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12:46 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

The First Time I Heard The Name 'Mandela'

People gather to leave messages of support for Nelson Mandela outside his hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, earlier this year. Mandela has died at the age of 95.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:07 pm

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It's All Politics
12:22 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

For Biden, All The World's A Stage For Possible 2016 Run

Vice President Biden chats with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao before heading to their luncheon at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Thursday.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:27 pm

Vice President Biden hasn't announced his 2016 presidential plans. It's far too early for that; we haven't even hit the first anniversary of President Obama's second inaugural, after all.

But as Biden traveled this week to Japan, China and South Korea where he met top leaders, he certainly gave the impression of a man doing a full dress rehearsal for the presidency.

Of course, if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president, rehearsing for the presidency may be as close as Biden gets to the Democratic nomination.

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Illinois Governor Signs Pension Rescue Plan

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:52 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
11:01 am
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 6:57 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
10:51 am
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 2:08 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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The Two-Way
10:49 am
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

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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Parallels
9:59 am
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 11:24 am

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
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 1:27 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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Shots - Health News
9:12 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Medical Journal Goes To The Dogs

That's Dr. Fido to you, pal.
JAMA

For a half-century, JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, adorned its cover with works of fine art. You could have easily mistaken an issue of the august medical journal on your doctor's desk for a stray copy of ARTnews.

But a JAMA redesign this summer put the table of contents on the front cover and moved the art inside.

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The Two-Way
9:12 am
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 10:14 am

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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The Salt
9:05 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 6:57 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
8:08 am
Thu December 5, 2013

American Teacher Is Killed While Jogging In Benghazi, Libya

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:42 am

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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World
7:02 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
7:02 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 3:19 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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The Two-Way
6:36 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama Tells Government To Ramp Up Its Renewable Energy Use

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:44 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 Protojournalist
6:13 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Project Xpat: What It Means To Be An Expatriate

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:37 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
5:37 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 7:19 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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The Two-Way
4:36 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 7:03 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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The Two-Way
3:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

U.S. Economy Grew At 3.6 Percent In Third Quarter; Jobless Claims Dip

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:23 am

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's a rise from the second quarter, when the real gross domestic product tallied a 2.5 percent gain.

The pace of growth is the fastest since the first quarter of 2012, which clocked in at 3.7 percent.

Thursday's release is the "second" estimate for the third quarter, following up on data released in November that put the GDP's increase at 2.8 percent.

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The Two-Way
3:03 am
Thu December 5, 2013

$559K Fine Set For Safety Failures In Deadly Arizona Wildfire

A photo taken by the Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30 shows their position on a ridge, with a red arrow indicating the original location of their lookout. The crew's lookout was the only team member to survive the fire.
Chris MacKenzie Granite Mountain Hotshots

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:16 am

An Arizona employee safety agency has fined the state's forestry division $559,000 for its failures in handling the Yarnell Hill wildfire, which killed 19 elite firefighters from the city of Prescott this summer.

"The agency concluded that State Forestry placed a higher priority on protection of homes and property than firefighter safety," reports the Prescott Daily Courier.

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Europe
2:26 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Love At First Sound: A Romantic Story From World War II

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:15 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. This week a British couple celebrated their 70th anniversary, a romance sparked when he fell in love with her voice. It was World War II. The young RAF pilot was returning from a bombing mission over Germany when a lovely voice came over his cockpit radio guiding him down. Rushing up to the control tower he found a glamorous girl from the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Months later Steve and Maureen Stevens married. Love at first sound. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
1:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Militants Launch Deadly Attack On Yemen's Defense Ministry

Smoke rises from the site of a suicide car bombing at the Defense Ministry in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, Thursday.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

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

Attackers used guns and bombs to assault Yemen's Defense Ministry compound Thursday, in a bold daytime attack that was reportedly carried out by gunmen dressed in Yemeni military uniforms. At least 20 people reportedly were killed during the attack in the capital city of Sanaa.

