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Author Interviews
4:43 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Ian McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth' Pits Spy Vs. Scribe

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 10:29 am

Author Ian McEwan's latest creation, Serena Frome, isn't much of a spy. She got recruited into MI5 by her Cambridge history tutor, whom she wanted to dazzle. But he dumps her, and she never sees it coming. She winds up on the clerical side of the operation, cross-filing schemes and plots to stop terrorists, until one day, in the middle of the Cold War, she's summoned to the fifth floor of the agency, where five wise men ask her to rank three British novelists according to their merit: Kingsley Amis, William Golding and David Storey.

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Asia
4:26 am
Sat November 10, 2012

A Grim Chronicle Of China's Great Famine

Chinese villagers welcome the arrival of tractors purchased by a farmers' cooperative in April 1958, during the Great Leap Forward campaign. The disastrous modernization program ended in China's great famine and tens of millions of deaths.
Keystone-France Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 10:29 am

First of two parts

It's not often that a book comes out that rewrites a country's history. But that's the case with Tombstone, which was written by a retired Chinese reporter who spent 10 years secretly collecting official evidence about the country's devastating great famine. The famine, which began in the late 1950s, resulted in the deaths of millions of Chinese.

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Politics
4:26 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Taxing Work Ahead: Have Negotiating Tables Turned?

President Obama speaks about the economy and the deficit at the White House on Friday. He says this time around, he has proof that Americans agree with his approach.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 12:38 pm

Republicans and Democrats agree: Election season may have ended just four days ago, but it's already time to get back to work. In this case, "back to work" might mean "back to fighting."

Leaders in both parties made their opening bids Friday on how to deal with the tax, spending and debt problems that face the country at the end of this year.

While the scenario echoes last year's spending battle, there are some differences that could push the parties toward the resolution they never reached last time around.

Where The President Stands

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StoryCorps
4:25 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Amidst War, U.S. Guardsman Forges Unexpected Bond

Ali, an Iraqi teenager, wears Spc. Justin Cliburn's helmet and radio equipment in Baghdad. Ali and Cliburn became unlikely friends while Cliburn trained Iraqi police in 2005 and 2006.
Courtesy of Justin Cliburn

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 2:11 pm

The Military Voices Initiative, a StoryCorps' project, collects stories from members of the U.S. armed forces, with a special focus on those who served in post-Sept. 11, 2001, conflicts. Every month, highlights from that initiative air on Weekend Edition Saturday.

Spc. Justin Cliburn, 30, was deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the Oklahoma Army National Guard. His job was to train the Iraqi police in Baghdad. During his time there, he got to know a boy in his early teens named Ali, who walked through their compound one day.

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Music News
11:10 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

A Veteran's Standing Ovation, 70 Years In The Making

This month, a symphony composed by World War II veteran Harold Van Heuvelen had its premiere.
Kevin Gift

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 9:55 am

When you reach a certain age, big life surprises tend to come few and far between, unless you're Harold Van Heuvelen. Van, as everyone calls him, has had a blockbuster week full of dreams fulfilled. The story of his dream starts more than 70 years ago, on Dec. 7, 1941.

Van Heuvelen enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was posted to a base in New Orleans as an instructor for recruits. He spent the war stateside, training men who were being shipped out to Europe and the South Pacific.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:00 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

John Williams' Inevitable Themes

Flanked by composer Leonard Slatkin and soprano Jessye Norman, John Williams takes a bow during his 80th-birthday celebration at Tanglewood in August.
Stu Rosner

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 9:52 am

For more than 50 years, John Williams' music has taken us to galaxies far, far away through adventures here on earth, made us feel giddy joy and occasionally scared us to death.

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It's All Politics
5:19 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Upside To Plunging Off The Fiscal Cliff

With Congress on the edge of a fiscal cliff, set to occur Jan. 1, some say a fiscal plunge is exactly what's needed to break the political logjam.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 11:17 am

Now that the election is over, Washington is transfixed by the fiscal cliff, the automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect Jan. 1 if nothing is done.

The sudden shock could seriously damage the economy.

But some Democrats and policy analysts are suggesting that going over the fiscal cliff could help break the political logjam.

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Music Interviews
3:29 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Squeezebox Brutality: Murder Ballads From Finland

Two legendary 19th century Finnish murderers grace the cover to Kimmo Pohjonen's Murhaballadeja.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 11:17 am

Murhaballadeja features a striking photo on the cover: Two beefy, big-jawed men with cruel eyes are in prison garb, shackled with heavy chains at the neck, wrists, knees and feet. Turns out they're legendary 19th century murderers from Finland. These are the kinds of characters you'll find in a collection of murder ballads from Kimmo Pohjonen.

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Movie Interviews
3:28 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis On Creating A Voice From The Past

Day-Lewis used firsthand accounts of Abraham Lincoln's speeches, along with his personal letters, to develop a voice and a style for Steven Spielberg's biographical drama.
David James DreamWorks

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 2:29 pm

Daniel Day-Lewis has won two Academy Awards for fully immersing himself in his characters in There Will Be Blood and My Left Foot.

Now the British actor is taking on one of America's most iconic figures in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, playing the 16th president during the final months of his life. Day-Lewis tells NPR's Melissa Block that it was a daunting prospect — but that ultimately Lincoln was a surprisingly accessible figure.


Interview Highlights

On playing such an iconic figure

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The Picture Show
3:27 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Art Of Chinese Propaganda

"Beloved Chairman Mao, we are loyal to you forever." 1967
Courtesy of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 11:17 am

The Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center lies buried in an unmarked apartment building off the tree-lined streets of the city's former French Concession. There are no signs. You have to wend your way through apartment blocks, down a staircase and into a basement to discover one of Shanghai's most obscure and remarkable museums.

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