All Things Considered

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel

In-depth reporting has transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features.

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Economy
6:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Mortgage Giants Ease Down Payments For First-Time Homebuyers

A new directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 8:05 pm

A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.

The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.

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Around the Nation
5:42 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Do Guns On The Premises Make Workplaces Safer?

In 2010, Omar Thornton killed eight colleagues in Manchester, Conn., before killing himself. Private employers used to create their own rules about guns on their property. But over the past five years, many states have adopted laws that allow employees to keep firearms in their vehicles at work.
Douglas Healey Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 8:49 am

This year, Tennessee joined 21 other states that allow employees to leave guns in their cars in the office parking lot. The laws have left many employers debating how best to ensure safety at work.

After Georgia passed its law allowing employees to keep firearms in their employers' parking lots, Sally Roberts installed a sign on her newspaper firm's door. It read: "No Weapons Allowed."

A job candidate once threatened her, says Roberts, human resources director at Morris Communications. "She did become violent, and I'm very thankful she did not have a weapon."

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This Week's Must Read
5:40 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

The Ethics Of Torture, Explored In A Painful Fable

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 7:29 pm

We've been hearing all week about a report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It detailed brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after Sept 11. Among the questions it raised are whether these techniques are legal, effective and morally acceptable.

For our series This Week's Must Read, author Laila Lalami grapples with these questions by turning to literature.

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Sports
5:40 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

How Good Can Young NFL Quarterbacks Really Be?

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:16 pm

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Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Religion
4:31 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Hanukkah's Real (And Imagined) History

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Music
4:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

NPR Music's 302 Favorite Songs Of 2014

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:16 pm

Traditionally, the folks at NPR Music make a list of their 100 favorite songs of the year. But this time, they expanded the list to 302 songs and made a really long mix tape.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
6:57 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Birds Of A Feather Aren't Necessarily Related

The updated avian tree shows how many different kinds of birds evolved quickly after a mass extinction 66 million years ago.
AAAS/Carla Schaffer

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 9:49 pm

What do a pigeon and a flamingo have in common? Quite a bit, according to a reordering of the evolutionary tree of birds.

One of a series of studies published Thursday in Science is the latest step toward understanding the origins of the roughly 10,000 bird species that populate our planet.

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Theater
6:39 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'

Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance.
Brigitte Lacombe Philip Rinaldi Publicity

In 1995, Glenn Close won her third Tony Award for her role the Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard. Now, after 20-year hiatus, Close is back on Broadway. She's starring alongside John Lithgow in A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee's 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The story follows Agnes (Close), a suburban matron striving to keep the peace in a household she her husband (Lithgow) share with her sister, who's an alcoholic; their daughter, who's a serial divorcee; and their best friends who have fled their own home in an inexplicable terror.

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The Salt
5:06 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Why The White House Wants To Go After Seafood Pirates

A crab pot full of snow crabs, fished out of the Bering Sea.
Josh Thomas Courtesy of WWF

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 10:02 pm

Americans eat more seafood than just about anyone else. Most of it is imported from abroad. And a lot of it — perhaps 25 percent of wild-caught seafood imports, according to fisheries experts — is illegally caught.

The White House is now drafting recommendations on what to do about that. Fisheries experts say they hope the administration will devote more resources to fight seafood piracy.

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Shots - Health News
5:01 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Football Players Drill Without Helmets To Curb Concussions

Making and taking a hit chest to chest, instead of skull to skull, is easier to remember if you're not wearing a helmet, say University of New Hampshire Wildcat football players.
Jack Rodolico New Hampshire Public Radio

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:49 pm

The University of New Hampshire Wildcats are heading into a do-or-die quarterfinal football game this week against the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

And whether they win or not, there's one thing you can say about the Wildcats: They are likely the only football team in America trying to reduce concussions by practicing without helmets.

Football has a concussion problem, from the National Football League down to Pee-Wee teams. And there are lots of efforts out there to fix it.

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