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8:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Oldest Black Church Reopens After Six-Year Restoration

The nation's oldest black church reopens to the public this week after a $9-million restoration fueled in part by federal stimulus funds, and completed in painstaking detail despite the recession. Shannon Mullen tours Boston's African Meeting House with the woman who led the project.

Environment
8:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Climate Talks Go Longer Than Expected

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Diplomats in the United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa are still struggling to bring that meeting to some sort of close. Still no deal from the talks, which was supposed to coordinate international efforts on global warming. Diplomats are hoping that all the talk won't prove to be just a lot of carbon emissions. We're joined now from the talks by NPR's Richard Harris. Richard, thanks for being with us.

RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: Hi, Scott.

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Election 2012
8:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

How Religious Conservatives Shape The GOP Race

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While Newt Gingrich may not have universal appeal among Tea Party voters, he seems to be drawing wide support from a key Republican constituency, Christian conservatives. The religious right has significant influence in many early voting states, including Iowa, which has its caucuses coming up on January 3rd.

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From Our Listeners
8:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Your Letters: Traffic Signs And Front Runners

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

Last week, we spoke with artist John Morse. He creates traffic warning signs complete with haikus for the New York City Transportation Department.

JOHN MORSE: (Reading) Cyclist writes screenplay. Plot features bike lane drama. How pedestrian.

SIMON: Michael Haslam, in Bellows Falls, Vermont, asks: Is there a potential downside to the New York City haiku signs for pedestrians and bicyclists? Crossing street downtown, signs catch attention, enthrall; fatal distraction.

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Governing
6:20 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Reconstituting The Constitution: How To Rewrite It?

Junius Brutus Stearns' 1856 painting George Washington Addressing the Constitutional Convention.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 4:09 pm

Most Americans haven't read the U.S. Constitution in a long time, if ever. They may be able to tell you about the Second Amendment, or the Fifth, maybe even part of the First. But other than that? A lot of blank stares.

Christopher Phillips has been leading what he calls "Constitution Café" discussions with people across the country. He's asking Americans to imagine themselves as framers of our founding document.

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It's All Politics
6:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Why Iowa Could Be Rick Perry's 'Alamo' Moment

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks with voter Jane High before speaking at the Scott County Republican party's Ronald Reagan Dinner on Nov. 14 in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 6:07 am

In the hours before Saturday's pivotal Republican presidential debate in Iowa, attention has been riveted on the intensifying battle between front-runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Waiting in the wings, with hope and a prayer — directed squarely at the state's evangelical voters — is, improbably, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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The Picture Show
6:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Russia By Rail: Siberia's Serious Cold

A woman is bundled up by the tracks of the Trans-Siberian railway.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 6:12 am

It's tempting, when beginning a visit to the far reaches of Siberia, to dismiss cold as some Russian cliché. Like vodka. And fur hats.

Sure, there'll be vodka — but not at every meal. Maybe I'll buy a fur hat as a souvenir — but I won't actually wear it.

Cold is no cliché. Siberia is cold.

I know cold. I like cold. I grew up in Pittsburgh, skiing, sledding and sitting through Pittsburgh Steeler football games in January, where beers and sodas freeze in plastic cups at your seats.

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Author Interviews
5:58 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Desai's 'Disappearance': Three Tales Of Art And Time

Novelist Anita Desai is a professor of humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has also written Journey to Ithaca, Village by the Sea and Clear Light of Day.
Jerry Bauer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Anita Desai's new collection of stories, The Artist of Disappearance, reads a bit like three symphonic movements in a minor key. They're three novellas, set in modern India, where the past is giving way. In one story, a government official inspects the forgotten treasures left behind in a fated mansion. In another story, a translator becomes a little too creative; and in the third, a man living in solitude finds his world upset by roving visitors.

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Environment
5:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Climate Activists: To Cut Emissions, Focus On Forests

The world's forests act as massive sponges, sucking carbon from the atmosphere. Above, an aerial photo from 2009 shows massive deforestation in the Brazilian state of Para.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Some climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's tropical forests.

The basic idea is to provide rich countries that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to put carbon in a storehouse.

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Environment
6:29 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

What Countries Are Doing To Tackle Climate Change

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 11, 2011 10:49 am

While nations wrangle over a new global treaty on climate change, the question on many minds is: What happens next?

