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The Two-Way
5:43 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Somalia's Al-Shabab Attacks African Peacekeepers

African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), African Union soldiers march along the top of a hill overlooking the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town 135 miles southwest of Mogadishu, in Somalia, in October.
Tobin Jones AP

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 5:57 pm

The African Union has condemned an assault on the organization's main base in Somalia by al-Shabab extremists that killed three AU soldiers and a civilian contractor.

AMISOM, the AU mission in Somalia, issued a statement Thursday saying that the four had been killed in a gunfight as soldiers tried to repel the attack by eight militant gunmen.

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NPR Ed
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Where Ebola Has Closed Schools, A Radio Program Provides A Faint Signal Of Hope

Florence Allen Jones, right, is part of the education ministry's classes-by-radio team.
John W. Poole/NPR

Florence Allen Jones used to teach in Washington, D.C., before coming back home to Liberia.

Now she's part of the education ministry's teaching-by-radio team. Working with UNICEF and another nonprofit, Talking Drum, in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the government aims to provide lessons to children across the country, hit by the Ebola outbreak. Most schools closed this past summer and will likely remain closed for months.

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The Salt
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Why Bury Fig Trees? A Curious Tradition Preserves A Taste Of Italy

Michele Vaccaro buries a fig tree in the yard of Mary Menniti in Sewickley, Pa.
Hal Klein for NPR

On a grey, chilly December morning in Sewickley, Pa., Michele Vaccaro and his assistant are digging a trench in a garden.

"It looks like we're burying somebody over here — a body," Vaccaro says.

Cast your old Godfather stereotypes aside, because this Calabrian immigrant is carrying on a much more wholesome tradition: He's burying a 12-foot fig tree.

"It's been done for years. Probably [since] the 1800s," he says, when Italians coming to America first started bringing fig trees over from the old country. "They would put them always in the ground."

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Around the Nation
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Chicago Officials Spar With South Dakota Over Airport Ads

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

Economy
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Low Gas Prices Predicted For 2015 And Beyond

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

Found Recipes
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

After The Presents, A Buttery Tea Cake Tradition

Susan Tannewitz-Karnes grew up eating Mrs. Lawrence every Christmas. The tea cake was so beloved that Tannewitz-Karnes and her siblings would argue over who received more than their fair share.
Courtesy of Susan Tannewitz-Karnes

When listener Susan Tannewitz-Karnes was a child in Johnson City, Tenn., Christmas wasn't Christmas without an English tea cake baked by their neighbor, Mrs. Lawrence.

She would deliver it about a week before Christmas. "We would come home from school and my mother would just say, 'Mrs. Lawrence came by! We have Mrs. Lawrence!' And we'd say, 'Oh, yes! Yes!' We couldn't wait."

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Europe
4:16 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

In Britain, A Christmas Tradition Of Slapstick And Silliness

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 4:29 pm

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

Technology
4:16 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Online Sellers Pop Up In Real Life, For A Limited Time Only

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 4:29 pm

One-click shopping is changing the ways people shop and retailers sell their wares. But some online retailers are opening physical stores — some of which last as short as a day. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on July 28, 2014.)

NPR Story
4:16 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Scoring The Screen: Rachel Portman On Hitting The Right Emotional Note

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 4:29 pm

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

The Salt
4:16 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

An illustration depicts Jesus Christ transforming water into wine during the wedding at Cana (John 2:7).
Joseph Martin Kronheim Kean Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 4:52 pm

Inside the Boston Wine School, Jonathon Alsop places empty glasses and plate of figs and cheese before a small group of students. Alsop, who founded the school in 2000, is doing a test run of a new class that poses the question: What would Jesus drink?

"This is ... a cheese that Jesus might have eaten," he tells students. "It's called Egyptian Roumy — it was a cheese that was introduced to the Egyptians by the Romans. It's a sheep's milk cheese."

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