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First, there was James Foley. Then Steven Sotloff. Finally, Abdul Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter Kassig. All three were American hostages, brutally murdered by the so-called Islamic State.

This past week the White House confirmed that it's conducting a review of its hostage policy, but in a press conference, White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the United States will not change its policy on ransoms: America does not pay them.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In 2008, Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham traveled with her then-partner from their home in Mississippi to San Francisco, a few months after gay marriage became legal in California. They'd been together for about a year and a half before they decided to get married.

After the ceremony, they went back to Mississippi, where they lived together. Then a year later, they decided to split up. The state of Mississippi doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, however, so they couldn't get a divorce there.

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Dies

Nov 23, 2014

Marion Barry, the fiery Washington, D.C., politician who was famously re-elected after going to jail for crack cocaine possession, has died after months of battling health issues. He was 78.

The four-term mayor, who was still serving his third term on the D.C. Council, was famous for fighting for the District's disenfranchised, but won national notoriety after he was caught on FBI video with an ex-girlfriend and crack cocaine in 1990.

He was considered by many to be the district's most charismatic and controversial politician.

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The United States has seen many fundraisers headlined by an Obama in recent years, but this week it won't be the president or the first lady — it will be his step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, who is raising funds to build a school and hospital in her hometown, Kogelo, Kenya.

After a nearly two-year investigation, the final report by the House Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA "ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi and ... bravely assisted the State Department" on Sept. 11, 2012, during a deadly attack on U.S. facilities in Libya.

That's the first conclusion of the report, the result of thousands of hours of investigation into the events that led to the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Business groups have long been active players in the nation's immigration debate. They represent employers who need to recruit workers, after all — employers who are sometimes investigated, even prosecuted, for hiring workers who are not approved to work in the U.S. legally.

Many big employers have been pushing for reforms that would allow them to keep more science and technology workers and skilled laborers in the country. But the executive action President Obama announced Thursday leaves out much of what the business lobby has been advocating for.

We need more stories and books that treat Mexican immigrants as humans — novel idea, right? But far too often, the media and authors cast them as sinners or saints, with little deviation from cliches established decades ago.

That's why I recommend the writer Sam Quinones, and his two collections: True Tales from Another Mexico and Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration.

Read them both, you'll see something rare: his migrant characters are brilliant, maddening, flawed and very human.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Even before the details of the president's executive action on immigration came down, William Gheen was hitting the phones, organizing demonstrations outside the Las Vegas high school Obama visited Friday.

"I don't know what's going to be effective, I don't think anybody ever expected that the president of the United States would side with an illegal immigrant invasion over American citizens' interest, but that's what's happened here," Gheen says.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

And this morning, House Speaker John Boehner has weighed in. He delivered a statement reacting to President Obama's plans to overhaul the country's immigration system. Here's some of what he had to say.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Quiet

About John Francis' TED Talk

For almost three decades, John Francis has been a planetwalker, traveling the globe by foot and sail with a silent message of environmental respect. For 17 of those years he didn't speak a word.

About John Francis

How Do Years Of Silence Change Someone?

Nov 21, 2014

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Quiet. Listen to second part of this story here.

About John Francis's TED Talk

For almost three decades, John Francis has been a planetwalker, traveling the globe by foot and sail with a silent message of environmental respect and responsibility. For 17 of those years he didn't speak a word.

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Even before President Obama actually announced his new deferred deportation policy for millions of people in the country illegally, Republicans were everywhere denouncing it and threatening retaliation.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Obama made his move last night. Today, he heads out to sell it.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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All through this morning we're looking at President Obama's immigration speech. Last night the president looked at the camera. He made good on his pledge to bypass Congress and pursue immigration reform by executive action.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. As powerful as presidents may be, it is rare that any president has affected millions of lives overnight. That is what President Obama did last night. His televised speech announced a move so sweeping, Republicans say he exceeded his powers.

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President Obama announced Thursday that he's using executive actions to grant temporary relief to some of the nearly 12 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants.

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More than two dozen members of the Republican Governors Association gathered this week in Boca Raton, Fla., to talk about policy issues and bask in their success after the recent midterm election.

Under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's chairmanship, the RGA spent $130 million and achieved remarkable success at the polls: All but two Republican governors running for re-election won. And the GOP even won governors' races in deep blue states like Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This post was updated on Dec. 1, 2014, at 4:52 p.m.

President Obama is set to announce executive action tonight, granting temporary relief to some of the nearly 12 million immigrants who are living in the United States illegally. Here's what we know so far:

1. What kind of relief is the president offering?

Obama's move lifts the threat of deportation — at least temporarily. But it does not provide the full path to citizenship as envisioned under a comprehensive immigration bill.

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