Ascension Is 'Being Cemented For Him'

A screen shot from North Korean TV foottage shows Kim Jong Il's body lying in a glass coffin in Pyongyang.
AFP/Getty Images

The body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is now lying in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang — enclosed in a glass coffin and surrounded by flowers. He died Saturday and the period of mourning is set to continue until well into next week.

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8:11am

Tue December 20, 2011
Sports

Power Outage Delays Start Of Monday Night Football

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 8:14 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. If you were ready for some football last night, too bad. The aptly named Candlestick Park in San Francisco lost electricity twice, causing a Monday Night Football lighting malfunction. The game started 20 minutes late due to darkness. The second-quarter blackout lasted almost as long.

Suspended Steeler James Harrison Tweeted: If I can't play, can't nobody play. Lights out. When the lights came on, the '49ers won. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

8:06am

Tue December 20, 2011
World

Airline To Let Passengers Pick Seatmates

The misery of holiday flying can be made even worse by who you end up sitting next to. So KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is unveiling a new feature allowing flyers to link up their social media profiles during check-in then pick a flying buddy from other passenger profiles.

7:49am

Tue December 20, 2011
Remembrances

Jazz Musician Bob Brookmeyer Dies At 81

Bob Brookmeyer began his career in the 1950s. From the beginning, Brookmeyer was credited with a highly distinctive personal style — first as an improviser, then as a composer and arranger for big-band jazz. And his primary instrument is one that's rarely heard — the valve trombone — instead of a slide.

7:42am

Tue December 20, 2011
Europe

France, Britain Fight To Keep AAA Ratings

An economic war of words has broken out between France and Britain as both nations try to hang on to their coveted AAA ratings. There is speculation that France will be downgraded soon. Meanwhile, the head of France's central bank suggested that rating agencies might want to take a closer look at Britain.

7:37am

Tue December 20, 2011
Iraq

Arrest Warrant Issue For Iraq's Vice President

Just days after the final withdrawal of U.S. troops, Iraq is in the midst of a growing political crisis. Aides to Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki say one of his main rivals, ordered attacks on Shiite politicians.

7:30am

Tue December 20, 2011
Food

Menudo: Spicy Red Chili Broth, A Christmas Tradition

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 9:09 am

Morning Edition asked listeners to write in about a dish they only make during the holiday season. Monica Bencomo of Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote in to tell us about her favorite holiday dish: menudo, a red chili-based soup that her mother makes almost every December.

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7:30am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Blizzard Pounds Great Plains, Northeast May See White Christmas

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 7:34 am

It's slick out there: The scene Monday along U.S. 550 near Rio Rancho, N.M.
Susan Montoya Bryan AP

Stranded motorists. Closed highways. Packed hotels.

It's winter and the Great Plains has gotten walloped:

"From northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle through Oklahoma and northwestern Kansas," The Associated Press writes, "blizzard conditions [on Monday and into today] put state road crews on alert and had motorists taking refuge and early exits off major roads."

Some reports from the stricken states:

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7:16am

Tue December 20, 2011
Business

Portland Micro-Brewer Introduces Chanukah Beer

During the holidays, beer manufacturers roll out seasonal brews. And now, in addition to Ebenezer Ale and Santa's Private Reserve, there's a relative newcomer for Chanukah: a chocolate rye porter from a micro-brewer in Portland, Oregon.

7:06am

Tue December 20, 2011
Politics

Why Mitt Romney's Dog Is Getting A Lot Of Press

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 11:30 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

New York Times columnist Gail Collins feasts on the foibles of elected officials, with a lively take on politicians past and present. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, this election season, Collins has brought a laser-like focus to a shaggy dog story with a political tie.

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6:52am

Tue December 20, 2011
Asia

Anger Spreads Over Chinese Government Land Grabs

As residents of the Chinese village of Wukan continue their rebellion against local government land seizures, NPR is uncovering evidence of the scale of the problem. Many villages around Wukan — which has been sealed off by police and paramilitary troops — also accuse corrupt officials of selling off their land.

4:00am

Tue December 20, 2011
Asia

North Koreans Honor Late Leader Kim Jong Il

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 8:14 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The body of North Korea's late leader Kim Jong Il lies in state today in a glass coffin in the capital, Pyongyang. In the three days since his death, little has emerged about what's next in North Korea, other than a state funeral has been set for next week.

