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The Record
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

The Music Stories We Missed This Year

The Edge and Bono performing in June at the Oakland, Calif., stop of U2's 360˚ Tour β€” the most successful in history.
Tim Mosenfelder Getty Images

This year, Morning Edition covered the death of Amy Winehouse, Spotify's arrival in America and the end of R.E.M. Listen above to host Steve Inskeep and Ann Powers catch up on the year's musical stories the show didn't cover.

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Sports
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Horse Breeders Seek To Rein In Bets On Barrel Races

Barrel racing champion Charmayne James rides during a demonstration at a new arena in Gretna, Fla., that plans to hold wagering on the sport.
Brendan Farrington AP

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 7:16 am

At rodeos, barrel racing has long been a popular event. Riders, often young women, race their horses in a cloverleaf pattern around barrels in an arena. Using quarter horses, the sport has grown in popularity in recent years and has its own circuit of races and competitive riders.

But in Gretna, Fla., a plan to turn barrel racing into a betting proposition has run into opposition. Quarter horse breeders and trainers are suing to stop it, saying the new event could destroy their industry.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Singing Therapy Helps Stroke Patients Speak Again

Laurel Fontaine, 16, (left) and her twin sister Heather. When Laurel was 11 years old, she suffered a stroke that destroyed 80 percent of the left side of her brain. The singing therapy helped her regain the ability to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:39 am

Debra Meyerson was hiking near Lake Tahoe 15 months ago when a stroke destroyed part of the left side of her brain, leaving her literally speechless. It happens to more than 150,000 Americans a year.

But now Meyerson is learning to talk again through an approach that trains the undamaged right side of her brain to "speak." Specifically, it's a region that controls singing.

For more than 100 years, it's been known that people who can't speak after injury to the speech centers on the left side of the brain can sing.

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It Was A Good Year For...
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

For Novak Djokovic, A Year To Celebrate In Tennis

In 2011, Novak Djokovic had just about the best year a male tennis player has ever had, including wins at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

"This is the athlete of the year," says Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. "This is a brutal, brutal sport. This guy is playing on six continents, every surface....This is one of the all time great years in open tennis history."

This year, Djokovic also kept to a gluten-free diet. Must have been particularly difficult since his family's business is a pizza parlor.

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Music Interviews
4:13 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

A Jazz Pianist's Cinematic 'Fantasy'

Harold O'Neal's new album is Marvelous Fantasy.
Luke Kaven Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 5:06 pm

Harold O'Neal is a jazz pianist with an unusual resume. Born in Tanzania and raised in Kansas City, Miss., O'Neal is also a hip-hop dancer, martial artist and actor. He's just released a new album with an unusual back story of its own: Marvelous Fantasy is a largely improvised collection of solo piano pieces, an homage to the music of silent films.

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Around the Nation
4:12 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Bronx Family's Christmas Display Is 'So Bad, It's Good'

Onlookers gather in front of the Garabedian family home in the Bronx in this 2004 photo. The Garabedians have decorated their home for nearly four decades with lights and hundreds of animated figurines.
Mario Tama Getty Images

A few strings of lights and an inflatable Santa are enough for some people when it comes to holiday decorations. But not for the Garabedian family of the Bronx, whose over-the-top Christmas displays have been a traffic-snarling must-see for nearly four decades. And "traditional" is definitely not the right word for this holiday attraction.

The first giveaway might be the music the Garabedians play through speakers outside their home. Instead of a Christmas carol, you're more likely to hear a hit single from a singer like Engelbert Humperdinck.

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Author Interviews
4:11 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Bill Cosby Enlists Santa's Staff For A Silent Night

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 5:06 pm

Ah, the joys of a houseful of family on Christmas β€” the tensions, the simmering resentments, the screaming children.

Bill Cosby's three grandchildren visit him every year for the holiday. But the comedian tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that he's not a traditional sort of grandfather, who "believes they came from heaven above."

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Around the Nation
4:08 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

For One Ala. Farmer, Workers Are Still Scarce

Earlier this year, Alabama passed a tough immigration law that prompted thousands of migrant workers to flee the state.

Shortly after, NPR spoke with Jamie Boatwright, a fourth-generation tomato farmer in Steele, Ala. When the law was passed, about 20 of Boatwright's farmhands β€” all of them from Mexico β€” left and his business was devastated.

