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10:05am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Sears, Kmart Closings Will Shutter 3 Percent Of Company's Stores

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:09 am

Mark Lennihan AP

As you know, numbers can often be looked at several ways.

There's the headline that "dozens of Kmart, Sears stores to close" and the topline news that "between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores" are going to be shut down as the retailer looks to trim costs and move ahead after it endured a pretty poor holiday shopping season.

That's a lot of stores, obviously.

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9:35am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Home Prices Fell Again In October

Renzo Salazar, from Real Signs of Ace Post Holding Inc., placed a bank owned sign on top of a for sale sign outside a foreclosed home in Miami last month.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Home prices dropped from September to October in 19 of the 20 cities where it tracks the real estate markets, according to the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report.

According to a statement from David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices:

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9:35am

Tue December 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Infectious Fungus Common In Household Drains

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:14 am

Looks clean up here, but down below it could be a mess.
iStockphoto.com

What gunk lurks in the bathroom sink drain? A fungus that can cause infections in humans, for one thing.

The fungus in question (genus Fusarium) can cause sinus infections and funky toenails. On rare occasions it kills people with weak immune systems. More recently, it has caused serious eye infections in people who wear contact lenses.

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9:05am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Yemeni Leader May Be Treated In U.S.; Syria Moves Tanks

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:08 am

Good morning.

If you're just getting into the swing of things after a long Christmas weekend, welcome back. If you're still on vacation, we're jealous.

Our early headlines:

-- Activists Condemn Syrian Army's 'Show,' Say Tanks Didn't Move Far.

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8:51am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Best Of Fresh Air 2011

Aaron Paul: Playing Bad On 'Breaking Bad'

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:18 am

Aaron Paul plays a meth-making drug dealer on the AMC drama Breaking Bad. He also played a recurring character on the HBO series Big Love.
Ursula Coyote AMC

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on September 19, 2011.

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8:49am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Best Of Fresh Air 2011

Margo Martindale: A 'Justified' Backwoods Matriarch

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:39 am

Margo Martindale is Mags Bennett, a charmingly villainous moonshiner in the FX series Justified. For her performance, Martindale drew on her roots in East Texas and Kentucky. "It's all part of my makeup. It's something I really understand," she says.
Prashant Gupta FX

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on September 12, 2011.

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8:35am

Tue December 27, 2011
It's All Politics

Santorum Goes Hunting For Pheasants — And Votes — In Iowa

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 12:12 pm

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum celebrates after shooting a bird at Doc's Hunt Club in Adel, Iowa on Dec. 26.
Chris Carlson AP

With just one week until the caucuses, Republican presidential candidates will be everywhere in Iowa this week. Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are all riding buses around the state while Ron Paul makes multiple appearances — a last-minute bid to motivate Republicans to come out and vote for them next Tuesday.

But no candidate has spent more time in Iowa than former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The day after Christmas was a holiday for most, so Santorum went hunting — with cameras.

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8:15am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Activists Condemn Syrian Army's 'Show,' Say Tanks Didn't Move Far

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 8:49 am

A Syrian tank driving through the city of Homs on Monday (Dec. 26, 2011).
AFP/Getty Images

"Syria's army suspended days of punishing attacks on the restive city of Homs," The Associated Press writes, "and began withdrawing its tanks Tuesday just as Arab League monitors visited the area and met with local leaders, activists and officials said."

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7:45am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Lost Money: $41 Billion In Gift Cards Haven't Been Redeemed Since 2005

You may have given one — or two, or three. You may have gotten one — or two, or three.

Gift cards.

The presents that show up in Christmas stockings all across America. The go-to gifts for aunts and uncles trying to please those finicky teenaged nieces and nephews. The tokens of affection that may say "I got this on the way over here."

And, also, the gifts that sometimes never get used.

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7:44am

Tue December 27, 2011
Business

Company To Close Dozens Of Sears, Kmart Stores

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Sears closing stores.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The holiday shopping season has gone well for some retailers, but apparently not for Sears Holdings, the company that owns Sears and Kmart. It plans to shut down up to 120 stores. Sears operates 4,000 outlets in the U.S. and Canada right now. The company says Kmart sales of clothing and consumer electronics fell, and at Sears there was not much demand for home appliances.

