World

Holiday Music
3:00 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

An Afro Blue Christmas

Afro Blue performs live at NPR's Studio 1.
Colin Marshall NPR

A tambourine jingled merrily and spirits were high when Afro Blue visited NPR's Studio 1 to share a brilliant assortment of holiday music. The group delighted the audience with fresh, thoughtful arrangements of Christmas favorites, from a rollicking "Angels We Have Heard On High" to a sublime, weighty "Silent Night." Also on the bill were a few lesser-known holiday numbers, such as director Connaitre Miller's original piece "That Is Love," which offers a meditation on the meaning of the holiday season.

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Favorite Sessions
2:45 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

KEXP Presents: The Barr Brothers

The Barr Brothers perform "Come In The Water," live in the KEXP studio.
Jim Bennett KEXP

"Put your hand on the chest / of a heart that is beating."

That line, from The Barr Brothers' new album Sleeping Operator, might as well be the Montreal band's mission statement. While the new songs mix acoustic folk-rock, electrified blues, lush chamber-pop, traditional West African styles and other influences, each conveys immediate emotive force.

This is especially true of "Come In The Water," a song inspired by the tragic 1997 shooting of Israeli teens along the Jordan River. It's lovingly performed here in the intimate confines of a KEXP studio.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Canadians Head South Of Their Border For Medical Procedures

CNA Taylor Jasper makes up the bed in a patient room at Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, Idaho. (Jessica Robinson/ Northwest News Network)

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 3:15 pm

A hospital in north Idaho is marketing itself to Canadian tourists — medical tourists, that is.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jessica Robinson from the Northwest News Network has the story.

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Actor Samuel L. Jackson Asks People To Join His Singing Protest

A video of Samuel L. Jackson singing in protest of the choking death of Eric Garner by a white police officer in NYC has gone viral. (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 3:15 pm

On Saturday, actor Samuel L. Jackson posted a clip on his Facebook page calling on celebrities who participated in the ice bucket challenge to support ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, to now join him in another action: singing in protest of the choking death of Eric Garner by a white police officer in New York City

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

'A Goyishe Christmas To You!'

Steven Blier is the creator of "A Goyishe Christmas to You!," a cabaret-style play filled with classic Christmas tunes penned by Jews, as well as a number of parodies and original songs. (PR)

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:24 pm

Despite not celebrating Christmas, Jews have historically been hugely influential on holiday music — 12 out of 25 of the all-time most-played Christmas songs were written by Jews.

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

As School Fees Rise, So Do Questions Over What Constitutes A Free Education

(ginoroncaglia/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 10:40 am

Only a dozen states allow schools to charge for bus service but the number is expected to grow.

Parents in Indiana have filed a lawsuit, now before the state Supreme Court, arguing that bus fees violate the state’s constitutional guarantee to a free education. But state officials across the country say budget cuts have severely hampered their ability to continue to provide transportation and other services for free.

Indiana officials also say that caps on property taxes approved by voters in 2008 have also cut into school funds.

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Did This Congress Help Your Wallet, Or Just Pass the Buck?

A member of the House of Representatives departs the US Capitol after a vote narrowly approving a $1.1 trillion, nine-month federal spending bill barely two hours before a midnight government shutdown deadline, December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. The 219-206 vote followed a bruising day of arm-twisting by the White House after dozens of Democrats split with President Barack Obama over the legislation that funds most federal operations through September, the end of fiscal year 2015. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the past week, lawmakers’ have scrambled to finish the fiscal 2015 budget. Now the 113th Congress is headed out, but before then, economists are looking back at what Congress accomplished for the U.S. economy during its two-year session.

Many say lawmakers did not do much to help your wallet, but the 113th Congress is not without some achievements, such as cutting spending enough to make meaningful progress on the budget deficit and passing a farm bill.

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Goats and Soda
2:07 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

A Copper Bedrail Could Cut Back On Infections For Hospital Patients

A copper bedrail can kill germs on contact.
Courtesy of CopperBioHealth

Checking into a hospital can boost your chances of infection. That's a disturbing paradox of modern medical care.

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Denmark Claims Part Of The Arctic, Including The North Pole

A map of the area Denmark is claiming.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:51 pm

Denmark, together with Greenland, today will claim around 350,000 square miles of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean, in an area around the North Pole that is slightly larger than the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined.

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NPR Ombudsman
1:46 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Open Forum

istockphoto.com

You're invited to use this space to discuss media, policy and NPR's journalism. We'll follow the conversation and share it with the newsroom.

