3:31pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Planet Money

Without Magic, Santa Would Need 12 Million Employees

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 3:31 pm

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

There are 760 million Christian children in the world, according to the Pew Research Center. Suppose Santa delivers one gift to each child. What kind of delivery workforce would Santa need?

We couldn't get an interview with Santa. But we did get Paul Tronsor from FedEx and Mike Mangeot from UPS. They helped us go through the numbers.

Here are just a few of the positions Santa would need to fill to pull off Christmas. (Note: For the complete list, see the graphic at the bottom.)

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3:29pm

Wed December 19, 2012
World

In Pakistan, Tax Evaders Are Everywhere — Government Included

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 7:32 pm

An investigative report found that less than a third of Pakistani lawmakers filed tax returns for 2011. The report said Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, photographed in Paris in December, did not file a return, though his spokesman says he did.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

Tax evasion is a chronic problem in Pakistan — only about 2 percent of the population is registered in the tax system, and the government collects just 9 percent of the country's wealth in taxes, one of the lowest rates in the world.

But now a new investigative report is making headlines. It says that just a third of the country's 446 federal lawmakers bothered to file income tax returns last year.

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3:06pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Commentary

When Someone You Know Loses A Child

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:21 pm

The grief a bereaved parent feels resides deep within and is individually expressed. Different people respond in different ways.
Brendan Smialkowski Getty Images

Amid the aftershocks of the senseless shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., our ever-more-complex society goes on to publicly discuss what happened and how to avoid such tragedy in the future.

But there are also private considerations and quieter questions of how to respond — on a personal level — to suffering parents.

What can you say to parents who have lost a child? What can you do?

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2:30pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Holiday Specials

SFA School of Theatre presents “The Gift of the Magi.”

Airs Wednesday, December 19 at 2:30 p.m.  “The Gift of the Magi” is Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s first radio play. The half-hour adaptation of O. Henry’s classic Christmas story was dramatized by Jack Heifner, SFA resident playwright and Broadway veteran writer, and directed by SFA Senior Lecturer Jackie Rosenfeld. Heifner opens his play in an early 20th century pub where an author named William Sidney Porter (O. Henry's real name) is heard worrying about a deadline for a Christmas story due to a New York magazine. An affectionate pair of youthful pub-goers inspires Porter to write what would become his best-known work—the story of a struggling young wife and husband who make extraordinary sacrifices to buy one another Christmas gifts. The presents prove so ironic that the twist ending has become one of the most famous in the history of the short story form.

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2:23pm

Wed December 19, 2012
World Cafe

Sea Wolf On World Cafe

Sea Wolf.
Courtesy of the artist

Alex Brown Church began performing under the name Sea Wolf in 2003, after writing a handful of songs that didn't fit the rock band he played with at the time. Although Church has roped in a supporting cast of musicians to perform his songs, Sea Wolf is still very much his baby.

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2:00pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Holiday Specials

Heaven and Nature Sing!

Airs Wednesday, December 19 at 2:00 p.m.  Heaven and Nature Sing! is an artistic exploration of the joy of Christmas manifest through music. Recorded live at Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York, the message and mystery of Christmas are celebrated with anthems and carols by Winston Castler, John Rutter, Mack Wilberg, Deborah Lutz and F. Melius Christiansen, and a traditional Nigerian Carol arranged by Wendell Whalum.  Nearly 200 musicians from the ensembles of Houghton College's Greatbatch School of Music in Houghton, New York bring a sense of wonder and enchantment to this festive season. We'll hear the Houghton College Choir, Men's Choir, Women's Choir and Philharmonia coming together under the direction of Brandon Johnson.  You'll feel moved to sing along with the musicians of Heaven and Nature Sing!

1:57pm

Wed December 19, 2012
The Two-Way

South Korea To Get Its First Female Leader

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:47 am

South Korea's Park Geun-hye claimed victory Wednesday in the country's presidential election. Park, the daughter of a former military dictator, will be the first female leader of the country. Here, she greets supporters at party headquarters.
Kim Jae-hwan AP

Conservative candidate Park Geun-hye claimed victory Wednesday in South Korea's closely contested presidential election, an outcome that will make her the first woman to lead the Asian nation.

In addition, Park boasts a fascinating personal history that's deeply intertwined with South Korea's evolution in recent decades.

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1:29pm

Wed December 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Death Penalty Possible In Court Martial Of Army Sgt. Accused Of Afghan Killings

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales during an August 2011 training exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Spc. Ryan Hallock AFP/Getty Images

The Army staff sergeant accused in the March 11 murders of 16 Afghan civilians and shooting of six others could be given the death penalty if he's convicted of all the charges officially filed against him this week, a General Court-Martial Convening Authority announced Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39, prosecutors say, attacked two villages near his base in southern Afghanistan. Among the 16 people killed, nine were children.

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12:57pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Music Reviews

Tunes To 'Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard' To

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:32 pm

Music by guitarist Fields Ward appears in the new collection Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard: Hard Time, Good Time & End Time Music, 1923-1936.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The first thing to note about the collection of old-timey music Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard is that it resulted from a record-discovery event that happens less and less often, and soon will likely never happen again. The music was recorded between 1923 and 1936. Most of the sides on the set are taken from 78s collected by the late Don Wahle of Louisville, Ky., and rescued from Dumpster destruction in 2010 by compiler Nathan Salsburg. Nineteen of the songs have never been reissued. Piles of moldy vinyl left behind by the deceased were once commonplace. No longer.

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12:44pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Shots - Health News

NIH Moving To Revamp Funding Process For Bird Flu Research

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 2:32 pm

A health official culls chickens on a poultry farm in a village on the outskirts of Katmandu, Nepal. Chickens suspected of being infected with H5N1 bird flu were found in the area in October.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Flu researchers may be close to ending an unusual moratorium on some controversial scientific work that has lasted almost a year.

That's because officials at the National Institutes of Health say they will be moving swiftly to finalize a new process for deciding whether or not to fund proposed experiments that could potentially create more dangerous forms of the bird flu virus H5N1.

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