NPR News

The Two-Way
9:41 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Milwaukee Prosecutor Won't Seek Charges In Police Shooting

A Milwaukee prosecutor says no charges will be filed against a police officer who shot and killed Donte Hamilton in April. Here, Maria Hamilton holds posters used in rallies that vent frustrations about the death of her son.
M.L. Johnson AP

Eight months after a police officer shot and killed a black man whom he had been trying to search as the man slept, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm says the officer acted in self-defense.

The incident occurred in a Milwaukee park at around 4 in the afternoon. Officer Christopher Manney, who is white, was trying to frisk Dontre Hamilton, as he slept. Manney fired his gun 14 times after Dontre Hamilton woke up and grabbed the officer's baton, striking him with it.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Pope Francis, At Christmas Gathering, Blasts Vatican's Bureaucrats

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 9:26 am

Pope Francis has blasted the Vatican's top bureaucrats at an annual Christmas gathering, accusing the cardinals, bishops and priests who make up the Curia of "spiritual Alzheimer's" and and lusting for power at all costs.

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Tunisian Election Puts Former Regime Figure In Presidency

A supporter of newly elected Tunisian presidential candidate Beji Caid Essibsi flashes the V-sign from a car as they celebrate the first results of the Tunisian elections in Sousse, Tunisia.
STR EPA /LANDOV

A tense runoff election in Tunisia, birthplace of the Arab Spring in 2011, has ended with a win for Beji Caid Essebsi, a veteran of the country's autocratic regimes. Essebsi defeated interim leader Moncef Marzouki.

Affiliated with the secular-leaning Nidaa Tounes (Tunisia Calls) party, Essebsi won Tunisia's first democratic presidential election by taking more than 55 percent of the vote. Election officials announced the results Monday.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Mon December 22, 2014

NYC Police Deaths: Details On Suspect; Rift Between Mayor And Police

People sing as they take part in a prayer vigil at the site where two police officers were shot to death in the Brooklyn borough of New York this weekend.
Carlow Allegri Reuters /Landov

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says tensions in the city are at their worst since the 1970s. Bratton spoke two days after Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and killed two police officers in New York. Brinsley had been arrested at least 19 times and reportedly tried to hang himself last year.

The tragic shooting has also exposed fault lines in the relationship between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city's police department.

Here's a rundown of news we're seeing about this story, beginning with NPR's report from WNYC's Brigid Bergin:

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Spain's Princess Cristina To Stand Trial On Tax Fraud Charges

Princess Cristina, seen here on April 5 in Barcelona, Spain, will face trial on tax fraud charges.
Manu Fernandez AP

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 7:46 am

Spain's Princess Cristina, sister of King Felipe VI, will stand trial on charges of tax fraud, becoming the country's first royal in modern times to face prosecution.

The allegations stem from Cristina de Borbon's alleged links to her husband's business affairs between 2007 and 2008.

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Business
6:47 am
Mon December 22, 2014

The 5 Business Stories That Made 2014 A Memorable Year

James Franco (left) and Seth Rogen, stars of The Interview, arrive for the film's Los Angeles premiere on Dec. 11. The comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was pulled from theaters after a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film. The FBI said the attack was traced to the North Korean government.
Jim Ruymen UPI/Landov

As the year's end approaches, economists are looking back and assessing the news stories that shaped 2014.

Though their lists may vary, most analysts are pointing to five developments that had very big impacts on the U.S. economy. These were the biggies for 2014:

Oil Prices Plunge

No one saw this one coming. When 2014 began, a barrel of crude oil was selling for about $110. It hovered there until late spring, when the price ticked up to nearly $115.

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The Two-Way
6:03 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Calling U.S. A 'Cesspool,' North Korea Warns Against Escalation

Workers remove a poster for The Interview from a billboard in Hollywood, Calif., after Sony canceled the movie's Christmas release due to a terrorist threat. The hacking of Sony's networks has sparked a war of words between the U.S. and North Korea.
ROBYN BECK AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 7:18 am

"The "whole U.S. mainland" would be under threat of attack if America seeks vengeance for last month's Sony hacking, North Korea says. An official at its defense commission called the U.S. a "cesspool of terrorism" after President Obama called the hack "cyber-vandalism."

North Korea's National Defense Commission, which is headed by the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, said its military was ready to fight America "in all war spaces including cyber warfare space," issuing a wide threat that specified targets in the U.S.

