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11:22am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

FIFA Begins Meeting After American Lawyer's Angry Resignation

Michael J. Garcia, head of FIFA's investigatory chamber of the ethics committee, resigned Wednesday in protest.
Walter Bieri EPA /LANDOV

Soccer's governing body is meeting Thursday in Morocco, a day after the American lawyer, who spent two years investigating allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the World Cup, quit in protest at how FIFA handled his report.

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10:50am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Book News: The Future Of The Public Library May Lie In The Coffee Shop

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:27 pm

Get your sci-fi with a side of cappuccino.
e_rasmus iStockphoto

The daily lowdown on books, publishing and the occasional author behaving badly.

For a public library to expect to survive today, it must begin to take crucial cues from coffee shops. At least, that's the key recommendation offered by a much-anticipated report on British public libraries, which is set to be released Thursday.

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10:44am

Thu December 18, 2014
Shots - Health News

Is Your State Ready For The Next Infectious Outbreak? Probably Not

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:47 pm

Alyson Hurt/NPR

Ebola may have slid off the nation's worry list, but that doesn't mean the United States is ready to handle an outbreak of Ebola or another infectious disease, an analysis says. That includes naturally occurring outbreaks like dengue fever, tuberculosis and measles, as well as the use of bioterrorism agents like anthrax.

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10:25am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

2014 Saw Fewest Executions In 20 Years, Report Finds

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:20 pm

The gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is pictured in McAlester, Okla., in 2008.
AP

There was a significant drop in the number of executions and death penalty sentences in 2014, a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center finds.

The group's year-end accounting finds that:

-- States conducted 35 executions in 2014 — the lowest since 1994.

-- And the justice system sentenced 72 people to death — the lowest number in 40 years.

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10:17am

Thu December 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Putin: Sanctions, Falling Oil Prices Causing Ruble's Tumble

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 8:32 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual news conference in Moscow on Thursday, where he blamed Western sanctions and falling oil prices for his country's economic troubles.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at the West in a year-end news conference today, blaming international sanctions and a steep plunge in oil prices for the precipitous drop in the value of the ruble.

Putin, speaking during a more than three-hour news conference attended by some 1,200 journalists, "promised never to let the West chain or defang his proud nation," according to The Associated Press.

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10:03am

Thu December 18, 2014
Extras: TED Radio Hour

Playlist: Inspiring Stories You'll Want To Share

You'll want to send these TED Radio Hour stories to everyone you know.
A.J. Rich iStock

This playlist includes some blockbuster TED talks that have already inspired millions. These stories about growing up, shaping identity, and finding courage will have you forwarding them to family and friends.

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

9:47am

Thu December 18, 2014
Shots - Health News

Worries About Unusual Botulinum Toxin Prove Unfounded

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:05 pm

A culture of Clostridium botulinum, stained with gentian violet.
CDC

Remember that worrisome new form of botulinum toxin we told you about in late 2013, the one that supposedly had to be kept secret out of fear it could be used as a bioweapon that would evade all of our medical defenses?

Well, as it turns out, it's not that scary after all. The antitoxin stored in the government's emergency stockpile works and would neutralize the toxin just fine.

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9:40am

Thu December 18, 2014
Goats and Soda

Pakistan Keeps On Vaccinating Despite Tough Terrain And Terror Threat

A Pakistani health worker administers a polio vaccine to a child during a campaign in the northern city of Rawalpindi.
FAROOQ NAEEM AFP/Getty Images

Between the rugged terrain and the constant terrorist threats, vaccinating Pakistani children against common diseases hasn't been easy. Mountains make it hard — at times even impossible — for vaccinators to reach people in the north. In the south, health workers have to use four-wheelers and camels to travel through Pakistan's harsh deserts.

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9:36am

Thu December 18, 2014
Ask Me Another

Blaze Of Gloria

We've rewritten the lyrics of the beloved Christmas carol "Angels We Have Heard on High" to be about things that begin with the "glo-" sound of its famous refrain: "Gloooooooooria [in excelsis Deo]."

Heard in Holiday Spectacular 2014

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9:36am

Thu December 18, 2014
Ask Me Another

Season's Eatings

Ideal size for your Christmas ham.
Sylvie Rosokoff NPR

When you're the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit Magazine, people tend to expect a lot from your holiday cuisine.

"That's why we just give them ham," says the editor himself, Adam Rapoport. "Everybody loves ham. Especially us Jews. Give them a big, glistening, baked, bone-in ham with Martin's potato rolls and a big bowl of punch."

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