National

Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
5:08 am
Sun December 23, 2012

Tragedy Spotlights Connecticut's Previous Efforts At Gun Control

Police Lt. Ray Mesek registers a rifle at a gun buyback event on Saturday in Bridgeport, Conn.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 1:46 pm

At about 8 a.m. on March 6, 1998, Matthew Beck arrived to work at the headquarters of the Connecticut State Lottery. He hung up his coat, walked into an office and shot the first of four victims.

Beck ended up killing a number of his co-workers and then took his own life in the parking lot when the police arrived.

Mike Lawlor, the Connecticut governor's criminal justice adviser, was a state representative at the time, and wanted to understand what led to the rampage. He learned that Beck had previously attempted suicide and owned a number of guns.

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Around the Nation
5:07 am
Sun December 23, 2012

With Growth Of 'Hacker Scouting,' More Kids Learn To Tinker

Kids build robots with Popsicle sticks at an Oakland meeting of Hacker Scouts, a group that encourages young people to create do-it-yourself crafts and electronics.
Jon Kalish for NPR

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 12:41 pm

Countless kids have grown up with the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts or Campfire Girls, but for some families, the uniforms and outdoor focus of traditional Scouting groups don't appeal.

In recent months, Scoutlike groups that concentrate on technology and do-it-yourself projects have been sprouting up around the country. They're coed and, like traditional Scouting organizations, award patches to kids who master skills.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
6:01 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

Near-Replica Of Sandy Hook Made Nearby For Students

A school bus drives past a welcome sign near the Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, Conn. Students from Sandy Hook Elementary in neighboring Newtown will attend the school in January.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat December 22, 2012 7:54 pm

The surviving students of Sandy Hook Elementary will not be returning to their school in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six educators were shot to death on Dec. 14.

Instead, when classes resume after the holidays, they'll attend a school in the neighboring town of Monroe. Parents, teachers and administrators in both towns are working to make the new school as similar as possible to the one Sandy Hook students left behind.

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It's All Politics
5:14 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

How Boehner's 'Critical Moment' Could Turn Out OK For Him

House Speaker John Boehner holds a press conference at the Capitol on Friday. The night before, he did not have enough backing from his own party to pass his fiscal cliff legislation.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 22, 2012 8:50 pm

"The House has done its part to avert this entire fiscal cliff," House Speaker John Boehner said Saturday in his weekly address.

He cited the measure that passed Thursday, which would reorganize the automatic spending cuts to protect the defense budget and cut deeper elsewhere. He also pointed to legislation that would stop all tax hikes on Jan. 1.

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Around the Nation
5:01 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

It's Not Jolly, It's A Job: Pro Santas Say It's More Than Just The Beard

Charity workers dressed as Santa Claus wave to pedestrians in New York. Professional Santas say it's not an easy job, and it's not just as simple as putting on a beard.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Sat December 22, 2012 6:37 pm

WARNING: The following story contains Santa information that may not be suitable for youngsters.

So, you're considering becoming a Santa — getting a suit, throwing on a beard — after all, how hard could it be?

"Being a good Santa Claus, it's a calling," says Santa Jim Manning, aka Boston Santa.

Manning has been playing Santa for about a decade, doing mostly home visits. He says the first thing you're going to need to do is figure out is what kind of Santa you're going to be.

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U.S.
5:40 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Immigrants Welcomed: A City Sees Economic Promise

Adolphe Bizwinayo left Rwanda as a refugee and says his new city, Dayton, Ohio, helped him transition to American life with initiatives like the Dayton World Soccer Games.
Shawndra Jones for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:40 am

If there's one common language that some recent immigrants in Dayton, Ohio, seem to share, it's soccer.

The first Dayton World Soccer Games kicked off earlier this year, an initiative hosted by the city to welcome an influx of immigrants. On the field, a rainbow of brightly colored jerseys represented nearly 20 of the different immigrant communities in the city.

"I've been really surprised to see that there's a lot of soccer going on in Dayton," says Adolphe Bizwinayo, who left Rwanda as a refugee.

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U.S.
5:38 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Democrats Slam NRA's Response To School Shooting

Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, speaks in response to the Connecticut school shootings, at a news conference in Washington on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:40 am

The nation's largest gun owners group had said little in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, broke that silence Friday with a call to place armed guards at all of the nation's schools.

The idea was met with immediate criticism from Democrats in Congress.

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The Two-Way
6:13 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Obama On Fiscal Cliff Talks: 'I Actually Still Think We Can Get It Done'

At a press conference Friday, President Obama urges Congress to pass a scaled-back package to avert end-of-year tax hikes and spending cuts.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

In a news conference Friday, President Obama said there were still things the parties could agree on about the automatic tax-rate increases and spending cuts at the end of the year. But he said parties would have to work together to get a plan approved in the next 10 days.

"Call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done," he said, after meeting with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and speaking to Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

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It's All Politics
5:30 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Kerry's Cabinet Nod Sets Off Massachusetts Senate Fight

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., gets into his pickup truck after voting in Wrentham, Mass., on Nov. 6. Brown lost the election to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, but both he and his truck could be back on the campaign trail soon.
Gretchen Ertl AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 5:55 pm

President Obama's nomination of Democrat John Kerry to be secretary of state sets off a chain of events that could put another Kennedy in the Senate, at least on an interim basis.

And it gives ousted Republican Scott Brown a fighting chance of returning to the Senate by midyear.

On Friday, Obama nominated Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, to replace Hillary Clinton as the nation's chief diplomat. A 27-year veteran of the Senate and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry should win easy Senate confirmation early in the new year.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
5:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Free Toy Shop Brings Cheer To Sandy's Displaced Families

Each FEMA-registered family with kids can pick out toys at the volunteer-run Staten Island store.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

The New York borough of Staten Island was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Almost two months after the storm hit, many residents will not be back in their homes by the Christmas holiday.

One organization is trying to make the season a bit brighter for uprooted families with a free toy store on the island. This all-volunteer effort looks like a real toy store, but it feels more like a community of neighbors.

The shop boasts shelves filled with toys like model cars, Monopoly, dolls, craft supplies and books — almost everything you would want in a regular toy store.

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