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Sixteen years ago, a Swedish woman lost her wedding ring but she recently found it. A Swedish newspaper reports that while picking carrots in her garden, the woman found one with the gold band around it. She thinks it fell into some vegetable peelings meant for garden compost.

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And this next story is for those who may be searching for a drink. You've heard of the local food movement where people try to buy food from close to home. You've heard of the micro brewing movement where people turn away from Bud Light, say, in favor of beer brands made in small batches. The local booze movement may marry the two. At least one restaurant in Los Angeles boasts a bar stocked with liquor produced entirely in California.

Rachel Myrow of member station KQED dropped by the bar - purely for reporting purposes.

Millions of people are searching for things every day on Google. The people at the giant search engine realized that if they tracked those searches, the patterns can tell us about what's happening with people's lives.

ABC TV rolls out a new version of an old show Tuesday — this time its Celebrity Wife Swap. The old Wife Swap wasn't getting great ratings, so they needed to up their game. Eric Deggans, the TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times, explains what celebrities do for reality shows.

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NPR's business news starts with the cost of airline tickets.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

After concentrating on Iowa more than any other Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum is gaining on front-runners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, a new Des Moines Register poll shows. Santorum is hoping to consolidate Iowa's Christian conservative vote — the strategy that won the state for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee four years ago.

Jeanne Zyzda did not expect more than 100 people in her Sioux City coffee shop, the Daily Grind. Not all at once, and not on a holiday.

The Last Word In Business

Jan 2, 2012

Steve Inskeep has the Last Word in business.

Concluding that he can win the Iowa caucuses, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney spent the weekend campaigning in western Iowa, a mostly conservative region. After months of making only periodic visits to the state, Romney is making an aggressive final push through Iowa.

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Newt Gingrich says, when it comes to his campaigning, he has been conducting an experiment. The former House speaker says he's been running a positive campaign as he competes for the Republican nomination. And if voters who say they hate negative campaigning practice what they preach, Gingrich says he'll do better than expected in Iowa.

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But Gingrich also says he needs to set the record straight, and that means firing back at Mitt Romney.

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2011.

Seth MacFarlane: A 'Family Guy' Sings Out

Jan 2, 2012

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on October 17, 2011.

For generations of Japanese, smoking has been all but synonymous with manhood and hard work. During Japan's high-growth period in the 1960s, the smoking rate for males topped 80 percent, twice as high as the rate during America's smoking heyday.

In a country that's so tobacco friendly, it's no wonder anti-smoking initiatives have trouble gaining traction. That's despite the estimated $90 billion being spent on cigarette-related health costs and damages every year, three times what cigarette sales bring in annually, according to the Japan Health Economics Association.

Chinese leaders made a rare condolence visit to North Korea's embassy in Beijing last month.

Broadcast on China Central Television, the leaders – dressed in black suits — bowed in unison towards the portrait of Kim Jong Il. Why show so much respect to a man who caused so much misery?

One reason: fear of something worse.

Companies making genetically modified animals face a regulatory morass in this country. It's not always clear which federal agency has responsibility for regulating a particular animal, and even when one agency does take the lead, the approval process can drag on for years.

The companies say this uncertainty means their technologies may die without ever being given a chance.

Take the case of the British company Oxitec. It has developed a genetically modified mosquito that the company says can be used to combat a disease called dengue.

It's a tradition as old as New Year's: making resolutions. We will not smoke, or sojourn with the bucket of mint chocolate chip. In fact, we will resist sweets generally, including the bowl of M &Ms that our co-worker has helpfully positioned on the aisle corner of his desk. There will be exercise, and the learning of a new language.

It is resolved.

So what does science know about translating our resolve into actual changes in behavior? The answer to this question brings us — strangely enough — to a story about heroin use in Vietnam.

