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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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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
7:50 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Maurice Sendak: On Life, Death And Children's Lit

courtesy of the author

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:10 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 September 20, 2011.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Report: Criminal Charges Being Prepared Against BP For Gulf Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

"U.S. prosecutors are preparing what would be the first criminal charges against BP PLC employees stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, citing "people familiar with the matter."

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Around the Nation
7:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Great Day In South Carolina? Depends Who You Ask

Under orders from GOP Gov. Nikki Haley, state employees must answer the phone saying: "It's a great day in South Carolina." Two Democratic legislators want to ban the cheery mandate. They say no sunny hellos as long as unemployment is more than 5 percent in the state.

Around the Nation
6:52 am
Thu December 29, 2011

With No Day Job To Quit, Specter Turns To Standup

Former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania performed at a Philadelhia comedy club Tuesday night. He joked he'd already been in comedy for 30 years. But he added in politics, it's sit-down comedy rather than standup.

Iraq
6:40 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Iraqi Journalist Reflects On 8 Years Of War

At NPR's Baghdad bureau, Isra' al Rubei'i has long worked as a reporter and translator. She submitted this short piece of fiction about a man standing before a judge — a character, who she says represents the Iraqi experience.

Business
4:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Business News

Steve Inskeep has business news.

Business
4:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

The Last Word In Business

Steve Inskeep has the Last Word in business.

Business
4:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

GoDaddy's Suport For SOPA Draws Customers' Ire

Linda Wertheimer talks to Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET, about Dump GoDaddy Day, a protest against the company for its initial support of proposed legislation to curb online piracy. SOPA is short for the Stop Online Piracy Act. GoDaddy is one of the largest accredited Internet domain registrar in the world.

Around the Nation
4:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

2012 Could See New Regs For Table Saws

Every year, thousands of Americans suffer severe injuries using the saws. But after a series of reports by NPR, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has started crafting new safety rules for table saws.

Election 2012
2:35 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Gingrich Ups Romney At Iowa Chocolate Factory

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 8:03 am

Transcript

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: I'm Greg Allen in Sioux City.

At every stop in Iowa, former House speaker Newt Gingrich touts his experience. He calls himself a supply-side conservative who worked with Ronald Reagan in the '80s, and again as House speaker in the '90s, to revive the economy.

But he's not averse to a good photo op.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD)

ERIKA JENSEN: OK. Oh, you got a little drips.

NEWT GINGRICH: I'm still dripping.

JENSEN: Yup.

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Technology
12:01 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Year In Review: Mega Tech Brands Raise Megabucks

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman watches as his company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange in May. Despite the global economic uncertainty, tech companies held steady on Wall Street.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 1:20 pm

The year 2011 was tumultuous for stocks. The eurozone crisis and a U.S. credit downgrade kept investors nervous, but one industry held steady, even faring better than in previous years: technology.

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States Of The Economy
12:01 am
Thu December 29, 2011

N.H. Voters Look For Calm Amid Economic Jitters

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stands to applause during a campaign stop at a Londonderry, N.H., restaurant on Tuesday.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 12:00 pm

The economic fears and hopes of the electorate in early-voting states like New Hampshire will play a significant role in determining who emerges from the pack of Republican presidential candidates.

And despite the Granite State's financial stability, lots of Republican voters see cloudy skies ahead.

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