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Music Interviews
5:42 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Wexford Carols Brings Irish Holiday Relics To Life

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:39 am

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

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Goats and Soda
5:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

The Africa I Know Isn't The Africa In The Headlines Today

Todd Moss on a 1992 visit to Tanzania.
Courtesy of Todd Moss

Stepping off the plane in Zimbabwe a quarter century ago was a huge shock. A college student on my very first visit to Africa, I was surprised how familiar everything felt.

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Books
5:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Gentlefolk All, Survive Your Holidays With Help From Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer died in 1400 — but somehow, he's on Twitter now — and he's here to answer your holiday questions!
The Art Archive/iStockphoto

Editor's Note: Who better to advise you on surviving the stresses and strains of a modern Christmas than a 14th-century English poet? We gleefully present holiday advice from the Internet's own Chaucer Doth Tweet. Warning: Middle English ahead!

Gentil folke, yt ys wyse and profitable to seeke advyce and counsel yn all thinges. Ich am Geoffrey Chaucer, deputy forester of North Petherton and amateur poet, and Ich am heere to helpe yow wyth advyce and counsel regarding the seasoun of holidayes.

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Movie Interviews
3:30 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Sondheim's Songs Go 'Into The Woods' And Onto The Big Screen

Emily Blunt and James Corden star as a baker and his wife in Rob Marshall's new adaptation of Into the Woods.
Peter Mountain Disney Enterprises

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:39 am

Into The Woods is a 1987 Stephen Sondheim musical that we'd now call a mashup: A baker and his wife want a child. The little girl in a red hood who lifts pies from their shop lives next to a witch who once kidnapped the baker's baby sister, whom she now keeps locked in a tower. But she'll reverse a curse on the baker and his wife if they can find a white cow, a red cape, long blond hair, and a gold slipper: Jack and the Beanstalk meets Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella.

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All Tech Considered
3:28 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Tech Week: Sony's Cyber Woes, And A Coating To Ease Ketchup's Flow

Sony Pictures was forced to cancel the release of its film The Interview this week after the hacking group, Guardians of Peace, threatened theaters that planned to screen the movie.
AFP/Getty Images

The big story in tech this week was Sony's continuing cyber troubles following the hack of its computer network late last month. The FBI formally accused North Korea of the cyberattack Friday.

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The Salt
3:17 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Antarctic Holiday: A Christmas Feast In The Loneliest Spot On Earth

The author, Dr. Gavin Francis, arrived at Halley base on Christmas Eve 2002, at the height of the Antarctic midsummer, when 24-hour sunlight illuminates the vast swathes of empty ice.
Courtesy of Gavin Francis

It was Christmas Eve 2002, at the height of midsummer, when I arrived to take up a year-long job as doctor at Halley base – the most remote research station operated by the British in Antarctica.

As we cruised up to the Caird Coast of Antarctica, a crowd of us stood out on the deck of the supply ship RRS Ernest Shackleton, singing Christmas carols in the 24-hour sunlight, wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers.

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The Two-Way
5:55 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Supreme Court Clears Way For Same-Sex Marriages In Florida

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:07 pm

Rejecting a request by Florida's attorney general to maintain a judge's stay that would have kept same-sex couples from marrying in the state, the Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriages to be held in Florida next month.

The stay stems from a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, who said in August that Florida's 2008 ban is unconstitutional.

As has happened with many similar cases, Judge Hinkle issued a stay on his own ruling that Florida's ban was illegal, to give the state time to appeal. That stay is set to expire at the end of the day on Jan. 5.

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Latin America
4:58 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Restoring Diplomatic Relations With Cuba Is A Complicated Process

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:37 pm

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

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The Two-Way
4:45 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

CEO Says Sony Pictures 'Did Not Capitulate,' Is Exploring Options

Responding to criticism over the handling of The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says his studio "very much wanted to keep the picture in release."
DAVID MCNEW Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:33 pm

On a day when President Obama added his voice to criticisms over the decision to pull the satire The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says the studio "did not capitulate" to hackers, and that its actions have been misunderstood.

