It Was A Good Year For...
4:18 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

2011: An Extraordinary Year For Gay Rights

Phyllis Siegel (right) kisses her wife, Connie Kopelov, after the two exchanged vows at the Manhattan City Clerk's office. The couple were the first same-sex pair to tie the knot in New York City after the state's Marriage Equality Act went into effect on July 24.
Michael Appleton AP

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 5:46 pm

This year was an extraordinary one for many things — especially gay rights. In September, the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy allowed gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve openly. And just this month, two female sailors became the first to share the Navy tradition of a "first kiss."

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It's All Politics
3:17 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

What Does Santorum's Iowa Rise Mean? Likely Not Much

Rick Santorum with news media after a campaign stop in Indianola, Iowa.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 8:04 pm

Because the news media abhor the absence of drama as much as nature supposedly detests vacuums, Rick Santorum's rise in recent polls of likely Iowa Republican presidential primary caucus voters definitely scratches a journalistic itch.

Santorum's ascent to the top three in Iowa polls, along with Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, has spiced up the race, especially after the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania spent so many months stuck in the caboose of GOP candidates.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

Banana-Sam At Large: Monkey Stolen From S.F. Zoo

The reward for Banana-Sam is now up to $5,000. The squirrel monkey was abducted from his cage, officials say, and the San Francisco Zoo is beefing up security to keep an eye on the rest of their animals.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Banana-Sam was likely stolen late Thursday or early Friday by vandals who cut two holes in the mesh wall of his cage. The remaining 17 squirrel monkeys are now being kept indoors until the pen can be fixed.

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Around the Nation
9:04 am
Sat December 31, 2011

The Changing Face Of America's Chinatowns

A vendor sells seafood at a market in East Broadway in New York City's Chinatown. There was a 17 percent drop in the population of New York City's Chinatown over the past decade, and some say it's a sign that Chinatown is becoming more of a symbolic touchstone.
Rebecca Sheir NPR

The Chinese New Year begins on Jan. 23. On that day, people will celebrate the Year of the Dragon in Chinatowns across the country.

The neighborhoods known as Chinatowns sprang up in the U.S. during the Gold Rush. But since then, they've seen gradual yet significant changes — not so noticeable to the average visitor, perhaps, but quite drastic to those who've called these communities home.

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Sports
7:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

How To Fix College Sports

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 9:05 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Now, to Howard's point with the stories out of Penn State and Syracuse this year, it's almost hard to remember when a scandal in college sports referred to grade fixing or dishonest boosters. But some say that what should be considered a scandal is the billions of dollars generated by college football and men's basketball with hardly any of that revenue actually going to the players.

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Sports
7:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Sports: Eyes On The Playoffs; Showdown In Ky.

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 9:05 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LYDEN: It's the last week of the NFL season and a handful of teams are still trying to edge their way into the playoffs. The NBA season is just wrapping up its first week, but already the Miami Heat look to be steamrolling it past straight to those playoffs. And there's a playoff-worthy college basketball game today in Lexington, Kentucky. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine joins us now. Howard, welcome and Happy New Year.

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Around the Nation
7:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Take The Day Off. In Fact, Take A Month

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Like many American workers, you might be using up your vacation time over the holidays but starting tomorrow. employees at Wedding Wire don't have to worry about rationing their leave. They can take off as many days as they like, just as long as their work gets done and the manager gives the OK. Jenny Harding is the Human Resources director for the web-based event planning company. She says Wedding Wire's new unlimited vacation policy will actually be good for productivity.

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Media
7:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

The Top 20 Deadliest Countries For Journalists

Transcript

JACKIE LYDEN, HOST:

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Middle East
7:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Syrian Protestors Seek Out Arab League In The Streets

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 9:05 am

Transcript

JACKIE LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jackie Lyden. In Syria yesterday, activists on called on people to come out in force to show visiting monitors from the Arab League the depth of opposition to President Bashar al Assad's regime. They say hundreds of thousands of people responded despite the presence of security forces. Nearly two dozen people were reportedly killed. This adds to the 5,000 people the UN says have died in the popular uprising since it began in March.

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The Impact of War
7:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Veterans' New Mission: Taking Care Of Their Own

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 9:05 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. After nine years, the official U.S. military involvement in Iraq ended this month. The withdrawal of U.S. troops has meant a shift in focus for a veterans group who that opposed the war. Iraq Veterans against the War says it will now turn its attention to ensuring that vets are not forgotten as they try to reintegrate into civilian society. Elizabeth Fiedler of member station WHYY in Philadelphia spoke with a couple of those veterans and they begin her story.

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