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Monkey See
4:15 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Dear Zack Snyder, Regarding Wonder Woman

Former Miss Israel and Fast & Furious actor Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 1:53 pm

TO: Zack Snyder, Big Time Hot Shot Hollywood Director
FROM: Glen Weldon, Nerd
IN RE: Wonder Woman

Dear Zack Snyder:

I see you've cast The Fast and the Furious' Gal Gadot as Diana of the Amazons, aka Wonder Woman.

I see, also, that the Internet has reacted as it can be counted upon to do, when such casting announcements occur. Namely, with fulsome, fulminating nerd rage.

I am here to tell you, Zack Snyder: Keep your head down. Ignore it. Make your movie.

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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

U.S. Veteran Freed From N. Korea Says 'Confession' Was Coerced

Merrill Newman (left) walks beside his wife Lee and son Jeffrey after arriving at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.
Ben Margot AP

The 85-year-old U.S. veteran who was detained by North Korea for weeks, before being released, says the "confession" that he read and was aired on state television was coerced.

The AP and Reuters obtained a written statement from Merrill Newman in which he says North Korean authorities may have misrepresented his interest in the Korean War.

Reuters reports:

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The Two-Way
3:54 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

18 LA Sheriff's Deputies Indicted In Sweeping Jail Probe

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca in 2011
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 5:02 pm

Federal prosecutors announced Monday the indictment of 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies on an array of charges stemming from a sweeping investigation into inmate abuse and corruption.

"These incidents did not take place in a vacuum — in fact, they demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized," said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. "The pattern of activity alleged in the obstruction of justice case shows how some members of the Sheriff's Department considered themselves to be above the law."

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Asia
3:51 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

For Working-Class Chinese, 'Picture Day' Is A Rare Treat

Zheng Jinrong poses with a portrait of herself and her grandson in a migrant village in Shanghai. She received the photographs as part of a global event to provide high-quality portraits for people who otherwise can't afford them.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

A holiday gift of sorts came early in more than 20 countries over the weekend, as volunteer photographers shot free, studio-quality portraits of more than 16,000 people who otherwise couldn't have afforded them.

A working-class neighborhood of Shanghai was among the more than 130 sites where the photo shoots took place, part of a global project inspired by Help-Portrait, a U.S.-based nonprofit.

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NPR Story
3:40 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Soprano Dawn Upshaw And Composer Maria Schneider Make Grammy-Nominated Music Together

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:55 am

Soprano Dawn Upshaw has been a longtime fan of composer Maria Schneider’s work, so Upshaw approached the composer and suggested a collaboration.

The result is the album “Winter Morning Walks,” which has been nominated for three Grammy awards, including Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Classical Vocal Solo.

We revisit our March conversation with Schneider and Upshaw.

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NPR Story
3:40 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

The Close Harmony Of Lily And Madeleine

(lilandmad.com)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:55 am

Each week NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings us a new song. Today, he introduces us to the music of Lily & Madeleine with their song “Devil We Know.”

“Lily and Madeleine capture what is sometimes called ‘blood harmony,’ where siblings can make their voices interlock in ways that sound incredibly natural,” Thompson tells Here & Now’s Robin Young.

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NPR Story
3:40 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Newtown Decides Against Shooting Anniversary Event

Photos of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victims sit at a small memorial near the school on January 14, 2013, in Newtown, Connecticut. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:55 am

Residents of Newtown, Conn., have decided against a public commemoration to mark the first anniversary this coming Saturday of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

Instead, the town is endorsing a “year of service” and is asking residents to put a candle in their window on Dec. 14, the day of the shooting, to show their commitment to the idea of service to each other.

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Book Reviews
3:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Book Review: 'Going Dark'

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Writer James W. Hall is remarkably prolific. For the past two decades, he's averaged nearly one new book a year. Most are taut thrillers often set in the searing South Florida heat. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says Hall's latest novel, titled "Going Dark," proves he's one of the best genre writers working today.

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Education
3:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Common Core Standards Could Knock As, Bs And Cs Off Report Cards

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Most of today's students and their parents are used to report cards based on the letters A through F. But a new grading system is taking root in schools across the country. It's called standards-based grading. The point is to give parents more information, as New Hampshire Public Radio's Sam Evans-Brown reports.

SAM EVANS-BROWN, BYLINE: Here's what we know about grades in America: A is good, F is bad. But what about these?

BRIAN STACK: We have like E, M, IP, and LP.

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Shots - Health News
3:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

To Curb Costs, New California Health Plans Trim Care Choices

Susan Shargel, an insurance broker in San Francisco, says she's seeing health insurance plans offer fewer doctor and hospital options.
Pauline Bartolone

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 11:22 am

When Diane Shore got a letter that her health policy would be canceled, the small premium increase for the new plan didn't bother her that much.

