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Law
2:38 am
Tue December 16, 2014

From Judges To Inmates, Finding The Human Casualties Of Mandatory Sentencing

NPR's series looks at the human toll of mandatory minimum prison sentences. The White House and the Justice Department have taken the unprecedented step of asking for candidates who might win early release from prison through presidential pardons or commutations in the final years of the Obama presidency.
Dan Henson iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 12:34 pm

The United States spends nearly $7 billion a year to operate a network of federal prisons that house more than 200,000 inmates. About half of them are incarcerated for drug crimes, a legacy of 1980s laws that prosecutors use to target not only kingpins but also low-level couriers and girlfriends. Multiple convictions for small-time offenses under those laws mean thousands of people are locked up for decades, or even the rest of their lives.

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Parallels
1:47 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Kurdish Officials Worry About Kurds Joining The Islamic State

The Iraqi town of Halabja is dominated by Kurds, the group that has been fighting the Islamic State in northern Iraq. However, some Kurdish residents have been slipping away to join the Islamic State.
Yahya Ahmad Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:15 pm

In the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, near the border with Iran, we knock on the door of a 16-year-old boy who disappeared. His family says he lied to them, saying he was going on a picnic with a teenage friend. But they never came home.

"He disappeared in May," says the boy's older sister. "A few days later a letter arrived in his handwriting. It said, 'I'm in Syria. Don't look for me.' "

The boy, like most everyone in this city, is a Kurd, most of whom are Sunni Muslim. He joined the so-called Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim extremist group also known as ISIS.

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Economy
1:36 am
Tue December 16, 2014

'Reshoring' Trend Has Little Impact On U.S. Economy, Study Finds

An "Assembled in the USA" stamp is seen at the side of a box containing a 32-inch television set May 29 in the warehouse of Element Electronics, in Winnsboro, S.C. For the phenomenon of "reshoring," or bringing overseas jobs back to the United States, the electronics sector has been a leader.
Chris Keane Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:27 pm

A report on the phenomenon known as "reshoring" — the opposite of offshoring — shows that while a growing number of companies are returning to the United States to do their manufacturing, the trend is smaller and less significant to the economy than it appears.

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Shots - Health News
1:28 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Alaska's Governor Eager To Expand Medicaid

Valerie Davidson was appointed health commissioner by Alaska's Gov. Bill Walker to help him expand Medicaid in the state. She'll look for middle ground with Republicans to get it done, she says.
Lori Townsend/Alaska Public Media

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:31 am

Alaska's new governor won his election in one of the tightest races in the country, a race that was too close to call even a week after election night. Bill Walker, who ran as an independent (unaffiliated with the Republicans or Democrats), took office on Dec. 1, after campaigning on the promise that he would expand Medicaid as one of his first orders of business.

To make good on that, he'll have to face a Republican-controlled legislature that hasn't been willing to even consider the idea.

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U.S.
1:26 am
Tue December 16, 2014

President's Task Force To Re-Examine How Police Interact With Public

President Obama announces the creation of a policing task force Dec. 1 as Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey (left) and George Mason University criminology professor Laurie Robinson look on.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:09 pm

Earlier this month, after the events in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y, the White House announced the creation of what it's calling a Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The group's job is to find ways to strengthen the relationship between police and the public, and to share recommendations with the president by late February.

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Parallels
1:24 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Argentina's Approach To Inflation: Ditch The Peso, Hoard U.S. Dollars

A man gets information about how to buy dollars at a foreign exchange business in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Jan. 27.
Natacha Pisarenko AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:00 pm

Kelly Brenner ushers in guests at the Adentro Dinner Club. This is a "​puertas cerradas"​ restaurant — meaning behind closed doors. It's a culinary movement where people cook for paying guests in their homes. Adentro is the most well-reviewed in Buenos Aires​.

​Brenner, who is originally from Boulder, Colo., acts as the host, and her Argentine fiance, Gabriel Aguallo, does the cooking, focusing on grilled meat.

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The Salt
1:22 am
Tue December 16, 2014

At Last, Muslims Can Savor A Halal Spin On Spain's Famous Jamón

Halal jamón products made with lamb and beef inside the Balkis Gourmet curing room in Cumbres Mayores in Andalusia, Spain.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:29 am

Wander into any bar in Spain, order a drink, and the waiter will very likely hand you free tapas. Very often it's some type of pork — jamón (ham), chorizo (spicy sausage) or panceta (cured bacon). You could say this country is obsessed with cured pork products. People joke that even vegetarians in Spain eat jamón.

