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Asia
3:39 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Chinese Property Dispute Becomes A Bitter Showdown

Family members burn funeral offerings for Xue Jinbo on Friday. Xue, 42, was involved in a property dispute that turned into a major confrontation with authorities in the southern Chinese village of Wukan. He died in police custody.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 12:10 am

What began as a property dispute in the southern Chinese village of Wukan has escalated into an open revolt for the past six days. It's one of the most serious episodes of unrest that the Chinese Communist Party has faced in recent years. The protests were suspended for a while Friday so villagers could mourn the man whose death led villagers to chase police and government officials out of town. The police have sealed off the area, but NPR's Louisa Lim managed to get into Wukan.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Batman Actor Christian Bale 'Roughed Up' By Chinese Authorities

English actor Christian Bale speaks to journalists as he arrives for an event of the Zhang Yimou-directed new movie "The Flowers of War" in Beijing, China.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:18 pm

The actor Christian Bale says he was "roughed up" by Chinese authorities when he tried to visit human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng.

The incident was caught on camera by a CNN crew that was accompanying him on the trip. Here's the video:

And here's The New York Times' description of it:

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Tebow Mania: Why The Quarterback Is So Popular

Fans show their support of quarterback Tim Tebow.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Every so often, an NFL player transcends the game. Think William "Refrigerator" Perry or Bo Jackson.

Tim Tebow, the quarterback who'll lead the Denver Broncos against the powerful New England Patriots on Sunday, has become a household name, thanks to his improbable come-from-behind victories combined with his prominent expressions of faith.

How does he do it? The Bears, Chargers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Jets, Raiders and Vikings would like to know.

Time For A Comeback

Tebow is a proper noun. Tebow is a verb meaning to genuflect.

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Commentary
3:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Week In Politics: Economy, GOP Primary

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 6:27 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And now we're joined by our regular Friday commentators, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and David Brooks of the New York Times. Welcome to both of you.

E.J. DIONNE: Good to be with you.

DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.

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From Our Listeners
3:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Letters: Dakota Meyer, Auto Trends

Melissa Block and Lynn Neary read emails from listeners.

Law
3:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

SEC Charges Ex-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac CEOs

The Securities and Exchange Commission is going after former top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for allegedly committing securities fraud.

The mortgage giants had to be taken over by the government in 2008 and then propped up by taxpayers. The SEC says the officials misled investors about the firm's exposure to subprime mortgages

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Music Interviews
3:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Cam Penner Spins Road Stories On 'Gypsy Summer'

Cam Penner's latest album is Gypsy Summer.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:35 pm

When your grandfather is a bootlegger and your family runs an illegal small-town roadhouse, you must have a lot of stories to tell. Cam Penner does, and he tells them in his music. The Canadian singer-songwriter's latest album is titled Gypsy Summer.

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Law
2:58 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

SEC Sues Former Freddie, Fannie Executives

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:24 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In federal court in New York this morning, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged six top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with civil fraud. The SEC says the executives of the giant mortgage companies mislead investors about the amount of subprime loans their companies held during the housing bust. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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The Two-Way
2:49 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Slugger Barry Bonds Sentenced To One Month House Arrest

Baseball slugger Barry Bonds will serve 30 days in house arrest for his obstruction of justice conviction back in April.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

"Bonds sat stoically as U.S. District Judge Susan Illston told baseball's home run king that he had avoided prison but must spend one month in his two-acre Beverly Hills estate, two years on probation, serve 250 hours of community service and pay a $4,000 fine.

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The Record
2:30 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Music In Holiday Concerts Thorny Subject For Public Schools

A choir in Little Rock, Ark., performs.
dlewis33 istockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 12:59 pm

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The Two-Way
1:27 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Citing Eurozone Crisis, Fitch Threatens Downgrade Of 6 EU Countries

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:29 pm

Fitch ratings agency, one of the big three, said today that it was considering downgrading the credit ratings of six Euro-zone countries. Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus could see their their rating cut by one or two notches.

