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5:38 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Naughty Or Nice? Retailers Use Smiles To Fight Self-Checkout Theft

Retailers are finding that shoplifting at self-serve checkout lines is surprisingly common.
Jessica Hill AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:40 am

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U.S.
5:38 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Democrats Slam NRA's Response To School Shooting

Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, speaks in response to the Connecticut school shootings, at a news conference in Washington on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:40 am

The nation's largest gun owners group had said little in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, broke that silence Friday with a call to place armed guards at all of the nation's schools.

The idea was met with immediate criticism from Democrats in Congress.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:14 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Actor And Comedian Fred Armisen Plays Not My Job

Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 22, 2012 11:37 am

Fred Armisen is a cast member on Saturday Night Live, a star and writer of Portlandia on IFC, a former drummer in a bunch of punk rock bands, and for a while, the world's preeminent Barack Obama imitator.

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The Two-Way
6:13 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Obama On Fiscal Cliff Talks: 'I Actually Still Think We Can Get It Done'

At a press conference Friday, President Obama urges Congress to pass a scaled-back package to avert end-of-year tax hikes and spending cuts.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

In a news conference Friday, President Obama said there were still things the parties could agree on about the automatic tax-rate increases and spending cuts at the end of the year. But he said parties would have to work together to get a plan approved in the next 10 days.

"Call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done," he said, after meeting with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and speaking to Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

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It's All Politics
5:30 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Kerry's Cabinet Nod Sets Off Massachusetts Senate Fight

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., gets into his pickup truck after voting in Wrentham, Mass., on Nov. 6. Brown lost the election to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, but both he and his truck could be back on the campaign trail soon.
Gretchen Ertl AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 5:55 pm

President Obama's nomination of Democrat John Kerry to be secretary of state sets off a chain of events that could put another Kennedy in the Senate, at least on an interim basis.

And it gives ousted Republican Scott Brown a fighting chance of returning to the Senate by midyear.

On Friday, Obama nominated Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, to replace Hillary Clinton as the nation's chief diplomat. A 27-year veteran of the Senate and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry should win easy Senate confirmation early in the new year.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
5:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Free Toy Shop Brings Cheer To Sandy's Displaced Families

Each FEMA-registered family with kids can pick out toys at the volunteer-run Staten Island store.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

The New York borough of Staten Island was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Almost two months after the storm hit, many residents will not be back in their homes by the Christmas holiday.

One organization is trying to make the season a bit brighter for uprooted families with a free toy store on the island. This all-volunteer effort looks like a real toy store, but it feels more like a community of neighbors.

The shop boasts shelves filled with toys like model cars, Monopoly, dolls, craft supplies and books — almost everything you would want in a regular toy store.

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Asia
4:51 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Japan's Economic Woes Offer Lessons To U.S.

Japan's economy has been struggling for two decades and faces some of the same problems the U.S. has. Here, a man in Tokyo passes an electronic board displaying falling global markets.
Yuriko Nakao Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

In the 1980s, Japan appeared to be a world beater — the China of its day. Japanese companies were on a tear, buying up firms in the U.S. and property around the world.

But these days, Japan is considered a cautionary tale for post-industrial economies around the world. The country is facing its fourth recession in what are commonly known as the "lost decades."

Japan's story resonates this holiday season as American politicians try to reach a debt deal.

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Around the Nation
4:45 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

An Urban Tree Farm Grows In Detroit

Mike Score, president of Hantz Farms, shows off a small-scare version of what Hantz Woodlands will look like.
Sarah Hulett for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

An entrepreneur says he's got a plan to curb urban blight in parts of Detroit. He's buying up acre after acre of abandoned lots and planting thousands of trees. But where backers of the plan see a visionary proposal, critics see a land grab.

Entrepreneur and Detroiter John Hantz, owner of Hantz Farms and the tree-planting effort called Hantz Woodlands, wants to plant at least 15,000 trees on about 140 acres. Hantz promises to clear out all the trash and keep the grass cut, things the city cannot afford to do now.

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Economy
4:45 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Failure To Avert Fiscal Cliff Could Damage World's Confidence In U.S.

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. It's time for Plan C. Washington's efforts to avoid massive tax hikes and spending cuts come January 1st seem to be in disarray. Last night, House Speaker John Boehner failed to get enough Republicans to go along with what he called his Plan B. NPR's John Ydstie talked with members of the business community about whether that failure is seen as a setback or clears the way for more productive negotiations.

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Latin America
4:45 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Maya Enjoy Tourism Boost From 'End Of The World' Travelers

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

If you're listening to me say this then you've already figured out the world did not end today. It's been widely rumored that on December 21st, 2012, the world would seize to exist. Many point to a mistake in interpretation of the ancient Mayan calendar as a source of that apocalyptic prediction that then caught fire on the internet. Modern day Maya scoff at such doomsday interpretations. But as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Merida, Mexico, they are enjoying a boost in tourism that's come with all the hype.

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