All Things Considered

Weekdays from 4pm to 6:30pm
Robert Siegel, Melissa Block and Audie Cornish

NPR's afternoon news magazine, featuring a mix of interviews, commentaries, reviews, and offbeat features from around the world, and in and around Pittsburgh, hosted locally by Larkin Page Jacobs.

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Author Interviews
5:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

'Pomegranate Lady' Depicts The Comedy And Tragedy Of Exile

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 6:33 pm

Goli Taraghi writes about life in Iran — about love, loss, alienation and exile. She is particularly equipped to the task, as her own exile from the country began in 1980 at the outset of the Iranian Revolution.

In 1979, she was a professor living in Tehran with her two young children, and initially supported the movement.

"Of course the turmoil started, and then the executions, and the university was closed, and I thought the best thing is to go abroad and stay just one year," says Taraghi.

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Around the Nation
6:07 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Nosy Driver In The Next SUV? It May Be A Cop Watching You Text

An unmarked New York State Police SUV pulls over a motorist for distracted driving. Troopers are using a fleet of the tall vehicles to crack down on texting while driving.
Jim Fitzgerald AP

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

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it illegal to text while driving. Six others forbid new drivers from texting behind the wheel.

But that doesn't stop drivers from doing it — and enforcing those laws can be difficult.

On a highway north of New York City, state Trooper Clayton Howell is in an unmarked SUV. He's looking for drivers who are texting or using hand-held phones, which is banned in New York, along with 11 other states.

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Sports
4:59 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

U.S. To Face Ghana, Portugal And Germany In World Cup

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Latin America
4:59 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
4:59 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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Africa
12:32 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Violence Escalates In Central African Republic; U.N. OKs Troops

Seleka fighters pose for a photograph in Bossangoa, Central African Republic, on Nov. 25. The landlocked country has been gripped by violence since the mainly Muslim rebels seized power in the majority Christian country in March.
Joe Penney Reuters/Landov

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

After months of worsening violence, the United Nations voted Thursday to send French and African troops to the Central African Republic in an attempt to restore stability.

Brutal sectarian violence has engulfed the mostly Christian country since March, when the first Muslim leader assumed power after a coup.

Armed gangs of Muslim extremists joined by mercenaries from neighboring countries now control most of the country. Armed Christian forces are fighting back. Slaughter, rape and torture are widely reported.

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NPR Story
7:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Freed From Prison, Mandela Preached Harmony, Equality

On Feb. 11, 1990, upon his release from prison, Nelson Mandela stood on the steps of City Hall in Cape Town, South Africa. He told the gather crowd of more than 100,000 people to seize what he called "a decisive moment." In the audio above, you can listen to a segment of that speech.

NPR Story
7:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Former Robben Island Inmate Recalls Mandela's Discipline, Courage

For 27 years, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for his fight against South Africa's apartheid regime. Saki Macozoma served time on Robben Island alongside Mandela in the 1970s, and he joins Robert Siegel to remember Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95.

NPR Story
7:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Former NPR Correspondent Remembers Working For Mandela

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:57 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

NPR's former longtime correspondent in South Africa, John Mattison, knew Nelson Mandela. He covered him, and later, he actually worked for him. He's just outside Cape Town and joins us now. John, tell me what your most vivid memory of this great historic figure is.

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Code Switch
6:17 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

How 'Black Nativity' Made Its Way To The Big Screen

Black Nativity is an adaptation of Langston Hughes' play of the same name.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:57 am

This season, Fox Searchlight has served audiences a three-course menu of movies with African-American casts and themes.

First, it served an appetizer in September, with the romantic comedy Baggage Claim, starring Paula Patton as a flight attendant looking for a husband in a hurry.

Then, in October, the studio set out a substantial main course with 12 Years A Slave. The sweeping epic by director Steve McQueen is already an Academy Award shoo-in.

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NPR Story
6:17 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama: World Lost A Profoundly Good Man In Nelson Mandela's Death

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:57 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tributes are pouring in from around the globe on news that Nelson Mandela, the man who led South Africa out of apartheid, has died. He was 95 and had been ill for a long time. His death marks the passing of an era and President Obama spoke a short time after hearing the news. President Obama held Mandela up as an inspiration to his own leadership.

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NPR Story
6:17 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Wash. Judge Rules Towns Failed Poor Defendents

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:57 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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NPR Story
4:37 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Pharrell Williams Blurs Lines With Daylong Music Video

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:57 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And we end this hour with a very different kind of ecstatic voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAPPY")

PHARRELL WILLIAMS: (Singing) Because I'm happy, clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Because I'm happy, clap along...

SIEGEL: This is the song "Happy" from Pharrell Williams. He sings. He writes. He produces. Williams is also the creative force behind an ambitious new music video, though calling it just a video hardly does it justice.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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NPR Story
4:37 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

With Stellar Football Season, Duke Has New Team To Celebrate

Duke coach David Cutcliffe hugs linebacker David Helton following Duke's 27-25 win over North Carolina on Nov. 30.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 1:50 pm

Every college football season, at one team turns out to be a surprise. This year, it's Duke.

The Blue Devils have won 10 games — the most in the school's history. The team's coach, David Cutcliffe, was just named national coach of the year.

It's a big turnaround for a team that was once the laughingstock of the Atlantic Coast Conference and overshadowed by basketball. But now, Duke is headed to the ACC championship game.

