Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 11:03 am
The remaining members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot have been released from prison in Russia, a few months short of serving their full two-year sentences for "hooliganism" — a charge that the band's supporters say was just a trumped-up effort to quash free speech.
So, the news got weird in 2013. Here's a roundup of off-beat stories from United Press International: Germany dropped the longest word in its language, all 63 letters. Maker's Mark had plans to lower the alcohol content in its whiskey. Angry customers talked them out of it. A Canadian dentist bought John Lennon's tooth at auction, hoping to use it to clone the Beatle. And Denny's opened a wedding chapel in Vegas. The wedding package comes with a cake made with pancake mix.
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Here's one of the many ways that Congress is like high school. Lawmakers tend to do some late night cramming as if for a test and then head home for the holidays. This December, Congress passed a budget and left town. President Obama and his family are vacationing in Hawaii. So let's talk about the shape they left the country in and what they might do in the new year.
British dramas, mostly from BBC America, have become gold mines of binge viewing for American TV fans seeking a deep dive into compelling series. Gillian Anderson's The Fall, David Tennant's Broadchurch and Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock are just a few of the series which offer hours of escape.
Regular listeners to this program know we are using numbers to highlight some of the stories of 2013. And today, we look at the situation in Iraq. The number here is 6,639. That's how many people have been killed in violence in Iraq so far this year, up to December 21st, according to a regular tally kept by Baghdad bureau of the French Press Agency, AFP.
We're joined now by Will Dunlop, an AFP correspondent in Baghdad. Welcome to the program, sir.
You might think underwear maker Hanes would be worried about competition from Jockey or Fruit of the Loom. In fact, Hanes seems far more concerned about being confused with chickpea dip. The American manufacturer has threatened to sue a Canadian company, Hanes Hummus, for trademark violation.
For Matthew and Brianne Wojtesta, it all started about a week after the birth of their daughter Vera. Matthew was picking up his son from kindergarten when he got a phone call.
It was their pediatrician, with some shocking news. Vera had been flagged by New York's newborn screening program as possibly having a potentially deadly disease, and would need to go see a neurologist the next day.
In 1907, the U.S. economy was in the grip of a financial crisis. Unemployment was up. The stock market was down.
People started panicking. They were lining up overnight to pull their money out of healthy banks. This can be deadly for an economy: Healthy banks have to shut down, businesses can't get credit, they lay people off, and the economy gets worse.