David Greene

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NPR's business news starts with payouts in Bangladesh.

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Just before residents of Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, a group of U.S. senators visited Kiev. They were showing support for Ukraine's new government, and also offering U.S. help. Among them was Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin. We reached him by phone in Chicago, and asked if the U.S. and Europe have to accept that Crimea is now part of Russia.

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NPR's business news begins with a split for Lands' End.

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GREENE: Lands' End, the outdoor clothing retailer, will spin off from Sears Holdings Corporation next month and operate as a standalone, publicly traded company.

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Recently Christopher Viatafa did something many of us have done: He Googled his own name. But what he found wasn't so normal. It was his own face, on Northern California's Most Wanted website. He allegedly pulled a gun at a party last summer and fired it into the ground. In what authorities are calling an act of good judgment after a very bad call, Viatafa turned himself in. He's been charged with assault with a deadly weapon. He's now listed as a captured fugitive.

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A few years ago, this song came out of nowhere, "Pumped Up Kicks" from Foster The People, an unsigned band from L.A. It became one of 2011's biggest hits.

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FOSTER THE PEOPLE: (Singing) All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun. All the other...

GREENE: Song, as you can hear, has a summer party sound. The lyrics though tell a much darker story.

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In election years, we hear a lot of reporting from swing states: Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin. We do not usually hear as much from a place like Idaho, because it is so deeply one color: red. But this midterm election year, Idaho is home to one of the most closely watched races in this nation. A Republican is battling another Republican in a primary campaign that may point to where the party, as a whole, is heading.

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OK. We've gotten through Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's. But if you're an NFL fan, the next holiday up is Wild Card Weekend. There is football on Saturday and Sunday. Four wild card teams facing four teams that won their divisions. And there are some pretty interesting storylines to cover. Let's cover them with NPR's Mike Pesca. Hey, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Storyline number one - not all the teams playing are wild cards. It is called that but they get to play divisional leaders, don't they?

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Here's a way to look at the year 2013 for President Barack Obama: He began the year with two-thirds of Americas saying they approved of the job he was doing. He's ending the year with that number around 40 percent.

He began fresh off a hard-fought electoral victory, going into his second term with a pretty ambitious agenda. He's ending the year with many of his priorities stalled.

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Yesterday, Ukraine got a big holiday present from its neighbor, Russia, in the form of a multi-billion dollar bailout. And now everyone is trying to figure out what strings Russia attached, and whether this could be a sign that Ukraine, a country of some 45 million people, is aligning itself more closely with the East than the West.

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There's another milestone today in the long effort to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons. The international overseeing the effort is unveiling more details of its plan and this is all a bit complicated. The first stage could be the hardest - moving the chemicals overland in the middle of a civil war to a Syrian port.

[LATE-BREAKING CORRECTION: We misunderstood where the 24 hours of Elf was being planned. We thought it was USA, but it's actually Starz. Sorry, Starz!]

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Well, this is rivalry week in college football. It's that annual period when the cheering and the insults get noticeably louder. And this weekend there's some extra spice as games from Alabama to Florida to Michigan could all have an impact on which two teams end up playing for the national championship. This is the last year of the so-called BCS Championship, the Bowl Championship Series.

Comedian Bill Cosby has been in show business for 50 years, and he celebrated on Comedy Central over the weekend with a stand-up special — his first in 30 years — called Far From Finished.

That earlier special, called Bill Cosby Himself, inspired one of the most popular sitcoms in TV history: The Cosby Show, starring Cosby as paterfamilias Cliff Huxtable. It was a show that was really the first of its kind, capturing life in a highly educated upper-middle-class African-American family.

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NPR's business news starts with a guilty plea.

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GREENE: SAC Capital Advisors is expected to plead guilty to securities fraud today. The hedge fund company has agreed to pay $1.8 billion to settle charges of insider trader. It's said to be the biggest fine ever in a case like this. The settlement will be announced at a news conference later today in New York City. And that's where we've reached NPR's Jim Zarroli. And Jim, explain for us, if you can, what SAC has actually agreed to here.

It may come as a surprise to riders on Metro's Orange Line in Arlington, Va., just outside Washington, D.C., but the area sets the bar for suburban transit.

That's because a risky, expensive decision by local planners in the 1960s as the Washington subway system was about to be built helped this once-sleepy community come alive. It led to an increase in residents and decrease in traffic. Instead of having a line bypass these nearby Virginia suburbs aboveground, next to a highway, planners decided to run it underground and redevelop the neighborhoods above.

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Some other news: in a quiet ceremony in Tulsa last night, this country delivered some long-overdue thanks. Phillip Coon received three medals for his service in World War II. Mr. Coon is 94. Like many veterans, he simply had not been issued the medals, including a Bronze Star, even though he had been entitled to them for decades.

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NPR's business news begins with the latest on the deadlock here in Washington.

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The Marine Corps has forced two of its top officers to retire. It is rare for commanders to be punished for a failure in combat, but that's the case here. The two commanders - both two-star generals - are being forced out because of an attack that happened on their watch in Afghanistan. It took place a year ago at a sprawling base called Camp Bastion. Two Americans died.

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After 162 regular season baseball games, the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates will meet tonight in a sudden death playoff. For my team, the Pirates, it's their first time in the post-season in 21 years. And after tonight, after just one game in a scheme surely invented by sadists, the Pirates might be out of the playoffs.

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And I'm David Greene. We are going into the fourth day of a siege at a popular mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The Somalia-based al-Shabab militant group has claimed responsibility. At least 62 people have been killed.

We had NPR's Gregory Warner on the line earlier. He told us that the military is still battling terrorists inside the mall, but they claim to have made progress. Do these militants still have any hostages in there?

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