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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Are You Being Paid $600,000 To Party?

She'll be paid well to party: Kim Kardashian.
David Livingston Getty Images

Headlines claiming that celebrity-whose-famous-for-being-famous Kim Kardashian will be paid $600,000 to host a New Year's Eve party at the Tao nightclub in Las Vegas' Venetian hotel and casino and then return to the Tao a few more times in 2012 to make "special appearances," certainly catch your eye.

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Movie Reviews
2:54 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

'A Separation': In Tehran, Houses And Hearts Divided

The Great Divides: Simin (Leila Hatami) and Nader (Peyman Moadi) are at odds first about whether to leave Iran for life abroad — and then about more urgent issues yet.
Habib Madjidi Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 10:58 am

The opening moments of A Separation lay out the story you'd expect to see in a film about a wife who is leaving her husband: Simin (Leila Hatami) and her bank-clerk spouse, Nader (Peyman Moadi), are explaining heatedly to a judge why they want a separation. Or actually, why they don't want it.

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Music News
2:53 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Government Bulldozer: Protest Songs From Russia

Russian musician Noize MC
Courtesy of the artist

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Verizon Will Charge $2 To Pay Bill Online Or By Phone

The Verizon Wireless logo hangs over a store in Portland, Ore.
Don Ryan AP

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 2:34 pm

Beginning Jan. 15, Verizon will charge you an extra $2 if you choose to pay your bill online or by phone. In a statement, the largest mobile service provider in the country said the "convenience fee" is "designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make single bill payments in alternate payment channels."

Verizon also lists seven ways that allow you to pay without incurring the fee and it reads a bit like the complex mobile bills you get each month. They are:

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It's All Politics
2:02 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Undecided In Iowa: Potential Caucus-Goers Doing Serious Work Before Tuesday

Katherine Burns (center)
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 6:25 am

As we continued our Iowa travels in the days leading up to next week's presidential caucuses here, NPR photographer Becky Lettenberger and I have been struck by the utter seriousness of the state's Republican voters.

Presidential caucus seasons past have often been marked by fun and some frivolity at campaign events: Funny T-shirts and hats, jokes and punch lines offered up by candidates, a sense of hope and anticipation.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Iran Much In Mind As U.S. Wraps Up $30B Sale Of Fighters To Saudi Arabia

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 1:57 pm

The news that the U.S. has finalized a deal to sell nearly $30 billion worth of F-15SA fighter jets and other equipment to Saudi Arabia comes, as every story about the agreement says, as America and its allies seek to further isolate and pressure Iran so long as that Persian nation continues to be a threat to others in the region.

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The Picture Show
1:50 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Snow-Wash: North Korea Doctored Photos Of Kim's Funeral

The funeral procession of Kim Jong Il brought back memories of an era when images of Communist propaganda were ubiquitous. The visual backbone of the images or illustrations were usually order and symmetry, enacted on a grand scale.

Wednesday's event was no exception. An overall view of the snowy procession had it all: the framed image of Kim Jong Il in the foreground, the masses of mourners lined neatly on the sidelines, the motorcade in perfect sync and the order that is associated with a totalitarian regime — a regime with access to Photoshop.

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Business
1:37 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Gas Pains? U.S. Diesel, Gas Exports Surpass Imports

For the first time in more than six decades, the United States is exporting more gasoline and diesel than it imports.

To be clear, we're talking about finished petroleum products, not crude oil. The U.S. still imports about half the crude it consumes.

Refineries are touting this new export statistic — after all, gasoline and diesel are manufactured products. They say a boost in exports keeps more manufacturing jobs in the U.S. But one reason exports are increasing is that demand for gas in this country is declining.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:24 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Avastin Falls Short In Treatment Of Ovarian Cancer

Richard Morgenstein Genentech

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 1:25 pm

Cancer-fighter Avastin just came up short as a treatment for ovarian tumors.

Two studies found that the drug, which blocks the formation of new blood vessels, didn't extend the lives of patients with ovarian cancer.

