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The Two-Way
2:16 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Winter Storm Brings Misery, Rare Snow To Mideast

Palestinians build a snowman in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.
Issam Rimawi APA /Landov

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 11:32 am

An early winter storm in the Mideast has blown down tents in Syrian refugee camps and flooded parts of the Gaza Strip. It has also given Jerusalem its heaviest snowfall in 50 years, and Cairo its first snow in decades.

The storm dubbed Alexa was "pushing temperatures below zero in mountainous areas and dumping snow and heavy rains. The snow has heaped another layer of misery on the already grim existence of many of the ... Syrians who have fled the civil war raging in their homeland," according to The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Steubenville Officials Plead Not Guilty In Rape Case

Four adults, including the city's schools superintendent, pleaded not guilty on Friday to several charges stemming from the aftermath of the notorious rape 2012 rape of a teenage girl by high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

Steubenville's WTOV-TV reports that:

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Shots - Health News
1:07 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Nasty Fever Called Chikungunya Hits Close To Home

The chikunguyna virus was discovered in 1955 by two scientists in Tanzania.
EMDataBank using UCSF Chimera

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:46 pm

Well, look what showed up on our doorstep.

The Western Hemisphere has an unwelcome visitor: a painful tropical illness called chikungunya fever.

And it doesn't look like the hard-to-say illness is leaving anytime soon. (You can hear how to pronounce it here.)

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:16 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Do Men And Women Have Different Brains?

iStockphoto

A sharp and well-reasoned letter in The Guardian a few days ago by University of Cambridge philosophers Rae Langton and John Dupre makes a much needed observation: If there are behavioral or cognitive or mental differences between men and women, you would expect these to reveal themselves in neural differences.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

For Burial, Mandela Will Return To His Beloved Boyhood Village

A mother and her son stand in their garden behind a fence at the perimeter of Nelson Mandela's property in Qunu, South Africa, as funeral preparations continue Friday. Mandela will be buried Sunday in the small, rural village that was his boyhood home.
Yannis Behrakis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:29 pm

Some African leaders have lavished resources on their home villages, building palaces and outsize monuments to themselves that look entirely out of place in the poor and remote spots they came from.

Nelson Mandela adamantly rejected such extravagance, and the world will see for itself when he's buried Sunday in Qunu, a simple village set amid the lush green hills in the southeastern corner of the country. It's little changed from the days when Mandela ran barefoot in the fields and herded sheep and calves as a boy nearly a century ago.

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The Two-Way
10:32 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Report: Mandela Interpreter Was Once Charged With Murder

Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose appearance at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela angered many in South Africa's deaf community and has led to an apology from the government. His sign language interpretation was just meaningless gestures, say those who understand that language.
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:16 pm

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Previously Charged With Murder?

"The South African government said Friday it is aware of reports that the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial once faced a murder charge, and said he is being investigated," The Associated Press reports from Johannesburg.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:26 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Congratulations, Tania Lombrozo!

Kudos to our fellow blogger Tania Lombrozo! Her Boston Review article on science and religion has been selected, by that publication, as one of its best for 2013.

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The Salt
10:08 am
Fri December 13, 2013

How Plastic In The Ocean Is Contaminating Your Seafood

"A lot of people are eating seafood all the time, and fish are eating plastic all the time, so I think that's a problem," says a marine toxicologist.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:38 am

We've long known that the fish we eat are exposed to toxic chemicals in the rivers, bays and oceans they inhabit. The substance that's gotten the most attention — because it has shown up at disturbingly high levels in some fish — is mercury.

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Monkey See
9:44 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Frozen' Princesses And Character Deaths

NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:06 pm

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First of all: WOW. We did our live show at NPR HQ this week, and it was wonderful, and all of you who attended made a fantastic audience. You'll be hearing the live show in two segments over the holidays while we take a rest, but in the meantime, we've got a brand-new show to roll out.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Was North Korea's No. 2 Killed For Not Clapping Hard Enough?

Jang Song Thaek, who was North Korea's second-most powerful official, was put to death this week.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:36 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Frank Langfitt talks about a high-profile execution in North Korea

As outsiders try to figure out why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed this week, they're focusing on a couple things. According to NPR's Frank Langfitt:

-- There seems have been "a lot of genuine personal dislike" between Kim and Jang Song Thaek, the uncle and until this week North Korea's second most powerful man.

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Monkey See
8:43 am
Fri December 13, 2013

First Novels: Acquiring Minds

iStockphoto

The first in my series of posts on The First Novel Experience was called "The Romance of Agents." A couple of people wrote me after it was posted and asked if I was going to include in this series any stories of any writers who'd had a bad time with their books. I thought about it and decided no – at least not yet.

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The Two-Way
7:24 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Book News: Publisher's Charity To Pay $7.7 Million Settlement In For-Profit Case

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman holds a November news conference on a settlement deal with JPMorgan Chase.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:13 am

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

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The Salt
4:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

USDA Steps Up The Fight To Save Florida's Oranges

Oranges ripen in a Plant City, Fla., grove on Wednesday. Growers in Florida, Texas and California are worried about citrus greening, a disease that makes the fruit bitter and unmarketable.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 7:52 am

The citrus industry is facing a crisis. It's called citrus greening — a disease that has devastated orange production in Florida since it first showed up eight years ago. Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a new effort to try to control the disease before it destroys the nation's citrus industry.

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Shots - Health News
4:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Promises To Fix Mental Health System Still Unfulfilled

Rheanna Kathleen Morris hugs her mom, Peggy Sinclair-Morris.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:23 am

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one year ago sparked a national conversation about the country's troubled mental health system. Politicians convened task forces and promised additional funding and new laws. But today, despite those promises, patients and advocates say treatment for mental health is still in shambles.

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