Best Music Of 2012
10:50 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The Year In Pop Charts: Return Of The Monoculture

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 8:44 am

To capture the year in pop, let's think back to some of its most memorable songs:

  • A left-field hit sung almost entirely in a foreign language, whose throbbing dance beat masked lyrics that were more political than one might suspect.
  • A rock-pop crossover smash about holding onto youth into your thirties, even when your head is throbbing from self-reflection and encroaching decrepitude.
  • A fluttery, buttery pop classic about a girl fretting over — yet exulting in — not knowing where that boy's head is at or where he thinks he's going.
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The Salt
10:38 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That's Oh So Sweet

The oplatek, embossed with a Christmas scene, is shared among family members before Christmas Eve dinner.
iStockphoto.com

Nothing says "I love you," at least in my Polish-American family, quite like the sharing of a thin, flat, tasteless wafer called an oplatek at Christmas.

We're not alone. Before sitting down to Christmas Eve dinner, many families with roots in Poland and other Eastern European countries will take part in this tradition, which has roots dating back hundreds of years.

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Economy
10:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The 2012 Economy Brought Glad Tidings To Many

Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:56 pm

After years of recession and slow recovery, maybe you didn't notice. But it turns out, 2012 was a fairly good year for the U.S. economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has risen nearly 14 percent this year and the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest point in four years. Inflation and interest rates have stayed low, allowing families to cut their debt loads.

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Politics
10:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Is Congress Making A 'Fiscal Bluff'?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:56 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee in for Michel Martin. Coming up, the U. S. economy has had an interesting year. I don't need to tell you that we're still facing huge hurdles. But on the other hand, the stock market shot up this year and some sectors are thriving. We'll talk about signs of hope in just a few minutes.

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History
10:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

'Mad Science' Looks At Groundbreaking Inventors

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:56 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Switching gears now. When you think of inventors, you probably think of Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Nikola Tesla. But of course there are many people, especially people of color, who've created things that we used every day and yet we might not have heard of them. It was an African-American, for instance, who helped develop the modern traffic light and a Japanese man who thought up instant coffee.

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Music Interviews
10:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

La Havas Brings Her Soulful Songs Across The Pond

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:56 pm

London-based soul singer Lianne La Havas has already made a huge splash in the United Kingdom. Now, she hopes to make an impact on this side of the pond. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with La Havas about what's at the root of her creative process.

Best Music Of 2012
10:03 am
Mon December 24, 2012

In Memoriam: Musicians We Lost In 2012

Whitney Houston performs in 1988.
David Corio Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 1:26 pm

NPR Music remembers the singers, instrumentalists, songwriters and personalities who died in 2012. Explore their musical legacies by launching our musical interactive here or by clicking on the image.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Firefighters Responding To Blaze Near Rochester, N.Y., Shot And Killed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 1:38 pm

Two firefighters responding to the scene of a blaze near Rochester, N.Y., were killed today and another two were wounded when a gunman opened fire.

The apparent ambush in Webster, N.Y., was carried out by convicted murderer William Spengler, police believe. He was found dead at the scene, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Spengler, 62, spent 17 years in prison for the 1980 murder of his grandmother.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Mon December 24, 2012

VIDEO: NRA's LaPierre Says No To Ban On Large Capacity Magazines

The National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre.
Molly Riley UPI /Landov

One of the sharpest exchanges during his more than 20-minute long appearance Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press came when National Rifle Association CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was asked why it wouldn't make sense to ban high capacity magazines for guns such as the one used to kill 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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Asia
9:32 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Jakarta's New Governor Seen As A Rising Star

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo fields reporters' questions after meeting with residents of a Jakarta slum. Recent polls say Widodo is currently the most popular choice for Indonesia's president in 2014.
Yosef Riadi for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:24 pm

Residents give a boisterous welcome to Jakarta's newly elected governor, Joko Widodo, when he shows up for a town meeting with the residents of a Jakarta slum where residents' shacks overlook the muddy, garbage-strewn waters of the Ciliwung River.

The governor's administration plans to fix chronic flooding here by dredging the river and moving residents into subsidized apartments.

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