Governments around the region are monitoring for signs of instability, and they're also debating how to respond to the events.

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4:00am

Tue December 20, 2011
Business

Business News

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 8:14 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a mobile phone patent wars.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Smartphone makers have filed dozens of lawsuits against one another for patent infringement. Yesterday, a federal agency handed Apple a limited victory in a closely watched case. It's one of the first of many mobile patent disputes to be decided.

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4:00am

Tue December 20, 2011
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 8:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Perhaps after you'd had a few glasses of holiday brew, this next item will look better. Our last word in business is: Ugly Christmas Sweater.

While searching for a way to help her kids pay for college, Anne Marie Blackman spotted a trend she thought she might capitalize on: The holiday-themed sweaters she found online, they didn't seem ugly enough. So, she started My Ugly Christmas Sweater, Inc. for people hoping to win a prize cheese wheel for the scariest holiday sweater at a party.

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4:00am

Tue December 20, 2011
Election 2012

Gingrich Holds Iowa Town Hall Meeting

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is accusing his Republican opponents of what he says is reprehensible behavior — running attack ads in Iowa against the former House Speaker. Before a crowd of supporters in Hiawatha, Iowa, Gingrich stressed that the negative GOP attack ads are bad for the party and bad for voters.

12:01am

Tue December 20, 2011
Asia

India's Techies Angered Over Internet Censorship Plan

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 1:20 pm

An activist of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena hold placards and roses outside the residence of Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi.
Sajjad Hussain AFP/Getty Images

India has the world's largest democracy, and one of the most rambunctious. Millions of its young people are cutting edge when it comes to high-tech.

Yet the country is still very conservative by Western standards, and a government minister recently said that offensive material on the web should be removed.

The way it was reported in India, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal started the whole row by assembling the heads of social networking sites at a meeting in his office in New Delhi.

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12:01am

Tue December 20, 2011
Africa

New Law Aims To Shine Light On Conflict Metals

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 8:14 am

Workers dig at a mine in Chudja, near Bunia, north eastern Congo. The conflict in the Congo, a nation rich in mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, tin, and cobalt, has often been linked to a struggle for control over its minerals resources.
Lionel Healing AFP/Getty Images

Delly Mawazo Sesete wants American consumers to know what is in their smart phones, computers and other electronics and where U.S. companies like Apple are getting those rare metals.

Sesete says that, without knowing, consumers in the U.S. could be fueling conflicts in Eastern Congo. The human rights activist is from a remote part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where armed groups are wreaking havoc and get much of their funding from mining rare metals.

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12:01am

Tue December 20, 2011
Religion

Vatican Declares Boy's Recovery A 'Miracle'

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 11:57 am

Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR

In February 2006, 5-year-old Jake Finkbonner fell and hit his head while playing basketball at his school in Ferndale, Wash. Soon, he developed a fever and his head swelled. His mother, Elsa, rushed him to Seattle Children's Hospital, where the doctors realized Jake was battling a flesh-eating bacterium called Strep A.

"It traveled all around his face, his scalp, his neck, his chest," she recalls, "and why it didn't travel to his brain or his eyeballs or his heart? He was protected."

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12:01am

Tue December 20, 2011
Violence At California's Psychiatric Hospitals

In Calif. Mental Hospitals, Assaults Rarely A Crime

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 2:16 pm

Metropolitan State Hospital employees and supporters gathered outside the hospital in Norwalk, Calif., this summer to protest repeated assaults at the hands of mental patients, and what they called dangerous working conditions.
Nick Ut AP

Part of an ongoing series

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12:01am

Tue December 20, 2011
Movies

From Bond To Blomkvist: Daniel Craig's Next Big Role

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 11:30 am

Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist who teams up with the title character in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is the second iconic character that actor Daniel Craig (right, with Christopher Plummer) has tackled in the space of a half-decade.
Sony/Columbia

Actor Daniel Craig is used to taking on iconic characters. In 2006, he famously shook up the 007 franchise as a new, blond James Bond. And his latest on-screen character, though he has somewhat less swagger and not nearly as much style, is almost as well-known.

In David Fincher's film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Craig plays investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, the leading man in a trio of thrillers by Swedish author Stieg Larsson that has sold 65 million copies worldwide.

