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NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

USAID Improves Medical Care In Afghanistan

Renee Montagne speaks with Alex Thier who oversees projects in Afghanistan for the U.S. Agency for International Development. They discuss the tremendous efforts that have been made to improve medical care in that country over the last decade.

NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

GOP Candidates Enlist Wives For Holiday Campaign Ads

With less than two weeks before voting begins in Iowa, three Republican candidates are pulling out the big guns. Callista Gingrich, Anita Perry and Anne Romney appeared in campaign ads for their husbands.

Business
4:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Ratings Drop For 'All-American Muslim'

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:27 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And our last word in business is ratings reality. Ratings for this week's episode of the reality TV show, "All-American Muslim," dropped to more than 30 percent from the previous week's ratings. The show had plenty of drama off-screen earlier this month when the home improvement retailer Lowe's admitted it pulled its ads on the show after pressure from a conservative Christian group.

Yesterday, Lowe's said it would not change its decision. Cable channel TLC has not yet said whether the show will get picked up for another season.

Asia
4:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

North Korea's Heir Apparent Has His Work Cut Out For Him

Kim Jong Un, heir apparent to North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il, faces formidable challenges in the isolated communist nation.
Kyodo/file

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 9:44 pm

While North Korea is preparing for the state funeral of longtime leader Kim Jong Il next week, attention is quickly turning to his son and heir apparent, Kim Jong Un. Even veteran Pyongyang watchers know little about the successor. But it's clear what he's inheriting: a country in dire economic straits, and a tough fight to consolidate his political power and legitimacy.

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Business
4:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Business News

If the company's board approves, Yahoo could receive about $17 billion in a deal that would shed most of its Asian assets. That means Yahoo would dramatically decrease its valuable stake in Ali-baba — China's largest Internet company. The deal would get the company some much-needed cash.

Election 2012
4:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Super Pac Has Internet Fun At Gingrich's Expense

The Democratic political action committee American Bridge 21st Century has taken over the website newtgingrich.com. Visitors to the site — which is not controlled by Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign — were re-directed to, among other things, the website Tiffany & Co., and to articles critical of the former House speaker.

Election 2012
4:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Romney Spends Another Day Campaigning In New Hampshire

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning hard in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on January tenth. The former Massachusetts Governor had four events on Wednesday, there is seven on Thursday and more on Friday..

Music
1:26 am
Thu December 22, 2011

A Church, An Oratorio And An Enduring Tradition

The interior of the renowned Marienkirche church, where Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio is traditionally performed.
General Photographic Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 11:17 am

Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio was first performed in Leipzig on Christmas Day in 1734. In Germany, no matter what the economic and political times, it's the Christmas work. In the oldest functioning church in Berlin, the 13th-century Saint Mary's, performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio is a fixed tradition.

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Education
12:01 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Texas Schools Grapple With Big Budget Cuts

What's known as Middle School No. 8 in Leander, Texas, was supposed to help relieve overcrowding in the rapidly growing community. But after significant statewide cuts to education, the district can't afford to open the school.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

School funding in Texas is in turmoil. State lawmakers slashed more than $4 billion from education this school year — one of the largest cuts in state history — and more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off.

Academic programs and transportation have been cut to the bone. Promising reforms are on hold or on the chopping block. Next year, the cuts could go even deeper.

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Newt Gingrich
12:01 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Gingrich's Catholic Journey Began With Third Wife

Any discussion of Newt Gingrich's journey to Catholicism begins with his wife.

"I have always been a very spiritual person," Callista Gingrich told the Christian Broadcasting Network this year. "I start each day with a prayer, and pray throughout the day, because I am grateful for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us."

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