Avastin did slow the progression of the cancers a little bit. But the patients getting Avastin as part of treatment with several medicines had more side effects, including blood clots and high blood pressure, than the people who didn't get it.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Venezuela's Chávez: Maybe The U.S. Is Giving Cancer To Leftist Leaders

A handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency, shows President Hugo Chávez speaking with members of the Army during a military ceremony in Caracas on Wednesday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 6:25 pm

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez mused that the United States might be behind his cancer and that of other leftist leaders in Latin America.

Reuters reports:

"'It would not be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now ... I don't know. I'm just reflecting,' he said in a televised speech to troops at a military base.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Surprise Headline Of The Day: Gadhafi's Daughter 'Eyeing Asylum In Israel'

Aisha Gadhafi in 2006.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 12:24 pm

Stay with us for a minute while we walk through the reporting chain:

The Los Angeles Times writes today that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's 35-year-old daughter Aisha is "reportedly eyeing asylum in Israel."

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Rules Would Boost Pay For In-Home Health Aides

Nearly two million home health care aides help seniors and people with disabilities to live independently. These caregivers often work long hours doing difficult work without overtime pay. The Labor Department has proposed rules to bring home care aides under federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Learning 'Sri Lankan Home Cooking' A Family Affair

Susan Now

A child of Sri Lankan immigrants, music journalist S.H. "Skiz" Fernando, Jr. grew up eating Sri Lankan food regularly. But he didn't master the art of the cuisine until he moved to his family's homeland and enlisted the expertise of his four aunts.

For one year, Fernando spent his mornings scouring local markets for the best spices and ingredients. He then cooked for hours, using old cookbooks and family recipes. His aunts critiqued the dishes until Fernando perfected them — meaning Fernando ended up making each recipe at least 20 times.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Resisting Hitler's Rise 'In the Garden of Beasts'

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 11:45 am

When University of Chicago professor William Dodd assumed the post of U.S. ambassador to Germany in 1933, he hoped for an undemanding position that would allow him spare time to write a book.

At the time, few in the United States or Europe considered then-Chancellor Adolf Hitler a serious threat, and few expected him to remain in power long. Dodd was no exception, says Erik Larson, author of In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin.

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Pop Culture
1:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

The Logic - Or Lack Thereof - Behind Top 10 Lists

Year's end always means a slew of top ten lists, the ubiquitous arbiter of the year's best films, books, albums and political stories. But Dallas Morning News film critic Chris Vognar has a confession: Those lists are not just subjective — they're often completely arbitrary.

It's All Politics
12:26 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

At Romney Rally, Iowa's Moderate GOP 'Silent Majority' Voters Start Talking

A young Mitt Romney supporter holds yard signs Thursday at a campaign event at J's Homestyle Cooking in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 6:26 am

Another strong turnout this morning for Mitt Romney at a restaurant in Cedar Falls, though the small place wasn't quite as packed as yesterday's breakfast stop in Muscatine. Romney spent a lot of time shaking hands and posing for pictures with customers, supporters and restaurant staff, after he spoke for about 20 minutes. He usually takes a couple of questions from the crowd but did not today, preferring to spend more time than usual glad-handing.

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The Salt
11:59 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Chefs Roll Out Hearty, Homey Meatballs On The Cheap

Meatballs over pasta from Michel Richard's restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Melissa Forsyth NPR

When I'm considering a gourmet lunch, meatballs don't exactly spring to mind. So I was more than a little surprised to hear that haute cuisine chef Michel Richard was opening a meatball joint just down the street from NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Unused Gift Cards? What About A Group That Collects Them For Charities?

Our post-Christmas post about the estimated $41 billion worth of gift cards that haven't been redeemed since 2005 seemed to strike a chord. And our shout-out for ideas about what to do with cards you don't want or that only have a little bit of money left on them generated some good responses. Such as this:

Trena Gravem (Trena) wrote:

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Petraeus Did Not Consider Quitting Over Afghan Drawdown, Author Says

Gen. David Petraeus in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on July 4, 2011.
U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Haraz N. Ghanbari Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 11:16 am

The lede on an Associated Press report this morning:

"Four-star general-turned-CIA director David Petraeus almost resigned as Afghanistan war commander over President Barack Obama's decision to quickly draw down surge forces, according to a new insider's look at Petraeus' 37-year Army career."

