Analysis
3:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Politics In the News

Millions of Americans, who have benefited from a holiday in paying Social Security payroll taxes, cannot count on that being extended beyond the first of the year. House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that the bipartisan deal worked out by the Senate to keep the tax cut going for another couple of months would not pass muster with House Republicans.

NPR Story
3:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Fight Over Extending Payroll Tax Cut Flares Up Again

House Republicans are rejecting a bipartisan compromise approved overwhelmingly by the Senate Saturday. The deal would have extended the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits through February.

NPR Story
3:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Former Child Soldier In Sudan Helps U.S. Exit Iraq

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

It's not clear how the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il will affect nuclear talks. Just ahead, we'll explore the concerns about the power transition in the secretive communist state.

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NPR Story
3:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Former Czech President, Playwright Vaclav Havel Dies At 75

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:20 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

If there were a world leader who was the opposite of Kim Jong Il, it might have been former Czech President Vaclav Havel, a man who wanted to believe that truth and love must prevail over hate and lies. Havel died yesterday. He was 75.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Europe
2:29 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Era Of Socialist Leadership Ends In Spain

Spain's outgoing Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (left) talks with Spain's incoming Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy before a meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid on Friday.
Paul White AP

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 11:19 am

On March 11, 2004, al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed nearly 200 Madrid commuters on rush-hour trains. It was Europe's worst act of Islamist terrorism, and it came just three days before an election that Spain's conservatives were expected to win.

The government quickly blamed the attack on Basque separatists, but hours later, it became clear that it was Islamist militants.

"It got people mad about the government," says political scientist Jose Ignacio Wert.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:27 am
Mon December 19, 2011

For Black Girls, Lack Of Exercise Heightens Obesity Risk

Alexandria Johnson got involved with the Anderson Monarchs soccer team when her mother was looking for an affordable way to keep her active.
Todd Vachon WHYY

The evidence of America's obesity epidemic is all around us. But the problem is particularly acute among African-American women.

About half of African-American women in the U.S. are obese, compared to 30 percent of white women. Black women not only carry more weight, but they start piling on extra pounds years before their white counterparts.

So when does it begin, this excess and unhealthful weight? Research suggests the problem starts early, and it may have a lot to do with when girls give up regular exercise.

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Photography
2:26 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Powerful Portraits Capture China's Empress Dowager

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery SC-GR-254

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:20 am

Intrigue! Riches! Sex! Some violence! Not the latest movie plot, but a story that lurks in the background of some 100-year-old photographs of The Empress Dowager — once the most powerful woman in Asia. The mostly black-and-white photos languished for decades in the archives of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Now, they are on display and give a glimpse of Old China at a time when today's China is the picture of modern power.

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Remembrances
9:22 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il, 69, Has Died

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during a visit to Siberia in August. He died Saturday at age 69, according to state-run North Korean television.
Dmitry Astakhov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:11 am

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il has died of apparent heart failure. He was 69.

In a "special broadcast" Monday from the North Korean capital, state media said Kim died on a train due to a "great mental and physical strain" during a "high-intensity field inspection" Saturday. It said an autopsy done Sunday "fully confirmed" the diagnosis.

Kim Jong Il wanted his successor to be his son, Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be in his late 20s. But there was no immediate word on a new leader in North Korea.

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The Impact of War
5:01 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Report: High Levels Of 'Burnout' In U.S. Drone Pilots

Around 1,100 Air Force pilots fly remotely piloted aircraft – or drones. These planes soar over Iraq or Afghanistan but the pilots sit at military bases back in the United States.

A new Pentagon study shows that almost 30 percent of drone pilots surveyed suffer from what the military calls "burnout." It's the first time the military has tried to measure the psychological impact of waging a "remote-controlled war."

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Former Envoy To Iraq Says Situation Still 'Very Fragile'

Paul Bremer, former Head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, seen here in 2007, says he believes the U.S. pullout of Iraq is premature and that the country is still very fragile.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

The war in Iraq is officially over and the last troops have pulled out of the country after a nearly nine-year long conflict.

Many of the architects and officials that were a part of the war are now looking back and reflecting on whether it was worth it, and if perhaps the ending of the war came too soon.

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