North Korea is holding a state funeral today for its late leader Kim Jong Il. The funeral caps days of official mourning since Kim's death of a heart attack on December 17th. The most prominent figure in the proceedings, other than Kim himself, is his third son and heir apparent Kim Jong Un, thought to be in his late-20s. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from Seoul, South Korea, where he's been reporting on these events. And Anthony, what's happening at the funeral?
Listeners weigh in on a story about more and more hospitals in Massachusetts saying no to early deliveries; and an interview about the biopic My Week with Marilyn. Host Robert Siegel reads listeners' emails.
Arab League monitors visited the central city of Homs, an opposition stronghold, besieged and under bombardment by the Syrian army until the monitors showed up. Syrian army armor was withdrawn from the city streets ahead of the visit, but activists say they expect a resumption of the army offensive as soon as the monitors leave. They also complain that they have not been allowed to meet with the Arab League team.
It's been another warm, rainy day in much of the Northeast, with temperatures in some areas topping 40 degrees. If you hate shoveling snow, or paying big heating bills, that's good news. But for people who love winter sports — and for thousands of businesses that rely on snow for winter tourism — this month's October-like weather has been painful.
Host Robert Siegel speaks with Cassee Cain and Ziyuan Liu, who recently won the team portion of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. The high-schoolers from Oak Ridge, Tenn., modified the Kinect device for Microsoft's Xbox 360 in order to analyze human gait. Cain and Liu hope to use the device to diagnose and treat medical problems that affect movement.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
This year, the federal government gave billions of dollars of stimulus money to medical providers to help speed up their use of electronic health records. The idea is for doctors to coordinate care better so that patients can see their charts online, and to allow clinics to grade their doctors.
Oregon is ahead of the curve. Sixty-five percent of clinicians have electronic medical records, compared to about 45 percent nationwide.
When the internet kills a big box retailer, Gordon Brothers is the undertaker.
"They're stuck with selling the things that are inside the box," says bankruptcy lawyer Steve Jakubowski.
Gordon Brothers specializes in retail liquidations. When a store dies, they put on a suit, greet the guests and sell them whatever remains. And that means everything — not just books and clothing and DVDs, but shelves, lighting fixtures, even the chairs.
Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin started the Juilliard guitar program. Her new album, Guitar Passions, features collaborations between Isbin — who studied with Andres Segovia, among others — and artists with very unclassical careers: jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan, rock singer Nancy Wilson of the band Heart, soprano saxophonist Paul Winter and several others.
While pantomime performances of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are traditional English holiday entertainment fare, there's a new hit in town. Londoners are flocking to Matilda the Musical, a souped-up version of Roald Dahl's well-known children's novel, playing in London's West End.
The production by The Royal Shakespeare Company has been proclaimed the best British musical in years. But despite most of the cast being under 16, this show is certainly not just for kids.
2011 was a good year for the word "swag". Not trinkets, or party favors, not an acronym for Stuff We All Get, "swag" comes from swagger. This year a term that hip-hop artists have been using for nearly a decade enjoyed a moment in the spotlight.
Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Forget the ABCs or childhood friendships. Brooklyn band the Deedle Deedle Dees infuses its music with subjects as diverse as Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence and the letters of John and Abigail Adams, coupled with catchy, sing-along choruses.
The new bio-pic My Week with Marilyn chronicles the making of The Prince and the Showgirl, in which Laurence Olivier acted with and directed Marilyn Monroe. Sarah Churchwell, author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, talks to Robert Siegel about what elements of the film ring true.
Harold O'Neal is a jazz pianist with an unusual resume. Born in Tanzania and raised in Kansas City, Miss., O'Neal is also a hip-hop dancer, martial artist and actor. He's just released a new album with an unusual back story of its own: Marvelous Fantasy is a largely improvised collection of solo piano pieces, an homage to the music of silent films.
There are a lot of photo apps out there for the iPhone. With most of them, you take a picture, put a filter on it and maybe add some lens blur. But many of them don't have a built-in way for you to share the photo.
"When we combined those two key ingredients, we came up with something that became Instagram," says Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, who is also one if its founders.
At the time, animal lover Bart Centre, the creator of Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, had 259 clients whose pets he promised to look after in the event that they were raptured in the next 10 years. Those clients paid $135 for the first pet and $20 for each additional pet.
On a Friday night this past July, it was July 22nd to be exact, we began to hear details about a shooting in Norway. Now, at first, it seemed like an isolated incident. But by Saturday morning, the full extent of the attacks started to become clear. A series of explosions, and then the systematic killing of dozens of young people by an extreme right wing gunman named Anders Behring Breivik.
That morning, we called journalist Anders Giaever. He's a columnist at one of Norway's largest newspapers and he was shaken.
The Christmas holidays always mean big money for Hollywood. The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is traditionally the biggest box-office week of the year. But this year something weird is going on: more movies are opening on Sunday instead of the traditional Friday. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with NPR's movie critic Bob Mondello about what this will mean for the holiday movie season.
Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with Lucy Craft, a reporter based in Japan, to get an update on the status of the country 10 months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Craft says Tokyo appears mostly normal, but northern Japan still has a long way to go.
Republican Representative Bob Inglis was one of only a few Republicans in the House of Representatives who lost their seats to Tea Party challengers in 2010. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz spoke with Inglis, a longtime conservative, just over a year ago before he left Congress. He checks back in with Inglis to find out what he has been up to since he left politics.
The Justice Department has blocked a new South Carolina voting law, saying it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The state law requires voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. The Justice Department says the law disenfranchises minorities, but the state says it protects against voter fraud. For more, Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Pam Fessler.
It's almost here. And by "it," we mean the new season of Downton Abbey, the UK-produced drama about the Crawley family and their servants that PBS imported for Masterpiece Classic with great success. Series two has already run in the UK, but if you've been good and patient and resisted the urge to obtain it by illicit means, your wait is nearly over: the new season begins on PBS on January 8th.