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12:52pm

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

During Call-In Show, Vladimir Putin Dimisses Russian Protesters

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual phone-in session with Russians in Moscow.
Alexei Nikolsky AFP/Getty Images

During a call-in show, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the massive protests against his 12-year rule were paid for by his opposition and supported by the West.

The AP reports:

"'The results of this election undoubtedly reflect the real balance of power in the country," Putin said on a marathon TV show that lasted 4 1/2 hours. "It's very good that United Russia has preserved its leading position.'

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12:48pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Once Routine, Autopsies Now Scarce At U.S. Hospitals

Unlike the medical examiner's office in New Mexico, which routinely autopsies sudden or violent deaths, most U.S. hospitals perform postmortem examinations only rarely.
John W. Poole NPR

When a loved one dies unexpectedly in the hospital, getting answers to how and why isn't as easy as it was 50 years ago.

Back then, doctors would often order a clinical autopsy. But an investigation published today by ProPublica shows that hospital autopsies have become a rarity:

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12:45pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Food

For Your Holiday Meal, Go For A Cold One

Garrett Oliver pours beer at one of the hundreds of tastings he has led during his career.
Courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery

A challenge: This year instead of finding the right Chardonnay or Merlot for your holiday feast try pairing your meal with beer. That's right, beer.

Garrett Oliver is the man posing this challenge. He is the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery. He is also the editor-in-chief of the recently released book, The Oxford Companion to Beer, a major reference book chronicling beer from A to Z.

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12:28pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Movie Interviews

Kevin Clash: The Man Behind Sesame Street's Elmo

Elmo and Kevin Clash have been working together for more than 20 years. Clash has also performed in Labyrinth, Muppets from Space, Follow that Bird and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Photo courtesy of Scott McDermott/Being Elmo

When Elmo first appeared on Sesame Street, the little red monster had a deep voice and rarely laughed. But then puppeteer Kevin Clash started working with the furry red creature. Clash, now the senior puppet coordinator and Muppet captain on Sesame Street, further developed Elmo's lovable personality and started providing his trademark voice. Over the past 25 years, Clash has transformed Elmo into one of the most recognizable characters on Sesame Street.

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12:25pm

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Sheriff Arpaio Violates Latinos' Rights, Justice Department Says

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 12:29 pm

Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Ross D. Franklin AP

The U.S. Justice Department says Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has become a national figure thanks to his tough treatment of inmates and his tough talk on immigration, engages in "a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law," NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

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12:10pm

Thu December 15, 2011
It's All Politics

Sioux City Debate: GOP Candidates' Last Joint Meeting Before Voting Starts

The Republican presidential debates have mattered more this year than anything else in determining which candidate had the momentum and the lead in the race for the White House nomination.

Thus, Thursday evening's Sioux City, Iowa debate (Fox News, 9 pm ET) could be decisive in narrowing the gap between Newt Gingrich and the rest of the field or cementing his frontrunner status.

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12:05pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Music Interviews

Reviving 'Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set'

Idelsohn Society

Tikva Records was founded in 1947 as an independent Jewish record label. For the next 30 years, it would record an eclectic range of Jewish-American songs, including klezmer pop, cantorial singing, Catskills medleys and Israeli folk tunes.

Tikva Records folded in the late 1970s, but a number of singles on the label have been re-released by the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and preserving Jewish music through museum exhibits, concert showcases and reissues of lost Jewish classics and compilations.

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12:00pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Children's Health

Sharp Rise In Homeless Children, Study Says

The rate of homelessness among kids has seen a dramatic increase of 33 percent since 2007, according to a new report from the National Center on Family Homelessness. Host Michel Martin speaks with Dr. Ellen Bassuk, president of the organization, and Mike Pomi, who heads a group that provides services to at-risk children in Nevada.

12:00pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Iraq

U.S. Army Officer Reflects On End Of War In Iraq

Today marks the official end to the war in Iraq. The flag of U.S. Forces-Iraq was officially retired in a formal ceremony in Baghdad. Host Michel Martin talks with Lieutenant Colonel Pat Proctor about the war. He served two tours of duty in Iraq, and he is the author of the new book, Task Force Patriot and the End of Combat Operations in Iraq.

