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It's All Politics
3:10 am
Sun December 30, 2012

Conservatives Invoke NAACP Case In Fight For Secret Donors

Republican strategist Karl Rove, shown at the Republican National Convention in August, is arguing for continued secrecy for the new class of million-dollar political donors.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 7:27 pm

Here's a question: What do Republican strategist Karl Rove and civil rights icon Rosa Parks have in common?

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Europe
3:09 am
Sun December 30, 2012

The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Russian Crown Jewels

This necklace appears in the 1922 album at the USGS library, but not in the 1925 book on the Russian crown jewels.
www.usgs.gov

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 12:49 am

The story of the missing Russian crown jewels begins, as so many great adventures do, in a library.

In this case, it was the U.S. Geological Survey Library in Reston, Va.

Richard Huffine, the director, was looking through the library's rare-book collection when he came upon an oversized volume.

"And there's no markings on the outside, there's no spine label or anything like that," he says. "This one caught our eye, and we pulled it aside to take a further look at it."

Researcher Jenna Nolt was one of those who took a look.

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News
3:32 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

'Light Doesn't Die': A Sister's Poem For Slain Sandy Hook Teacher

Lauren Rousseau was killed on Dec. 14 when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 children and adults at the school.
Courtesy of Rousseau Family AP

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 4:28 pm

The subject line on the email my old friend Bill sent me two days before Christmas said, simply: "here is a poem emily wrote for her murdered sister lauren."

Emily is Bill's daughter. Lauren, his stepdaughter, is one of the teachers gunned down during the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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U.S.
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

In Limbo: Stateless Man Stuck On American Samoa

Mikhail Sebastian lived in Los Angeles before his fateful trip to American Samoa.
Courtesy Mikhail Sebastian

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:42 am

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Law
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Years Delayed, Detroit Starts Testing Rape Kits For Evidence

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 5:00 pm

Detroit is starting to sort through thousands of boxes of potential evidence in rape cases that have been left unprocessed. The 11,000 "rape kits" were discovered in 2009, and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has been leading the effort to process them.

In April, she told weekends on All Things Considered that they began with a random sample of 400 kits to get a snapshot of what they were dealing with. That sampling led to two trials, which resulted in convictions.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

'Truth By Repetition': The Evolution Of Political Mudslinging

Opponents demonstrate against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial in October. The decision changed campaigning, but it apparently didn't make ads more fact-based.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 4:55 pm

There's always name-calling in national elections, but now there are more ways to get the message out, says political opposition researcher Michael Rejebian. During the past election, he says, the dirt was just flying more often.

Rejebian and Alan Huffman — both former investigative reporters — dig up background on their clients' opponents. While their currency is facts, many of the political attacks this election cycle were doling out something different.

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Business
3:28 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Hollywood Writer's Gongs Still Going Strong

Comedy writer Andrew Borakove left California for Lincoln, Neb., to sell gongs.
Guy Raz

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 4:33 pm

Andrew Borakove was a television comedy writer in Hollywood when he realized he had to make a life change.

"A vision of a gong appeared before me, and I said a gong? I've never thought of that," he says. "And I started doing research and I said, 'Yep, I could maybe sell gongs for a living.' "

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

With Egypt's New Choices, The Burden Of Democracy

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:28 pm

With former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ousted, there was space in 2012 for new political leaders to come forward. Host Jacki Lyden talks with NPR's Cairo correspondent, Leila Fadel, about the transformations that took place in Egypt in the past year.

NPR Story
3:02 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Cautious Optimism For Behind-The-Scenes Fiscal Dealing

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:28 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Three days, that's how long Congress has to pass legislation that would avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts become effective midnight on Monday. So happy New Year.

It's not exactly the way Republicans, Democrats or most Americans want to celebrate the New Year. To find out if we're any closer to a deal, I'm joined by NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro. Hi Ari.

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Music Interviews
2:42 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Beck Explains 'Song Reader,' An Album Fans Perform Themselves

Beck's newest album, Song Reader, is a collection of sheet music intended to be arranged and recorded by his fans.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 12:57 pm

Few artists have changed the face of music over the past two decades quite like Beck. Wherever his interests took him — through experiments in hip-hop, electronica, Tropicália, blues, funk, folk — Beck Hansen found a ravenous audience awaiting each new departure. For his latest project, however, he hasn't recorded a note.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Anger Swells As Indians Mourn For Rape Victim

Protesters hold candles during a rally in New Delhi late Saturday following the death of a woman gang-raped on a bus.
Sajjad Hussain AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:49 pm

By Saturday evening, more than 1,000 candles glowed at a somber scene in a central Delhi park as India mourned the death of the young woman whose gang rape two weeks ago shocked the country.

