Iraq
7:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Fears Renewed In Iraq With Wave Of Violence

After delivering mass, Monsignor Pius Kasha poses with security officials who are guarding the Syriac Catholic church in the Mansour neighborhood in Baghdad.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 8:44 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Christian Iraqis in Baghdad celebrated Christmas mass today with prayer and music.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONGREGATION SINGING)

CORNISH: This, one week after the last U.S. forces left Iraq for good - a withdrawal that has been followed by a week of bloodshed and political chaos. NPR's Sean Carberry joins us from Baghdad to talk about the latest. Good morning, Sean.

SEAN CARBERRY, BYLINE: Thanks, Audie.

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Around the Nation
4:55 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Loose Moose Make Anchorage A Winter Wanderland

A moose catches some rare winter sun at reporter Annie Feidt's home in Anchorage. During the winter, about 1,500 moose roam the city.
Todd Salat

Anchorage, Alaska, probably has more wildlife within its borders than any other city in the world. Bears, lynx and king salmon all coexist with city dwellers — peacefully, for the most part — so it's no shock when the snow piles up in the mountains and hundreds of moose descend on the city each winter.

But learning to live with the quirky beasts takes some patience.

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Science
4:54 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Trees In Trouble: Grim Future For Frankincense

Frankincense comes from the Boswellia sacra tree, which grows mainly in the Horn of Africa. The number of trees that produce the fragrant resin could decline by 90 percent in the next 50 years.
scott.zona flickr

The original Christmas presents were gold, frankincense and myrrh. That's what wise men brought to the baby Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew. Frankincense is still used today — for perfumes, incense and traditional medicines — but a new study suggests that its future looks grim.

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National Teachers Initiative
4:53 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Peace Game Puts 'Weight Of The World' On Students

Julianne Swope, 11, says the World Peace Game taught her to be more compassionate. John Hunter invented the game to get his students thinking about major world problems.
StoryCorps

John Hunter's fourth-graders are remarkably successful at resolving world crises peacefully.

Hunter, 57, has been teaching for more than three decades. He wanted to get his students to think about major world issues, so he invented the World Peace Game. Students are divided into countries, and then given a series of global crises — natural disasters, political conflicts — that they have to solve.

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The News Tip On Weekend Edition Sunday
12:24 am
Sun December 25, 2011

The News Tip: Takeaways From 2011

2011 was a year of intense and compelling news stories: from the Arab Spring, to the nuclear disaster in Japan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

It's often assumed that people bury their heads in frivolous news when hard news is too much to take. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik says that this year media consumers embraced the hard news.

"They were often transfixed by it," he tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish.

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The Two-Way
5:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

At LAX, TSA Workers Sing Cheer Into Holiday Travel

TSA workers sing at Los Angeles International Airport in this screen grab from a USA Today video. The chorus dons Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.
USA Today

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 7:20 am

Turns out some of those dour security officers who make you take your shoes off at the airport have plenty of Christmas spirit. Travel isn't usually a highlight of the holidays, but at Los Angeles International Airport some of the Transportation Security Administration workers enjoy the season so much they sing.

True to its duties, the LAX TSA Chorus isn't joking. Its singers are actually TSA employees who don Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.

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Sports
1:23 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

An Epic (And Mythic) 2011 NBA Preview

These guys aren't playing basketball this season. But they were photographed in the Caucasus region, some time between 1870 and 1886.
Library of Congress

The NBA season opens Christmas Day, and every sports writer worth his tinseled tropes has made a reference to basketball fans being able to unwrap a slate of games under the tree.

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Africa
7:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

For A Libya In Flux: A Theme Song

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has spent much of this year covering the uprising and civil war in Libya. As she and her Libyan colleagues drove through the streets of Tripoli this week, they often found themselves listening to a legendary American country music song. The lyrics about changing fortunes seemed to ring true for Libya, as she tells us in this reporter's notebook.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: If every conflict has a theme song, then Libya's for me is as unlikely as it is fitting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAMBLER")

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Middle East
7:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Syrian Violence Intensifies As Observers Arrive

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 7:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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World
7:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Cape Race: 'Still A Place For A Lighthouse'

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 7:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Off the northeastern tip of North America on Newfoundland lies a stretch of the coast known as the graveyard of the Atlantic. The rocky shoreline has sunk hundreds of ships. Reporter Emma Jacobs traveled to the red and white lighthouse on the tip of Cape Race that still warns ships away from the coast.

EMMA JACOBS, BYLINE: The day I visited in late fall was the kind of day the Cape Race lighthouse was built for. Twenty-foot swells rolled in towards the point through a thick fog.

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