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7:36am

Tue December 27, 2011
Around the Nation

Nativity Scene Goat Makes A Run For It

A Minnesota man provided live puppies, a llama and a goat to a nativity scene, but the goat escaped. The Fergus Falls Journal reports the goat has been spotted but not caught.

7:31am

Tue December 27, 2011
Around the Nation

Ill Gotten Gains Shouldn't Be Posted On Facebook

Isaiah Cutler, 18, is in jail accused of burglarizing a market with three friends and taking thousands in cash and merchandise. An hour later, he supposedly posted pictures of the fellows and their stash on Facebook. A relative saw the photos, alerted grandma and she called the cops.

4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
NPR Story

Can North Korea Afford Kim Jong Il's Funeral?

As North Korea prepares for the funeral of leader Kim Jong Il, attention is being focused on the country his son, heir apparent Kim Jong Un, will inherit. Like almost everything to do with North Korea, the picture of how the country's economy works is cloudy.

4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
NPR Story

First Round Of Oscar Ballots Get Mailed

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're nearing the end of an unusual year for movies. No single film has dominated the conversation in Hollywood. Some celebrated films this year refer to the past of the movie industry itself, like the silent film "The Artist," or "Hugo," which becomes a tale of old film preservation.

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4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
NPR Story

With Full-Time Job, Life Improves For High School Dropout

Nearly three decades ago, Kenny Buchanan decided to drop out of school. Over the last 26 years, he's jumped from job to job and unemployment. He now has a full-time job and for the first time in years, he and his family have health insurance and can enjoy a few luxuries.

4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Business

The Last Word In Business

Steve Inskeep has the Last Word in business.

4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Technology

Anonymous Arm Says It hacked Stratfor

In Texas, a private intelligence company has apparently been hacked by the loosely organized activist group Anonymous. Some members claim they obtained personal information about Stratfor's clients, as well as thousands of credit cards numbers which were then used to make donations to charities. But other members have disavowed the hacking job. Freelance journalist Quinn Norton, who has profiled Anonymous for Wired Magazine, talks to Linda Wertheimer about the breach.

4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Doctors Risk Their Lives To Treat Protesters

The Arab League is formally launching its monitoring mission in Syria Tuesday. It's not certain they'll get to the central city of Homs, an opposition stronghold under siege by the Syrian army. There, doctors are forced to treat injured anti-government protesters in an underground network.

4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Business

Worst CEOs: A Check Up From The Head Up

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:53 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Some of the most spectacular business failings of 2011 were created or enhanced by the very people who should have provided protection against failure: the CEOs.

To tell us about some of the worst offenders, we're joined by Sydney Finkelstein, of Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business. He is the author of "Why Smart Executives Fail."

Welcome to our program.

SYDNEY FINKELSTEIN: Thank you, Linda.

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4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Business

Business News

Steve Inskeep has business news.

4:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Europe

Rotterdam Port Feels Effects Of European Debt Crisis

As the debt crisis spreads across Europe, the economy in the region is slowing to a crawl. One place that's starting to feel the impact of the slowdown is the massive port of Rotterdam in Holland. It's the biggest port in the world outside Asia. Much of what's bought and sold in Europe goes through Rotterdam.

3:24am

Tue December 27, 2011
Election 2012

Rick Santorum Hunts For Iowa's Pheasants, Votes

With just a week until the Republican caucuses, presidential candidate Rick Santorum spent the day in Iowa hunting — for pheasants and votes. Although he's worked hard in Iowa, he's not won over the group he's targeted: social conservatives.

1:05am

Tue December 27, 2011
R&B/Soul

Anthony Hamilton's Got Something To Prove

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 10:43 am

Anthony Hamilton at the Los Angeles shoot for the video for "Woo" in November.
Adrian Sidney Courtesy of the artist.

As 2011 winds down, Morning Edition is looking at music we missed over the past 12 months. R&B singer Anthony Hamilton is one artist that slipped under our noses; we just missed his album Back To Love, which came out earlier this month. Hamilton's been in the music business for two decades, during which he's had a mostly black audience. Now, with Back To Love, he's gaining even wider appeal.

