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12:24 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Airlines Fear Pilot Shortage Amid New Federal Safety Rules

Starting next summer, aspiring commercial pilots will need 1,500 hours of flight training before they can be hired. This dramatic increase, among other factors, is making airlines worry that there will not be enough pilots to maintain current service.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:05 pm

Some airlines — especially the smaller ones — worry they won't have enough pilots. They're a number of factors in play, but they point to new federal safety rules as a big part of the problem.

In February 2009, a Colgan Air commuter jet crashed, killing 50 people. Investigators cited inadequate pilot training; Congress responded with new legislation. Beginning next summer, those who want to pilot commercial jets will need dramatically more hours of flight training before they can be hired.

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Shots - Health News
12:22 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Despite Uneven Results, Alzheimer's Research Suggests A Path For Treatment

Brain scans using Amyvid dye to highlight beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Clockwise from top left: a cognitively normal subject; an amyloid-positive patient with Alzheimer's disease; a patient with mild cognitive impairment who progressed to dementia during a study; and a patient with mild cognitive impairment.
Slide courtesy of the journal Neurology

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:24 pm

It's been a mixed year for Alzheimer's research. Some promising drugs failed to stop or even slow the disease. But researchers also found reasons to think that treatments can work if they just start sooner.

Scientists who study Alzheimer's say they aren't discouraged by the drug failures. "I actually think it was a phenomenal year for research," says Bill Rebeck, a brain scientist at Georgetown University.

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World
11:52 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Brazil's Drug Epidemic: Welcome To 'Crackland'

A member of Rio de Janeiro's Social Work Department speaks with crack addicts in a slum area known as "Crackland," during a police operation in the city in November.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 11:19 am

Brazilian health officials say an epidemic is taking hold — an outbreak of crack cocaine use nationwide, from the major cities on the coast to places deep in the Amazon.

It's an image at odds with the one Brazil wants to project as the country prepares to host soccer's World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics two years later. But the problem has become too big to ignore.

The Luz district of central Sao Paulo was once grand, with its old train station and opulent buildings. Now, this neighborhood is known as Cracolandia — Crackland.

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The Salt
11:44 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Smartphone Apps Offer Few Shortcuts For Those With Food Allergies

The iTube platform, left, uses colorimetric assays and a smartphone-based digital reader to detect potential food allergen. A screen capture of the iTube App appears on the right.
UCLA

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 12:42 pm

Managing food allergies can be a pain, requiring lots of sleuthing of ingredients in restaurants and supermarkets. But people with potentially lethal allergies to nuts and other foods don't have much choice.

Dozens of smartphone apps offer to make that task easier. Doctors say, though, the apps now on the market just aren't reliable enough.

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It's All Politics
11:24 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Minorities May Spurn The GOP, But The Party Welcomes Them

Incoming Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who spoke during the Republican National Convention this summer in Tampa, Fla., is among a number of minority politicians seen as rising stars in the GOP.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 9:03 am

As the nation's first African-American president, Barack Obama benefited from and expanded his party's enormous advantage among minority voters.

But as he prepares to start his second term, Obama hasn't managed to usher in behind him many Democrats who are minorities to top elected office. Conversely, Republicans — despite their highly limited support among non-Anglo voters — have managed to elevate more top politicians from minority backgrounds.

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The Two-Way
11:22 am
Wed December 26, 2012

'Thunderbirds' TV Show Creator Anderson Dies At 83

Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson has died at age 83. Here, he poses with puppets Parker and Lady Penelope from the series, shortly before a 2001 auction in London.
Dave Caulkin AP

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The Two-Way
11:11 am
Wed December 26, 2012

'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline Looms, But Sense Of Urgency Seems To Be Lacking

Will the lights be on late at the White House for the next few nights, or will talks about the "fiscal cliff" be less than dramatic?
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:49 am

President Obama is "cutting short" a vacation that he'd already said he would cut short. "See you next week," he told reporters last week before leaving for Hawaii. The president is now due back at the White House on Thursday, which is pretty much what was expected. His family will stay in Hawaii until after the New Year.

Senators are also coming back to Washington, but many aren't likely to get to the Capitol until Thursday evening.

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NPR Story
10:59 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Measuring The Impact Of Your Charitable Donations

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:56 am

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. This week, many of us are making year-end charitable donations. There are countless needy people and worthy causes competing for our dollars. So many philanthropists today want proof that an organization actually succeeds at its mission.

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NPR Story
10:59 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Political Highlights Of 2012 And The Pint-Sized Pundit

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:46 am

NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin recaps the week in politics and reflects on some of the significant political moments of the year. He also faces off in a trivia battle with burgeoning political junkie Gabe Fleisher, a fifth grader who drafts a political newsletter everyday before school.

