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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Protesters Block Government Buildings In Ukraine

A woman walks past a giant European Union flag hung on the gates of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers building in Kiev on Monday.
Sergei Supinsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 6:11 am

A day after the largest protest since the Orange Revolution, protesters in the Ukraine blocked government buildings on Monday in an attempt to oust President Viktor Yanukovich.

Demonstrators are angry because Yanukovich abandoned a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. As Reuters explains, many in the Ukraine have yearned to become part of the EU to escape the grip of Moscow.

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Shots - Health News
5:00 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Uninsured Fret About Getting Health Coverage By New Year's Day

For Tambra Momi, who has Dercum's disease, health coverage can't come soon enough.
Courtesy of Tambra Momi

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:07 am

Tambra Momi has been eagerly awaiting the promise of guaranteed health insurance.

Since 2011, she has battled Dercum's disease, a rare and painful condition in which noncancerous tumors sprout throughout her body, pressing against nerves.

Jobless and in a wheelchair, Momi needs nine different drugs, including one costing $380 a month, to control the pain and side effects. No insurer has been willing to cover her, she says, except a few that have taken her money and then refused to pay for her medications.

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The Two-Way
4:12 am
Mon December 2, 2013

For The First Time, China Launches A Moon Rover Mission

The Long March-3B carrier rocket carrying China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe blasts off from the launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday.
Li Gang Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:03 am

Early this morning, China successfully launched what it hopes will become its first rover mission on the moon, the official state news agency Xinhua reported.

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The Two-Way
4:04 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Delivery By Drone? Amazon Says A New Era Looms

In an image taken of a test flight, an Amazon Prime Air drone carries a package. The online retailer could begin 30-minute deliveries within four to five years, CEO Jeff Bezos told 60 Minutes Sunday.
Amazon

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:21 am

Amazon is looking at drastically reducing its delivery times — to 30 minutes or less — as it plans a new service called Prime Air that it says could debut in a few years. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said the giant online retailer plans to use semi-autonomous drones to carry purchases to customers.

That's got tech experts buzzing about whether the idea will fly.

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Europe
2:40 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Swedish Inmate Escapes To Go To The Dentist

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 8:27 am

The prisoner complained of a toothache but says he couldn't get anyone to help him treat it. So, according to Swedish media, the 51-year-old man escaped, and went to a dentist. He had his tooth pulled and then turned himself in to authorities.

The Two-Way
2:36 am
Mon December 2, 2013

NYC Commuter Train Was Well Above Speed Limit Before Crash

Search and rescue teams work at the scene of Sunday's passenger train crash in the Bronx. The train crash killed four people and injured dozens more.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:53 pm

Update at 6:50 p.m. ET. Speeding Into Curve; A Mile Or More To Safely Stop:

A commuter train headed into New York City was traveling at 82 mph Sunday morning when it entered a curve where the speed limit was supposed to be 30 mph and derailed, National Transportation Safety Board investigators have concluded. Four people on the train were killed and at least 60 others were injured.

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Animals
2:34 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Elwood, World's Ugliest Dog, Dies

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 3:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

We remember this morning, Elwood. He was a good dog. But cute, he was not; tiny, hairless except for a tufty Mohawk, with hooded eyes and a red tongue that stuck out. Six years ago, Elwood shot to fame when he was named the world's ugliest dog. He died on Thanksgiving Day but is immortalized in a popular children's book written by owner Karen Quigley. "Everyone Loves Elwood" is about how it's OK to be different.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Environment
11:50 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Australia Disapproves Of Seeds In Katy Perry CD

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 8:27 am

Singer Katy Perry's new album has been adored in some reviews, but one critic is the Australian Department of Agriculture. Seeds included in the CD could pose a threat to the environment there.

Movies
11:50 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

'Best Man Holiday' Resonates Across Racial Lines

The Best Man Holiday is Malcolm Lee's sequel to his film Best Man.
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 2:36 pm

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Business
11:50 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Companies Revisit 'Rank And Yank' of 1980s

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 8:27 am

Longtime General Electric CEO and management icon Jack Welch popularized a management style in the 1980s that critics dubbed "rank and yank." The system ranks employees — with under-performers getting yanked from their jobs or the company. This old practice is in the news again. Microsoft recently did away with it. But other companies are embracing it.

Around the Nation
10:48 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Deadly Derailment Is Latest Accident For N.Y. Commuter Train Line

The wreckage of a Metro-North commuter train, which derailed Sunday just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station in Bronx, N.Y., lies on its side. The train was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River.
Christopher Gregory Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:30 am

A commuter train crash that left four people dead and dozens injured Sunday in the Bronx is the most serious among a number of incidents in the past year for Metro-North Railroad.

