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Biggest Stories of 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011
Lincoln resident Tami Nordman and her children James, Jr. and Hope are hugged by Nebraska Army National Guard Sgt. James Nordman after returning home with members of his unit, Company C, 2-135th General Support Aviation Battalion, at the National Guard air base in Lincoln, Neb. on Saturday morning, November 19, 2011. Ninety members of the unit arrived home to be greeted by hundreds of family members and friends after a nearly year-long mission to Iraq. (FRANCIS GARDLER / Lincoln Journal Star)

For the first time in three years, the Nordman family is spending Christmas all together after Sgt. Jim Nordman returned home from Iraq in November.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Brian and Alma Hart, (Robin Lubbock/Here & Now)

About a week before he was killed in Iraq, Pfc. John Hart called his parents and said he was concerned because soldiers didn’t have enough protection. His parents’ efforts to help came too late for John, but have saved the lives of others.

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Monday, December 12, 2011
Chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, James Murdoch arrives at News International headquarters in London in July. (AP)

More reporters are saying that editors knew about the phone hacking at News of the World, calling into question James Murdoch’s claims that he knew nothing when he led News Corporation’s British operations.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Author Hisham Matar. (Courtesy of Daina Matar)

Author Hisham Matar is returning to Libya for the first time in 30 years. In part, he’s hoping to find his father, a dissident who was jailed under Moammar Gadhafi.

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Monday, November 14, 2011
People gather in front of the Old Main building for a candlelight vigil in support of child abuse victims on the Penn State campus on Friday, in State College, PA.

The Penn State University sexual abuse scandal has people asking why someone didn’t act sooner to stop the abuse? For instance, how could a grown man say he witnessed a rape and not call the police immediately? Psychologists say the “bystander effect” may be at play.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011
Penn State students and others gather off campus, one holding a cutout of football coach Joe Paterno, Wednesday. (AP)

Penn State senior Alex Braunbeck was at the protests against Paterno’s firing and he wondered “does doing the right thing and being loyal for 61 years mean nothing in this society?”

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Friday, November 4, 2011
Journalist Peter Bergen and Osama Bin Laden in 1997. (Photo Courtesy of Peter Bergen)

In 1997, Peter Bergen produced the first TV interview with Osama Bin Laden. Now in a new film for the National Geographic Channel, Bergen chronicles the end of the Al Qaeda leader’s life.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011
Revolutionary fighters celebrate the capture of Sirte, Libya, Thusday. Officials in Libya's transitional government said Moammar Gadhafi was captured and possibly killed Thursday when revolutionary forces overwhelmed his hometown, Sirte. (AP)

Moammar Gadhafi, who ruled Libya with a dictatorial grip for 42 years until he was ousted by his own people in an uprising that turned into a bloody civil war, was killed Thursday.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Bycicles are left at the train station in Minamisoma, inside the 20-kilometer (12-mile) evacuation zone, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (AP)

Six months after Japan’s nuclear crisis, BBC reporter David Shukman made his way inside the exclusion zone that was evacuated during the disaster.

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Friday, September 9, 2011
Author Michael Benfante. (Courtesy of Michael Benfante)

On Sept. 11 Michael Benfante carried a woman in a wheelchair down 68 floors of the north tower of the World Trade Center to safety. Everyone called him a hero, but ten years on he can’t stop thinking of the firemen he passed on the way down.

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Friday, August 26, 2011
Qatar is the small Arab Gulf Emirate that's been playing an outsize role in the democratic rebellions across the Middle East, from Yemen to Libya.

The small Arab emirate of Qatar has been playing an outsize role in the Arab Spring rebellions across the Middle East leading to a perception that “all roads” lead there.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011
A supporter of the English Defence League is led away by police during a counter-protest to a pro-bin Laden rally outside the U.S. Embassy in London. (AP)

Confessed Norway attacker Anders Breivik may have been influenced by the British nationalist group, the English Defence League, whose members are against immigration and believe Muslims are culturally incompatible with westerners.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Author Bruce Feiler argues that the yearning for freedom reverberating through the Arab world originated with the stories of Moses and Abraham.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011
A photo that claims to show Amina Abdallah Arraf posted on a Facebook page calling for her release. A woman in London has since come forward to say this picture was of her, not the blogger. (FreeAminaArraf/Facebook)

After reports that the blogger known as “A Gay Girl In Damascus” was detained by Syrian police, questions have emerged as to whether she’s even a real person. We sort through the details with NPR senior social media strategist Andy Carvin.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011
A sign asks for residents to evacuate as the Wallow Fire approaches in Springerville, Ariz., Wednesday. (AP)

Springerville, Arizona resident Wesley McBride had to leave his home yesterday because of the massive Wallow wildfire. Now he says he’s acting as a “keyboard cowboy,” blogging to keep community members up to date on the fires.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Felicia Boston shields her eyes against the sun outside a tent where a friend has lived since his home was destroyed by a tornado in Cordova, Ala. The city has banned the type of trailers FEMA is providing as temporary housing, prompting outrage among residents who call the decision heartless. (AP)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is grappling with a string of natural disasters across the country. What is the agency doing to avoid the kinds of mistakes that plagued it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Nurse Danielle Sipi of Jefferson City, Mo., shines a flashlight into the crawlspace of a home in Duquesne, Mo, right outside of Joplin. (AP)

We speak with Chad Elliot of KZRG in Joplin, Missouri, who has been on the air practically around the clock since Sunday’s deadly tornado, trying to connect people in need in Joplin.

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Monday, May 23, 2011
Egyptian Wael Ghonim. (AP)

We sat down with Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who launched a Facebook page that became the online heart of the Egyptian revolution. Should the U.S. support the opposition in Libya?

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Monday, May 23, 2011
A man carries a young girl who was rescued after being trapped with her mother in their home after a tornado hit Joplin, Mo. on Sunday evening, May 22, 2011. (AP)

Officials say a tornado that cut through the Missouri city of Joplin, demolished a third of the city, ripping into a hospital and damaging thousands of buildings.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Directors and journalists Sebastian Junger, left, and Tim Hetherington are shown at the Restrepo outpost in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, during the filming of their documentary "Restrepo". Hetherington was recently killed while reporting from Libya. (AP/Outpost Films/Tim Hetherington)

Journalist Sebastian Junger was supposed to be in Libya, covering the conflict there with photojournalist Tim Hetherington last month. A personal matter kept him home, when Hetherington and another photographer, Chris Hondros, were killed in a battle in Misrata.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 23 3 Comments

Kenyan Author’s Missing Chapter: Being Openly Gay

Acclaimed memoirist Binyavanga Wainaina talks about his writing, Africa today and his new life as an openly gay man.

April 23 Comment

Sherpas Walk Out From Everest Base Camp

On Mount Everest today, dozens of Sherpas packed up their gear and left base camp, after a lack of response to their demands.

April 22 Comment

What Do We Have To Teach Plato?

Philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein discusses her new book "Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away."

April 22 21 Comments

Children’s Literature: Apartheid Or Just A General Lack of Color?

African-American children's book authors Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers weigh in.