World

World Cafe
5:42 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Parquet Courts On World Cafe

Parquet Courts.
Ben Rayner Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 8:52 pm

It has been a prolific year for our guests today, the punk band Parquet Courts. They have released two albums this year: Sunbathing Animal under their own name and Content Nausea as Parkay Quarts. We will talk with two founders of the band, Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, and hear performances from the stage of World Cafe Live. We also find out that the new songs are inspired by influences as diverse as Russian history and Louisiana prison songs.

The Salt
5:09 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food

Sugar, coffee, fruit juice for babies, oil and salt inside a market subsidized by the government in Havana on July 11, 2013.
Enrique De La Osa Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 8:14 am

It took a few hours for some Cubans to realize the magnitude of President Obama's announcement on Wednesday about changes in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, according to Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Beautiful, Desolate 'Winter Sleep'

Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) consults his sister Necla (Demet Akbag) about the subject of his next newspaper column.
Adopt Films

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 9:01 pm

My favorite movie of 2014 is three hours long, and it's about Turkish people who live in caves. Winter Sleep is all talk and vistas of steppes so beautiful and so desolate, they'll make you weep. Don't go away: Like all of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's work, the film, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year, is about life itself, in general but with thrilling particularity. You want to know why we can't get along, don't you?

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Watery 'Goodbye To All That'

Paul Schneider and Heather Graham in Goodbye To All That.
Corey Walter IFC Films

Otto Wall, the protagonist of Goodbye to All That, is well-meaning, clumsy and a little dull. The movie embodies his character perfectly.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Married Couple In Decline

Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos in If You Don't, I Will.
Film Movement

Sophie Fillières' uneven relationship drama If You Don't, I Will opens with a scene of biting dialogue between Pierre (Mathieu Almaric) and Pomme (Emmanuelle Devos), whose marriage is seemingly on its last legs.

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Music
4:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Music A Longtime Feature Of Cuba-U.S. Cultural Exchange

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:32 pm

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

Europe
4:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Putin Remains Defiant On Crimea, Ukraine At Annual Press Conference

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:32 pm

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

World
4:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Most Pages In New U.S.-Cuba Chapter Still Have To Be Written

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:32 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Administration Won't Rule Out Raul Castro Visit To White House

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:54 am

The White House today said it "wouldn't rule out a visit from President Raul Castro" to Washington, a day after President Obama announced the U.S. and Cuba would begin talks to normalize relations and open embassies following more than five decades of hostility.

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Parallels
4:05 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

In Latin America, Not Everyone Is Thrilled With The U.S.-Cuba Thaw

Cuban President Fidel Castro (left) and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Barinas, Venezuela, in 2000. The two formed a close partnership, which has continued with their successors. However, the prospect of normal ties between the U.S. and Cuba may also have an impact on relations between Cuba and Venezuela.
Jose Goitia AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:28 pm

Latin American governments have long viewed Cuba as the region's David facing off against the Goliath of the United States. So from Mexico to Argentina, leaders are endorsing Wednesday's announcement that the two nations intend to normalize relations.

But this could prove awkward for Venezuela, which has been Cuba's closest ally and a fierce critic of Washington.

In public, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is praising the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba.

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The Record
3:57 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

On 'The Pinkprint,' Nicki Minaj Speaks The Language Of Love

Nicki Minaj, in a still from her video for "Only."
Courtesy of the artist

The Pinkprint is just a record, as far as hip-hop is concerned. Nothing more, nothing less. But for Nicki Minaj, it's a career-defining moment. Even after she weathered a storm of rap critic scolds unhappy with her for completely crossing over the line she once straddled so well, the dance-pop successes of her last album, Roman Reloaded, overshadowed her artistic credibility. How would she bounce back? As Nicki well knows, hip-hop will only take it so far.

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Goats and Soda
3:56 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

And The Award For Most Offensive Fundraising Video Goes To ...

