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Latin America
5:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Mexican Lawmakers Hope Private Investment Will Boost Oil Industry

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Mexico, lawmakers are debating one of the touchiest subjects in the country today, whether to open up the nation's state oil monopoly to foreign investors. Ever since the oil industry was nationalized back in the 1930s, Mexico's control of this precious resource has been a symbol of national pride. But with oil prices rising and revenues down, the president has made modernizing the oil company Pemex his number one priority.

As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, not everyone is happy about it.

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Around the Nation
5:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Bob Dylan's Electric Guitar Sells For $965,000

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Today, Christie's auction house sold a sunburst Fender Stratocaster for $965,000. It's the guitar behind a watershed moment in music history.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAGGIE'S FARM")

BOB DYLAN: (Singing) I ain't going to work on Maggie's farm no more.

SIEGEL: The moment Bob Dylan went electric. It was July 25th, 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival.

MURRAY LERNER: I was mesmerized by it.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Religious Violence Escalates In Central African Republic

A French soldier looks out from an armored vehicle during a patrol through the streets of Bangui, on Thursday.
Sia Kambou AFP/Getty Images

France has sent troops to the Central African Republic after violence there flared between Muslim and Christian militias amid reports that the death toll from fighting had reached 280.

The Associated Press reports:

"[Mostly] Muslim armed fighters who have ruled the country since March hunted door-to-door for their enemies. Bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital [Bangui] too dangerous for many to collect the corpses."

Reuters says the former French colony

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The Two-Way
5:08 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

President Obama Lights National Christmas Tree

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, applaud after lightng the National Christmas Tree at a ceremony across from the White House in Washington, on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:20 pm

President Obama threw the switch on the National Christmas Tree on Friday amid a constant rain that soaked many of the estimated 17,000 attendees.

"We're going to start at 5 since it's a little wet and we shouldn't start at 10," the president said before hitting the switch that lit the giant tree.

The ceremony was accompanied by celebrity performances from Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin and others.

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The Salt
4:01 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

The Hills Were Alive With The Sound Of DiGiorno Pizza Last Night

Carrie Underwood may have played Maria in NBC's The Sound of Music Live, but on Twitter, it was @DiGiorno that stole the show." href="/post/hills-were-alive-sound-digiorno-pizza-last-night" class="noexit lightbox">
"DOUGH a crust, an unbaked crust ...": Carrie Underwood may have played Maria in NBC's The Sound of Music Live, but on Twitter, it was @DiGiorno that stole the show.
NBC NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 5:35 pm

When big food corporations try to horn in on Twitter conversations about TV shows and other pop culture fare, it usually doesn't work.

Remember when McDonald's tried to engage customers with the hashtag #mcdstories, only to have it turn into a way to share horror-story experiences at the fast food chain? Or when Snickers got busted for paying celebrities to tweet about its brand?

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Television
3:06 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Delightful 'Six By Sondheim' Leaves You Wanting Six More

The life and work of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is examined in Six by Sondheim, a documentary from James Lapine, who also directed several of Sondheim's shows.
Jerry Jackson HBO

On Monday, HBO presents the premiere of Six by Sondheim, a new TV special that's part biography, part music-appreciation lesson and part performance piece. It's all about the life and music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, in which he explains, among many other things, how and why he became a musical theater composer and lyricist, and the inspirations for some of his most familiar songs. If you're new to the works of Stephen Sondheim, this TV special should entice you. If you're already a fan, it should delight you.

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It's All Politics
2:57 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Sen. Thad Cochran To Seek Re-Election In Mississippi

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on June 12.
Charles Dharapak AP

Get ready for a bruising GOP primary battle in Mississippi.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said Friday he will seek a seventh term in 2014, setting the stage for a contentious contest that pits the Republican establishment against the Tea Party wing.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Shanghai's Choking Smog Registers 'Beyond Index'

A building under construction is covered with haze in Shanghai on Friday. The city's pollution index is at its highest ever, officials say.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

In the latest smog-related health scare in China, officials in Shanghai on Friday ordered schoolchildren to stay indoors, halted all construction and even delayed flights in and out of the city, which has been enveloped in a thick blanket of haze, reducing visibility in places to less than 150 feet.

NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from Shanghai that the commercial capital's Air Quality Index soared above 500 for the first time ever, according to government sensors. He says officials described the readings as "beyond index" — in layman's terms, off-the-charts awful.

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Italian Court Convicts Egyptian Cleric Abducted By CIA

An Egyptian cleric abducted in 2003 in Milan, Italy, under the CIA's program of extraordinary rendition was convicted of terrorism charges Friday in Italy and sentenced in absentia to six years in prison.

The cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, now lives in Egypt and is unlikely to return to Italy to serve the sentence.

Italy had been in the process of investigating Nasr, who they suspected of terrorism, when he was snatched and transferred to Egypt via Germany. Nasr said he was tortured in Egypt.

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Shots - Health News
1:58 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

23andMe Bows To FDA's Demands, Drops Health Claims

23andMe will still perform genetic tests, but it won't be making health-related interpretations of the results.
YouTube

The maker of a $99 personal genome test blinked.

Silicon Valley's 23andMe said late Thursday that it would comply with the Food and Drug Administration's demand that the company stop marketing health-related genetic tests.

People will still be able to pay 23andMe to have their DNA analyzed to learn about their ancestors. And customers will get a file of their raw genetic info.

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The Salt
1:50 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

What Separates A Healthy And Unhealthy Diet? Just $1.50 Per Day

A Safeway customer browses in the fruit and vegetable section at Safeway in Livermore, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:09 am

If you want to eat a more healthful diet, you're going to have to shell out more cash, right? (After all, Whole Foods didn't get the nickname "Whole Paycheck" for nothing.)

But until recently, that widely held bit of conventional wisdom hadn't really been assessed in a rigorous, systematic way, says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Economy
1:46 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

For Workers, A Week Stuffed With Good News

An auto worker tightens bolts on the wheel of a Focus at a Ford plant in Wayne, Mich. Reports this week showed increases in auto sales and manufacturing jobs.
Mira Oberman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:40 pm

Here's something you haven't heard in years: The U.S. economy had a great week.

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Movie Reviews
1:34 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Great Soundtrack Aside, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Hits A Sour Note

In the Coen brothers' latest film, down and out Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is trying to make ends meet as a folk singer in New York in the early 1960s.
Alison Rosa Long Strange Trip/CBS Films

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 3:05 pm

The films of Joel and Ethan Coen pose a challenge: How do we reconcile their wildly disparate tones? Consider O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a burlesque of Homer's Odyssey centering on three stumblebums — but with a soundtrack assembled by T Bone Burnett of heartfelt historical gospel and country music. Ditto The Ladykillers: venal idiot characters, soaring African-American spirituals. The ridiculous and the sublime sit side by side, with no spillover.

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

U.S. Flags Lowered For Mandela, A Rare Honor For Foreign Leaders

The U.S. flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington, D.C., in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 3:44 pm

After the death of Nelson Mandela, President Obama ordered that U.S. flags on government buildings be flown at half-staff until Monday evening — a symbolic gesture of a nation in mourning.

It's a tradition observed by countries around the world, one that began as early as the 17th century. Mental Floss reports:

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

World Cup 2014 Draw Is Set: U.S. Will Face Germany, Portugal, Ghana

FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke shows a paper with the name of the Korea Republic as Brazilian presenter Fernanda Lima looks on during the final draw of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Friday.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 2:53 pm

The final draw of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was announced Friday. The U.S. team will face Germany, Portugal and Ghana in Group G; host Brazil will face world No. 16 Croatia in Group A. Only the top two teams of each group advance to the next round.

The draw puts the U.S., currently ranked as the world's No. 14 team, in the same group with the world's No. 2 (Germany) and No. 5 (Portugal). Ghana is ranked 24th. The showdown with Germany has the potential to be bittersweet for Jürgen Klinsmann, the coach of the U.S. team who was a star for German World Cup teams in the 1990s.

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