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It Was A Good Year For...
2:16 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Instagram's Winning Recipe: Images And Social Media

Two iPhone screengrabs shows Instagram's filter mode, left, and a shared photo on the app, right.
iTunes

Originally published on Sat February 25, 2012 5:30 pm

There are a lot of photo apps out there for the iPhone. With most of them, you take a picture, put a filter on it and maybe add some lens blur. But many of them don't have a built-in way for you to share the photo.

"When we combined those two key ingredients, we came up with something that became Instagram," says Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, who is also one if its founders.

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Iraq
8:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Fears Renewed In Iraq With Wave Of Violence

After delivering mass, Monsignor Pius Kasha poses with security officials who are guarding the Syriac Catholic church in the Mansour neighborhood in Baghdad.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 9:44 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Christian Iraqis in Baghdad celebrated Christmas mass today with prayer and music.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONGREGATION SINGING)

CORNISH: This, one week after the last U.S. forces left Iraq for good - a withdrawal that has been followed by a week of bloodshed and political chaos. NPR's Sean Carberry joins us from Baghdad to talk about the latest. Good morning, Sean.

SEAN CARBERRY, BYLINE: Thanks, Audie.

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News
8:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Young And Undocumented: Immigration In Ariz.

Increased deportations in the U.S. have led to more broken families among immigrants. Reporter John Faherty recently profiled three undocumented high school students living together without their families in a trailer in Phoenix, Ariz. Host Audie Cornish speaks with Faherty about his reporting on how Arizona's immigration law has impacted immigrant children.

Politics
8:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Gingrich Camp: More Talk Than Action?

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign has suffered a setback on this Christmas weekend. Gingrich failed to get enough signatures to be on the ballot in Virginia, calling into question his organizational ability to sustain a long campaign.

Around the Nation
8:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

The 'People's Caucus' To Protest Iowa Voting

Occupy Wall Street-style protesters in Des Moines, Iowa, are making plans to camp out at the headquarters of presidential candidates and disrupt campaign events leading up to the Iowa caucuses. They say they're dissatisfied with the response of candidates from both parties to their concerns, so they're organizing their own caucus-style event two days after Christmas.

Around the Nation
5:55 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Loose Moose Make Anchorage A Winter Wanderland

A moose catches some rare winter sun at reporter Annie Feidt's home in Anchorage. During the winter, about 1,500 moose roam the city.
Todd Salat

Anchorage, Alaska, probably has more wildlife within its borders than any other city in the world. Bears, lynx and king salmon all coexist with city dwellers β€” peacefully, for the most part β€” so it's no shock when the snow piles up in the mountains and hundreds of moose descend on the city each winter.

But learning to live with the quirky beasts takes some patience.

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Science
5:54 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Trees In Trouble: Grim Future For Frankincense

Frankincense comes from the Boswellia sacra tree, which grows mainly in the Horn of Africa. The number of trees that produce the fragrant resin could decline by 90 percent in the next 50 years.
scott.zona flickr

The original Christmas presents were gold, frankincense and myrrh. That's what wise men brought to the baby Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew. Frankincense is still used today β€” for perfumes, incense and traditional medicines β€” but a new study suggests that its future looks grim.

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National Teachers Initiative
5:53 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Peace Game Puts 'Weight Of The World' On Students

Julianne Swope, 11, says the World Peace Game taught her to be more compassionate. John Hunter invented the game to get his students thinking about major world problems.
StoryCorps

John Hunter's fourth-graders are remarkably successful at resolving world crises peacefully.

Hunter, 57, has been teaching for more than three decades. He wanted to get his students to think about major world issues, so he invented the World Peace Game. Students are divided into countries, and then given a series of global crises β€” natural disasters, political conflicts β€” that they have to solve.

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The News Tip On Weekend Edition Sunday
1:24 am
Sun December 25, 2011

The News Tip: Takeaways From 2011

2011 was a year of intense and compelling news stories: from the Arab Spring, to the nuclear disaster in Japan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

It's often assumed that people bury their heads in frivolous news when hard news is too much to take. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik says that this year media consumers embraced the hard news.

"They were often transfixed by it," he tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish.

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The Two-Way
6:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

At LAX, TSA Workers Sing Cheer Into Holiday Travel

TSA workers sing at Los Angeles International Airport in this screen grab from a USA Today video. The chorus dons Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.
USA Today

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 8:20 am

Turns out some of those dour security officers who make you take your shoes off at the airport have plenty of Christmas spirit. Travel isn't usually a highlight of the holidays, but at Los Angeles International Airport some of the Transportation Security Administration workers enjoy the season so much they sing.

