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The Two-Way
1:27 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

White House Says Response To Sony Attack Will Be "Proportional"

The White House says the devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures was done with "malicious intent" and was initiated by a "sophisticated actor" but it would not say if that actor was North Korea.

Spokesman Josh Earnest said the matter is still under investigation.

"Regardless of who is found to be responsible for this, the president considers it to be a serious national security matter," Earnest said.

President Obama is holding daily meetings with his homeland security advisers and cyber coordinators to determine who is responsible and how to respond, he said.

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Shots - Health News
1:25 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

NIH Allows Restart Of MERS Research That Had Been Questioned

A transmission electron micrograph shows Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus particles (colorized yellow).
NIAID

Some researchers who study the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome got an early Christmas present: permission to resume experiments that the federal government abruptly halted in October.

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The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

6 Things You Should Know About Cuban Cigars

American actor Groucho Marx, with his trademark moustache, glasses and cigar. We can't be sure that this cigar was Cuban.
John Kobal Foundation Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:09 pm

Cuban cigars are wrapped in mystique. Soon travelers will be able to bring back $100 worth of the famed cigars. Here are some facts you should know.

1. Cuban cigars are expensive, even in Cuba.

As NPR's Tom Gjelten tweeted, the new permission to bring back $100 worth of tobacco (or alcohol) allows you at the most four good cigars. Tom says he hasn't been back to Cuba for six years, but the last time he was there, a single Cohiba or Uppman "set you back at least $25."

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The Two-Way
12:28 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Boko Haram Suspected In New Round Of Killing And Kidnapping

Members of the Abuja "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group sit during a march in continuation of the Global October movement. Once again, Boko Haram militants are implicated in killings and mass kidnapping in northeastern Nigeria.
Afolabi Sotunde Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:14 pm

Islamist extremists are being blamed for an attack in northeastern Nigeria that killed at least 33 people and resulted in the kidnapping of more than 100 others.

The Associated Press quoted officials saying that the number of dead in the village of Gumsuri was 35 and that "at least 185" had been kidnapped. The BBC said 33 had been killed and at least 100 kidnapped.

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The Salt
12:09 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Tourtiere: A French-Canadian Twist On Christmas Pie

Tourtiere is a savory, spiced meat pie, which both French- and English-speaking Canadians love to serve around the holidays.
martiapunts iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:08 pm

A version of this story was originally published on Dec. 23, 2011.

If you happen to spend Christmas Eve in Canada — especially Quebec — you might be lucky enough to be invited to a festive dinner after midnight Mass. The feast is an old tradition from France called reveillon, and it's something to look forward to after a long day of fasting.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Pakistani Court Grants Bail To Suspect In Mumbai Attack

Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, seen here on June 28, 2008, was granted bail today by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan. India says he is one of the masterminds of the 2008 attack on Mumbai that killed more than 160 people.
Roshan Mughal AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:24 pm

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has granted bail to a man accused of masterminding the deadly 2008 attack on Mumbai, India.

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Mountain Stage
11:38 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Marti Jones On Mountain Stage

Marti Jones.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Marti Jones appears on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. A multi-talented artist with a multi-faceted career, Jones began playing in bands in her native Ohio before issuing several solo albums. She performs frequently with her husband, Don Dixon, but has occasionally taken breaks from music to pursue her other career as a visual artist.

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Thu December 18, 2014

India Tests Crew Capsule, New Heavy-Lift Rocket

India's test crew module floating in the Andaman Sea after splash down.
N. Balbantray Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:11 am

India took a giant leap forward toward its ambitious goal of sending humans into space, launching an unmanned crew capsule aboard a powerful new rocket.

The Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, launched the 630-ton rocket from its facility at Sriharikota on the country's southeast coast. It was the first flight test of an improved version of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, or GSLV rocket.

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Alt.Latino
11:01 am
Thu December 18, 2014

The Best Of 2014: Alt.Latino Listeners' Picks

In 2014, Alt.Latino listeners loved the L.A. band Chicano Batman.
Itzel Alejandra Martinez Courtesy of the artist

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Goats and Soda
10:50 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Death Comes In Many Different Ways. And Some Are A Bit Surprising

A vigil is held against violence in Cali, Colombia. The country has seen some 1,090 homicides this year.
Luis Robayo AFP/Getty Images

We're living longer.

And cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases aren't taking quite as much of a toll as they did a couple of decades ago.

But that doesn't mean we're immortal.

Road accidents, suicide, chronic kidney disease, alcohol-related diseases ... these are a few of topics to discuss after looking at a new country-by-country analysis of causes of death by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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Shots - Health News
10:50 am
Thu December 18, 2014

California Whooping Cough Infections Run High Among Latino Babies

Nurse Julietta Losoyo gives Derek Lucero a whooping cough vaccination at the San Diego Public Health Center on Dec. 10.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:22 am

California is battling the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years.

Nearly 10,000 cases have been reported in the state so far this year, and babies are especially prone to hospitalization or even death.

Six of 10 infants who have become ill during the current outbreak are Latino. There's no conclusive explanation, but there are a few theories that range from Latino cultural factors to a lack of health insurance.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Montana Man Found Guilty Of Killing German Exchange Student

Markus Kaarma waits to be dismissed during an afternoon break in Missoula County Court in Missoula, Mont., in this Dec. 5 photo. A jury found Kaarma guilty Wednesday of deliberate homicide in the shooting death of a German high school exchange student who entered his garage.
Arthur Mouratidis Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:37 am

A Montana man's shooting in April of a German exchange student was a test of the state's "castle doctrine," which says a man's home is his castle and can be defended as such. But on Wednesday, a jury convicted Markus Kaarma of deliberate homicide in the death of 17-year-old Diren Dede, who was in his garage.

As Montana Public Radio's Christopher Allen reports, "Kaarma's defense team argued deadly force was justified because he was defending his home. Prosecutors argued Kaarma, who had been previously burglarized, set a trap with intent to harm and committed deliberate homicide."

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Thu December 18, 2014

FIFA Begins Meeting After American Lawyer's Angry Resignation

Michael J. Garcia, head of FIFA's investigatory chamber of the ethics committee, resigned Wednesday in protest.
Walter Bieri EPA /LANDOV

Soccer's governing body is meeting Thursday in Morocco, a day after the American lawyer, who spent two years investigating allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the World Cup, quit in protest at how FIFA handled his report.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Book News: The Future Of The Public Library May Lie In The Coffee Shop

Get your sci-fi with a side of cappuccino.
e_rasmus iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:27 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing and the occasional author behaving badly.

For a public library to expect to survive today, it must begin to take crucial cues from coffee shops. At least, that's the key recommendation offered by a much-anticipated report on British public libraries, which is set to be released Thursday.

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Shots - Health News
9:44 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Is Your State Ready For The Next Infectious Outbreak? Probably Not

Alyson Hurt/NPR

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:47 am

Ebola may have slid off the nation's worry list, but that doesn't mean the United States is ready to handle an outbreak of Ebola or another infectious disease, an analysis says. That includes naturally occurring outbreaks like dengue fever, tuberculosis and measles, as well as the use of bioterrorism agents like anthrax.

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Thu December 18, 2014

2014 Saw Fewest Executions In 20 Years, Report Finds

The gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is pictured in McAlester, Okla., in 2008.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:20 pm

There was a significant drop in the number of executions and death penalty sentences in 2014, a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center finds.

The group's year-end accounting finds that:

-- States conducted 35 executions in 2014 — the lowest since 1994.

-- And the justice system sentenced 72 people to death — the lowest number in 40 years.

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The Two-Way
9:17 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Putin: Sanctions, Falling Oil Prices Causing Ruble's Tumble

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, where he blamed Western sanctions and falling oil prices on his country's economic troubles.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:02 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at the West in a year-end news conference today, blaming international sanctions and a steep plunge in oil prices for the precipitous drop in the value of the ruble.

Putin, speaking during a more than three-hour news conference attended by some 1,200 journalists, "promised never to let the West chain or defang his proud nation," according to The Associated Press.

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Extras: TED Radio Hour
9:03 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Playlist: Inspiring Stories You'll Want To Share

You'll want to send these TED Radio Hour stories to everyone you know.
A.J. Rich iStock

This playlist includes some blockbuster TED talks that have already inspired millions. These stories about growing up, shaping identity, and finding courage will have you forwarding them to family and friends.

