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Monkey See
9:44 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Frozen' Princesses And Character Deaths

NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:06 pm

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First of all: WOW. We did our live show at NPR HQ this week, and it was wonderful, and all of you who attended made a fantastic audience. You'll be hearing the live show in two segments over the holidays while we take a rest, but in the meantime, we've got a brand-new show to roll out.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Was North Korea's No. 2 Killed For Not Clapping Hard Enough?

Jang Song Thaek, who was North Korea's second-most powerful official, was put to death this week.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:36 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Frank Langfitt talks about a high-profile execution in North Korea

As outsiders try to figure out why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed this week, they're focusing on a couple things. According to NPR's Frank Langfitt:

-- There seems have been "a lot of genuine personal dislike" between Kim and Jang Song Thaek, the uncle and until this week North Korea's second most powerful man.

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Economy
8:43 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Mel Watt: A New Captain For America's Housing Market

Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., listens as President Obama announces his nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt was nominated in May, but Republicans blocked his confirmation until this week.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:19 pm

Seven months after his was nominated, the U.S. Senate this week confirmed former Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant companies that control much of the mortgage market.

The vote occurred after Democrats changed the rules on filibusters — now the Senate can confirm presidential nominees with a simple majority.

For people who watch the U.S. housing market, Watt's confirmation is a very big deal that could mean easier credit.

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Monkey See
8:43 am
Fri December 13, 2013

First Novels: Acquiring Minds

iStockphoto

The first in my series of posts on The First Novel Experience was called "The Romance of Agents." A couple of people wrote me after it was posted and asked if I was going to include in this series any stories of any writers who'd had a bad time with their books. I thought about it and decided no – at least not yet.

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Health Care
7:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Health Insurance Seekers Find Networks Missing Key Providers

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Across the country, many consumers shopping for health insurance on government-run exchanges are discovering that some of the best known doctors and hospitals will not be part of their health plan.

This is because as insurance companies try to make their plans more affordable, they' re using more restrictive, so-called skinny networks of health care providers.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

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World
7:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

In A City With Terrible Traffic, A Gridlock Economy Emerges

For a price, this Jakarta mother will get into your car so you can drive in the carpool lane.
Robert Smith NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:08 pm

Jakarta, Indonesia, has some of the worst traffic on the planet. For some local entrepreneurs, all those people stuck in their cars are potential customers.

In a middle of one Jakarta traffic jam, a guy pushes his chicken cart through the cars, clanging his pots. Men walk down the center lane selling nuts, crackers as big as your head and other treats. They're all trying to make eye contact with the drivers.

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Middle East
7:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

AP Reporter On Story Linking CIA, American Missing In Iran

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And another story of intrigue with plenty of unanswered questions. An American claiming to be a businessman went to Iran seven years ago and then he vanished. An Associated Press investigation into Robert Levinson's disappearance uncovers that he was actually part of a sensitive covert and apparently rogue operation that shook the CIA when it came to light.

Matt Apuzzo is part of the reporting team at the AP who broke this story. Matt, welcome back to the program.

MATT APUZZO: Great to be here.

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Asia
7:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

What The Execution Of Kim Jong Un's Uncle Means For N. Korea

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. We're looking this morning at two stories of international intrigue. First to North Korea. Until recently, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un was the country's second-in-command. Earlier this week, though, he was detained on national television, hustled out of a meeting by guards.

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Africa
7:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

For Burial, Mandela Will Return To His Beloved Boyhood Village

A mother and her son stand in their garden behind a fence at the perimeter of Nelson Mandela's property in Qunu, South Africa, as funeral preparations continue Friday. Mandela will be buried Sunday in the small, rural village that was his boyhood home.
Yannis Behrakis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:29 pm

Some African leaders have lavished resources on their home villages, building palaces and outsize monuments to themselves that look entirely out of place in the poor and remote spots they came from.

Nelson Mandela adamantly rejected such extravagance, and the world will see for itself when he's buried Sunday in Qunu, a simple village set amid the lush green hills in the southeastern corner of the country. It's little changed from the days when Mandela ran barefoot in the fields and herded sheep and calves as a boy nearly a century ago.

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