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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Health Worsens

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's condition has taken a turn for the worse, the hospital treating him said Wednesday. Sharon, 85, has been in a coma since 2006 when a stroke incapacitated him.
Oded Balilty AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 4:04 am

The condition of Israeli former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon deteriorated Wednesday, according to the hospital treating him.

The 85-year-old Sharon has been in a coma since 2006, when a massive stroke incapacitated him. The New York Times reports that his condition began to worsen about a month ago:

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Latin America
2:17 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Brazil's Social Media Boom Sparks Calls For New Privacy Laws

Social media is booming in Brazil, which has become a major market for both Facebook and Twitter. But Brazilian law is still in flux, and legislation is only just being created to deal with the rise of social media.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:59 am

The use of social media is exploding in Brazil. It's the third largest market for Facebook and the fifth largest for Twitter.

The controversial women-only app Lulu recently launched here and quickly became the top downloaded app in the country, making Brazil Lulu's biggest market.

"I think it is cool because it's a social network for what all women throughout history have always done — talk about the guys we like, the guys we think are handsome," says 20-year-old Marcela, as she taps away at the Lulu app on her iPhone.

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Shots - Health News
2:17 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Editing Your Life's Stories Can Create Happier Endings

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:49 am

It was a rainy night in October when my nephew Lewis passed the Frankenstein statue standing in front of a toy store. The 2 1/2-year-old boy didn't see the monster at first, and when he turned around, he was only inches from Frankenstein's green face, bloodshot eyes and stitched-up skin.

The 4-foot-tall monster terrified my nephew so much that he ran deep into the toy store. And on the way back out, he simply couldn't face the statue. He jumped into his mother's arms and had to bury his head in her shoulder.

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Book Reviews
2:17 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Gary Shteyngart's 'Little Failure' Is An Unambivalent Success

Cover Detail
Random House

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:10 pm

Meg Wolitzer's most recent novel is The Interestings.

What's potentially more troubling than a memoirist out for revenge? One who's only out for truth. Gary Shteyngart's dazzling, highly enjoyable book is the story of his life — a story that he owns, along with all the details. Yet, as an only child who immigrated from Leningrad to Queens with his parents in 1979, with no brothers or sisters to provide narrative distraction, he not only provides an intimate look at himself, he also by necessity put his parents under a fairly strong magnifying lens.

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Shots - Health News
2:17 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Vitamin E Might Help Slow Alzheimer's Early On

Vitamin E has been associated with increased risk of death in some studies, but it may also delay cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:46 pm

Alzheimer's is a disease without a cure, and the available treatments only slow its progression for a bit. Now there's evidence vitamin E may help hold it at bay, at least for people in the early stages of the disease.

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The Salt
2:16 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Tummy Beer, Coffee Maker Cooking And Mini-Fasts: 2013's Most Read

Latte art, debunking Julia Child and dishwasher cooking: 2013 had something for everybody.
NPR staff

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:10 am

As we review our most popular posts of 2013, we can't help but notice some patterns, dear readers. It seems that you gravitate towards stories on the escapades of bacteria inside the gut, dieting, icky-looking school lunches and cooking tips ranging from how to handle raw chicken to coffee maker and dishwasher cooking.

And that's just fine with us, since those are some of the food stories we love, too.

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It's All Politics
2:16 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Bill De Blasio Sworn In As New York City Mayor

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (from left) arrives with his family Chiara de Blasio, Chirlane McCray and Dante de Blasio to take the oath of office on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday.
Frank Franklin II AP

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 11:13 am

Bill de Blasio was sworn in as the 109th mayor of New York City on Wednesday, marking the return of a Democrat to City Hall for the first time in two decades.

The public ceremony, which took place on the steps of City Hall, followed a formal swearing in at de Blasio's Brooklyn home at two minutes past midnight.

The new mayor took the oath of office from former President Bill Clinton with his hand on a bible once used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He rode the subway to the inauguration with his family.

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The Two-Way
10:32 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Top Stories: Injured Schumacher Improves; Antarctic Rescue Planned

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 4:49 am

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Book Reviews
10:32 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Opening The Literary Liquor Cabinet In 'Echo Spring'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 9:09 am

Remember Brick's frequent trips to "Echo Spring" in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? Echo Spring, Olivia Laing reminds us in her illuminating new book, is a nickname for the liquor cabinet, drawn from the brand of bourbon it contains. Symbolically, she adds, it refers to something quite different: "perhaps to the attainment of silence, or to the obliteration of troubled thoughts that comes, temporarily at least, with a sufficiency of booze."

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It's All Politics
10:29 am
Tue December 31, 2013

2013: The Year In Political Screw-Ups

The partial federal government shutdown was a political misstep that will be remembered for years to come.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 11:34 am

If anything defined 2013, it was the political misstep. There were so many gaffes, flaps, scandals and ill-advised moves that voters were often left scratching their heads at the political class's uncanny knack for diminishing its profession.

Here are eight of the more memorable screw-ups:

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Shots - Health News
10:23 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Despite Health Law, Many People May Be Left Underinsured

Insurance coverage is only one part of the health puzzle.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 9:50 am

People with chronic conditions will be better protected from crippling medical bills starting in January, as the health law's coverage requirements and spending limits take effect.

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Number Of The Year
9:55 am
Tue December 31, 2013

From Pandas To Health Care: The 13 Numbers Of 2013

Johann Balleis / Adam Cole Wikimedia Commons / NPR

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 7:40 am

0: Twitter collected no profit, Snapchat collected no revenue, and Apple's stock has roughly stayed flat over the past year. But in Silicon Valley, where companies are judged by potential, zero is still something.

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The Two-Way
9:41 am
Tue December 31, 2013

'Twerk' And 'Selfie' Top Latest List Of Words That Need To Go

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:47 am

This year's whimsical "List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness" from the wags at Michigan's Lake Superior State University is led by:

-- Selfie. The ubiquitous word for images snapped of one's self "has the honor of receiving the most nominations this year," the university says.

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Monkey See
9:41 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Remote Control: It Was Hard To Turn Off The TV In 2013

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:00 am

Here's why picking a Top 10 list of best TV shows has become such treacherous work for critics this year: Quite simply, 2013 was the year quality exploded in the television industry.

Thanks to the simultaneous maturing of Netflix, AMC, FX, HBO, Showtime, Amazon, BBC America, Sundance Channel, iTunes and many more media platforms, fans of great television had more options than ever to find high-quality product whenever and wherever they liked.

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Best Music Of 2013
9:40 am
Tue December 31, 2013

The Year In Charts: Legacy Hits In The Age Of Memes

Billboard's year-end chart." href="/post/year-charts-legacy-hits-age-memes" class="noexit lightbox">
Macklemore (left) and Ryan Lewis, whose "Thrift Shop" was the biggest song of 2013, according to Billboard's year-end chart.
John Keatley Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 1:19 pm

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