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Asia
3:59 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

In Philippine Slums, Capturing Light In A Bottle

Filipino soldiers install solar light bulbs through a roof in a shantytown in Manila, Philippines. The bulbs are actually old plastic soda bottles filled with water and bleach, and powered by the sun.
Jay Directo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

Sheila Royeras, her husband, her mother and two young daughters live in a single-room cement apartment in a poor neighborhood in Manila, Philippines. Like many such homes, it's mostly dark during the day, except for a small ray of sunlight that enters through an open front door.

But this is about to change.

On this morning, volunteers and local government workers arrive to hang low-tech solar light bulbs from the corrugated metal roof. The bulbs are very simple, very effective and the ambitious plan is to put them in 1 million homes this year.

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It's All Politics
3:55 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Complaining About Rivals' Attack Ads, Gingrich Fires Back Off The Air

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich heads for a caffeine fix with his wife Callista at Jitters Coffee Bar as he makes a campaign stop at the Southbridge Mall in Mason City, Iowa on Dec. 28.
Charles Dharapak AP

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Wednesday renewed his pledge not to run any negative ads in the closing days of the campaign for the Iowa caucuses. But campaigning in Mason City, Gingrich said that won't stop him from personally attacking the record of his opponents.

Gingrich spoke at a mall in Mason City and afterward grabbed a skim milk café au lait from the Jitters coffee bar.

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Economy
3:54 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

From Boom To Bust: The Year In Unemployment

In April, the Brooklyn Job Fair drew thousands of participants, including nearly 80 employers. That same month saw unemployment jump to 9 percent from 8.8 percent in March.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

It may be hard to remember, but 2011 began with a bang on the jobs front. The White House seemed ready to break out the champagne when February's job growth report came out showing unemployment at the lowest in nearly two years.

But that celebratory mood didn't last long.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Crime Keeps Falling Despite A Recession — But Why?

iStockphoto.com

We've reported that crime continues to fall in the United States. The FBI said it was down for the first six months of the year and the Justice Department said violent crime was down 12 percent in 2010.

It's a 20-year trend. One that has continued, despite a recession when people expect crime to pick up.

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Election 2012
3:46 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Despite Signs Of Hope, Iowa Voters Question Economy

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum emerges from a cornfield during an August campaign stop in Dyersville, Iowa, at the farm where the movie Field of Dreams was filmed.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

First in a series

Visiting a metal fabrication plant in Sioux City this December, Mitt Romney touted his successful business background, saying those qualifications are what America needs right now.

"I want to use the experience I have in the world of the free enterprise system to make sure that America gets working again. ... These are tough times," said the Republican presidential candidate. "You guys have jobs. Hope your spouses do. But I know these are tough times."

But not as tough in Iowa as in many other parts of the country.

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Movie Interviews
3:42 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Coming Out, Coming Of Age As A Teen 'Pariah'

Adepero Oduye planned to be a doctor, but after her father died suddenly, she decided to change course and pursue an acting career.
Focus Features

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

When the new film Pariah opens nationally, it's safe to say it will not be competing with any other movies about a black teenager coming of age as a lesbian in Brooklyn.

"It's not so much coming out, but coming into," clarifies director Dee Rees. "Alike, the main character, knows she loves women. That's not her struggle. Her struggle's more how to be in the world."

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Europe
3:18 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

In Greece, A Muted Christmas Amid Tough Times

A homeless man begs for money during the launch of Christmas celebrations in Athens' central Syntagma Square, Dec. 9. Difficult economic times have meant subdued holiday activities — and even carolers, who traditionally receive money for their songs, are feeling the pinch.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

In Greece, caroling season runs through the Orthodox Christian holiday known as the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6. Traditionally, children go door-to-door, playing the triangle and singing songs of the season. In return, people give them a few euros for presents.

But this Christmas, Greek retailers say sales fell 30 percent from last year. The unemployment rate is at record levels, crime is rising and austerity is dampening everyone's spirits.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

There Will Be No Friday This Week In Samoa

Samoa: Would you argue with getting an extra day in a place like this?
D. Kirkland/Samoa Tourist Authority AP

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 2:53 pm

What's happening in Samoa on Friday?

Nothing (sort of).

Officially, the day won't exist.

