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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Illinois Governor Signs Pension Rescue Plan

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 4:52 pm

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law a sweeping overhaul in the state's underfunded pension system that's aimed at closing a $100 billion shortfall.

As we reported earlier this week, the legislation is almost certain to face legal obstacles from public employee unions that oppose it.

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The Salt
2:01 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

What's For Dinner? Try Brazilian

Brazilian fare from the restaurant D.O.M. in Sao Paulo is some of the best in the world — literally. It's currently ranked the sixth best restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino.
Rodrigo Paoletti flickr

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

When you think of the world's great cuisines, Brazilian food doesn't spring to mind. But that is about to change.

Outside Brazil, the South American nation is most famous for its barbecue, or churrascaria. But inside the country, a new movement celebrating regional foods is booming. And ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics, Brazilians are hoping the world will get a new taste of Brazil.

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The Two-Way
1:51 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

White House: President Briefly Lived With Kenyan-Born Uncle

Onyango Obama, President Obama's Kenyan-born uncle, arrives at U.S. Immigration Court in Boston on Tuesday for a deportation hearing.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 5:08 pm

The White House has acknowledged that as a student at Harvard Law School in the 1980s, the president briefly lived with his Kenyan-born uncle, after it first denied the two had ever met.

Earlier this week, Onyango Obama, 69, faced a deportation that resulted from a 2011 drunken-driving arrest. At the hearing, which he won, the judge asked about his family, and Onyango replied that he had a nephew named Barack Obama, adding, "He's the president of the United States."

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Planet Money
1:51 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

The Job Market Is Still Awful, In 3 Graphs

Quoctrung Bui / NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:05 am

Update: The jobs report is out. The U.S. added 203,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent. The job market is improving, but it's still very bad.

When the big jobs report comes out Friday morning, we'll hear a lot about what happened in November in the job market.

But whatever happened last month, it won't change this fact: The job market is still terrible.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Cuteness Alert: Christmas Cats TV Is Streaming Live

A still image taken from Christmas Cat TV, which features an eight-hour streaming video of a "cat lady" and an elf hanging out with cats — some of them in holiday sweaters.
Christmas Cat TV

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:27 am

If you love cats and adore Christmas, do we ever have the website for you. It takes the concept of "reality TV" in new directions — eight solid hours a day of streaming video of cats in a holiday setting.

The scene you'll find at Christmas Cats TV is a unique one. A woman sits in a den that includes a Christmas tree, a hearth and some presents — and a whole lot of cats, some of which have been cajoled into wearing Christmas sweaters.

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Parallels
12:59 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

The World's Largest Vessel Enters The Water In South Korea

A rendering of the world's largest vessel, the Shell Prelude, which comes in at just over 1,600 feet. It has just left its dry dock in South Korea, where it is being built. It will eventually head toward Australia, where it will be anchored off the coast and used as a liquefied natural gas facility.
Shell

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:24 pm

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Fine Art
12:56 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

'Pearl Earring' Is The Crown Jewel Of The Frick's Dutch Exhibit

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of 15 17th century Dutch paintings on view at New York's Frick Collection through early 2014.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 5:48 pm

Some years ago, I wrote a poem called "Why I Love Vermeer," which ends "I've never lived in a city without a Vermeer." I could say that until 1990, when Vermeer's exquisite painting The Concert was one of the masterpieces stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It's still missing.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Some Stranded Whales In Fla. Moving Out To Sea

A dead pilot whale lies near the beach in a remote area of Florida's Everglades National Park, on Wednesday.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:49 pm

Wildlife officials in southwest Florida who are struggling to save dozens of beached pilot whales say there's hope that at least some of the animals might escape after they spotted at least 20 of them swimming in deeper water.

The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Prosecutor: No Charges Against FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles attempts a pass during the game against the Florida Gators on Nov. 30.
Sam Greenwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:14 pm

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston, considered a Heisman Trophy front-runner, will not be charged with rape, the state attorney, Willie Meggs, announced Thursday after an investigation into the allegations.