Key portions of the Kyoto Protocol are set to expire at the end of 2012. But many of the world's major greenhouse gas emitters have already set national targets to reduce emissions, and they're forging their own initiatives to meet those goals.

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U.S.
5:43 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Congress Won't Recess To Block Obama Appointments

The U.S. Capitol is seen above in 2009 as senators worked late into the night on legislation. The light signifying that Congress is in session may remain on this holiday season as well, since House Republicans have said they will remain in a pro-forma session.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 6:45 am

Senate Republicans blocked confirmation votes on two of President Obama's most high-profile nominees this week — one for a seat on a federal appeals court, the other to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Traditionally, the end-of-the-year holidays have allowed presidents to bypass Congress and give such thwarted nominees recess appointments. But an angry President Obama is quickly leaning that this might not be the case this year.

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The Two-Way
5:38 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Scientists Find Studying For Test To Become London Cabbie Enlarges Brain

A taxi driver stands outside his cab in London, England.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 5:42 pm

To become a cab driver in London, you have to acquire "The Knowledge," which is their fancy way of saying that you have to memorize all the streets in London. It's quite a process that takes most three to four years to complete.

Now, scientists have found that studying for the test makes your brain bigger. The U.K. Press Association reports:

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The Salt
5:05 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

The Surprising Ingredient In Raw Cookie Dough That Could Make You Sick

So tempting, but don't do it. Raw cookie dough can indeed make you sick.
iStockPhoto.com

Cookie dough may be one of the joys of the holiday season, but it's dangerous, at least for people who nibble it raw.

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Music Interviews
4:12 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Classical Contemporaries Perform With A Ghost

Cellist Zuill Bailey and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian reanimate the late composer Manuel de Falla on The Spanish Masters.
Dario Acosta Photography / Lisa Marie Mazzucco

What's it like to perform with a ghost?

"There was no pianist breathing or cueing me," cellist Zuill Bailey says. "The good news is that he was very consistent." Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian adds, "It's absolutely true — it takes a little bit of adjusting."

Bailey and Bayrakdarian are talking about their accompanist: the late — very late — Manuel de Falla, who died in 1946. With the help of new recording technology, the two have performed de Falla's Seven Popular Spanish Songs for a new release, The Spanish Masters.

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Music Interviews
3:59 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Jazz Pianist Gets His Big Break — At Age 85

Boyd Lee Dunlop was discovered in a Buffalo nursing home, wrestling music from a dilapidated piano. His debut album is called Boyd's Blues.
Brendan Bannon

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:56 pm

Back in the 1930s, Boyd Lee Dunlop taught himself to play music on a broken piano left out on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. Only half the keys worked.

He also taught his little brother Frank to play the drums while they were growing up. Frankie Dunlop went on to record with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, among other jazz greats. Boyd Lee Dunlop went to work in the steel mills and rail yards of Buffalo, occasionally playing piano at local clubs.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Russian Government Says It Will Permit Massive Protest This Weekend

Riot police officers detain a man in a mask depicting Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during an opposition protest in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
Olga Maltseva AFP/Getty Images

In an unusual move, the Russian government announced today will allow the opposition to host a massive protest in Moscow this weekend.

RIA Novosti, the government's official English-language outlet, said the protesters will be allowed to remain the streets for four hours. RIA Novosti adds:

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The Salt
3:44 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

When Smugglers Try To Transport Drugs In Cheese

Seven pounds of methamphetamine hidden into nacho cheese and jalapeno containers were seized by customs officials at the border crossing in San Ysidro, Calif. this week.
Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

There's a river of nacho cheese flowing north from Mexico to the United States. This week, a would-be drug smuggler thought 7 pounds of methamphetamine might go unnoticed in the stream.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Netherlands Apologizes To Indonesia For 1947 Massacre

Indonesian widow Wanti Dodo, 93, whose husband Enap was killed during the 1947 massacre in Rawagede by Dutch troops.
Rome Gacad AFP/Getty Images

We were immediately struck by this picture:

It's of Wanti Dodo, 93, an Indonesian woman who lost her husband in a 1947 massacre. Dodo was in the audience in Rawagede, West Java when the Netherlands offered an official apology to Indonesia, today.