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

Shots - Health News
8:47 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Worries About Unusual Botulinum Toxin Prove Unfounded

A culture of Clostridium botulinum, stained with gentian violet.
CDC

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 9:31 am

Remember that worrisome new form of botulinum toxin we told you about in late 2013, the one that supposedly had to be kept secret out of fear it could be used as a bioweapon that would evade all of our medical defenses?

Well, as it turns out, it's not that scary after all. The antitoxin stored in the government's emergency stockpile works and would neutralize the toxin just fine.

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Goats and Soda
8:40 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Pakistan Keeps On Vaccinating Despite Tough Terrain And Terror Threat

A Pakistani health worker administers a polio vaccine to a child during a campaign in the northern city of Rawalpindi.
FAROOQ NAEEM AFP/Getty Images

Between the rugged terrain and the constant terrorist threats, vaccinating Pakistani children against common diseases hasn't been easy. Mountains make it hard — at times even impossible — for vaccinators to reach people in the north. In the south, health workers have to use four-wheelers and camels to travel through Pakistan's harsh deserts.

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Ask Me Another
8:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Blaze Of Gloria

We've rewritten the lyrics of the beloved Christmas carol "Angels We Have Heard on High" to be about things that begin with the "glo-" sound of its famous refrain: "Gloooooooooria [in excelsis Deo]."

Heard in Holiday Spectacular 2014

Ask Me Another
8:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Season's Eatings

Ideal size for your Christmas ham.
Sylvie Rosokoff NPR

When you're the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit Magazine, people tend to expect a lot from your holiday cuisine.

"That's why we just give them ham," says the editor himself, Adam Rapoport. "Everybody loves ham. Especially us Jews. Give them a big, glistening, baked, bone-in ham with Martin's potato rolls and a big bowl of punch."

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Ask Me Another
8:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

'Tis The Season For Corny Movies

Nothing says "cheer" like a cheesy made-for-TV holiday movie. Can you tease out the real ones from the fake when it comes to The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation or Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever?

Heard in Holiday Spectacular 2014

Ask Me Another
8:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Schaaps' Family Feud

A little friendly family competition between Rosie (R) and Jeremy Schaap.
Sylvie Rosokoff NPR

When the holiday season rolls around and families convene, board games are pulled out of storage...and then the gloves come off. In the spirit of friendly, familial competition, we welcomed back to Ask Me Another former VIPs Rosie Schaap and Jeremy Schaap, who also happen to be siblings.

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Ask Me Another
8:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Reindeer Games

If you spell "reindeer" by combining precipitation ("rain") and a loved one ("dear"), then you think in homophones. In this round, we give clues to two words whose homophones form a new word or phrase.

Heard in Holiday Spectacular 2014

Ask Me Another
8:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Chappy Cholidays

All answers in this round start with the letter "h", but we want you to pronounce them with that back-of-the-throat "ch" sound, in honor of the "ch" in "Chanukah." Have a lozenge or two ready.

Heard in Holiday Spectacular 2014

Ask Me Another
8:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

All I Don't Want For Christmas

All they want for Christmas is for you to sing along.
Sylvie Rosokoff NPR

Warm up your vocal chords and join in singing some holiday tunes with the songwriting duo from Disney's Frozen, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The Oscar-winning husband-and-wife musical team has written some of the all-time catchiest tunes about winter, and on a previous episode of Ask Me Another, graciously lent their voices to a rewritten version of "Let It Go."

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Ask Me Another
8:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Ho Ho Ho

In this final round, every correct answer will start with a jolly "Ho!" sound. Which goalkeeper has won two Olympic medals with the U.S. women's soccer team? That would be Ho Ho Hope Solo!

Heard in Holiday Spectacular 2014

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

NPR's Holiday Favorites
8:33 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Tinsel Tales 3: NPR Christmas Stories

Andrew Malone Flickr

In keeping with a well-loved NPR holiday tradition, Lynn Neary hosts a collection of extraordinary Christmas stories that will transport you to unexpected places.

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Monkey See
6:54 am
Thu December 18, 2014

The Many Rabbit Holes (Or Should We Say Labyrinths) Of 'Serial'

Sarah Koenig and producer Dana Chivvis in the studio.
Elise Bergerson Serial

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:56 pm

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