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Where The Smokers Are Now: Bulgaria, Greece And Macedonia

While the proportion of the world's population that smokes has shrunk, the total number of smokers on the earth continues to rise. In 2012, nearly a billion people smoked daily, compared with 721 million in 1980.
NPR

Ships Break Free In Antarctica, U.S. Icebreaker Not Needed

A Russian ship that had been taking scientists and passengers on an expedition got stuck. So did a Chinese icebreaker that tried to help. The U.S. Coast Guard sent its biggest icebreaker on a mission to help. But the ships have been able to get out on their own.
NPR

Egypt's Coptic Christians Celebrate Christmas Amid Fear, Hope

Coptic Christians in Egypt celebrated their Christmas on Tuesday in an atmosphere of uncertainty. There were dozens of attacks on churches and Christian homes both during and after the tenure of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Coptic leaders publicly supported the military coup that ousted Morsi.
NPR

Why One Expert Says Edward Snowden Deserves Clemency

As the courts decide whether the NSA practices revealed by the former contractor are constitutional, the court of public opinion considers what should become of him. David Greene talks to Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, about why she believes Snowden's actions were commendable.
NPR

Despite Warning Signs, South Sudan's Violence Escalated Fast

The United States played a key role in helping South Sudan gain independence. But, U.S. diplomats are having a hard time helping the country emerge from internal political and ethnic violence.
NPR

Even In Snowden-Friendly Brazil, Asylum May Be 'Bridge Too Far'

Should they or shouldn't they? That's the question Brazilians are asking themselves after Edward Snowden's "open letter" lauding Brazil's role in protecting privacy rights and alluding to his hand in uncovering spying against their president.
NPR

The Pentagon Weighs Its Options In Syria And Iraq

Violence is spreading now in both Syria and Iraq, with al-Qaida and other jihadi fighters increasing their influence. In Syria, the U.S. is putting its hopes on peace talks, but there is no sign that the U.S. will go beyond that. The Pentagon has drawn up plans to increase the rebel training effort now being done by the CIA, but the White House has not given the go-ahead. In Iraq, the U.S. has said it will not send troops. Instead, it will sell missiles and drones to help the Iraqi government beat back a resurgent al-Qaida in Ramadi and Fallujah. The bottom line: The U.S. doesn't want to get dragged into either country.
NPR

Fallujah Veterans Ask Hard Questions About Their Sacrifices

A radical group with links to al-Qaida has taken intermittent control of key parts of Fallujah in western Iraq. It's the same area where U.S. troops saw some of their bloodiest fights during the Iraq war a decade ago, costing the U.S. more lives than in any other region in Iraq.
NPR

How Al-Qaida Returned To A Troubled Part Of Iraq

Western Iraq was one of the most chaotic parts of the country during the U.S. war there. Al-Qaida extremists were defeated once, but with U.S. forces gone, they've managed to return as Iraq continues to slide into chaos.
NPR

U.N. Suspends Counting Deaths In Syria's Civil War

The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says it can't verify its sources and so will leave the figure at 100,000, where it stood in July.

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