One year ago, the people of Tunisia and Egypt rose up against their autocratic rulers and forced them from power. Those revolutions spread across the Arab World, leading to the region's biggest upheaval in decades. It's still not clear how these seismic changes will play out, and so far, the results have been mixed. Today, NPR begins a six-part series looking at where the region stands today. In our first story, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports on the elections in Egypt and Tunisia as these countries struggle to build democracies.

Theatergoers are used to being anonymous, hidden in the darkness, part of a crowd. They're free to fidget, yawn, even tune out; the actors won't know. But in an innovative kind of theater popping up at fringe festivals and independent venues the spotlight shines on the audience.

Intimate theater relies on tight spaces and unconventional stages to collapse the distance between performer and viewer.

On New Year's day in 1977, Lake Superior State University in Michigan released its first "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness". Every year since then, it has taken nominations for words and phrases we should quit using in the coming year. Last year's list included such anti-favorites as "viral," "epic" and "refudiate."

In Washington, D.C., pedestrians nominated "ping me", "literally" used incorrectly, "bro," "hater," "hating," "totes" and "amazing."

A Quick Look At The Year Ahead

Jan 1, 2012

As the new year gets under way, we take a quick temperature check on some key areas to see what the prognosis might be. The topics: politics — domestic and global — and economics.

The lecture is one of the oldest forms of education there is.

"Before printing someone would read the books to everybody who would copy them down," says Joe Redish, a physics professor at the University of Maryland.

But lecturing has never been an effective teaching technique and now that information is everywhere, some say it's a waste of time. Indeed, physicists have the data to prove it.

When Eric Mazur began teaching physics at Harvard, he started out teaching the same way he had been taught.

2012: The Year Of The Smart Superhero Movie

Jan 1, 2012

Though last year was the year of the "staggeringly disappointing superhero movie", according to NPR arts and entertainment reporter Neda Ulaby, 2012 may mark the year of the smart superhero movie with releases of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

Will Republicans Sweep The 2012 Elections?

Jan 1, 2012

It's still too early to call the 2012 elections, but some political analysts are predicting that the odds are against congressional Democrats in 2012, though the presidential race may still be a toss-up.

There's a handful of people — roughly 10 percent of the global population — that has something in common.

Many mysteries and misconceptions surround this group. Its members have been called artistically gifted and self-reliant, but also untrustworthy and insincere. Most recently, several of them have been called the president of the United States.

The new Broadway production of the musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever has been billed as a "reincarnation" rather than a revival. The premise is the same as before: A psychiatrist, Mark Bruckner, falls in love with the "past life" of one of his hypnotized patients. But this version replaces Daisy, the charming young patient first played in the 1960s by Barbara Harris, with Davey — a gay man harboring a female alter ego deep in his subconscious.

New Year? How About A New Calendar?

Jan 1, 2012

About 430 years ago, Pope Gregory XIII gave the West a calendar which divided 365 days into what was to be called a "year." With 12 months and 7 days bundled into so-called "weeks," the Gregorian calendar was hailed as a marvel of medieval accuracy. We use it today, despite its occasional messiness — drifting days, leap years and 28-day months.

Arab Women Rising: An Uncertain Future

Jan 1, 2012

2011 was a year of protest across the Middle East and North Africa. Amid each uprising, women were visible, fighting not just for the rights of their country, but often for rights of their own. Host Audie Cornish talks with Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations about women in the Arab uprising and their role going forward.

One of the biggest political question marks going into 2012 is the fate of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Audie Cornish speaks with Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times about what's ahead for Americans in terms of health care in the new year, including a constitutional challenge to the law's mandatory health care provision.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

Even though seven Republican presidential candidates ushered in the New Year, a new poll by the Des Moines Register in Iowa makes it look like a three-person race. We'll fill you in on the latest shuffle of front-runners in a moment. But first, how did the Republicans candidates spend New Year's Eve?

So we sent NPR's Sonari Glinton to find out.

While all focus on has been on the future of the White House, the fate of the Senate hangs in the balance of 2012 as well. Host Audie Cornish talks with Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report about what's at stake in the U.S. Senate.

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

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