NPR News

The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Search Resumes For Missing AirAsia Flight With 162 Aboard

Family members of passengers of missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 gather at Juanda international airport in Surabaya, Indonesia, on Sunday, hours after the news the flight went missing. The AirAsia Airbus plane with 162 people on board went missing en route from Indonesia to Singapore.
Juni Kriswanto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 8:19 pm

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

Ships and planes have resumed the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501, which lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday. The search efforts, which were suspended overnight, picked up again at dawn, The Associated Press reports.

Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, says that the plane has likely crashed into the ocean, Reuters reports. Soelistyo calls that an "initial estimation."

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Health
4:02 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Mae Keane, The Last 'Radium Girl,' Dies At 107

Employees of the U.S. Radium Corporation paint numbers on the faces of wristwatches using dangerous radioactive paint. Dozens of women, known as Radium Girls, later died of radium poisoning. The last radium girl died this year at 107.
Argonne National Laboratory

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 8:05 pm

Before turning the page on 2014, All Things Considered is paying tribute to some of the people who passed away this year whose stories you may not have heard — including Mae Keane.

In the early 1920s, the hot new gadget was a wristwatch with a glow-in-the-dark dial.

"Made possible by the magic of radium!" bragged one advertisement.

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Animals
4:02 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Scientists Discover That Drunk Birds Sing Like Drunks

Recent research has shown that zebra finches sing differently when drunk, but not whether they know enough of the lyrics to get through "Don't Stop Believin' " or "I Will Survive."
Liza Gross Courtesy Public Library of Science

If you've ever listened to karaoke at a bar, you know that drinking can affect how well someone can sing. Christopher Olson and his colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University recently set out to find if the same was true for birds, specifically zebra finches.

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Remembrances
3:22 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Remembering The Pioneering Audiologist Who Tested Hearing At Birth

For more than 30 years, Dr. Marion Downs pushed for newborns to be screened for hearing loss soon after birth.
Marion Downs Center

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 4:02 pm

Before turning the page on 2014, All Things Considered is paying tribute to some of the people who passed away this year whose stories you may not have heard — including Dr. Marion Downs.

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NPR Story
3:22 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

From 'Shaft' To Von Trapp, The Musicians We Lost in 2014

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 4:02 pm

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

NPR Story
3:22 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

If You've Ever Looked For Faces In Your Potato Chips, Thank Myrtle Young

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 4:02 pm

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

The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Pope John Paul II's Would-Be Assassin Lays Roses At His Tomb

In this image taken from a video provided by Adnkronos International, Ali Agca stands in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, on Saturday. Agca, who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, laid flowers at the late pontiff's tomb.
AP

The Turkish man who tried to kill Pope John Paul II and subsequently spent three decades in jail, has laid flowers at the tomb of the former pontiff.

Mehmet Ali Ağca shot John Paul twice at close range on May 13, 1981 as the pope was traveling in an open car through St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, an attack that left the pope in critical condition.

The gunman was quickly arrested. John Paul recovered and later met Ağca in prison, where the pontiff forgave his would-be killer.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Thousands Of Motorists Stranded By Snow In French Alps

Drivers park to put on snow chains in the middle of a massive traffic jam in the Savoie region of France. Thousands of motorists are stranded for a second day.
Muscio Sylvain EPA/Landov

Thousands of vehicles are stranded in the French Alps unable to come or go from ski resorts in southeastern France due to particularly heavy snowfall and icy conditions.

One man was reportedly killed when his car slid off into a ravine.

The BBC reports that as many as 15,000 motorists who spent Saturday night unable to move due to the snow and ice, are still unable to move in the region of Savoie, west of Turin, Italy.

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Parallels
11:51 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Which World Leader Had The Best And The Worst Year In 2014?

A T-shirt bearing the image of Russian President Vladimir Putin reads "The most polite man" at a St. Petersburg market in Russia on Wednesday. Putin began the year in dramatic fashion by hosting the Winter Olympics and seizing the Crimea. However, his year ended with Russia's economy in turmoil and forecasts of a recession for 2015.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 1:32 pm

Wars raged in the Middle East and beyond. Economic woes stretched across continents. Crashing oil prices boosted some countries and slammed others. World leaders had a lot on their plate this past year. They were responsible for some of their trouble, and some of it just happened to them.

