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Economy
2:20 am
Tue December 18, 2012

The Downsides Of Living In An Oil Boom Town

Cyndy Aafedt (left) owns the El Rancho hotel in Williston, N.D. Jobs in town have been hard to fill. Her employee, Mary Joy Hardt (right), who is from the Philippines, is one of many people with J-1 visas helping to fill retail, hotel and restaurant job openings here.
Meg Luther Lindholm for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:18 am

The population boom in Williston, N.D., has been a blessing and a curse for many local businesses. Williston, the fastest growing small city in America, is enjoying an oil boom and has seen its population double in the past two years.

At the city's brand new McDonald's, manager Vern Brekhus struggles every day to maintain his staff of nearly 100 workers.

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Holiday Music
1:03 am
Tue December 18, 2012

'What Christmas Means' To Soul Singer KEM

Of "Christmas Time is Here," Kem says, "It's one of those songs that I hear and it's like, 'I wish I wrote that.' "
Anthony Mandler Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 5:07 am

For KEM's What Christmas Means, the R&B singer wanted to cover several aspects of the season: the birth of Christ, for one, but also Christmas as a "romantic holiday."

"You spend time cuddled up by the fire, warm and cozy with your wife or your husband," KEM tells NPR's David Greene. "You spend more time being intimate with shopping — we're doing things with the kids, we're together. There's a lot of sincerity, a lot of warmth."

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The Two-Way
12:47 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Girls, Boys And Toys: Rethinking Stereotypes In What Kids Play With

Hasbro's pink Easy-Bake Oven is under fire for reinforcing gender stereotypes.
Peggy Turbett The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 5:50 am

We've been focusing on some serious news today. Here's something on the lighter side.

A New Jersey teenager who launched a campaign to get Hasbro to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven is expected to meet with the toy company Monday afternoon.

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET. Easy-Bake Oven goes gender-neutral:

After meeting with Pope, Hasbro now says it plans to introduce a new black, silver, and blue model of the oven, and to feature boys in ads for the product. Our original post continues:

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Around the Nation
6:32 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Holiday Display Called 'Sensory Explosion'

There are Christmas displays, and then there's the one in Wall Township, N.J. It has synchronized lights, lasers, fog machines, strobe lights, 20-foot flames and the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. There's no charge — they only accept donations for a local charity.

Around the Nation
6:26 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Police Officer Helps Motorist Register Car

Hayden Carlo was recently pulled over near Dallas for having an expired registration sticker. He said he had a choice: either feed his kids or get a new registration. The officer issued a citation, and when Carlo unfolded it, he found $100.

Around the Nation
4:17 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Remembering Ct. School Shooting Victims

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:40 am

David Greene shares the names of the victims killed when gunman Adam Lanza opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. Before he went to the school, Lanza shot his mother, who was found dead in her pajamas in her bed.

NPR Story
4:09 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Examining Child Tax Credit

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 6:05 am

There's still no budget deal to prevent the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect at the end of this year. There are some tax deductions, credits and other breaks lawmakers are weighing in this budget debate.

NPR Story
4:09 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Japanese Voters Return Conservatives To Power

Shinzo Abe of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party marks the name of a parliamentary election winner at party headquarters in Tokyo on Sunday. Japan's conservative LDP stormed back to power Sunday after three years in opposition.
Junji Kurokawa AP

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 2:49 pm

Japan's Liberal Democratic Party won resoundingly in parliamentary elections Sunday that both Washington and Beijing were watching carefully. The conservative LDP's hawkish leader, Shinzo Abe, will become Japan's prime minister for the second time and has pledged to take a harder line on China.

Speaking on Japanese TV, Abe had a message for Japan's most important ally, America, and another for Japan's biggest rival — China.

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NPR Story
4:09 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Why Tragedies Alter Risk Perception

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 4:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

After the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, many parents dropping their kids off at school this morning are facing a lot of anxiety. Today in Your Health, we asked NPR's science correspondent Shankar Vedantam to come by to talk about how tragedies shape our perceptions of risk.

Shankar, good morning.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So tell us what we know from school shootings of the past. I mean, what sort of impact will this tragedy have on parents and how they think?

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Around the Nation
2:37 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Teenager's Faith At Odds With Locator Tags In School IDs

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 4:17 am

A federal court in Texas on Monday will take up the case of a high-school student who refuses to wear her location-tracking school ID.

The 15-year-old sophomore says the ID badge, which has an embedded radio frequency identification tag, is a violation of her rights. The student, Andrea Hernandez, believes the ID is "the mark of the beast" from the Book of Revelation.

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