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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
10:57 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Highlights From Winter Jazzfest 2014

Donald Harrison performs at Winter Jazzfest 2014.
John Rogers for NPR

In the dead of January in the Northeast, New York City's Winter Jazzfest manages a minor miracle. Over the course of two marathon nights, it brings crowds in the thousands out to jam-packed theaters and clubs to see dozens of varied and sundry bands.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
10:15 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

In Memory Of 2014: Jazz Night Looks Back

Gerald Wilson, 2010.
Charley Gallay Getty Images for NAACP

This year saw the passing of numerous jazz legends. In Jazz Night In America's year in review, we pay tribute to bassist Charlie Haden, pianist Horace Silver and composer/bandleader Gerald Wilson, among others. We'll listen back to great live performances recorded over the past 30 years from these musicians — all from the WBGO vault — and highlight remembrances from friends and loved ones.

The Two-Way
7:40 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

S.C. Judge Says 1944 Execution Of 14-Year-Old Boy Was Wrong

George Stinney Jr. appears in an undated police booking photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. A South Carolina judge vacated the conviction of the 14-year-old, who was executed in 1944, saying he didn't receive a fair trial.
Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:50 pm

An African-American boy, George Stinney Jr., who was executed at age 14 in the killing of two young white girls has been exonerated in South Carolina, 70 years after he became the youngest person executed in the U.S. in the 1900s. A judge ruled he was denied due process.

"I think it's long overdue," Stinney's sister, Katherine Stinney Robinson, 80, tells local newspaper The Manning Times. "I'm just thrilled because it's overdue."

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National Security
7:07 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

The U.S. Says North Korea Ordered The Sony Hack. How Do We Respond?

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

The Two-Way
5:39 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

U.S. Officials Believe North Korea Was Behind Sony Hack

U.S. intelligence officials believe North Korea was centrally involved in the recent attack on Sony Pictures' computer network — possibly out of retribution for its film The Interview. Above, a security guard stands outside a theater during the film's premiere in Los Angeles last week.
Kevork Djansezian Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:29 pm

The recent attack on Sony Pictures' computer network that resulted in a flood of embarrassing emails and pirated movies has its origins in North Korea, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

More details about the U.S. investigation into the hacking attack could emerge as early as Wednesday night.

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The Two-Way
5:16 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Satanist And Christian Holiday Displays To Go Up At Michigan Capitol

Bearing the message "The Greatest Gift is Knowledge," a holiday display by the Satanic Temple will accompany a Christian Nativity scene on the grounds of the Michigan State Capitol.
Satanic Temple

Two very different holiday displays will share the grounds of the Michigan State Capitol next week: a traditional Christian Nativity and an exhibit by the Satanic Temple. The situation has brought controversy — and energized Christians who realized that a planned Nativity was in danger of being canceled.

The story drew intense attention after it emerged that there was a chance the Capitol grounds might host only a Satanic holiday display during the Christmas season, because plans for a Christian display didn't take into account Michigan's rules.

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Movies
4:18 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Sony Cancels Theatrical Release Of 'The Interview'

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:07 pm

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

Economy
3:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Fed: Interest Rates Could Rise As Early As May 2015

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:26 pm

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

Middle East
3:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Pakistani Editorial Calls For Unified Strategy Against Extremists

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:07 pm

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

Latin America
3:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Rep. Van Hollen: Alan Gross' Release A 'Miraculous' Moment

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:26 pm

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

The Salt
3:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

A customer picks up a block of butter at a food store in Tokyo on Nov. 10th. Japanese shoppers are up in arms over a serious butter shortage that has forced Tokyo to resort to emergency imports, as some grocers limit sales to one block per customer.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 5:46 pm

We are well into the Christmas season, and if you live in Japan, that means sponge cake.

The traditional Japanese Christmas dish is served with strawberries and cream, and it is rich, thanks to lots and lots of butter. But the Japanese have been using even more butter for their Christmas cakes this year, exacerbating what was already a national butter shortage.

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Latin America
3:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Sen. Marco Rubio: Obama's Cuba Deal Is Bad Foreign Policy

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:26 pm

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

World
3:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

U.S. Deal May Not Change Life Much For Everyday Cubans

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:13 pm

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

The Two-Way
2:34 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Obama Issues 12 Pardons, Commutes 8 Sentences

President Obama commuted the prison sentences of eight people who were convicted of drug-related crimes Wednesday, in a move that also saw 12 presidential pardons issued, for offenses ranging from theft to running an illegal distillery.

Half of the eight whose sentences were commuted had been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Citing "unduly harsh sentences issued for drug offenses under an outdated sentencing regime," a White House official said Wednesday that all eight of those who were punished for drug offenses "would receive a substantially lower sentence today."

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The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Alan Gross' Release: How It Went Down

Alan Gross and his wife, Judy, in Washington on Wednesday after his release from a Cuban prison.
Algerina Perna Baltimore Sun/TNS /Landov

American Alan Gross had spent more than five years in a Cuban prison where he lost five teeth, 100 pounds and much of the sight in his right eye. He could barely walk because of chronic pain and was, his wife Judy Gross said in June, "despondent and very hopeless" because he had 10 years to go in his sentence for crimes against the Cuban state. Then, on Tuesday, his lawyer, Scott Gilbert, told him in a phone call that he was going home.

