3:22am

Sat December 29, 2012
Europe

Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption: Unresolved Issues In France

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 6:14 pm

A man wears a costume reading "Dad" and "Mom" during a demonstration against gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Nice, France, in October.
Valery Hache AFP/Getty Images

France is known as a tolerant country on many social issues, yet the country is embroiled in a debate about same-sex marriage and adoption.

President Francois Hollande is following through on a campaign promise to bring full rights to gay couples. France legalized civil unions more than a decade ago, though same-sex couples must still go abroad to marry or adopt.

But opposition to Hollande's measure has been unexpectedly fierce, something the Socialist government wasn't expecting.

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3:21am

Sat December 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama: 'The American People Are Watching What We Do Here'

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

"I'm optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time," the president said after meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

We have reached the last weekend of the year, and Washington still has not reached a deal to avert the big tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

President Obama met with top congressional leaders at the White House on Friday afternoon: John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi from the House, and Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell from the Senate.

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4:50pm

Fri December 28, 2012
It's All Politics

New Immigration Battle: Driver's Licenses

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 5:19 pm

In a sign of growing opposition to President Obama's immigration policy, Iowa has become the latest state to deny driver's licenses to young illegal immigrants who receive deferments from deportation.

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Michael Schaub is a writer, book critic and regular contributor to NPR Books. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Portland Mercury and The Austin Chronicle, among other publications. A native of Texas, he now lives in Portland, Ore.

4:26pm

Fri December 28, 2012
Best Books Of 2012

True Originals: Biographies That Defy Expectations

Nishant Choksi

It's probably not true that truth is stranger than fiction, but in the hands of a great biographer, it can be just as compelling. Novelists can create unique and unforgettable characters — there's never been anyone quite like Jane Eyre or Ignatius J. Reilly — but there's no shortage of fascinating literary protagonists who just happened to exist in real life.

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3:45pm

Fri December 28, 2012
The Two-Way

President And Congress Extend FISA Wiretapping Act To 2017 [Updated]

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 4:16 pm

National Intelligence Director James Clapper leaves the Capitol after briefing members of Congress earlier this month. The Senate voted Friday to extend the FISA Amendments Act to 2017, granting federal agencies wide surveillance powers.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The FISA Amendments Act has been approved for another five years, as the Senate voted to renew the law that grants the government wide surveillance authority. President Obama has said he intends to sign the measure, which senators approved by a 73-23 margin Friday morning. It had already won approval in the House.

Update at 6:10 p.m. Dec. 31: Obama signs FISA extension.

The president signed the FISA extension Sunday. Our original post continues:

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3:38pm

Fri December 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Victim Of Brutal Rape In India Dies In Singapore Hospital

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:51 pm

A woman who survived a brutal gang-rape on a bus in India has died, according to reports. Earlier Friday, hospital officials in Singapore, where the 23-year-old student was being treated, had warned that her condition was worsening.

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2:40pm

Fri December 28, 2012
Around the Nation

California Missions Undergo Upgrades To Resist Quakes

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Scaffolding is seen at the basilica at a mission in Carmel, Calif., a sign of its multimillion-dollar seismic retrofit.
Krista Almanzan for NPR

At California's nearly two dozen Spanish missions, conversion these days isn't just about religion; it's also about seismic retrofitting. That's because the missions — which date to the late 1700s, when Spain's king sent Franciscan missionaries to convert natives to Christianity — would not withstand a major earthquake.

At a mission in Carmel, a 220-year-old basilica is in the middle of an earthquake retrofit. Workers removed the structure's red tile roof and replaced it with scaffolding and a protective plastic.

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2:38pm

Fri December 28, 2012
Economy

Reading The Economic Tea Leaves For 2013

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

A housing revival will be key to an economic recovery in 2013, analysts say.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

The U.S. economy was a bit of a disappointment in 2012. During the early months of the year, job creation was surprisingly strong, but by the end of the year, uncertainty about the election and the "fiscal cliff" slowed the economy's forward motion. So will 2013 look any better?

Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says that while Washington likely will steer us away from the fiscal cliff at the last minute, some elements of the deal will be a drag on the economy early in 2013.

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2:18pm

Fri December 28, 2012
Music

Remembering Fontella Bass, Voice Of A Soul Classic

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The voice of a great soul classic has died. Fontella Bass sang the 1965 hit "Rescue Me." She was 72 years old and died from complications caused by a recent heart attack. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has this appreciation.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: It's a perfect song with a perfect voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RESCUE ME")

FONTELLA BASS: (Singing) Rescue me. Take me in your arms. Rescue me. I love your tender charms. I'm rather lonely and I'm blue. I need you and your love, too. Come on and rescue me.

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