Morning Edition for Monday, December 16, 2013

Ireland has big budget deficits, low growth rates and high unemployment. But the country is ready to take a big step toward getting back to normal. On Sunday, it became the first country to exit the bailout program put in place by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
It's National Reconciliation Day in South Africa — an annual public holiday. The country is marking it for the first time without Nelson Mandela. On Sunday, South Africa bid a final, emotional goodbye to Mandela.

India's Workplace Cases Highlight Abuse Against Women

As India marks the anniversary of the infamous gang rape in New Delhi, it is ending the year as it began: in upheaval over its treatment of women. In a recent series of cases, men in positions of privilege are alleged to have sexually harassed or assaulted female employees. The episodes spotlight the absence of women's rights in the Indian workplace.

Can 'Fast & Furious' Survive Paul Walker's Death?

Since the tragic death of actor Paul Walker in a car crash, Universal Pictures has been struggling with how to handle its billion-dollar Fast & Furious franchise. Production on the seventh movie was underway when he died. David Greene talks to reporter Kim Masters, who has been following the story for The Hollywood Reporter. Masters also hosts The Business on member station KCRW.
More and more people are using sleeping pills, but they can have side effects, including dangerous drowsiness the next morning. Sleep experts say the best way to get a good night's sleep is to have a sleep routine, including going to bed at the same time each night.

Why A Regular Bedtime Is Important For Children

Children who have irregular bed times are more likely to have behavioral issues than children who have a regular bedtime routine. A survey of 10,00 children showed that irregular bedtimes are linked with difficulties such as hyperactivity, acting out and being emotionally withdrawn. Researchers think inconsistent bedtimes probably affect young children like jet lag.

Amazon's Workers In Germany Strike Over Pay

About 1,000 unionized Amazon workers in Germany are going on strike in the midst of the crucial holiday season. They're asking to be paid on a similar scale to the mail order and retail sectors.
Charter Communications Inc. is expected to announce a new merger offer for Time Warner Cable Co. this week. It will be the company's third such offer. Industry analysts don't expect this one to work any better.
Boulevard Brewing has become a Kansas City staple since its founding in the 1980s. It has many loyal local fans — and soon, a new international owner, Duvel. The deal says a lot about how the world now values a product made with a firm sense of place.

Demand Grows For Trappist Monks' Beer

In Belgium, the Trappists produce Orval. Forbes Magazine reports there simply aren't enough monks to expand production of Orval. The abbey once had 35 monks, but today that number is down to just a dozen.

Thousands Still Need To Apply For DACA Program

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allows young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to avoid deportation. They can also get a work permit for two years.

Politics In The News: Immigration Overhaul, Budget Deal

A comprehensive immigration overhaul was passed by the Senate, but remains stalled in the House — waiting for a vote.

NSA Fights Back Against Critics

The National Security Agency is challenging those who want to overhaul its surveillance operations. A special panel has sent a report to the White House on how NSA programs should be changed. The group was established by the president following revelations about NSA eavesdropping.

Heavy Rotation: KCRW's Litt Picks 'Come Save Me'

DJ Anne Litt of member station KCRW in Los Angeles shares her pick for this month's Heavy Rotation. It's "Come Save Me" by the Australian band Jagwar Ma.
Actor Peter O'Toole had a larger-than-life movie career. The Hollywood legend was made famous in his title role in Lawrence of Arabia. He died Saturday at the age of 81.

Germany's Merkel To Be Sworn In Again As Chancellor

Weeks of post-election political limbo have ended in Germany. The country's main center-left party has voted to join the coalition government of Angela Merkel. The move clears the way for her to start her third term as chancellor.
When the popularity of catfish moved from the South across the U.S. in the 1980s, American catfish farmers could barely keep up with demand. But Vietnam has flooded the U.S. market with cheaper catfish, driving many catfish farms out of business and sparking a dispute that threatens a major trade deal.

'SNL' Looks To Add Black Woman To Comedy Show's Cast

Saturday Night Live reportedly has held special auditions for black women. There are currently no black females in the cast.
A few weeks ago, we asked listeners to weigh in on the holiday movies they watch over and over again. The votes for their favorites are in, and there are some surprises.

Retired Butler Doesn't Want To Spend Christmas Alone

A retired butler has been "completely overwhelmed" by the response to a story about him in The Irish Post. James Gray put an ad in the paper, saying he's spent the last 10 Christmases alone, and he wanted this year to be different.

Video For Canadian Beer Pong Goes Viral

Picture an air hockey table and at each end, holes for cups of beer. Shoot the puck into one of your opponent's cups, and he has to drink the contents. The guys who invented the game posted an image of their table over the weekend and it went viral.
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