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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Pirates Seize Captain, Engineer From Vessel Off Nigeria

Pirates have seized an oil tanker off the Nigerian coast, kidnapping its Ukrainian captain and a Greek engineer, the ship's manager and the Greek coast guard confirmed Tuesday.

The Marshall Islands-flagged MT Althea, with 18 crew aboard, was attacked late Monday about 35 miles offshore of the Niger River delta, The Associated Press reports quoting officials.

"They kidnapped the two men but did not touch the cargo (oil) or injure anyone," an official who asked not to be named told AP.

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It's All Politics
3:47 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Bridge Controversy Could Take Toll On Chris Christie's Future

The George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., on Sept. 2, just days before lanes were closed under mysterious circumstances.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 5:17 pm

Were access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, the nation's busiest span, closed as political retribution against a mayor who didn't publicly endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's re-election?

The governor denies that politics played a role in the traffic-snarling decision, but the controversy has put an ever-growing stain on Christie's glossy November re-election victory. And the episode could have an impact on Christie's White House ambitions.

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Movie Interviews
3:06 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

The Coen Bros. On Writing, 'Lebowski' And Literally Herding Cats

Joel (left) and Ethan Coen wrote and directed Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men, A Serious Man and True Grit. Their latest film is Inside Llewyn Davis.
Stuart C. Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:21 am

If you ask the Coen brothers about how they write their films, you might not get a straight answer. "It's mostly napping," Ethan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

"We go to the office, we're there, we're in a room together," Joel adds. "We take naps, but, you know, the important thing is that we're at the office, should we be inspired to actually write something."

The brothers don't split up writing responsibilities — they "talk through" the dialogue and "work it out together," Joel explains.

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Pope Francis Shakes Up Important Congregation For Bishops

Bishop Raymond Leo Burke.
Anonymous ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pope Francis continues to shake up the Vatican establishment. This time, in what observers are calling a major move, he reshuffled the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important organizations in the Vatican.

In the biggest shakeup announced on Monday, Francis removed Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the group and replaced him with another American, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C..

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Best Music Of 2013
2:53 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Ken Tucker's Top 10 Albums Of 2013

Jason Isbell's Southeastern was Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker's favorite album of 2013.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:21 am

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World
2:45 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Romanian Project Reunites Abandoned Children With Families

Ionuts was a ward of the state until the Vaslui program reunited him with his mother, Mioara, and the rest of his family.
Meghan Collins Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:07 pm

Mioara stands on her doorstep in rural Romania, an infant clinging tightly to her neck and a toddler attached to each leg.

The 36-year-old Roma woman is the mother of eight. Her two oldest children are blind and attend a free boarding school in Iasi, on the border with Moldova. Mioara — whose last name has been withheld out of concern for her children — is eligible to collect a small amount of money from the government to help with the three youngest kids, who won't leave her side.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Japanese Leaders Back Major Defense Buildup

In this Dec. 5, 2010 file photo released by U.S. Navy, USNS Tippecanoe, center, refuels Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Escort Flotilla ships Ikazuchi, right, and Kongo during a joint military exercise in the Pacific Ocean.
Charles Oki AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 4:27 pm

Japan's cabinet has approved a large defense buildup plan that includes the purchase of new drones, stealth aircraft and amphibious vehicles in what is widely viewed as a response to China's growing military might and a tense standoff over disputed islands claimed by both countries.

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All Tech Considered
2:40 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Brothers: A Grand Adventure With An Emotional Punch

The titular brothers of the game encounter a troll, one of the many colorful characters they meet on their grand adventure.
Starbreeze Studios

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 6:59 pm

If ever a video game sought to mimic the experience of sitting down and reading a simple and emotional fairy tale, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons by Starbreeze Studios would be that game. And it's in that context that the game knocks it out of the park.

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It's All Politics
2:37 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Obama's Year Of Disappointing The Liberal Base

President Obama talks about drones and national security earlier this year at the National Defense University in Washington.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:56 am

It's been a long, disappointing year for many of President Obama's most ardent supporters.

From drones and Syria to immigration and the Keystone XL pipeline, the list of issues on which the president has induced frustration and disillusionment is not a short one.

And fallout from that restive base is reflected in Obama's dismal year-end poll numbers.

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Shots - Health News
2:08 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Concussion Research Slowed By Shortage Of Donated Brains

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher's body has been exhumed more than a year after he killed his girlfriend and himself so that his brain can be examined for signs of a degenerative condition linked to repeated concussions.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 4:08 pm

Former NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher's body was exhumed last week so doctors can perform tests on the remains of his brain. The family hopes to find out if a degenerative brain disease played a role in Kansas City Chiefs veteran's death last year, when he shot his girlfriend then killed himself.

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