What began 13 days ago with a handful of well-wishers holding a hospital vigil for the rape victim swelled into thousands as a young generation of Indians demanded an end to the culture of violence that produced more than 24,000 cases of rape last year alone.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Critics' Picks For 2012

Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel... is Ken Tucker's pick for best album of 2012.
Dan Monick

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:08 am

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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History
4:13 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Virtually Anyone Can See The Dead Sea Scrolls Now

A fragment of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls is laid out at a laboratory in Jerusalem. More than 60 years after their discovery, 5,000 images of the ancient scrolls are now online.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

This week, an ancient and largely inaccessible treasure was opened to everyone. Now, anyone with access to a computer can look at the oldest Bible known to humankind.

Thousands of high-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls were posted online this week in a partnership between Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The online archive, dating back to the first century B.C., includes portions of the Ten Commandments and the Book of Genesis.

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It's All Politics
4:13 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Congressional Leaders Hopeful As Fiscal Cliff Deadline Nears

House Speaker John Boehner arrives at the White House on Friday for talks with President Obama and congressional leaders aimed at avoiding the "fiscal cliff."
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Even though the top four congressional leaders left their White House meeting with the president separately and silently on Friday, they cast the hourlong encounter in a positive light back at the Capitol.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the tone of the discussion to head off across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts as "candid." An aide to House Speaker John Boehner put out a statement that noted that the group agreed the next step should be the Senate's — a tacit acknowledgement that Boehner is no longer the lead negotiator with President Obama.

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Europe
3:22 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption: Unresolved Issues In France

A man wears a costume reading "Dad" and "Mom" during a demonstration against gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Nice, France, in October.
Valery Hache AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 6:14 pm

France is known as a tolerant country on many social issues, yet the country is embroiled in a debate about same-sex marriage and adoption.

President Francois Hollande is following through on a campaign promise to bring full rights to gay couples. France legalized civil unions more than a decade ago, though same-sex couples must still go abroad to marry or adopt.

But opposition to Hollande's measure has been unexpectedly fierce, something the Socialist government wasn't expecting.

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It's All Politics
3:21 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Obama: 'The American People Are Watching What We Do Here'

"I'm optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time," the president said after meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

We have reached the last weekend of the year, and Washington still has not reached a deal to avert the big tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

President Obama met with top congressional leaders at the White House on Friday afternoon: John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi from the House, and Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell from the Senate.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
11:43 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Opening Panel Round

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:08 am

Our panelists answer questions about politics throughout history: The Number One Rule of Legislating.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
11:43 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Tippecanoe And Carl, Too

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:08 am

Carl reads political slogans, our panelists identify which ones are real and which ones we just made up.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
11:43 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Bluff The Listener

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:08 am

Our panelists tell us three stories of political adversaries coming together, only one of which is true.

Best Books Of 2012
5:10 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Courage And Curiosity: The Best Heroines Of 2012

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 10:45 am

The most dangerous trait a woman can possess is curiosity. That's what myths and religion would have us believe, anyway. Inquisitive Pandora unleashed sorrow upon the world. Eve got us kicked out of paradise. Blight on civilization it may be, but female curiosity is a gift to narrative and the quality my five favorite heroines of the year possess in spades.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

President And Congress Extend FISA Wiretapping Act To 2017 [Updated]

National Intelligence Director James Clapper leaves the Capitol after briefing members of Congress earlier this month. The Senate voted Friday to extend the FISA Amendments Act to 2017, granting federal agencies wide surveillance powers.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 4:16 pm

The FISA Amendments Act has been approved for another five years, as the Senate voted to renew the law that grants the government wide surveillance authority. President Obama has said he intends to sign the measure, which senators approved by a 73-23 margin Friday morning. It had already won approval in the House.

Update at 6:10 p.m. Dec. 31: Obama signs FISA extension.

