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Scott Simon
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4:28am

Sat January 5, 2013
World

Germany's Housing Market Is Hot. Is It Overheating?

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 8:59 am

Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, like many others across the city, is experiencing a real estate boom. Housing prices have risen by as much as 20 percent in the past year in some German cities.
Adam Berry Getty Images

Few Western countries are as conservative about home ownership as Germany, where less than half the country's citizens own property.

German banks have tough lending rules. Would-be buyers are usually asked to provide hefty down payments to secure mortgages, meaning few Germans even think about buying a home until they are settled and financially secure.

But the European debt crisis appears to be changing the traditions around home ownership. The resulting surge in homebuying, some officials warn, is driving prices too high and threatens the nation's economy.

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4:28am

Sat January 5, 2013
It's All Politics

Often Written Off, Biden Has Long List Of Deals To His Name

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 8:59 am

Vice President Joe Biden leads the first meeting of the working group to explore solutions following the Newtown shooting with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other law enforcement leaders on Dec. 20.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

When President Obama finally announced a fiscal cliff agreement late Tuesday night, he thanked several people who had worked to get a deal.

The first one he mentioned by name was the man standing next to him at the podium: "my extraordinary vice president, Joe Biden."

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1:03am

Sat January 5, 2013
Music Interviews

Preserving The Home, And History, Of New Orleans' Piano Professor

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 1:10 pm

Professor Longhair performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, circa 1970.
David Redfern Redferns

On the tough side of Terpsichore Street in New Orleans stands a duplex — a two-story, wood-framed building with wood floors, high ceilings and a nice fireplace. But this old house is empty: no furniture, no walls, no electricity, no toilet. Iron bars hide the windows; there's a lockbox on the door. The facade is three different shades of blecch, blurgh and blah.

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1:03am

Sat January 5, 2013
Music Interviews

Emel Mathlouthi: Voice Of The Tunisian Revolution

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 8:59 am

Emel Mathlouthi
Ghaith Ghoufa Courtesy of the artist

With all that's going on in the Middle East right now, it's easy to forget that the Arab Spring began just two years ago in Tunisia.

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4:38pm

Sat December 29, 2012
Music

'Prayer Flags,' A Song About Waiting On Heavenly Help

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 4:37 pm

Musician Kristina Olsen says Tibetan prayer flags flying over porches near her home in Venice, Calif., became the inspiration for a song.
Courtesy of the artist

For some, bringing in the new year means praying for good things to come. Kristina Olsen ponders the reasons for prayer in her song, "Prayer Flags." She tells the story behind it in the latest edition of What's in a Song, a series from the Western Folklife Center.

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