8:00am

Sat January 21, 2012
Middle East

Barbie In Iran: A Western Plot?

Police have closed down dozens of toy shops for selling Barbie dolls in Iran, part of a decades-long crackdown against "manifestations of Western culture." Host Scott Simon looks at what's being called a "cultural Trojan horse."

8:00am

Sat January 21, 2012
NPR Story

Looking Forward To Sunday Championship Football

Conference championship Sunday is almost as big as the Super Bowl, but without all those distracting halftime wardrobe malfunctions. Host Scott Simon is joined by NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman to discuss the upcoming games.

8:00am

Sat January 21, 2012
NPR Story

A Fine Line When It Comes To SuperPACs

Under current law, candidates' campaigns are not allowed to coordinate with superPACs, although they clearly benefit from their messages. As result, candidates have performed feats of verbal gymnastics in order to talk about them. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Peter Overby about the role of superPACs in the presidential race.

8:00am

Sat January 21, 2012
The Salt

How One Former Vegan Learned To Embrace Butchering

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Butcher-in-training Andrew Plotsky at the 2011 Young Farmers Conference.
Maggie Starbard NPR

The farm-to-table philosophy has been mostly about knowing where food was grown. For meat, that meant knowing if your chickens were caged and if your beef was grass fed.

But with the revival of the butcher shop, some young people are undertaking the largely lost art of butchering as a stronger way to connect with their food.

For 24-year-old Andrew Plotsky of Washington, D.C., that meant leaving his job as a barista in a snobby coffee shop to learn the process of raising an animal, slaughtering it and butchering it for a meal.

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6:01am

Sat January 21, 2012
Author Interviews

Lesson Learned: Don't Fly To North Pole In A Balloon

Knopf

In the late 19th century, scores of celebrated, valorous explorers attempted to reach the North Pole. Groups of explorers from the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia invented clever new equipment, raised money, stirred national pride and enthralled the world by attempting to march, sail or sled to the most cold, remote and unseen place on Earth.

But it was a perilous business: Of the 1,000 people who tried to reach the North Pole in the late 1800s, 751 died during their attempt, author Alec Wilkinson tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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6:01am

Sat January 21, 2012
World

China Hedges Mideast Oil Bets Amid Iran Tensions

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 10:35 pm

China appears to be rethinking its reliance on oil from Iran. Here, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (right) visits with the members of the Saudi Arabia-China Friendship Association on the outskirt of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, earlier this month.
Liu Weibing Xinhua /Landov

China's premier, Wen Jiabao, was in the Persian Gulf this week talking about oil.

China has become increasingly concerned about all the threats of conflict with Iran in the Persian Gulf, which supplies China with a great deal of its oil.

In fact, China is Iran's biggest customer. But Iran was not a stop on the Chinese itinerary — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were.

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6:00am

Sat January 21, 2012
Election 2012

Carolina Blues: N.C. GOP Looks South With Envy

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum shakes hands with supporters prior to speaking during a campaign stop at Captain Steve's Restaurant on Jan. 20 in Fort Mill, S.C. Fort Mill is just over the line from North Carolina, and some voters wish they could cross over for the GOP primary on Saturday.
John W. Adkisson Getty Images

South Carolina voters have a pivotal role Saturday in narrowing the field of Republican presidential candidates.

But after that, South Carolina will get very little political attention. It's solidly Republican and simply not worth the time or money of Democratic presidential hopefuls.

North Carolina, on the other hand, could go either way, and the Obama campaign is already digging in. The Charlotte region straddles both states and leads a sort of "double life" in politics.

Too Far North

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5:00am

Sat January 21, 2012
Law

Privacy Lawyers Process Megaupload Copyright Case

The Justice Department's massive copyright case against the file-sharing website Megaupload.com had the Internet world hopping this week. But it also got lawyers talking, about the scope of a criminal investigation that spanned eight countries and the hard-nosed tactics that the government deployed.

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5:00am

Sat January 21, 2012
Europe

New U.S. Ambassador Already Facing Critics In Russia

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 10:31 am

Michael McFaul, the architect of the reset of relations with Russia, is now the U.S. ambassador to Moscow as the countries work through a series of difficult issues. Here, McFaul is shown at his Jan. 10 swearing-in at the Sate Department, a ceremony presided over by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Astrid Riecken Getty images

In the early days of the Obama administration, Michael McFaul made his mark as the architect of the so-called reset of relations with Russia.

Now, as the new U.S. ambassador to Moscow, McFaul may need to reset relations once again as the two countries go through another rough patch.

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12:50am

Sat January 21, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Michael Fassbender, Mushrooms

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 11:17 am

Uncomfortably Numb: For Brandon (Michael Fassbender), the endless pursuit of sex doesn't involve any particular pleasure — only a driving obsession.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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