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Morning Edition is your perfect morning companion: gentle, but straightforward, explaining the vagaries of international diplomacy, reporting weather and even recommending the best film in town. Mornings and hard news can coexist in peace. Morning hosts make complex news digestible to millions of listeners who have yet to finish their first cup of coffee. Whether the story breaks in Bosnia or Brooklyn, news reports with on-the-spot sound create a complete picture for your ears.

Morning Edition asked listeners to write in about a dish they only make during the holiday season. Monica Bencomo of Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote in to tell us about her favorite holiday dish: menudo, a red chili-based soup that her mother makes almost every December.

Brewer's Popular Chanukah Beer: 8 Malty Nights

Dec 20, 2011

During the holidays, beer manufacturers roll out seasonal brews. And now, in addition to Ebenezer Ale and Santa's Private Reserve, there's a relative newcomer for Chanukah: a chocolate rye porter from a micro-brewer in Portland, Oregon.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

New York Times columnist Gail Collins feasts on the foibles of elected officials, with a lively take on politicians past and present. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, this election season, Collins has brought a laser-like focus to a shaggy dog story with a political tie.

As residents of the Chinese village of Wukan continue their rebellion against local government land seizures, NPR is uncovering evidence of the scale of the problem. Many villages around Wukan — which has been sealed off by police and paramilitary troops — also accuse corrupt officials of selling off their land.

Business News

Dec 20, 2011

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a mobile phone patent wars.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Smartphone makers have filed dozens of lawsuits against one another for patent infringement. Yesterday, a federal agency handed Apple a limited victory in a closely watched case. It's one of the first of many mobile patent disputes to be decided.

The Last Word In Business

Dec 20, 2011

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Perhaps after you'd had a few glasses of holiday brew, this next item will look better. Our last word in business is: Ugly Christmas Sweater.

While searching for a way to help her kids pay for college, Anne Marie Blackman spotted a trend she thought she might capitalize on: The holiday-themed sweaters she found online, they didn't seem ugly enough. So, she started My Ugly Christmas Sweater, Inc. for people hoping to win a prize cheese wheel for the scariest holiday sweater at a party.

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is accusing his Republican opponents of what he says is reprehensible behavior — running attack ads in Iowa against the former House Speaker. Before a crowd of supporters in Hiawatha, Iowa, Gingrich stressed that the negative GOP attack ads are bad for the party and bad for voters.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The body of North Korea's late leader Kim Jong Il lies in state today in a glass coffin in the capital, Pyongyang. In the three days since his death, little has emerged about what's next in North Korea, other than a state funeral has been set for next week.

Governments around the region are monitoring for signs of instability, and they're also debating how to respond to the events.

Actor Daniel Craig is used to taking on iconic characters. In 2006, he famously shook up the 007 franchise as a new, blond James Bond. And his latest on-screen character, though he has somewhat less swagger and not nearly as much style, is almost as well-known.

In David Fincher's film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Craig plays investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, the leading man in a trio of thrillers by Swedish author Stieg Larsson that has sold 65 million copies worldwide.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A teenager in Northern California pulled a Santa last week when he shimmied down his parents' chimney. He wasn't carrying gifts but guilt for staying out past his curfew. Predictably, George Herrera got stuck, for 90 minutes until an emergency crew arrived and saw something you usually see in Christmas cartoons - feet dangling from the fireplace. The teen now knows why it takes a jolly old elf to get down a chimney. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

High School Student Suspended For Tebowing

Dec 19, 2011

Tyler Carroll organized a kneel-down at his Long Island high school last week, and about 40 students participated. The superintendent called it a safety hazard because the Tebowing blocked the hallways. Carroll serves his suspension on Monday.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

We've been following the reaction this morning to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The response of many Chinese is coming through in emoticons, symbols often used in text messages.

The Wall Street Journal reports Kim's death is the most popular topic on China's equivalent of Twitter. And among the more than million posts about him are many decorated with laughing emoticons and victory symbols. But just as many however show broken hearts and candles.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

There might be no bluegrass music as we know it without Wade Mainer, who died Monday at his home in Flint, Mich., Sept. 12 at age 104.

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