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The Two-Way
10:48 am
Tue January 7, 2014

U.N. Suspends Counting Deaths In Syria's Civil War

Syrians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following a government airstrike in Aleppo, in this image provided Monday that was taken by a citizen journalist.
AP

The United Nations says it can no longer verify the death toll in Syria's civil war and, as of Tuesday, will leave the figure at 100,000, where it stood in late July.

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Author Interviews
10:38 am
Tue January 7, 2014

'You Can't Be This Furry' And Other Life Lessons From Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart's work has been translated into 26 languages.
Brigitte Lacombe Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:56 pm

Novelist Gary Shteyngart was a wheezing, asthmatic and fearful 7-year-old when he and his parents emigrated from the Soviet Union to Queens, New York, in 1979. (This was soon after America negotiated a trade deal with the Soviets that included allowing Jews to immigrate to Israel, Canada or the U. S.) He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that his health was a deciding factor in his parents' decision to move.

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A Blog Supreme
10:31 am
Tue January 7, 2014

The Jazz Men And Women We Lost In 2013

The late documentary filmmaker Jean Bach stands next to an enlarged 1958 photograph of many jazz musicians titled "A Great Day in Harlem." Her documentary about the photo shoot was nominated for an Academy Award in 1995.
Thomas Monaster/New York Daily News Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 5:21 pm

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Tue January 7, 2014

What Is The Polar Vortex And Why Is It Doing This To Us?

Ice has built up along Lake Michigan in Chicago as temperatures have plunged in recent days. A dip in the polar vortex is to blame.
Scott Olson Getty Images
  • On 'Morning Edition': science writer Andrew Freedman talks with NPR's David Greene about the polar vortex

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Frolicking Fido, Cozy Cats: How Your Pets Are Chilling Out

Izzy Haywood/Instagram

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:10 am

We asked you for photos of how your pets are dealing with the frigid weather — and you folks sure did deliver. Here are some of the images you tagged #nprfrostypaws on Instagram.

Just a reminder, though, that we are seeing record-breaking low temperatures in some places, so please keep your pets warm.

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The Salt
9:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Smithfield Prods Its Pork Suppliers To Dump Pig Crates

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 2:55 pm

Smithfield, the world's largest hog and pork buyer, announced Tuesday that it's asking the independent farmers with whom it has contracts to get rid of stalls for pregnant sows to improve the animals' living conditions.

To nudge these farmers to make the changes to their facilities by 2022, Smithfield is offering to extend their contracts once they've converted their gestational stalls into group houses, which are generally considered more humane.

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The Two-Way
9:42 am
Tue January 7, 2014

First Batch Of Chemical Weapons Material Shipped Out Of Syria

The first batch of chemical weapons material from Syria's stockpile has been loaded onto a Danish commercial ship and is now in international waters, a United Nations official said Tuesday.

Sigrid Kaag, special coordinator for the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told reporters that the ship was loaded with "priority chemicals," that eventually will be destroyed.

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Sports
9:40 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Chris Kluwe On What Cost Him His Job With The Minnesota Vikings

Genevieve Ross AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:15 pm

Just before a big playoff weekend, the sports website Deadspin published an open letter by former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe, titled "I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot." Kluwe, a straight man, says his outspoken support of same-sex marriage cost him his job.

"In my mind, there's no logical conclusion that can be drawn, other than that I was fired for my activism," Kluwe tells Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More.

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Education
9:40 am
Tue January 7, 2014

How To Successfully Link GED Tests And Jobs

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:15 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. In a few minutes, we will hear from former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. He had a solid eight-year career in the NFL until he was released last year. Now he's saying in a newly released open letter that it was his support for same-sex marriage off the field, not his performance on it, that cost him his job. He'll tell us more about why he thinks that in just a few minutes.

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Law
9:40 am
Tue January 7, 2014

New Law Allows Transgender Students To Choose Bathrooms And Sports Teams

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:15 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Run Run Shaw, Kung Fu Movie Pioneer, Dies

Sir Run Run Shaw in 2010.
Bobby Yip Reuters/Landov
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's David Greene talks about Run Run Shaw

"If you've ever enjoyed an action-packed Kung Fu film," Morning Edition host David Greene says, "take a moment to thank Sir Run Run Shaw, who passed away Tuesday."