Eating authentic jamón ibérico de bellota, a cured ham made from free-range pigs fed on acorns, is a key part of Spanish life, especially in the south.

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Fine Art
1:21 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Painting Or Photograph? With Richard Estes, It's Hard To Tell

Richard Estes, Jone's Diner, 1979, oil on canvas. (Private collection.) Click here for a closer look.
Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery/Smithsonian American Art Museum

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 8:33 am

American painter Richard Estes has made a career out of fooling the eye. His canvases look like photographs — but they're not.

"You can't see my paintings in reproduction," the 82-year-old artist says. That's because, in reproduction, the paintings — especially his New York cityscapes from the late 1960s — look like photos. He's called a photo-realist, or hyper-realist — an intense observer of the built environment. But he doesn't paint the view from his apartment window.

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The Two-Way
12:03 am
Tue December 16, 2014

2015 Rock Hall Of Fame Class Includes Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Green Day

Billie Joe Armstrong (left) and Mike Dirnt of Green Day play the Reading Festival. Green Day and five other acts will join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year.
Yui Mok PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:49 am

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Law
9:28 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Supreme Court Refuses To Limit Abortion Drug's Use

Bottles of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 are shown in 2010 at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:53 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of an Arizona law aimed at limiting use of the increasingly popular abortion pill. In 2012 nearly half of the abortions in the state were via the pill, known as RU-486.

The pill was approved by the FDA in 2000 for the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Since then, scientists have developed safer and smaller doses that allow the drug to be used through the ninth week.

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All Tech Considered
5:26 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Hustle Behind The Wheel: What It's Like To Be An Uber Driver

Ride-hailing services like Uber have changed ground transportation for both passengers and drivers. As Uber rapidly grows, it becomes more difficult for its drivers to keep up with the hustle.
David Ramos Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:09 pm

The popular ride-hailing service Uber is valued at a staggering $40 billion — even though it's besieged by lawsuits, bad PR and outright bans in some cities.

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The Two-Way
4:58 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

The U.S. Has A Surgeon General, For The First Time In 17 Months

More than a year after he was nominated, Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed as the next surgeon general Monday. Back in February, Murthy testified about his nomination before a Senate panel.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:14 pm

A job that's been open in President Obama's administration since July of 2013 was finally filled Monday, as the Senate voted to confirm Vivek Murthy as America's new surgeon general.

The tally was 51-43, ending a confirmation process that began after Obama nominated Murthy to the post in November of 2013 — yes, that's one year ago.

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The Two-Way
4:11 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Russia Boosts Interest Rates To 17 Percent Amid Currency's Slide

Russia's central bank raised its interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent in an early Tuesday decision that comes as the ruble continues its year as the world's worst-performing major currency.

"This decision is aimed at limiting substantially increased ruble depreciation risks and inflation risks," the Bank of Russia said in a statement on its website.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Chinese Man Cleared Of Rape, Murder 18 Years After His Execution

Shang Aiyun (second left) and Li Sanren (second right) mourn at the grave of their son, Huugjilt, in Hohhot, China. Huugjilt was executed in 1996 for the rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet. He was cleared of the crime on Monday.
Ren Junchuan Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:26 pm

In 1996, China executed an 18-year-old man named Huugjilt for the rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet. But Monday, Chinese authorities cleared the ethnic Mongolian of the crime and offered a rare apology to his family.

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NPR Story
3:19 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Sony Puts News Groups On Legal Notice To Destroy Hacked Data

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 1:15 pm

Sony’s attorney has sent a three-page letter to media organizations, including NPR, warning them not to keep, review, publish or make any use of any of the Sony data being put out by hackers.

It’s the latest turn in a story that began last month, when hackers crippled Sony’s internal network and made off with massive amounts of data from the company, including five Sony films, four of them unreleased, and emails from the companies executives.

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NPR Story
3:19 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Did This Congress Help Your Wallet, Or Just Pass the Buck?

