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Asia
3:25 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Chinese Flock To The Countryside For A More Authentic New Year

Chinese blacksmiths in Nuanquan (Warm Spring) Town perform a folk custom called "making trees and flowers." They throw ladles of molten iron onto a wall, creating showers of sparks. The centuries-old custom originated with blacksmiths too poor to afford fireworks. In recent years, urban tourists have flocked to this once obscure town over the Chinese New Year holiday to enjoy local folk customs.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:35 pm

China goes back to work Friday after a weeklong holiday marking the Year of the Horse. Traditionally, celebrations continue through the first month of the Lunar New Year.

As in years past, some 800 million viewers tuned in this year to the state TV New Year's gala program to watch Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, French actress and singer Sophie Marceau, and other entertainers.

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Business
3:22 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Amtrak Fights Big Oil For Use Of The Rails

Amtrak trains on the Empire Builder route, which stops in Williston, N.D., have been facing long delays.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:03 pm

Oil business in North Dakota is creating some big headaches for Amtrak travelers. Trains on the popular Empire Builder route between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest are often delayed for hours.

One reason for the congestion is an influx of trains hauling crude oil across the Northern Plains.

The delays are becoming so bad that a passenger group now wants the U.S. transportation secretary to intervene.

Frozen Before Ice Fishing

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Parallels
3:21 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Tijuana Prisoner: I Was Forced To Dig Drug Tunnel To San Diego

A Mexican guard at a prison in Tijuana where 17 men are being held on charges they were digging a drug-smuggling tunnel from Tijuana to the U.S. border at San Diego. The men say they were kidnapped and forced to do the work.
Special to NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:32 am

More than 75 drug-smuggling tunnels have been discovered under the U.S.-Mexico border in just the past six years, and one of the more intriguing cases involves 17 Mexican men who claim they were kidnapped and forced to carry out the work for months before Mexican authorities found them.

There's always been some mystery surrounding tunnels. Diggers were thought to be well-paid cartel loyalists or, as urban legend goes, laborers killed soon after the tunnel's completion to ensure its secrecy.

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The Two-Way
7:50 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Police Officer Arrests Firefighter At Accident Scene In California

How do we explain the arrest of a firefighter by a police officer at the scene of an accident — after an argument over where a fire truck should park? The authorities are still discussing the incident, which took place Tuesday night on California's I-805, where a car had rolled over at the center road barrier.

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The Two-Way
7:26 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Lawmaker Says Snowden Leaks Will Cost Country 'Billions To Repair'

Edward Snowden.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:36 pm

Following a classified briefing on Wednesday, the chairman and the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said the "majority" of the classified information taken by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had "nothing to do with the NSA," or its collection of bulk data.

"Instead [his leaks] specifically [work] to compromise the military capability and defense of the country," Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican and the vice chairman of the committee, said during a press briefing.

Thornberry added the leaks will "certainly cost billions to repair."

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