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A long-lost Soviet opera by Dimitri Shostakovich gets a posthumous premiere this weekend in Los Angeles. The opera called "Orango" was found unfinished, dumped in a museum with other scrap paper from Shostakovich's house.

Herman Cain's Big Announcement

Dec 3, 2011

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for sports.

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'Shakespeare On Demand' In Kabul

Dec 3, 2011

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

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SIMON: We got hundreds of comments on our segment last week on predictive policing, which uses statistics and algorithms to deploy police where crimes are most likely to occur.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A group of more than 100 volunteers helped decorate the White House this year, covering the mansion in Christmas trees, cookie ornaments and several versions of the Obamas' dog, Bo. The real stars, however, were the military families who joined the celebration.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Newt Gingrich is now the focus of the race to become the GOP presidential nominee — and with that comes the heat. His main opposition, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney went on the attack Friday, but Gingrich insists he'll stay positive. The big question is whether the former House speaker can sustain his surge in the polls.

So many end-of-the-year lists detail something trivial. But sometimes those lists can help us appreciate something obvious.

BabyCenter.com has just released its list of the most popular names for American babies in 2011.

The most popular girl's names: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia and Ava, which sound like they could be lifted, letter by letter, from 1960s movie marquees. The most popular boy's names: Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Liam and Jacob, which could be the name of a Boston or Chicago law firm.

The U.S. unemployment rate took a big tumble in November, from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, according to the government's monthly jobs data. Still, it's probably too soon to pop the champagne corks. A combination of forces caused the big drop, some good and some bad.

Getting a big fall in the unemployment rate is always good news in the White House, but President Obama was careful not to gloat at an appearance Friday in Washington.

"This morning we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. The unemployment rate went down," he said.

"Robert Spiegel's passion for Russian literature, the New York Mets, ethnic cooking and beagles endeared him to generations of students and colleagues at Central Connecticut State University," The Associated Press says. "Now, through the power of social media, the 77-year-old former English professor's obituary is charming strangers, as well."

Everybody knows that Ron Paul is a doctor from Texas. Born in Pittsburgh in 1935, he graduated from Gettysburg College and Duke University's medical school. He was a flight surgeon in the Air Force. His wife's name is Carol. He has served as a Republican congressman for years and years.

Everybody knows that Paul has made bids for the presidency three times — as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and this time around. And everybody knows he lost the first two.

Gary Oldman Steps Into A Spymaster's Shoes

Dec 3, 2011

The character of George Smiley is an iconic one — longtime spy, mild, podgy, middle-aged. He blends into the fog and the old gray streets of London.

If you're walking or biking around New York City this weekend you might look up at a busy intersection and see signs like these:

Traffic warning street signs written as haiku are appearing on poles around the five boroughs, posted by the New York City Department of Transportation. The poems and accompanying artwork were created by artist John Morse. There are 12 designs in all, 10 in English and two in Spanish.

An artist with an idyllic childhood might be as rare as a house with walls made of air, but both play a part in the story of architect John Lautner.

Lautner's homes have appeared in Hollywood movies, but the architect himself wasn't particularly well-known when he died in 1994. Still, in 2011 — the centennial year of Lautner's birth — his hometown of Marquette, Mich., has honored him with two exhibitions: one at Northern Michigan University's DeVos Art Museum and one at the Marquette Regional History Center.

As he prepares for the midday rush, Mustafa Baljan puts the finishing touches on the kebabs, salads and stews that make up many a working Turk's lunch. As the steam carries the scent of lamb and garlic into the street, the 37-year-old restaurant owner considers a popular question: With European economies on the ropes, should Turkey still be seeking to join the European Union?

"Are you kidding? Of course I don't want to join," Baljan says. "Countries are going bankrupt. Why would we want to join a union like that?"

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Under fire for losing track of weapons that turned up at crime scenes along the Southwest border, the Justice Department has taken the extraordinary step of formally withdrawing an inaccurate letter about the episode that it sent to Congress earlier this year.

Two different bills calling for an extension of a payroll tax holiday failed to pass the Senate late Thursday, but work on a compromise is continuing on Capitol Hill.

President Obama and Democratic lawmakers put forth concerted efforts to extend the measure, which is set to expire next month. Economists say failure to renew the tax cut, which allows the average American family to keep $900 a year of earnings, would hurt job growth.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're out to get you.

That could be the motto this week for abortion rights groups that immediately sprang into battle mode when it was discovered that Siri, Apple's new artificially intelligent personal assistant, wasn't so, well, intelligent when it came to abortion.

It turns out, however, that it was all much ado about not so much.

When it was discovered earlier this week that Apple's new iPhone assistant Siri had trouble telling people where to get an abortion, abortion rights groups immediately cried foul. It turns out the problem is not a conspiracy but a software glitch.

Thousands of jobs are on the line in a competition between states over the corporate headquarters of Sears. Several states are offering tax incentive packages to try to lure the company away from Illinois, including one bid from Ohio that's worth up to $400 million.

The Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, says it is seriously considering the offer after Illinois lawmakers failed this week to approve a package of tax incentives aimed at keeping Sears and another corporate giant from leaving.

In a matter of months, Turkey has gone from one of Syria's strongest allies to one of its sharpest critics as the uprising in Syria has been met with a harsh crackdown by President Bashar Assad.

Turkey has become a haven for Syrian refugees, a base for Syrian army defectors and a home for Syria's main political opposition group. And on Friday, U.S. Vice President Biden was in Turkey for talks that included the deteriorating conditions in Syria.

On the streets of Istanbul, Akram Asaf, a 31-year-old lawyer who fled Syria, says he feels safe, but not yet free.

Ólöf Arnalds was born and raised in Iceland, and has been part of its experimental rock scene for years.

We were pretty impressed by this piece of news reported by Wired about Australian turtles:

"Murray River turtles communicate with their siblings while they are still in their shells, buried under the soil, in order to coordinate when they hatch."

The Partnership for a Healthier America is a Washington-based group and has Washington's most prestigious woman as its honorary chair: first lady Michelle Obama.

But this coalition to fight childhood obesity is focused on what needs to happen outside this town, namely in the private sector, to halt the epidemic. And in the last 12 months, it has managed to ink almost 20 deals with some of the biggest food companies in the country.

Seventeen years ago, Mary J. Blige shook up the world of R&B when she released the record My Life. It ushered in a new sound: soul music over hip-hop beats. Instantly, Blige became known as the queen of hip-hop soul.

My Life was about pain — about Blige's rough childhood, abusive relationship and battles with addiction and depression. Seventeen years on, she's revisited that album. Her new record is called My Life II ... The Journey Continues. She says it's about strength.

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