Pavarotti Lip-Synched Last Performance Some of the most emailed, viewed and commented on stories on the web, including new details about the tenor's final curtain call.
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Pavarotti Lip-Synched Last Performance

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Pavarotti Lip-Synched Last Performance

Pavarotti Lip-Synched Last Performance

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And welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News, online all the time, Nuclear war? Check. "Project Runway"? Check. Donkeys?


Donkey rights.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Yep, we've got ourselves a Ramble here.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: We're going to start with the heavy stuff, potential nuclear war. OK, calm down. It's not that - it's not really. But there's a new - there's some new studies, some new research out there that says a regional nuclear war would affect a far greater area than the region in which it took place, but not necessarily because of fallout. This is according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

The damage that nuclear bombs cause to the ozone layer could cause devastation around the world that could last for years. I know this is not a happy way to start The Ramble. But needless to say, researchers have used this computer model, this very high-tech kind of calculus to examine what a regional nuclear war, involving 50 nuclear bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima, would do to the ozone levels.

And they used a hypothetical war between Pakistan and India as their model, and they determined that the explosions would create a global ozone hole that would persist for years after the battle ended. The affects of the ozone-less atmosphere in humans would be pretty widespread.

No ozone is a big deal. It means no - it means more ultraviolet radiation is let through and there's an increased UV radiation risk. And that could potentially damage DNA and this is already seriously bumming me out so let's move to a different story.

STEWART: All right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Auf wedersehen. All right.

MARTIN: Auf wedersehen!

STEWART: But what's German for "oh, snap"? "Project Runway" is leaving its network Bravo and heading over to Lifetime. I have a friend who's an ad writer and she sent a Lifetime - an ad line that said "Lifetime, that's a commitment."

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: That's very funny.

STEWART: But NBC Universal, Bravo's parent company, has filed a lawsuit to prevent the Weinstein Company, the producers of "Project Runway," from taking Heidi away. Lifetime, bigger network, reaches seven million more homes than Bravo. Now, if Bravo does end up losing "Project Runway," that will be after five years of it being involved - five seasons, I should say.

They just won a Peabody Award, and Lifetime, well, that's their big signature show. Now, Lifetime's press release, it's so - they're just like, we got them, we got them. It says, "Heidi Klum, 'Project Runway's' international supermodel host, and Tim Gunn, chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne, Inc., and mentor to the show's contestants, are both fashioning their new home at Lifetime."

Now NBC's press release jumps on and says, "NBC Universal has continuing legal rights related to 'Project Runway,' including the right of first refusal to future cycles of the series, which the Weinstein Company unfortunately has refused to honor." The Hollywood Reporter is saying this move is believed to be the biggest switch ever in cable.

MARTIN: Well, we were talking this morning in the meeting, this was apparently a verbal agreement that they had with the Weinsteins, not something signed in blood. And that doesn't seem very smart in big-time network television.

STEWART: Now, that may be the biggest switch in cable ever, but another big switch, a Venezuelan channel has yanked "The Simpsons" off the air because it isn't appropriate for children, and it is being replaced with "Baywatch Hawaii."

MARTIN: Because that makes sense.

STEWART: Because that makes sense.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: You know what, Alison? Someone's got to stand up for donkey rights.

STEWART: I agree, yeah.

MARTIN: And so someone is. The donkey sanctuary in the British Equine Vets Association has drawn up a code to standardize treatment of beach donkeys across Britain. I don't really know what a "beach donkey" is.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Apparently, a donkey ride is the staple of the quintessential English beach holiday. And there's a vacation spot in Blackpool has had a local donkey charter protecting donkey welfare and dating back to 1942. Back then, donkeys needed - or they needed to protect against owners who overworked the donkeys.


MARTIN: That makes sense.

STEWART: You've been to a place like the Grand Canyon and you see somebody getting on the donkey and you just think, oh, that poor donkey.

MARTIN: That poor little donkey.

STEWART: Because that person getting on the donkey may be should exercise?

MARTIN: I keep remembering in the "Brady Bunch" special, the Grand Canyon when Alice is on this donkey...


MARTIN: And it just looked like it was really laboring.

STEWART: Well, it's all about weight rules, right? A lot of it.

MARTIN: Yeah. We need to get skinnier then we can ride the donkeys.

STEWART: And Luciano Pavarotti's final aria was lip-synched. He prerecorded his performance at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Torino. Let's play a bit of that, from an earlier performance, that song.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. LUCIANO PAVAROTTI: (Singing, Italian sung)

MARTIN: Oh, it's so beautiful.

STEWART: It is beautiful. Now, the conductor of the performance actually says the decision to lip-synch was made because Pavarotti was - he's in severe pain months before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His manager said it was the cold weather that made the live performance impossible. It was cold in Torino. It was cold and raw and...

MARTIN: See, I think we should cut this man some slack.


MARTIN: I mean, you know, he is Pavarotti and he was really sick.

STEWART: Yes. We lost him last September at 71. Beautiful music this morning.

MARTIN: Hey, folks. That's your Ramble. These stories and more at our website,

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