5:14am

Sun December 2, 2012
Education

Pencils Down? French Plan Would End Homework

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 6:39 pm

President Francois Hollande argues that homework puts poor children at a disadvantage, but others argue the extra work is needed to help those students succeed.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.

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4:59am

Sun December 2, 2012
Asia

In Pakistan, Secrets Of A 3,000-Year-Old Cemetery

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 2:46 pm

The graves were apparently opened and reopened multiple times, serving more than one generation.
Courtesy of ACT Project

High on a hill overlooking Pakistan's scenic Swat Valley sits a recently excavated cemetery. Italian archaeologist Luca Maria Olivieri walks across the site and lays a sun-beaten hand on a clay slab jutting out from a high, dun-colored wall. It's an ancient grave.

Olivieri says the remains still have to be carbon-tested, but archaeologists believe the graves contain members of a Dardic community, which dominated this part of Pakistan 3,000 years ago.

It's believed Alexander the Great fought one of his battles here, in the village of Udegram.

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4:58am

Sun December 2, 2012
Afghanistan

Afghans Begin New Exodus, Often At Great Cost

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 7:00 am

Afghan families walk along a dusty road in Kabul, the Afghan capital, last month. In the latest in a series of dramatic inflows and outflows, more Afghans are leaving the country than returning, fueled by unease about next year's withdrawal of NATO forces.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Convulsed by war and civil strife for decades, Afghanistan has experienced some of the largest ebbs and flows of migration anywhere in the world.

It began with the Soviet invasion in 1979, which sent millions of Afghans fleeing to Iran and Pakistan. When the Taliban were driven from power in 2001, many Afghans began returning home.

Now, the country has hit another milestone: For the first time since 2002 and the beginning of the current war in Afghanistan, the country has a negative migration rate — more Afghans are leaving than returning.

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4:58am

Sun December 2, 2012
All Tech Considered

The Sight Of Road Kill Makes A Pretty, Data-Rich Picture

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:26 pm

When wildlife ecologist Danielle Garneau finds roadkill, she uploads data about it onto her smartphone.
Sarah Harris NCPR

Wildlife ecologist Danielle Garneau is making a habit of tracking down roadkill. She actually seeks it out, hunting for clues about larger ecological trends. Garneau records it all on a free smartphone app, EpiCollect.

Standing by the side of the road in upstate New York, phone in hand, Garneau peers down at a dead, bloody and smelly skunk.

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2:20am

Sun December 2, 2012
It's All Politics

The 3 Unofficial GOP Rules That Are Making A Deficit Deal Even Harder

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 6:40 pm

House Speaker John Boehner takes questions during a news conference Friday on Capitol Hill.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Making an already head-splittingly difficult deal on the fiscal cliff even harder to resolve is a set of three rules by which the Republicans who run the House play.

These are not official regulations; they're more shibboleths that House GOP leaders have adopted in recent years. And those rules are leaving House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, little room to maneuver as lawmakers try to avoid a set of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year.

1. "The majority of the majority"

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2:09am

Sun December 2, 2012
Europe

Ach! No End In Sight For Berlin Airport Woes

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 6:54 am

The opening date of Germany's new Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg International Airport has been delayed three times due to construction delays and safety concerns.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Germans are famous for their efficiency and being on time. But a much-delayed, expensive new airport in the German capital, Berlin, is rapidly destroying that reputation.

Located in the former East Berlin neighborhood of Schoenefeld, the new airport is to replace three others that serviced passengers in the once-divided city. One of those, Tempelhof — made famous by the Allied airlifts of food and supplies during the Soviet blockade of the late 1940s — is already closed.

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9:49pm

Sat December 1, 2012
Summer stages

Summer Stages: Spoleto Festival USA

Westminster Choir

Airs Monday, December 3 at 11:00 a.m.  This week on Summer Stages, The Simpsons, Dolly Parton and Rachmaninoff. It's not the most obvious mix but the Westminster Choir makes it work. Hear them performing from the Spoleto Festival USA on Summer Stages from Classical Public Radio! Some of the featured works include Weelkes' In Excelsis Deo;   Esenvalds' The Long Road;   Kreek's Taaveti laul Nr. 104 (Psalm 104);  Elder's Seven Last Words from the Cross;  Crabtree's From Five Romantic Miniatures from the Simpsons;  and the Westminster Choir with Christopher Costanza, cello perform Tavener's  Svyatí.

4:15pm

Sat December 1, 2012
Author Interviews

'Cross Roads': A Writing Career Built On Faith

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 2:41 pm

Courtesy of FaithWords

Five years ago, Paul Young was working three jobs outside Portland, Ore., when he decided to write a Christian tale of redemption for friends and family. He went down to an Office Depot and printed off 15 copies of the story he called The Shack.

The manuscript was never intended for broad publication, but it eventually caught the attention of two California-based pastors. They took it to 26 different publishers but got rejected each time. So the pastors set up their own publishing company and started a whispering campaign among churches.

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2:41pm

Sat December 1, 2012
Business

Beauty Pageant Economics: The Sash Isn't Cheap

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 9:03 am

Jessica Bermudez, 24, models a dress at Deja Vu in Alexandria, Va. Bermudez is competing for the title of Miss District of Columbia USA, and says she regularly enters beauty pageants.
Coburn Dukehart NPR

Miss America's walk might look effortless, but her road to success probably cost more than you think.

Ten-thousand women will compete in a Miss USA-sponsored pageant this year. That organization is just one of more than 15 small circuits, each with its own local, state and national competitions. It's a big industry. From the organizers, designers and coaches, lots of people make money — except the contestants.

Twenty-four women are in the running to become the latest Miss District of Columbia USA.

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2:19pm

Sat December 1, 2012
Music Interviews

Ricky Martin's Second Act

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 2:41 pm

Ricky Martin performs as Ché in the current Broadway run of Evita. Martin will leave the show in January 2013.
Richard Termine

Since he was a pre-teen, Ricky Martin has been in the spotlight — first with the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist who broke through in both the English- and Spanish-language pop worlds. He's also been an actor on both sides of that divide, appearing on the telenovela Alcanzar una estrella and the American soap opera General Hospital.

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