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Pentagon, White House Are At Odds Over Afghanistan

The Pentagon is saying that it needs to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 to train Afghans and maintain a counterterror mission. But military officials are once again running into interference from Vice President Joe Biden. That's nothing new: Biden in particular has for years pushed for a counterterror option of only several thousand troops, though the military says that number is far too small. The Pentagon argues that Biden's proposal would mean the U.S. forces would be largely consigned to their bases.
NPR

Syrian Peace Talks Open With Bitterness And A Bit Of Hope

The long-anticipated Syrian peace conference commenced on Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland. The opening day marked the first time Syrian government and opposition members came together in the same room. Each side blamed the other for the three years of bloodshed in Syria. NPR's Deborah Amos offers a recap and analysis of the day's events from Switzerland.
NPR

Latino Immigrants Find A Better Life In U.S., Poll Says

Many Latino immigrants come to the U.S. in search of a better life — and most of them find one, according to a new poll. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks about the findings with Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health and Rey Junco of Purdue University.
NPR

Komla Dumor: The African Journalist Who 'Lifted The Continent'

Dumor hosted the BBC television program Focus on Africa and was probably the best-known journalist on the continent. He roamed Africa for years and was known for explaining Africa — the good and the bad — with clarity, context and compassion.
NPR

New Delhi's 'Agitator' Administrator Ends Unusual Protest

Newly elected Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal led a two-day sit-in to protest alleged inaction by the city's police force, which is controlled by the national government. The protest ended with a stitched-together deal that's been called more of a climb-down than a compromise.
NPR

Hopping Mad: Rabbit In Mandela Statue's Ear Is On Burrowed Time

Two South African sculptors who were refused permission to engrave their signatures on the giant statue of Nelson Mandela came up with a novel solution: They hid a bronze rabbit in the statue's ear. Now, they have to remove the addition.
NPR

Antarctic Travelers Who Got Stuck In Ice Finally Get Home

The 52 scientists and paying passengers were aboard a ship that got stuck in the ice on Christmas Eve. It was about 10 days before they were helicoptered to another ship nearby. Who will pay the $2 million or so it cost to rescue the group? That's being negotiated.
NPR

Almost No Poor Nations By 2035? That's What Bill Gates Says

In his annual letter about the work of his foundation, the Microsoft co-founder says once-impoverished nations have already made tremendous progress, and more will follow their lead.
NPR

'Accusations And Acrimony' At Start Of Talks On Syria

Syria's foreign minister said the opposition is made up of traitors. The opposition's delegate asked the world "who do you believe?" Secretary of State John Kerry laid the blame for civilians' deaths at the feet of the Assad regime. Prospects for progress appear to be dim.
NPR

What's At Stake In The Syrian Peace Conference

With the Syrian civil war still raging, a peace conference opens in Switzerland that will include some but not all of the factions involved in the fighting. A breakthrough looks like a long shot.

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