Lynton defended his studio in an interview on All Things Considered, saying that Sony still wants an audience to see The Interview — if not in theaters, then by other means.

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This Week's Must Read
4:33 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

'Rum, Rumba, And Romance': A Book On Cuba's Enduring Mystique

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 3:24 pm

Cuba is dominating the news, following President Obama's announcement that he will begin to normalize relations with the island nation.

For our series This Week's Must-Read, poet and Cuban-American writer Richard Blanco turns to literature for another perspective on this story.

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Law
4:06 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Troubled By Grand Jury Verdicts, Students Request More Time For Exams

Thousands gathered on the National Mall last week to protest the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Some law students say their involvement in the protests means their exams should be postponed.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:50 pm

"The dog ate my homework?" Try, "I was protesting a grand jury decision," instead.

Students at some top law schools want exam extensions for what they are calling the trauma of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions. But other law students are wondering what message that sends to future employers.

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama Says 'James Flacco.' The Internet Says, Thank You

Actor James Franco (left), seen here with The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, was called "James Flacco" by President Obama Friday. Afterward, the jokes poured in.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 3:49 pm

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama meant to talk about James Franco and instead said "James Flacco" — on a Friday marking the full-on start of the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received by people on Twitter and elsewhere.

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Latin America
3:12 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Cubans Eager For More Economic Investment

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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Global Health
3:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

CDC Head: Key Interventions Have Slowed Ebola's Spread

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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NPR Ed
3:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

The Fate Of The Administration's College Ratings

Rating colleges isn't easy.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 12:21 am

Today, details of the Obama administration's plan known as the Postsecondary Institutional Ratings System, or PIRS, finally saw the light of day. The idea, in this incarnation, was just under three years old.

The president announced its conception during his State of the Union address in 2012.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Nonhazardous

Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont., in September. New EPA guidelines treat toxic coal ash from such plants much the same as common household garbage.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 9:58 am

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new national standards designating coal ash — a nearly ubiquitous byproduct of coal-fired power plants that contains arsenic and lead — as nonhazardous waste.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that coal-fired power plants produce more than 130 million tons of the coal ash each year, and they have long stored millions of tons of it in giant ponds.

But many of those ponds have failed in recent years, allowing contaminated water to get into rivers and streams, and ultimately into drinking water.

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Europe
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New Romanian President Vows To Crack Down On Corruption

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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Law
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

FBI Officially Pins Sony Cyberattack On North Korea

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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

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When President Obama held his year-end news conference today, cyber security jumped to the top of the agenda, a result of the recent cyber attack on Sony Pictures.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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Parallels
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

With A Presidential Vote, Tunisia Seeks A Peaceful Transition

A woman votes in the first round of the Tunisian presidential election on Nov. 23. The election went smoothly, but no candidate won 50 percent of a vote, forcing a runoff between the top two on Sunday.
Hassene Dridi AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:32 pm

The main boulevard in Tunisia's capital, Tunis, is alive with political debate about the two candidates for president in this Sunday's election.

In one tent, campaign workers play music and hand out fliers for Beji Caid Essebsi, an 88-year-old candidate who held posts in the old regime and then served as an interim prime minister after the country's revolution in 2011.

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Business
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New Cuba Relationship Could Be A Boon For American Farmers

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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Economy
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Government Sells Last Major Stake In A Bank Post-Financial Crisis

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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Movie Reviews
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

'Mr. Turner' Is A Snuffling, Growling Work Of Art

Timothy Spall finds beauty in the unlikeliest places as painter J.M.W. Turner.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

If you picture landscape painting as a delicate, ethereal, pristine process involving an easel on a hillside and a sunset, Mr. Turner will be an eye-opener.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

St. Louis Grand Jury Heard Witnesses Who Lied, Prosecutor Says

"I didn't want to fire things up," St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch says of his silence since announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Pool Getty Images

Some witnesses were clearly lying when they spoke to a grand jury about the August police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., according to St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch. In an interview about the case Friday, the prosecutor says he won't seek perjury charges.

