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Hosted By: Melissa Block, Robert Siegel, Audie Cornish

For two hours every weekday, All Things Considered hosts Robert Siegel, Melissa Block, and Audie Cornish present this NPR program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews and offbeat features.

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Around the Nation
3:43 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

In Missouri, Days Of Drought Send Caretakers To One 'Big Tree'

This bur oak, called "The Big Tree" by Missouri locals, has been around for centuries. When a drought hit the state last year, the community came together to offer help and water for the iconic tree.
Courtesy of Christopher Starbuck

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 10:52 am

The devastating drought in the Midwest last summer is a story often told by the numbers, with statistics on large crop failures, days without rain and thousands of parched acres.

This story is also about a tree — a bur oak in rural Columbia, Mo., that everyone calls "The Big Tree." Although it's survived all kinds of punishments during its 350 years on the prairie, last year's record drought was especially tough.

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Europe
3:13 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Once Championed By Putin, Medvedev Falls Precipitously Out Of Favor

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, heads a State Council session alongside Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last year. Increasing political attacks on Medvedev have accompanied Putin's suspicions about his erstwhile partner's ambitions.
Yekaterina Shtukina AP

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:56 pm

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appears increasingly isolated from the centers of power surrounding President Vladimir Putin.

Analysts say Medvedev is the target of a campaign to wreck his reputation and drive him from office. It's a risky situation for the former president, who was once regarded as Putin's partner.

The attacks have come from many directions. One of the harshest was an anonymous, documentary-style film that was posted on the Internet in January.

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Theater
5:25 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Nora Ephron's 'Lucky Guy' And Tom Hanks Make Their Broadway Debuts

Nora Ephron's final play, Lucky Guy, tells the story of controversial New York columnist Mike McAlary, played by Tom Hanks. (Also pictured: Peter Gerety as John Cotter).
Boneau / Bryan-Brown

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 8:57 pm

Several years ago, when Nora Ephron handed Tom Hanks an early draft of Lucky Guy, her play about tabloid journalist Mike McAlary, he had a pretty strong reaction.

"I said, 'Well, that guy's sure a jerk!' I used another word besides jerk — I know what you can say on NPR," he says. "And she laughed and she said, 'Well, he kinda was. But he was kinda great, too.'"

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Religion
5:04 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

With New Pope, Catholic Women Hope To Regain Church Leadership Roles

Parishioners partake in the Way Of The Cross procession at the Colosseum on Good Friday in Rome. A group of women Catholics recently made a pilgrimage to Rome to request that women once again be allowed to hold leadership positions in the church.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 8:45 pm

The newly elected pope's focus on the poor and the marginalized has instilled great faith among many Catholic women. They hope the papacy of Pope Francis will promote a leading role for women in the church.

A group of American nuns and Catholic women recently made a pilgrimage to Rome to make their requests heard.

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It's All Politics
3:42 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Opposition Research Boot Camp: Learning To Dig For Political Dirt

Opposition research is becoming a given in politics, sometimes even at the local level.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 8:29 pm

Opposition research exists mostly in the political shadows. So perhaps it's fitting that this boot camp is in an generic conference room in a generic airport hotel outside of Washington, D.C.

It's run by private investigator Larry Zilliox, who specializes in opposition research. He allowed me to attend a session, but not to take pictures.

Zilliox is cagey about his clients: "As a general rule, it suits me best not to comment on who I've worked for. Everybody is better off that way."

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Shots - Health News
3:41 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Mining Books To Map Emotions Through A Century

When anthropologists tallied the use of emotional words through a century of literature, they included many books without clear emotional content — technical manuals, for example, and automotive repair guides.
Steve Debenport iStockphotography

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 10:18 am

Were people happier in the 1950s than they are today? Or were they more frustrated, repressed and sad?

To find out, you'd have to compare the emotions of one generation to another. British anthropologists think they may have found the answer — embedded in literature.

Several years ago, more or less on a lark, a group of researchers from England used a computer program to analyze the emotional content of books from every year of the 20th century — close to a billion words in millions of books.

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Science
5:12 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

Somewhere Over The Brainbow: The Journey To Map the Human Brain

More than 100 years ago, Golgi staining on nerve cells opened the gates to modern neuroscience. Scientists recently developed the Technicolor version of Golgi staining, Brainbow, allowing more detailed reconstructions of brain circuits.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 9:55 pm

During the State of the Union, President Obama said the nation is about to embark on an ambitious project: to examine the human brain and create a road map to the trillions of connections that make it work.

"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy — every dollar," the president said. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."

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History
5:08 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

Living Memories From The Last Days Of Alcatraz

Alcatraz, the infamous prison, still captures the imagination 50 years after it closed. Those who did time there, however, don't have to wonder.
Leigh Wiener Courtesy Devik Wiener

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 6:28 pm

Fifty years ago, the notorious Alcatraz prison shut its gate behind guard Jim Albright as he escorted the last inmate off the island on March 21, 1963.

"As we're going out, I know, when I come back from this trip, I don't have a job, I don't have a home anymore," Albright remembers. "I didn't want the island to close, I didn't want to leave. I liked it there."

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Author Interviews
4:45 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

An Unlikely Explorer Stumbles Into Controversy

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:03 pm

The mostly forgotten explorer Paul du Chaillu introduced the world to gorillas. His methods were attacked and his work discredited during his lifetime, but he also experienced fame and redemption.

Author Monte Reel illuminates the little-known tale of the 19th century explorer in his new book Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm.