NPR Story
10:59 am
Wed December 26, 2012

When The Holiday Season Is Transformed By Loss

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:54 am

Alcestis 'Cooky' Oberg lost her father-in-law unexpectedly on Christmas Day in 1982. For the first few years, it meant that Christmas was a somber time. Oberg, a contributor to USA Today, talks about how the mood of the holidays evolved for her family over time.

Movies
10:28 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Fact Checking 'Argo': A Great Escape That Takes Some Leaps

Jack O'Donnell (Brian Cranston) and Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) are tasked with saving six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis.
Claire Folger AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:06 pm

Several of the films contending for top prizes this year have one thing in common: They all say they're inspired by true events.

Among them are Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Hitchcock and Ben Affleck's Argo, which chronicles a covert operation that involved creating a fake Hollywood film to rescue six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis. (The Americans posed as the picture's production crew to escape the country.)

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Middle East
9:54 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Syria's War Leaves Its Scars On The Children

Maysam Selmo, 8, during her first week at Albashayer School for Syrian Refugee Children in Antakya, Turkey. She and her extended family fled their village in northwestern Syria, and now live in a crowded apartment.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:57 pm

The war in Syria is taking a huge toll on the children. An international team of researchers that interviewed Syrian kids in a refugee camp in Turkey found that 3 out of 4 have lost a loved one. Almost half have post-traumatic stress disorder and elevated levels of depression.

There are efforts to help, but it's challenging. In the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, the bell rings at 8 a.m. at the Friendship Elementary School. Syrian kids, in fresh school uniforms, cram into desks, with more than 40 students in every classroom.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Wed December 26, 2012

N.Y. Website Posts Map Of People With Gun Permits, Draws Criticism

The Journal News' map of gun owners in Rockland County, N.Y. At its website, the image is interactive so that users can see who has handgun permits and where they live.
The Journal News

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:49 am

The website of New York's Journal News newspapers has posted an interactive map showing the names and addresses of people with licenses to own handguns in three counties just to the north of New York City — Westchester, Rockland and Putnam.

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Shots - Health News
8:29 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Dip In Preschoolers' Obesity Hints Worst May Be Past For Weight

An overweight child reads her part during a skit that was in a 2010 program promoting healthy lifestyles sponsored by Children's Hospital near Denver.
John Moore Getty Images

Obesity among preschoolers has dropped a bit, offering hope that a decades-long trend towards dangerously overweight children may finally be on the wane. If the trend continues, it could mean healthier adults in the future.

The findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention follow a reports earlier this year that found declines in obesity rates among school-aged children.

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Around the Nation
8:17 am
Wed December 26, 2012

A Lull Until New Year's? Not So These Days

The CambridgeSide Galleria was bustling with people exchanging gifts and taking advantage of sales the day after Christmas 2011.
Suzanne Kreiter The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 10:32 am

Time was, the stretch following Christmas Day until New Year's Day was a quiet, sleepy spot on the American calendar. The six-day span hung like a lazy hammock between the holidays.

Not anymore.

Nowadays, the WAC — Week After Christmas — is busy and abuzzing. All around the country, Americans continue to celebrate — Kwanzaa, the Christmas afterglow and the coming New Year.

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The Two-Way
8:14 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Gunman Who Killed Two Firefighters Left Chilling Note

William Spengler, in an undated image released by the Monroe County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Office.
Reuters /Landov

We're learning more about Monday's shooting deaths of two firefighters in Webster, N.Y., and the man who police say lured the first responders to the scene by setting fire to his home.

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Music Interviews
6:55 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Catherine Russell: The Fresh Air In-Studio Concert

Catherine Russell.
Stefan Falke

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 21, 2012.

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Television
6:55 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Aziz Ansari's Latest Is 'Dangerously Delicious'

Aziz Ansari dissects a variety of topics in his latest comedy special, Dangerously Delicious.
Courtesy of Aziz Ansari

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on April 2, 2012.

During a recent stand-up tour, the comedian and star of Parks and Recreation, Aziz Ansari riffed on what he calls the "fears of adulthood."

You know, babies. Marriage. That kind of stuff.

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Author Interviews
6:55 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Joan Rivers Hates You, Herself and Everyone Else

Joan Rivers says her material has only gotten stronger with age. "I always say, 'What are you going to do? Are you going to fire me? Been fired. Going to be bankrupt? Been bankrupt.'"
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:19 am

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Wed December 26, 2012

'Housing Recovery Is Gathering Strength,' New Report On Prices Signals

A "sold" sign outside a home under construction in Peoria, Ill., in October.
Daniel Acker Landov

Home prices were up 4.3 percent in October from the same month a year before in the 20 major U.S.

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