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Africa
2:16 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

U.S. Envoy: Time For Intervention In Central African Republic

Soldiers from Burundi arrive at the airport in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on Dec. 15 to join the African Union and French efforts to restore security in the troubled nation.
Sia Kambou AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:57 pm

The Obama administration's ambassador to the U.N. says this is a pivotal moment for the Central African Republic and time for the international community to take steps to prevent further atrocities there.

Samantha Power, a former journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is well-known as an advocate for humanitarian intervention. How she and the Obama administration handle the conflict in the CAR is a major test of that.

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It's All Politics
2:14 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Obama's Jab At Russia In Keeping With Olympic Tradition

Team USA celebrates its 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the semifinal Men's Ice Hockey event at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Feb. 22, 1980. The game was dubbed "the Miracle on Ice."
Steve Powell Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:40 pm

When it comes to the Olympics, politics intrudes more often than not.

President Obama has decided not to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February. The official U.S. delegation will not include a president, vice president, first lady or former president for the first time since 2000.

Instead, Obama asked athletes including openly gay tennis great Billie Jean King and two-time hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow to represent the country. American gay-rights groups, angered by an anti-gay law Russia enacted in June, applauded the move.

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Shots - Health News
2:05 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

People Buying Health Insurance Get A Bit More Time To Pay

Oregon is still using paper applications to enroll people through the Affordable Care Act.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:34 pm

There are seven shopping days left until Christmas. But there are just five days until another important deadline — the last day to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act if you want coverage to start January 1.

After a slow start, activity on the federal website HealthCare.gov has been heavy all month. And with the deadline approaching, some people are getting worried that they won't get signed up in time.

And this being the health care law, it's complicated. There is more than one deadline.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Kerry Says He Regrets Treatment Of Indian Diplomat In New York

Indian workers in New Delhi remove a barricade Tuesday that had been erected outside the main entrance of the U.S Embassy as a safety measure.
Saurabh Das AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 2:56 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry has telephoned a top official in New Delhi to express regret for the strip-search of an Indian diplomat after her arrest last week in New York on charges of visa fraud.

"As a father of two daughters about the same age as [Indian diplomat] Devyani Khobragade, the Secretary empathizes with the sensitivities we are hearing from India about the events that unfolded after Ms. Khobragade's arrest," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a written statement, relating Kerry's conversation.

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Religion
1:55 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

In Francis' First Year, A 'Radical Pope' Seeks To Save His Church

Pope Francis began his papacy in March. In his first year as pope, columnist James Carroll says, Francis has put unprecedented focus on "the dilemma of the vast majority of human beings who simply don't have enough to live decently."
Filipo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

"Who am I to judge?" With those five words, Pope Francis "stepped away from the disapproving tone, the explicit moralizing typical of popes and bishops," writes columnist James Carroll. Francis made that statement in July, in response to a reporter's question about the status of gay priests in the Church.

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The Salt
1:23 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

The Man Who Duped Millionaires Into Paying Big Bucks For Fake Wine

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 2:32 pm

He was the man with "the nose of a blood hound," as one wine critic once put it.

Rudy Kurniawan was once the toast of the fine-wine world, renowned for his ability to find some of the rarest — and priciest — wines in the world.

He was also, prosecutors alleged, a fraud who duped some of the country's wealthiest wine purchasers with counterfeit bottles of wine that he manufactured in his home laboratory.

And on Wednesday, a Manhattan jury agreed, finding Kurniawan guilty of fraud in connection with selling counterfeit wines and of defrauding a finance company.

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Music Reviews
1:20 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Michele Rosewoman Goes Back To Afro-Cuban Jazz's Future

Michele Rosewoman (bottom right) is joined by batá percussionists in performance with her New Yor-Uba Ensemble in 2013.
Tom Ehrlich Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 1:57 pm

When Michele Rosewoman was growing up in the Bay Area, she played piano from childhood and congas from her teens. After moving to New York in the late 1970s, she began making music in two areas: modern jazz and traditional Cuban music. Before long, she started combining the two in her New Yor-Uba band.

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Fed Says It Will Begin Tapering Off Its Stimulus In January

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers remarks Wednesday in Washington, at his final planned news conference before he steps down.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:31 pm

(This post was last updated at 3:50 p.m. ET)

Citing an improving economy, the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would begin gradually paring back an $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program aimed at stimulating growth.

