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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Iran Says It Will Keep Negotiating, Despite Tightening Of Sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 10:59 am

Iran says it will continue to negotiate over its nuclear program, despite a U.S. decision to expand its blacklist to include more than a dozen firms doing business with Iran's national tanker company.

Iran, if you remember, struck a temporary six-month deal with world powers that paused some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Iran had said that any new sanctions would kill the prospects for a long-term deal.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Louisiana Artist Behind 'Blue Dog' Paintings Dies At 69

Artist George Rodrigue looks at one painting of the three-canvas series titled "Three Coins in the Fountain" in 2010.
Brett Duke The Times-Picayune /Landov

George Rodrigue, the artist who transformed the image of Louisiana's loup-garou into a pop art icon, died on Saturday after a battle with cancer.

Rodrigue took the legend of the Cajun werewolf and transformed it into instantly recognizable portraits of a quizzical blue dog framed by different landscapes.

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Author Interviews
8:29 am
Sun December 15, 2013

54 Days In The Eternal City: A Christian 'Pilgrimage' For Lent

Rome's St. Zeno chapel was built by Pope St. Paschal I in honor of his mother. The ceiling, a gold mosaic, was intended as an interpretation of heaven.
Stephen Weigel Courtesy of Basic Books

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Each year, millions of people from different faiths make religious journeys. They travel far, to Mecca, Jerusalem, the Ganges River or Lourdes, France, to walk the paths of prophets, saints and martyrs.

"Pilgrimage is something built into the human condition," says George Weigel, author of Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches. "There seems to be something hardwired into us, spiritually, that the idea of a journey from A to B becomes part of the rhythm of the spiritual life."

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Europe
8:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Why French Troops Are Intervening In Africa — Again

A French soldier talks to a crowd outside a church in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on Thursday.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 2:19 pm

Once again, French television screens are full of images of joyous Africans welcoming French troops.

In January, the French military intervened in Mali to help liberate large swaths of the country from radical jihadists. Now, for the second time this year, France has sent troops into an African country to quell violence.

Last week, French soldiers went into the Central African Republic to stop sectarian killings. In news reports from the Central African Republic, crowds yell, "Vive la France!" as they run out to greet convoys of French soldiers.

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Global Health
8:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

They Shot For Zero, But Couldn't Squash Polio In 2013

A polio worker vaccinates a child in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, in October.
Arshad Arbab EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 2:43 pm

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. Numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. Over the next two weeks, you'll hear the stories behind numbers, ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

The lowest number of polio cases ever recorded in the world during one year was 223. And 2013 was on track for an even lower number.

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