12:00pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Food

Veteran Journalist Turns Wine Producer

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 12:38 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Just ahead, a challenge for your holiday feast. What malty drink could you pair with a festive, elegant holiday meal? Here's a hint: It's flavored with hops. If we say beer, do you say, no way? We have an expert for you who may challenge your preconceptions about beer. We'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.

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12:00pm

Thu December 15, 2011
World

Have Migrants Given Up Crossing The Border?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now, we wanted to talk about an issue that, like Iraq, touches every hot button in political life today, from health care costs to education to homeland security. It's immigration, specifically illegal immigration from Mexico, from which the vast majority of illegal immigrants have come in recent years.

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11:40am

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Starting At Noon: Salvation Army Volunteers Go For Bell-Ringing Record

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:44 am

In Chicago: Antionette Levi rings her bell as she solicits donations for the Salvation Army.
Scott Olson Getty Images

They can't sit down. They can't eat. And they have to keep ringing their bells.

The Salvation Army says 24 of its volunteers will be going for a record starting at noon ET when they see just how long they can keep ringing their bells as they stand by collection kettles in cities across the nation.

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11:35am

Thu December 15, 2011
Author Interviews

Tracing Ballet's Cultural History Over 400 Years

This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2010. Apollo's Angels is now available in paperback.

It is ballet season, which means many companies are performing The Nutcracker for the holidays and preparing their big shows for the winter months. Everywhere you turn these days, you can see toe shoes — but there is a deep and fascinating history to the art form that few people know.

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11:22am

Thu December 15, 2011
The Salt

How The Army Made A Sandwich That Stays Fresh For Two Years

The shelf-stable pocket sandwich gives soldiers a portable ration that they can eat on the go.
Bob Reinert U.S. Army

For the U.S. military around the world, the enemy can be hard to pinpoint and even harder to defeat. Back at home, the Army has a tiny and vexing foe in its sights: the bacteria that cause food to rot.

In this bacterial battle, though, it's clearer who's winning, and the evidence is a humble pocket sandwich, which looks from the outside no different than your average hot pocket in the frozen foods aisle.

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11:05am

Thu December 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Biomedical Research Using Chimps Should Be Curtailed

Updated 1:30 p.m.: The National Institutes of Health accepts the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine report on chimpanzee research, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement. "We will not issue any new awards for research involving chimpanzees until processes for implementing the recommendations are in place," he said.

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11:00am

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Politicians Take Note: 'Pragmatic' Was 2011's Word Of The Year

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:02 am

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama in July, during the negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling and reducing future federal deficits. Americans say they want pragmatic leaders who will worth together.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Americans put members of Congress at the very bottom of those they consider to be honest and ethical. They tell pollsters that they want politicians in Washington to "compromise in order to get things done."

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10:32am

Thu December 15, 2011
Around the Nation

Probe Finds Arizona Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

America's toughest sheriff. " href="/post/probe-finds-arizona-sheriff-violated-civil-rights" class="noexit lightbox">
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has forced inmates to wear pink and live in tent cities, gaining him a reputation as America's toughest sheriff.
Joshua Lott Getty Images

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a national reputation for being tough on crime but now the Arizona law man is in the spotlight for a different reason.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice released the results of a three-year investigation in which authorities conclude that Arpaio and his deputies are the ones who've been breaking law.

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9:41am

Thu December 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Experimental Magnetic Pulses May Help Heal A Brain After Stroke

A stroke affecting the right side of the brain can lead a person to be visually unaware of what's happening on the left.
Wikimedia Commons

A little brain stimulation seems to speed up recovery from a stroke.

This isn't the sort of brain stimulation you get from conversation. It's done using an electromagnetic coil placed against the scalp.

Researchers think the treatment encourages brain cells to form new connections, allowing the brain to rewire itself to compensate for damage caused by a stroke.

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9:15am

Thu December 15, 2011

8:45am

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Drop To Lowest Level In More Than Three Years

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 19,000 last week, to 366,000, the Employment and Training Administration reports. And that's the lowest level since May 2008.

Bloomberg News says the decline was not expected — most economists thought we would hear they remained around 390,000.

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8:30am

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: 'Marines Promoted Inflated Story For Medal Of Honor Recipient'

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:10 pm

President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

"Crucial parts" of the story that Marine Corps officials told about Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer's bravery in Afghanistan are "untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated, according to dozens of military documents" that McClatchy Newspapers has examined and reporting done by a McClatchy correspondent who survived the ambush in which Meyer performed heroically.

