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Every weekday for over three decades, NPR's Morning Edition has taken listeners around the country and the world with multi-faceted stories and commentaries that inform challenge and occasionally amuse.  Morning Edition is the most listened-to news radio program in the country. Eric Hodge and the WUNC News team bring you regional updates through the morning.

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History
3:20 am
Tue December 18, 2012

WWII 'Canteen Girl' Kept Troops Company From Afar

During World War II, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones for 15 minutes every week on NBC radio.
Courtesy of Phyllis Jeanne Creore Westerman

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:07 am

American service members have long spent holidays in dangerous places, far from family. These days, home is a video chat or Skype call away. But during World War II, packages, letters and radio programs bridged the lonely gaps. For 15 minutes every week, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones on NBC radio.

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Shots - Health News
3:18 am
Tue December 18, 2012

NIH Revisits Debate On Controversial Bird Flu Research

A prefectural officer carries a chicken on a poultry farm on Oct. 15 on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, where chickens suspected of being infected with bird flu were found.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 8:14 am

On Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health in Maryland is holding a second day of talks about whether and how to continue funding some controversial scientific experiments.

Back in January, virologists agreed to temporarily stop research that was creating new forms of bird flu because critics argued that the work was too dangerous. NIH officials are now seeking input from scientists and the public about how to proceed.

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Holiday Music
2:03 am
Tue December 18, 2012

'What Christmas Means' To Soul Singer KEM

Of "Christmas Time is Here," Kem says, "It's one of those songs that I hear and it's like, 'I wish I wrote that.' "
Anthony Mandler Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:07 am

For KEM's What Christmas Means, the R&B singer wanted to cover several aspects of the season: the birth of Christ, for one, but also Christmas as a "romantic holiday."

"You spend time cuddled up by the fire, warm and cozy with your wife or your husband," KEM tells NPR's David Greene. "You spend more time being intimate with shopping — we're doing things with the kids, we're together. There's a lot of sincerity, a lot of warmth."

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Girls, Boys And Toys: Rethinking Stereotypes In What Kids Play With

Hasbro's pink Easy-Bake Oven is under fire for reinforcing gender stereotypes.
Peggy Turbett The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:50 am

We've been focusing on some serious news today. Here's something on the lighter side.

A New Jersey teenager who launched a campaign to get Hasbro to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven is expected to meet with the toy company Monday afternoon.

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET. Easy-Bake Oven goes gender-neutral:

After meeting with Pope, Hasbro now says it plans to introduce a new black, silver, and blue model of the oven, and to feature boys in ads for the product. Our original post continues:

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Around the Nation
7:32 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Holiday Display Called 'Sensory Explosion'

There are Christmas displays, and then there's the one in Wall Township, N.J. It has synchronized lights, lasers, fog machines, strobe lights, 20-foot flames and the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. There's no charge — they only accept donations for a local charity.

Around the Nation
7:26 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Police Officer Helps Motorist Register Car

Hayden Carlo was recently pulled over near Dallas for having an expired registration sticker. He said he had a choice: either feed his kids or get a new registration. The officer issued a citation, and when Carlo unfolded it, he found $100.

NPR Story
5:17 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Why Tragedies Alter Risk Perception

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

After the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, many parents dropping their kids off at school this morning are facing a lot of anxiety. Today in Your Health, we asked NPR's science correspondent Shankar Vedantam to come by to talk about how tragedies shape our perceptions of risk.

Shankar, good morning.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So tell us what we know from school shootings of the past. I mean, what sort of impact will this tragedy have on parents and how they think?

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NPR Story
5:17 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Examining Child Tax Credit

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 7:05 am

There's still no budget deal to prevent the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect at the end of this year. There are some tax deductions, credits and other breaks lawmakers are weighing in this budget debate.

NPR Story
5:17 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Japanese Voters Return Conservatives To Power

Shinzo Abe of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party marks the name of a parliamentary election winner at party headquarters in Tokyo on Sunday. Japan's conservative LDP stormed back to power Sunday after three years in opposition.
Junji Kurokawa AP

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 3:49 pm

Japan's Liberal Democratic Party won resoundingly in parliamentary elections Sunday that both Washington and Beijing were watching carefully. The conservative LDP's hawkish leader, Shinzo Abe, will become Japan's prime minister for the second time and has pledged to take a harder line on China.

Speaking on Japanese TV, Abe had a message for Japan's most important ally, America, and another for Japan's biggest rival — China.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Experts Argue Against Proposed Ban On Vaccine Preservative

A boy in Lima, Peru, receives a hepatitis B vaccine during an immunization drive in 2008. The United Nations is considering a ban on the preservative thimerosal, which is often used in hepatitis B and other vaccines in developing countries.
Martin Mejia AP

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 8:55 am

An old complaint about the safety of childhood vaccines is finding new life at the United Nations.

The U.N. Environment Program is considering a ban on thimerosal, a vaccine preservative that is widely used in developing countries. The program expects to make a decision sometime after a final meeting on the issue in January.

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