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Iraq
5:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Iraq's Anbar Province Under Threat From Al-Qaida

Heavy fighting has been reported in the Anbar province of Iraq this week. NPR's Arun Rath speaks to Middle East specialist Kirk Sowell about what it means.

Poetry
5:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Jimmy Santiago Baca, From Prison To Poetry

When Jimmy Santiago Baca was 20, he was convicted of drug charges and sentenced to prison. He was illiterate when he arrived at the Arizona State Prison. When he got out five years later, he was well on his way to becoming one of America's most celebrated poets.

Baca writes about oppression, love and migration, and his poems range from just a few lines to many pages.

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Fine Art
5:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Conserving Priceless Chinese Paintings Is An Art All Its Own

Zhao Mengfu was the preeminent painter and calligrapher of the early Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). His Sheep And Goat scroll is estimated to be worth $100 million.
Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 3:33 pm

Outside of China and Taiwan, U.S. museums hold the world's best collection of Chinese paintings. It's worth billions of dollars, but it's also fragile: Over time, these paintings fall apart. In the U.S., there are only four master conservators who know how to take care of them, and they're all approaching retirement.

The Freer and Sackler Galleries — one of the huge, stone Smithsonian buildings on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. — employ one of those masters.

Invisible Conservation

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Sports
5:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Controversial Since Day 1, Bowl Championship Series To End

On Monday, the BCS National Championship featuring Florida State and Auburn University will mark the end of the confusing and controversial Bowl Championship Series. Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about what this means for the future of NCAA football.

Economy
5:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

With Benefits Cut, Unemployed Take Stock Of Dwindling Options

Visitors use the Unemployment Insurance Phone Bank in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 20. Tens of thousands in the state lost federal unemployment benefits in December.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 6:51 pm

In November, 222,000 Californians opened their mailboxes to find a warning: Unemployment benefits were scheduled to end in December.

While Congress was inching closer to passing a budget, Emergency Unemployment Compensation was not part of the deal. That's the long-term jobless benefits: extra federal money that allows unemployed workers to collect payments for months longer than they could in better economic times.

Sure enough, on Dec. 18, Congress passed that budget and packed up for Christmas recess, leaving those extended benefits to expire just 10 days later.

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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Saul Zaentz, Oscar Winner Who Feuded With John Fogerty, Dies

Saul Zaentz in 2009.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

"Saul Zaentz, who parlayed a successful career in the music business into a Oscar-winning second act as an independent movie producer, died Friday at his home in the San Francisco area from complications of Alzheimer's," The Hollywood Reporter writes.

He was 92.

The three Oscars that Zaentz won were all "best picture" awards — for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975, Amadeus in 1984 and The English Patient in 1996.

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The Two-Way
2:06 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

'No One Controls Fallujah,' Which U.S. Soldiers Fought To Free

In Fallujah on Saturday, Sunni fighters turned out for the funeral of a man killed by Iraqi army artillery fire.
Mohammed Jalil EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 2:42 pm

The latest headlines from the city of Fallujah, the scene of much intense fighting involving U.S. forces during the Iraq War, are ominous:

-- "Iraq Government Loses Control Of Fallujah." (Al-Jazeera)

-- "Sunni Fighters 'Control All Of Fallujah.' " (BBC News)

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Afghanistan
12:53 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

Conditions are spare at the Window of Hope orphanage in Kabul, but American NGO worker Siavash Rahbari (upper left) says it's still better than how many Afghan children live.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 6:14 pm

On Saturday afternoons, sometimes with a coworker or two, Siavash Rahbari drives up a rutted side street in Kabul to visit the Window of Hope orphanage.

In the living room, there are a dozen boys and two girls. Some are playing, while others lie around on mats on the floor, clearly suffering from a range of disabilities. Rahbari, a Texan who works at an NGO in Kabul, gives the children a cursory inspection.

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Former First Lady Barbara Bush Released From Hospital

Former first lady Barbara Bush in March 2012.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Former first lady Barbara Bush is home after more than five days of treatment at a Houston hospital. She had pneumonia.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath says the 88-year-old wife of one president and mother of another had a couple "truly great days" in which she responded well to treatment.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Sat January 4, 2014

How Cold Is It? It's So Cold That ...

Brrr. This woman was cold Friday in Washington, D.C. But even more frigid temperatures are descending on much of the nation.
Kevin Dietsch UPI/Landov

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 2:26 pm

... there's no hot air left in Washington.

We bet Two-Way readers can do much better than that. Feel free to answer our headline's question in the comments thread.

The news, of course, is that "record breaking cold" is expected through Monday "from the Northern Plains eastward into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley," according to the National Weather Service. It warns that:

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