But the changes in her choices for care really bugged her. "My physicians will no longer be in this network of physicians, or the hospitals," she says.

Shore, 62, owned an IT consulting business in the San Francisco Bay Area and retired when she sold it in 2000. She wants to stick with the health care providers that she's had for years, she says, including the surgeon who cared for her when she had breast cancer in 1998.

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NPR Story
3:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Karzai's Political Games Overshadow Hagel's Visit To Afghanistan

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel returned to the Middle East today, after a weekend tour of Afghanistan and a stop in Pakistan. Hagel's visit to Afghanistan was overshadowed by continuing difficulties with President Hamid Karzai. Afghanistan has not yet agreed to terms that would allow U.S. forces to stay there beyond 2014. As NPR's Larry Abramson reports, Afghanistan is not the only country where the U.S. faces questions about its military staying power.

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Politics
3:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Without Opponent, Sen. Kay Hagan Already Faces Re-Election Fight

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In North Carolina, the ads are starting early - the political ads, that is. Republicans are setting their sights on defeating first-term Democrat Kay Hagan. Senator Hagan's GOP opponent won't be known until the spring but her support for President Obama and the Affordable Care Act has already hurt her with voters. She's also being targeted by outside groups, spending millions of dollars hoping to unseat her. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

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Politics
3:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Congress Tries To Craft Budget Deal Before Holiday Break

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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World Cafe
3:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Andrew Bird On World Cafe

Andrew Bird.
Courtesy of the artist

This segment, from March 30, 2009, is part of our Vintage Cafe series, in which we revisit some of our best studio performances.

Wielding many instruments and a remarkable whistling ability, Andrew Bird has developed an offbeat marriage of classical and pop music over the course of his decade-long career. The musical polymath has never been one to limit his sound, incorporating traditional folk, swing, zydeco, rock, electronica and indie-pop into his work.

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The Two-Way
2:47 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Newtown Calls For 'Acts Of Kindness' On Shooting Anniversary

Erica Lafferty (right), daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Dawn Hochsprung, consoles Carlee Soto, sister of victim Victoria Soto, after representatives of 14 families addressed the media on Monday in Newtown, Conn.
Jessica Hill AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:20 pm

Relatives of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School have asked people to mark Saturday's anniversary of the mass shooting with "acts of kindness" and say they will light candles in memory of the victims.

At a news conference on Monday, the families also announced the launch of a website, http://mysandyhookfamily.org, to create a "singular place of sharing, communication, and contact with the families of those who lost their lives that day."

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Metropolis
2:39 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Metropolis: 12/7/13

Phantogram's "Fall In Love" is featured on this week's edition of Metropolis.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:03 pm

This week's two-hour mix from Metropolis host Jason Bentley features a new song from Phantogram, music from London's Metronomy, a Photek remix of Bob Marley & The Wailers, back-to-back cuts from Kaskade and much more.

Playlist

  • Lifelike, "City Lights"
  • Phantogram, "Fall In Love"
  • Flume, "Sleepless (feat. Twin Shadow & Jezzabell Doran)"
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Favorite Sessions
2:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

KEXP Presents: The Waterboys

The Waterboys performed live at KEXP on Oct. 11.
Charina Pitzel KEXP

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:16 pm

It was a guest of honor DJ Cheryl Waters had been anticipating for 20 years: The Waterboys, a band currently celebrating its 30th anniversary despite frontman Mike Scott's insistence that he's only 24. The long-running group is on tour supporting its seven-CD collection, Fisherman's Box, which was inspired by the 1988 album Fisherman's Blues; the record marked Scott's relocation from Scotland to Ireland, and resulted in the most successful release of The Waterboys' long career.

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Planet Money
2:32 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

The Afterlife Of American Clothes

Bales of imported clothing are wheeled into the Gikombo Market in Nairobi, Kenya.
Sarah Elliott for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

This story is part of the Planet Money T-shirt project.

Jeff Steinberg had a maroon and white lacrosse jersey that he wore for years. It said "Denver Lacrosse" on the front and had his number, 5, on the back.

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The Salt
2:30 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Pecan Pie Pringles

A rare photograph with a mustache in it in which the mustache is not the grossest thing.
NPR

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 5:32 pm

Each year around this time, Pringles comes out with a new, limited-time-only, holiday-themed flavor. A couple of years ago it was White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles, then there was Awkward Visit With Family Pringles, and now we have Pecan Pie Pringles.

Ian: Depending on where you're from, it's either pronounced "pee-kahn" or "gross."

Eva: Wait a minute ... at Thanksgiving my grandma said these were homemade!

