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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Fri December 30, 2011

First 79 Of The 100+ Sears And Kmart Stores Being Closed Are Identified

There are 79 stores in 25 states on the first list of Sears and Kmart locations being closed in the coming year, Sears Holdings has announced.

The 79 locations are posted here. Some details:

-- 11 of the stores are in Florida, the most of any state.

-- The second-most stores (6) are in Georgia, Michigan and Ohio.

-- 38 Kmarts are included.

-- 25 Sears "full-line" locations are listed.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
9:24 am
Fri December 30, 2011

South Park Creators Talk 'Book Of Mormon'

The Book of Mormon features music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone and plays at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City.
John Marcus Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 9:25 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on May 19, 2011.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Family, Friends, Fans Bid Farewell To Ben Breedlove, Who Touched Many

Ben Breedlove, in one of his final videos.
TotalRandomness512

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Someday, Your Car May Know If That's Your Butt In The Driver's Seat

"Oh dear, the car doesn't seem to recognize me." (1960 file photo from the U.K.)
Chaloner Woods Getty Images

We're a little behind on this story, butt it's too fantasstic not to point out:

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Industrial Technology have developed an anti-theft device for cars that senses whether the derriere sitting in the driver's seat is or isn't supposed to be there.

Not the right backside? Then the vehicle won't start.

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Top Stories: New Clashes In Syria; No Softening In North Korea

Good morning.

Our early headlines on this last Friday of 2011 (except in Samoa):

-- Clashes Resume In Syria, Activists Say.

-- 'Outrage' Over Verizon's Plan For $2 Payment Fee.

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Clashes Resume In Syria, Activists Say

"Syrian forces and activists have clashed during after-prayer protests in Damascus, as Arab observers continue their mission in the country," the BBC reports. It adds that "activists said troops fired nail bombs to disperse protesters who retaliated with stones in the suburb of Douma."

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Fireworks, Celebrations As Samoa Skips Friday

"Sirens wailed and fireworks exploded in the skies over Samoa as the tiny South Pacific nation jumped forward in time" today, The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Fri December 30, 2011

'Outrage' Over Verizon's Plan For $2 Payment Fee

Eric Thayer Getty Images

There's been an "uproar on the Web," as The New York Times says this morning, over the plan by Verizon Wireless to charge $2 for some methods of paying your bill.

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It's All Politics
5:34 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Iowa Veterans For Paul Explain The Attraction

Ron Paul spoke to a packed house at the Knapp Learning Center during his "Salute to the Military" event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday.
Becky Lettenberger/NPR

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 4:25 am

A claim by Ron Paul's presidential campaign, and confirmed by the fact-check website PolitiFact, asserts that the Texas congressman has received more donations from active military personnel than the other GOP candidates combined.

That's intriguing, given that Paul is the only candidate calling for significant cuts in military (not defense, he says) funding, the closing of overseas bases, and the use of military force "very sparingly."

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Romney, Paul Are 1 And 2 In Another Iowa Poll, Santorum Rising

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney campaigning in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday (Dec. 29, 2011).
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 9:32 am

With just one holiday weekend between now and Tuesday's Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa, there's another poll signalling that it could be a close battle at the top between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). And also once again, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is on the rise and showing up at No. 3.

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Analysis
5:09 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Morning Edition Remembers 2011

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:07 am

It's tempting to say what a snake-bit year this was, a year when American troops were lost abroad, a year of economic struggle and cynical politics. But it was also a year when troops came home, and people started new jobs. Steve Inskeep says it's to soon to judge 2011.

World
5:03 am
Fri December 30, 2011

No TGIF For Samoa This Week

Thank goodness it's Friday unless you live in the island nation of Samoa. In which case it's Saturday. The country is skipping a day — shifting its calendar — to join the same time zone as trading partners Australia and New Zealand.

Around the Nation
4:54 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Tenn. Guardsman's Home Is In A Perilous Location

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Election 2012
4:41 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Bachmann Fights To Convince Iowans She's Electable

GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann wrapped up her bus tour of Iowa's 99 counties Thursday. She's been on the road for most of the last two weeks in a final push to generate support before Tuesday's caucuses.

Election 2012
4:39 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Perry Campaign Amplifies Attacks On Santorum

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry has been aboard a bus touring Iowa hoping to score an upset in next Tuesday's caucuses. Perry spent Thursday trying to reverse the surge that challenger Rick Santorum has seen in a recent poll.

Middle East
4:06 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Egyptian Military Raids Foreign-Funded NGO Offices

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Egyptian security forces stormed the offices of 17 non-governmental organizations yesterday, including several American-based groups. Two of those, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, have been monitoring elections at the invitation of the Egyptian government. A third U.S.-based group, Freedom House, earlier this week, applied for official recognition.

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The Salt
2:52 am
Fri December 30, 2011

In China, Finding A New Way To Eat In Times Of Plenty

Anna Hu at the Ao Hua Farmers Market in Shanghai. After years of working long hours and eating only in restaurants, Hu has learned how to cook vegetables and eat more healthfully.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 8:05 am

As people's incomes rise in a developing nation, so does the amount of food they eat. That's what has been happening in China for the past 30 years. But many people, especially in the middle class, are discovering that you don't have to eat and eat just because there's plenty of food available.

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Planet Money
2:50 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Coconut Water Companies Sell Image, Not Taste

godutchbaby Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 4:13 pm

A couple of years ago if you wanted to drink coconut water, you had to buy your own coconut, bring it to your kitchen, and start whacking away with a knife.

Today, you can find packaged coconut water in a convenience store, Wal-Mart or your friendly neighborhood yoga studio.

