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Around the Nation
3:57 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

LA's Unclaimed Dead Receive Prayers, And A Final Resting Place

County employees, media and mourners gather for the ceremony honoring the 1,489 people whose unclaimed remains are being buried in the LA County Cemetery this year.
Arun Rath NPR

Every year since 1896, Los Angeles County has held a somber ceremony for the men, women and children who die there, but whose bodies are never claimed.

Some of those buried are unidentified; they are buried as Jane and John Does.

Many others have been identified, but for a variety of reasons, family and friends never picked up their cremated remains.

This year, in an interfaith ceremony on Dec. 9, the county buried the ashes of 1,489 people in a mass grave in the County Cemetery in LA's Boyle Heights.

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Animals
3:39 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

More Than Just Cute, Sea Otters Are Superheroes Of The Marsh

This sea otter, about to eat a crab in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, is cute, sure. But more importantly, it's indirectly combating some harmful effects of agricultural runoff and protecting the underwater ecosystem.
Rob Eby AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 9:28 am

On the roof of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., in a large plastic tank, a sea otter mother named Abby floats with her adopted pup, known as 671.

For up to nine months, Abby will raise her little adoptee, and when 671 is ready, she will be released into a protected inland salt marsh called Elkhorn Slough, just off Monterey Bay.

That's where 671 will set to work to preserve the estuary, says Tim Tinker, who tracks otters for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Education
3:06 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

Two Years Later, Still Learning From Sandy Hook

Relatives of victims of gun violence attend a press conference honoring the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 10, 2014.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:57 am

It's been two years since a gunman killed his mother at home and then opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 first-graders, six educators and himself. People in Connecticut are still hashing out just how parents and educators should handle children like Adam Lanza.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

Cheney On Harsh Interrogation: 'I'd Do It Again In A Minute'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, in September. Cheney has been highly critical of the bipartisan Senate report
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 1:51 pm

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is standing by his spirited defense of harsh interrogation techniques used against terrorist suspects during the George W. Bush administration.

Given another chance to authorize such methods, Cheney declared on NBC's Meet the Press today: "I'd do it again in a minute."

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NPR Ed
10:03 am
Sun December 14, 2014

A For-Profit College Tries The Charter School Market

ITT Technical Institute's Early College Academy campus in Troy, MI.
Nicole Elam/ITT Technical Institute

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 9:14 am

Starting this past spring, parents in Indianapolis; Troy, Mich.; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; and Houston, Texas, heard about a new option for their children's last two years of high school.

In each city, a charter school called Early Career Academy planned to offer students the chance to earn associate degrees, either in network systems administration or software development, alongside their high school diplomas. Students were offered laptops to work on and ebooks to use. All for free.

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Geminid Meteor Showers Light Up Both Hemispheres

The Geminid meteor shower above Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday.
Robert AtanasovskiI AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 9:24 am

The annual Geminid meteor shower dazzled Earthlings around the world late Saturday and early Sunday.

Pieces of gravel and dust from a "rock comet" called 3200 Phaethon shot across the sky and lit up discussion boards from NASA.gov to Twitter — for those who could tear their eyes away long enough to type.

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The Two-Way
8:36 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Prosecutor Releases More Documents Related To Ferguson Shooting

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announces the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, on Nov. 24.
Cristina Fletes-Boutte AP

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 1:13 pm

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch made public nearly two dozen additional documents related to the investigation of police officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot an unarmed black man last summer.

It was the second time in a week he had released more documents related to the Nov. 24 grand jury decision not to indict Wilson for the fatal August shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

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Around the Nation
5:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Tenant Blacklist Can Haunt New York Renters For Years

Robert Guzman found out about New York's 'tenant blacklist' after he was rejected multiple times by landlords, despite a strong credit score.
Mirela Iverac WNYC

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 10:18 am

Back in 2009, Robert Guzman lived in the Bronx with his wife and young son. He had a good job in advertising and paid his rent on time — until he made a discovery.

"There were rats coming up from the basement — I lived on the first floor," he says. "They were like, giant rats."

Guzman repeatedly asked the building management to address the problem, but that didn't work. So he decided to withhold his rent. He wasn't "just being a deadbeat renter," Guzman says. "I'm withholding the rent for a reason."

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Race
5:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Staff Picks: Transracial Adoptions, From The Adoptee's View

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 10:18 am

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Around the Nation
5:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

A Mugging, A Marriage, A Movie: A Century Of Bus Rides

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 10:18 am

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Race
5:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Thousands March Across U.S. Protesting Police Brutality

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 10:18 am

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In cities across the country yesterday, tens of thousands of people gathered to draw attention to several high profile deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police. People marched in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C.

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Politics
5:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Senate Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 10:18 am

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Race
5:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Protesters Of Police Violence Divided By Generation

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 7:44 pm

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Senate Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Friday, as the Senate considers a spending bill.
Lauren Victoria Burke AP

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 12:28 pm

Updated at 10:05 p.m. ET

The Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending package Saturday night on a 56-40 bipartisan vote, after overruling an objection from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Earlier Saturday, the Senate had voted on a short-term continuing resolution that extended their deadline to pass the spending bill. But in the evening, Senate leadership came to an agreement and the legislative body voted to move the bill forward sooner than anticipated, ending debate and allowing a vote Saturday night.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Dispatches From D.C.'s 'March For Justice'

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 11:32 am

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

The Two-Way
8:39 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Protesters Rally In 'Justice For All' Marches In 3 Cities

Melissa W. Green, right, and her daughter Reshae Green holds up their signs at Freedom Plaza during the "Justice for All" march and rally on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington on Saturday.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:17 pm

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Thousands of demonstrators gathered today for a "Justice for All" march in the nation's capital to protest decisions in Missouri and New York not to indict police officers involved in the deaths of two black men.