Whether they earned their good fortune or got hammered by bad luck, here's a look at the leaders who fared the best and the worst in 2014, plus a peek at what they can expect next year:

Vladimir Putin's Bipolar Year

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Iranian General Reportedly Killed By ISIS Sniper In Northern Iraq

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 10:07 am

A senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards was killed by a sniper's bullet in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra as he was training Iraqi troops and Shiite militiamen fighting militants of the self-declared Islamic State, Iran says.

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Health Care
9:07 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Tennessee's Medicaid Deal Dodges A Partisan Fight

Gov. Bill Haslam announces his proposal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee on Dec. 15. Under the plan, the hospital association would pay the state's portion of the program.
Erik Schelzig AP

Tony Smith's disability check puts him over the income limit to receive standard Medicaid, but it's too little for him to qualify for a subsidy.

Sitting next to a federal health-care navigator at a Nashville, Tenn., clinic, he said he hopes lawmakers think of his plight and that of thousands of others when considering Medicaid expansion.

"I'm not looking for a handout," Smith says. "I'm just looking for some help ... because I need it."

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History
9:07 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Fleeing To Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom

Great Dismal Swamp, in Virginia and North Carolina, was once thought to be haunted. For generations of escaped slaves, says archaeologist Dan Sayers, the swamp was a haven.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 1:50 pm

Most Americans know about the Underground Railroad, the route that allowed Southern slaves to escape North. Some slaves found freedom by hiding closer to home, however — in Great Dismal Swamp.

The swamp is a vast wetland in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. In George Washington's time, it was a million acres of trees, dark water, bears, bobcats, snakes and stinging insects. British settlers, who first arrived in 1607, believed the swamp was haunted.

By 1620, some of their slaves may have overcome that fear to find freedom there.

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The Two-Way
7:43 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Ceremony In Afghanistan Officially Ends America's Longest War

Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Gen. John Campbell opens the "Resolute Support" flag during a ceremony at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul on Sunday.
Massoud Hossaini AP

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 2:31 pm

U.S. troops and their NATO allies in Afghanistan have formally ended what became America's longest war, furling their flag 13 years after a 2001 invasion to topple the country's Taliban regime in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Sun December 28, 2014

1 Dead, Hundreds Evacuated From Burning Ferry In Adriatic Sea

The car ferry Norman Atlantic burns in waters off Greece on Sunday.
HANDOUT Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 12:44 pm

Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET

Gale-force winds and rough seas were hampering an effort to evacuate nearly 500 passengers and crew from a ferry that caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu early this morning.

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Politics
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

To Deal With Hostile Congress, Obama Can Look To History

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Asia
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

AirAsia Flight Goes Missing With 162 Aboard

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

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

Latin America
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Argentinian Orangutan May Be Free To Enjoy Some Privacy

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Europe
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

German Protesters Express Their 'Defensive Nationalism'

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

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

Transcript

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NPR Ed
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

'Military Children': Their Struggles, Sacrifices And Strengths

Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers.
Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 1:19 pm

We've all seen the photo: A soldier in fatigues stoops down to hug his child one last time before heading off to a war zone.

We may have an idea of what comes next for the soldier, but rarely do we discuss what's next for the child.

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World
5:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Albright On The U.N.: 'If It Didn't Exist, We Would Invent It'

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:07 am

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

Transcript

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Shots - Health News
3:36 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Wonder Abides, Even For A Skeptical Doctor

Katherine Streeter for NPR

The holidays are here, bringing joy and, for some, wistful feelings.

Doctors are no different. Even for a profession that prides itself on scientific proof, the long nights of December afford ample opportunity for reflection and even doubt.

As we take stock of what we've accomplished and where we've failed to measure up, I find my scowling mask of medical skepticism falling away. I have to admit that there is so much wonder and mystery that science and medicine still can't explain.

