11:55am

Fri January 20, 2012
Planet Money

The Secret Document That Transformed China

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 9:03 pm

Yen Jingchang was one of the signers of the secret document.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.

The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village's collective farm; there was no personal property.

"Back then, even one straw belonged to the group," says Yen Jingchang, who was a farmer in Xiaogang in 1978. "No one owned anything."

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11:54am

Fri January 20, 2012
Remembrances

Etta James: The 1994 Fresh Air Interview

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 10:54 am

Etta James onstage at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Rick Diamond Getty Images

Etta James, the legendary vocalist who is perhaps best known for her version of the song "At Last," has died. She was 73.

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11:50am

Fri January 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Singer Etta James Has Died

Etta James in 2008.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images
  • Felix Contreras on Etta James

NPR confirms, and CNN reports that:

"Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as The Wallflower, Something's Got a Hold on Me, and the wedding favorite At Last, has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73 and had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2010."

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11:40am

Fri January 20, 2012
Music News

Remembering Etta James, Stunning Singer

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 2:03 pm

Etta James rehearses a song before recording at Fame Studios circa 1967 in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
House Of Fame LLC Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

The "Matriarch of the Blues" has died. Music legend Etta James died Friday morning at Riverside Community Hospital in California of complications from leukemia. She was 73.

She was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938. Her first manager and promoter cut up Jamesetta's name and reversed it: Etta James.

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11:15am

Fri January 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Texas Redistricting Plan Tossed Out By Supreme Court

A plan for how to redraw Texas' congressional and state legislative districts that was put together by a three-judge federal court in San Antonio was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court this morning because, the justices ruled, the lower court should not have disregarded the Texas state legislature's wishes and should not have stepped into that legislature's shoes.

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10:57am

Fri January 20, 2012
Author Interviews

The Inquisition: A Model For Modern Interrogators

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 1:42 pm

An illustration shows heretics being tortured and nailed to wooden posts during the first Inquisition.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

The individuals who participated in the first Inquisition 800 years ago kept detailed records of their activities. Vast archival collections at the Vatican, in France and in Spain contain accounts of torture victims' cries, descriptions of funeral pyres and even meticulous financial records about the price of torture equipment.

"[There are] expense accounts [for things] like how much did the rope cost to tie the hands of the person you burnt at the stake," says writer Cullen Murphy. "The people who were doing interrogations were meticulous."

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10:57am

Fri January 20, 2012
The Salt

Sustainable Seafood Swims To A Big-Box Store Near You

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 12:58 pm

Sustainably caught fish are no longer found just at fancy fishmongers.
iStockPhoto.com

It's no longer just Whole Foods shoppers seeking out certified, sustainable seafood.

Increasingly, those of us who shop the big-box retailers including Costco, Target and Walmart are finding a blue label on seafood packages. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label signifies that the seafood comes from a fishery that's met a rigorous set of standards aimed at promoting responsible, sustainable catches.

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10:50am

Fri January 20, 2012
News

Farmers Arm Themselves Against Pecan Thieves

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 6:42 pm

Pecan farmers in New Mexico are paying security guards to watch over their land. Pecan prices have risen more than 365 percent in just two years and have led to a spate of thefts across the country.
iStockphoto.com

The past two years have been good for pecans — so good, in fact, that there's been a spike in pecan theft from California to Georgia. And it's not people swiping a few nuts from a tree in someone else's backyard, but theft in amounts that could land someone in jail.

Greg Daviet's century-old family farm has harvested pecans in Las Cruces, New Mexico, since 1965. This year, Daviet tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, an increase in demand from Europe, the Middle East and India has led to a price hike, with China as the top importer.

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10:44am

Fri January 20, 2012
Business and the Economy

Kentucky's Jobless Rate

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate dropped to a three-year low of 9.1 percent in December from 9.4 percent in November, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.
The preliminary December jobless rate was 1.2 percentage points below the 10.3 percent rate recorded for the state in the same month a year earlier. The state’s December 2011 jobless rate is the lowest since the December 2008, when it was 8.5 percent.

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9:55am

Fri January 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Senate Vote Delayed On PIPA, Its Anti-Piracy Bill

Saying that "recent events" have raised questions, but that "there is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that there won't be a vote in his chamber next Tuesday on the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

That's the Senate's version of controversial legislation that supporters say would cut down on Internet piracy — but that opponents say would amount to censorship.

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