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Asia
12:24 am
Thu December 13, 2012

A Rare Visit Inside A Chinese Courtroom

An NPR reporter recently was allowed to watch legal proceedings at Hongkou District Court — a rare opportunity for a foreign correspondent in Shanghai.
Courtesy of Hongkou District Court

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:03 am

After years of covering China, I finally set foot in a Chinese courtroom last week. Foreign reporters need government permission to enter Chinese courts and past attempts had gone nowhere.

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Religion
12:23 am
Thu December 13, 2012

From Gang Member To Hip-Hop Church Leader

Pastor Troy Evans of Edge Urban Fellowship in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Edge Urban Fellowship

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:03 am

Troy Evans preaches at Edge Urban Fellowship in a rundown Grand Rapids, Mich., neighborhood known for prostitution. Inside what looks like an abandoned office building are walls covered by graffiti. There are tattooed people wearing baseball caps and jeans. Three 20-year-old men holding mics get ready to bust out some elaborate dance moves.

It may seem like a hip-hop show, but it's actually church.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
12:22 am
Thu December 13, 2012

New York Planners Prep For A 'New Normal' Of Powerful Storms

A woman with the Army Corps of Engineers documents a destroyed home last month in a residential area of New Dorp Beach on Staten Island in New York City.
Robert Nickelsberg Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:03 am

It will take tens of billions of dollars to repair the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy. But scientists who study climate change say repair is not enough. As the climate warms, ice sheets and glaciers will melt, raising the sea level. That means coastal storms will more likely cause flooding.

So New Yorkers, local politicians and scientists face a tough decision: How to spend limited funds to defend themselves from what climate experts call "the new normal."

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Business
12:21 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Etsy Crafts A Strategy For Staying Handmade And Profitable

Etsy, which began as a place for home crafters and small businesses to sell their goods, has experienced growing pains as it surpasses 800,000 sellers.
Courtesy of Etsy

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:03 am

Etsy has gotten very big, very fast. This year, sales are at about $800 million.

"Their growth on all the major metrics you want to look at has accelerated really consistently," says journalist Rob Walker.

Walker recently wrote a story for Wired Magazine with the headline, "Can Etsy Go Pro Without Losing Its Soul?" Here's why: Etsy makes money from its sellers: 20 cents every time they list an item and 3.5 percent of every sale. Today, there are some 800,000 sellers.

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U.S.
12:20 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Finding A Child Online: How The Web Is Transforming Adoption

Eric James and his partner, Zerxes Spencer, have spent the past year looking to adopt. To speed up the arduous process, the couple built a website about their lives to draw in interested birth mothers.
Courtesy of Eric James

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:03 am

When Eric James and his partner, Zerxes Spencer, decided to adopt last year, they signed on with Adoptions Together, a reputable agency close to their home in Maryland. They attended the agency's seminars to learn about the process, met other "waiting parents" and formed personal bonds with the staff. But there was just one problem.

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The Two-Way
6:26 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Pope Benedict: A Hip 'Pontifex' Tweets Blessings

In these images, Pope Benedict XVI pushes the button, with help, to issue the first tweet on his personal account.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 8:42 am

Pope Benedict XVI is officially a tweep. He launched his new Twitter account with this blessing:

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This Is NPR
6:20 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Keira Knightley Hearts NPR

Melissa Kuypers NPR

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 2:29 pm

Leo Tolstoy's classic novel Anna Karenina has been made into a movie several times, and in the most recent adaptation, Keira Knightley plays the title role.

The actress came in to talk with NPR host Guy Raz on All Things Considered over the weekend about how the movie's director, Joe Wright, and his team went about presenting this familiar story in a new way; how "Anna" seems different to her than when she first read the book at age 19; and the only piece of acting advice her father (stage actor Will Knightley) ever gave her.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

A Cardboard Helmet, To Go With Your Cardboard Bike

Using a cardboard liner allows a cycling helmet to be lighter and stronger than standard models, says designer Anirudha Surabhi.
Anirudha Surabhi

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:21 pm

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:29 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Post-Sandy, Newly Unemployed Struggle To Stay Afloat

Erin Kulick can see the animal clinic where she once worked from her balcony in Queens, N.Y. Six weeks after Hurricane Sandy, the clinic is still closed.
Courtesy of Scott Kulick

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:19 pm

Hurricane Sandy's effect on the nation's unemployment figures was less pronounced than expected. The reasons are complex, but one thing is clear: Thousands of victims are still struggling to rebuild their lives and get back to work.

Danielle Siekierski was tending bar at a restaurant in Manhattan's Meatpacking District before Sandy hit. When the restaurant was damaged in the storm, the workers were told it might be a week before it reopened.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

California Gov. Brown Being Treated For Prostate Cancer

California Gov. Jerry Brown is receiving radiation therapy for prostate cancer, which his physician says was caught at an "early stage." The governor's office announced the news today, adding that Brown's work schedule has not been disrupted.

"The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects," the governor's office quoted UCSF oncologist Dr. Eric Small as saying. Calling the cancer "localized," Small said that Brown is undergoing a short course of radiation therapy.

