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After dictatorship and civil war, the Democratic Republic of Congo held presidential and parliamentary elections on Monday. Host Michel Martin speaks with DRC-based correspondent Jonny Hogg, and Arizona Senator John McCain's wife Cindy McCain, who is working to draw global attention to the polls and future of Africa's second largest country.

During World War II, the U.S. military enlisted Navajo Indians who used their native language to devise a clandestine, unbreakable code. Host Michel Martin speaks to Chester Nez, the last of the original Navajo 'code talkers,' and Judith Schiess Avila, co-author of Nez' autobiography.

Girl Scouts of the USA is aiming to become the largest leadership development organization for girls. Host Michel Martin speaks with Anna Maria Chavez, who became the first person of color to lead the organization in its nearly 100-year history. Chavez discusses how to keep the Girl Scouts relevant and involve girls of all backgrounds.

Kevin Clash On Bringing Elmo To Life

Nov 28, 2011

Sesame Street's Elmo used to sound like a caveman and he was not very fun. But when puppeteer Kevin Clash started working with the furry character, Elmo quickly became a cute and cuddly icon. Host Michel Martin speaks Clash about his experience as everyone's favorite red Muppet.

In her weekly commentary, host Michel Martin discuses the courage of people who have endured physical and emotional pain without help or acknowledgement. Her reflection comes after an injury she had last week when ice skating.

At point today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 2.9 percent to 11,554. The rally comes after news that European leaders had made progress on a solution to the sovereign debt crisis and record sales this past Friday.

It also comes after a 4.8 percent downturn last week, the worst Thanksgiving week since the markets started observing the holiday in 1942.

It's funny how the birthplace of one little bean can stir up a world of passions. But when it's the soybean, maybe it's not such a shocker.

Soy plays an outsized role in human history, serving as the primary source of protein in Asia for millennia. That can slip by people in the United States, where — until very recently — the super-nutritious bean was relegated to animal feed.

Anxious parents sometimes ask the pediatrician if they can postpone vaccines for young children. And a new survey suggests quite a few doctors go along with the requests, despite standing recommendations they stick to a strict schedule.

Before he was cast in the Broadway revival of Follies, actor Danny Burstein had never seen Stephen Sondheim's famous musical, which first hit the Broadway stage in 1971. And he didn't know much about the show, except that everyone in the theater world seemingly had an opinion about it.

During the 50-plus years that Agatha Christie actively reigned as "The Queen of Crime," it became something of a tradition in England to give one of her novels as a holiday present; in fact, she and her publishers popularized the slogan "A Christie for Christmas." Dame Agatha died in 1976, but the association of murder most foul and the yuletide season lingers.

WBUR in Boston reports it has confirmed that Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will not seek re-election in 2012.

CNN says that "Frank, a 16-term Democrat, will announce Monday he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012, according to a statement from [his] office."

"Police arrested several people early Monday at the Occupy L.A. demonstration outside City Hall, but then the commotion quickly died down," the Los Angeles Times reports.

The news that the holiday shopping season got a strong start on its unofficial launch day — Black Friday — has helped push stock index futures up sharply this morning.

After all, if American consumers are indeed feeling good this holiday season, that would be very welcome news for an economy still struggling to produce jobs. Stronger demand, in theory, should eventually put pressure on businesses to add to their workforces.

The news from Syracuse University concerning child molestation allegations against assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine — which he denies — took several dramatic turns Sunday.

The foreign minister says there is "rage" in Pakistan about the NATO airstrike over the weekend that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the border with Afghanistan.

Texas Sure Has Some Strange Town Names

Nov 28, 2011

Texans don't have to leave the state to visit Paris or Port-au-Prince. Just the most exotic among the state's many colorful town names which were dug up by the San Antonio Express-News. There's Uncertain, Texas, and also Nameless. Its founders gave up on a name after the postmaster rejected several choices.

Emma Sullivan, who wrote a disparaging tweet about Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, said Sunday that she is rejecting her high school principal's demand for a written apology.

Voting has begun in Egypt, where the nation's first parliamentary elections are being held since the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak's regime nine months ago.

So far, according to reports from NPR, The Associated Press and other news outlets, turnout is high and things are going well — a relief after last week's protests in major cities and the violent response to them from authorities.

Tucked away in a corner of the White House's Old Executive Office Building, an office that most people have never heard of affects millions of Americans' lives. It's the last hurdle that every proposed regulation must surmount before seeing the light of day. And a new study of this obscure part of the government suggests that President Obama is altering more of those regulations than President George W. Bush did.

The Democratic Republic of Congo holds elections for president and parliament Monday. These are the second elections since a long dictatorship ended in 1997. Elections held in 2006 represented a transition to democracy.

Omar Waraich of Time Magazine talks to Steve Inskeep about reaction in Pakistan to this weekend's deadly NATO strike that killed at least 24 Pakistani troops. Pakistan closed a supply route through its territory to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The new movie "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" made more money at the box office over the holiday weekend, beating new releases like "The Muppets" and "Arthur Christmas." Now, going to the movies is fun, but for some fans it's not enough to simply watch the action. They want an interactive experience. In fact, they want to be the stars. NPR's Travis Larchuk explains.

TRAVIS LARCHUK}, BYLINE: All right. So here's a scene from the movie "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD")

Politics In The News

Nov 28, 2011

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria are among those voting today in the first stage of parliamentary elections. These are the first elections since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Two other stages are scheduled for December and January.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We've been hearing a lot about the economic meltdown affecting a string of European countries, and the sort of tough austerity measures that they're now facing. Britain was among the first to embrace a tough austerity program. And now, the economy is stalled. Unemployment is going up. Young people are hit hardest of all - one in five is now out of work. NPR's Philip Reeves spent a day with one of those jobless Britons, a young man named Dean Smith.

The Last Word In Business

Nov 28, 2011

Officials overseeing a new performance hall had to decide on a mobile phone policy. While theaters generally remind patrons to turn off their devices, The New York Times reports the new theater in Bellevue, Wash., will encourage smartphone use. The theater wants to attract younger audiences, and that means there's no use forbidding the technology.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The economy is still far from healthy, and we've been asking people for one idea that could help fix even just one small part of the economy. And we have this latest idea from author and management consultant Jim Collins. He wants to change the way that CEOs are paid. Instead of granting stock options, he says executives should have to buy company stock with their own money.

JIM COLLINS: I want executives who are willing to be aligned in their own risk profile with how well the company does over time.

Chinese love World Cup Soccer and NBA basketball. Selling them NFL football has proven much more difficult. On Sunday, the NFL set up an elaborate, interactive exhibition outside a Shanghai stadium in an attempt to build a fan base in the world's most populous nation.

Throngs Of Voters Cast Ballots In Alexandria

Nov 28, 2011

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's turn to the Egyptian port city of Alexandria, where hundreds of women lined up at one polling center this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER)

MONTAGNE: For many in this women's line, this is the first election in which they feel their choice will count. We reached NPR's Soraya Sorhadi Nelson in Alexandria. Good morning.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: And generally speaking, what are you seeing at polling stations there in Alexandria?

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