The president signed the FISA extension Sunday. Our original post continues:

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Victim Of Brutal Rape In India Dies In Singapore Hospital

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:51 pm

A woman who survived a brutal gang-rape on a bus in India has died, according to reports. Earlier Friday, hospital officials in Singapore, where the 23-year-old student was being treated, had warned that her condition was worsening.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
2:45 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Storm Refugees Struggle To Rebound In Times Square

Natisha Laws near her hotel in the middle of Times Square. She and her family were placed at the DoubleTree in mid-November by FEMA. They lost their rental apartment during Superstorm Sandy and have been struggling to recover.
Cindy Rodriguez for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The DoubleTree Hotel sits on one of the loudest and glitziest corners of Times Square. It's where enamored 9-year-old Isaiah Douglas has been staying with his mom, dad and little sister.

"It has been a great experience," Isaiah says. But the family isn't there on vacation.

Their story emerges in an elevator as a hotel guest strikes up a friendly conversation with Isaiah's mom, Natisha Laws.

"Where are you from?" the tourist asks.

"I'm from here. I'm from New York. We're with FEMA because of the Hurricane Sandy."

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Around the Nation
2:44 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

California Missions Undergo Upgrades To Resist Quakes

Scaffolding is seen at the basilica at a mission in Carmel, Calif., a sign of its multimillion-dollar seismic retrofit.
Krista Almanzan for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

At California's nearly two dozen Spanish missions, conversion these days isn't just about religion; it's also about seismic retrofitting. That's because the missions — which date to the late 1700s, when Spain's king sent Franciscan missionaries to convert natives to Christianity — would not withstand a major earthquake.

At a mission in Carmel, a 220-year-old basilica is in the middle of an earthquake retrofit. Workers removed the structure's red tile roof and replaced it with scaffolding and a protective plastic.

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Economy
2:38 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Reading The Economic Tea Leaves For 2013

A housing revival will be key to an economic recovery in 2013, analysts say.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The U.S. economy was a bit of a disappointment in 2012. During the early months of the year, job creation was surprisingly strong, but by the end of the year, uncertainty about the election and the "fiscal cliff" slowed the economy's forward motion. So will 2013 look any better?

Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says that while Washington likely will steer us away from the fiscal cliff at the last minute, some elements of the deal will be a drag on the economy early in 2013.

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The Salt
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

One Lunch Lady's Cafeteria Conversion

Kathy Del Tonto (far right) participates in a class that teaches school cafeteria workers how to prepare meals from scratch.
LiveWell Colorado

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:02 pm

Kathy Del Tonto started cooking school food 30 years ago in the Montrose school district at the foot of Colorado's San Juan Mountains. Back then, the cafeteria workers made everything from scratch.

"My first kitchen that I managed was a little country school out south of town, and we made our own ketchup and everything," she says.

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Music
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Remembering Fontella Bass, Voice Of A Soul Classic

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The voice of a great soul classic has died. Fontella Bass sang the 1965 hit "Rescue Me." She was 72 years old and died from complications caused by a recent heart attack. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has this appreciation.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: It's a perfect song with a perfect voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RESCUE ME")

FONTELLA BASS: (Singing) Rescue me. Take me in your arms. Rescue me. I love your tender charms. I'm rather lonely and I'm blue. I need you and your love, too. Come on and rescue me.

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Books
2:07 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

'Fifty Shades' Is The One That Got Away. At Least From Me

Vintage Books

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Sometimes "the one that got away" is a book that was easy to overlook. A little gem of a first novel, or a memoir by an unknown writer that unexpectedly captured everyone's imagination.

But sometimes, it's the elephant in the room that you just haven't looked at yet. Everyone knows about it. It's one of the biggest sellers of all time. It's a cultural phenomenon — it's Fifty Shades of Grey. And I ignored it until I couldn't anymore.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Major Port Strike Averted

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. A strike has been averted at many of the nation's busiest shipping ports, at least temporarily. The union representing longshoremen at ports along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico have threatened to walk off the job starting Sunday. But as we hear from NPR's Jim Zarroli, port operators and the union have reached agreement on one of their most contentious issues.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

International Adoptions On Downward Trend

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill today banning Americans from adopting Russian children. It's a move that will add significantly to a downward trend in international adoptions. American adoptions from Russia were already falling from a high of nearly 6,000 eight years ago to less than 1,000 last year. That's according to the State Department.

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