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Parallels
9:15 am
Tue January 7, 2014

How Al-Qaida Returned To A Troubled Part Of Iraq

Sunni Muslim fighters in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah take up positions on Sunday. The insurgents have been fighting government troops in battles similar to those a decade ago in the area.
Mohammed Jalil EPA /Landov

Yet again, Iraqi civilians are fleeing violence in Iraq's sprawling western province of Anbar. Years of under-the-radar daily tension and bloodshed has erupted into another al-Qaida surge and retaliatory Iraqi government airstrikes.

But the violence that brought Iraq back to the headlines, while tragic, was not surprising.

For months, observers had been warning about the combustible combination of the Syrian civil war next door and the alienation of Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority.

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Book Reviews
9:02 am
Tue January 7, 2014

'Leaving The Sea,' Arriving At A Constant State Of Anxiety

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:42 pm

In the story that opens Leaving the Sea, two men begin conversing at a family party. Rick, the more straight-laced of the two, turns to his brother-in-law and says: "I love family."

The second man, Paul, replies by saying: "Oh, hey, did someone get hurt tonight?" Rick looks worried. Then Paul adds to the confusion by claiming to have seen a stretcher go into the hotel. The way this sentence is structured ensures that the reader mentally prepares for some awful event. But it never materializes. The author never mentions this incident again.

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Tue January 7, 2014

JPMorgan Chase To Pay $1.7 Billion To Madoff Victims

Bernard L. Madoff in 2009.
Timothy Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 2:30 pm

After striking a deal with federal prosecutors, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to the victims of Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The bank will be criminally charged with two violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and will admit to the violations. But under the agreement, the bank will receive a deferred prosecution.

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Skier Lindsey Vonn Will Miss Winter Olympics Due To Injury

Skier Lindsey Vonn in November, before her latest injury.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:38 pm

Saying she is "devastated" to have to miss the competition, Team USA's best-known and most dominant Alpine skier said Tuesday that she will not be competing in next month's Winter Olympics.

Here's what Linsey Vonn posted on her Facebook page:

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The Two-Way
7:39 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Dennis Rodman Defends North Korean 'Basketball Diplomacy'

Former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:48 am

In a combative interview from North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman defended his "basketball diplomacy" in the repressive country and seemed to imply that he believes American businessman Kenneth Bae, sentenced to 15 years' hard labor for allegedly trying to overthrow the Kim Jong Un regime, is guilty.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Deaths Are Bitter Reminder Of Cold Snap's Dangers

This woman in Chicago was well protected from the cold on Monday.
Kamil Krzaczynski EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:56 am

While this week's super-cold conditions across much of the nation are fascinating and fun for many of us, there is a far more serious side to the story.

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The Salt
6:42 am
Tue January 7, 2014

To Make Healthier Choices, Color-Code Your Food (Green Means Go!)

At NPR's Sound Bites Cafe, all food gets coded with one of three circles: Green is reserved for the most healthful dishes; yellow flags the "good choices;" and red signals the high-calorie foods to grab "on occasion."
NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:27 am

Could a little red circle really make me bypass short ribs and mashed potatoes for some cod and rice instead? You've got to be kidding.

Well, a team of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital sure think so — at least sometimes — and they have a study that backs them up.

It's research that hits close to home: Last April, when NPR moved into new headquarters, we got a snazzy new cafeteria. And little colored circles started popping up on menus.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Hang In There Another Day Or So — Warmer Air Is Coming

Dealing with it in Detroit: A woman protects her face from the cold on Monday.
Joshua Lott Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:20 am

Yes, it's going to be awfully cold again Tuesday for 150 million or so Americans.

But if below-zero temperatures aren't to your liking, take heart:

"Bitterly cold air over the eastern two-thirds of the country will slowly moderate through Wednesday," the National Weather Service says.

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The Two-Way
6:12 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Senate Votes To Move Ahead On Extending Unemployment Benefits

President Obama listens as Katherine Hackett of Moodus, Conn., speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:25 am

This post was updated at 12:00 p.m. ET.

A three-month extension of federal unemployment benefits for 1.3 million jobless Americans won a key procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday.

