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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

What Is The Polar Vortex And Why Is It Doing This To Us?

Ice has built up along Lake Michigan in Chicago as temperatures have plunged in recent days. A dip in the polar vortex is to blame.
Scott Olson Getty Images
  • On 'Morning Edition': science writer Andrew Freedman talks with NPR's David Greene about the polar vortex

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Frolicking Fido, Cozy Cats: How Your Pets Are Chilling Out

Izzy Haywood/Instagram

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 11:10 am

We asked you for photos of how your pets are dealing with the frigid weather — and you folks sure did deliver. Here are some of the images you tagged #nprfrostypaws on Instagram.

Just a reminder, though, that we are seeing record-breaking low temperatures in some places, so please keep your pets warm.

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The Salt
11:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Smithfield Prods Its Pork Suppliers To Dump Pig Crates

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:55 pm

Smithfield, the world's largest hog and pork buyer, announced Tuesday that it's asking the independent farmers with whom it has contracts to get rid of stalls for pregnant sows to improve the animals' living conditions.

To nudge these farmers to make the changes to their facilities by 2022, Smithfield is offering to extend their contracts once they've converted their gestational stalls into group houses, which are generally considered more humane.

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The Two-Way
11:42 am
Tue January 7, 2014

First Batch Of Chemical Weapons Material Shipped Out Of Syria

The first batch of chemical weapons material from Syria's stockpile has been loaded onto a Danish commercial ship and is now in international waters, a United Nations official said Tuesday.

Sigrid Kaag, special coordinator for the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told reporters that the ship was loaded with "priority chemicals," that eventually will be destroyed.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
11:33 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Lily & Madeleine: Tiny Desk Concert

Lily & Madeleine, at a Tiny Desk concert in November 2013.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:11 pm

Sisters Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz aren't the youngest musicians ever to play the Tiny Desk, but they come pretty close. Their music — a restrained, homespun mix of folk and pop with undeniably sweet harmonies — certainly ranks among the loveliest we've heard.

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Shots - Health News
11:33 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Health Care Inbox: From Medicaid Eligibility To Tax Credits

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act draws even more questions than when the law was on the drawing board.
iStockphoto

The new year is upon us, and with it a fuller implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The questions about the health care law haven't slowed. Here are some of the latest queries and answers.

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The Two-Way
11:27 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Run Run Shaw, Kung Fu Movie Pioneer, Dies

Sir Run Run Shaw in 2010.
Bobby Yip Reuters/Landov
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's David Greene talks about Run Run Shaw

"If you've ever enjoyed an action-packed Kung Fu film," Morning Edition host David Greene says, "take a moment to thank Sir Run Run Shaw, who passed away Tuesday."

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Parallels
11:15 am
Tue January 7, 2014

How Al-Qaida Returned To A Troubled Part Of Iraq

Sunni Muslim fighters in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah take up positions on Sunday. The insurgents have been fighting government troops in battles similar to those a decade ago in the area.
Mohammed Jalil EPA /Landov

Yet again, Iraqi civilians are fleeing violence in Iraq's sprawling western province of Anbar. Years of under-the-radar daily tension and bloodshed has erupted into another al-Qaida surge and retaliatory Iraqi government airstrikes.

But the violence that brought Iraq back to the headlines, while tragic, was not surprising.

For months, observers had been warning about the combustible combination of the Syrian civil war next door and the alienation of Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority.

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Tue January 7, 2014

JPMorgan Chase To Pay $1.7 Billion To Madoff Victims

Bernard L. Madoff in 2009.
Timothy Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 4:30 pm

After striking a deal with federal prosecutors, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to the victims of Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The bank will be criminally charged with two violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and will admit to the violations. But under the agreement, the bank will receive a deferred prosecution.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Dennis Rodman Defends North Korean 'Basketball Diplomacy'

Former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:48 am

In a combative interview from North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman defended his "basketball diplomacy" in the repressive country and seemed to imply that he believes American businessman Kenneth Bae, sentenced to 15 years' hard labor for allegedly trying to overthrow the Kim Jong Un regime, is guilty.

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