A customer picks up a block of butter at a food store in Tokyo on Nov. 10th. Japanese shoppers are up in arms over a serious butter shortage that has forced Tokyo to resort to emergency imports, as some grocers limit sales to one block per customer. Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

The Salt

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

For the Japanese, Christmastime means sponge cake. But a nationwide butter shortage has led to mandatory butter rationing, forcing cake bakers to seek out substitutes.

Clockwise from upper left: Spoon, Sharon Van Etten, St. Vincent, Future Islands, Flying Lotus. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artists

All Songs Considered

Poll Results: Listeners Pick Their Favorite Albums Of 2014

The results are in! St. Vincent's self-titled album was by far the most popular record in our listener poll for the best music of 2014. On this week's All Songs Considered, we count down the Top 25.

Quvenzhane Wallis (second from right) stars in an updated version of Annie, produced by Jay-Z. Barry Wetcher/Sony Pictures Entertainment hide caption

itoggle caption Barry Wetcher/Sony Pictures Entertainment

Code Switch

An Updated 'Annie' And The Tradition Of Nontraditional Casting

As an African-American Annie arrives on movie screens, critic Bob Mondello looks at other cross-cultural reinventions, from Pearl Bailey's Dolly to the Americanization of "Carmen" as "Carmen Jones."

Saudi Arabian women wear their traditional face covering, the niqab, at a coffee and chocolate exhibition in the capital Riyadh on Monday. A prominent religious figure said on Twitter that the face veil is not mandatory, sparking a heated national debate. Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Parallels - World News

A Tweet On Women's Veils, Followed By Raging Debate In Saudi Arabia

A prominent ultra-conservative figure says that face veils for women are not mandatory. Now everyone is weighing in on the hottest topic in the kingdom.

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