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One of the Vatican's most prominent critics, who pushed for greater protections for children and harsher punishments for pedophile priests, has taken a leave of absence from the pope's advisory commission on clerical sex abuse.

State TV announced North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket Sunday morning local time, and says the North plans to launch more satellites in the future. Pyongyang had informed the United Nations International Maritime Organization that it planned to fire a rocket into orbit sometime between February 7 and 14.

The South Korean defense ministry says the rocket was fired from North Korea's Sohae launch site. So far, there has been no damage to boats or planes, according to South Korea's Oceans and Fisheries and Land and Transport ministries.

Israel made a decision last week that supporters are calling game-changing. Men and women will be allowed to worship together at the holiest place where Jews can legally pray. This could lead to other changes in Israel.

Batya Kallus, who helped negotiate the deal that led to the government decision, is jubilant.

"This is groundbreaking," she says. "We've reconceived what the Western Wall includes."

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Adnan Syed Hearing Wrap-up

Feb 6, 2016
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U.S. To Amp Up NATO Presence Against Russia

Feb 6, 2016
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This Week In Sports: Super Bowl Talk

Feb 6, 2016
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And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Do Political TV Ads Still Work?

Feb 6, 2016
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One more twist in an already unusual campaign season - the candidate on the Republican side who spent the most money on TV ads by far is lagging far behind in the polls. The two candidates who did best in Iowa hardly spent anything compared to years past.

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There was a time when it felt like Keurig coffee pods were going to take over the world — or at least encircle it.

But now sales are on the decline, down some $60 million from last year.

The company has faced criticism because the individual coffee pods are not kind to the environment. But Venessa Wong with BuzzFeed says that's not the only factor that's contributed to the decline in sales.

After Ebola, Surf's Up Again In Liberia

Feb 6, 2016

"Wait for the next one!" a teenager yells, perched on a shaded rock with a group of his friends.

"That's it, that's it!" cries another, gesturing toward a swelling wave that's gathering speed as it heads toward a surfer about 25 yards offshore. When he lets the wave pass him by, bobbing over its crest on a scuffed board, the group laughs. "Look at him, he's scared."

Nearly six years after its enactment, the Affordable Care Act remains a hot issue in the presidential race – in both parties.

"Our health care is a horror show," said GOP candidate Donald Trump at the Republican debate in South Carolina in December. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, winner of the Iowa caucuses, said at the debate in Des Moines that the health law has been "a disaster," adding it's "the biggest job-killer in our country."

Emily Martin created a state-by-state map of the gender wage gap in the United States. She calculated: Washington, D.C., has the smallest wage gap where women average nearly 90 cents to a man's dollar; Louisiana has the largest gap — women there earn just 65 percent of what men do.

Nationally, women earn an average 79 cents for every dollar men do. The gender wage gap is even wider for black and Hispanic women.

You wouldn't think of calling a mosquito "man's best friend." But that's the nickname that biologist Denise Valle uses for Aedes aegypti, the species that's been spreading the Zika virus in Brazil and many other countries in Latin America.

I think "man's best enemy" might be better.

The thing is, this mosquito likes to live near humans.

A major natural gas storage well in Southern California is still leaking, though less so than back in late October, when the giant gas leak was first reported. More than 5,000 families and two schools have been relocated since then, and the local utility that operates the facility is now facing several legal actions.

News services say at least 14 people, including a baby and a 40-year-old man, have been killed in an earthquake in Taiwan.

A magnitude 6.4 quake shook the southern city of Tainan just before 4 a.m. local time Saturday. The shallow quake caused severe damage to several large structures, including one residential building where authorities say hundreds live.

NPR's Elise Hu, in Taiwan, tells All Things Considered that residential building was 17 stories tall but collapsed down to the height of about four stories.

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The Jordanian movie Theeb has been nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar. It's a beautiful, sweeping story set in 1916 in an area of western Saudi Arabia then known as the Hejaz. The film's director, Naji Abu Nowar, says Theeb covers a pivotal moment in the region's history.

"The First World War is kicking off ... and the war is coming toward this area of Hejaz," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "The British are ... inciting the Arab tribes to revolt against the Ottoman imperialists. And so you're on the brink of a massive change."

On Friday's All Things Considered, I have a story about how a recent federal court ruling is restricting when police may use Tasers in the five Southeastern states covered by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a nutshell, police there may no longer shock a nonviolent, noncooperative suspect with a Taser stun gun— even if he is trying to escape custody.

The new movie, Rams, has absolutely nothing to do with Peyton Manning. It's a story from Iceland that involves sheep, snow, a herd-afflicting virus called scrapie, and sufficient sibling rivalry to power a Greek tragedy.

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Our co-host, Robert Siegel, has been in New Hampshire all week with the other journalists, pundits and campaign staffers who descend on the state every four years, and he's been captivated by some of the other visitors.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., had strong words for Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Thursday regarding the VA's failure to compensate thousands of World War II veterans who were exposed to mustard gas.

A hole-in-one is a cause for celebration, even (especially?) when a robot does it.

LDRIC, a cleverly named golf robot, aced the par-3 16th hole at Arizona's TPC Scottsdale course earlier this week on just its fifth try.

Which beer goes with guacamole? And which brew adds a nice clean, crisp finish to spicy wings?

Those are burning questions for anyone who wants to take his snack game to the next level this Super Bowl weekend. And two craft beer experts who wrote the book on pairing have the answers.

OK, Google, Where Did I Put My Thinking Cap?

Feb 5, 2016

Take a look at this question: How do modern novels represent the characteristics of humanity?

If you were tasked with answering it, what would your first step be? Would you scribble down your thoughts — or would you Google it?

Terry Heick, a former English teacher in Kentucky, had a surprising revelation when his eighth- and ninth-grade students quickly turned to Google.

"What they would do is they would start Googling the question, 'How does a novel represent humanity?' " Heick says. "That was a real eye-opener to me."

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