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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NTSB Bars Train Union From Crash Inquiry, Citing Confidentiality

A train passes by the scene of repair efforts Tuesday at the site of a train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:40 pm

The investigation into the Bronx, N.Y., train crash that killed four people Sunday will continue without the direct involvement of the rail employees union the Association of Commuter Rail Employees. The move was in response to remarks the union's leader made at a Tuesday news conference regarding the train engineer's awareness level moments before a catastrophic derailment.

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Business
7:31 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Confirmation: Selfies Are Forces Of Evil

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. For those who believes selfies are a force of evil, here's confirmation. Darth Vader just posted on Instagram a photo of his face - that is, his iconic black helmet - with the tag GPOM for Gratuitous Portrait Of Myself. The selfie launched the Star Wars Instagram account - a marketing effort by Disney - two full years before the next sequel. It's a pretty good shot, though we have to say a little on the dark side. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
7:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Book News: Manil Suri Takes Bad Sex In Fiction Award

Author Manil Suri missed his chance to meet Joan Collins, who presented this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award at a ceremony in London.
Courtesy of Nina Subin

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

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The Two-Way
6:54 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Hezbollah Commander Dies In Attack Outside Beirut Home

Hassan al-Laqis, described as one of Hezbollah's founding members, was killed in an attack outside his home in Beirut. He's seen here in a photo released Wednesday by the Hezbollah Media Relation Office.
AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 8:18 am

A veteran Hezbollah commander with expertise in technology and intelligence was assassinated Wednesday in Beirut — a killing the militant group blamed on Israel.

Israeli officials denied involvement in the death of Hassan al-Laqis, who was reportedly shot in a parking lot outside his home.

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Europe
5:20 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Brutality Against Protesters Deepens Divisions In Ukraine

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:38 am

Thousands of protesters in Ukraine continue to occupy Kiev's Maidan square and to prevent the government from functioning after President Victor Yanukovich refused to allow the country to strengthen trade ties with the European Union. Ukraine is under intense Russian pressure to continue aligning itself with a customs union comprising countries of the former Soviet Union.

Around the Nation
5:18 am
Wed December 4, 2013

City Workers Fret Over Pensions As Detroit Enters Bankruptcy

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:38 am

A federal judge has ruled Detroit qualifies for bankruptcy. But the cash-strapped city, laden with roughly $18 billion in long-term debt, faces a long road to regain financial solvency. Unions whose members face pension payment cuts are appealing the ruling, and the ultimate decision about paying the pensions may be made by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Monkey See
5:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

The Top 5 Reasons We're Taking A Break From Lists

This Christmas, NPR Books would like to find something other than lists in our stockings.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

You love lists. We love lists. Everyone loves lists. And in the past five years, NPR has brought you more than 80 year-end book lists — the best book club books, the best cookbooks, the best gift books, the best guilty pleasures. We listed. You clicked. Everyone was happy.

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Book Reviews
5:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NPR's Book Concierge: Our Guide To 2013's Great Reads

Browse More Than 200 Of This Year's Standout Titles" href="/post/nprs-book-concierge-our-guide-2013s-great-reads" class="noexit lightbox">

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 1:53 pm

Over the past five years, we've published more than 80 year-end book lists. So this year, we decided to try something new. Introducing NPR's Book Concierge, your personal guide to the best books published in 2013.

NPR staff and critics selected more than 200 standout titles. Now it's up to you: Choose your own adventure! Use the categories to search through our favorite books and find the perfect read for yourself or someone else. Happy reading!

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Politics
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition)

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:39 pm

In the debate over whether to cut the food stamp program, members of Congress are looking at two pretty arcane provisions in the law. People who want to cut food stamps call the provisions loopholes. People who don't want to cut food stamps say they're efficient ways to get benefits to those who need them most.

1. Categorical Eligibility

People who qualify for one means-tested program — like welfare — can automatically qualify for other programs — like food stamps. This is called "categorical eligibility."

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