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9:45 am
Sun December 22, 2013

How To Find A Worthy Volunteer Job On The Road

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 2:33 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Volunteering while traveling isn't really a novelty anymore. But sometimes that work you're doing, say, in a developing country, well, it could be doing more harm than good. On this week's travel segment, Winging It, we look at what it means to travel ethically.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Interviews
9:45 am
Sun December 22, 2013

What A Top Gun Learned On Her Way To The Top Of The Pentagon

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 2:33 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to hear now from the woman charged with streamlining the Pentagon's roughly $700 billion annual budget.

CHRISTINE FOX: We have to curb the growth of the compensation of our force. It's grown 40 percent above inflation over the last decade. And it's fully half of our budget. So, we have to slow the growth.

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Around the Nation
9:45 am
Sun December 22, 2013

'Bertha' Still Stuck In Her Tunnel Under Seattle

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 2:33 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The people of Seattle are puzzled by a mystery unfolding underground: the world's biggest tunneling machine is stuck about 75 feet under street level where it's digging a nearly two-mile-long highway right under downtown Seattle. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, engineers say it'll take until January to figure out what is causing the block.

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Sunday Puzzle
8:39 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Follow Santa Claus' Lead

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 2:33 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which, like Santa Claus, the first word starts with the letters S-A, and the second word starts with C.

Last week's challenge from listener Pete Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich.: Name an island in which some of the letters appear more than once. Drop exactly two instances of each repeated letter. The remaining letters can be rearranged to name something to eat. What is it?

Answer: Manhattan, ham

Winner: Fred Stadler of Oshkosh, Wis.

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Freed Russian Oil Tycoon Says He'll Work For Release Of Prisoners

Russian former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks during a press conference at the Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie on Sunday in Berlin.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 12:15 pm

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former oil tycoon who was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday after serving a decade in prison, says he will dedicate the rest of his life working for the release of other political prisoners.

"I would like to devote this time to pay off my debt to people who are worst off," Khodorkovsky said through an interpreter provided by Russia Today, a state-funded, English language news outlet.

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Three Books...
7:03 am
Sun December 22, 2013

In Search Of Identity: Three Of 2013's Best Translated Novels

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 12:15 pm

I tend to like my heroes strong and capable; not self-important, yet with a certain brand of assurance. But in literature, as in life, profound truths often come to us not through confidence but through wrestling — through the quest for who we are and what we hope to become. Three newly-translated novels star not exceptionally robust heroes but unexceptional, aimless ones, each exploring the inward struggles that make us human.

These three international voices offer no barrage of answers. Instead, they remind us of the importance, and the power, of simply asking the questions.

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Shots - Health News
6:10 am
Sun December 22, 2013

For 2 Young Doctors, Working On Christmas Was A Privilege

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 8:03 am

December is supposed to be the time of year filled with family gatherings and holiday good cheer. For medical residents, quite the opposite is true.

There are no school breaks during residency. Being a medical resident is a real job, and a stressful one at that. Residents work long shifts, even with caps that max out at 16 hours for the newbies and up to 28 hours for those beyond the first year.

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Book Reviews
5:11 am
Sun December 22, 2013

'The Empty Chair' Meditates On The Space Between Two Stories

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:47 pm

Working in radio, you learn one uncomfortable truth faster than you would have otherwise: Few things make a story more difficult to tell than having a listener expecting to hear it. A microphone can make even the most relentless gabber stammer and become self-conscious.

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The Salt
5:10 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Flying This Holiday? Here Are A Few Tips To Survive Airline Food

Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast suggests saucy pastas over meat: "They tend to hold up better to the chilling and reheating process."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:56 am

When you think about a scrumptious meal, airline food does not come to mind.

There are plenty of challenges to tasty airline meals, like the fact that many airlines now charge you for anything more than a tiny bag of chips and a plastic cup of non-alcoholic drink, at least on domestic flights. Plus, you can't cook on an airplane, so anything you're served has probably been chilled, then reheated. And flight delays certainly don't help with the freshness factor.

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The Salt
5:05 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Grasslands Get Squeezed As Another 1.6 Million Acres Go Into Crops

Retired farmer Joe Govert looks at a parcel of family land near Tribune, Kan. It has been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 6:59 pm

As the year winds down, we here at NPR are looking at a few key numbers that explain the big trends of 2013.

Today's number: 1.6 million.

That's 1.6 million acres — about the area of the state of Delaware.

That's how much land was removed this year from the federal Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, which pays farmers to keep land covered with native grasses or sometimes trees. Most of that land now will produce crops like corn or wheat.

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