NPR News

The Two-Way
6:29 am
Sat December 13, 2014

2 U.S. Soldiers Among More Than A Dozen Killed In Afghan Attacks

Afghan security personnel inspect a damaged bus at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. There was no immediate report of casualties, but the attack was one of several in the last 24 hours that have been blamed on the Taliban.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 11:12 am

It's been a violent 24 hours in Afghanistan:

-- 12 workers clearing mines on Saturday were attacked by Taliban militants and another dozen were wounded, a police spokesman said.

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Race
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Activists Gather On Washington Mall To Protest Police Violence

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 11:38 am

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

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Parallels
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Oil Prices Go Down, Russia's Gold Buying Goes Up

An employee displays a gold bar at a gold refining workshop of the plant of Uralelektromed Joint Stock Company (JSC), the enterprise of Ural Mining and Metallurgical company (UMMC) in the town of Verkhnyaya Pyshma, outside Yekaterinburg, Oct. 17.
Maxim Shemetov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 7:39 pm

It's been a rough ride for the Russian economy and it keeps getting worse. Low oil prices helped push the ruble to another record low on Friday. This spate of bad economic news is probably just accelerating an existing trend: Russia's purchase of gold at an astounding rate.

Russia's central bank bought more than 130 tons of gold this year. Last year, it bought about 75 tons. Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at the brokerage firm, RJ O'Brien, says Russia has shifted even more assets into gold because it has had a particularly bad year.

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Parallels
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Just Under The Surface, Palestinian Rivals Remain Bitterly Divided

A Palestinian with a green headband, which identifies him as a Hamas supporters, helps a fellow protester with a black-and-white scarf, the symbol of the Fatah movement. They were both taking part in a demonstration near the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 4. The factions agreed to end their feud earlier this year, but many of their supporters remain bitter rivals.
Majdi Mohammed AP

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

Three months after the Gaza Strip war between Hamas and Israel, reconstruction of destroyed homes and businesses has hardly started. Part of the problem is the lack of clear Palestinian government authority on the ground.

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Movie Interviews
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Finland's HIM Releases Early Work In 'Lashes to Ashes'

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:07 am

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

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It is very cold and very dark in Finland this time of year - every time of year, I understand. But there's a band that finds inspiration in that dark and cold. For more than 20 years, the group HIM has been heating up Helsinki nights.

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Strange News
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

London Men Decks Their Beards With Beads And Baubles

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

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Space
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Geminids Promise A Light Show In The Night Sky

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 10:52 am

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

Asia
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Hong Kong Protesters Leave The Streets, Not Their Cause

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

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Politics
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Levin, Harkin, Coburn Among Senators Bidding Adieu

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

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National Security
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Holder Won't Force NYT Journalist To Reveal Source

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

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Law
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

NYT Reporter: Brutal Interrogations Rose In CIA's Post-9/11 Chaos

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 2:21 pm

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Law
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Yale Law Professor: Torture Is Never Justified

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 8:27 pm

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Politics
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Outrage On The Left And Right As Senate Delays Spending Vote

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

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Goats and Soda
5:03 am
Sat December 13, 2014

A Michel Du Cille Disciple Remembers His Late, Great Boss

A boy lies on a mattress on the floor of Redemption Hospital, a holding center for Ebola patients in Monrovia, Liberia.
Michel du Cille The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 2:18 pm

The friends and colleagues of Michel du Cille are in shock. They simply can't believe that the photographer with the deep voice and the gentle soul is gone. He died on Dec. 11 of an apparent heart attack while covering the Ebola crisis in Liberia for the Washington Post.

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Parallels
3:39 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Syrian Women Displaced By War Make Tragedy Of 'Antigone' Their Own

Mona, 28, narrates during a rehearsal of Antigone. "I feel that Antigone resembles me a lot," says the former resident of Damascus and mother of two.
Dalia Khamissy for NPR

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

Barefoot in a yoga studio in Lebanon's capital Beirut, a couple dozen actresses raise voices and stretch bodies that had grown used to being quiet and still.

"Go on," they cry as a clapping exercise speeds up, and they fill the room with whoops and uninhibited yells.

But these women aren't professional actresses. In fact, they're refugees from Syria, and this production of the Greek tragedy Antigone is a project designed to help them deal with their trauma.

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The Two-Way
8:02 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

NYT Journalist James Risen Won't Be Forced To Reveal His Source

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder won't compel The New York Times' James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, to name his confidential source on CIA operations intended to prevent Iran from building its nuclear program.

It's the conclusion of a standoff that has lasted for years, as NPR's David Folkenflik reported for our Newscast unit. It began in 2006, David reports, when "Risen's book State of War revealed the CIA had botched a scheme to feed the Iranians faulty material on how to refine nuclear fuel for weapons."

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The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Georgia Woman Gets $100K Over Her Arrest For Cursing At Police

Amy Barnes, of Marietta, Ga., has won a settlement after she says police abused her constitutional rights. Barnes was arrested and held in solitary confinement overnight for cursing at officers.
David Goldman AP

After seeing "yet another African American stopped for doing nothing other than being outside while black," Atlanta-area resident Amy Barnes says, she yelled profanities at police officers — who then arrested her. That was two years ago. Today, Cobb County agreed to pay Barnes $100,000.

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The Two-Way
5:02 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Amazing Photos Show Clouds Filling The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is seen from the South Rim on Sept. 6, 2013.
Alexandra Schuler DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:07 pm

A rare total cloud inversion took place in the Grand Canyon on Thursday, filling the huge void with what looks like a rolling white fog. The event was captured in striking photos by the Grand Canyon National Park; on Friday, the park posted a time-lapse video.