The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia Tjeerd de Zwaan apologized for the massacre that killed at least 150 boys and men. The Jakarta Globe provides a bit of history:

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

U.S. Faces Financial Troubles As Egypt Needs Aid

The U.S. has poured $28 billion of economic assistance into Egypt in recent decades. But now when Egypt's needs are the greatest, the U.S. and Europe are cash strapped. The Obama administration is trying to quickly reprogram aid to make sure it helps bolster democratic forces in the country and creates jobs to help ease the country's transition. The International Monetary Fund's chief Christine Lagarde says her door is open as well, but countries like Egypt need to ask for aid, which does come with some conditions. Meanwhile, leading members of Congress say the U.S.

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Baseball Faces Busy Off-Season

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Time for some hot stove baseball now. Yes. Even in chilly December, there's still reason to talk about the nation's pastime. For instance, one of baseball's biggest stars is changing uniforms.

Albert Pujols is leaving the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. He's been with the Cards for 11 seasons and two World Series rings, but money talks and Pujols is on his way to L.A. and the other league. He'll be playing for the Angels.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Ron Paul Surges In Iowa Polls

Ron Paul is surging in the polls — at least in Iowa — reflecting the implosion of other candidates, his memorable debate performances and eclectic libertarian positions. He's for ending the wars — as well as what he calls the "socialist big government." What is his role in the GOP nomination race? Who is he hurting and helping? Could he conceivably win the nomination? Does he want to be president?

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

E.U. Moves Ahead With Economic Reforms Package

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary. European officials are moving ahead today with a new package of economic reforms. That's after a long night of talks in Brussels. The effort to address the unyielding debt crisis has threatened European unity and one important country, the United Kingdom, has refused to sign off on the reforms. More on that in a moment, but first we hear about the new rules from NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Romney Returns To Iowa

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Mitt Romney was also in Iowa today. His campaign has spent the past several days on the offensive against Newt Gingrich. As Iowa Public Radio's Kate Wells reports, the former Massachusetts governor is facing a bigger challenge than he planned.

KATE WELLS, BYLINE: Remember when Mitt Romney wasn't supposed to really need Iowa?

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you, Tom. Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Britain Skeptical About Euro

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

More insular than ever - so says the French newspaper Le Mon, and it was referring to Britain and that country's decision not to join the effort to forge a new European pact. Today, nearly every European leader expressed support for that pact, but not the British prime minister, David Cameron. NPR's Philip Reeves explains.

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Technology
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Look At Mobile Technology Used In Retail

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Here's another challenge for traditional retailers. Companies like Amazon and eBay now offer apps for your Smartphone that take a lot of the legwork out of comparison-shopping. While you're in a store, just take a picture of an item or scan the barcode on the box. You'll find out where else to get it and you might even get an extra discount for buying it on the spot.

Stephen Hoch teaches marketing at the Wharton School of Business and consults for some retailers.

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From Our Listeners
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Letters: Stilts; 'People's Mic'; Backseat Book Club

Robert Siegel and Lynn Neary read emails from listeners.

National Security
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Questions Surround FBI Agent's Disappearance

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary. The family of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran, is appealing for his return.

DAVID LEVINSON: My name is David Levinson, and I'm speaking on behalf of my mother, Christine Levinson, and my entire family. Please tell us your demands so we can work together to bring my father home safely.

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Economy
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Maryland County Rethinks The Shopping Mall

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Lynn Neary.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The shopping mall is in trouble. That fixture of the suburban landscape has been hit hard by the recession. Even as business picks up, malls must compete with the rush to shop online.

NPR's Larry Abramson takes us to one shopping mall that's trying to escape the dustbin of retail history.

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National Security
3:00 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Brennan Discusses Defense Authorization Bill

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:12 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 runs hundreds of pages. It authorizes hundreds of billions in defense spending. And as it stands, the version of the bill approved by the Senate is facing a veto by President Obama.

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Politics
2:52 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

New Rules Turn Up Heat On Florida's Redistricting

History shows us that elections can turn on details — a momentary lapse during a debate, the design of a butterfly ballot, who oversees a recount. That's why so much attention is being paid this year in state capitals to redistricting.

Every 10 years, congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn to reflect changes in population.

Although many states have already finished redistricting, Florida is just getting started. And it's turning into a heated political battle.

Defining 'Gerrymandering'

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