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The Salt
1:59 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Farmers Markets Flourish In Winter's Snows

Georgia O'Neal harvests winter greens at the Tree and Leaf Farm in Unionville, Va., on March 16, 2011.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:10 am

If you're a fresh vegetable lover, it's hard to get excited about what's available in the supermarket produce section in the dead of winter. Whatever is there often has made a long journey from a field in a distant, sunny locale and been sprayed with something to keep it looking fresh. It's usually a little worse for the wear.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

In S.C.: Whether To Say 'It's A Great Day' Is Now A Political Issue

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R).
Chris Keane Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 1:26 pm

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has told her Cabinet agencies that all employees should answer their phones with this greeting:

"It's a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?"

But two Democratic members of the state House are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit any agency from ordering its staff to say that unless it truly is a "great day in South Carolina" (according to those legislators).

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Shots - Health Blog
1:21 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Could Obesity Change The Brain?

A fatty diet may trigger inflammation of the hypothalamus, deep inside the brain, and hinder weight loss.
Wikimedia Commons

The standard advice for losing weight often comes up short for people who are obese.

If they switch to a healthful diet and exercise more, they might lose a bit. But the pounds have a way of creeping back on.

Now some provocative research suggests that a part of the problem might be that obesity could change the area of the brain that helps control appetite and body weight.

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Election 2012
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

GOP Candidates Jockey Ahead Of Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa caucuses will be critical for Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum, or a chance for Rep. Ron Paul to steal the national spotlight from Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Proposed Child Labor Rules Could Alter Farm Life

The Department of Labor has proposed regulations that would limit the kinds of work children can do on farms. Opponents feel the rules would hurt family farms and fundamentally alter farming life, while proponents say the changes would help keep kids safe.

Law
1:00 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

HIV Status Disclosure Laws Under Scrutiny

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 2:07 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

In more than 30 U.S. states, it's illegal not to inform sexual partners if you're HIV-positive. Here in Iowa, it's a Class B felony that carries up to 25 years in prison, even if there's no transmission of the virus. Proponents say to knowingly expose someone to a potentially lethal virus is equivalent to attempted murder. Critics argue that these laws single out people with HIV to the exclusion of other dangerous STDs, and they hope to see legislation to change the law so it doesn't target those with HIV, many of whom are gay men.

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Music Lists
12:44 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Flame On: Protest Songs From Greece

Yiannis Aggelakas
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:32 pm

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

'Dead By Morning' Facebook Post Leads To Woman's Rescue, Man's Arrest

Facebook.com

National media are catching up on a harrowing story from Utah, where police say a woman who had been kidnapped, raped and beaten for days was able to post a Christmas Eve message for help on Facebook that led to the rescue of her and her 17-month-old son, and the arrest of a man now being held on $1 million bail.

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World
12:20 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Israelis Protest Strict Code Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man (l) and a secular man argue during a protest against the strict religious codes favored by the ultra-Orthodox in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh.
STRINGER Reuters/Landov

According to Israel's President Shimon Peres, a fight is underway, for "the soul of the nation and the essence of the state." But the threat isn't coming from outside of Israel. It's over differing interpretations of Judaism.

Recently, a bespectacled eight year-old girl was filmed by a local TV station being harassed by ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi Jews, for, in their view, not dressing modestly enough. The episode took place in Beit Shemesh, a city between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that has become a symbol of this growing battle in Israel.

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It's All Politics
11:00 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Wavering In Iowa: Portraits Of Undecided Voters

Patrick Brehm
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 11:09 am

As NPR's Becky Lettenberger and I take to the road in Iowa this week, we are collecting the words and images of Iowa Republicans still uncertain who they will vote for in next Tuesday's state GOP presidential caucuses.

Here's the first look at what we saw and heard Tuesday in two cities that hug the Mississippi River on the state's eastern border, Dubuque and Davenport.

We spoke with voters after a Newt Gingrich appearance in Dubuque during a Rotary Club meeting at a local country club.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Wed December 28, 2011

VIDEO: Monks Brawl With Brooms In Bethlehem's Church Of The Nativity

There was a brawl today inside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

A brawl between, of all things, "dozens of monks feuding over sacred space," The Associated Press says.