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Movie Interviews
10:03 am
Sun March 31, 2013

Cristian Mungiu: Metaphor Or Not, 'Hills' Has Eyes For Romania's Past

Director Cristian Mungiu on the set of his new film, Beyond the Hills. As in his earlier 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, the filmmaker focuses on two young women adrift in the post-Soviet wilderness of Romania.
Sundance Selects

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 6:28 pm

Cristian Mungiu became the poster boy for the Romanian New Wave when his film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days took the top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007. Like that film, Mungiu's latest turns an unblinking camera on two troubled young women in a dysfunctional society. Beyond the Hills is now opening in theaters across the U.S.

Like its predecessor, Beyond the Hills was a prizewinner at Cannes: Its two young stars shared the best actress prize last year, and Mungiu won best screenplay.

The story he tells is disturbing.

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Health Care
5:40 pm
Sat March 30, 2013

Three Years On, States Still Struggle With Health Care Law Messaging

Joy Reynolds of San Diego looks at the newspapers on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on June 29, 2012, following the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 6:25 pm

It is hard to imagine that after three years of acrimony and debate we could still be so confused about President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Is it actually possible Americans know less about Obamacare now than they did three years ago? Apparently that is the case, and the news comes just as the most sweeping effects of the law are about to kick in.

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Around the Nation
4:58 pm
Sat March 30, 2013

For One Military Family, DOMA Decision Will Hit Close To Home

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 6:25 pm

Same-sex couples in the military will be watching closely now that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Anxiously awaiting a decision are Army lieutenant colonel Heather Mack and her wife, Ashley Broadway, who've been together for 15 years and have two children. They say repealing DOMA would help many enlisted same-sex military couples, who don't receive funds to move non-military spouses from one base to the next.

Business
4:58 pm
Sat March 30, 2013

How Samsung Became An Industry Giant

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 6:25 pm

Transcript

LAURA SULLIVAN, HOST:

If you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan.

Quick trivia question: Name a global superpower technology company, that is the world's biggest seller of smartphones headed by a charismatic CEO surrounded by a cult of personality. I'm guessing most of you just said Apple, right? You would be wrong. The answer is Samsung.

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Remembrances
4:58 pm
Sat March 30, 2013

Remembering Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 6:25 pm

Music producer Phil Ramone, who worked on albums by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, has died at the age of 72. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan looks back at some of the huge records that benefitted from his magic touch.

Movie Reviews
5:29 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

A Film So Sumptuous, 'Renoir' Himself Might Have Helped Out

Jean (Vincent Rottiers) assists his ailing father, the artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), in his studio on the French Riviera.
Samuel Goldwyn Films

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

The year is 1915. A beautiful young woman bicycling through sun-dappled woods passes under an effigy of a German soldier and seems entirely unfazed. World War I is raging elsewhere in Europe, but here on the French Riviera life is serene.

The cyclist, Andree, is on her way to pose for an elderly Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), whom she somewhat startles by claiming to be an artist herself.

"An artist," wonders the great man.

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Architecture
4:36 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Self-Taught Architect Behind Brooklyn's 'Broken Angel' Faces Eviction

Over the past three decades, Arthur and Cynthia Wood turned their four-story home into a work of art. They purchased the brick tenement at the intersection of Downing and Quincy streets in 1979 for $2,100 in cash.
Courtesy of Chris Wood

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

A New York landmark of sorts is in danger of being wiped off the map. The building now known as Broken Angel was an ordinary 19th-century brick structure until self-taught artist and sculptor Arthur Wood started building on top of it in the late 1970s. Now Wood faces eviction from his own masterpiece — a towering structure that looks like a cathedral built out of salvaged junk.

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Economy
4:32 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

As Housing Industry Builds Up, Other Sectors Follow

Home Depot is hiring 80,000 employees for its spring season. As the housing market picks up, other industry sectors — like gardening, construction and furniture — move upward, too.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:31 pm

When fortunes rise in the housing industry — as they currently are — it tends to lift sales for other businesses, too. Home construction, sales and prices are all improving. And according to many analysts, the market is gaining steam.

For nearly two decades, Scott Gillis has owned his own moving company, Great Scott Moving in Hyattsville, Md. Moving high season is just around the corner, which means Gillis is hiring.

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Africa
4:24 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Western Money, African Boots: A Formula For Africa's Conflicts

Ugandan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia prepare to advance on the central Somali town of Buur-Hakba.
Stuart Price AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

For the past six years in Somalia, Western countries have been putting up the cash and African nations have been supplying the soldiers, a formula that has pushed back al-Qaida-linked militants and allowed Somalia to elect it's first democratic government in 20 years.

"We can fix our problems in Africa," says Brig. Michael Ondoga, a contingent commander with the African Union Mission in Somalia or AMISOM. "All we need is your support."

It's not at all hard to see why this plan is so agreeable to the American government.

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Business
5:33 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Farm Bill's Sugar Subsidy More Taxing Than Sweet, Critics Say

While many people enjoy sweet treats — like these chocolate bunnies — the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 11:55 pm

While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.

Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors — even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.

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Shots - Health News
5:12 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Sand From Fracking Could Pose Lung Disease Risk To Workers

A worker stands on top of a storage bin on July 27, 2011, at a drilling operation in Claysville, Pa. The dust is from powder mixed with water for hydraulic fracturing.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 1:50 pm

When workplace safety expert Eric Esswein got a chance to see fracking in action not too long ago, what he noticed was all the dust.

It was coming off big machines used to haul around huge loads of sand. The sand is a critical part of the hydraulic fracturing method of oil and gas extraction. After workers drill down into rock, they create fractures in that rock by pumping in a mixture of water, chemicals and sand. The sand keeps the cracks propped open so that oil and gas are released.

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