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Melissa Block and Robert Siegel

In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features. To hear the most recent broadcast, or search the All Things Considered archives, click here.

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Europe
2:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

For Norway, A Horrific Memory Lingers

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

On a Friday night this past July, it was July 22nd to be exact, we began to hear details about a shooting in Norway. Now, at first, it seemed like an isolated incident. But by Saturday morning, the full extent of the attacks started to become clear. A series of explosions, and then the systematic killing of dozens of young people by an extreme right wing gunman named Anders Behring Breivik.

That morning, we called journalist Anders Giaever. He's a columnist at one of Norway's largest newspapers and he was shaken.

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Television
1:28 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

The Good Old Yule Log Spreads To HDTV

A screencap of the iconic WPIX Yule Log. The original video was filmed in 1966; this version was redone in 1970.
WPIX

If history repeats itself, one of the most popular programs on television Christmas Day will be a looped, seven-minute piece of film that's more than 40 years old. In some cities, it's consistently in the top three programs on Christmas morning, and yet it has no plot, no actors and it never seems to end.

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Law
5:31 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Justice Department Blocks New S.C. Voting ID Law

The Justice Department has blocked a new South Carolina voting law, saying it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The state law requires voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. The Justice Department says the law disenfranchises minorities, but the state says it protects against voter fraud. For more, Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Pam Fessler.

Monkey See
3:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

For 'Downton' Fans, A New Season And A New Book

Brendan Coyle is John Bates and Joanne Froggatt is Anna Smith in Downton Abbey, which returns January 8 to PBS.
Nick Briggs PBS/Masterpiece

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 7:08 am

It's almost here. And by "it," we mean the new season of Downton Abbey, the UK-produced drama about the Crawley family and their servants that PBS imported for Masterpiece Classic with great success. Series two has already run in the UK, but if you've been good and patient and resisted the urge to obtain it by illicit means, your wait is nearly over: the new season begins on PBS on January 8th.

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Law
2:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Alleged Victims Emboldened By Penn State Scandal

It took 40 years for Bill Conlin to write his way into baseball's Hall of Fame — but just one newspaper story for his career to unravel. Conlin stepped down from his job at the Philadelphia Daily News this week, hours before its sister paper, the Inquirer, published a lengthy investigation into charges that Conlin had sexually abused children in the 1970s. The alleged victims say they were emboldened to come forward by the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State.

Opinion
10:37 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Bittersweet Anticipation: Expecting The Expected

iStockphoto.com

Ben Dolnick is a writer based in Brooklyn.

Lately, just in time for Christmas, I've discovered that I've been acting in a play. A kind of holiday pageant, really. Working title: Things Are Always Better Before You Have Them.

Act One: I learn about the existence of something I want. Say, a book. (Ooh, a book of letters between William Maxwell and Eudora Welty!)

Act Two: I add the book to my Amazon wish list, which I proceed to circulate shamelessly to my family.

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NPR Story
3:57 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Resolution For Payroll Tax Extension May Be Near

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 3:57 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

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Media
3:53 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

'PolitiFact' Faces Criticism From Liberals

Fact-checking sites like PolitiFact referee assertions by politicians, public figures and pundits. The fact-checking movement has been gaining momentum — and fans. But PolitiFact has come under fire after announcing its "Lie of the Year": a claim by some Democrats and liberals about a House Republican plan to change Medicare.

Food
1:52 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Get Into The Holiday Spirit With Scandinavian Glogg

iStockphoto.com

In snowy Norway, nothing evokes Christmastime like a pot of glogg brewing on the stove. The traditional Scandinavian winter drink mixes wine, port and brandy with spices like caraway, cardamom and cinnamon to make for a brew that smells divine and tastes even better.

Urd Milbury, cultural attache from the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and her husband, Todd, teach NPR's Lynn Neary how to make the holiday treat.

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Music
9:49 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Wenceslas: A Goodhearted King And His Popular Carol

Circa 1300, King Wenceslas II of Bohemia.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 6:36 pm

Even heard in modern synthesizer arrangements, the melody of the carol "Good King Wenceslas" brings the words and images of the story into my head: "Good King Wenceslas looked out / on the Feast of Stephen / When the snow lay 'round about / deep and crisp and even.

Wenceslas was a real person: the Duke of Bohemia, a 10th-century Christian prince in a land where many practiced a more ancient religion. In one version of his legend, Wenceslas was murdered in a plot by his brother, who was under the sway of their so-called pagan mother.

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