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NPR Story
4:37 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Egyptians Poised To Vote On Controversial New Constitution

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:07 pm

Egyptians are preparing to vote on a new constitution, again. When the last constitution was approved, President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was in power. He was ousted in July. The latest constitution was drafted by the military-backed government that ousted Morsi. Nathan Brown, who studies constitutionalism and rule of law in the Arab world, talks to Robert Siegel about what's at stake in the process, and the criticism the draft constitution has received. Brown is a professor at George Washington University and a scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Movie Interviews
5:59 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

On Becoming Llewyn Davis, A Hero Who Excels At Failing

Oscar Isaac as the titular character in Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.
Alison Rosa Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:10 pm

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Around the Nation
5:37 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Pipeline On Wheels: Trains Are Winning Big Off U.S. Oil

A train leaves the Rangeland Energy company's crude oil loading terminal near Epping, N.D. So far this year, 60 percent of all oil produced in North Dakota left the state by rail. One economist says there aren't enough oil tankers to fill the demand.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 9:28 pm

The oil boom in the United States is creating another boom — for the railroad industry.

So far this year, in North Dakota alone, 140 million barrels of oil have left on trains. Shipments of crude oil by rail are up almost 50 percent over last year — and this upward trend is expected to continue.

A visit to the world-famous Tehachapi Loop, part of a winding mountain pass in Southern California, demonstrates the scale and reach of the oil boom in the middle of the country. As a train full of oil tanker cars rumbles past, it's hard not to think of it as a pipeline on wheels.

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Around the Nation
5:37 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Nothing Says Christmas Like 700 Screaming Faces

An ornament honoring Edward Munch's The Scream is part of an annual Christmas tree erected at Union Station in Washington, D.C., and decorated by the Embassy of Norway.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 7:20 pm

As it has done for the past 16 years, the Embassy of Norway decorated a Christmas tree at Union Station in Washington, D.C. — a gift to the American people to say thanks for helping Norway during World War II.

This year is no different. The tree was lit in a ceremony Tuesday evening, but what stands out is the nature of the ornaments that adorn the artificial tree: In addition to small American and Norwegian flags, the tree is decked out with 700 shining decorations with the iconic image from Norwegian Edvard Munch's painting The Scream.

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The Salt
5:05 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

These Days, School Lunch Hours Are More Like 15 Minutes

Students at Lowell High School in Michigan sit down for lunch. Shorter lunch breaks mean that many kids don't get enough time to eat and socialize.
Emily Zoladz Landov

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 9:09 am

It's lunchtime at Oakland High School in Oakland, Calif., and that means fence hoppers. Several kids wear mischievous grins as they speedily scale a 12-foot-high metal perimeter.

In theory, anyway, Oakland High is a "closed campus." That's done in the interest of safety and security and to cut down on school-skipping. It means kids can't leave during school hours without parental consent, especially at lunchtime. But it doesn't stop several students from breaking out.

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NPR Story
4:44 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Ski Resorts Work To Turn China's Middle Class Into Snow Bunnies

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Colorado's ski resorts are looking far and wide for potential customers, including emerging markets like China. About 12 percent of visitors to the state's ski areas come from overseas. And with China's middle class growing, Colorado resorts are looking to profit. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

MARCI KRIVONEN, BYLINE: Inside the offices of the Aspen Skiing Company, Candace Sherman is learning Mandarin Chinese...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

KRIVONEN: ...using a Rosetta Stone audio course.

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NPR Story
4:44 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

USAID Contractor, Four Years In Cuban Jail, Asks Obama For Help

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:26 pm

Robert Siegel talks with Peter Wallsten of The Washington Post about the story of Alan Gross, a USAID contractor held in a Cuban prison for the last four years. Gross had been working on a covert project installing internet in a Jewish community in Cuba.

Planet Money
1:46 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

'Our Industry Follows Poverty': Success Threatens A T-Shirt Business

Noreli Morales (right) works on the Planet Money women's T-shirt at a factory in Medellin, Colombia.
Joshua Davis for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:26 pm

The Planet Money men's T-shirt was made in Bangladesh, by workers who make about $3 a day, with overtime. The Planet Money women's T-shirt was made in Colombia, by workers who make roughly $13 a day, without overtime.

The wages in both places are remarkably low by U.S. standards. But the gap between them is huge. Workers in Colombia make more than four times what their counterparts make in Bangladesh. In our reporting, we saw that the workers in Colombia have a much higher standard of living than the workers in Bangladesh.

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Technology
6:39 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

FCC Proposes AM Radio Changes To Give The Band A Boost

For years, sports broadcasts were a staple of AM radio. But now, AM seems to be mostly a mix of talk shows and infomercials, and the Federal Communications Commission wants the band to be relevant again.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:24 pm

AM radio once played a central role in American life. The family would gather around the Philco to hear the latest Western or detective drama. The transistor radio was where baby boomers first heard the Beatles and other Top 40 hits. And, of course, there's no better way to take in a ballgame.

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Politics
6:39 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Obama Offers Second Chance For Missouri Court Nominee

Ronnie White, then-chief justice-elect of the Missouri Supreme Court, talks with reporters in June 2003.
Kelley McCall AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:50 pm

President Obama has made it a priority to choose federal judges who are diverse in terms of race or gender. But for the most part, he's avoided controversy for those lifetime appointments.

That's why the nomination of a Missouri lawyer named Ronnie White has raised the eyebrows of experts who've been around Washington for a while. Old hands remember that White was rejected for a federal judgeship back in 1999 after a party line vote by Senate Republicans.

Now, in what experts say could be an unprecedented step, he's getting another chance.

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Music Reviews
5:14 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

27 Years Ago, Keith Jarrett Was A One-Man Band

Keith Jarrett circa 1986.
Toshinari Koinuma Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:57 pm

Keith Jarrett is a jazz legend. His catalog of recordings includes solo piano improvisations, trio and quartet works, classical performances, early sessions with Charles Lloyd and late ones with Miles Davis. But there's nothing quite like Jarrett's new double-CD set No End: It was recorded in his home studio in 1986, and he plays all the instruments — notably drums, bass and electric guitar.

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