Brown is expected to undergo treatment through early January.

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It's All Politics
3:00 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

In Midwest Union Fights, Michigan Shows 2010 Election Still Trumps 2012

Silent protesters Wednesday in Lansing, Mich., wear tape with messages that signify wages they say they could lose because of the state's new right-to-work law.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:54 am

No one can argue the setback to organized labor served up by Michigan's new law, which bars unions from requiring workers to pay dues even if they don't join their workplace bargaining unit.

Tuesday's passage of "right to work" legislation in a state dominated by the auto industry and the historically powerful United Auto Workers was a surprising "smack in the face" to unions, says labor expert Lee Adler, especially given President Obama's nearly 10-point win in the state last month.

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All Tech Considered
3:00 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Who Needs College? Young Entrepeneuer Bets On Bright Idea For Solar Energy

Eden Full took time off from her studies at Princeton University to work on her startup full time, after being selected for the inaugural class of the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship.
Della Rollins

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:44 am

Eighteen months ago Eden Full was finishing up her sophomore year at Princeton University. She was on the crew team as a coxswain. She had spent the previous summer in Kenya building an innovative, low-cost contraption to make solar panels more efficient.

Full was glowingly successful — the kind of college student who ends up profiled in alumni magazines.

But Full had decided to drop out.

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The Salt
2:53 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

From Belgium To Piggly Wiggly: U.S. Beer Fans Snatch Up Elusive Ale

A customer departs Total Wine of Towson, Md., with a gift pack of Belgium's Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale.
Bill Chappell NPR

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:39 pm

To many beer fans, the arrival of the Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale in American shops today is a chance to try a beer they've only read about on beer-geek blogs and sites — where it's often given a "world class" rating of 100.

But finding the beer can be tricky — it's not available in all states, and some stores sold out of their allotment within hours of opening Wednesday.

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U.S.
2:25 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

New Policy For Young Immigrants Creates Paperwork Deluge

A crowd seeks help applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles in August. Schools have been inundated with requests for the documents needed to qualify.
Jonathan Alcorn Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:29 pm

In the six months since a new law opened a path to temporary legal status for some young immigrants in the U.S., more than 300,000 people have applied — and have rushed to request qualifying documents from their schools.

The law, Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, offers legal status, renewable every two years, to people ages 30 and younger who were brought to the country as children. Applicants must prove they were in the U.S. for five consecutive years — something most easily achieved through school transcripts.

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Syrian Military Fired Scud Missiles At Rebels, U.S. Official Says

The Syrian military fired Scud missiles on rebel positions in northern Syria this week, a Pentagon source says. Here, a rebel fighter takes a position last month in the northern city of Aleppo, the scene of heavy fighting in recent months.
Anonymous AP

The Syrian military fired Scud missiles at rebel forces this week, launching them from near the capital Damascus and targeting opposition fighters in the north of the country, Pentagon sources tell NPR's Tom Bowman.

The development comes at a time when the fighting has been intensifying and the rebels appear to be gaining momentum in a nearly two-year-old battle against President Bashar Assad.

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Music Reviews
1:58 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

The Boogers And Play Date Make Punk Rock For Kids

The Boogers, pogo-ing to their punk rock for kids.
Peter Wochniak Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:29 pm

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Research News
1:57 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Land Creatures Might Not Have Come From The Sea

The fossil remains of Dickinsonia, an Ediacaran organism that's long been extinct. Scientists have long assumed these early life forms lived in the sea, but a new study argues they emerged on land.
G. Retallack Nature

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:29 pm

Cartoonists have found many clever ways to depict the conventional wisdom that complex life evolved in the sea and then crawled up onto land. But a provocative new study suggests that the procession might be drawn in the wrong direction. The earliest large life forms may have appeared on land long before the oceans filled with creatures that swam and crawled and burrowed in the mud.

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Planet Money
1:56 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Ben Bernanke Acts Like His Hair Is On Fire

Warm around the ears.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 11:56 am

The leaders of the Federal Reserve just did something that sounds boring but is actually a big deal: They promised to keep short-term interest rates at zero at least until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5 percent, or inflation rises to over 2.5 percent.

It's clear on its face why this sounds boring. It takes a little doing to explain why it's a big deal.

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The Salt
1:51 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Georgia Town Makes Claim For Fruitcake Capital Of The World

The Claxton Bakery in Georgia makes millions of pounds of fruitcake each year.
Stephen Morton AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:29 pm

In the small town of Claxton, Ga., two bakeries make more than 4 million pounds of fruitcake each year. Both bakeries say Claxton is the fruitcake capital of the world, despite a similar claim made by a company in Corsicana, Texas.

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

What North Korea's Rocket Launch Means — And What It Doesn't

This image from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows the long-range rocket Unha-3 as seen at a satellite control center prior to Wednesday's successful launch.
KCNA via KNS AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:31 pm

North Korea's successful rocket launch may conjure up visions of nuclear missiles in the hands of one of the planet's least predictable regimes. But building a satellite launch vehicle doesn't directly translate into an ability to rain warheads on distant enemies.

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