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The Two-Way
1:45 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Senate OKs Judicial Nominees, Tax Extensions Before Republican Takeover

Senator Harry Reid of Nev. on Tuesday, walks to one of his final meetings as the Senate Majority Leader. In January, Republicans take over the majority.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:27 am

In what The Associated Press called a "final flurry of accomplishment" Tuesday night, lawmakers were able to push through a bill that extended a package of tax breaks, which had expired at the end of 2013, and confirmed 12 more judicial nominees. NPR's Ailsa Chang reported the confirmations also marked a big accomplishment for the Obama administration.

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Around the Nation
6:16 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

On Nebraska's Farmland, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

Susan and Bill Dunavan own 80 acres of land in York County.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska's York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you'll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it's a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline — a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

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The Salt
5:20 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Japan's Beloved Christmas Cake Isn't About Christmas At All

A woman prepares a Japanese Christmas cake at the Patisserie Akira Cake shop on Dec. 23, 2011. The sponge cake is drenched in symbolic meaning.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:15 pm

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The Salt
5:18 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

The 12 Days Of Quirky Christmas Foods Around The Globe

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:07 am

Wherever people celebrate Christmas around the world, they feast. It may be as simple as a bowl of porridge, but food rituals to mark the day as separate and special from all other days are practically universal. So often eating the food associated with this holy day helps families pause for a moment to remember who they are, and where they came from.

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The Two-Way
5:17 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Theater Cancels New York Premiere of 'The Interview'

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:43 am

Updated at 2:10am ET

A source close to Sony Pictures confirms to NPR that the New York premiere of The Interview scheduled for Thursday has been canceled by the theater that was to host the screening.

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Environment
5:02 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

In California, Fire Plus Drought Plus Rain Add Up To Mud

The King Fire burned 100,000 acres in the Eldorado National Forest in Northern California — 50,000 of those acres in one day. Now the danger is mudslides.
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

An hour east of Sacramento, Calif., trucks carrying burned timber from the Eldorado National Forest roar down the canyon as chain saws buzz in the distance.

But U.S. Forest Service ecologist Becky Estes says besides humans, not much else in this forest seems alive.

"We're standing in an area that ... is going to be probably 100 percent mortality of the trees," Estes says.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Google News Is Taken Offline In Spain, After A Call For Payments

Reacting to a law that requires news sites in Spain to charge for their content, Google shut down its Google News service in the country Tuesday. The tech company and other news aggregators would face steep fines if they publish headlines and abstracts without paying.

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Goats and Soda
4:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

India's New Comic Book Hero Fights Rape, Rides On The Back Of A Tiger

The comic book superhero Priya survived a rape and now fights violence against women.
Courtesy of Ram Devineni

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:46 pm

Two years ago this day, a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. Three days later she died from her injuries. The incident pushed millions in the city and all over India to protest the widespread violence against women. The protests led to tougher laws and empowered women to stand up against sexual violence.

And one man was inspired to create a comic book superhero.

Ram Devineni, a New York-based filmmaker, gave life to Priya, a survivor of gang rape who seeks to stop violence against women.

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Shots - Health News
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

When You Burn Off That Fat, Where Does It Go?

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:26 pm

Lose weight and those pounds shuffle off, unmourned. Good riddance. Please don't come back soon.

But where does weight go when we lose it?

We talk about burning off fat, and it does burn in a way, going through a complex biochemical process. But mass can't be created or destroyed, so the atoms that made the triglycerides that plumped up the love handles have got to be somewhere.

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Secret Lives Of Teachers
3:46 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Skating Out Classroom Stress As A 'Derby Dame'

Nina Park, also known as Elle L. Cool Jam, is a member of the Cosmonaughties roller derby team in the Boston Derby Dames league.
Kayana Szymczak for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:42 am

The NPR Ed team is discovering what teachers do when they're not teaching. Pilot? Artist? Bartender? Explore our Secret Lives of Teachers series.

Every fall, on the first day of school, Nina Park greets her new honors English class with a game called "two truths and a lie." Her students, 10th-graders at TechBoston Academy in Dorchester, Mass. have to guess which is which.

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