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It's All Politics
10:54 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Under Attack, Gingrich Struggles To Regain His Stride In Iowa

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich complained about negative ads against him during a campaign stop at the National Toy Farm Museum on Dec. 27 in Dyersville, Iowa.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 7:10 pm

If you're in Iowa this week, you'll need to watch out for campaign buses. Several Republican candidates are on bus tours of the state — including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Bird-Watchers Are All Aflutter: Asian Crane Shows Up In Tennessee

The surprise visitor: An Asian hooded crane that has shown up at the Hiwassee Refuge in Tennessee.
John Kuehnel Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 12:35 pm

Just in time for the mid-January Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival at the Hiwassee Refuge, an Asian hooded crane that probably should be in Japan this time of year has flown in with thousands of his North American relatives.

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It's All Politics
9:13 am
Wed December 28, 2011

In The Hunt For Votes, Romney Heads East To 2008 Iowa Stronghold

Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop Wednesday at Elly's Tea and Coffee in Muscatine, Iowa.
Chris Carlson Associated Press

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 10:18 am

On Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney was getting an early start to campaigning in eastern Iowa, meeting and greeting voters having breakfast or just getting a caffeine boost at Elly's Tea and Coffee in Muscatine.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Top Stories: Funeral For Kim Jong Il, Syria Releases Some Prisoners

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 9:47 am

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It's All Politics
8:55 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Immigration Emerges As Key Issue For Some Iowa Voters

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at a campaign event at Clark Electric Co-op on Dec. 27 in Osceola, Iowa. Perry's stance on immigration has troubled some Iowa voters.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 10:33 am

Campaign buses loaded with Republican presidential hopefuls and their entourages are rolling across Iowa as the candidates hope some face time with GOP voters will help boost their chances in the Jan. 3 caucuses.

The main issue for many Iowa voters is the economy. But there's a sleeper issue emerging: immigration reform.

Iowa's Hispanic population is surging and Republican candidates are struggling with how best to deal with voter concerns.

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Middle East
8:54 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Iran Again Warns It Can Cut Off Strategic Oil Route

The chief of Iran's navy warned Wednesday that his country can easily close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf channel where a sixth of the world's oil flows.

It was the second such warning in two days — and a Saudi official said Gulf Arab nations are ready to step in and offset any potential loss of Iranian crude in the world markets.

On Tuesday, Iran's vice president, Mohamed Reza Rahimi, threatened to close the strait, cutting off oil exports, if the West imposes sanctions on Iran's oil shipments.

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The Two-Way
8:30 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Rev. Billy Graham Makes Top 10 'Most Admired' List For 55th Time

Rev. Billy Graham poses for a portrait in 1968.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 8:33 am

Scroll down Gallup's report on its latest poll results about the most admired men and women living today and you come to this:

"The Rev. Billy Graham has never finished first, but has been in the top 10 more than any other man — 55 times since 1955." This year, Gallup puts Graham at No. 4. He was mentioned by 2 percent of those surveyed.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
8:20 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings: The Fresh Air Interview

The Harrow and the Harvest is the first new album from Gillian Welch and David Rawlings since 2003.
Mark Seliger Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:37 pm

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 July 18, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
8:18 am
Wed December 28, 2011

David Carr: A Media Omnivore Discusses His Diet

"We are entering a golden age of journalism," says David Carr of The New York Times. "I look at my backpack ... and it contains more journalistic firepower than the entire newsroom that I walked into 30-40 years ago."

Mario Tama Getty Images

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 October 27, 2011.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Cheetah, Said To Be One Of Tarzan's Chimpanzee Sidekicks, Has Died

1932 scene from Tarzan the Ape Man: Johnny Weissmuller, right, as Tarzan, Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane, and one of the chimps who played Cheetah.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:21 pm

One of the chimpanzees who played Cheetah, Johnny Weissmuller's sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the 1930s and '40s, has died. He was said to be 80 years old and succumbed to kidney failure on Christmas Eve, according to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Fla., where he had been living since the early 1960s.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Weeping, Wailing And Imagery In Pyongyang For Kim Jong Il's Funeral

Kim Jong Un, center, walks with his hand on the limousine bearing his father Kim Jong Il's body earlier today in Pyongyang.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency AFP/Getty Images

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