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2:00pm

Sun December 18, 2011
Iraq

As War Ends, Iraqi Exile Looks Back

As troops withdraw from Iraq, it's a bittersweet day for Brandeis University Professor Kanan Makiya. On April 9, 2003, Makiya watched the fall of Baghdad on television from the Oval Office, alongside President George W. Bush. The former Iraqi exile was an outspoken critic of Saddam Hussein's crimes against the Iraqi people and had advised the President on the invasion of Iraq. Makiya tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz he believes the war was worth it for the Iraqi people — but perhaps not for the Americans.

12:52pm

Sun December 18, 2011
Politics

Run Against Gingrich? Cooter From 'Dukes' Did

Originally published on Sun December 18, 2011 5:32 pm

Supporters put together signs for Jones' campaign in 1994, an effort Jones describes as "quixotic."
Leita Cowart AP

With just a few weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich is leading the pack for the Republican presidential nomination.

Given the possibility that President Obama could be facing Gingrich in the campaign next fall, it seemed like a good time to check in with someone who has experience running against the former speaker of the House.

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9:58am

Sun December 18, 2011
Music Interviews

A TV Singing Star Champions The Pop Standard

After taking the top honor on America's Got Talent, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. has released his debut album, That's Life.
Courtesy of the artist

Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. caught a lot of people off guard when he opened his mouth to sing at his televised audition for America's Got Talent. The dreadlocked former car-washer is 6'4" and in his late 30s, but when he belted the first notes of the pop standard "I've Got You Under My Skin" like a certain blue-eyed crooner, audiences and judges alike delightedly voiced their surprise.

Murphy's own social circle was harder to win over. He tells NPR's Guy Raz that at first, his family members laughed at the thought of him singing Sinatra.

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8:10am

Sun December 18, 2011
Remembrances

Vaclav Havel, Leader Of The Velvet Revolution, Dies

Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright who led a revolution to bring down the country's communist regime, has died. During the communist era, Havel was one of Eastern Europe's foremost dissident writers and champion of human rights.

Havel died Sunday morning at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic, his assistant Sabina Dancecova said. He was 75.

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7:00am

Sun December 18, 2011
Economy

The Economic Reality Of Marriage

Originally published on Sun December 18, 2011 11:40 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. In the intersection of love and marriage and divorce, there are romantic and economic considerations. This past week, NPR's Jennifer Ludden told us that fewer Americans are getting married; and when they do, they're taking longer to get down the aisle. NPR's Shankar Vedantam is working on the other half of the equation - when things go bad, divorce appears to be less of an option. Jennifer Ludden and Shankar Vedantam join me now. Welcome to the program.

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