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The Two-Way
4:25 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Are Men Idiots Who Do Stupid Things? Study Says Yes

Charles Darwin, perhaps best known for his work on evolution, died at the age of 73 in 1882. He would not have been a candidate for the Darwin Awards.
AP

A new study shows what at least some of us might have suspected for a long time: Men are idiots and do stupid things.

That's the premise of the authors' Male Idiot Theory. The study, published in BMJ, the former British Medical Journal, looked at past winners of the Darwin Awards. The awards are given to those people who die in such an idiotic manner that "their action ensures the long-term survival of the species, by selectively allowing one less idiot to survive."

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Economy
4:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Mortgage Giants Ease Down Payments For First-Time Homebuyers

A new directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:05 pm

A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.

The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.

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Around the Nation
4:16 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Do Guns On The Premises Make Workplaces Safer?

In 2010, Omar Thornton killed eight colleagues in Manchester, Conn., before killing himself. Private employers used to create their own rules about guns on their property. But over the past five years, many states have adopted laws that allow employees to keep firearms in their vehicles at work.
Douglas Healey Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:49 am

This year, Tennessee joined 21 other states that allow employees to leave guns in their cars in the office parking lot. The laws have left many employers debating how best to ensure safety at work.

After Georgia passed its law allowing employees to keep firearms in their employers' parking lots, Sally Roberts installed a sign on her newspaper firm's door. It read: "No Weapons Allowed."

A job candidate once threatened her, says Roberts, human resources director at Morris Communications. "She did become violent, and I'm very thankful she did not have a weapon."

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Tamir Rice's Death Ruled A Homicide By Medical Examiner

The death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was shot last month by a police officer, has been ruled a homicide by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner.

Tamir suffered gunshot wounds to the torso and suffered injures of "major vessel, intestines and pelvis," the examiner's report said.

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This Week's Must Read
3:17 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

The Ethics Of Torture, Explored In A Painful Fable

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:29 pm

We've been hearing all week about a report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It detailed brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after Sept 11. Among the questions it raised are whether these techniques are legal, effective and morally acceptable.

For our series This Week's Must Read, author Laila Lalami grapples with these questions by turning to literature.

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

3 Wounded In Shooting Outside Portland High School

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 1:37 pm

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

A shooter wounded two boys and a girl outside a high school in Portland, Ore., in what police said may be a gang-related assault.

The incident occurred near Rosemary Anderson High School. The Oregonian reports that a 17-year-old was shot in the back and another person, a female, was shot in the chest. The newspaper did not give specifics on the third victim.

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Politics
2:53 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Outgoing Rep. Mike Rogers Reflects On Congressional Career

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 4:16 pm

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

The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Dingell Admitted To Hospital, One Day After Casting Last Vote In House

Rep. John Dingell, seen here in June, was admitted to a hospital Friday as a precautionary measure. The Democrat is retiring as the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, was admitted to a hospital in Washington, D.C., as a precaution Friday, one day after casting the final vote in his nearly 60 years in Congress.

The Michigan Democrat's office didn't give details on Dingell's condition, other than to say he was under observation and "resting comfortably." Dingell visited a doctor's office earlier this week, after he fell down and bruised his hip.

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Television
1:07 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Even If Torture Doesn't Work In The Real World, TV Has Us Convinced It Does

Kiefer Sutherland (right) with Peter Weller and JoBeth Williams on Fox's 24.
Fox TV

As the CIA and Senate Intelligence Committee clash over whether so-called enhanced interrogation techniques are considered torture, another question arises: Have depictions of torture on TV and film helped convince us that it works?

Consider this warning that recently greeted viewers of ABC's political soap opera, Scandal:

"The following drama contains adult content. Viewer discretion is advised."

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NPR Story
12:40 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

On Stage: Comedians Under The Radar

Maria Bamford performs her stand-up comedy on Comedy Central. (YouTube screenshot)

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 2:52 pm

In our series On Stage, we look at what’s happening on the boards across the country. We’ve covered tap dance competitions and marching band smackdowns, but today’s installment is something a little different: who should you look for in the stand-up comedy world?

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks to Dylan Gadino, founder of the website laughspin.com, about the under-the-radar comedians he recommends.

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NPR Story
12:40 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Obama: NFL 'Behind The Curve' On Rice Case

President Barack Obama says the Ray Rice domestic violence case showed that the National Football League was “behind the curve” in setting policies about athlete behavior. He says new policies now in effect will send a message that there is no place for such behavior.

He says in an interview Friday with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio that “an old boys’ network” at the NFL had created “blind spots.”

He says: “You don’t want to be winging it when something like this happens; you want to have clear policies in place.”

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NPR Story
12:40 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Meeting The Maker Of Moore's Law

What’s in a name? Key chip dimensions, such as the transistor gate length [yellow] and the metal one half pitch [orange]—half the distance spanned by the width of a wire and the space to the next one on the dense, first metal layer of a chip—have decreased but not strictly tracked the node name [red]. These numbers, provided by GlobalFoundries, reflect the company’s plans to accelerate the introduction of 14 nm chips in 2014, a good year early. (Data Source: GlobalFoundries)

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 3:12 pm

It almost feels like a law of nature. You break your two-year-old smartphone. The next day you go the store and find a new one that’s faster and cheaper and just plain better. Computer chips keep getting better — it’s a phenomenon that engineers call Moore’s law. And it’s about to celebrate an anniversary.

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