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The Two-Way
5:13 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Obama On Fiscal Cliff Talks: 'I Actually Still Think We Can Get It Done'

At a press conference Friday, President Obama urges Congress to pass a scaled-back package to avert end-of-year tax hikes and spending cuts.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

In a news conference Friday, President Obama said there were still things the parties could agree on about the automatic tax-rate increases and spending cuts at the end of the year. But he said parties would have to work together to get a plan approved in the next 10 days.

"Call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done," he said, after meeting with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and speaking to Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

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It's All Politics
4:30 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Kerry's Cabinet Nod Sets Off Massachusetts Senate Fight

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., gets into his pickup truck after voting in Wrentham, Mass., on Nov. 6. Brown lost the election to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, but both he and his truck could be back on the campaign trail soon.
Gretchen Ertl AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 4:55 pm

President Obama's nomination of Democrat John Kerry to be secretary of state sets off a chain of events that could put another Kennedy in the Senate, at least on an interim basis.

And it gives ousted Republican Scott Brown a fighting chance of returning to the Senate by midyear.

On Friday, Obama nominated Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, to replace Hillary Clinton as the nation's chief diplomat. A 27-year veteran of the Senate and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry should win easy Senate confirmation early in the new year.

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Movie Interviews
4:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Tom Hooper On The Magic Of 'Les Miserables'

Tom Hooper won an Academy Award for best director for The King's Speech last year.
Pascal Le Segretain Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 11:43 am

One of the world's most beloved musicals is now a movie. Les Miserables was spun from the epic 19th century novel by Victor Hugo. It's a story about the desperately poor underclass in Paris.

The protagonist, the ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, is hunted by the merciless Inspector Javert. It's about morality, revolution and, of course, love.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
4:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Free Toy Shop Brings Cheer To Sandy's Displaced Families

Each FEMA-registered family with kids can pick out toys at the volunteer-run Staten Island store.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:21 pm

The New York borough of Staten Island was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Almost two months after the storm hit, many residents will not be back in their homes by the Christmas holiday.

One organization is trying to make the season a bit brighter for uprooted families with a free toy store on the island. This all-volunteer effort looks like a real toy store, but it feels more like a community of neighbors.

The shop boasts shelves filled with toys like model cars, Monopoly, dolls, craft supplies and books — almost everything you would want in a regular toy store.

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Asia
4:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Japan's Economic Woes Offer Lessons To U.S.

Japan's economy has been struggling for two decades and faces some of the same problems the U.S. has. Here, a man in Tokyo passes an electronic board displaying falling global markets.
Yuriko Nakao Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:21 pm

In the 1980s, Japan appeared to be a world beater — the China of its day. Japanese companies were on a tear, buying up firms in the U.S. and property around the world.

But these days, Japan is considered a cautionary tale for post-industrial economies around the world. The country is facing its fourth recession in what are commonly known as the "lost decades."

Japan's story resonates this holiday season as American politicians try to reach a debt deal.

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