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The Salt
5:10 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Flying This Holiday? Here Are A Few Tips To Survive Airline Food

Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast suggests saucy pastas over meat: "They tend to hold up better to the chilling and reheating process."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:56 am

When you think about a scrumptious meal, airline food does not come to mind.

There are plenty of challenges to tasty airline meals, like the fact that many airlines now charge you for anything more than a tiny bag of chips and a plastic cup of non-alcoholic drink, at least on domestic flights. Plus, you can't cook on an airplane, so anything you're served has probably been chilled, then reheated. And flight delays certainly don't help with the freshness factor.

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The Salt
5:05 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Grasslands Get Squeezed As Another 1.6 Million Acres Go Into Crops

Retired farmer Joe Govert looks at a parcel of family land near Tribune, Kan. It has been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 6:59 pm

As the year winds down, we here at NPR are looking at a few key numbers that explain the big trends of 2013.

Today's number: 1.6 million.

That's 1.6 million acres — about the area of the state of Delaware.

That's how much land was removed this year from the federal Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, which pays farmers to keep land covered with native grasses or sometimes trees. Most of that land now will produce crops like corn or wheat.

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Around the Nation
6:28 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Camels Trek In The Texas Desert, Just Like Old Times

The camel trek guides insist everything Americans think they know about camels is wrong.
Wade Goodwyn NPR

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:28 pm

At 10 on a crisp West Texas morning, five camel-trekkers stand under the open sky of the Davis Mountains. A few feet away, guide Doug Baum and Jason Mayfield load up five camels.

Baum, a former zookeeper, runs the Texas Camel Corps. The group guides camel treks around the world. In the Big Bend region, camels were for a brief time widespread, and the guides have brought them back.

'As Good As They Come'

You have to like a man who brings his own camel to a camel trek. On Mayfield's arm is a tall, beautiful blond named Butter.

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U.S.
6:28 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

NSA Under More Scrutiny As Year Ends

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Turning back to this country and the controversy surrounding the National Security Agency. This week, it became clear that President Obama will likely make some changes to how the spy agency does its work. How far those changes go? Well, that's an open question. Will they, for example, adjust or even end the bulk collection of phone records? At his press conference yesterday, the president said that is part of the discussion.

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Africa
6:28 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

U.S. Troops Wounded In South Sudan Rescue Mission

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

From NPR West, this is ALL THING CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.

We're going to begin the program tonight in Africa where four U.S. servicemen were injured when their aircraft was fired on while flying over South Sudan. They were there to rescue Americans trapped in South Sudan where a political conflict threatens to escalate into a full-blown civil war.

NPR's Gregory Warner is in Nairobi where the injured soldiers were taken. Greg, what can you tell us about what happened today?

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Code Switch
5:57 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Reporter's Notebook: 'What Part Of Sacred Don't You Understand?'

Navajo activist Klee Benally chains himself to an excavator on the San Francisco Peaks, which he and 13 tribes consider sacred.
Ethan Sing

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 10:48 am

Laurel Morales covers Indian Country as a reporter for NPR member station KJZZ from a base in Flagstaff, which is on the edge of the country's largest reservation.

The Paris auction of 27 sacred American-Indian items earlier this month marks just the latest in a series of conflicts between what tribes consider sacred and what western cultures think is fair game in the marketplace.

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NPR Story
5:22 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

1979 Supreme Court Ruling Becomes Focus Of NSA Tactics

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Throughout this debate over the NSA, the government has maintained that this collection of phone records for millions of Americans is legal and constitutional. And the government has sided a key Supreme Court case decided in 1979.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Case is submitted, and we'll hear arguments next in Smith against Maryland.

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NPR Story
5:21 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

55 Years Later: Commemorating First Space Broadcast

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Before we come back to Earth, here's a little space history with a holiday touch. Fifty-five years ago this week on December 19, 1958, the first radio broadcast was transmitted from space. An American satellite beamed down the voice of Dwight D. Eisenhower via shortwave.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: This is the president of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space.

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NPR Story
5:21 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Astronauts On Spacewalk Begin Space Station Repair

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:28 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
5:14 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 10:28 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
4:11 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
3:44 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
11:39 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 9:42 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
10:25 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 6:31 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
10:15 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 2:58 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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