National/World

One of the Vatican's most prominent critics, who pushed for greater protections for children and harsher punishments for pedophile priests, has taken a leave of absence from the pope's advisory commission on clerical sex abuse.

Game of Thrones may have killed off many major characters, but the manipulative, scheming Queen Cersei is still standing. She's played by Lena Headey, who we've invited to play a game called "You win and you die."

Since The Game of Thrones doesn't sound particularly fun to play, we'll ask three questions about even worse games.

Israel made a decision last week that supporters are calling game-changing. Men and women will be allowed to worship together at the holiest place where Jews can legally pray. This could lead to other changes in Israel.

Batya Kallus, who helped negotiate the deal that led to the government decision, is jubilant.

"This is groundbreaking," she says. "We've reconceived what the Western Wall includes."

#682: When CEO Pay Exploded

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Politicians have argued for decades that CEOs are overpaid. But there's this precise moment in the 1990s when CEO pay suddenly shot up. We find out what happened. It involves Bill Clinton's campaign promises, and Silicon Valley workers taking to the streets to protest an accounting rule.

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It's not simply Flint that has bad water. The Michigan city, which has grabbed headlines recently for its rampant water contamination, is joined in that dubious distinction by another town, much farther south: St. Joseph, La.

"It's just a given fact that at some point during the week, you're going to have brown or yellow water," says resident Garrett Boyte.

When seven of the nine remaining Republican candidates meet Saturday for their final debate before the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, several of them will be facing their last chance to stay in the race.

Here are three things to watch for at 8 p.m. ET when Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump appear on stage at the ABC News debate in Manchester, N.H.

Which Donald Trump will show up?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders both pledged their allegiance Thursday to the cause of campaign finance reform during the final Democratic presidential debate before the New Hampshire primary.

Polls show that many Americans agree: Too much money comes from too few donors. The candidates' solutions, predictably, were somewhat less certain.

SuperPACs

North Korea has announced it will be firing a rocket into orbit next week — moving up a launch originally planned for later this month.

Pyongyang told the U.N. International Maritime organization the launch will be held between Feb. 7 and 14, NPR's Elise Hu reports. It had previously been scheduled for sometime between Feb. 8 and 25.

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

Adnan Syed Hearing Wrap-up

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U.S. To Amp Up NATO Presence Against Russia

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This Week In Sports: Super Bowl Talk

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Do Political TV Ads Still Work?

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

There was a time when it felt like Keurig coffee pods were going to take over the world — or at least encircle it.

But now sales are on the decline, down some $60 million from last year.

The company has faced criticism because the individual coffee pods are not kind to the environment. But Venessa Wong with BuzzFeed says that's not the only factor that's contributed to the decline in sales.

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

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

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

Abdulnasser Gharem doesn't have the background you might expect for a successful artist – let alone one famous for edgy work from Saudi Arabia. He was once a lieutenant colonel in the Saudi army. He went to high school with two of the 9/11 hijackers.

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

After Ebola, Surf's Up Again In Liberia

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"Wait for the next one!" a teenager yells, perched on a shaded rock with a group of his friends.

"That's it, that's it!" cries another, gesturing toward a swelling wave that's gathering speed as it heads toward a surfer about 25 yards offshore. When he lets the wave pass him by, bobbing over its crest on a scuffed board, the group laughs. "Look at him, he's scared."

Nearly six years after its enactment, the Affordable Care Act remains a hot issue in the presidential race – in both parties.

"Our health care is a horror show," said GOP candidate Donald Trump at the Republican debate in South Carolina in December. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, winner of the Iowa caucuses, said at the debate in Des Moines that the health law has been "a disaster," adding it's "the biggest job-killer in our country."

Five pages into A Decent Ride, Irvine Welsh's newest novel, he makes a mention of Sick Boy — one of the main characters from his popular 1993 debut Trainspotting. That doesn't mean A Decent Ride is a sequel to Trainspotting (Welsh already did that with 2002's Porno). Instead, it's yet another visit to Welsh's shared universe of unsavory characters, a universe that sprawls from novel to novel while remaining mostly contained within his hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Emily Martin created a state-by-state map of the gender wage gap in the United States. She calculated: Washington, D.C., has the smallest wage gap where women average nearly 90 cents to a man's dollar; Louisiana has the largest gap — women there earn just 65 percent of what men do.

Nationally, women earn an average 79 cents for every dollar men do. The gender wage gap is even wider for black and Hispanic women.

You wouldn't think of calling a mosquito "man's best friend." But that's the nickname that biologist Denise Valle uses for Aedes aegypti, the species that's been spreading the Zika virus in Brazil and many other countries in Latin America.

I think "man's best enemy" might be better.

The thing is, this mosquito likes to live near humans.

You could think of this week's meme as the Rorschach test of the Democratic base. Depending on who you ask, it's either light-hearted and fun, or a symbol of gender bias and discrimination.

In its ongoing effort to combat violent extremism, Twitter announced Friday that it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 because of what it called their connections to terrorist or extremist groups, primarily ISIS.

NPR's Aarti Shahani reports that the company says there is no "magic algorithm" to identify terrorist content on the Internet, so it is forced to make challenging judgment calls based on "very limited information and guidance."

A major natural gas storage well in Southern California is still leaking, though less so than back in late October, when the giant gas leak was first reported. More than 5,000 families and two schools have been relocated since then, and the local utility that operates the facility is now facing several legal actions.

With the Iowa caucuses in the books, the focus of the political world has shifted to the first-in-the-nation-primary state, New Hampshire. New Hampshire voters, with their contrarian reputation, head to the polls Tuesday. Expect the unexpected.

Here are five things to know about how it all works:

1. Voting is straightforward

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