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Around the Nation
2:45 am
Wed December 17, 2014

For Crop-Duster Pilots, Wind Towers Present Danger

A pilot for Earl's Flying Service sprays chemicals on a field in southeastern Missouri.
Courtesy of Mike Lee

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:29 am

Crop-dusting pilots are the adrenaline junkies of the agriculture world. They whiz through the air, flying under power lines to sow seeds or spread pesticides on farmers' fields.

It's a dangerous job, and now these pilots are facing a new challenge — short towers that can sprout up in fields overnight. These towers are used to gather data for wind energy companies.

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NPR Ed
2:42 am
Wed December 17, 2014

An Alternative To Suspension And Expulsion: 'Circle Up!'

A restorative justice circle at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, Calif.
Sam Pasarow/Edna Brewer Middle School

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:29 am

One by one, in a room just off the gym floor at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, Calif., seventh-graders go on the interview hot seat.

Some 80 students have applied to be "peer leaders" in the school's new, alternative discipline program called "restorative justice."

Kyle McClerkins, the program's director, grills them on aspects of adolescent life: "What is the biggest challenge for middle school girls? What has changed about you from sixth grade to now?"

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The Two-Way
12:45 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Senate OKs Judicial Nominees, Tax Extensions Before Republican Takeover

Senator Harry Reid of Nev. on Tuesday, walks to one of his final meetings as the Senate Majority Leader. In January, Republicans take over the majority.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 3:27 am

In what The Associated Press called a "final flurry of accomplishment" Tuesday night, lawmakers were able to push through a bill that extended a package of tax breaks, which had expired at the end of 2013, and confirmed 12 more judicial nominees. NPR's Ailsa Chang reported the confirmations also marked a big accomplishment for the Obama administration.

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NPR Story
6:12 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Piano Lab Puts On a Show - And Delivers Results

Winbourne's piano lab students perform their first recital.

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:14 pm

Back in September, we told you about the Piano Lab at Winbourne Elementary. It was an experiment. O’Neill’s Music House arranged to get a bunch of cutting edge electronic keyboards to the high poverty school in North Baton Rouge. Tuesday, the pianos were rolled out of the lab and into the auditorium for the students’ first recital.


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Around the Nation
5:16 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

On Nebraska's Farmland, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

Susan and Bill Dunavan own 80 acres of land in York County.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:46 pm

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska's York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you'll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it's a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline — a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Theater Cancels New York Premiere of 'The Interview'

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:43 am

Updated at 2:10am ET

A source close to Sony Pictures confirms to NPR that the New York premiere of The Interview scheduled for Thursday has been canceled by the theater that was to host the screening.

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The Salt
4:28 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Japan's Beloved Christmas Cake Isn't About Christmas At All

A woman prepares a Japanese Christmas cake at the Patisserie Akira Cake shop on Dec. 23, 2011. The sponge cake is drenched in symbolic meaning.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:15 pm

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The Salt
4:18 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

The 12 Days Of Quirky Christmas Foods Around The Globe

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:07 am

Wherever people celebrate Christmas around the world, they feast. It may be as simple as a bowl of porridge, but food rituals to mark the day as separate and special from all other days are practically universal. So often eating the food associated with this holy day helps families pause for a moment to remember who they are, and where they came from.

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Business
4:07 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Shopping On Shore Leave: How Seafarers Head To The Mall

First Officer Dheeraj Singh spends most of his time at the helm of a container ship, but on a three-hour shore leave from the Port of Oakland, he visits Old Navy at Bay Street Mall in Emeryville, Calif.
Julie Caine KALW

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:29 pm

Many of us are making lots of trips to the mall right now, but what if you could only go shopping for just a few hours once a month? That's what life is like for container ship crews who bring the vast majority of consumer goods from Chinese factories to stores in the U.S.

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Middle East
4:02 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Pakistan Near Watershed Moment, But It Will Take Work

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 8:46 pm

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