Freshman Winston, who led his team to the national polls, has been facing allegations that he assaulted a female FSU student in December 2012, prior to his college career.

Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen of Tallahassee, has contended that his client had consensual sex with the woman.

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Law
12:05 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Beyond Good Cop/Bad Cop: A Look At Real-Life Interrogations

A lot of what we think we know about interrogation tactics comes from television and movies. Above (from left), Robert Ryan, Robert Mitchum and Robert Young appear in a scene from the 1947 film Crossfire.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:55 pm

We see a lot of police interrogation on TV, but how closely do those high-adrenaline scenes resemble the real thing? According to Douglas Starr, not much. In his new New Yorker article, "The Interview: Do Police Interrogation Techniques Produce False Confessions?", Starr examines the Reid technique, the style of interrogation most widely used by police forces in the U.S.

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The Salt
11:23 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Fast-Food Workers Across The U.S. Cry Poverty Wages, Demand Better Pay

Fast-food workers march toward the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Similar rallies occurred in about 100 cities across the U.S.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

When you're making eight bucks an hour, which is pretty typical in the fast-food industry, it's tough to make ends meet.

And increasingly, the working poor are asking this question: Why am I living in poverty, even when I'm working full time?

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The Two-Way
11:19 am
Thu December 5, 2013

American Teacher Is Killed While Jogging In Benghazi, Libya

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:42 pm

An American chemistry teacher who spent more than a year teaching at an international school in Libya, was shot and killed Thursday in Benghazi.

The U.S. State Department identified the slain teacher as Ronald Thomas Smith II. He was 33 years old.

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Music Reviews
10:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

William Parker's Abstract Grooves Collected In Box Set

William Parker.
Roberto Serra - Iguana Press Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:55 pm

Steve Lacy used to say that the right partner can help you make music you couldn't get to by yourself. Take the quartet William Parker founded in 2000, for example. Parker's bass tone was always sturdy as a tree trunk, but power drummer Hamid Drake gives him lift. The upshot is that free jazz can swing, too. The quartet's front line is another firm partnership: quicksilver alto saxophonist Rob Brown and flinty trumpeter Lewis Barnes.

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A Blog Supreme
10:34 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Wade In The Water: 5 Jazz Takes On Spirituals

The gospel/folk singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe was accompanied by a jazz orchestra on her debut recording.
Chris Ware Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:21 pm

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Food
10:02 am
Thu December 5, 2013

'King Cocktail' Serves Up Prohibition History, Hangover Cure

Dale's Holiday Old Fashioned
Michael Hnatov

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:18 pm

If you're going to a holiday party, there's a good chance you'll be sipping on an adult beverage of some sort. You can do that without looking over your shoulder for authorities because exactly 80 years ago today, Dec. 5, Prohibition came to an end and Americans were able to legally pick up their drinks again.

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Africa
10:02 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Female Doctor Beats Odds To Bring Air Ambulance To Nigeria

Experts said Dr. Ola Orekunrin's dream to create air ambulance service in Nigeria was impossible. But as a doctor and helicopter pilot, she had the skills and dedication to make it work. Orekunrin tells host Michel Martin about Flying Doctors Nigeria.

World
10:02 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Abortion In Haiti: Dangerous And Illegal

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to spend some time today talking about issues in health, particularly in the developing world. Later, we're going to hear what it's like to be a trauma doctor in one of Africa's most populous and, yet, still underserved areas. And, hint, her house calls involve a helicopter. That's just ahead.

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Race
10:02 am
Thu December 5, 2013

New York City's Fire Commissioner On Extinguishing Racial Gap

Salvatore Cassano smiles during a news conference following his swearing-in as New York City's fire commissioner.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:19 pm

Nearly 250 recruits to New York City's storied fire department graduated on Thursday. The graduating class looks a lot different from the ones before it: Sixty-two percent are members of minority groups. The department has been nearly 90 percent white, a very different demographic than New York City's population.