As the investigation into what caused the derailment continued Monday, thousands of commuters were looking for alternate ways in and out of New York City.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:57 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Yuja Wang: Rooted In Diligence, Inspired By Improvisation

Yuja Wang at NPR's studio in Washington, D.C.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:56 am

Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 — "Rach 3," as fans fondly call it — is one of the most famously difficult pieces of music there is. The sheet music goes on and on, with notes so dense the pages start to look like modern art. The piece is so challenging that some noted pianists have declined to perform it — but Yuja Wang has recorded it for her newest album.

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Business
9:56 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Could Hawaii Become A Same-Sex Wedding Destination?

Sunset on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 8:27 am

Starting Monday, same-sex marriage is legal in Hawaii. The state has long been a destination for weddings and honeymoons. And now state officials, as well as hotels and restaurants, are hoping the latest marriage-equality law will spur a new market for wedding tourism.

Wedding planner Keane Akao is showing off a secluded beach wedding site, one of several on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

"You can use the beach for pictures," he tells a couple, "and this is actually called Secret Beach."

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Shots - Health News
9:54 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Parents Of Sleep-Deprived Teens Push For Later School Start Times

Maggie Starbard / NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:32 pm

Cristina Sevin knows the drill. Her 15-year-old son Isaac's first alarm goes off at 6:05 a.m.

When he sleeps right through it, Mom starts the nudging. But she also has to wake up 16-year-old Lily. She flips on the bedroom lights. "Lily, you gotta get up!"

They have to be out the door before 6:35 a.m. in their Annapolis, Md., neighborhood in order to catch the bus for a 7:17 school start. "I wish I didn't have to be awake right now," says Lily.

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Shots - Health News
9:53 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say

Colleen Frainey, 16, of Tualatin, Ore., cut back on advanced placement classes in her junior year because the stress was making her physically ill.
Toni Greaves for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:35 pm

When high school junior Nora Huynh got her report card, she was devastated to see that she didn't get a perfect 4.0.

Nora "had a total meltdown, cried for hours," her mother, Jennie Huynh of Alameda, Calif., says. "I couldn't believe her reaction."

Nora is doing college-level work, her mother says, but many of her friends are taking enough advanced classes to boost their grade-point averages above 4.0. "It breaks my heart to see her upset when she's doing so awesome and going above and beyond."

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Around the Nation
12:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Shifting Gears: Commuting Aboard The L.A. Bike Trains

L.A. Bike Trains brings together groups of five to 10 cyclists who commute en masse.
Courtesy of Bruce Chan

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:04 am

One of the largest obstacles in getting people to bike to work is their fear of getting hit by a car. A new grass-roots project in Los Angeles is helping folks navigate the ins and outs of traffic.

It's 6:45 a.m. and Barbara Insua is busy packing a bag. She will ride seven miles from her home in Pasadena to NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, where she works as a graphic designer. She only started doing this ride a few months ago.

"It was kind of daunting," she says, "because seven miles to the lab — I didn't know how to do it. I'm not an avid cyclist."

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Around the Nation
12:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Hill After Hill, Hundreds Crank Away In Pittsburgh Bike Race

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:55 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Now to a mode of transportation better suited to the budget of a public radio reporter - bicycling. If you think cyclists are not among the toughest athletes, well, you haven't been to Pittsburgh. The city has some brutal hills which actually attract a certain breed of cyclists. As Liz Reid from member station WESA reports, cyclists have been attacking those hills for 30 years in an event called the Dirty Dozen.

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Iraq
12:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

A Soldier Accused, But Few Answers In Death Of Iraqi Teens

Last month, military investigators began a process to charge Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera in the 2007 fatal shooting of two deaf, unarmed Iraqi youths.
Mario Tama AP

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:55 pm

It sounds unthinkable, but there are times, according to the rules of war, when it's morally acceptable to shoot a child.

A 12-year-old can, of course, fire an AK-47, but the more gut-wrenching decisions revolve around ambiguous situations. Could a child with a cell phone be a lookout for insurgents or send a detonation signal to an IED bomb?

These were the types of scenarios our soldiers had to face in Iraq. Countless soldiers have returned haunted by civilians they killed because the civilians panicked and ran through a checkpoint or reached for something too quickly.

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Author Interviews
12:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Nightclub King Jon Taffer Sets A High Bar

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:55 pm

Jon Taffer is the king of the bar business. Over the past three decades, he has managed dozens of bars and nightclubs, and is a consultant for bar owners all over the country.

Most recently, he has put his expertise to use as the host of the popular reality show Bar Rescue. Bar and nightclub owners with failing businesses ask Taffer for his help. In return, Taffer brings a team of bartenders, chefs and designers with him to revamp every part of the operation. On the show, as in person, Taffer is a tough, no-nonsense guy.