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Around the Nation
5:37 am
Mon December 22, 2014

After 20 Years, Lost Luggage Is Returned To Tuscon Woman

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

Around the Nation
5:37 am
Mon December 22, 2014

JFK Assured 8-Year-Old Girl That Santa Was Safe

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

NPR Ed
5:23 am
Mon December 22, 2014

An Update On LA's iPad Program

NPR Ed is updating some of the top stories we've been following in 2014.

The 650,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District expected to be tapping and scrolling on their very own iPads by now, halfway through the school year.

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Latin America
3:05 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Cuba's Religious Groups View Diplomatic Thaw With U.S. Differently

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:37 am

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

The Salt
1:45 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Nuns On The Ranch Give A Heavenly Twist To Beef

Sister Elizabeth feeds Yoda, a water buffalo calf at the ranch. The nuns bought the buffalo to make mozzarella.
Sonja Salzburg for Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 7:36 am

Many beer aficionados are familiar with the rare breweries run by Trappist monks. The beer is highly sought after, but it's not the only food or drink made by a religious order. Many abbeys and convents have deep roots in agriculture, combining farm work with prayer.

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Energy
1:44 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Heating New England Homes: The Good And Bad News

Low heating oil prices mean New Englanders don't have to bundle up at home this year, but they will have to watch their rising electric bills.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 6:34 am

Falling oil prices are perhaps nowhere more welcome than in northern New England, where most homes burn heating oil in their furnaces. But cheaper heating oil is refilling consumers' pockets just as high electric prices are emptying them out.

For example, a heating oil truck delivers 600 gallons of heating oil every two weeks to an old, four-story brick building in Concord, N.H. At last year's oil prices, each refill would have cost around $2,200. Right now, it's more than $300 cheaper.

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Shots - Health News
1:43 am
Mon December 22, 2014

A Family's Long Search For Fragile X Drug Finds Frustration, Hope

Katie Clapp shares a laugh with her son Andy Tranfaglia, 25, at their home in West Newbury, Mass. Andy has a rare genetic condition called fragile X syndrome.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 6:17 am

For a few weeks last year, Michael Tranfaglia and Katie Clapp saw a remarkable change in their son, Andy, who'd been left autistic and intellectually disabled by fragile X syndrome. Andy, who is 25, became more social, more talkative and happier. "He was just doing incredibly well," his father says.

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The Two-Way
6:03 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

U.S. Women's Soccer Team Finishes Second In Brazilian Tournament

United States' Abby Wambach fights for the ball with Brazil's Bruna Benites during a final match of the International Women's Football Tournament in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday. The game ended in a draw, giving Brazil the tournament victory.
Eraldo Peres AP

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:57 am

The U.S. Women's National Soccer team finished its 2014 season with a second-place finish Sunday in the rainy final of the International Tournament of Brasilia. Brazil and the U.S. played to a 0-0 draw.

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Code Switch
3:24 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

The Whiteness Project: Facing Race In A Changing America

Whiteness Project participants were filmed talking about race. The project doesn't use their names, to encourage frankness.
Feral Films, Inc.

The voices in the Whiteness Project vary by gender, age and income, but they all candidly express what it is like to be white in an increasingly diverse country.

"I don't feel that personally I've benefited from being white. That's because I grew up relatively poor," a participant shared. "My father worked at a factory." These are the kind of unfiltered comments that filmmaker Whitney Dow was hoping to hear when he started recording a group of white people, and hoped to turn their responses into provocative, interactive videos.

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Parallels
3:24 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Celebrating Hanukkah In A Palestinian City

Wolf celebrated Hanukkah in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank last year. As the holiday approached, she felt lonely, until her Palestinian host mother and a few neighbors came to watch her light candles on her portable tin menorah and hear her explain the holiday story.
Courtesy of Amelia Wolf

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 8:41 am

Amelia Wolf, an American Jewish college student, was living in the Palestinian city of Ramallah when the holiday of Hanukkah rolled around last year.

She liked the Palestinian family that was hosting her in the West Bank, but she felt a little lonely. She wasn't going to celebrate in Israel, where she had friends and relatives, as she had other Jewish holidays.

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Music Interviews
3:24 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Anthony Hamilton Brings Home Holiday Funk

Anthony Hamilton's first Christmas album is called Home for the Holidays.
LaVan Anderson Courtesy of the artist

Once a pop artist has been working long enough, the Christmas album feels like an inevitability. Soul singer Anthony Hamilton wanted to try it out, but he was wary of falling into cliché and repeating the formulas that have shaped holiday records for years.

