The Two-Way
8:09 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Today's Three Stories To Read About The 'Fiscal Cliff'

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the White House on Nov. 16.
Toby Jorrin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 11:18 am

As we've said now several times, "the White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect."

As NPR and others cover the story, we're pointing to interesting reports and analyses. Here are some of the latest.

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Syrian Defector: Assad Will Use Chemical Weapons If He's Desperate

Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2009.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 1:25 pm

If Syrian President Bashar Assad gets desperate enough he will use chemical weapons against his own people, the former chief of staff for that country's chemical weapons tells NPR's Deborah Amos.

Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu, who defected in July and is now in Turkey, is convinced that if rebel forces close in on Damascus, Assad will order the use of mustard gas, sarin or other chemicals in a "last desperate act," Deb reported today on Morning Edition.

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Europe
6:39 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Noah's Ark Replica Docks In Netherlands

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:55 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene, with news that Noah's Ark has docked in the Netherlands. Well, sort of. Johan Huibers built a full-scale replica of the ark on a river, staying as true as he could to God's instructions to Noah. The giant floating hulk opened to the public with some real animals: rabbits and parakeets. The bison and tigers are life-sized sculptures. There are modern creature comforts, like two cinemas and a restaurant. And on opening day, by God, it rained. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
6:34 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Phoenix Man Lights Cactus To Celebrate Hanukkah

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:55 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The spirit of Hanukah is aglow in the desert. For the seventh straight year, a man in Phoenix is lighting up the tips of a giant cactus to celebrate the holiday. Mel Kline's cactus is called a saguaro. It has a middle trunk and eight arms, perfect for a menorah. And at 30 feet tall, it attracts hundreds of visitors. The Arizona Republic reports that Kline bought the cactus 35 years ago. His wife wanted a maple tree. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

John McAlley is the editor of NPR.org's Books We Like series. A longtime top editor at Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, Us and Entertainment Weekly, McAlley has written for GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Spin and NPR.org's Monkey See blog. He has worked as a photo editor at Rolling Stone and been a contributor to Aperture. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

Best Books Of 2012
6:03 am
Tue December 11, 2012

10 Eye-Catching Reads For The Book Lover On Your List

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:35 am

Some books paint pictures with words; others use pictures to render us speechless. No matter the method, you'll lose yourself in the best possible way leafing through the volumes in this year's list of recommended gift books. If pages were like musical notes, these titles would produce a pretty great mashup. Envision one of photographer Cindy Sherman's crones in the forest of a Brothers Grimm tale. Set one of graphic novelist Chris Ware's "building stories" inside, say, the curvaceous contours of an architectural masterwork by Frank Gehry.

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Digital Life
5:36 am
Tue December 11, 2012

FTC: Apps For Children Raise Privacy Concerns

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:55 am

The Federal Trade Commission has released a report taking to task the makers of mobile apps for children. It says apps are not transparent enough about the personal information they collect. It's the latest sign the Obama administration is concerned about children's privacy online.

National Security
5:36 am
Tue December 11, 2012

U.S. Adds Syrian Rebel Group To Terror List

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:55 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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NPR Story
5:26 am
Tue December 11, 2012

The Lost Art Of Budget Negptoatopms

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:55 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

President Obama and House speaker John Boehner have been holding private conversations about how to avoid the fiscal cliff, but still no deal. That has many in Washington talking about how it wasn't always so difficult to get things done. For some insight, we called John Danforth. He's a former Republican senator from Missouri and spent decades forging deals across the aisle, including the 1986 tax reform law under President Reagan. As he sees it, lawmakers aren't approaching the current problem from the right angle.

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NPR Story
5:26 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Syrian Army Said To Be Readying Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:55 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The warnings have come from the White House, Western capitals and the U.N. Syria's president, Bashar al Assad, must not use chemical weapons against the rebels and his people.

Publicly, Syrian officials deny having a chemical stockpile. They insist they would never use one if they had one. But U.S. officials have said there are signs that the Syrian army is readying its chemical arsenal for use.

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