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Around the Nation
4:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Skier Vies For A Spot On Team USA After Breaking Both Legs

Alice McKennis speeds down the course during the women's downhill at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, in February.
Alessandro Trovati AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:43 pm

On a cold, cloudy day in Colorado, ski racer Alice McKennis suits up. She buckles her boots, puts on a back protector and dons a tightfitting speed suit.

She's training at the U.S. Ski Team's Speed Center at Copper Mountain near Vail, Colo. — and how she got here is exceptional.

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The Salt
4:16 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions

After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.

Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.

In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Obama Administration Moves To Alter Gun-Buying Rules

President Obama speaks in April after the Senate rejected a bill that would expand background checks on guns. The White House is seeking to clarify rules that bar firearm possession due to mental health problems.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:58 pm

Federal agencies are proposing new rules for handling gun buyers' background checks, in changes the Obama administration says will "keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands." The changes include a clarification of rules barring firearm possession due to mental health problems.

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It's All Politics
3:19 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Clay Aiken's Political Reality: Results Mixed For Stars Like Him

Clay Aiken performs a special one night only concert at the Progress Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, N.C., in March 2010.
Jim R. Bounds AP

Reality television star Clay Aiken set the political class chattering Friday with rumors that he may run for Congress.

Frozen in time as the elfin man-child of American Idol fame, the runner-up from a decade ago is reportedly considering running as a Democrat in his home state of North Carolina.

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Couples Urge Sotomayor To Deny Utah's Bid To Block Gay Marriage

Attorneys for same-sex couples say Utah officials who want to block gay marriages "cannot meet their burden" of showing either an error by a lower court or serious damage if the ceremonies continue, according to papers filed with the Supreme Court Friday. The filing urges the court to deny a request to halt the unions in Utah.

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It's All Politics
1:22 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

7 Political Dates To Watch In 2014

Vice President Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio applaud President Obama as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Feb. 12, 2013.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:01 pm

With November midterm elections looming, 2014 promises much more political catnip than 2013.

It's a year with a full roster of House, Senate and gubernatorial races, but 2014 is also likely to prove to be another critical period for the Affordable Care Act as an important deadline comes early and the Supreme Court takes up another aspect of the health law.

Here are some of the most important dates to watch:

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Ford Tops Resurgent U.S. Car Industry, 2013 Sales Results Show

Ford says it sold the most F-series trucks since 2006. Here, a 2014 F-150 goes through quality control on the assembly line at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:58 pm

Ford and GM are calling 2013 the best year for U.S. auto sales in at least five years. On Friday, they reported double-digit annual gains, while Chrysler reported an increase of 9 percent for its strongest year since 2007.

The new sales figures reflect a continuing turnaround from the struggles that led to a federal bailout in recent years. Here are highlights from each company's report:

Ford

  • Retail sales were up 14 percent in 2013, as Ford sold 2,493,918 vehicles.
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Shots - Health News
12:52 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

5 Things That Could Alter The Perception Of Obamacare

Maria Webster joins others protesting Texas Gov. Rick Perry's stance against the Affordable Care Act in early 2013.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 8:06 am

Nearly four years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, most of its major provisions are now in effect. And they appear to be as controversial as ever.

To help make sense of the partisan arguments, here are five things that are likely to be important measuring sticks of the law in 2014 and beyond.

1. How many people sign up for coverage in the insurance marketplaces and how many of them are in good health.

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Health Care
11:03 am
Fri January 3, 2014

New Year, New Health Care Plans ... Can Doctors Keep Up?

Thousands of Americans rang in 2014 with new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. But will doctors and hospitals start feeling the crunch? Host Michel Martin speaks with Washington Post health reporter Sarah Kliff.

Economy
11:03 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Could Salary Bump Mean Economic Slump?

Minimum wage workers in 13 states will see a bump in their paychecks this year. Host Michel Martin talks about the possible ripple effects of raising minimum wages. She's joined by Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Roben Farzad and NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.

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