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Parallels
5:23 am
Sat December 7, 2013

With The Help Of Smugglers, Syrian Refugees Sneak Into Europe

Refugees warm their hands at a refugee camp in Harmanli, Bulgaria, on Nov. 27. More Syrians are turning up in Europe. Many are trying to get to northern Europe, believing that is the best place to start a new life.
Nikolay Doychinov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 9:57 pm

The 27-year-old Syrian, who once smuggled arms for Syrian rebels, is now waiting in Istanbul for a human smuggler to get him to Europe. He says his name is Mohammed. He does not offer a second name. He will go by air, he says, the safest route. He has paid a smuggler more than $8,000, and he's sure he will get to Austria.

In the past week, he connected seven friends with smugglers.

"I know that most of them made it," he says, with a tight smile. He is traveling light. Everything he owns is in a backpack.

"I am leaving Syria under a lot of pressure," he explains.

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Around the Nation
6:07 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Nosy Driver In The Next SUV? It May Be A Cop Watching You Text

An unmarked New York State Police SUV pulls over a motorist for distracted driving. Troopers are using a fleet of the tall vehicles to crack down on texting while driving.
Jim Fitzgerald AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:35 pm

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it illegal to text while driving. Six others forbid new drivers from texting behind the wheel.

But that doesn't stop drivers from doing it — and enforcing those laws can be difficult.

On a highway north of New York City, state Trooper Clayton Howell is in an unmarked SUV. He's looking for drivers who are texting or using hand-held phones, which is banned in New York, along with 11 other states.

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Parallels
5:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Driving Pakistan's Badlands In A Vintage British Convertible

Mohsin Ikram drives a 1954 Austin-Healey across Pakistan. As the head of Pakistan's Vintage and Classic Car Club, he's doing it mostly because he loves the open road. But he also sees it as a statement against the turmoil that has made parts of the country no-go zones.
Abdul Sattar Aga Khan NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:35 pm

Every now and then you meet a character who stands out against the landscape. The landscape, in this case, is the sweep of terrain between the Arabian Sea and the Khyber Pass.

The character is a stocky man, wearing a baseball hat, dark glasses, a quirky grin, and an air of stubborn optimism. His name is Mohsin Ikram.

The reason Mohsin stands out against this landscape is because he's motoring across it in a sports car that was made in Britain when Winston Churchill was still alive.

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Sports
5:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

U.S. To Face Ghana, Portugal And Germany In World Cup

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Latin America
5:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Mexican Lawmakers Hope Private Investment Will Boost Oil Industry

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Mexico, lawmakers are debating one of the touchiest subjects in the country today, whether to open up the nation's state oil monopoly to foreign investors. Ever since the oil industry was nationalized back in the 1930s, Mexico's control of this precious resource has been a symbol of national pride. But with oil prices rising and revenues down, the president has made modernizing the oil company Pemex his number one priority.

As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, not everyone is happy about it.

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Around the Nation
5:18 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Bob Dylan's Electric Guitar Sells For $965,000

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:35 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Today, Christie's auction house sold a sunburst Fender Stratocaster for $965,000. It's the guitar behind a watershed moment in music history.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAGGIE'S FARM")

BOB DYLAN: (Singing) I ain't going to work on Maggie's farm no more.

SIEGEL: The moment Bob Dylan went electric. It was July 25th, 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival.

MURRAY LERNER: I was mesmerized by it.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Religious Violence Escalates In Central African Republic

A French soldier looks out from an armored vehicle during a patrol through the streets of Bangui, on Thursday.
Sia Kambou AFP/Getty Images

France has sent troops to the Central African Republic after violence there flared between Muslim and Christian militias amid reports that the death toll from fighting had reached 280.

The Associated Press reports:

"[Mostly] Muslim armed fighters who have ruled the country since March hunted door-to-door for their enemies. Bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital [Bangui] too dangerous for many to collect the corpses."

Reuters says the former French colony

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The Two-Way
5:08 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

President Obama Lights National Christmas Tree

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, applaud after lightng the National Christmas Tree at a ceremony across from the White House in Washington, on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:20 pm

President Obama threw the switch on the National Christmas Tree on Friday amid a constant rain that soaked many of the estimated 17,000 attendees.