The move was seen as a tentative vote of confidence and comes amid an improving jobs picture and other positive signs as the U.S. continues struggles to emerge from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Beijing: Near Miss As U.S. Warship 'Harassed' Chinese Vessel

Chinese state media has said the incident involved its newly deployed aircraft carrier, Liaoning, shown here in October 2012.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:34 pm

China has confirmed that one of its warships — reportedly the newly deployed aircraft carrier Liaoning — had an "encounter" with a U.S. guided missile cruiser in the South China Sea earlier this month.

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Parallels
11:43 am
Wed December 18, 2013

What It Costs To Fill Your Belly In New Delhi

New Delhi's colorful street markets are still the most economical places to shop. But prices for staples such as the lowly onion have soared in the past year.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 3:28 pm

Just how far does a dollar go? We'll try to answer that question as part of an occasional series on what things cost around the world. In this installment, NPR's Julie McCarthy takes us on a gastronomic tour of New Delhi and tells us what you can buy for $5, $20 and $100.

With over a billion people, India's $1.7 trillion economy is as varied as its culture. But if you still think of it as a land of endless bargains, then you'd better think again.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Ex-BP Engineer Found Guilty Of Obstructing Justice

Former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix, who has been convicted of obstructing justice.
Jonathan Bachman AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 11:01 am

The first of four current or former BP employees charged with crimes related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill has been found guilty of obstructing justice because he deleted text messages from his cellphone that contained information about the worst offshore spill in the nation's history.

NPR's Debbie Elliott tells our Newscast Desk that a federal jury in New Orleans convicted 52-year-old Kurt Mix on Wednesday.

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Shots - Health News
10:22 am
Wed December 18, 2013

15-Year-Old Wants Braces: Will Obamacare Cover Them?

Hey, Mom, can I get braces like that guy?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 11:58 am

It turns out that readers of all ages — from teenagers to seniors — have questions about the health law. We try to answer the latest batch.

I'm 15 years old, and I really want braces. If my mom signs me up for Obamacare, will it cover it?

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It's All Politics
9:32 am
Wed December 18, 2013

5 Things We Learned From The Budget Debate

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., takes a break from the Senate floor Tuesday after a bipartisan budget compromise cleared a procedural hurdle.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 3:08 pm

Now that the bipartisan budget agreement has passed the Senate and is headed for the president's desk, it's a good time to consider some of the takeaways from the past two weeks of congressional Sturm und Drang.

Here are five:

Congress still works, sort of.

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The Two-Way
9:29 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Gays In U.S. Olympic Delegation Will Send Message To Russia

Sept. 25: Police detain a gay rights activist in Moscow. The poster, adorned with Olympic rings, reads "Homophobia is the shame of Russia!"
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:58 pm

Tennis great Billie Jean King and ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow are certainly qualified to be members of the U.S. delegation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

One is a winner of 39 "grand slam" tennis titles and has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. The other is a two-time Olympic medal winner with Team USA.

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Beauty Shop
9:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Is Beyonce Still The Queen?

Pop star Beyonce's new surprise album has been getting a lot of buzz, but is it all it's cracked up to be? Beauty shop ladies Bridget Johnson, Aisha Harris, Danielle Belton and Anne Ishii weigh in.

Games & Humor
9:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

African-American Woman To Run Humorous 'Harvard Lampoon' Magazine

The humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon was founded in 1876, but for the first time, an African-American woman will run things. Host Michel Martin talks with President-elect Alexis Wilkinson and Vice President-elect Eleanor Parker about their plans for the magazine.

Sports
9:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Brain Injuries Cause For Concern In Baseball Too

Reports show former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel, who took his own life last year, suffered from a degenerative brain disease. Injuries like that are usually associated with the hard knocks of football. Host Michel Martin talks with sports writer Pablo Torre about the prevalence of brain injuries in other sports.