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Best Music Of 2013
9:47 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Lorde Sounds Like Teen Spirit

Lorde performs in Sydney, Australia, in October.
Mark Metcalfe Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:49 am

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The Protojournalist
9:29 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Project Xpat: What It Means To Be An Expatriate

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:37 am

When American expatriate Charles Trueheart was young, he lived all over the world — in Ankara, London, Saigon and Paris. His father was an American diplomat.

When Charlie was older, he moved back to the U.S. He went to college at Amherst. Eventually, he and his wife, Anne Swardson, became international correspondents for The Washington Post.

I was Charlie's editor at the Post for several stories. He is a lovely writer and a good friend.

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The Two-Way
9:28 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama Tells Government To Ramp Up Its Renewable Energy Use

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:44 am

This post was updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Obama says the U.S. government "must lead by example" when it comes to safeguarding the environment, so he's ordering federal agencies to use more clean energy.

Under a presidential memorandum out Thursday, each agency would have until 2020 to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable supplies.

"Government agencies currently get less than 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind," NPR's Richard Harris reports. He adds that:

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The Two-Way
8:37 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Ford Hopes New Mustang Will Get The World's Motor Running

The new 2015 Ford Mustang was unveiled Thursday. The car's new design includes features that are geared toward global markets.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 10:19 am

Ford unveiled its new Mustang on Thursday, in a splashy event that was undermined a bit by leaked photos that showed the new model's design. And the Mustang will be sold around the globe for the first time since the car was introduced nearly 50 years ago.

From Michigan Radio, Tracy Samilton filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Call The Doctor

Puzzle Guru John Chaneski leads this final round in which every correct answer is the name of a real or fictional doctor, most of whom you shouldn't go to for medical advice. Except maybe Dr. Who. Bonus trivia question: On The Muppet Show, who led the house band and played the keyboards?

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

'The Very Thought Of You': Nellie McKay Channels Doris Day

Nellie McKay.
Rick Gonzalez

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 10:51 am

  • Web Extra: Hear our interview with Nellie McKay, plus a duet with Jonathan Coulton

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Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Gone To The Dogs

This game is rather simple: each answer contains the name of a dog breed. For example, the Simon & Garfunkel song that begins, "I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told," is "The Boxer." Of course, as house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you, a boxer is a breed of dog, as well as a person who boxes. The song is not, however, about a person who puts things in boxes.

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Not On The List

There are songs that express heartfelt emotions, telling stories of love or loss that are both universal and deeply personal. Then there are songs that are pretty much just lists of things. This game covers those songs, though house musician Jonathan Coulton and VIP Nellie McKay have cheekily swapped out some of the items. Raindrops on roses and what on what, again?

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

X Marks The Spot

In this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg, we've removed the "x" sound in various words and phrases. Your job is to put the "x" back, based on the clue. For example, if she said, "Put an "x" in "hagon" to get a six-sided geometric shape, you would answer "hexagon."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Bad Things Come In Threes

It has been noted that many of history's notorious assassins had three names: John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman. It turns out that many other famous people with three names have committed far lesser (but still disturbing) acts, like popularizing the mullet or basically inventing cat videos. Guess the celebrities as host Ophira Eisenberg leads this game.

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Bruce Willis, Wash Your Mouth Out

You may be familiar with Bruce Willis' endlessly quotable catchphrase from the action movie franchise Die Hard, though we can't reprint it in full here. This game asks contestants to "clean up" the famous line by swapping out the offending obscenity for other words that are commonly found after the word "mother." Yippee-ki-yay, Mother Nature!

The Two-Way
7:36 am
Thu December 5, 2013

China Bans Bitcoin Trading By Banks

Chinese banks cannot trade in Bitcoins, the digital currency that doesn't recognize international boundaries, China's top regulators said Thursday.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 10:03 am

China says banks in the country are no longer allowed to trade in Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has sharply risen this year. Chinese citizens, however, are not forbidden from using the currency.

The Bitcoin exchange rate took a hit following Thursday's news from China's central bank.

From Shanghai, NPR's Frank Langfitt filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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