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12:01am

Tue December 20, 2011
Music

Two Takes On Christmas Music: Sweet And Sour

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 12:04 pm

Bob Dorough circa 1960.
Jon Sievert Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

What do you get when one of the songwriters behind a beloved children's program and a champion of challenging new music each approach Christmas songs in their own ways?

Not what you might expect.

Saxophonist, composer and MacArthur "genius" John Zorn is also a record producer who runs his own label, Tzadik — the Hebrew word for "righteous one." The top of the label's website reads:

Tzadik is dedicated to releasing the best in avant-garde and experimental music.

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6:10pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Presidential Race

Despite Spate Of Negative Ads, Gingrich Stays Positive

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 7:44 pm

Newt Gingrich speaks Monday at Global Security Services in Davenport, Iowa. Despite falling poll numbers, Gingrich says he will avoid negative campaigning.
Chris Carlson Associated Press

6:05pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Two-Way

As Crackdown Continues, Syria Agrees To Arab League Observers

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:09 pm

A boy stands in a water fountain as he holds up the Syrian national flag during a rally in Damascus, Syria.
Muzaffar Salman AP

Today, Syria signed an agreement that would allow Arab League observers into the country. It's all in a bid to end its isolation and the nine-month standoff between the government of President Bashar Assad and protesters who are demanding his ouster.

The Guardian reports:

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6:04pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Movie Interviews

From Meryl To Margaret: Becoming 'The Iron Lady'

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:54 pm

Meryl Streep stars as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady.
The Weinstein Co.

Margaret Thatcher's policies as British prime minister earned her the nickname "The Iron Lady," and now that's also the title of a new film about her life.

Thatcher was famously tough on British labor unions, IRA hunger strikers, the Soviet Union and the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. So in the film, when visiting U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig questions Thatcher's knowledge of war, the then-prime minister's response is predictably unyielding.

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6:03pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Business

AT&T Drops T-Mobile Bid

AT&T shuttered proposed plans to buy T-Mobile. For more, Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Joel Rose.

5:35pm

Mon December 19, 2011
North Korea In Transition

How Will A New Leader Handle North Korea's Nukes?

Perhaps Kim Jong Il's most enduring legacy was to turn North Korea into a nuclear weapons state. The country successfully tested a nuclear bomb underground in 2006, and a second test followed in 2009.

With Kim's death, which was announced Monday, his presumed successor is his son, Kim Jong Un. But little is known about him or his thinking on the country's nuclear program.

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5:21pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Two-Way

AT&T Drops Bid To Purchase T-Mobile USA

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:27 pm

This June 2, 2010, file photo shows the AT&T logo in Washington, D.C.
Etienne Franchi AFP/Getty Images

After the federal regulators raised questions about AT&T's bid to buy T-Mobile USA, the telecommunications company said it was scrapping its $39 billion bid. The merger would have made AT&T the largest wireless carrier in the United States.

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4:53pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Economy

Some Jobless Saved By The Salvation Army Bell

Lynn Smith has been ringing a Salvation Army bell since Thanksgiving outside a grocery store in Ventura, Calif. A former travel agent, she works 8 hours a day for minimum wage.
Glorida Hillard For NPR

The Salvation Army bell ringers and their iconic red kettles have been a familiar sight during the holidays for more than 120 years. Although in the past bell ringers were primarily volunteers, for many behind the kettle today, the temporary job has become a life saver.

For first-time bell ringers Lynn and Rusty Smith, it's helping keep them afloat during tough economic times. They work 8 hours a day ringing a Salvation Army bell for minimum wage.

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4:34pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Three Books...

Hell-Raising Heroines: Three Ladies With Spitfire

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 5:19 pm

James FL USA via flickr

In this age of bland romantic comedy leads, when the feminine ideal seems to mix two parts sweetly smiling Jennifer Aniston with three parts saucer-eyed Rapunzel, nothing can bring more satisfaction than the antiheroine.

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4:16pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Newt Gingrich

To Win Over Iowans, Gingrich Aims At Judges

In the final leg of the campaign in Iowa, the Republican presidential candidates are talking about judges. No one has made them a bigger issue than Newt Gingrich.

Overhauling the judiciary has become one of his key proposals on the stump.

Conservatives have used "activist judges" as a battle cry for many election cycles now. But in Iowa, the issue has special resonance since the judiciary became a potent political issue two years ago.

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