All Things Considered for Saturday, December 21, 2013

U.S. Troops Wounded In South Sudan Rescue Mission

Four U.S. military personnel have been wounded in South Sudan after their aircraft were fired on during an evacuation mission. NPR's Gregory Warner tells host Arun Rath how the political conflict there is on the edge of full-fledged civil war.

NSA Under More Scrutiny As Year Ends

It was another tough week for the National Security Agency. First, a federal judge said some of the NSA's surveillance activities were "likely unconstitutional." Then, a White House panel recommended that NSA activities in the U.S. and abroad should be significantly reined in. Host Arun Rath speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Siobhan Gorman about the week's news and the future of the NSA.

1979 Supreme Court Ruling Becomes Focus Of NSA Tactics

In 1979, then-Maryland Attorney General Stephen Sachs argued the case Smith v. Maryland before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case revolved around the warrantless collection of phone call information. Sachs defended the practice at the time, and he won. But the case now has a new life: the government cites the case as the legal basis for the National Security Agency's bulk collection of metadata from millions of Americans' phone calls. Now, Sachs says that practice goes far beyond what he argued in 1979, and constitutes a "massive intrusion" on Americans' privacy.
The fate of insurance coverage for millions rests on a form called the 834, the government code for electronic files. It's a number that would never have become a big deal had rolled out smoothly in the fall.

Astronauts On Spacewalk Begin Space Station Repair

Saturday morning, astronauts on the International Space Station carried out the first of three urgent spacewalks to repair a cooling line. They finished the work early, but there's still more to be done.

55 Years Later: Commemorating First Space Broadcast

On Dec. 19, 1958, a pre-recorded message from President Dwight D. Eisenhower was sent out from a satellite via short wave. It offered hopes for peace on earth and goodwill toward men everywhere. Of course, it also let the Soviets know the U.S. was catching up in the space race.

The Secrets Of Great Cooking And Great Business

Carlos Watson, co-founder of the online magazine Ozy, tells host Arun Rath about a chef hoping to bring cooking genius to the masses, and the "CEO Whisperer" who is a secret weapon for many powerful business leaders.

Camels Trek In The Texas Desert, Just Like Old Times

The Texas Camel Corps leads trips through the rugged Big Bend region of West Texas. Indigenous people lived in the area some 9,000 years ago, and for a while, camels called it home, too. In the 1800s, U.S. soldiers brought the animals in to traverse the distance between water supplies for the first American settlers.
Charles Dickens was a celebrity of the Victorian era. The Invisible Woman focuses on a lesser-known, private part of his life — his 13-year relationship with a young woman named Nelly Ternan. Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes, who star in the film, talk about the mind of Dickens.

Leaders In Early Music Face A Final Curtain, With Grace

The world-renowned vocal chamber group The Hilliard Ensemble will disband in 2014 after 40 years of performing. Host Arun Rath speaks with founding member David James about their final concerts and their new album Il Cor Tristo.
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