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1:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Skier Vies For A Spot On Team USA After Breaking Both Legs

Alice McKennis speeds down the course during the women's downhill at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, in February.
Alessandro Trovati AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 5:43 pm

On a cold, cloudy day in Colorado, ski racer Alice McKennis suits up. She buckles her boots, puts on a back protector and dons a tightfitting speed suit.

She's training at the U.S. Ski Team's Speed Center at Copper Mountain near Vail, Colo. — and how she got here is exceptional.

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The Salt
1:16 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions

After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.

Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.

In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Obama Administration Moves To Alter Gun-Buying Rules

President Obama speaks in April after the Senate rejected a bill that would expand background checks on guns. The White House is seeking to clarify rules that bar firearm possession due to mental health problems.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 3:58 pm

Federal agencies are proposing new rules for handling gun buyers' background checks, in changes the Obama administration says will "keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands." The changes include a clarification of rules barring firearm possession due to mental health problems.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Composer Caroline Shaw Nominated For Grammy

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:30 pm

Violinist, singer and composer Caroline Shaw is the youngest person ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for music.

Her voice bending piece “Partita For 8 Voices” captured the attention of the Pulitzer judges this spring.

And she has been nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category, also for “Partita For 8 Voices.”

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

New Mayor Vows To Outlaw A Central Park Tradition

A horse-drawn carriage is seen near Central Park January 2, 2014 in New York. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced he would like the city council to outlaw the horse-drawn carriages and have them replaced by electric antique cars. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:30 pm

The horse drawn carriages are a staple in New York’s Central Park and an almost mandatory destination for the hoards of tourists that visit the city each year.

They have been around for more than 150 years–ever since Central Park first opened in 1858.

But this year, New York’s new mayor Bill DeBlasio is vowing to do away with Central Park’s horse drawn carriages.

He says that the practice is cruel and essentially amounts to animal abuse.

DeBlasio says doing away with this NY tradition will be one of the first changes he makes in office.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Snowy Owls Head South In Biggest Numbers In 50 Years

Perched upon a car tire in a clam flat at Long Wharf in New Haven on December 15, 2013, a young male Snowy Owl scans its surroundings. In the background is Five Mile Point light in New Haven harbor. (Matt Messina/WNPR)

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:30 pm

Birders in the Northeast are enjoying a rare spectacle this winter: sightings of the snowy owl.

Low supplies of food in the birds’ usual habitat — the Arctic — have sent some snowy owls south in search of prey, and they are sparking the imaginations of those who get a glimpse of the rare bird.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Patrick Skahill of WNPR went searching for snowy owls along the Connecticut coast.

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Code Switch
12:15 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

2014: The Year We Weren't Shocked That People Of Color Watch Films?

The latest installment of Paranormal Activity has Latino themes and a Latino cast.
Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 5:27 pm

One of the stories of 2013 was that every time a movie with people of color in prominent roles got giant ratings, people were shocked. You could almost set your watch to this phenomenon, which Linda Holmes once memorably described as "fluke-ifying."

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It's All Politics
12:02 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Clay Aiken's Political Reality: Results Mixed For Stars Like Him

Clay Aiken performs a special one night only concert at the Progress Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, N.C., in March 2010.
Jim R. Bounds AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 12:19 pm

Reality television star Clay Aiken set the political class chattering Friday with rumors that he may run for Congress.

Frozen in time as the elfin man-child of American Idol fame, the runner-up from a decade ago is reportedly considering running as a Democrat in his home state of North Carolina.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Couples Urge Sotomayor To Deny Utah's Bid To Block Gay Marriage

Attorneys for same-sex couples say Utah officials who want to block gay marriages "cannot meet their burden" of showing either an error by a lower court or serious damage if the ceremonies continue, according to papers filed with the Supreme Court Friday. The filing urges the court to deny a request to halt the unions in Utah.

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Book Reviews
11:40 am
Fri January 3, 2014

A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers

nito100 iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:19 pm

It's the quintessential "dog bites man" story. I'm talking about a new book I just read about a group of famous writers who — get this -- drank too much! I know, right? That's pretty much the equivalent of saying I just read a book about a group of famous writers who used commas in their sentences.

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The Two-Way
11:32 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Everyone Poops, But Dogs Do It With Magnetism

Can a pup get a little privacy, please?
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 5:10 am

Dog owners have all been there when walking their canine companions.

Fido sniffs the ground and maybe turns around a few times. He searches. "No, not that patch," he seems to say. "Maybe this one. ... Or over here. ... Umm, maybe not."

Then, finally, he gets into position to ... well, let's just say leave that deposit that you'll have to pick up.

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It's All Politics
10:22 am
Fri January 3, 2014

7 Political Dates To Watch In 2014

Vice President Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio applaud President Obama as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Feb. 12, 2013.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 3:01 pm

With November midterm elections looming, 2014 promises much more political catnip than 2013.

It's a year with a full roster of House, Senate and gubernatorial races, but 2014 is also likely to prove to be another critical period for the Affordable Care Act as an important deadline comes early and the Supreme Court takes up another aspect of the health law.

Here are some of the most important dates to watch:

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Did Kim Jong Un Feed His Uncle To 120 Dogs? Be Skeptical

Before their split: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, in February 2012. Earlier this month, Jang was executed.
Kyodo/Landov

If you've done much Web surfing today you've probably come across a headline such as this one from NBC News:

"Kim Jong Un's executed uncle was eaten alive by 120 hungry dogs: report."

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Shots - Health News
9:52 am
Fri January 3, 2014

5 Things That Could Alter The Perception Of Obamacare

Maria Webster joins others protesting Texas Gov. Rick Perry's stance against the Affordable Care Act in early 2013.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:06 am

Nearly four years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, most of its major provisions are now in effect. And they appear to be as controversial as ever.

To help make sense of the partisan arguments, here are five things that are likely to be important measuring sticks of the law in 2014 and beyond.

1. How many people sign up for coverage in the insurance marketplaces and how many of them are in good health.

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The Two-Way
9:46 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Ford Tops Resurgent U.S. Car Industry, 2013 Sales Results Show

Ford says it sold the most F-series trucks since 2006. Here, a 2014 F-150 goes through quality control on the assembly line at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 10:58 am

Ford and GM are calling 2013 the best year for U.S. auto sales in at least five years. On Friday, they reported double-digit annual gains, while Chrysler reported an increase of 9 percent for its strongest year since 2007.

The new sales figures reflect a continuing turnaround from the struggles that led to a federal bailout in recent years. Here are highlights from each company's report:

Ford

  • Retail sales were up 14 percent in 2013, as Ford sold 2,493,918 vehicles.
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