Best Books Of 2011
7:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

A Passion For The Past: 2011's Best Historical Fiction

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

Historical fiction invites us to experience the exotic and the unknown while confirming our common humanity. I do not believe that human nature has changed much over the centuries, and it is possible to identify with the emotions, passions, and fears of men and women long dead.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Japanese Officials Declare 'Cold Shutdown' Of Crippled Reactors

Workers in protective suits and masks wait to enter the emergency operation center at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station on Nov. 12, 2011.
David Guttenfelder AFP/Getty Images

Nuclear reactors crippled in Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami are now in a "cold shutdown," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced today.

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Economy
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Popularity Bankrupts Early Retiree Program

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

A $5 billion federal program to pay for the health benefits of early retirees is proving to be more popular than expected. So popular that it's running out of money earlier than planned. The fund, part of the health care overhaul, was to provide a bridge of insurance coverage until 2014 when early retirees would have many more options under the health care law.

This report is part of a collaboration between Minnesota Public Radio, NPR, and Kaiser Health News.

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Law
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

DOJ Probe Finds Ariz. Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Joe Arpaio, the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff, is not backing down. The U.S. Justice Department yesterday accused his sheriff's department in Maricopa County, Arizona of systematically violating the constitutional and civil rights of Latinos. By the end of the day, NPR's Ted Robbins reports, the sheriff was hitting back.

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Movies
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

'Mission Impossible' Review

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The title doesn't have the number in it, but anyone who cares knows "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" is really "Mission: Impossible 4." The movie is opening this weekend on huge IMAX screens only. Next week it will be in regular theaters. Film critic Kenneth Turan says sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Sports
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Bronco's Tim Tebow Is The Talk Of Denver

Denver is buzzing about quarterback Tim Tebow and the resurgent Denver Broncos. This Sunday's match-up between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos is expected to be one of the most-watched NFL games of the season. Tebow has drawn attention for the public display of his Christian faith.

Remembrances
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to remember now the acerbic, controversial and always compelling writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens. Vanity Fair, where he was a contributing editor, announced last night that he had died from complications of cancer. He was 62 years old.

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Bachmann Tries To Regain Early Iowa Lead

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann once appeared to be the favored Republican presidential candidate in Iowa. But she's been near the bottom of most polls since. Bachmann is making an aggressive push to finish well in next month's Iowa caucuses, and she embarks on a multi-day bus tour of the state Friday.

Politics
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Negotiators Reach Deal To Keep Government Open

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

So, it looks like the federal government is not going to shut down at midnight tonight. That's good news. Congressional negotiators say they've reached an agreement to move forward on a trillion-dollar-plus spending plan. It would fund the government through October. There are still some end-of-year issues that haven't been resolved.

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

GOP Presidential Contenders Done Debating Before Iowa Caucuses

Newt Gingrich stood center state Thursday night in the Sioux City Convention Center. The sharpest elbows did not come from his close rivals, Mitt Romney or Ron Paul. Instead, it was Michele Bachmann who repeatedly went after Gingrich.

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