True to its duties, the LAX TSA Chorus isn't joking. Its singers are actually TSA employees who don Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.

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Business
5:14 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Rapture Or Not, Promise To Care For Pets Stands

iStockphoto.com

Back in May, followers of Harold Camping were preparing for the coming rapture. For some, that preparation included someone to look after their pets.

At the time, animal lover Bart Centre, the creator of Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, had 259 clients whose pets he promised to look after in the event that they were raptured in the next 10 years. Those clients paid $135 for the first pet and $20 for each additional pet.

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Author Interviews
3:14 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

A Jewish Perspective On The New Testament

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 5:15 pm

The New Testament is constantly being re-interpreted from a variety of perspectives. From feminists, to socialists, to traditionalists; there's even a version as seen through the prism of Star Wars.

Well now, you can add to the collection The Jewish Annotated New Testament by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler.

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Movies
3:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

A Sunday Christmas Means A Change For Holiday Movies

The Christmas holidays always mean big money for Hollywood. The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is traditionally the biggest box-office week of the year. But this year something weird is going on: more movies are opening on Sunday instead of the traditional Friday. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with NPR's movie critic Bob Mondello about what this will mean for the holiday movie season.

Analysis
3:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

2011: The Year In Stories

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 5:15 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

From NPR News, it's weekends on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.

Thanks for joining us this Christmas Eve. Today and tomorrow, instead of our usual cover story, we'll hear updates from some of the folks who appeared on this program this past year.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Ousted By Tea Party, Rep. Inglis Looks Back

Republican Representative Bob Inglis was one of only a few Republicans in the House of Representatives who lost their seats to Tea Party challengers in 2010. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz spoke with Inglis, a longtime conservative, just over a year ago before he left Congress. He checks back in with Inglis to find out what he has been up to since he left politics.

Asia
3:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Stain Of Disaster Remains In Some Areas Of Japan

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 5:15 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Ten months ago, reporter Lucy Craft who's based in Tokyo was about to get the story of her career. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami left nearly 16,000 people dead, most of them in northern Japan. Here's a clip from her reporting on that day.

LUCY CRAFT: The scenes of horror playing out on national TV, scenes of biblical proportion, an entire town engulfed in flames. Hundreds of bodies discovered, victims of tsunami waves more than 30 feet high.

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Europe
3:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

For Norway, A Horrific Memory Lingers

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

On a Friday night this past July, it was July 22nd to be exact, we began to hear details about a shooting in Norway. Now, at first, it seemed like an isolated incident. But by Saturday morning, the full extent of the attacks started to become clear. A series of explosions, and then the systematic killing of dozens of young people by an extreme right wing gunman named Anders Behring Breivik.

That morning, we called journalist Anders Giaever. He's a columnist at one of Norway's largest newspapers and he was shaken.

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Television
2:28 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

The Good Old Yule Log Spreads To HDTV

A screencap of the iconic WPIX Yule Log. The original video was filmed in 1966; this version was redone in 1970.
WPIX

If history repeats itself, one of the most popular programs on television Christmas Day will be a looped, seven-minute piece of film that's more than 40 years old. In some cities, it's consistently in the top three programs on Christmas morning, and yet it has no plot, no actors and it never seems to end.

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Sports
2:23 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

An Epic (And Mythic) 2011 NBA Preview

These guys aren't playing basketball this season. But they were photographed in the Caucasus region, some time between 1870 and 1886.
Library of Congress

The NBA season opens Christmas Day, and every sports writer worth his tinseled tropes has made a reference to basketball fans being able to unwrap a slate of games under the tree.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:34 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Fresh Air Weekend: Trent Reznor, Elmo

Elmo and Clash, on the Sesame Street set in 2006.
Richard Termine Sesame Workshop

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Africa
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

For A Libya In Flux: A Theme Song

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has spent much of this year covering the uprising and civil war in Libya. As she and her Libyan colleagues drove through the streets of Tripoli this week, they often found themselves listening to a legendary American country music song. The lyrics about changing fortunes seemed to ring true for Libya, as she tells us in this reporter's notebook.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: If every conflict has a theme song, then Libya's for me is as unlikely as it is fitting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAMBLER")

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Presidential Race
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Romney Reaches Out To N.H. Voters

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Mitt Romney had one of the busiest public stretches of his presidential campaign this week. A big blue bus with his name on the side rolled along hundreds of miles of New Hampshire roads making more than a dozen stops to meet voters just three weeks before the primary. The campaign called it The Earn It Tour. NPR's Ari Shapiro was along for the ride.

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