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Reporter's Notebook
5:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Midcentury Furniture + Grandkid Nostalgia = Modern Trend

NPR's Andrea Hsu paid $75 for her midcentury modern table and chairs, shown here in a 1963 Drexel Declaration catalog. She quickly realized it was a steal.
Courtesy Drexel Heritage

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

Open a design magazine or turn on a home decorating show these days, and it's clear: Midcentury modern is hot. It first showed up in the 1950s and '60s — think low-slung sofas, egg-shaped chairs and the set of Mad Men. My first midcentury modern find was a dining set I bought on Craigslist for $75. There was something about the clean lines and gentle curves of the wooden chairs that got me.

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NPR Story
5:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

For Tuskegee Airman George Porter, Failure Was Not An Option

George Porter, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, at his home in Sacramento, Calif., in 2007. Porter joined the armed forces in 1942 and served as a crew chief, squadron inspector and flight engineer with the Army Air Forces and the Air Force.
Paul Kitagaki Jr. MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who died this year.

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Parallels
4:28 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

In China, Customer Service And Efficiency Begin To Blossom

A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:56 pm

China's infamous bureaucracy has bedeviled people for ages, but in recent years, daily life in some major Chinese cities has become far more efficient.

For instance, when I worked in Beijing in the 1990s, many reporters had drivers. It wasn't because they didn't drive, but because they needed someone to deal with China's crippling bureaucracy.

I had a man named Old Zhao, who would drive around for days to pay our office bills at various government utility offices. Zhao would sit in line for hours, often only to be abused by functionaries.

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Media
4:10 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Two Newspapers Battle It Out For The New Orleans Market

Free introductory copies of the Baton Rouge Advocate's new New Orleans edition are seen next to copies of The Times-Picayune at Lakeside News in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in September. The Baton Rouge newspaper started its own daily edition to try to fill the void left when The Times-Picayune scaled back its print edition to three days a week.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 2:26 pm

Last year when New Orleans' main paper, The Times-Picayune, laid off dozens of newspaper employees and cut its circulation to three times a week, residents were shocked.

Sharron Morrow and her friends had bonded over the morning paper at a local coffee shop for the past 20 years.

"I've stopped my subscription, and I mourn the paper almost every day," she says.

Shifting Media Players

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The Salt
3:40 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Cooking With Cicadas: No Weirder Than Eating Cheese?

Cicada: It's what's for dinner?
Sean Bush AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

You knew this one was coming.

Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.

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Business
3:21 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

By leasing land for drilling, city leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, hope to generate funds to demolish vacant buildings.
M.L. Schultze for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.

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Asia
2:08 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

For China's Youth, A Life Of 'Darkness Outside The Night'

A small, child-like creature in a cone hat peers into a toy shop, happy at the sight of a snow globe, in a vignette called "Tininess" in Darkness Outside the Night, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the excerpt below.
Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with permission to reproduce the panels from Tabella Publishing LLP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 4:48 pm

Xie Peng, a 36-year-old Chinese graphic novelist, spent six years working on his first book, Darkness Outside the Night. It's been praised by China's first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan, as inspiring people on how to deal with life.

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Asia
1:31 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

China's Leaders Promise To Speed Up Economic Reform

The Communist Party's new leadership has pledged to change China's slowing economy by putting a greater emphasis on private enterprise and reining in huge but far less profitable state-owned businesses. Economists say the party has no choice but to update if it wants to stay in power, but they doubt that a genuine overhaul is in the works.

World Cafe
11:31 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Red Baraat On World Cafe

Red Baraat.
Erin Patrice O'Brien Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:45 am

At a Red Baraat show, the combination of Punjabi Bhangra music, New Orleans-style jazz, go-go and even hip-hop is so seamless — and the vibe of the party is so exuberant — that barriers fall down. That unique sound is what Red Baraat's leader, Sunny Jain, had in mind when he formed the band in Brooklyn in 2008.

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Business
10:47 am
Wed May 29, 2013

China's Shuanghui Buys Pork Giant Smithfield For $4.7 Billion

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a meaty Chinese investment in the U.S.

A Chinese meat producer plans to buy the U.S. meat company Smithfield for $4.7 billion dollars. Smithfield is the world's largest pork producers, and by some estimates, if this deal is approved by regulators, it would be the biggest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese company.

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