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Latin America
4:01 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

What Will Full Diplomatic Relations With Cuba Look Like?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Asia
3:55 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

North Korea Has Invested Heavily In Cyberattacks

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Movies
3:49 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Risky Comedies Could Be In Jeopardy After 'Interview' Is Pulled

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
3:43 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

How Much Will The Hack Cost Sony?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Energy
3:43 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

No Fracking In New York? That's OK With Pennsylvania

Leslie Roeder of New York City cheers outside New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on Wednesday after the state announced a ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Andrew Kelly Reuters/Landov

Pennsylvania's fracking boom has led to record-breaking natural gas production, but its neighbor, New York, announced Wednesday it was banning the practice. Industry and environmental groups say New York's decision could be good for Pennsylvania.

New York's ban comes six years after the state placed a temporary moratorium on fracking in order to study the gas drilling technique. Now, officials question fracking's economic benefits and cite environmental risks.

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The Salt
3:08 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food

Sugar, coffee, fruit juice for babies, oil and salt inside a market subsidized by the government in Havana on July 11, 2013.
Enrique De La Osa Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:47 pm

It took a few hours for some Cubans to realize the magnitude of President Obama's announcement on Wednesday about changes in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, according to Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez.

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Monkey See
3:07 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Sarah Koenig On Serial: 'I Think Something Went Wrong With This Case'

Adnan Syed
Courtesy of Serial

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:43 pm

It's hard to believe that not only was there no Serial six months ago, there was no Serial three months ago. The hugely popular podcast, a spinoff production of This American Life, didn't even premiere until early October, but since then, it has made its way with great speed into worlds from Sesame Street to Funny Or Die.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Married Couple In Decline

Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos in If You Don't, I Will.
Film Movement

Sophie Fillières' uneven relationship drama If You Don't, I Will opens with a scene of biting dialogue between Pierre (Mathieu Almaric) and Pomme (Emmanuelle Devos), whose marriage is seemingly on its last legs.

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The Two-Way
2:56 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

In List Of Changes For Secret Service, A New Fence Comes First

A review panel says changes are needed at the Secret Service — along with a better fence at the White House. Here, members of the Secret Service uniformed division stand in front of the White House.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:03 pm

The Secret Service must both change the way it trains agents and hire more of them, according to a panel that reviewed the agency that has endured a string of embarrassing lapses in recent months. The panel says its suggestions are "a roadmap for reform" under a new director.

Some of those suggestions are inherently practical – such as one that states "the fence around the White House needs to be changed as soon as possible to provide better protection."

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

U.S. Announces Protections For Transgender Workers

The Justice Department is broadening a civil rights law to include protections for transgender workers, a reversal from how the Bush administration interpreted the measure.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the law, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, will now ensure that workers who sue over discrimination in the workplace will get fair and consistent treatment.

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Law
2:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Makes Court Appearance In Pretrial Hearing

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:10 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Law
2:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Justice Department Sues Over Conditions At Rikers Island Jail

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Music
2:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Music A Longtime Feature Of Cuba-U.S. Cultural Exchange

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
2:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

New Popularity Of L.L. Bean Boots Sparks Scramble To Fill Orders

A surge in popularity of L.L. Bean boots has the Maine company scrambling to fill orders.
Murray Carpenter NPR

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:09 pm

L.L. Bean's iconic rubber and leather boots — long worn by practical and preppie New Englanders — have swung back into fashion with young people and are more popular than ever.

The recent surge in demand has the company scrambling to fill orders, upgrading its manufacturing equipment and adding a third shift at its Maine boot factories.

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The Two-Way
2:24 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Administration Won't Rule Out Raul Castro Visit To White House

The White House today said it "wouldn't rule out a visit from President Raul Castro" to Washington, a day after President Obama announced the U.S. and Cuba would begin talks to normalize relations and open embassies following more than five decades of hostility.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Immigration Driving Broad Demographic Shifts In U.S., Report Says

Navy Petty Officer Jimmy Dial, left, sits with his daughter Kimberly beside U.S. Army soldier Henri Blandon and his daughter as the men's wives and the girls' mothers become U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony last month in Ontario, Calif.
Nick Ut AP

Native-born Americans are making up a smaller percentage of those living in some areas of the U.S. as immigration moves to become the key factor in population growth within the next quarter-century, according to a new analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts that examined county-level census data.

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Parallels
2:05 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

In Latin America, Not Everyone Is Thrilled With The U.S.-Cuba Thaw

Cuba's President Fidel Castro, left, and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Barinas, Venezuela, in 2000. The two formed a close partnership, which has continued with their successors. However, the prospect of normal ties between the U.S.-Cuba may also have an impact on relations between Cuba and Venezuela.
Jose Goitia AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:53 pm

Latin American governments have long viewed Cuba as the region's David facing off against the Goliath of the United States. So from Mexico to Argentina, leaders are endorsing Wednesday's announcement that the two nations intend to normalize relations.

But this could prove awkward for Venezuela, which has been Cuba's closest ally and a fierce critic of Washington.

In public, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is praising the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba.

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Goats and Soda
1:56 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

And The Award For Most Offensive Fund-Raising Video Goes To...