"I think it was a great year for coconut water, " says Alejandra Simon, an assistant manager at the Laughing Lotus yoga studio in New York City. "I can't walk down the street without seeing someone with coconut water in their hands."

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Monkey See
2:46 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Bridesmaids No More: TV's Women Get All The Laughs

Zooey Deschanel plays Jess on Fox's New Girl. Fox uses the term "adorkable" to describe her.
Isabella Vosmikova Fox

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:07 am

Is there anybody on TV more adorable than Zooey Deschanel on Fox's new hit sitcom New Girl?

She's playing a woman who moved in with three guys after a bad romance. We've seen Deschanel play this character countless times over the last 10 years: quirky, bohemian, earnest and a little dorky. Fox even used the term "adorkable" just to describe her.

But she's also the leading edge of a trend that defined television in 2011: the Funny Female.

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States Of The Economy
2:45 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Fla.'s Economic Pain, Anger Could Shape 2012 Race

The housing market collapse has taken a toll on Florida families and may affect how they vote in the presidential election.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:07 am

Florida is once again poised to play an important role in selecting the president in 2012. Its Republican primary on Jan. 31 is the nation's fourth nominating contest.

But Florida is a very different state than it was four years ago. It is reeling from the housing collapse — more than 200,000 homes are facing foreclosure — and suffering from an unemployment rate well above the national average.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
1:25 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Stephen Colbert: A 'Company' Man On Broadway

Stephen Colbert and Martha Plimpton perform a song from Company on stage during the 65th annual Tony Awards.
Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on June 14, 2011.

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The Record
10:01 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

The Music They Left Behind

Explore NPR Music's interactive memorial to the musicians, songwriters and producers who died in 2011.
NPR

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:07 am

2011 inches toward its close, and we here at NPR Music are close to wrapping up our look back at the year in music. Today, Morning Edition looks back at some of the musicians who died in 2011.

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Monkey See
10:01 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

A Complex 'Separation' In Iran

Leila Hatami as Simin in Asghar Farhadi's A Separation.
Habib Madjidi Sony Pictures Classics

The Iranian drama A Separation has popped up on more than a few critics' lists of the best films of 2011, despite little exposure in the U.S. thus far. It will open in limited release December 30, and as Howie Movshovitz of Colorado Public Radio reports on Friday's Morning Edition, it serves as both a family drama and a piece of social observation about life in Iran.

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Business
10:01 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Happy Holidays? Indeed, For Some Stuck At Work

Louise Tucker-Mitchell laughs on the phone with a customer at Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. She says she likes working the week between Christmas and New Year's, as it's calmer and a good time to catch up.
Sara Carothers NPR

It's the last workweek of the year, and just about half of American workers have been in the office.

If that sounds like a drag, well, meet Louise Tucker-Mitchell.

She works for Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport. For her, at least, being stuck at work between the holidays is a secret pleasure.

Things are unusually quiet. Traffic is uncharacteristically light. "This is the free time when you can sort everything out and get it done," she says.

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Television
10:01 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Oprah Winfrey Network Still Finding Its Footing

Oprah Winfrey talks to reporters during a press tour that followed the launch of her cable network, OWN, in January.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Ratings have been a major disappointment for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), but that could change now that Oprah Winfrey is about to debut her own show on the cable channel.

When Winfrey ended her longtime show on broadcast TV earlier this year, there were lots of tears and endless tributes to the queen of daytime talk.

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The Record
10:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Music In Afghanistan A Sensitive Subject

A performance at the Afghan National Institute of Music in November of 2010.
Daniel Wilkinson U.S. Embassy Kabul Afghanistan/flickr.com

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 10:01 pm

Afghanistan sits at a crossroads between central Asia, Iran and the Indian subcontinent, and the country's music reflects that. Kabul hosted two international music festivals this fall — one traditional, the other a rock concert — but music is still a sensitive issue. International donors, including the U.S., have helped refurbish a conservatory in Kabul, but some of the students say they still face disapproval from extremist elements, even at the university.

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StoryCorps
8:00 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

On New Year's Eve, An ID Check Helps Love Prosper

Isabel Sobozinsky-Wall and her husband, Scott Wall, visited StoryCorps in San Francisco.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:07 am

For Isabel Sobozinsky-Wall, New Year's Eve marks a special time. That's when she met her future husband, Scott, during a trip to New York City 20 years ago.

"I was single and feeling very lonely on New Year's Eve," Scott says. "I was actually wandering the streets of Manhattan, and I ended up in the Paris Cafe. There was this ravishingly beautiful woman, wearing a beautiful dress. And I introduced myself. But I was very surprised when you asked me for my ID."

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The Two-Way
4:14 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Basil Al-Sayed, Who Chronicled The Syrian Uprising, Is Dead

Basil al-Sayed, a Syrian citizen journalist who lost his life documenting the uprising in Homs.
Rami Jarrah

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The Salt
3:19 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

What The World Eats For A Better, Luckier 2012

In Denmark they eat a towering cake called kransekage for New Year's Eve.
Jeremy Noble via Flickr

Many cultures greet the New Year with a feast that symbolically sets the table for the year ahead. As they sit down to traditional dishes, people often try to internalize their hopes and goals for the coming year.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:09 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Transplants Bring New Faces In 2011

Charla Nash received a full-face transplant after she was mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009.
HO AFP/Getty Images

If there's a medical advance that seized the public imagination this year, we'd venture to say it was facial transplant surgery.

Three transplants gave severely injured patients completely new faces in 2011. Now the doctors involved have revealed details about the complex cases in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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