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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Sat December 20, 2014

4 Gitmo Prisoners Released For Return To Afghanistan

The entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, in a photograph taken earlier this year.
Ben Fox AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:52 am

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The United States has released four Afghan detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who were returned to Afghanistan — the latest in a series of releases of inmates in recent weeks.

Reuters says: "The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009, a U.S. official said."

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Russia Says It Won't 'Cave In' To New Western Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in front of the map of the Russian Federation, with Crimea on the left of the map, during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. The Kremlin has responded angrily to the latest round of U.S.-EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.
Alexei Druzhinin AP

Russia, battered by the falling price of oil, its chief export, and a tumbling ruble, lashed out against the U.S. and EU for new sanctions that President Vladimir Putin says already account for "25 to 30 percent" of his country's eroding currency.

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Animals
8:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:54 am

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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Michel Martin, Going There
8:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

'Going There' in 2014

Ferguson resident Frankie Edwards shows a rubber bullet wound he suffered during one of the nights of protests to NPR's Michel Martin (right) and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles (second from right) during the community conversation at Wellspring Church.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

We've been privileged in these last few months to share the stories of many Americans, some of them famous, but most of them not. We came together through some avenues we know well — books, music and theater. Sometimes, we found each other through pathways that have only recently become a big part of our lives, such as the #BeyondFerguson hashtag that brought so many young people to an August community meeting in that city. Our New Year's Resolution is to keep these honest and vital conversations going. We are going there.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Sat December 20, 2014

North Korea Has An Interesting Offer. And Another Threat

A banner for The Interview is posted outside Arclight Cinemas, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Wednesday. The theatrical release of the film has been cancelled following cyber attacks and threats believed to originate in North Korea.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 8:18 am

North Korea, which denies that it had anything to do with a hack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, now wants to help the U.S. root out the real culprit. But true to form for Pyongyang, the dubious offer comes tinged with a threat of "serious" consequences should Washington decline.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Twelve Weeks To A Six-Figure Job

A student at the coder boot camp at General Assembly in New York City learns more than "Hello, world."
Courtesy of General Assembly

Marlon Frausto is in pursuit of the new American dream. Just a few weeks ago he left his job, in Hispanic marketing for the legal industry, and moved to San Francisco.

Every day he wakes at 5:30 a.m., commutes 45 minutes by train, and studies until 9 or 10 at night. He's spending down his savings and says he's getting help from "my loving family."

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Sports
6:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

What A Thaw In Cuba Relations Means For Baseball

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

NPR Story
6:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Cubans Blame Their Woes On The U.S. Embargo

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

Remembrances
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Bridwell Created A Big Red Dog That Grew With Readers' Love

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Fine Art
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Turner Was A Brute, But He Painted With Romantic Radiance

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Music Interviews
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Wexford Carols Brings Irish Holiday Relics To Life

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Europe
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Suddenly, Russia Is Confident No Longer

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

U.S.
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Obama Wraps Up A 'Breakthrough' 2014

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Africa
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Excavation Reveals Regular Citizens Who Really Ran Ancient Egypt

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Africa
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Designing State Symbols For The World's Newest Country

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Science
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

3-D Scanning Sonar Brings Light To Deep Ocean Shipwrecks

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Asia
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Obama: Sony Should Have Talked To Him Before Pulling 'The Interview'

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Middle East
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Youth Who Led Tunisia's Uprising Find Themselves Sidelined

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:53 am

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

Iraq
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Kurdish Troops Free Yazidis, But Major Battles Remain

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Latin America
6:35 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Author: Cuban Dissidents Feel Betrayed By Obama's Action

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:47 am

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

Goats and Soda
6:03 am
Sat December 20, 2014

The Africa I Know Isn't The Africa In The Headlines Today

Todd Moss on a 1992 visit to Tanzania.
Courtesy of Todd Moss

Stepping off the plane in Zimbabwe a quarter century ago was a huge shock. A college student on my very first visit to Africa, I was surprised how familiar everything felt.

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The Salt
4:17 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Antarctic Holiday: A Christmas Feast In The Loneliest Spot On Earth

The author, Dr. Gavin Francis, arrived at Halley base on Christmas Eve 2002, at the height of the Antarctic midsummer, when 24-hour sunlight illuminates the vast swathes of empty ice.
Courtesy of Gavin Francis

It was Christmas Eve 2002, at the height of midsummer, when I arrived to take up a year-long job as doctor at Halley base – the most remote research station operated by the British in Antarctica.

As we cruised up to the Caird Coast of Antarctica, a crowd of us stood out on the deck of the supply ship RRS Ernest Shackleton, singing Christmas carols in the 24-hour sunlight, wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers.

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Latin America
5:58 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Restoring Diplomatic Relations With Cuba Is A Complicated Process

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:37 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

CEO Says Sony Pictures 'Did Not Capitulate,' Is Exploring Options

Responding to criticism over the handling of The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says his studio "very much wanted to keep the picture in release."
DAVID MCNEW Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:33 pm

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.

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This Week's Must Read
5:33 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

'Rum, Rumba, And Romance': A Book On Cuba's Enduring Mystique

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:15 pm

Cuba is dominating the news, following President Obama's announcement that he will begin to normalize relations with the island nation.

For our series This Week's Must-Read, poet and Cuban-American writer Richard Blanco turns to literature for another perspective on this story.

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Law
5:06 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Troubled By Grand Jury Verdicts, Students Request More Time For Exams

Thousands gathered on the National Mall last week to protest the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Some law students say their involvement in the protests means their exams should be postponed.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:50 pm

"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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The Two-Way
4:31 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama Says 'James Flacco.' The Internet Says, Thank You

Actor James Franco (left), seen here with The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, was called "James Flacco" by President Obama Friday. Afterward, the jokes poured in.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:49 pm

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama meant to talk about James Franco and instead said "James Flacco" — on a Friday marking the full-on start of the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received by people on Twitter and elsewhere.

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Latin America
4:12 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Cubans Eager For More Economic Investment

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:58 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Global Health
4:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

CDC Head: Key Interventions Have Slowed Ebola's Spread

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:58 pm

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

Transcript

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NPR Ed
4:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

The Fate Of The Administration's College Ratings

Rating colleges isn't easy.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 1:21 am

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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