The Two-Way
4:11 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Survey: U.S. Takes Top Spot As Most Charitable Nation

Antionette Levi solicits donations for the Salvation Army in Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Despite the gloomy economic situation, the United States has become the world's most generous nation, according to this year's Charities Aid Foundation's World Giving Index.

Ireland is ranked second followed by Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. Charities Aid Foundation used Gallup's Worldview Poll to look at three behaviors: "giving money, volunteering time and helping a stranger."

The U.S. came out on top after being ranked fifth last year.

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Latin America
4:01 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

In A Drug War, Mexican Forces Accused Of Abuses

Federal policemen escort the armored car carrying a member of Los Zetas drug cartel on June 17. The security forces have been accused of abuses in the fight against the drug cartels.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

In Mexico, the last five years of President Felipe Calderon's drug war have been marked by brutal violence, unsolved kidnappings and tens of thousands of deaths. Most of violence has come from the drug gangs, but some of these atrocities have been committed by the Mexican military and police.

Human rights groups say that as state security forces battle the drug cartels, they've tortured, abducted and killed criminal suspects and even innocent civilians.

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Asia
3:05 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

After Kim's Death, No Signs Of Power Struggles

The body of Kim Jong Il, the deceased leader of North Korea, now lies in state in the capital, Pyongyang. His sudden death has raised concerns about possible power struggles. But so far, all outward signs suggest that the North Korean leadership is lining up behind his son, Kim Jong Un.

The Two-Way
3:02 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Scores Dead In Syria; Thousands Of Women Protest In Egypt

Hundreds of Egyptian women march at Cairo streets, angered by the recent violence used against them in clashes with police.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 3:07 pm

A day after Syria said it would allow Arab League observers into the country, the deadly clashes with government forces continued. Al Arabiya reports that activists said at least 100 Syrian army defectors were killed or wounded and 36 people were killed in clashes with police.

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Still No Job: Over A Year Without Enough Work
2:29 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Marriage Economy: 'I Couldn't Afford To Get Divorced'

iStockphoto.com

Lindsay Reynolds lives in Waterloo, Wis. Even before the recent economic downturn, Reynolds and her husband struggled to make ends meet. They quarreled, especially over money.

"We never had enough income to pay bills, to pay rent. We were constantly late on rent," Reynolds says. "He always wanted to go do things. He wanted to go buy things. And I said, 'No, we can't. We have to be fiscally responsible.' "

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It's All Politics
2:07 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

'We The People': NPR Readers Would Ratify Four New Amendments

The people have spoken: NPR readers would add four new amendments to the Constitution.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

In "Reconstituting The Constitution: How To Rewrite It," we invited readers to share their own thoughts on how we might change the founding document for 2011. Now the people have spoken.

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

A Mighty Release This Is: Star Wars Video Game Is EA's Most Expensive

Part of the packaging of "Star Wars: The Old Republic."
EA

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 1:59 pm

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Opinion
1:48 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

A Quest To Seek The Sublime In The Spiritual

A globe Buddha is visible against the sunset in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma).
istockphoto.com

Eric Weiner's most recent book is Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine.

Surveys show religious people are happier than the secular? Why is this? Is it — as an atheist friend quipped — that "ignorance is bliss?" Not long ago, that's what I would have concluded. Like many people of my ilk — cerebral East Coaster, highly skeptical, and, yes, latte drinking — I reflexively viewed the religious as less sophisticated. And, if I'm brutally honest here, somehow less intelligent, or at least more narrow-minded. I don't feel that way anymore.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

From Homeless To White House To 'The Martha Stewart Show'

One of the decorations in the Red Room of the White House, where David Bondarchuck was among the volunteer decorators.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:11 am

When NPR's Ari Shapiro earlier this month filed a report on the 2011 holiday decorations at the executive mansion, he focused some of his attention on the diverse group of volunteer decorators who were called on to help dress up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Presidential Race
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Looking For Boost, Candidates Hit The Ground In N.H.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul laughs as he sits down with Elizabeth Rose Chamberlain, 3, of Epping, N.H., while campaigning at the Early Bird Cafe in Plaistow, N.H., on Tuesday.
Charles Krupa AP

With three weeks to go before the New Hampshire primary, presidential campaigns are working at full speed to reach out to voters.

Political strategists say a good ground game — a campaign's ability to identify voters and get them to the polls — is worth 3 points at the ballot box. That's a boost any candidate would want.

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