We have updated the format in order to keep the comments section open until a new forum is posted next month. While we cannot respond to every comment, the ombudsman's staff reviews the Open Forum regularly. Please note that your comments here may be used in a future ombudsman post. As always, please be respectful of your fellow commentators.

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Goats and Soda
1:32 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Endless Ebola Epidemic? That's The 'Risk We Face Now,' CDC Says

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talks with Doctors Without Borders staff during a visit in August to an Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:12 pm

Speed. That's key to ending the Ebola epidemic, says the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Thomas Frieden is visiting West Africa this week to figure out how to reduce the time it takes to find new Ebola cases and isolate them.

Otherwise, Ebola could become a permanent disease in West Africa.

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The Best Music Of 2014
1:20 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Public Radio's 10 Breakout Artists Of 2014

Niia was a favorite find on KCRW this year.
Courtesy of the artist

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Holiday Music
1:04 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Festivo Alt.Latino: Cantigas In Concert

Cantigas performs live in NPR's Studio 1.
Colin Marshall NPR

For this edition of our holiday special we turn to the healing and uplifting power of the human voice with the Washington, D.C.-based group, Cantigas. The group's 25 members assembled in NPR's Studio 1 in front of a live audience to present an eclectic mix of songs and rhythms from Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Cuba and Puerto Rico–the home country of its artistic director, Diana Sáez.

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The Two-Way
12:07 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Socialists Don't Sit Around — And Other BMJ Christmas Articles

A left-wing protest in Russia on Nov. 8. Apparently, armchair socialists aren't sitting down after all, a new study says.
Artyom Geodakyan ITAR-TASS /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:23 pm

It seems there are fewer armchair socialists — or their right-wing counterparts — than there are armchair centrists according to a study published in BMJ, the former British Medical Journal, as part of its annual tongue-in-cheek Christmas edition.

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Shots - Health News
12:00 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Prolific Prescribers Of Controlled Substances Face Medicare Scrutiny

Number of providers by state who wrote at least 3,000 prescriptions for Schedule 2 controlled substances in 2012 in Medicare Part D.
ProPublica/NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 7:31 am

Despite a national crackdown on prescription drug abuse, doctors churned out an ever-larger number of prescriptions for the most-potent controlled substances to Medicare patients, new data show.

In addition, ProPublica found, the most prolific prescribers of such drugs as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and Ritalin often have worrisome records.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:38 am
Mon December 15, 2014

The Math And Science Of Latkes

Latkes.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:15 pm

Tomorrow evening marks the start of Hanukkah, the Jewish "Festival of Lights" and an eight-day-long excuse to eat fried potato pancakes known as latkes.

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Monkey See
11:23 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Watts Going On: The Gaudy Excess Of 'The Great Christmas Light Fight'

The Fuller family's Christmas light display in Clayton, N.C.
Brownie Harris ABC

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:11 pm

Perhaps you are familiar with the oft-quoted wisdom of (allegedly) Coco Chanel that when a woman gets dressed and believes she's ready, she should take off one accessory before she leaves the house.

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All Songs Considered
11:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Hear The First New D'Angelo Album In 15 Years

D'Angelo has just released his first album in 15 years, Black Messiah.
Vallery Jean FilmMagic

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:47 am

We woke up to a world with a new D'Angelo album, his first in almost 15 years. For lovers of R&B and soul — hell, for lovers of music that transcends — this is unreal.

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The Protojournalist
11:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Speed Dating In The 19th Century

New Year's Calling card for a group of gentlemen in 1877.
Courtesy of McLean County Museum of History

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:46 pm

Long before there were online dating sites, such as eHarmony, Match or OKCupid, there was a curious offline custom in America known as New Year's Calling.

In the 19th century, young single women in New York City; Washington, D.C., and other cities and towns across the country would hold open houses on Jan. 1 and invite eligible bachelors — friends and strangers — to stop by for a brief visit and some light refreshments.

Often the women posted ads — which included their names, addresses and visiting hours — in the local newspaper. This was communitywide speed dating.

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Shots - Health News
11:01 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Small Businesses Drop Coverage As Health Law Offers Alternatives

Where are the health insurance deals? On the exchanges, many small businesses have concluded.
Bjorn Rune Lie Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:57 pm

For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it. That ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

Subsidies under the health law for workers to buy their own coverage combined with years of rising costs in the company plan made dropping the plan an obvious — though not easy — choice.

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