The "Rusty Radiator" award for most offensive or stereotypical portrayal of the developing world in a fund-raising video went to Feed A Child South Africa.
Feed A Child South Africa

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

5 Defining Moments In The U.S.-Cuba Relationship

President Obama speaks with President Raul Castro of Cuba from the Oval Office on Tuesday. A day later, both men announced plans to normalize relations between the Cold War-era foes.
Pete Souza The White House

1. Obama, Raul Castro Announce Normalization Of Relations

President Obama said Wednesday the U.S. and Cuba will normalize relations, which have been strained since being severed in 1961. He spoke to Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday to finalize details of the announcement.

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Television
1:24 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Tribute To Stephen Colbert, A Self-Proclaimed 'Junkie For Exhaustion'

Stephen Colbert will host his final episode of The Colbert Report Thursday after nine years on air.
Pool Getty Images

After nine years, Stephen Colbert is retiring the character he created for The Colbert Report, the conservative, self-important blowhard who opines about the news and the media. The final episode airs Thursday. Colbert will take over as host for The Late Show, replacing the retiring David Letterman.

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NPR Story
12:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Are Artificial Christmas Trees Really More Environmentally Sound?

Tree farms provide the majority of Christmas trees. (jpmatth/Flickr)

Three million American families will buy real Christmas trees this year. Most are grown in either Oregon or North Carolina, the top two Christmas-tree-producing states in the country.

However, the real-tree industry has something in common with many other businesses: competition with China. About 79 percent of people now use artificial Christmas trees.

One reason people purchase artificial trees is because they believe they’re more environmentally sound. But is that true?

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NPR Story
12:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Putin Vows To Fix Russian Economy

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 18, 2014. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

In his annual press conference, which ran four hours, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to ease the country’s economic woes by diversifying its heavy reliance on oil and gas. He also said he’s confident the plummeting ruble will recover.

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NPR Story
12:49 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Short History Of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (left) shakes hands with Cuban President Fidel Castro on May 12,, 2002, at the State Council in Havana, where Castro, Carter and their respective delegations met for a working meeting. Carter was on a five-day visit to Cuba, invited by Castro. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama’s decision to change U.S. policy on Cuba comes after a half century of icy relations. The announcement came as a surprise to many, including Julia Sweig, director for Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sweig joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the history of the struggle between the two nations and outline what the opening of diplomatic relations and easing of restrictions will mean both for Cuba and the United States.

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Shots - Health News
12:43 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

NIH Allows Restart Of MERS Research That Had Been Questioned

A transmission electron micrograph shows Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus particles (colorized yellow).
NIAID

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:26 pm

Some researchers who study the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome got an early Christmas present: permission to resume experiments that the federal government abruptly halted in October.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Thu December 18, 2014

6 Things You Should Know About Cuban Cigars

American actor Groucho Marx, with his trademark mustache, glasses and cigar. We can't be sure that this cigar was Cuban.
John Kobal Foundation Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:55 pm

Cuban cigars are wrapped in mystique. Soon travelers will be able to bring back $100 worth of the famed cigars. Here are some facts you should know.

1. Cuban cigars are expensive, even in Cuba.

As NPR's Tom Gjelten tweeted, the new permission to bring back $100 worth of tobacco (or alcohol) allows you at the most four good cigars. Tom says he hasn't been back to Cuba for six years, but the last time he was there, a single Cohiba or Uppman "set you back at least $25."

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The Salt
11:16 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Tourtiere: A French-Canadian Twist On Christmas Pie

Tourtiere is a savory, spiced meat pie, which both French- and English-speaking Canadians love to serve around the holidays.
martiapunts iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:21 pm

A version of this story was originally published on Dec. 23, 2011.

If you happen to spend Christmas Eve in Canada — especially Quebec — you might be lucky enough to be invited to a festive dinner after midnight Mass. The feast is an old tradition from France called reveillon, and it's something to look forward to after a long day of fasting.

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Boko Haram Suspected In New Round Of Killing And Kidnapping

Members of the Abuja "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group sit during a march in continuation of the Global October movement. Once again, Boko Haram militants are implicated in killings and mass kidnapping in northeastern Nigeria.
Afolabi Sotunde Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:37 pm

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Islamist extremists are being blamed for an attack in northeastern Nigeria that killed at least 33 people and resulted in the kidnapping of about 200 others.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Pakistani Court Grants Bail To Suspect In Mumbai Attack

Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, seen here on June 28, 2008, was granted bail today by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan. India says he is one of the masterminds of the 2008 attack on Mumbai that killed more than 160 people.
Roshan Mughal AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:24 pm

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has granted bail to a man accused of masterminding the deadly 2008 attack on Mumbai, India.

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Shots - Health News
10:22 am
Thu December 18, 2014

California Whooping Cough Infections Run High Among Latino Babies

Nurse Julietta Losoyo gives Derek Lucero a whooping cough vaccination at the San Diego Public Health Center on Dec. 10.
Chris Carlson AP

California is battling the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years.

Nearly 10,000 cases have been reported in the state so far this year, and babies are especially prone to hospitalization or even death.

Six of 10 infants who have become ill during the current outbreak are Latino. There's no conclusive explanation, but there are a few theories that range from Latino cultural factors to a lack of health insurance.

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Goats and Soda
9:50 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Death Comes In Many Different Ways. And Some Are A Bit Surprising

A vigil is held against violence in Cali, Colombia. The country has seen some 1,090 homicides this year.
Luis Robayo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:55 pm

We're living longer.

And cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases aren't taking quite as much of a toll as they did a couple of decades ago.

But that doesn't mean we're immortal.

Road accidents, suicide, chronic kidney disease, alcohol-related diseases ... these are a few of topics to discuss after looking at a new country-by-country analysis of causes of death by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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