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12:01am

Tue December 27, 2011
Presidential Race

Early Florida Primary Could Sow Confusion, Not Clout

A woman votes in the Jan. 29, 2008, Florida primary in Miami Shores.
Marc Serota Getty Images

Four years ago, Florida played a key role choosing the Republican presidential nominee with a crucial early primary in violation of party rules. Next month, Florida Republicans are poised to do it again — once again breaking rules with an early primary. Only this time, their decision could confuse the race, rather than clarify it.

To understand why political parties set rules for presidential primaries, and why states break those rules, it's helpful to appreciate what it means for the campaigns to descend on a small state like Iowa or New Hampshire.

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12:01am

Tue December 27, 2011
Around the Nation

Historic Ford Plant Site Likely A Tough Sell

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:11 am

Ford employees assemble parts for Ranger pickup trucks. The last Ranger rolled off the line weeks ago as the plant prepares to close.
Jennifer Simonson for NPR

The Ford Motor Co. recently closed its historic Twin Cities Assembly Plant on a scenic river bluff in St. Paul, Minn. In better times, the parcel of land might have made condo developers drool, but in today's real estate market, redevelopment of the old factory could be a long way off.

The industrial architect Albert Kahn was particularly skilled at making factories blend into their surroundings. The 2-million-square-foot plant has a classical stone facade that flows along the Mississippi River bluff. The red tile roof of its hydroelectric plant glows in the sunlight.

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12:01am

Tue December 27, 2011
It Was A Good Year For...

In Vermont, Gravel And Road Business Is Up

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:53 am

Chris Carl, foreman of the Shelburne Limestone Corp. quarry in South Wallingford, says Vermont's weather woes helped to more than double the quarry's business.
Nina Keck Vermont Public Radio

Federal, state and local spending on roadways is down nearly 6 percent. That's made it a tough year for many in the road-building business — but not in Vermont. There, pavers, excavators and other companies have had one of their busiest years ever, thanks to a storm named Irene.

For the past several months, Steve Wilk and Doug Casella have spent a lot of time in and out of their pickup trucks, checking on their road crews. For a business meeting, they just pull off onto the rocky shoulder to talk about new guardrails and blacktop for a job they're working on.

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12:01am

Tue December 27, 2011
Iraq

No U.S. Troops, But An Army Of Contractors In Iraq

As many as 5,000 private security contractors will be protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The U.S. Embassy compound (above) and several consulates will have about 15,000 workers, making it the largest diplomatic operation abroad.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

The U.S. troops have left Iraq, and U.S. diplomats will now be the face of America in a country that remains extremely volatile.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, along with several consulates, will have some 15,000 workers, making it the largest U.S. diplomatic operation abroad. Those diplomats will be protected by a private army consisting of as many as 5,000 security contractors who will carry assault weapons and fly armed helicopters.

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4:15pm

Mon December 26, 2011
News

With 'Occupy' Protests, Police Aimed For Restraint

This fall American police were confronted with something they hadn't seen in 40 years: prolonged, simultaneous political protests across the country. In most cities, police showed restraint. But there have been exceptions — sometimes involving copious amounts of pepper spray. Those flashpoints have become a cause for concern.

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4:00pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Economy

What's Holding Back One 'Job Creator'? Not Taxes

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:53 am

"We've got the space, we have equipment, we've got the cash, we've got the customers, we have the product," says Tim O'Keeffe, owner of G.L. Huyett. "We have everything we need — except the people."
Frank Morris KCUR

There aren't many people on the broad Kansas prairie, but there is industry.

At G.L. Huyett, boxy machines jammed into a big metal building grind steel into heavy transmission parts.

"We're a supplier of last resort," says Tim O'Keeffe, who owns the company. If you have disruptions in the supply chain and someone can't meet a shipping time, he says, G.L. Huyett can step in.

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3:31pm

Mon December 26, 2011
The Record

It Was A Good Year For Swag

Lil B.
Courtesy of the artist.

2011 was a good year for the word "swag". Not trinkets, or party favors, not an acronym for Stuff We All Get, "swag" comes from swagger. This year a term that hip-hop artists have been using for nearly a decade enjoyed a moment in the spotlight.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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