NPR Story
4:14 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Astronauts On Spacewalk Begin Space Station Repair

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 9:28 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

This morning, astronauts Michael Hopkins and Richard Mastracchio stepped outside the International Space Station. Their mission: to conduct one of three urgent spacewalks to repair a coolant system. Mission Control seemed happy with today's effort.

(SOUNDBITE OF MISSION CONTROL RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: OK. Really nice work, guys. We're about an hour and a half ahead. Let's take some steps beforehand. First, we want to do an ammonia inspection.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Copy that.

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All Tech Considered
4:14 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

How An Obscure Government Code — 834 — Became Big In 2013

Oregon is still using paper applications to enroll people in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 9:28 pm

Monday is the last day Americans in most states will be able to enroll in Affordable Care Act health exchanges if they want coverage to start in January. But technical problems have foiled sign-ups from the start, which led an otherwise obscure number to become a big deal in 2013.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

JPMorgan Chase Places Limits On Cards Used At Target Stores

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase says it is placing some limits on debit cards used at Target stores recently.

NBC News and Reuters report that some customers would be limited to $100 in cash withdrawals and $300 in total purchases per day.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

New NSA Documents Make Case For Keeping Surveillance Programs Secret

U.S. Army Gen. Keith Alexander, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), testifies during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in June.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

The Director of National Intelligence declassified a set of 10 court documents on Saturday, in which both the Bush and Obama administrations argue that sensitive NSA programs should be kept secret.

The administration declassified the documents under a court order related to two lawsuits filed the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Closure: 94-Year-Old Widow Receives Remains Of Fallen Husband

Clara Gantt, the 94-year-old widow of U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Gantt, weeps in front of her husband's casket.
Andrew Renneisen AP

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:42 am

The sun had not yet risen, when the United Airlines jetliner made its way into Los Angeles International Airport on Friday.

Clara Gantt, 94, had been waiting for this moment for six decades. Of course, for six decades, she expected that this would be a happy reunion. She expected that the love of her life would come bounding off an airplane after two wars and come back home, resuming the life they had planned for each other.

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Epic Spacewalk To Replace Cooling Equipment On ISS Goes Well

The degraded pump module as seen from the helmet cam of Rick Mastracchio.
NASA

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:31 pm

Updated 6 p.m. ET

NASA reports that things went well in Saturday's 5-1/2-hour spacewalk, with two American astronauts removing a pump from the International Space Station Saturday in an effort to repair a faulty piece of cooling equipment.

Astronauts Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio completed more of the fixes in less time than had been anticipated.

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Number Of The Year
9:15 am
Sat December 21, 2013

For BP Cleanup, 2013 Meant 4.6 Million Pounds Of Oily Gunk

Jonathan Henderson of the Gulf Restoration Network holds a jar of tar balls.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 1:58 pm

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. They're numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we live in.

On a breezy December morning, a work crew is scouring the surf line on Grand Isle, La., scooping up tiny tar balls and collecting them in a basket.

Foreman LeRoy Irving keeps track of what the 14-person team has collected in a half-day. "If I had to guess, maybe 10 pounds," he says.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Four U.S. Service Members Injured In South Sudan

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 1:42 pm

This post was last updated at 11:50 a.m. ET.

Three U.S. military aircraft running evacuation flights out of South Sudan were fired upon on Saturday, leaving four service members injured, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command said.

United States Africa Command says all four service members have been treated and are in stable condition.

The three CV-22 Ospreys were fired on while flying out of Bor, which NPR's Gregory Warner reports is not under government control.

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Politics
8:04 am
Sat December 21, 2013

The Life Of A Lobbyist In A Do-Nothing Congress

After casting their final votes of a session in which few laws were passed, members of Congress leave for a five-week recess.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 3:00 pm

The 113th Congress has finished its first session, and lawmakers enacted fewer than 60 laws. No Congress since 1947 has done so little legislating.

That's bad news for many of Washington's lobbyists. Howard Marlowe, for one, hasn't been feeling the joy of his job.

"One of the driest periods in the 35 years that I've been lobbying," he says.

An old Washington hand, Marlowe has a small, boutique lobbying firm specializing in local infrastructure projects. His client base includes airports, shipping ports and local governments.

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Parallels
8:04 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Once Again, Irish Youth Are Leaving For A Better Life Overseas

Chris Kelly, right, used to run an auto repair shop but lost it during the recession. Kelly, 30, is now studying technology management at the University of Limerick. David Watters, a 20-year-old human resources student, wants to move to Dubai. "The generation that's between 18 and 25, they're leaving because they think there's no future in Ireland," Watters says.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 6:10 pm

Sharon O'Flaherty is riding the bus to Limerick, a no-frills city in western Ireland. She's going to see her dying grandmother this Christmas. She hasn't been home in two years.

"I was working for a company for five and a half years," she says. "I got made redundant, and couldn't find a job at an equal level. So the options were immigration, and it was basically take your pick: Europe, Canada or Australia. So I chose Australia."

The 29-year-old now works as a recruitment manager in Perth.

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