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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

What North Korea's Rocket Launch Means — And What It Doesn't

This image from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows the long-range rocket Unha-3 as seen at a satellite control center prior to Wednesday's successful launch.
KCNA via KNS AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:31 pm

North Korea's successful rocket launch may conjure up visions of nuclear missiles in the hands of one of the planet's least predictable regimes. But building a satellite launch vehicle doesn't directly translate into an ability to rain warheads on distant enemies.

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Best Music Of 2012
3:47 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Listener Picks: Your Favorite Albums Of 2012

NPR listeners picked Mumford And Sons' Babel as their favorite record for 2012.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 1:47 pm

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Flying High: Cannon Fires Cans Filled With Marijuana Across Mexican Border

They flew in from Mexico: Cans of marijuana found in a field near Yuma, Ariz.
Customs and Border Protection

Last year, smugglers tried using a catapult to get pot into the U.S.

Now, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents say they recently discovered 30 large cans of marijuana in a field near Yuma, Ariz., — and that the barrels apparently landed there after being fired from a pneumatic-powered cannon 500 feet away in Mexico.

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Remembrances
2:56 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Sitar Player Remembers The Legendary Ravi Shankar

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:04 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

As you probably heard by now, the great sitar player Ravi Shankar died yesterday at the age of 92. His music arrived in most American ears thanks to George Harrison and the Beatles, whose interest triggered something of a sitar craze back in the late '60s. Harrison played the exotic instrument on a couple of tracks. The Rolling Stones followed suit on "Paint It Black." The electric sitar soon followed. But Ravi Shankar remained the unchallenged master. But what do I know? He's the only Indian-born sitar player I ever heard.

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It's All Politics
2:56 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

When It Comes To Entitlements, Obama Feels Heat From Left And Right

A protester at a fiscal cliff rally on Monday in Doral, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:12 pm

Despite his re-election and more Democratic seats in Congress, President Obama has far from a free hand to make the kind of comprehensive deal House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans are demanding — one that includes cuts to entitlement programs.

Strong resistance to that notion is coming from the political left, including warnings that while Obama won't have another re-election, most of his allies on Capitol Hill will be facing voters again.

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Wednesdays Become Eclectic
2:50 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

KCRW Presents: The Afghan Whigs

The Afghan Whigs on KCRW.
KCRW

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 9:06 am

When news spread about an Afghan Whigs reunion tour, we knew we had to have the band on KCRW. The group showed no signs of rust from a 10-year hiatus, playing powerful soul ballads propelled by straight-up rock 'n' roll riffs. It was an honor and a real pleasure to host Greg Dulli and company as they performed a set covering a wide range of their catalog, including "Fountain and Fairfax" from the band's widely worshiped 1993 album Gentlemen.

Thistle and Shamrock
2:01 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Thistle And Shamrock: Essential Celtic

Alan Stivell
Courtesy of the artist

How do you inject a Celtic core into your music library that will reflect the past and present, honoring the purity of tradition and the spirit of innovation? It's a tall order but we have some suggestions this week to enhance any collection.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Music Reviews
1:36 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Ke$ha: A 'Warrior' In Search Of Legitimacy

Ke$ha's new album is titled Warrior.
Yu Tsai Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:53 pm

Ke$ha uses a dollar-sign instead of an "s" in the middle of her stage name. It's one of those gestures that's meant to bait her detractors — suggesting before anyone else does that she's only in it for the money. It turns out, though, that like pop stars ranging from Madonna on back to Chuck Berry, Ke$ha wants it both ways: mass-audience success and artistic acknowledgment. For Ke$ha, that's what her album title Warrior means: She's fighting a war on multiple fronts.

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Sources: Syrian Rebels Training On Anti-Aircraft Weapons In Jordan

To date, Syrian rebels have had to rely on small-scale weapons in their fight against the Syrian army. Here, a rebel fighter throws an explosive device toward a Syrian government position in the northern city of Aleppo last month.
John Cantlie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:50 pm

The U.S. has now formally recognized a new Syrian opposition group as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. But the U.S. has repeatedly declined to provide weapons for rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's army.

However, NPR has learned that there are movements behind the scenes. In Jordan, several Syrian sources said that Jordanian authorities, along with their U.S. and British counterparts, have organized training for Syrian rebels on sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons.

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Best Music Of 2012
1:18 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Ann Powers' Top Albums And Songs Of 2012

Miguel's killer 2012 began with the release of three free Art Dealer Chic mixtapes. His second full-length album, Kaleidoscope Dream, followed in September.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:57 pm

Every year as I make my lists of best releases, I feel like that cartoon bodybuilder at the beach, ridiculously flexing in hopes of gaining some fluttery attention. How silly! My ego is all wrapped up in proving my superior powers of discernment, and here's the big competition, where my picks prove that I have more muscle than than my peers. Some years defeat the critic's effort to show off, however: consensus is so strong about a few releases that we all have to strike the same adoring poses.

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