The AP reports:

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

What Makes Wings Work?

Researchers at New York University are studying flight with a speaker, a soup pot, straws and a box full of paper aircraft. Emeritus professor Stephen Childress describes the experiment and what he and his colleagues have learned about flight from their homemade flying objects.

Medical Treatments
1:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Treating Stress, Speech Disorders With Music

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. You know that nice feeling you get when you listen to your favorite tune? What about music that can actually be medical therapy? It does exist. It's prescribed for illnesses from speech disorders to autism, Alzheimer's, even cancer.

Take the case of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. After she was shot in the head earlier this year, one way she learned to talk again was by singing her favorite songs, like this Cyndi Lauper tune.

(SOUNDBITE OF ABC BROADCAST )

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Science Diction: The Origin Of The Petri Dish

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

It's time for our monthly episode of Science Diction, where we explore the origins of scientific words with my guest Howard Markel, professor of history of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. He joins us WUOM. Welcome back, Howard.

HOWARD MARKEL: Good afternoon, Ira.

FLATOW: We have a very interesting word, or actually lab equipment today.

MARKEL: That we do. It's my favorite plate. It's the Petri dish.

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Research News
1:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Physicists Find 'Hints' of Elusive Higgs Boson

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Scientists have been searching for decades for a subatomic particle called the Higgs Boson. You've heard about it. It's been in the news, and you know, in theory, it explains why and how objects have mass.

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Technology
1:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Exploring The Science Of Flying, From Your Window Seat

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:57 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This holiday season I'm sure is finding many of us on airplanes, flying around the country. It could take tedious hours of body scans, the crummy back-of-the-seat TV and scary airplane bumps and noises. But if you marvel at nature and technology, though, you can turn this torturous event into a more enjoyable learning experience.

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Family Of Agent Killed By 'Fast And Furious' Rifle Demands Accountability

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:19 pm

A year after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by a weapon lost in a failed gunwalking operation, his family is calling on the U.S. government to hold those responsible accountable.

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Remembrances
12:32 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

For Hitchens, In Life And Death, An Unaware Cosmos

Christopher Hitchens, shown here in 2010, began a lifelong battle with a God he didn't believe in when he was just 9 years old.
David Levenson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 10:29 pm

Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.

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Planet Money
12:18 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Why Airlines Keep Going Bankrupt

Scott Olson Getty Images

The airline industry consistently breaks the number one rule of business: The job of the company is to make money.

"The industry in aggregate has lost about $60 billion over the 32 years since deregulation, " says Severin Borenstein, an economist at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkley.

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The Two-Way
11:52 am
Fri December 16, 2011

'Layaway Santas' Are Spreading Cheer This Year At Kmarts

We need a heart-warming story and this fits the bill:

"At Kmart stores across the country," The Associated Press writes, "Santa is getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents."

We're seeing stories about this happening in:

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Shots - Health Blog
11:25 am
Fri December 16, 2011

An Early Exit For Early Retiree Insurance Program

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 11:36 am

The clock is winding down on a little known but very popular part of the Affordable Care Act that has helped employers offer health benefits to early retirees.

The $5 billion early retiree fund has already paid out $4.5 billion, and the last day to submit claims for any of the remaining funds is Dec. 31.

The federal health law created the fund to give employers an incentive to keep providing health insurance coverage for retirees between the ages of 55 and 65.

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Movie Reviews
11:05 am
Fri December 16, 2011

An 'Impossible' Mission Full Of Fun And Wonder

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his Impossible Mission Force go to great heights to combat the threat of a nuclear confrontation in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
Paramount Pictures

The fourth Mission: Impossible picture is nonsense from beginning to end — and wonderful fun. The director is Brad Bird, of Ratatouille and The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, and there's no doubt now, in his live-action debut, that he's a filmmaker first and an animator second. Part 4, titled Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, is in a different league from its predecessors.