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Around the Nation
3:24 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Questions Linger In Fatal Shooting Of New York City Police Officers

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

Latin America
3:24 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Still Few Answers In Disappearance Of 43 Students In Mexico

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

The Two-Way
3:12 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Man Who Killed Officers Told Passersby: 'Watch What I Am Going To Do'

New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Sunday that a gunman told bystanders to follow him on Instagram, then shot and killed two police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday.
Stephanie Keith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 6:56 am

The gunman who killed two officers in a Brooklyn neighborhood of New York on Saturday told passersby moments before the shooting to "watch what I am about to do," a senior police official says.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Kurdish Forces Push Offensive To Retake Sinjar From ISIS

Iraqi Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani speaks with the media at Mount Sinjar, in the town of Sinjar, on Sunday. Barzani was visiting an area that was recently retaken from ISIS militants.
STRINGER/IRAQ Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 2:46 pm

Kurdish fighters, supported by coalition warplanes, pushed into the town of Sinjar in northern Iraq, days after breaking a siege of a mountain where ethnic Yazidis had been trapped for months by Islamist extremists.

Massoud Barzani, an Iraqi Kurdish leader claimed his peshmerga forces had already taken a "large area" of the town of Sinjar, which has been held since August by fighters of the so-called Islamic State.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Sun December 21, 2014

GOP Sens. Rubio, Paul Square Off Over Cuba Policy Shift

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, expresses his disappointment in President Obama's initiative to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba, on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 12:47 pm

In what could prove a sneak peek at the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a strong critic of President Obama's decision to open relations with Cuba, appears to be stepping up an attack on fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul over his support of the policy shift.

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The Two-Way
8:36 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Tunisia, Cradle Of Arab Spring, In Historic Presidential Vote

Tunisian voter Dina Ghlisse, 19, displays her finger with the indelible ink mark after voting in La Marsa, on the outskirts of Tunis, on Sunday. More than three years after Tunisia sparked the Arab Spring, the country is choosing a president.
Hassene Dridi AP

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 12:46 pm

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

Tunisians are going to the polls today to choose a president in a runoff election that represents a choice between the country's interim leader, swept to power in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, or a candidate with ties to the ousted regime.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Obama Calls North Korean Hack 'Cybervandalism'

Sony Pictures Studios headquarters building is seen in Culver City, Calif., on Friday. President Obama has criticized Sony for cancelling distribution of The Interview following after the studio was hacked by North Korea.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 12:40 pm

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Obama told CNN that he doesn't consider North Korea's hack of Sony Pictures an act of war, but instead a case of "cyber-vandalism." But he stands by his criticism of the movie studio for pulling the satirical film The Interview because its plot angers Pyongyang.

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The Salt
7:40 am
Sun December 21, 2014

A History Lesson On The Philippines, Stuffed In A Christmas Chicken

The rellenong manok at La Cocina de Tita Moning, a restaurant in Manila. Chef Suzette Montinola uses a traditional recipe from the 1930s that belonged to her grandmother.
Aurora Almendral for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 7:59 am

Noche buena, the Christmas Eve feast in fervently Catholic Philippines, is deeply steeped in tradition. One of the mainstays of this decadent meal, usually eaten after midnight mass, is rellenong manok (rel-ye-nong ma-nok). It's a hybrid name: In Spanish, relleno means stuffed, and in Tagalog, manok means chicken.

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Latin America
7:36 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Ready To Hit The Cuban Beach? Americans Still Have To Wait

A couple walks on the beach in the resort area of Varadero, Cuba. Varadero is home to upscale hotels and resorts that cater to foreign tourists, but there aren't yet enough to handle a potential influx of Americans.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 11:01 am

With President Obama beginning the process of normalizing relations with Cuba this week, many may envision soon soaking up the sun on a warm Cuban beach, sipping a refreshing rum drink.

In reality, that's not likely to happen for quite a while. But just the increased opportunity for travel between the two countries has those with longtime ties to Cuba already thinking about the possibilities it will bring.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Gunman Made Anti-Police Posts Before Killing NYPD Officers

Officer Rafael Ramos (left) and Wenjian Liu (right) were killed on Saturday in an ambush by a gunman in a Brooklyn neighborhood.
NYPD EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 12:22 pm

The gunman who ambushed and killed two New York City police officers in their patrol car before committing suicide reportedly posted messages on social media suggesting the assault was revenge for deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of authorities.

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Middle East
6:20 am
Sun December 21, 2014

With Election, Tunisia Solidifies Its Democracy Success Story

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 11:01 am

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

Transcript

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Afghanistan
6:20 am
Sun December 21, 2014

On The Pakistani Taliban: 'You Can't Do Politics ... Killing Children'

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 11:01 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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