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NPR News

No Fracking In New York? That's OK With Pennsylvania

28 minutes ago

Pennsylvania's fracking boom has led to record-breaking natural gas production, but its neighbor, New York, announced Wednesday it was banning the practice. Industry and environmental groups say New York's decision could be good for Pennsylvania.

New York's ban comes six years after the state placed a temporary moratorium on fracking in order to study the gas drilling technique. Now, officials question fracking's economic benefits and cite environmental risks.

It took a few hours for some Cubans to realize the magnitude of President Obama's announcement on Wednesday about changes in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, according to Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez.

It's hard to believe that not only was there no Serial six months ago, there was no Serial three months ago. The hugely popular podcast, a spinoff production of This American Life, didn't even premiere until early October, but since then, it has made its way with great speed into worlds from Sesame Street to Funny Or Die.

The Secret Service must both change the way it trains agents and hire more of them, according to a panel that reviewed the agency that has endured a string of embarrassing lapses in recent months. The panel says its suggestions are "a roadmap for reform" under a new director.

Some of those suggestions are inherently practical – such as one that states "the fence around the White House needs to be changed as soon as possible to provide better protection."

The Justice Department is broadening a civil rights law to include protections for transgender workers, a reversal from how the Bush administration interpreted the measure.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the law, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, will now ensure that workers who sue over discrimination in the workplace will get fair and consistent treatment.

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

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

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

L.L. Bean's iconic rubber and leather boots — long worn by practical and preppie New Englanders — have swung back into fashion with young people and are more popular than ever.

The recent surge in demand has the company scrambling to fill orders, upgrading its manufacturing equipment and adding a third shift at its Maine boot factories.

The White House today said it "wouldn't rule out a visit from President Raul Castro" to Washington, a day after President Obama announced the U.S. and Cuba would begin talks to normalize relations and open embassies following more than five decades of hostility.

Northwest farmers and orchardists are among the potential beneficiaries if the U.S. and Cuba normalize their relationship and the trade embargo ends.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Thursday, "it is time to reinvest in Washington." He proposed that the state adopt a new capital-gains tax to help fund a $39 billion two-year budget that would prioritize education, union-negotiated pay raises for state employees, and avoid what the Democratic governor calls “devastating” cuts to corrections, higher education and social services.

Native-born Americans are making up a smaller percentage of those living in some areas of the U.S. as immigration moves to become the key factor in population growth within the next quarter-century, according to a new analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts that examined county-level census data.

Latin American governments have long viewed Cuba as the region's David facing off against the Goliath of the United States. So from Mexico to Argentina, leaders are endorsing Wednesday's announcement that the two nations intend to normalize relations.

But this could prove awkward for Venezuela, which has been Cuba's closest ally and a fierce critic of Washington.

In public, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is praising the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba.

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