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The Two-Way
11:04 am
Fri December 16, 2011

SEC Files Civil Fraud Suit Against Former Fannie And Freddie Execs

Six former top executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) "knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans" and have now been accused of securities fraud in a civil suit, the Securities and Exchange Commission just announced.

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The Salt
10:48 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Exercise Info, Not Calorie Counts, Helps Teens Drop Sodas

What if you knew you'd have to jog for 50 minutes to burn off those calories?
iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:13 pm

Sugary drinks like soda are a big cause of obesity, but public health types haven't had much luck convincing the public of that.

But what if you knew that it would take 50 minutes of jogging to burn off one soda?

When researchers taped signs saying just that on the drink coolers in four inner-city neighborhood stores, sales of sugary beverages to teenagers dropped by 50 percent. That tactic was more effective than a sign saying that the drinks had 250 calories each, or a sign saying that a soft drink accounts for 11 percent of recommended daily calories.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Fri December 16, 2011

At Bradley Manning Hearing, His Attorney Challenges Judge

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 11:20 am

An "astonishing" scene has already played out at the just-opened military court hearing about the case against Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who stands accused of giving classified information to WikiLeaks, The Guardian reports.

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Leaving Iraq
10:14 am
Fri December 16, 2011

As The Iraq War Ends, Reassessing The U.S. Surge

Gen. David Petraeus (center, with no gun) walks with troops in 2007 in Baqouba, Iraq. The area had recently been seized back from al-Qaida control with help from U.S. forces who were part of the surge. The surge is widely credited with changing the course of the war; now, some experts are debating how much credit it deserves.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Here's the conventional wisdom about the U.S. troop surge in Iraq: By 2006, Iraq was in chaos. Many Americans called for the U.S. to get out. Instead, President Bush sent in 30,000 additional troops. By the end of 2007, Iraq started to stabilize, and the move took on an almost mythic status.

In 2008, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham spoke at the Republican National Convention about the U.S. presence in Iraq, saying that, "by every measure, the surge of troops into Iraq has worked."

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Shots - Health Blog
9:33 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Say 'Aah' And Get Your Diabetes Test

While I've got you here, how about that diabetes test?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 9:48 am

Each year, one-quarter of adults don't see a primary care doctor, so odds are they're not being checked for high blood pressure, diabetes and other major health risks. That's 55 million people who are missing out.

But a lot of them — around 13 million — do go to the dentist. So what if the dentist could screen them instead?

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Fri December 16, 2011

McQueary Repeats Allegation About Sandusky

(Note: There is graphic testimony about the alleged sexual abuse of a young boy in this post.)

Mike McQueary, a key witness in the case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky — who stands accused of sexually abusing at least 10 young boys over more than a decade — is testifying this morning at a court hearing about the scandal that has rocked the university.

NPR's Jeff Brady is covering the Pennsylvania court proceeding and is posting updates on his Twitter page.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Occupy? Humble Brag? What's Your 'Word Of The Year?'

"Humble brag" is linguist Ben Zimmer's personal favorite for 2011 Â word of the year.
Twitter.com/Humblebrag

Merriam-Webster may think that "pragmatic" was 2011's word of the year, as we reported Thursday, but there's certainly lots of room to debate that choice.

And the American Dialect Society has put out its annual call for help in deciding what word it should bestow with the honor.

Last year, the society decided "app" was 2010's top word.

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Latin America
9:01 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Angels Send Message Of Peace To Juarez, Mexico

After 20 minutes of silent witness, the angels gather around a group of neighbors and pray with them for employment, for better living conditions, for salvation from sin, and for an end to the murders.
Raymundo Aguirre for NPR

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

In the violent border city of Juarez, Mexico, young evangelical Christians are dressing up as "Messenger Angels" to bear silent witness against murder and corruption, to the dismay of the police.

On a recent Saturday morning in the barrio called New Land, at the ragged edge of Juarez, the angels get ready to go to work.

Fifteen young people glue goose down recovered from cast-off comforters onto plastic wings. Others smear on silver makeup, which is, presumably, the color of angels.

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