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The Salt
9:56 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

AirAsia Plane Missing After Takeoff From Indonesia

Relatives of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 comfort each other Sunday at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Trisnadi AP

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 12:48 pm

Updated at 1:00 p.m. ET

Search operations have been suspended for the night for an AirAsia plane with 162 aboard that lost contact with air traffic control after takeoff from Indonesia on a flight to Singapore, the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority reports.

The plane, en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, lost contact about an hour before it was due to arrive in Singapore. It was scheduled to land at 8:30 a.m. Singapore time (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday), Hadi Mustofa, an official with the Indonesian air ministry, said on Indonesia's MetroTV.

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Space
4:32 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

An Aspiring Martian Continues To Pursue The Red Planet

Beemer, shown at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in 2011, is a candidate for both Mars One and the Mars Arctic 365 program.
Max Fagin

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 4:54 pm

Lt. Heidi Beemer has dreamed of going to Mars since she was 8 years old. She's carefully planned her life, from her education to her career, with a goal of getting to the red planet.

In January she got a step closer to that goal by making first cut of applicants for Mars One — a Netherlands-based nonprofit that has a goal of establishing a permanent, sustainable human settlement on Mars by 2025.

Now, she's preparing to interview for the next round.

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Commentary
4:31 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

How Pete Seeger Revealed The Power Of Music To Me

Pete Seeger performs on stage during the Farm Aid 2013 concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Hans Pennink AP

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 9:10 am

Before he died this year at the age of 94, Pete Seeger influenced scores of musicians and millions of people — including me.

Growing up, my father would regularly drag me to folk festivals up and down New York's Hudson River Valley and across the Northeast, especially Pete Seeger's annual gathering called Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival.

What were all these fiddles and banjos and acoustic guitars, I thought? I wanted snarling electric guitars. Feedback. To rock. And here, old people would break into three-part harmony in line for the bathroom.

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Religion
4:30 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

After Year Of Atheism, Former Pastor: 'I Don't Think God Exists'

Minister Ryan Bell decided to "try on" atheism for a year; now, although he says atheism is an "awkward fit," he's going to continue to not believe in God.
Natalie Gee

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 4:54 pm

At the start of 2014, former Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Ryan Bell made an unusual New Year's resolution: to live for one year without God. This, reflecting his own loss of faith. He kept a blog documenting his journey and has a documentary crew following him.

After a year, Bell tells NPR's Arun Rath, "I've looked at the majority of the arguments that I've been able to find for the existence of God and on the question of God's existence or not, I have to say I don't find there to be a convincing case in my view.

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Music
4:01 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

Trumpeter John McNeil (far right) rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from the New York jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 6:26 pm

John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.

Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.

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News
3:23 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Slain NYPD Officer's Funeral Draws Mourners From Around The Country

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 4:54 pm

Copyright 2014 WNYC Radio. To see more, visit http://www.wnyc.org/.

Around the Nation
3:23 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

In Southwestern Pennsylvania, Some Heroin Problems Persist

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 4:54 pm

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

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Facebook Finds That Not All Users Want To Review Their Year

While many may have appreciated Facebook's "Year in Review" app, others were unhappy about being urged to revisit a difficult 2014.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:31 am

It's been a great year! Or, has it?

You might be asking yourself that as you scroll through your Facebook feed trying to ignore that "Year in Review" app that randomly gathers your photos and scotches them together into a presumed personal narrative of 2014.

But not everyone is thanking Facebook for the memories.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Dwarf Galaxy, Long Overlooked, Discovered In Our 'Hood

A negative image of Kks3, made using the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope. The core of the galaxy is the right hand dark object at the top center of the image.
D. Makarov Royal Astronomical Society

The newest galaxy to be discovered is actually very old – and very small. And it's right in our neighborhood of the universe.

Although Kks3 is only 7 million light years away (about 2.5 times farther than our nearest large galaxy, Andromeda) at just 1/10,000 the stellar mass of our the Milky Way, it is tiny by galactic standards and incredibly easy to miss. About 2/3rds of the "dwarf spheroidal galaxy" is made up of star material formed 12 billion years ago, just a billion years and some change after the Big Bang.

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