11:03am

Mon December 24, 2012
The Two-Way

One Comment Says A Lot: Here's Why We're Grateful

Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

We want to say thank you.

Our colleague Kate Myers has been helping us look back on The Two-Way's year — the most popular posts, the most frequent commenters, the heaviest traffic days and other such measures. We'll share some of what she's found in coming days.

But something Kate just turned up strikes us as worth noting right away.

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10:24am

Mon December 24, 2012
All Tech Considered

Kenyan Women Create Their Own 'Geek Culture'

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 2:18 pm

Kenyan Susan Oguya created an app to help farmers in her homeland. Shown here in the office of her company, M-Farm, she also belongs to the group Akirachix, which seeks to bring more Kenyan women into the tech world.
Gregory Warner

When a collective of female computer programmers in Kenya needed a name for their ladies-only club, they took their inspiration from the Japanese cult film Akira.

"So akira is a Japanese word. It means energy and intelligence. And we are energetic and intelligent chicks," says Judith Owigar, the president of Akirachix.

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10:17am

Mon December 24, 2012
The Two-Way

A Moveable Feast: What Are You Leaving For Santa?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:53 am

Aside from the traditional plate of cookies, some households planned to leave Santa gourmet surprises that would land most people on the naughty list at the local gym.
Larry Crowe AP

Milk and cookies might be the traditional Santa offering on Christmas Eve, but in at least one household, St. Nicholas will be getting smoked salmon and scotch.

It's just one out-of-the-ordinary example we gleaned from a call out to fans of NPR's Facebook page. Many of them involved a different sort of Christmas "spirit" — the kind that could push Mr. Claus over the legal limit, at least during the U.S. leg of his annual aerial circumnavigation.

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10:12am

Mon December 24, 2012
Movie Reviews

David Edelstein's Top 12 Movies of 2012

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:47 am

In Friends With Kids, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) play two best friends who decide to have a baby together while keeping their relationship platonic — so that the baby doesn't interfere with their own romantic relationships.
JoJo Whilden Roadside Attractions

It's time for end-of-year lists. Fresh Air movie critic David Edelstein stubbornly refuses to either place his top picks in numerical order or make his list an even number of 10. Instead, he places his 12 favorite films from 2012 in alphabetical order, from Amour to Zero Dark Thirty.

Of the 12 films he picked for 2012, not one, Edelstein says, would he call the "M"-word — a masterpiece. That designation he reserves for the new extended DVD cut of Kenneth Lonergan's film Margaret.

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10:12am

Mon December 24, 2012
Television

David Bianculli Says 2012 Brought No New TV Favorites

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:57 am

Aaron Paul plays a meth-making drug dealer on the AMC drama Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Rounding up his favorite shows from 2012, Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli says that when it came to television, it was another good year for cable and another so-so year for networks. Nor were there any new shows, he says, that wowed him. All the shows he watched and liked in 2012 were shows that have been around for at least a season.

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9:50am

Mon December 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Christmas Day May Bring Tornadoes In Southeast

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:11 pm

Looking ahead to Tuesday and Wednesday: the darker the shading, the greater the risk of severe weather.
National Weather Service

Snow likely won't be the big weather story for much of the nation on Christmas Day, say the forecasters at the National Weather Service and The Weather Channel. But some potentially severe weather is in the forecast.

Tornadoes are possible along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast. Here's what The Weather Channel says about Tuesday:

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9:07am

Mon December 24, 2012
Economy

The 2012 Economy Brought Glad Tidings To Many

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:56 am

Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts.
Paul Sakuma AP

After years of recession and slow recovery, maybe you didn't notice. But it turns out, 2012 was a fairly good year for the U.S. economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has risen nearly 14 percent this year and the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest point in four years. Inflation and interest rates have stayed low, allowing families to cut their debt loads.

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9:06am

Mon December 24, 2012
Europe

A Showdown In Italy Over A Polluting Steel Plant

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 6:40 pm

The ILVA steel plant in Taranto, Italy, provides some 20,000 badly needed jobs in a country with a weak economy. But it also spews carcinogens. A court has ordered a partial shutdown, which the government has rejected.
Yara Nardi Reuters /Landov

In an effort to safeguard some 20,000 jobs at a time of rising unemployment,
the Italian government has taken an unprecedented step. It has reversed a court order that called for the partial shutdown of Europe's biggest steel plant because it spews cancer-producing dioxins.

The ILVA steel factory in the southern port city of Taranto pits the government versus the judiciary in a battle over health issues and the need for economic revival.

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8:38am

Mon December 24, 2012
The Salt

Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That's Oh So Sweet

The oplatek, embossed with a Christmas scene, is shared among family members before Christmas Eve dinner.
iStockphoto.com

Nothing says "I love you," at least in my Polish-American family, quite like the sharing of a thin, flat, tasteless wafer called an oplatek at Christmas.

We're not alone. Before sitting down to Christmas Eve dinner, many families with roots in Poland and other Eastern European countries will take part in this tradition, which has roots dating back hundreds of years.

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8:30am

Mon December 24, 2012
Politics

Is Congress Making A 'Fiscal Bluff'?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:56 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee in for Michel Martin. Coming up, the U. S. economy has had an interesting year. I don't need to tell you that we're still facing huge hurdles. But on the other hand, the stock market shot up this year and some sectors are thriving. We'll talk about signs of hope in just a few minutes.

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