12:17pm

Mon December 24, 2012
The Two-Way

A Moveable Feast: What Are You Leaving For Santa?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 12:53 pm

Aside from the traditional plate of cookies, some households planned to leave Santa gourmet surprises that would land most people on the naughty list at the local gym.
Larry Crowe AP

Milk and cookies might be the traditional Santa offering on Christmas Eve, but in at least one household, St. Nicholas will be getting smoked salmon and scotch.

It's just one out-of-the-ordinary example we gleaned from a call out to fans of NPR's Facebook page. Many of them involved a different sort of Christmas "spirit" — the kind that could push Mr. Claus over the legal limit, at least during the U.S. leg of his annual aerial circumnavigation.

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11:50am

Mon December 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Christmas Day May Bring Tornadoes In Southeast

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 8:11 pm

Looking ahead to Tuesday and Wednesday: the darker the shading, the greater the risk of severe weather.
National Weather Service

Snow likely won't be the big weather story for much of the nation on Christmas Day, say the forecasters at the National Weather Service and The Weather Channel. But some potentially severe weather is in the forecast.

Tornadoes are possible along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast. Here's what The Weather Channel says about Tuesday:

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11:06am

Mon December 24, 2012
Europe

A Showdown In Italy Over A Polluting Steel Plant

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:40 pm

The ILVA steel plant in Taranto, Italy, provides some 20,000 badly needed jobs in a country with a weak economy. But it also spews carcinogens. A court has ordered a partial shutdown, which the government has rejected.
Yara Nardi Reuters /Landov

In an effort to safeguard some 20,000 jobs at a time of rising unemployment,
the Italian government has taken an unprecedented step. It has reversed a court order that called for the partial shutdown of Europe's biggest steel plant because it spews cancer-producing dioxins.

The ILVA steel factory in the southern port city of Taranto pits the government versus the judiciary in a battle over health issues and the need for economic revival.

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10:38am

Mon December 24, 2012
The Salt

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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10:31am

Mon December 24, 2012
Best Books Of 2012

Graphic Novels That Flew Under The Radar In 2012

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 3:20 pm

Nishant Choksi

In 2012, several high-profile comics creators added landmark works to their already impressive legacies. With Building Stories, Chris Ware offered 14 volumes of comics, each with its own meticulous, anagrammatic take on despair, and stuffed them into a box.

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10:30am

Mon December 24, 2012
Economy

The 2012 Economy Brought Glad Tidings To Many

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

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

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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10:30am

Mon December 24, 2012
Politics

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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10:08am

Mon December 24, 2012
Best Books Of 2012

Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 3:20 pm

Nishant Choksi

"Just throw the whole lemon in the food processor for lemon bars."
"Don't just soak your dried beans — brine them!"
"You don't need a whole day (or two) to make a good sauce."

Some of the things this year's cookbooks said to me as I tested them were downright contrarian. But that's the brilliant thing about cooking in a global, crowdsourced, Web-fueled world: People no longer cook according to some received wisdom handed down by a guy in a white toque. They figure it out as they go along, and if they stumble on a shortcut, it's blogged and shared in no time flat.

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9:39am

Mon December 24, 2012
The Two-Way

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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9:32am

Mon December 24, 2012
Asia

Jakarta's New Governor Seen As A Rising Star

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

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

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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