Education
5:58 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Pencils Down? French Plan Would End Homework

President Francois Hollande argues that homework puts poor children at a disadvantage, but others argue the extra work is needed to help those students succeed.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 7:39 pm

In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.

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World
5:58 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Kazakhstan Celebrates First, And Only, President

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 5:59 am

On Dec. 1, Kazakhstan celebrated a new holiday: "First President's Day." The central Asian country feted its long-time leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, though outside observers have criticized what appears to be a growing cult of personality around the president in the oil-rich country.

It's All Politics
3:20 am
Sun December 2, 2012

The 3 Unofficial GOP Rules That Are Making A Deficit Deal Even Harder

House Speaker John Boehner takes questions during a news conference Friday on Capitol Hill.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 7:40 pm

Making an already head-splittingly difficult deal on the fiscal cliff even harder to resolve is a set of three rules by which the Republicans who run the House play.

These are not official regulations; they're more shibboleths that House GOP leaders have adopted in recent years. And those rules are leaving House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, little room to maneuver as lawmakers try to avoid a set of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year.

1. "The majority of the majority"

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Europe
3:09 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Ach! No End In Sight For Berlin Airport Woes

The opening date of Germany's new Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg International Airport has been delayed three times due to construction delays and safety concerns.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 7:54 am

Germans are famous for their efficiency and being on time. But a much-delayed, expensive new airport in the German capital, Berlin, is rapidly destroying that reputation.

Located in the former East Berlin neighborhood of Schoenefeld, the new airport is to replace three others that serviced passengers in the once-divided city. One of those, Tempelhof — made famous by the Allied airlifts of food and supplies during the Soviet blockade of the late 1940s — is already closed.

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Sunday Puzzle
2:53 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Untangle An 'Act Of God'

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 9:42 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar three-word phrase in the form "____ of ____." The letters in the first and last words of each phrase are rearranged. You give the phrases. For example, "Cat of Dog" becomes "Act of God."

Last week's challenge from listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn, N.Y.: In a few weeks something will happen that hasn't happened since 1987. What is it?

Answer: A year with no repeat digits (1987, 2013)

Winner: Darren Dunham of Santa Clara, Calif.

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NPR Story
6:18 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

The State Of Palestinian Statehood

Palestinian children play in the rubble of a house that was hit by an Israeli strike during Israel's recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip Saturday.
Hatem Moussa AP

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:42 am

Guy Raz, host of weekends on "All Things Considered," separately interviewed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. To hear the interviews as they aired for the show, click on the audio link above.

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Author Interviews
5:15 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

'Cross Roads': A Writing Career Built On Faith

Courtesy of FaithWords

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 3:41 pm

Five years ago, Paul Young was working three jobs outside Portland, Ore., when he decided to write a Christian tale of redemption for friends and family. He went down to an Office Depot and printed off 15 copies of the story he called The Shack.

The manuscript was never intended for broad publication, but it eventually caught the attention of two California-based pastors. They took it to 26 different publishers but got rejected each time. So the pastors set up their own publishing company and started a whispering campaign among churches.

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Business
3:41 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Beauty Pageant Economics: The Sash Isn't Cheap

Jessica Bermudez, 24, models a dress at Deja Vu in Alexandria, Va. Bermudez is competing for the title of Miss District of Columbia USA, and says she regularly enters beauty pageants.
Coburn Dukehart NPR

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 10:03 am

Miss America's walk might look effortless, but her road to success probably cost more than you think.

Ten-thousand women will compete in a Miss USA-sponsored pageant this year. That organization is just one of more than 15 small circuits, each with its own local, state and national competitions. It's a big industry. From the organizers, designers and coaches, lots of people make money — except the contestants.

Twenty-four women are in the running to become the latest Miss District of Columbia USA.

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Music Interviews
3:19 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Ricky Martin's Second Act

Ricky Martin performs as Ché in the current Broadway run of Evita. Martin will leave the show in January 2013.
Richard Termine

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 3:41 pm

Since he was a pre-teen, Ricky Martin has been in the spotlight — first with the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist who broke through in both the English- and Spanish-language pop worlds. He's also been an actor on both sides of that divide, appearing on the telenovela Alcanzar una estrella and the American soap opera General Hospital.

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It's All Politics
12:39 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Think Congressional Gridlock Is Bad? If Reid Changes Filibuster Rules, Look Out

Jimmy Stewart in a scene from the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 12:44 pm

Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, was clearly frustrated with the tactics some of his colleagues were using to gum up the legislative process.

The mere threat of a filibuster of a procedural motion to allow the defense authorization bill to be considered on the floor caused the Senate's leadership to balk at scheduling the legislation at all.

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