A member of the House of Representatives departs the US Capitol after a vote narrowly approving a $1.1 trillion, nine-month federal spending bill barely two hours before a midnight government shutdown deadline, December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. The 219-206 vote followed a bruising day of arm-twisting by the White House after dozens of Democrats split with President Barack Obama over the legislation that funds most federal operations through September, the end of fiscal year 2015. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:31 pm

Over the past week, lawmakers’ have scrambled to finish the fiscal 2015 budget. Now the 113th Congress is headed out, but before then, economists are looking back at what Congress accomplished for the U.S. economy during its two-year session.

Many say lawmakers did not do much to help your wallet, but the 113th Congress is not without some achievements, such as cutting spending enough to make meaningful progress on the budget deficit and passing a farm bill.

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NPR Ed
3:18 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

There's No Place Like A Dorm Room For The Holidays

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 8:52 am

It's final exam week for lots of college students. No doubt they're stressed right now, but once they hand in that last paper or take that last test, they're done for the semester. Pack up the suitcase and head home for the holidays.

But for some college students — many of whom are former foster youth — that's not quite what happens.

"I have no for-certain home, that's the thing," says Trudy Greer, a 22-year-old sophomore at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich. She says she's had a lot of folks at EMU ask her where she lives, curious to know where her home is.

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Goats and Soda
3:16 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Dr. Kent Brantly: Lessons Learned From Fighting Ebola

Dr. Kent Brantly speaks about the world's response to Ebola during the Overseas Security Advisory Council's Annual Briefing in Washington, D.C. last month.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:23 am

Dr. Kent Brantly considers himself a lucky man.

He was diagnosed with Ebola five months ago while working with Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse at a hospital in Liberia's capital, Monrovia. He became so sick that he thought he was going to "quit" breathing.

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Around the Nation
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

From Water Cutoffs To An Art Scare, Detroit Has A Tumultuous Year

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

Politics
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Senate Set To Vote On Surgeon General Nominee

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 4:17 pm

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

Technology
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Lawyers Say Sony Can't Keep Media From Reporting Hacked Details

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:06 am

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Technology
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

The Distracting Problem With The Term 'Disruption'

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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World
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Sydney Siege Ends With Two Hostages And Gunman Dead

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

Around the Nation
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Nebraska Landowners Sit At The Heart Of Keystone Controversy

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 5:58 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Keystone XL - for years now, the pipeline has been tied up in polarizing argument about energy, jobs and the environment. Keystone's been argued in the U.S. Congress, in state court, at protests around the country and on late-night television.

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World
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Sydney Residents Rally To Head Off Anti-Muslim Violence

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 4:14 pm

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

Education
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

How To Talk To Boys About Sex And Consent

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Awkward question - how do you talk to your teenage son about sex and consent, especially given recent stories about sexual violence against women on college campuses?

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Book Reviews
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Murakami's 'Library' Is Dark, Creamy And Grainy At The Same Time

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

Code Switch
2:50 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Serial Isn't About Ferguson. (But It's Kind Of About Ferguson.)

Serial focuses on Adnan Syed, who was a teenager when he was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, despite big question marks in the case. (But you almost certainly knew that already.)
Courtesy of Serial

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:16 pm

As The Conversation About Serial reaches a fever pitch in certain circles, those of us behind Code Switch and Monkey See have been talking quite a bit about the show. You can read Matt Thompson's initial entry in this conversation here.

Below is the second part of our exchange, from Code Switch blogger Gene Demby.

Matt, Linda and Kat,

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Hanukkah Miracle

Not pictured: the treadmill Dan is standing on. Just 18 more miles and he'll have worked off half of this sandwich!
Dan Pashman

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 4:51 pm

[Today's post comes to you from Dan Pashman, a friend of Sandwich Monday. You may know him from his spots on Weekend Edition; his WNYC podcast, The Sporkful; his book, Eat More Better; or the time he stole a piece of your sausage when you weren't looking.]

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Tennessee Governor Moves To Expand Medicaid Coverage

Gov. Bill Haslam announces his proposal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee at the state Capitol in Nashville Monday.
Erik Schelzig AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 10:45 am

Following the lead of other Republican governors, Tennessee's Gov. Bill Haslam is moving to expand Medicaid in his state, using federal funds from the Affordable Care Act. Haslam announced the plan Monday morning; it'll be debated by the legislature next month.

From Nashville, Bobby Allyn of member station WPLN reports:

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