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The Karamlesh village meeting begins the traditional way, with Christian prayers led by a priest, murmured and sung, lingering in the evening air.

But the meeting's not in the actual village of Karamlesh. It's 40 miles away in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, on red plastic chairs under a dust-yellow sky, next to the corrugated trailers some of these people have been living in since 2014 when the Islamic State took their village.

Is Birdfeeding Just, Well, For The Birds?

Nov 12, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for some Talkin' Birds.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKIN' ROBIN")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Tweedly-deedly-dee (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: A bird show - I like that. I love birds.

(SOUNDBITE OF WHISTLING)

2016: An Election Year That Pervaded Sports

Nov 12, 2016

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In this political year, many athletes used their celebrity to make statements about our country. We're joined now by our friend, NPR's Tom Goldman. Tom, thanks for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: My pleasure, Scott.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While the race at the top of the ballot between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton consumes the nation's attention, a series of consequential district attorney races around the country could reshape the criminal justice system from the ground up.

I know baseball is not real life.

While Chicago's streets teemed with loud whoops and waving banners as the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, 18 more people were killed over two days on the south and west sides of the city. The number of homicides in Chicago has surged past 600 this year. 2016 could be the city's deadliest year in nearly 20, and the people in those afflicted neighborhoods, usually a long way from Wrigley Field, will remember this year more for their losses than any World Series victory.

How Shirley Collins Got Her Voice Back

Nov 5, 2016

Troll dolls, those novelty toys with fluorescent Don King hair, are now the stars of their own movie. It's a balance between feel-good fun and the kind of offbeat humor that aims to keep adults in their seats.

How 'Food Truck Voting' Is Catching On In One Idaho County

Oct 29, 2016

Elections officials in one Idaho county have found a delicious new way to get out the vote: by bringing "food truck voting" straight to the people.

OK, so it's not a real food truck. You can't get a meal there.

The Berlin Wall was a scar — a concrete and barbed wire boundary that divided families, East and West, communism and capitalism, tyranny and democracy. People died trying to climb over it while others labored to carve tunnels beneath it.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Does anybody sing the national anthem more than Wayne Messmer? He sung the anthem over the years at Chicago Cubs home games and for the Bulls, the Blackhawks, the Bears and the Chicago Wolves.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Thirty years ago this week, an unknown filmmaker walked into a club in Washington, D.C., with a videotape in his hand. It was one of those nights when anyone could screen their work ... but this was the first public screening of a short documentary that's gone on to become the very definition of a cult classic.

I have a special respect for political losers. Losing can reveal a candidate's character in a humbling, vulnerable moment.

An Ohio politician who lost a race for governor once explained to me that most politicians are used to being popular. They were often class officers and top athletes as kids, who become lawyers, professors, or business owners. They get used to people listening to them, and laughing at their jokes.

In the sunlit courtyard of a mosque, overlooked by jagged mountains, dozens of men arrive to offer condolences to the family of Brigadier Hamid Birmous.

The commander with the Iraqi Kurdish forces known as peshmerga was killed in action by an ISIS bomb during the operation to retake the city of Mosul, which began this week. Iraqi security forces continue to fight their way through villages and countryside outside the city.

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