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This Week's Must Read
4:33 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

'Rum, Rumba, And Romance': A Book On Cuba's Enduring Mystique

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:15 pm

Cuba is dominating the news, following President Obama's announcement that he will begin to normalize relations with the island nation.

For our series This Week's Must-Read, poet and Cuban-American writer Richard Blanco turns to literature for another perspective on this story.

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Law
4:06 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Troubled By Grand Jury Verdicts, Students Request More Time For Exams

Thousands gathered on the National Mall last week to protest the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Some law students say their involvement in the protests means their exams should be postponed.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:50 pm

"The dog ate my homework?" Try, "I was protesting a grand jury decision," instead.

Students at some top law schools want exam extensions for what they are calling the trauma of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions. But other law students are wondering what message that sends to future employers.

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama Says 'James Flacco.' The Internet Says, Thank You

Actor James Franco (left), seen here with The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, was called "James Flacco" by President Obama Friday. Afterward, the jokes poured in.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 3:49 pm

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama meant to talk about James Franco and instead said "James Flacco" — on a Friday marking the full-on start of the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received by people on Twitter and elsewhere.

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Mountain Stage
3:35 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Amy LaVere On Mountain Stage

Amy LaVere.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Born to musician parents in a small town near the Texas-Louisiana border, Amy LaVere moved with her family 13 times before she finished high school in Detroit. She maintained her interest in music throughout; one of her first gigs was playing drums for the punk band Last Minute while in her mid-teens. After time spent in Louisiana and Nashville, LaVere settled in Memphis, where she began performing solo and released three solo albums, including 2012's decorated Stranger Me. Her latest, Runaway's Diary, is inspired in part by her experiences as a teenager.

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Latin America
3:12 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Cubans Eager For More Economic Investment

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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

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Global Health
3:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

CDC Head: Key Interventions Have Slowed Ebola's Spread

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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

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NPR Ed
3:04 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

The Fate Of The Administration's College Ratings

Rating colleges isn't easy.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 12:21 am

Today, details of the Obama administration's plan known as the Postsecondary Institutional Ratings System, or PIRS, finally saw the light of day. The idea, in this incarnation, was just under three years old.

The president announced its conception during his State of the Union address in 2012.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Non-Hazardous

Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont., in September. New EPA guidelines treat toxic coal ash from such plants much the same as common household garbage.
Matt Brown AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 3:50 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new national standards designating coal ash – a nearly ubiquitous byproduct of coal-fired power plants that contains arsenic and lead – as non-hazardous waste.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that coal-fired power plants produce more than 130 million tons of the coal ash each year and they have long stored millions of tons of it in giant ponds.

But many of those ponds have failed in recent years, allowing contaminated water to get into rivers and streams, and ultimately into drinking water.

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Law
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

FBI Officially Pins Sony Cyberattack On North Korea

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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

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When President Obama held his year-end news conference today, cyber security jumped to the top of the agenda, a result of the recent cyber attack on Sony Pictures.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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Economy
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Government Sells Last Major Stake In A Bank Post-Financial Crisis

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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

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