"The attack took place shortly after working hours started at the ministry, when a suicide bomber drove a car into the gate," a Defense Ministry source tells Reuters.

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Business
1:56 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Reviewers On Amazon Poke Fun At $40,000 TV

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:05 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Samsung is selling an HD television for $40,000. That price tag prompted the following customer reviews on Amazon.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

I was going to send my kids to college, but I had to do what was best for my family.

INSKEEP: Glad it has low energy costs, as I'm on a very tight budget.

MONTAGNE: I hesitated to buy, but I saw double-A batteries were free with the remote.

It's All Politics
1:20 am
Thu December 5, 2013

GOP Family Feud: 'Showboat' DeMint Takes on 'Tyrant' McConnell

Former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, at a news conference earlier this year.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:26 am

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is more than a little aggravated with the Senate Conservatives Fund, and who can blame him.

The youngish but well-financed Tea Party organization has targeted McConnell, a five-termer from Kentucky and highest-ranking Senate Republican, by helping to bankroll a primary challenger and using the race as an intraparty, us vs. them proxy.

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Shots - Health News
12:03 am
Thu December 5, 2013

White House Cites Pre-Existing Condition Case From Its Own Ranks

Michael Robertson, then chief of staff of the Government Services Administration, testifies on Capitol Hill on April 16, 2012. Now chief of staff of the Cabinet Affairs Office in the Obama administration, Robertson has undergone treatment for stage IV colorectal cancer.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:07 am

It's Day 4 of the White House's new messaging push for the Affordable Care Act. Today the goal is to tell the stories of people with pre-existing conditions who are now entitled to coverage under the new health care law.

One such story comes from within the White House.

Michael Robertson, deputy assistant to the president and deputy cabinet secretary, was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer 16 months ago. He was 35.

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Business
11:45 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Banks Come Under Fire For Filling In The Payday Loan Gap

Federal regulators are setting new rules for banks that offer deposit advances.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:05 am

A payday loan is a costly form of credit operating on the fringes of the economy. That's why the target of a new crackdown by federal regulators may surprise you: Instead of a forlorn-looking storefront with a garish neon sign, it's your familiar neighborhood bank.

A small but growing number of banks, including some major players, have been offering the equivalent of payday loans, calling them "deposit advances."

That is, at least, until bank regulators stepped in Nov. 21 and put new restrictions on the loans.

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Food
11:45 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Make The Punch Bowl Your Holiday Party Centerpiece

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:05 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Even though Christmas and New Year are still a few weeks away, we're already well into holiday party season. And punch bowls are often the centerpieces of festive gatherings. For tips on how to make sure the punch bowl does its job as star libation attraction, writer Julia Reed. She's a columnist for Garden & Gun, a Southern lifestyle magazine.

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Health
11:45 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

FDA Expected To Approve New, Gentler Cure For Hepatitis C

A colorized closeup of the hepatitis C virus.
James Cavallini Science Source

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:30 am

The Food and Drug Administration is expected any day now to approve the first in a new class of drugs that can cure the leading cause of liver failure and liver cancer.

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Parallels
10:17 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

China's Military Buildup Reignites Worries In Asia, Beyond

Chinese naval soldiers stand guard on China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning as it travels toward a military base in Sanya, Hainan province, in this undated picture made available on Nov. 30.
China Stringer Network Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:18 am

China has been building up its military strength for some time now, and pushing ever farther from its coastline and into international waters. The real concern now is for miscalculation — particularly with Japan — that ends up in gunfire.

Just six months ago, the Pentagon released its annual report on China's military. Its defense budget was growing. The country was building more stealthy aircraft and submarines. It even bought an aircraft carrier from the Ukraine.

Pentagon official David Helvey highlighted particular areas of concern.

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Shots - Health News
10:16 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

HealthCare.gov Now Allows Window Shopping, And A Do-Over

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:31 am

One thing that's clear about the relaunch of the troubled HealthCare.gov website is that it can accommodate more people.

Federal officials said more than 1 million users logged in on Monday, and nearly that many on Tuesday.

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