"We're going to start at 5 since it's a little wet and we shouldn't start at 10," the president said before hitting the switch that lit the giant tree.

The ceremony was accompanied by celebrity performances from Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin and others.

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The Salt
4:01 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

The Hills Were Alive With The Sound Of DiGiorno Pizza Last Night

Carrie Underwood may have played Maria in NBC's The Sound of Music Live, but on Twitter, it was @DiGiorno that stole the show." href="/post/hills-were-alive-sound-digiorno-pizza-last-night" class="noexit lightbox">
"DOUGH a crust, an unbaked crust ...": Carrie Underwood may have played Maria in NBC's The Sound of Music Live, but on Twitter, it was @DiGiorno that stole the show.
NBC NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 5:35 pm

When big food corporations try to horn in on Twitter conversations about TV shows and other pop culture fare, it usually doesn't work.

Remember when McDonald's tried to engage customers with the hashtag #mcdstories, only to have it turn into a way to share horror-story experiences at the fast food chain? Or when Snickers got busted for paying celebrities to tweet about its brand?

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Television
3:06 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Delightful 'Six By Sondheim' Leaves You Wanting Six More

The life and work of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is examined in Six by Sondheim, a documentary from James Lapine, who also directed several of Sondheim's shows.
Jerry Jackson HBO

On Monday, HBO presents the premiere of Six by Sondheim, a new TV special that's part biography, part music-appreciation lesson and part performance piece. It's all about the life and music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, in which he explains, among many other things, how and why he became a musical theater composer and lyricist, and the inspirations for some of his most familiar songs. If you're new to the works of Stephen Sondheim, this TV special should entice you. If you're already a fan, it should delight you.

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It's All Politics
2:57 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Sen. Thad Cochran To Seek Re-Election In Mississippi

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on June 12.
Charles Dharapak AP

Get ready for a bruising GOP primary battle in Mississippi.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said Friday he will seek a seventh term in 2014, setting the stage for a contentious contest that pits the Republican establishment against the Tea Party wing.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Shanghai's Choking Smog Registers 'Beyond Index'

A building under construction is covered with haze in Shanghai on Friday. The city's pollution index is at its highest ever, officials say.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

In the latest smog-related health scare in China, officials in Shanghai on Friday ordered schoolchildren to stay indoors, halted all construction and even delayed flights in and out of the city, which has been enveloped in a thick blanket of haze, reducing visibility in places to less than 150 feet.

NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from Shanghai that the commercial capital's Air Quality Index soared above 500 for the first time ever, according to government sensors. He says officials described the readings as "beyond index" — in layman's terms, off-the-charts awful.

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Italian Court Convicts Egyptian Cleric Abducted By CIA

An Egyptian cleric abducted in 2003 in Milan, Italy, under the CIA's program of extraordinary rendition was convicted of terrorism charges Friday in Italy and sentenced in absentia to six years in prison.

The cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, now lives in Egypt and is unlikely to return to Italy to serve the sentence.

Italy had been in the process of investigating Nasr, who they suspected of terrorism, when he was snatched and transferred to Egypt via Germany. Nasr said he was tortured in Egypt.

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Shots - Health News
1:58 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

23andMe Bows To FDA's Demands, Drops Health Claims

23andMe will still perform genetic tests, but it won't be making health-related interpretations of the results.
YouTube

The maker of a $99 personal genome test blinked.

Silicon Valley's 23andMe said late Thursday that it would comply with the Food and Drug Administration's demand that the company stop marketing health-related genetic tests.

People will still be able to pay 23andMe to have their DNA analyzed to learn about their ancestors. And customers will get a file of their raw genetic info.

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The Salt
1:50 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

What Separates A Healthy And Unhealthy Diet? Just $1.50 Per Day

A Safeway customer browses in the fruit and vegetable section at Safeway in Livermore, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:09 am

If you want to eat a more healthful diet, you're going to have to shell out more cash, right? (After all, Whole Foods didn't get the nickname "Whole Paycheck" for nothing.)

But until recently, that widely held bit of conventional wisdom hadn't really been assessed in a rigorous, systematic way, says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

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