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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.
NPR

Job Vacant After Karachi's Top Counter-Terrorism Cop Is Killed

An intense debate is underway in Pakistan over what to do about a surge of deadly Taliban attacks. The city's chief counterterrosim officer was killed a few weeks ago. Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam Khan was and remains a legendary figure.
NPR

Michoacan Vigilante Groups Collaborate With Mexican Government

The Mexican government has a new plan to control heavily armed vigilante groups fighting back against drug cartels. The government announced this week it is making the militias a legitimate part of the country's security forces and will allow them to help police the countryside.
NPR

For A Twist On The Lunar New Year Dumpling, Add Green Tea

A Chinese cookbook author remembers her childhood in China, where dumplings were steamed to conserve precious cooking oil. Recently she gave her favorite steamed dumplings an update.
NPR

Russia's Love Affair With Vodka Lures Many To An Early Grave

Russia has a big problem with vodka, which is a key factor in the country's abysmal life expectancy, researchers say. But measures like banning vodka sales at night have had an immediate effect on a young Russian man's chances of living to age 55

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