The "Rusty Radiator" award for most offensive or stereotypical portrayal of the developing world in a fundraising video went to Feed a Child South Africa.
Feed a Child South Africa

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:34 pm

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The Two-Way
3:54 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

5 Defining Moments In The U.S.-Cuba Relationship

Obama shakes hands with Castro during a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, on Dec. 10, 2013. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says his brother introduced himself to Obama in English, telling him, "Mr. President, I'm Castro," as the two leaders shook hands.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 7:32 pm

1. Obama, Raul Castro Announce Normalization Of Relations

President Obama said Wednesday the U.S. and Cuba will normalize relations, which have been strained since being severed in 1961. He spoke to Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday to finalize details of the announcement.

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Television
3:24 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Tribute To Stephen Colbert, A Self-Proclaimed 'Junkie For Exhaustion'

Stephen Colbert will host his final episode of The Colbert Report Thursday after nine years on air.
Pool Getty Images

After nine years, Stephen Colbert is retiring the character he created for The Colbert Report, the conservative, self-important blowhard who opines about the news and the media. The final episode airs Thursday. Colbert will take over as host for The Late Show, replacing the retiring David Letterman.

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Putin Vows To Fix Russian Economy

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 18, 2014. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

In his annual press conference, which ran four hours, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to ease the country’s economic woes by diversifying its heavy reliance on oil and gas. He also said he’s confident the plummeting ruble will recover.

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NPR Story
2:49 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Short History Of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (left) shakes hands with Cuban President Fidel Castro on May 12,, 2002, at the State Council in Havana, where Castro, Carter and their respective delegations met for a working meeting. Carter was on a five-day visit to Cuba, invited by Castro. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama’s decision to change U.S. policy on Cuba comes after a half century of icy relations. The announcement came as a surprise to many, including Julia Sweig, director for Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sweig joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the history of the struggle between the two nations and outline what the opening of diplomatic relations and easing of restrictions will mean both for Cuba and the United States.

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Shots - Health News
2:43 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

NIH Allows Restart Of MERS Research That Had Been Questioned

A transmission electron micrograph shows Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus particles (colorized yellow).
NIAID

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:26 pm

Some researchers who study the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome got an early Christmas present: permission to resume experiments that the federal government abruptly halted in October.

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The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

6 Things You Should Know About Cuban Cigars

American actor Groucho Marx, with his trademark mustache, glasses and cigar. We can't be sure that this cigar was Cuban.
John Kobal Foundation Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:55 pm

Cuban cigars are wrapped in mystique. Soon travelers will be able to bring back $100 worth of the famed cigars. Here are some facts you should know.

1. Cuban cigars are expensive, even in Cuba.

As NPR's Tom Gjelten tweeted, the new permission to bring back $100 worth of tobacco (or alcohol) allows you at the most four good cigars. Tom says he hasn't been back to Cuba for six years, but the last time he was there, a single Cohiba or Uppman "set you back at least $25."

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NPR Story
2:07 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Are Artificial Christmas Trees Really More Environmentally Sound?

Tree farms provide the majority of Christmas trees. (jpmatth/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:53 pm

Three million American families will buy real Christmas trees this year. Most are grown in either Oregon or North Carolina, the top two Christmas-tree-producing states in the country.

However, the real-tree industry has something in common with many other businesses: competition with China. About 79 percent of people now use artificial Christmas trees.

One reason people purchase artificial trees is because they believe they’re more environmentally sound. But is that true?

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NPR Story
2:07 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

College Counselor: 'A Deferral Is Not A Denial'

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:52 am

High school students discovered this week whether they’ve been accepted to their choice college under early decision. For students who were deferred, guidance counselor Lisa Micele says that doesn’t mean they won’t get in to their top school in the spring.

Micele is the director of college counseling at the University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Urbana, Illinois. She spoke with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson and shared some tips about navigating the college application process.

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