The 60-37 vote indicates there's enough Republican support to move the Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which expired on Dec. 28, forward to a full vote. As The Associated Press writes, the measure "is the leading edge of a Democratic program that also includes raising the minimum wage and closing tax loopholes on the wealthy and corporations."

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Business
6:01 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Microsoft Reveals 'Epic' Xbox Sales

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with console sales.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Microsoft announced sales of its new Xbox One topped three million units by the end of 2013. In a blog post, the company called it the most epic launch of Xbox, by all measures.

The third-generation console was available a week before Thanksgiving. It's been competing with Sony's new baby, Playstation 4, which also launched in November. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:36 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Owner Of Confiscated Raccoon Runs For Tenn. Governor

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. YouTube videos can be all fun and games. Until your raccoon gets arrested. Mark Brown of Tennessee posted videos last summer that went viral. It was him dancing and showering with his pet raccoon Rebekah. But with the attention came Tennessee wildlife officials, who confiscated the masked animal.

Around the Nation
5:36 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Detroit Barber Fails To Break Haircut Record

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

It's actually not that surprising that Detroit barber Brian "B-Dogg" Price did not get enough volunteers to help him break the record for most haircuts in one hour. The current record is 34. And would you like a haircut that took less than two minutes? Still, it would be free, so he's reached out to churches and shelters for volunteers for another run at the record this spring. The barber plans to use two electric clippers simultaneously.

Remembrances
5:36 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Movie Mogul Who Popularized Kung Fu Fighting Dies At 106

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If you've ever enjoyed an action packed Kung Fu film, take a moment to thank Sir Run Run Shaw, who passed away today at age 106.

(SOUNDBITE OF FANFARE MUSIC)

GREENE: The television and movie mogul popularized the Kung Fu genre, opening Shaw Brothers film studio in Hong Kong in his early 20's.

(SOUNDBITE OF A MOVIE TRAILER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The new movie sensation that's stunning the world, a martial arts masterpiece...

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The Two-Way
5:22 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Book News: Scores Of Books Burned In Lebanese Library Torching

A man inspects burnt books in north Lebanon's majority Sunni city of Tripoli on Saturday, a day after a decades-old library owned by a Greek Orthodox priest was burned.
Ibrahim Chalhoub AFP/Getty Images

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

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The Two-Way
5:14 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Florida State Wins A Thriller To Take College Championship

The winning catch: Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin of the Florida State Seminoles catches the 2-yard pass for a touchdown that put his team ahead for good with just 13 seconds left in the game.
Harry How Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 10:34 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tom Goldman on the championship game

Florida State and Auburn put on a show Monday night with a college football championship game that went down to the wire and ended with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston throwing a touchdown pass with just 13 seconds to go to bring Florida State the crown.

At one point, the Seminoles were behind by 18 points.

The final score: Florida State 34, Auburn 31.

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Parallels
4:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

London's Cheeky Skyscrapers

The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe at 1,016 feet, was inaugurated in London in 2012. It got its formal name when the builders adopted the term used by critics, who called it a "shard of glass" in the city's skyline.
Ben Fitzpatrick AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 5:58 am

I arrived in London a few days ago for my new NPR assignment. As an unofficial part of my orientation, I decided to take a guided walking tour of the old city.

Yes, the history was fascinating. Yes, the city is beautiful. Well, most of it. Parts are not exactly my taste.

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Politics
2:59 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Senate OKs Yellen, To Take Up Jobless Benefits Tuesday

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Neither arctic conditions nor cancelled flights kept most of the Senate from returning to Washington after the holidays for last night's vote on the new chair of the Federal Reserve.

GREENE: All but 17 senators showed up, and most voted to confirm Janet Yellen. She will replace Ben Bernanke at the end of the month, the first woman to head the central bank in its 100-year history.

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Business
2:59 am
Tue January 7, 2014

In 2012, Health Care Costs Grow More Slowly Than U.S. Economy

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

I'm David Greene.

We have been hearing for, well, what feels like forever about skyrocketing health care costs. It's at the center of debates in Washington and state capitals. And many people feel the impact on their wallets and pocketbooks. But here's this reality: Spending on health care, while still going up, appears to be rising more slowly. 2012 was the fourth straight year of modest growth.

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