There was a long pause, his spokeswoman Jill Zuckman said today in Washington, and then Gross said, "I'll believe it when I see it."

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Movies
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Studios Hope Holiday Family Movies Will Grab Slice Of Shrinking Box Office

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:18 pm

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

Movie Interviews
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Major Movie Theater Chains Drop 'The Interview' After Threats

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:26 pm

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

Around the Nation
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

National Parks In Maryland, New York To Honor Harriet Tubman

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:26 pm

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

Global Health
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Dreaming Up A Safer, Cooler PPE For Ebola Fighters

This design of this new anti-Ebola suit will make health workers more comfortable and could also save lives.
Courtesy of Clinvue and Roy Heisler

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:21 pm

Here's what it takes to design a better Ebola suit: a roomful of university students and professors, piles of canvas and Tyvek cloth, sewing machines, glue guns ... and chocolate syrup.

Even Youseph Yazdi, head of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID), still isn't sure what the syrup was for.

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Parallels
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

In Gaza, The Specter Of ISIS Proves Useful To Both Sides

The Islamist group Hamas, shown here in a rally in the Gaza Strip on Dec. 12, is the strongest faction in the Gaza Strip. The Islamic State, or ISIS, is not believed to be in the territory, though fliers purporting to be from the group have circulated in Gaza. They are widely believed to be fake, but both Israel and Hamas have tried to use them to their advantage.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:15 pm

Earlier this month, more than a dozen writers, poets and activists in Gaza got threatening fliers signed with the name ISIS, the Sunni extremists fighting with brutal violence in Iraq and Syria.

But a few days later, a new flier, also signed ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, denied responsibility and apologized.

The incident is raising the question of whether ISIS is taking root in Gaza — or if someone is just playing around.

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World
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Alan Gross Release Paves Way For New Chapter In U.S.-Cuba Relations

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:11 pm

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

World
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Shift In U.S.-Cuba Relationship Comes After 55 Years Of Tension

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:26 pm

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

U.S.
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

From White House's Perspective, Cuban Embargo Hasn't Worked

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:18 pm

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

Goats and Soda
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

We're Down To 5 Northern White Rhinos: Is It Too Late For Babies?

Najin, a female northern white rhino, gets a pat from keeper Mohamed Doyo. Najin, who lives at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, is one of only five of its subspecies left in the world.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:00 pm

A 44-year-old northern white rhino named Angalifu died this week at the San Diego Zoo of old age.

Now only five animals remain in this subspecies, all in captivity. Four are females. The lone male lives in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

So it would seem the northern white rhino is doomed to extinction. Poachers are to blame — they've slain thousands of the rhinos to get their horns, which are hawked in Asia as a health tonic.

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Around the Nation
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Some Cuban-Americans Angry With Release Of Spies

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:21 pm

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

Code Switch
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

An Updated 'Annie' And The Tradition Of Nontraditional Casting

Quvenzhane Wallis (second from right) stars in an updated version of Annie, produced by Jay Z.
Barry Wetcher Sony Pictures Entertainment

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:07 pm

That lovable moppet with the red dress, the curly hair, the big dog, and the even bigger voice is back.

This time, though, Little Orphan Annie is back with a difference: Quvenzhane Wallis is playing an African-American orphan in an ethnically diverse, up-to-date world. And that got us thinking about other instances where producers have breathed fresh life into familiar shows by making them dance to a new beat.

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Movie Interviews
2:28 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Angelina Jolie On Her Film's 'Unbroken' Hero: 'He Was Truly A Great Man'

During World War II, Louis Zamperini spent 47 days stranded in shark-infested waters before he was rescued by Japanese soldiers and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:07 pm

The new film Unbroken, from director Angelina Jolie, tells the story of an Olympic runner and World War II prisoner of war. Louis Zamperini shattered records at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and when the war broke out, he enlisted. Then, on a routine mission, his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, leaving him stranded in shark-infested waters for 47 days. When he was eventually rescued by Japanese soldiers, he became a prisoner of war.

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Shots - Health News
2:10 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

What Happens After You Get That Mammogram

This graphic lays out the possible outcomes for 10,000 women if they start getting annual screening mammograms at age 50 and continue that for 10 years.
Courtesy of JAMA

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:37 pm

Women and their doctors have a hard time figuring out the pluses and minuses of screening mammograms for breast cancer. It doesn't help that there's been fierce dissent over the benefits of screening mammography for women under 50 and for older women.

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The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Sony Cancels Christmas Day Release Of 'The Interview' Amid Threats

A sign posted Wednesday on the box office window at the Sunshine Cinema in New York. The New York premiere of The Interview, a Sony Pictures comedy about the assassination of North Korean President Kim Jong Un, has been canceled.
Andrew Kelly Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:07 pm

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Sony Pictures has canceled the Christmas Day release of The Interview, the comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader. The move came after the largest U.S. movie theater chains said they won't screen the film in the wake of threats against them by a group that also allegedly hacked Sony's internal documents.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

PHOTO: The Meaning in a Phone Call

President Obama speaks with President Raul Castro of Cuba from the Oval Office on Tuesday.
Pete Souza The White House

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:53 pm

On Tuesday, President Obama picked up the phone and talked to Cuban President Raul Castro.

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