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8:55am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

FIFA Begins Meeting After American Lawyer's Angry Resignation

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 9:22 am

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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8:44am

Thu December 18, 2014
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:12 pm

Alyson Hurt/NPR

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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8:25am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

2014 Saw Fewest Executions In 20 Years, Report Finds

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:20 am

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

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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8:17am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:32 pm

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

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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7:47am

Thu December 18, 2014
Shots - Health News

Worries About Unusual Botulinum Toxin Prove Unfounded

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:12 pm

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

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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7:40am

Thu December 18, 2014
Goats and Soda

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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5:54am

Thu December 18, 2014
Monkey See

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

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:01 pm

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

5:35am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

New Era For Cuba? Voices From Miami And Havana

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:22 am

Anti-Castro protester Lazaro Lozano (left) argues with an unidentified pro-Obama supporter in the Little Havana area of Miami on Wednesday.
Alan Diaz AP

Just hours after the United States and Cuba announced they were moving toward normalizing relations, crowds gathered in Havana and Miami trying to come to grips with a historic shift.

NPR covered the reaction in those two places with two pieces on Morning Edition.

NPR's Greg Allen reported from Miami:

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5:24am

Thu December 18, 2014
Afghanistan

Fight Against Corruption In Afghanistan Press On

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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5:24am

Thu December 18, 2014
Around the Nation

Santa Pays An Early Visit To Cape Cod Eateries

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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5:24am

Thu December 18, 2014
World

Correct Name Gets Canadian Woman A Free European Trip

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

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3:11am

Thu December 18, 2014
NPR Story

Citing Health, Environment Concerns, New York Moves To Ban Fracking

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The state of New York has banned fracking. After six years of study, the state says there are too many health and environmental questions involved in the controversial drilling method. NPR's Jeff Brady reports.

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3:11am

Thu December 18, 2014
NPR Story

Rapprochement With Cuba: What It Includes And Excludes

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, that report came to us from NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, and she's on the line with us still this morning. Hi, Lourdes.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Hi.

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3:11am

Thu December 18, 2014
NPR Story

S.C. Judge Rules 1944 Execution Of 14-Year-Old Boy Was Wrong

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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3:11am

Thu December 18, 2014
NPR Story

Rep. Sires Pushes Back Against Obama's Cuba Plans

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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1:46am

Thu December 18, 2014
All Tech Considered

With Sony Hack, Nation-State Attacks Go From Quiet To Overt

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:33 pm

NPR has confirmed from U.S. intelligence officials that North Korea was centrally involved with the recent attacks against Sony Pictures. And the company says it is pulling its comedy film The Interview from the box office. It was supposed to debut on Christmas. These are major developments in what we may now call cyberwarfare.

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1:36am

Thu December 18, 2014
Science

Arctic Is Warming Twice As Fast As World Average

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:36 am

A lone polar bear poses on a block of arctic sea ice in Russia's Franz Josef Land.
iStockphoto

The latest word from scientists studying the Arctic is that the polar region is warming twice as fast as the average rise on the rest of the planet. And researchers say the trend isn't letting up. That's the latest from the 2014 Arctic Report Card — a compilation of recent research from more than 60 scientists in 13 countries. The report was released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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1:31am

Thu December 18, 2014
Parallels

At An Isolated Camp, Iraqi Police Prep For A Showdown With ISIS

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

More than 4,000 officers of the Nineveh province security force are based in an isolated training camp in northern Iraq. Their aim is retaking ISIS-controlled Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.
Deborah Amos NPR

When Mohammed Taha Yaseen recalls the day that Islamic militants swept through Iraq's northern city of Mosul this past summer, he chokes up.

"The army ran away," he says, and pauses to gain control of his voice. "We didn't run — the police stayed and fought ISIS."

Yaseen, an officer in the Mosul police force, tells his story at an isolated training camp in northern Iraq, less than 20 miles from the front lines with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State.

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1:27am

Thu December 18, 2014
Television

Boundary-Pushing Late Night Hosts Move On — Colbert Up, Ferguson Out

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:32 pm

Craig Ferguson hosts The Late Late Show in 2011.
Sonja Flemming AP

1:23am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Supreme Court Refuses To Block Arizona Driver's Licenses For 'Dreamers'

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 8:33 am

The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., voted against Arizona's appeal, which would have allowed a state ban on driver's licenses for young undocumented immigrants.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Arizona hoped an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court would prevent the state from having to grant driving permits to young undocumented immigrants, also known as "dreamers," who entered the country as children. A federal appeals court ruled in July of this year that Arizona must start issuing the licenses to dreamers, who under Obama administration policy are permitted to remain in the United States.

NPR's Nina Totenberg reported on the Supreme Court's Wednesday decision and the background of the legal dispute:

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