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All Tech Considered
1:05 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

U.S. Recognizes A South Korean StarCraft Player As An Athlete

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:15 am

South Korean Kim Dong-hwan, a professional StarCraft II player, has received a special U.S. visa, normally reserved for baseball players and other athletes.

The five-year P-1A visa given to the video game player last week is for "internationally recognized athletes." This follows another visa given to a Canadian League of Legends player earlier this summer.

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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Peter O'Toole, Star Of 'Lawrence Of Arabia,' Dies

Actor Peter O'Toole performed on stage and on film in many leading roles, and began his acting career in the 1950s when he was serving in the Navy. He died on Dec. 14 at the age of 81.
David Montgomery Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 8:05 am

Peter O'Toole, the legendary Hollywood star made famous by his leading role in 1962's Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday, his agent Steve Kenis said.

O'Toole went on to be recognized as one of the premiere actors of his generation. He was nominated for eight Oscars, but never won until he was given an honorary honor in 2003.

O'Toole was born in Ireland and grew up in Leeds, Yorkshire. O'Toole honed his acting chops in the London theater, before he beat out Marlon Brando and Albert Finney for the role of Lawrence of Arabia.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Sun December 15, 2013

In Executing His Uncle, Kim Jong Un Sends Tough Message

The sun rises over the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, which spans the Yalu River and leads into North Korea (background), at the Chinese border town of Dandong.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 10:55 am

The wife of a top North Korean official who was executed last week appears to have survived the latest political purge in Pyongyang.

Kim Kyong Hui, who is also the aunt of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was named to an official funeral committee on Saturday. Analysts took it as a sign that she still retains power in the inner circle of North Korean leadership.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Sen. John McCain Addresses Anti-Government Protesters In Kiev

Sen. John McCain waves to protestors during a mass rally of the opposition at Independence Square in Kiev on Sunday.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images

Anti-government protesters in Kiev, Ukraine, got a boost from Sen. John McCain today.

The Arizona Republican, who was accompanied by Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, said he was at Independence Square to speak on behalf of the American people.

"To all Ukrainians, America stands with you," McCain said, as the crowd roared.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Iran Says It Will Keep Negotiating, Despite Tightening Of Sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Iran says it will continue to negotiate over its nuclear program, despite a U.S. decision to expand its blacklist to include more than a dozen firms doing business with Iran's national tanker company.

Iran, if you remember, struck a temporary six-month deal with world powers that paused some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Iran had said that any new sanctions would kill the prospects for a long-term deal.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Louisiana Artist Behind 'Blue Dog' Paintings Dies At 69

Artist George Rodrigue looks at one painting of the three-canvas series titled "Three Coins in the Fountain" in 2010.
Brett Duke The Times-Picayune /Landov

George Rodrigue, the artist who transformed the image of Louisiana's loup-garou into a pop art icon, died on Saturday after a battle with cancer.

Rodrigue took the legend of the Cajun werewolf and transformed it into instantly recognizable portraits of a quizzical blue dog framed by different landscapes.

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Author Interviews
6:29 am
Sun December 15, 2013

54 Days In The Eternal City: A Christian 'Pilgrimage' For Lent

Rome's St. Zeno chapel was built by Pope St. Paschal I in honor of his mother. The ceiling, a gold mosaic, was intended as an interpretation of heaven.
Stephen Weigel Courtesy of Basic Books

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

Each year, millions of people from different faiths make religious journeys. They travel far, to Mecca, Jerusalem, the Ganges River or Lourdes, France, to walk the paths of prophets, saints and martyrs.

"Pilgrimage is something built into the human condition," says George Weigel, author of Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches. "There seems to be something hardwired into us, spiritually, that the idea of a journey from A to B becomes part of the rhythm of the spiritual life."

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Europe
6:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Why French Troops Are Intervening In Africa — Again

A French soldier talks to a crowd outside a church in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on Thursday.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 12:19 pm

Once again, French television screens are full of images of joyous Africans welcoming French troops.

In January, the French military intervened in Mali to help liberate large swaths of the country from radical jihadists. Now, for the second time this year, France has sent troops into an African country to quell violence.

Last week, French soldiers went into the Central African Republic to stop sectarian killings. In news reports from the Central African Republic, crowds yell, "Vive la France!" as they run out to greet convoys of French soldiers.

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Global Health
6:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

They Shot For Zero, But Couldn't Squash Polio In 2013

A polio worker vaccinates a child in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, in October.
Arshad Arbab EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 12:43 pm

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. Numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. Over the next two weeks, you'll hear the stories behind numbers, ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

The lowest number of polio cases ever recorded in the world during one year was 223. And 2013 was on track for an even lower number.

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The Two-Way
5:39 am
Sun December 15, 2013

China's Moon Rover Separates From Lander

China's first lunar rover separates from Chang'e-3 moon lander early Dec. 15, 2013. This picture was taken from the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China.
Li Xin Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 5:49 am

Very early Sunday morning, China's moon rover, "Yutu" or Jade Rabbit, separated from its lander and began its exploration.

This means that China has officially joined the United States and the former Soviet Union as as the only countries to make a soft landing and drop an exploratory vehicle on the moon safely.

The state news agency Xinhua reports:

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