In a long report based on extensive research, correspondent Jonathan S. Landay writes that:

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8:16am

Thu December 15, 2011
Best Books Of 2011

Fired Up: The Year's Best Science Fiction, Fantasy

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

2011 was a good year to be a reader of science fiction and fantasy, although lately every year has been a good year: Not only are the books getting more popular — thank you, Game of Thrones — they're getting more interesting, evolving and morphing in weird, fascinating ways.

They're also interbreeding with other genres to produce wild new hybrid forms, like historical science fiction romances and hard-boiled fantasy detective novels. They're commenting on current events and swapping DNA with literary novels.

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7:50am

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Republicans Unveil $1 Trillion Spending Bill, Possible Shutdown Still Looms

The political wrangling continues in Washington as Republicans and Democrats try to get their priorities enacted even as several key deadlines fast approach.

Overnight, as The Associated Press reports, Republicans in the House "unveiled a massive $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package despite a plea from the White House for additional talks over a handful of provisions opposed by President Barack Obama."

The wire service adds that:

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7:36am

Thu December 15, 2011
NPR Story

Dobbey The Reindeer Delights Kids In North London

We Americans have Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and the rest but residents of Enfield, North London, can expect a visit from Dobbey the reindeer this time of year. His owner Gordon Elliott takes him everywhere — to the local pub and with him on the subway or bus. On Christmas, Elliott dresses as Father Christmas and walks Dobbey through town.

7:31am

Thu December 15, 2011
Europe

Freak Wind Rains Down Apples On Motorists

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Drivers near Coventry, England experienced unusual weather conditions yesterday: apples falling from the sky. About 100 rained down in a few minutes. Meteorologists blamed a freak wind, clearly a strong one, since a woman whose car hood was pounded by the fruit said there are no orchards nearby. This isn't the first time strange objects have rained down in Britain. In 2007, fish fell in Norfolk. Frogs rained down in Wales in 1996. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

7:25am

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

As Flag Is Put Away, America's Mission In Iraq Symbolically Ends

America's colors have been cased in Iraq — the flag was just symbolically put away at a ceremony marking the end of a war that lasted nearly nine years.

At the Baghdad airport a short time ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials were there to mark the occasion, NPR's Kelly McEvers reports. It was, she said on Morning Edition, a "quiet, small ceremony."

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6:41am

Thu December 15, 2011
Monkey See

Television's New Antiheroes: Creating Sympathy For The Devilish

Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) owns slaves on AMC's Hell On Wheels. But the guys he's chasing are worse.
Chris Large AMC

Jackson "Jax" Teller, the antihero at the heart of FX's blockbuster biker gang series Sons of Anarchy, is pretty easy to distinguish from a traditional hero. Just this season, Jax blew away a rival gang with an RPG missile, shot a Russian gangster in the head and got into some serious trouble while selling guns to the scariest gangsters on the planet.

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4:15am

Thu December 15, 2011
Business

China Slaps Tariffs On Large U.S.-Made Cars, SUVs

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And let's turn now to the latest volley in the ongoing tariff war. American politicians have vowed to fight new Chinese tariffs on U.S. made cars and SUVs. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has more.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: In 2010, the U.S. won a Chinese tire-dumping complaint before the World Trade Organization. Then China complained about U.S. poultry dumping. The U.S. said China subsidizes solar panels. Now the fight's over cars. Republican Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas heads a trade subcommittee.

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4:00am

Thu December 15, 2011
NPR Story

Huckabee Hosts 4 GOP Candidates

In 2008, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was running for the GOP presidential nomination, and won the Iowa caucuses. Wednesday night in Des Moines, he hosted four current GOP contenders at a premiere for an anti-abortion film in which he appears. There was no endorsement from Huckabee. But there was a lot of talk about the need for abortion and other social issues to play a role in selecting a nominee.

4:00am

Thu December 15, 2011
NPR Story

Baghdad Ceremony Formally Ends Iraq War

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. On what was once one of America's busiest bases in Iraq, the flag of U.S. forces was rolled up this morning, ready to be sent home to America. It's a ceremony known as the casing of the colors. And Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was there, marking the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. We reached NPR's Kelly McEvers at that ceremony. And, Kelly, describe where you are.

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