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Science
10:39 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Debunked Science: Studies In 2011 Take Heat

2011 may go down as the year of the retraction in the scientific world.

Among the highly publicized discoveries that got debunked this year: a genetic basis for longevity; a new form of life; an explanation for autism; and a link between a virus and chronic fatigue syndrome.

All of these non-discoveries have something in common. They involved findings that both scientists and the public badly wanted to believe.

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It's All Politics
10:24 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Across Iowa, Gingrich Highlights His Experience As Poll Numbers Slip

Newt Gingrich speaks Wednesday at Southbridge Mall in Mason City, Iowa.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 6:26 am

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich started Thursday's Iowa campaigning with a stop in Sioux City at The Coffee Works. Only about a dozen customers were there, but he was questioned critically by one about his comments on reforming the federal judiciary.

Linda Santi told Gingrich she didn't appreciate him "politicizing" the Iowa Supreme Court's 2009 decision that found unconstitutional a state law banning gay marriage. Santi said the decision was in accordance with the state constitution. Gingrich ended the conversation with: "We'll have to agree to disagree."

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The Salt
9:57 am
Thu December 29, 2011

When The Food Isn't Alright On The Night Shift

Rachel Zayas, a registered nurse, sets up the shift board for the night shift at the Cleveland Clinic.
Chuck Crow The Plain Dealer /Landov

Working the night shift is bad for your health. But what if that's because the food is so lousy?

That's the provocative question raised this week by the editors of PLoS Medicine, an online medical journal.

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Food
9:53 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Try A Champagne Cocktail For A Sparkling New Year

Greg Seider's version of a French 75 is a cocktail with gin, lemon juice and agave topped with prosecco or champagne.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 10:05 am

For many people, the New Year begins with popping a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine. It's the go-to drink for the celebratory moments in our lives.

Yet champagne is far more versatile than many people think. Beyond just pouring it into a glass, you can mix it with any number of spirits to create a range of champagne cocktails.

"One that starts off a little simpler is a French 75," respected mixologist Greg Seider tells Weekend Edition guest host Jacki Lyden. "[It's] gin, lemon juice, a slight bit of agave, topped with prosecco or champagne."

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Opinion
9:45 am
Thu December 29, 2011

John Ridley's Top 'Nontroversies' Of 2011

Charlie Sheen laughs onstage during a Comedy Central roast of him on Sept. 10.
Christopher Polk Getty Images

Commentator John Ridley is the screenwriter for the upcoming movie Red Tails.

It's been another year of stories so overblown, overhyped and overrated, 365 days were hardly enough to contain them.

So before they fade into the Potter's field of time, like the marriage of Kim and what's his name, let's take a look back at the biggest nontroversies of 2011.

Charlie Sheen Vs. 'Two And A Half Men'

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It's All Politics
8:58 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Romney Rolling In Iowa, With Large Crowds And Growing Optimism

Before the sun was even up here in Iowa this morning, the Mitt Romney campaign bus was rolling on its way to a stop at J's Homestyle Cooking in Cedar Falls.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Jobless Claims Rise By 15,000

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits grew by 15,000 last week from the previous week, to 381,000, the Employment and Training Administration just reported. It was the first increase in the past four weeks.

The agency adds, though, that "the 4-week moving average was 375,000, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week's revised average of 380,750."

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Thu December 29, 2011

In Syria: Videos Belie Monitor's Comment About 'Nothing Frightening'

Sudanese Gen. Mustafa al-Dabi told reporters Wednesday that he had seen "nothing frightening" during his first visit to the Syrian city of Homs this week.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
8:02 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Buddying Up To 'Follies' Star Danny Burstein

Danny Burstein, as Buddy Plummer, performs "Buddy's Blues," the high-energy song-and-dance number at the end of Follies, with Jenifer Foote (left) and Kiira Schmidt.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 11:49 am

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 November 28, 2011.

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