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Arts & Life
4:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

The Dark Roots Of 'The Nutcracker' And The Man Who Wrote It

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely - if indirectly - celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. E.T.A. Hoffman, who lived from 1776 to 1822 in the Kingdom of Prussia, was responsible for a work that is a staple the holiday season, the original author of The Nutcracker. You can read more about the story, which aired last Christmas, here.

Around the Nation
4:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Snowstorm Leave Parts Of Midwest, Northeast And Canada Powerless

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:23 am

Christmas is less than merry and far from bright for hundreds of thousands of families from the upper Midwest to the far northeast and into Canada, where ice storms have downed power lines, leaving many households in the cold and dark.

This is the worst holiday week in the 126-year history of Michigan's largest power company, Consumers Energy. The outages began over the weekend, affecting nearly 350,000 customers. Power has been restored to many, but more than 120,000 remain in the dark.

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Economy
4:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Rising Home Prices Are Good News For Owners, Not So Much For Buyers

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 1:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. And now, the latest in our series Number of the Year. We're taking numbers and exploring what they tell us about the year that was 2013. Today, NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports on the number 13. That is the estimated percentage of how much home prices have risen this year.

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Middle East
4:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Turkish Leaders Resign In Anti-Graft Probe, Erdogan Claims Conspiracy

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 4:47 pm

Three government ministers in Turkey have resigned in a corruption scandal. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the anti-graft investigation as part of an international conspiracy. For more on the political developments, Robert Siegel speaks with Turkish columnist and television commentator Astli Aydintasbas.

Africa
4:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Clashes Continue In South Sudan Despite Calls For Cease-Fire

South Sudanese troops have retaken the flashpoint town of Bor, north of the capital Juba.
James Akena Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:41 am

It was a somber Christmas day in South Sudan. Despite an appeal for a Christmas cease-fire from the African Union, government soldiers and rebels clashed in an oil-rich part of the country.

At a church in the capital of Juba, President Salva Kiir called for peace and unity. Even the leader's choice of clothing — traditional robes instead of army fatigues — seemed to signal that he wants to move past the violence.

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Afghanistan
4:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

NATO Prepares To Leave Afghanistan, And No U.S. Security Deal Yet

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 4:47 pm

A look back and a look ahead as NATO prepares for the final year of its mission in Afghanistan. This year saw several major events as Afghan forces took responsibility for security and the U.S. and Afghanistan came close, but have so far failed to ink a security deal to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends next year.

Movies
4:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

How Close Did 'Captain Philips' Get To The Real Life Piracy Tale?

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 4:47 pm

The film Captain Phillips is "based on a true story" of the 2009 hijacking of an American ship by Somali pirates. But how faithfully does the movie capture real events? Robert Siegel puts that question to Colin Freeman, chief foreign correspondent with Britain's Sunday Telegraph. Freeman covered the 2009 incident and has himself been kidnapped by Somali pirates.

World
4:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Christmas Messages From Around The World

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 4:47 pm

Leaders and notable figures across the world offered up Christmas messages Wednesday. We hear holiday greetings from Pope Francis, President Obama and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Parallels
4:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Instead Of Sending Students Abroad, Qatar Imports U.S. Colleges

A man walks along a pathway at the Texas A&M University campus in Doha, Qatar.
Osama Faisal AP

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 10:53 pm

In Qatar's rapid race to modernity, the emirate has created a distinctive approach to educating its young: It has effectively imported a host of American universities.

Dr. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, a member of Qatar's ruling family, sits on the Supreme Education Council and owns a few independent schools. For her own children, she wanted a top-flight college education. Her sons were educated in Britain.

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Movies
4:35 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Another Life For The Surprisingly Multifarious Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller has revisited James Thurber's henpecked daydreamer Walter Mitty in a new film that lets him become more conventionally heroic. NPR's Bob Mondello charts the character's changing fortunes over the years.
Wilson Webb 20th Century Fox

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 8:26 pm

A short story, a radio show, a Danny Kaye vehicle — no, really — even an off-Broadway musical: James Thurber's nebbishy daydreamer Walter Mitty has had plenty of incarnations in his nearly 75 years. He's back again, this time in an expensive, effects-fueled drama from actor-director Ben Stiller, and we thought that rather than reviewing it, we'd have NPR's Bob Mondello survey the range of public lives lived by the character. Have a listen.

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