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This year marks 25 years of the original Ice Hotel, carved from snow and ice bricks in far northern Sweden. This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 29, 2015.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Every Saturday just before our show begins I get on the public address system here to announce to our crew, "It's a beautiful day for a radio show. Let's do two today!"

It's an admiring imitation of Ernie Banks, the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame baseball player who died last night at the age of 83. Ernie used to say, especially in the long years of hot summers — including this last one, when the Cubs were stuck in last place — "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let's play two today!"

In the State of the Union this week, President Obama noted that crime in America is down. "For the first time in 40 years," he said, "the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together."

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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New rules that went into effect on Friday mark the biggest change in U.S. relations with Cuba in more than 50 years.

While tourism remains off-limits, the Obama administration opened new opportunities in Cuba for banks, airlines, telecommunications companies and regular Americans.

For the first time in decades, under the new rules, Americans who don't have family on the island can travel to Cuba without receiving special permission from the U.S. government.

No Tourists Allowed — Yet

"The right actors win Oscars, but for the wrong roles," Katharine Hepburn once said.

The Motion Picture Academy has a history of rewarding stars for less-than-celestial performances, and this week's Oscar nomination announcements left a lot of people scratching their heads — over the snubs for Selma, for example, and the nomination of Robert Duvall for best supporting actor in The Judge.

"I think most people hadn't even heard of The Judge before that nomination," says Alyssa Rosenberg, culture columnist for The Washington Post.

Americans increasingly see decently fast Internet as more like a functioning sewer line than a luxury.

And a number of cities are trying to get into the Internet provider business, but laws in 19 states hamper those efforts. President Obama announced this week that he wants to lift those restrictions, and supporters of what is known as municipal broadband can't wait.

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The U.S. economy saw the strongest job growth last year since 1999, according to statistics released Friday by the Department of Labor. The country gained another 252,000 jobs in December.

That's the good news — but this jobs report also dashed some hopes for fatter paychecks. Employers are hiring more people, but overall, the wages they're paying remain flat.

A month ago, it seemed wages were starting to pick up — but those November numbers were revised lower. In December, wages actually fell slightly.

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Satire is a tricky business. The punch lines quickly get stale. The same people who laugh at one joke can get offended by the next.

But this week, with the targeted killings of the cartoon satirists of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, we were reminded how dangerous people with no sense of humor can be.

The Onion ran a headline: "It is Sadly Unclear Whether This Article Will Put Lives At Risk."

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SpaceX's unmanned mission this morning both succeeded and struck out. It launched on schedule from Cape Canaveral at 4:47 a.m. on a mission to send cargo to the International Space Station.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Before and during World War II, the Nazis seized up to 600,000 works of art from all across Europe. This has created a long-running drama that is still playing out from movie studios in Hollywood to museums in Israel.

If you saw last year's movie The Monuments Men, starring George Clooney, then you know the story line. Toward the end of the war, American and Allied forces sent teams on a treasure hunt through Europe.

Amid all the holiday celebrations, you may have missed this story from overseas.

An Egyptian court announced a retrial for three journalists from Al Jazeera who have been languishing in jail for more than a year for the crime of reporting the news. The scheduled retrial is a small step in the right direction for a nation that has seen its historic revolution of just four years ago almost totally reversed.

The state of race relations in the United States has captivated the country for months. But a group of Northeastern University law students is looking to the past to a sometimes forgotten, violent part of American history.

This is part of a series of stories about starting over, profiling people who, by choice or circumstance, reinvented or transformed themselves.

Faith Whitmore was ordained as a pastor 30 years ago, drawn by a deep sense of God and spirit within her. She worked at churches throughout the Sacramento, Calif., region, eventually becoming senior pastor at one of the largest United Methodist congregations.

It was like running a small business, she says.

On Friday afternoons, several dozen people line up in the narrow hallway of Prevention Point Philadelphia. The men and women, all ages, hold paper and plastic bags full of used syringes.

"We obviously have a space challenge, but people come in, they drop off their used syringes and they ask for what they need," says Silvana Mazzella, the director of programs at the service center for injection drug users.

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You probably won't realize that you recognize Christine Cavanaugh until you hear her. The actress gave voice to popular cartoon and film characters throughout the 1990s, and last month, she passed away. NPR's Jasmine Garsd has this remembrance.

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Over the past few weeks, thousands of people have protested after grand juries failed to indict police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. What they wanted was to have the officers tried in an open court before a jury of their peers. But the notion of a jury of your peers isn't so straightforward.

Take, for example, 21-year-old Roderick Giles' experience. When he got a jury summons in the mail, he reacted the way a lot of people do.

"I did not want to go to jury duty," he says. "That was the last thing on my mind to do."

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