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Politics
8:37 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Government Funding Bill Rolls Back Trucker Rest Requirements

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

The spending bill in Congress is not just about money. Tucked inside the bill are provisions to change regulations affecting everything from banking to the environment. One regulatory rollback has those concerned about truck safety especially upset.

The regulation is part of a series of rules that spell out the number of hours that long-haul truck drivers, the ones behind the wheel of the big rigs on the interstates, can be on the road.

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Race
7:53 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Forced To Seat Blacks, Ala. Restaurant Complied With History

Ollies Barbecue was a Birmingham, Ala., landmark where where white plumbers and electricians sat next to white doctors and bank presidents,” but in 1964, blacks weren't allowed to eat there.
Courtesy Ollie McClung Jr.

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

At Lena's, a diner in Birmingham, Ala., the cashier hands a customer a plastic bag with food which he carries out of the restaurant. There's nothing noteworthy about it now, but that action — taking out the meal — is a faint echo of the Jim Crow South.

Fifty years ago Sunday, the Supreme Court effectively ended segregation in restaurants. Before that ruling, restaurants were segregated, but some white establishments would serve black customers take-out.

Washington Booker, eating breakfast at Lena's, remembers the routine.

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Sat December 13, 2014

2 U.S. Soldiers Among More Than A Dozen Killed In Afghan Attacks

Afghan security personnel inspect a damaged bus at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. There was no immediate report of casualties, but the attack was one of several in the last 24 hours that have been blamed on the Taliban.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 11:12 am

It's been a violent 24 hours in Afghanistan:

-- 12 workers clearing mines on Saturday were attacked by Taliban militants and another dozen were wounded, a police spokesman said.

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Politics
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Levin, Harkin, Coburn Among Senators Bidding Adieu

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

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National Security
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Holder Won't Force NYT Journalist To Reveal Source

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

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Law
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

NYT Reporter: Brutal Interrogations Rose In CIA's Post-9/11 Chaos

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 2:21 pm

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Law
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Yale Law Professor: Torture Is Never Justified

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 8:27 pm

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

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The Two-Way
8:02 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

NYT Journalist James Risen Won't Be Forced To Reveal His Source

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder won't compel The New York Times' James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, to name his confidential source on CIA operations intended to prevent Iran from building its nuclear program.

It's the conclusion of a standoff that has lasted for years, as NPR's David Folkenflik reported for our Newscast unit. It began in 2006, David reports, when "Risen's book State of War revealed the CIA had botched a scheme to feed the Iranians faulty material on how to refine nuclear fuel for weapons."

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The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Georgia Woman Gets $100K Over Her Arrest For Cursing At Police

Amy Barnes, of Marietta, Ga., has won a settlement after she says police abused her constitutional rights. Barnes was arrested and held in solitary confinement overnight for cursing at officers.
David Goldman AP

After seeing "yet another African American stopped for doing nothing other than being outside while black," Atlanta-area resident Amy Barnes says, she yelled profanities at police officers — who then arrested her. That was two years ago. Today, Cobb County agreed to pay Barnes $100,000.

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The Two-Way
5:02 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Amazing Photos Show Clouds Filling The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is seen from the South Rim on Sept. 6, 2013.
Alexandra Schuler DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:07 pm

A rare total cloud inversion took place in the Grand Canyon on Thursday, filling the huge void with what looks like a rolling white fog. The event was captured in striking photos by the Grand Canyon National Park; on Friday, the park posted a time-lapse video.

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Economy
4:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Mortgage Giants Ease Down Payments For First-Time Homebuyers

A new directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:05 pm

A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.

The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.

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Around the Nation
4:16 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Do Guns On The Premises Make Workplaces Safer?

In 2010, Omar Thornton killed eight colleagues in Manchester, Conn., before killing himself. Private employers used to create their own rules about guns on their property. But over the past five years, many states have adopted laws that allow employees to keep firearms in their vehicles at work.
Douglas Healey Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:49 am

This year, Tennessee joined 21 other states that allow employees to leave guns in their cars in the office parking lot. The laws have left many employers debating how best to ensure safety at work.

After Georgia passed its law allowing employees to keep firearms in their employers' parking lots, Sally Roberts installed a sign on her newspaper firm's door. It read: "No Weapons Allowed."

A job candidate once threatened her, says Roberts, human resources director at Morris Communications. "She did become violent, and I'm very thankful she did not have a weapon."

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This Week's Must Read
3:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

The Ethics Of Torture, Explored In A Painful Fable

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:29 pm

We've been hearing all week about a report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It detailed brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after Sept 11. Among the questions it raised are whether these techniques are legal, effective and morally acceptable.

For our series This Week's Must Read, author Laila Lalami grapples with these questions by turning to literature.

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Sports
3:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

How Good Can Young NFL Quarterbacks Really Be?

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 4:16 pm

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