North Korea In Transition
2:10 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

U.S. Treads Cautiously With North Korean Transition

North Korean residents line up to receive food rations at a Red Cross distribution center in Tongsin, North Korea, in 1997. Discussions over U.S. food aid to the reclusive country were to take place Monday. "You could, in a very real sense, see the needs for food assistance," said an official with Mercy Corps, after a September 2011 visit to the country.
Lasse Norgaard AP

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 7:19 pm

The changing of the guard in North Korea poses clear risks for the United States.

Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is the likely successor. But he's still in his 20s and has had little time to prepare to take over the country. Analysts say that because he's weak, he won't be in any position to get back to nuclear disarmament talks and make concessions.

Kim Jong Un may also be tempted to take provocative actions to establish his leadership credentials, and the Obama administration has to take all this into account as it decides on next steps.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:05 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Generic Lipitor Now At Stores Near You

It's here. The cholesterol-fighter Liptor, the biggest hit in the history of the pharmaceutical industry, is now widely available in generic form.

The Pfizer drug finally lost its U.S. patent protection at the end of November, opening the door for cheaper substitutes (atorvastatin, generically) and ending the monopoly for one of the most profitable brand-name products of any kind.

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National Security
2:00 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

National Guard May Receive Joint Chiefs Spot

The most elite club in the military, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is set to get a new member: the chief of the National Guard. Congress approved the change as part of the defense authorization bill last week and the president is expected to sign the bill into law.

NPR Story
2:00 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Letters: Christopher Hitchens; Homemade Marshmallows

Lynn Neary and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners.

NPR Story
2:00 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Kim's Death Met With Joy, Concern In Koreatown

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:54 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Many Koreans who live in the United States are following the situation in North Korea closely. Southern California is home to a huge Korean community.

And as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, news of Kim Jong Il's death has been greeted there with shock and anxiety.

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

After Kim's Death, Anxiety Among Neighbors

As North Korea mourns the death of its leader Kim Jong Il, both South Korea and China have reacted to the risk of instability on their borders. The South Korean military has been placed on alert, and there are reports that the Chinese have closed their border with North Korea. Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Louisa Lim, who is watching events from the South Korean capital, Seoul.

NPR Story
2:00 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Lawmakers Fight Over Perceived Christmas Tree Tax

Christmas tree growers are frustrated that politics are delaying a marketing campaign to promote real trees over artificial. Following four years of work to get it passed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the industry-sponsored real Christmas tree campaign in November. But conservatives quickly branded it as "President Obama's Christmas tree tax" and the program was delayed within days of its approval. There are 18 other commodities — like pork and eggs — with similar generic advertising programs. They show anywhere from a two-to-one to a ten-to-one return on investment.

NPR Story
2:00 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

House Poised To Reject Budget Deal

Days after it seemed Congress had struck a budget, tax cut and unemployment deal that would get it through the holidays, it is clear that they did not. House Speaker John Boehner Monday must deal with a restive House GOP caucus that signaled over the weekend that it had no interest in going along with the Senate's two-month plan. NPR congressional correspondent David Welna joins Lynn Neary with the latest.

The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Scientists Pinpoint Source Of Stonehenge's Inner Stones

The sun rises behind Stonehenge as revellers celebrate the pagan festival of 'Summer Solstice' in 2010.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

It took scientists nine months, but they are now sure the inner stones of Stonehenge came from Pembrokeshire, Wales, about 160 miles from the Stonehenge site.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Don't Panic, It Wasn't Lil' Kim

In case anyone's confused. Kim Jong Il is at left. And Lil' Kim is still with us.
Korean Central News Agency / Ian Gavan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 1:28 pm

Just the headline of this Buzz Feed post made us laugh.

"25 People Who Thought Lil Kim Died."

It's funny either way:

-- If some folks were confused by the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

-- Or if they were just making mischief.

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