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Monkey See
2:28 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

When 'Hit List' Got Another Shot At An Audience

Jeremy Jordan, who anchored one of Smash's storylines in Season 2, returned to the material at New York's 54 Below for a concert version of the musical his songwriter character was writing on the NBC show.
Cindy Ord Getty Images for 54 Below

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 4:19 pm

For most of its two-year run on NBC, the series Smash was pretty much a hot mess. Ostensibly about the creation of Broadway musicals, it only tangentially resembled the real thing. And its plots and characters got soapier and soapier as the show went on.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

U.S. Will Help Transport Troops In Central African Republic

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:17 pm

A few days after France said it was increasing its presence in the Central African Republic, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the U.S. military to help transport troops from Burundi to the CAR.

The AP reports:

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Shots - Health News
1:49 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Violence In PG-13 Movies Comes With Plenty Of Sex And Booze

Explosions during the filming of the PG-13 hit The Dark Knight in Chicago in 2007.
Nam Y. Huh AP

If you're looking for good role models for your teenagers, the local cineplex may not be the place to go.

PG-13 movies are awash in violence, and the violence is almost always linked with sex and drinking, according to an analysis of top-grossing movies from 1985 to 2010.

The PG-13 movies, which are supposedly OK for teenagers, had the same amount of violence as R-rated movies.

Violence took up about one-third of the movies, researchers found.

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It's All Politics
12:49 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

The Secret's Out: Obama Acknowledges Existence Of Area 51

The Extraterrestrial Highway, so named because of reports of UFO activity along the road, runs along the eastern border of the top-secret Area 51 base in Nevada.
LAURA RAUCH AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 4:48 pm

At one time, Area 51 was one of the most famous military installations in the world — a place widely talked about, yet so secret that the U.S. government refused to confirm its existence.

That's why President Obama's reference to the southern Nevada base Sunday raised eyebrows. It marked the first time a U.S. commander in chief has publicly acknowledged the facility that fueled countless conspiracy theories.

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Author Interviews
12:38 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Delia Ephron On The Closeness And Complexity Of Sisterhood

Delia Ephron is a novelist and playwright. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, O, Vogue and the Huffington Post. Her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, died in June 2012.
Elena Seibert Penguin Group

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:56 pm

In the opening chapter of her latest book, novelist Delia Ephron writes that losing her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, was like "losing an arm, it's that deranging." Nora, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, died of acute myeloid leukemia in June 2012. Delia and Nora were writing partners; they co-wrote the movies You've Got Mail and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as well as the off-Broadway hit Love, Loss and What I Wore. Delia was an assistant producer on Nora's film Sleepless in Seattle.

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Music
12:38 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Review: Jonas Kaufmann Sings Wagner And Verdi

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:28 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. At 44, the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann may be the most popular tenor of his generation and one of the most versatile. Music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two of his recordings this year, dedicated to both Verdi and Wagner, celebrating the bicentennials of their birth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Ex-San Diego Mayor Filner Sentenced To Home Confinement

Mayor Bob Filner of San Diego speaks at a news conference in July.
Bill Wechter Getty Images

Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was sentenced to three months home detention and three years probation for sexually harassing three women.

As we reported, Filner pleaded guilty to three criminal charges — including false imprisonment and battery — back in October. The charges were related to allegations that Filner grabbed and fondled three women while he was in office.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Singapore's Leader Urges Calm After Rare Riot

Riot police cordon off areas at Singapore's Race Course Road on Sunday to maintain order following a riot Sunday in the Little India neighborhood. Eighteen people were injured.
Then Chih Wey Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 4:47 pm

Singapore isn't usually known as a place simmering with tensions, but the city-state's first riot in more than 40 years has prompted the prime minister to urge calm.

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World Cafe
12:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

The Head And The Heart On World Cafe

The Head and the Heart.
Curtis Wayne Millard Courtesy of the artist

The Head and the Heart gives an enchanting performance, recorded in front of an enthusiastic audience at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live. The group's set features songs from its new record, Let's Be Still. The Seattle band recorded a successful, self-titled debut on its own in 2010; it was reissued the next year by Sub Pop during an indie-folk rampage led by Fleet Foxes, among others.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
12:19 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Dessa: Tiny Desk Concert

Dessa performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 24, 2013.
Abbey Oldham Abbey Oldham/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:20 pm

Part of the Twin Cities hip-hop collective Doomtree, rapper, singer, poet and songwriter Dessa divides her time between singing and rapping, often landing on a spoken-word splitting of the difference.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Russia's Putin Scraps Major State-Run News Agency

Cars pass by the RIA Novosti information agency headquarters in Moscow on Monday. President Vladimir Putin named Dmitry Kiselyov, a controversial news anchor known for his ultraconservative views, to head a newly restructured state news agency.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 4:35 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin dissolved one of the country's official news agencies and an international radio broadcaster on Monday, setting up a new organization to be run by a news anchor known for his ultraconservative views.

RIA Novosti, the news agency, and Voice of Russia, the broadcaster, will be absorbed by a new entity, Russia Today.

Jessica Golloher is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit:

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