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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

U.N. Reports More Than 7,000 Ebola Deaths Since March

Health workers rest outside a quarantine zone at a Red Cross facility in the town of Koidu, Kono district in Eastern Sierra Leone on Friday. The World Health Organization says the number of Ebola deaths in the current outbreak has exceeded 7,000.
Baz Ratner Reuters/Landov

The number of people who have died from the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola outbreak has crossed the 7,000 mark, the World Health Organization reports, after it recorded another 392 deaths from its previous total of 6.900 earlier this week.

The total number of infected, nearly all of them in West Africa, is at 19,031, up from 18,569 in the previous report. More than 99 percent of all infections and deaths have occurred in three countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:30 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Timothy Spall, Review Of D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah,' John Cleese

Timothy Spall says he had to use a lot of empathy to play a character like Mr. Turner, who wasn't always "very pleasant" and was a "man of massive contradictions."
Simon Mein Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Timothy Spall Takes On Painter J.M.W. Turner, A 'Master Of The Sublime': The 19th century painter wasn't always "very pleasant" and he was a "man of massive contradictions," Spall says. So Spall says he had to "dig deep" to play the title role in Mr. Turner.

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Movies
10:59 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

A worker carries a poster for the movie The Interview away from its display case at a theater in Atlanta. "It feels like the margin's narrowed about what kind of movies Hollywood will be making," says veteran Hollywood producer Stephanie Striegel.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 12:05 pm

President Obama is not the only one thinking about the precedent set when Sony decided not to release the comedy The Interview. Around Hollywood, the action drew immediate rebuke as celebrities took to Twitter — like director and producer Judd Apatow:

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel agreed, writing, "An un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent."

In writing rooms and comedy clubs in Los Angeles, however, the conversations are more nuanced.

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Simon Says
10:56 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Despite Its Beauty, Cuba Isn't Quite Ready For Tourists

In 1959, Fidel Castro imposed a law forbidding the import of foreign cars, so many Cubans drive and maintain older models.
Kate Skogen JetKat Photo

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

I've always had a good time in Cuba. The people are friendly and funny, the rum is smooth, the music intoxicating and the beaches wide, white and soft.

But you're accompanied everywhere by government minders. They call them responsables. Any Cuban you interview knows your microphone might as well run straight to their government.

If you want to talk to someone with a different view, you have to slip out of your hotel in the middle of the night without your minder — though dissidents say other security people follow you.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
10:38 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Limericks

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:27 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
10:38 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Lightning Fill In The Blank

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:27 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
10:38 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Prediction

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:27 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
10:25 am
Sat December 20, 2014

4 Gitmo Prisoners Released For Return To Afghanistan

The entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, in a photograph taken earlier this year.
Ben Fox AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:52 am

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The United States has released four Afghan detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who were returned to Afghanistan — the latest in a series of releases of inmates in recent weeks.

Reuters says: "The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009, a U.S. official said."

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Russia Says It Won't 'Cave In' To New Western Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in front of the map of the Russian Federation, with Crimea on the left of the map, during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. The Kremlin has responded angrily to the latest round of U.S.-EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.
Alexei Druzhinin AP

Russia, battered by the falling price of oil, its chief export, and a tumbling ruble, lashed out against the U.S. and EU for new sanctions that President Vladimir Putin says already account for "25 to 30 percent" of his country's eroding currency.

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Animals
9:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:54 am

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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