All Things Considered on HPPR

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All Things Considered: Since its debut in 1971, this afternoon radio news magazine has delivered in-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand the world. HPPR adds a High Plains perspective with regional weather and community events.

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On a day when President Obama added his voice to criticisms over the decision to pull the satire The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says the studio "did not capitulate" to hackers, and that its actions have been misunderstood.

Lynton defended his studio in an interview on All Things Considered, saying that Sony still wants an audience to see The Interview — if not in theaters, then by other means.

"The dog ate my homework?" Try, "I was protesting a grand jury decision," instead.

Students at some top law schools want exam extensions for what they are calling the trauma of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions. But other law students are wondering what message that sends to future employers.

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Today, details of the Obama administration's plan known as the Postsecondary Institutional Ratings System, or PIRS, finally saw the light of day. The idea, in this incarnation, was just under three years old.

The president announced its conception during his State of the Union address in 2012.

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Among the changes to U.S. restrictions on Cuba President Obama announced Wednesday was a relaxation of the rules barring U.S. banks from doing business there.

Americans traveling in Cuba will now be able to use their credit cards and ATM cards, but many U.S. banks see the new rules as something of a legal minefield.

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Last month's cyberattack on Sony pictures is now a national security matter. U.S. intelligence officials believe North Korea is behind the incident and today the White House said it's taking hacking attacks seriously.

Pennsylvania's fracking boom has led to record-breaking natural gas production, but its neighbor, New York, announced Wednesday it was banning the practice. Industry and environmental groups say New York's decision could be good for Pennsylvania.

New York's ban comes six years after the state placed a temporary moratorium on fracking to study the gas drilling technique. Now, officials question fracking's economic benefits and cite environmental risks.

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

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And that changing relationship is something that Frank Calzon is questioning.

FRANK CALZON: The president has given Cuba - most of the Cuban government - most of what they want.

We are well into the Christmas season, and if you live in Japan, that means sponge cake.

The traditional Japanese Christmas dish is served with strawberries and cream, and it is rich, thanks to lots and lots of butter. But the Japanese have been using even more butter for their Christmas cakes this year, exacerbating what was already a national butter shortage.

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Here's what it takes to design a better Ebola suit: a roomful of university students and professors, piles of canvas and Tyvek cloth, sewing machines, glue guns ... and chocolate syrup.

Even Youseph Yazdi, head of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID), still isn't sure what the syrup was for.

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska's York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you'll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it's a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline — a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

An hour east of Sacramento, Calif., trucks carrying burned timber from the Eldorado National Forest roar down the canyon as chain saws buzz in the distance.

But U.S. Forest Service ecologist Becky Estes says besides humans, not much else in this forest seems alive.

"We're standing in an area that ... is going to be probably 100 percent mortality of the trees," Estes says.

Many of us are making lots of trips to the mall right now, but what if you could only go shopping for just a few hours once a month? That's what life is like for container ship crews who bring the vast majority of consumer goods from Chinese factories to stores in the U.S.

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We begin this hour with today's shocking terrorist attack in Pakistan. Gunmen entered a military-run school in Peshawar and began executing children. The military says 132 students and nine staff members were killed.

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The popular ride-hailing service Uber is valued at a staggering $40 billion — even though it's besieged by lawsuits, bad PR and outright bans in some cities.

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