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NPR Story
2:02 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Special Coverage: Obama's Year-End Remarks

President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the briefing room of the White House December 19, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Obama addressed the press before traveling with the first family on their annual Christmas beach vacation in the president's birth state of Hawaii. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Here & Now provided special coverage of the president’s remarks on Friday afternoon, before he and his family left for a Christmas vacation in Hawaii. The audio includes the entirety of the remarks and special coverage.

President Barack Obama praised the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba on Friday but said he doesn’t expect it to bring overnight change on the island, a quick end to the U.S. economic embargo or the likelihood that he will soon visit the communist nation.

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NPR Story
1:52 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Mixed Reaction As New York Bans Fracking

An opponent of the hydraulic fracturing holds a sign during a demonstration on March 20, 2014 in New York. The demonstrators say "fracking," the process used in natural gas drilling, is dangerous for water supplies and food sources. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

This week, New York became the second state in the nation to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Vermont’s ban, which was the first, was largely symbolic, as the state doesn’t have any real natural gas resources. New York, though, sits on the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, and the debate over whether to open it to fracking has been deeply emotional and contentious.

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NPR Story
1:52 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama: Sony Decision To Cancel Movie A 'Mistake'

President Barack Obama said Friday that Sony Pictures Entertainment “made a mistake” in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, and he vowed the United States will respond “in a place and manner and time that we choose” to a hack attack the FBI blamed on the secretive Communist regime.

Speaking of Sony executives, Obama said at a year-end news conference, “I wish they had spoken to me first. … We cannot have a society in which some dictatorship someplace can start imposing censorship.”

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The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Apple Responds To BBC On Conditions At Asian iPhone Suppliers

People walk near several buildings of a Pegatron factory in Shanghai, China, in July 2013. Pegatron is a supplier for Apple products.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president for operations, has responded to a BBC report that workers at Asian suppliers for the iPhone 6 are mistreated and overworked, saying he's "deeply offended" by the accusations.

In an email to some 5,000 Apple staff in the United Kingdom, Williams hit back at the British broadcaster's Panorama program, which sent in undercover reporters to observe conditions at the Pegatron factory, near Shanghai, where iPhones are assembled.

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Michael Phelps Pleads Guilty To DUI

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was sentenced to 18 months' supervised probation today after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

He was arrested in September after leaving a casino in downtown Baltimore. Police documents show that he swerved over a yellow line while going 84 in 45-mph zone. Police say Phelps failed field sobriety tests and registered a 0.14 on a blood-alcohol test. In Maryland, the legal limit is 0.08.

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The Salt
12:31 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Pride And Prejudice: For Latinos, Tamales Can Taste Of Both

Panamanian tamales stuffed with chicken and wrapped in bijao leaves — one of hundreds of interpretations of the dish found throughout Latin America.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 11:05 am

This Christmas Eve, many Latinos will celebrate the holiday by unwrapping delicious little presents: tamales.

At its essence, a tamale consists of masa (dough made from corn or another starch) that's been wrapped in aromatic leaves, then steamed or boiled. Some come bundled in corn husks, others in plantain, banana or mashan leaves. Some are sweetened with molasses or coconut milk, others spiced with mole or seasoned with achiote. Some are plain; others are filled with meat, cheese or vegetables.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Instagram Is Now Valued At $35 Billion By Citigroup Analysts

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 1:19 pm

Less than three years after Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion, the photo-sharing service is now worth $35 billion, according to analysts at Citigroup.

Instagram's user base has skyrocketed since the acquisition, in part because of its integration with Facebook but also because the purchase roughly coincided with the release of an Instagram app for Android smartphones.

Earlier this month, Instagram announced that it surpassed 300 million users.

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