The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

President And Congress Extend FISA Wiretapping Act To 2017 [Updated]

National Intelligence Director James Clapper leaves the Capitol after briefing members of Congress earlier this month. The Senate voted Friday to extend the FISA Amendments Act to 2017, granting federal agencies wide surveillance powers.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 4:16 pm

The FISA Amendments Act has been approved for another five years, as the Senate voted to renew the law that grants the government wide surveillance authority. President Obama has said he intends to sign the measure, which senators approved by a 73-23 margin Friday morning. It had already won approval in the House.

Update at 6:10 p.m. Dec. 31: Obama signs FISA extension.

The president signed the FISA extension Sunday. Our original post continues:

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Victim Of Brutal Rape In India Dies In Singapore Hospital

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:51 pm

A woman who survived a brutal gang-rape on a bus in India has died, according to reports. Earlier Friday, hospital officials in Singapore, where the 23-year-old student was being treated, had warned that her condition was worsening.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
2:45 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Storm Refugees Struggle To Rebound In Times Square

Natisha Laws near her hotel in the middle of Times Square. She and her family were placed at the DoubleTree in mid-November by FEMA. They lost their rental apartment during Superstorm Sandy and have been struggling to recover.
Cindy Rodriguez for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The DoubleTree Hotel sits on one of the loudest and glitziest corners of Times Square. It's where enamored 9-year-old Isaiah Douglas has been staying with his mom, dad and little sister.

"It has been a great experience," Isaiah says. But the family isn't there on vacation.

Their story emerges in an elevator as a hotel guest strikes up a friendly conversation with Isaiah's mom, Natisha Laws.

"Where are you from?" the tourist asks.

"I'm from here. I'm from New York. We're with FEMA because of the Hurricane Sandy."

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Around the Nation
2:44 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

California Missions Undergo Upgrades To Resist Quakes

Scaffolding is seen at the basilica at a mission in Carmel, Calif., a sign of its multimillion-dollar seismic retrofit.
Krista Almanzan for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

At California's nearly two dozen Spanish missions, conversion these days isn't just about religion; it's also about seismic retrofitting. That's because the missions — which date to the late 1700s, when Spain's king sent Franciscan missionaries to convert natives to Christianity — would not withstand a major earthquake.

At a mission in Carmel, a 220-year-old basilica is in the middle of an earthquake retrofit. Workers removed the structure's red tile roof and replaced it with scaffolding and a protective plastic.

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Economy
2:38 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Reading The Economic Tea Leaves For 2013

A housing revival will be key to an economic recovery in 2013, analysts say.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The U.S. economy was a bit of a disappointment in 2012. During the early months of the year, job creation was surprisingly strong, but by the end of the year, uncertainty about the election and the "fiscal cliff" slowed the economy's forward motion. So will 2013 look any better?

Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says that while Washington likely will steer us away from the fiscal cliff at the last minute, some elements of the deal will be a drag on the economy early in 2013.

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Music
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Remembering Fontella Bass, Voice Of A Soul Classic

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The voice of a great soul classic has died. Fontella Bass sang the 1965 hit "Rescue Me." She was 72 years old and died from complications caused by a recent heart attack. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has this appreciation.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: It's a perfect song with a perfect voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RESCUE ME")

FONTELLA BASS: (Singing) Rescue me. Take me in your arms. Rescue me. I love your tender charms. I'm rather lonely and I'm blue. I need you and your love, too. Come on and rescue me.

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The Salt
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

One Lunch Lady's Cafeteria Conversion

Kathy Del Tonto (far right) participates in a class that teaches school cafeteria workers how to prepare meals from scratch.
LiveWell Colorado

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:02 pm

Kathy Del Tonto started cooking school food 30 years ago in the Montrose school district at the foot of Colorado's San Juan Mountains. Back then, the cafeteria workers made everything from scratch.

"My first kitchen that I managed was a little country school out south of town, and we made our own ketchup and everything," she says.

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Books
2:07 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

'Fifty Shades' Is The One That Got Away. At Least From Me

Vintage Books

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Sometimes "the one that got away" is a book that was easy to overlook. A little gem of a first novel, or a memoir by an unknown writer that unexpectedly captured everyone's imagination.

But sometimes, it's the elephant in the room that you just haven't looked at yet. Everyone knows about it. It's one of the biggest sellers of all time. It's a cultural phenomenon — it's Fifty Shades of Grey. And I ignored it until I couldn't anymore.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

International Adoptions On Downward Trend

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill today banning Americans from adopting Russian children. It's a move that will add significantly to a downward trend in international adoptions. American adoptions from Russia were already falling from a high of nearly 6,000 eight years ago to less than 1,000 last year. That's according to the State Department.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Major Port Strike Averted

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. A strike has been averted at many of the nation's busiest shipping ports, at least temporarily. The union representing longshoremen at ports along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico have threatened to walk off the job starting Sunday. But as we hear from NPR's Jim Zarroli, port operators and the union have reached agreement on one of their most contentious issues.

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