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Music Interviews
12:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Ben Allison: Leading A Stellar Band Far Beyond The World

The Stars Look Very Different Today, the new album from bassist and composer Ben Allison (far right) and his band, comes out Dec. 3.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:55 pm

Most music fans will recognize the title of Ben Allison's new album, The Stars Look Very Different Today, as a reference to the song "Space Oddity," itself a reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Around the Nation
12:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

The Latest From The New York Train Derailment

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:55 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

A commuter train derailed as it was heading into Manhattan this morning, killing four people and injuring more than 60. Witnesses say the train appeared to be going too fast as it rounded a curve just north of a train station in the Bronx. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to piece together what happened.

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The Two-Way
11:33 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Minn. Man Ticketed For Making It Snow Money At Mall Of America

Serge Vorobyov drops 1,000 dollar bills onto a crowd at Mall of America.
Serge The Car Hauler via YouTube

Here's the best Black Friday story we missed: A Minn. man who was down on his luck, decided to spread some holiday cheer at the Mall of America on Friday by dropping 1,000 dollar bills from the fourth floor of the rotunda as a three-person choir sang Let It Snow.

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It's All Politics
10:55 am
Sun December 1, 2013

5 Most Memorable Political Ads Of 2013

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Smithsonian Names Its New Panda Cub 'Bao Bao'

Bao Bao, the Smithsonian's giant panda cub, on Nov. 29.
Abby Wood Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 9:38 am

The 100-day-old female panda cub at the National Zoo in Washington, now has a name: Bao Bao (宝宝) — meaning precious or treasure — was the most popular of the five names put up for a popular vote by Zoo.

The name was announced during a ceremony at the Zoo on Sunday afternoon.

Cui Tiankai, ambassador of the People's Republic of China, wrote the name in calligraphy on scrolls, which were unfurled at the ceremony.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Sun December 1, 2013

In Shocking Upset, Auburn Beats Alabama With A Historic Play

Auburn fans react at the end of a win over Alabama during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday.
Jay Sailors AP
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The Two-Way
5:31 am
Sun December 1, 2013

HealthCare.gov Is Now Working Smoothly, White House Says

The HealthCare.gov website.
Jon Elswick ap

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 6:07 am

White House officials say the government's health insurance website, which has been plagued with problems ever since it launched in October, is now working smoothly for most users.

"The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity with greatly improved performance," Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the site, said during a telephone conference with reporters on Sunday. The bottom line, said Zients, is that Healthcare.gov is "night and day" from what it was at launch.

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The Two-Way
3:33 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Commuter Train Derails In The Bronx Killing 4

First responders gather around the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York on Sunday.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 10:51 pm

(This post was last updated at 5:02 p.m. ET.)

A Metro-North commuter train derailed on Sunday in the Bronx borough of New York City, killing four passengers, and injuring 63.

WABC-TV in New York reports the train derailed at about 7:20 a.m., while navigating a curve just outside the Spuyten Duyvil station.

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Middle East
3:24 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Palestinian Refugees On Losing Side Of UN Budget Crunch

Palestinian refugee Lawahez Burghal stuffs tripe with rice and garbanzo beans for her family in their home in the Amari refugee camp in the West Bank. Many refugees still depend on the United Nations for food, health care and education.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 3:17 am

The United Nations agency that provides basic health care and education to Palestinian refugees doesn't have enough money to pay local salaries this month.

The shortfall could directly affect 30,000 teachers, doctors and social workers, as well as the people using their services in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Filling Basic Needs

Sit for an hour in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency office in the al-Amari camp for Palestinian refugees, and you get a sense of what people expect the agency to provide.

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The Two-Way
2:48 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Paul Walker, Star Of 'Fast and Furious,' Dies In Car Crash

Actor Paul Walker attends the World Premiere of 'Fast & Furious 6' in London, England.
Tim P. Whitby Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 12:43 pm

Paul Walker, the star of the stunningly successful The Fast and the Furious film franchise, was killed in a car accident on Saturday, the actor's representative told the AP.

On Walker's Facebook page, his team explained that he was a passenger in a friend's car and that he was in Valencia, Calif. attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

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Parallels
12:24 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Five Things You May Not Know About Child Marriage

Arinafe Makwiti, 13, says her parents forced her to drop out of school and get married to an older man last year to help with the family finances. Makwiti has divorced her husband, but now has a 9-month-old daughter.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:40 am

NPR's Jennifer Ludden recently traveled to the African nation of Malawi, one of many countries in the developing world where child marriage remains prevalent. She found girls like Christina Asima, who was married at 12 and became a mother at 13. She is now divorced and caring for her infant son on her own. You can read Jennifer's full report here. Below are a few more things she learned while reporting on child marriage.

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