Race
9:28 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Why Black College Football Players Fall Behind In Education

New research raises concerns about low graduations rates for black college football players. Host Michel Martin finds out more from education reporter Emily Richmond, and professor Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Best Music Of 2013
9:05 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Wayne Shorter And The Year's Other Passing Scenery

Wayne Shorter, who turned 80 in 2013, won the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll by a large margin.
Robert Ashcroft Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:00 pm

It says a lot about his enduring hold on jazz listeners that over a half century into his career, the descriptive phrases most commonly put in front of Wayne Shorter's name — along with "the great saxophonist and composer" — remain "the elusive" and "the enigmatic." The inside tray card to Shorter's Without a Net, the runaway Best Album winner in this year's NPR Music Jazz Critics P

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Best Music Of 2013
9:05 am
Wed December 18, 2013

The 2013 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Wayne Shorter.
Robert Ashcroft Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 2:09 pm

NPR Music is pleased to present the results of a poll asking well over 100 jazz critics to pick their favorite recordings of 2013.

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Wed December 18, 2013

'Great Train Robber' Ronnie Biggs Dies; Was Famed Fugitive

Ronnie Biggs, showing off his notoriety in 1994 while he was living in Brazil.
AFP/Getty Images

He was "a petty criminal" who joined a gang responsible for one of the 20th Century's most notable heists.

Ronnie Biggs, who went to jail for his role in the U.K.'s "great train robbery" of 1963 — but was more famous for his flamboyant life during 36 years as a fugitive following his escape from prison in 1965 — died Wednesday.

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Monkey See
7:07 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Two Ways Of Seeing An iPhone Christmas

Screen shot

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 3:44 pm

Apple recently released a Christmas ad it calls "Misunderstood."

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Already Down 50 Percent, Will Bitcoin Bite The Dust?

How low will they go?
Jens Kalaene DPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:00 am

Talk about a fall:

"Prices of virtual currency bitcoin fell 20% Wednesday and are now down more than 50% from their record high hit two weeks ago amid worries that China is moving to block the purchase and use of the currency by its citizens," The Wall Street Journal writes.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Book News: New 'Dragon Tattoo' Novel Coming From New Author

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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U.S.
6:04 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Diplomat's Arrest In N.Y. Sparks Anger In India

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:53 am

Financial Times New Delhi correspondent Amy Kazmin speaks with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about the case of an Indian diplomat arrested in New York for allegedly paying her maid below minimum wage. The diplomat was strip-searched and jailed, touching off an angry reaction in India.

The Two-Way
5:47 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Student Is Charged In Harvard Bomb Scare

University police, FBI agents and Cambridge, Mass., officers all responded on Monday when Harvard received messages claiming that bombs had been planted in four buildings. None were found and a student has been charged in the hoax. he allegedly wanted to avoid taking a test.
Josh Reynolds AP

The initial suspicion of many — that Monday's bomb scare at Harvard University was the work of a student who wanted to avoid taking a test — may have been correct.

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The Affordable Care Act, Explained
5:16 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Your Questions About The American Health Care Act

There are many questions about the new health care law. Here are some answers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:37 am

In recent months, NPR staff has published a series of questions-and-answer stories related to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Now we've compiled them into an interactive so you can explore answers that are most relevant to you.

There are nearly 80 questions, ranging from who's eligible to how much insurance might cost, among two dozen topics. Filter the list by selecting categories or asking questions.

Did we miss an important question? Let us know.

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Around the Nation
5:15 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Jersey City Spends Big To Find Out What's Inside Safe

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:02 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. So a new boss comes in and wants to clean house. For Jersey City's new mayor that meant cracking some dusty old safes in City Hall. What would he find? Ill gotten gains? Sepia photos? Local pols were guessing a stash of cash. New mayor Steven Fulop hired a locksmith. The city spent about 1,000 bucks to open the safe to reveal - drum roll, please - an extension cord. At least it's useful. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
4:59 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Ga. Woman Claims 1 Of 2 Winning Mega Millions Tickets

Holding a dream: Customers lined up Tuesday at a shop in Tallapoosa, Ga., to buy Mega Millions tickets.
Erik S. Lesser EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:19 am

Updated 5:40 p.m. ET: Georgia Woman To Get $123 Million

A Georgia woman will split the $363 million jackpot in the Mega Millions drawing with an as yet unidentified winner in California.

Georgia lottery officials on Wednesday announced that Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Ga., purchased one of two winning tickets in Tuesday's drawing, among the largest U.S. lottery jackpots ever.

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