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Afghan Security Agreement Is Still Unsigned — Who's At Fault?

Delays continue to beset a proposed bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan. The pact would govern U.S. troops if they remain in Afghanistan past 2014. Deadlines have come and gone, but still no agreement has been signed by the two parties. Now, the situation seems to have deepened into a political standoff between the Pentagon and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. To understand how it got to this point, Robert Siegel turns to Sean Carberry, reporting from Kabul, and Tom Bowman, NPR's Pentagon correspondent.
NPR

School's Out For Online Students In 'State Sponsors Of Terrorism'

Students in Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria — countries under U.S. trade and economic sanctions — were blocked from accessing material on Coursera this week. The company, one of the largest providers of massive open online courses, says it's working with the U.S. government on a resolution.
NPR

PHOTOS: When Barn-Sized Boulder Meets Barn, Barn Loses

The images from northern Italy are stunning. A massive boulder broke free from a mountainside and tore a destructive path through a farm. The good news: No one was hurt.
NPR

WATCH: Skydivers Save Unconscious Comrade In Midair Rescue

James Lee's helmet cam records his fellow skydivers coordinating a life-saving maneuver as he plummets toward the ground from 12,500 feet.
NPR

Australia OKs Dumping Dredged Mud In Great Barrier Reef Park

The dredging operation is part of a plan to expand a coal port in Queensland. Environmentalists have warned that dumping sediment could kill off delicate corals, but park officials said dredging would be "subject to strict environmental conditions."
NPR

Canada Used Airport Wi-Fi To Track Travelers, Snowden Leak Alleges

The latest secret revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows how Canada's spy agency experimented with using free Wi-Fi signals to follow travelers. Officials tell CBC News that they were only collecting "metadata," not the contents of communications.
NPR

Panama To Free Crewmembers Of Seized North Korean Ship

The Chong Chon Gang and its crew of 35 have been held since July, when Panamanian authorities found Cuban weapons aboard in violation of U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.
NPR

No Breakthrough, But 'Bit Of Common Ground' In Syria Talks

It's hoped that the talks will resume on Feb. 10. U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says a "wide" gap remains between the Assad regime and the Syrian opposition. But he believes they may agree on more than they realize.
NPR

Air Quality Worries Dampen Chinese New Year Fireworks

China is greeting the Year of the Horse with a little less fanfare, noise and smoke, after severe air pollution choked scores of cities last year. Firework sales are down, and more people say they're forgoing the ancient and beloved good-luck tradition for the sake of their lungs and health.
NPR

'Return To Homs' Follows Cycle Of Syrian Demonstrations

A new documentary about the war in Syria follows the transformation of peaceful demonstrators into insurgents. Steve Inskeep talks to Orwa Nyrabia, the producer of the film, about the toll of the Syrian civil war on the besieged city of Homs.

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