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7:41am

Tue December 16, 2014
The Two-Way

Russia's Rate Increase Fails To Stop Currency's Steep Decline

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 9:42 am

Russia's ruble plunged to a record low against the dollar on Tuesday despite some bold measures taken by the country's central bank to halt its slide.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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7:31am

Tue December 16, 2014
Animals

New York Bans The Tattooing And Piercing Of Pets

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

7:21am

Tue December 16, 2014
Around the Nation

Robot Flies Economy From LA To Frankfurt

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 7:31 am

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

7:12am

Tue December 16, 2014
Asia

Dozens Killed As Taliban Gunmen Storm Pakistani School

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 7:31 am

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

6:39am

Tue December 16, 2014
The Two-Way

Taliban Gunmen Storm School, Kill Dozens In Pakistan

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:21 pm

A Pakistani girl, who was injured in a Taliban attack on a school, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday.
Mohammad Sajjad AP
(This post was last updated at 2:07 p.m. ET.)

Taliban militants stormed a school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, leaving scores of students dead.

Quoting Pakistani officials, multiple media outlets say the death toll is at least 140, including at least 80 students in grades 1 through 10.

A little before 8 p.m. local time, police announced that the operation had ended after the gunmen were killed. Security personnel, police official Abdullah Khan told the AFP, were now in the process of sweeping the rest of the building.

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6:38am

Tue December 16, 2014
NPR Story

Denmark Files Claim To Portion Of The Arctic

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:11 pm

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

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5:26am

Tue December 16, 2014
Middle East

Contestant From War-Torn Syria Wins 'Arab Idol'

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:09 pm

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

5:11am

Tue December 16, 2014
NPR Story

Hostage Drama Unfolds Violently In Sydney

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 9:45 pm

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

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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5:11am

Tue December 16, 2014
NPR Story

Sony On The Defensive After Hackers Attack Its Computer Network

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:01 pm

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

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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4:39am

Tue December 16, 2014
Law

Judge Regrets Harsh Human Toll Of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 3:08 pm

The shocking death of basketball player Len Bias from a cocaine overdose in 1986 led Congress to pass tough mandatory sentences for drug crimes.
AP

It seems long ago now, but in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, murders and robberies exploded as cocaine and other illegal drugs ravaged American cities.

Then came June 19, 1986, when the overdose of a college athlete sent the nation into shock just days after the NBA draft. Basketball star Len Bias could have been anybody's brother or son.

Congress swiftly responded by passing tough mandatory sentences for drug crimes. Those sentences, still in place, pack federal prisons to this day. More than half of the 219,000 federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses.

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4:38am

Tue December 16, 2014
Law

From Judges To Inmates, Finding The Human Casualties Of Mandatory Sentencing

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 1:12 pm

NPR's series looks at the human toll of mandatory minimum prison sentences. The White House and the Justice Department have taken the unprecedented step of asking for candidates who might win early release from prison through presidential pardons or commutations in the final years of the Obama presidency.
Dan Henson iStockphoto

The United States spends nearly $7 billion a year to operate a network of federal prisons that house more than 200,000 inmates. About half of them are incarcerated for drug crimes, a legacy of 1980s laws that prosecutors use to target not only kingpins but also low-level couriers and girlfriends. Multiple convictions for small-time offenses under those laws mean thousands of people are locked up for decades, or even the rest of their lives.

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3:47am

Tue December 16, 2014
Parallels

Kurdish Officials Worry About Kurds Joining The Islamic State

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:15 pm

The Iraqi town of Halabja is dominated by Kurds, the group that has been fighting the Islamic State in northern Iraq. However, some Kurdish residents have been slipping away to join the Islamic State.
Yahya Ahmad Reuters/Landov

In the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, near the border with Iran, we knock on the door of a 16-year-old boy who disappeared. His family says he lied to them, saying he was going on a picnic with a teenage friend. But they never came home.

"He disappeared in May," says the boy's older sister. "A few days later a letter arrived in his handwriting. It said, 'I'm in Syria. Don't look for me.' "

The boy, like most everyone in this city, is a Kurd, most of whom are Sunni Muslim. He joined the so-called Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim extremist group also known as ISIS.

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3:36am

Tue December 16, 2014
Economy

'Reshoring' Trend Has Little Impact On U.S. Economy, Study Finds

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 1:46 pm

An "Assembled in the USA" stamp is seen at the side of a box containing a 32-inch television set May 29 in the warehouse of Element Electronics, in Winnsboro, S.C. For the phenomenon of "reshoring," or bringing overseas jobs back to the United States, the electronics sector has been a leader.
Chris Keane Reuters/Landov

A report on the phenomenon known as "reshoring" — the opposite of offshoring — shows that while a growing number of companies are returning to the United States to do their manufacturing, the trend is smaller and less significant to the economy than it appears.

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3:28am

Tue December 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Alaska's Governor Eager To Expand Medicaid

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 7:31 am

Valerie Davidson was appointed health commissioner by Alaska's Gov. Bill Walker to help him expand Medicaid in the state. She'll look for middle ground with Republicans to get it done, she says.
Lori Townsend/Alaska Public Media

Alaska's new governor won his election in one of the tightest races in the country, a race that was too close to call even a week after election night. Bill Walker, who ran as an independent (unaffiliated with the Republicans or Democrats), took office on Dec. 1, after campaigning on the promise that he would expand Medicaid as one of his first orders of business.

To make good on that, he'll have to face a Republican-controlled legislature that hasn't been willing to even consider the idea.

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3:26am

Tue December 16, 2014
U.S.

President's Task Force To Re-Examine How Police Interact With Public

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 3:09 pm

President Obama announces the creation of a policing task force Dec. 1 as Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey (left) and George Mason University criminology professor Laurie Robinson look on.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this month, after the events in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y, the White House announced the creation of what it's calling a Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The group's job is to find ways to strengthen the relationship between police and the public, and to share recommendations with the president by late February.

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