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5:35 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

U.S. Biathlete Gives Up Olympic Spot To Her Twin Sister

Lanny and Tracy Barnes at a practice session for the women's 75-kilometer biathlon sprint during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

Tracy Barnes just secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic team heading to Sochi — but almost immediately, she decided to give it up.

She surrendered her spot to her twin, Lanny. The 31-year-old sisters compete in biathlon, the sport that combines cross-country skiing and shooting. Both competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, and Lanny competed in 2010 as well.

Lanny fell ill during selection races in Italy this past weekend, and she finished sixth, dashing her hopes of qualifying. Only the top five make the Olympic team; Tracy qualified at fifth place.

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Sports
5:35 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Will Team USA's High-Tech Speedskating Suit Pay Off In Gold?

"Mach 39" is the result of a partnership between Under Armour and Lockheed Martin to create the most aerodynamic speedskating suit for the U.S. Olympic team.
Under Armour

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

A years-in-the-making, top-secret engineering and design project for a superaerodynamic suit to be worn by U.S. speedskaters at next month's Winter Olympics was finally unveiled Thursday.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin and sporting goods company Under Armour released photos of the suit they're calling "Mach 39." It has been kept so tightly under wraps that the sport's governing body wouldn't even allow it to be worn at the Olympic trials in Salt Lake City.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

NSA Reportedly Collected Millions Of Phone Texts Every Day

The NSA used a program codenamed Dishfire to collect text messages worldwide that were then used to extract location and financial data, according to The Guardian. Here, women use their cellphones in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

As recently as 2011, the National Security Agency was collecting almost 200 million text messages each day, according to a new story by The Guardian that cites documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The texts were used to develop financial and location data, the newspaper says.

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It's All Politics
4:36 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

For Obama And Senate Democrats, The Goal Is Mutual Protection

Senate Democrats at the White House last fall during the government shutdown fight.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

For President Obama and Senate Democrats, who gathered in a White House meeting Wednesday, it's all about mutual aid at this point.

If Obama is to maintain any leverage in Congress, he needs Democrats to keep control of the Senate since the House appears likely to remain in Republican hands. And if his second term agenda has any hope of being achieved — such as tackling income inequality, overhauling immigration or reaching a durable nuclear deal with Iran — he'll need a Democratic Senate majority working side-by-side with him.

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Animals
4:11 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

To Save Threatened Owl, Another Species Is Shot

A northern spotted owl in a Redwood forest.
Michael Nichols Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.

"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

3 Arrested In Southern California Fire

A wildfire burns in the hills just north of the San Gabriel Valley community of Glendora, Calif., on Thursday.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 6:10 am

This post was last updated at 9 p.m. ET.

Authorities have arrested three men on charges of recklessly starting a fire that has swept through more than 1,700 acres in Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains, about 25 miles northeast of Los Angeles. It is currently 30 percent contained. Authorities say they have ordered people evacuated from 1,000 homes.

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The Salt
3:49 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Good News: Americans Are Eating 78 Fewer Calories Every Day

Americans are dining out less and eating at home more, new government research shows. This may mean more family dinners, like this one at the Brown-Spencer home in Mechanicsville, Va.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 6:55 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has crunched some numbers, and its conclusion is that Americans are munching less. And on more healthful stuff.

On average, working-age adults were eating about 78 fewer calories per day in 2010, compared with five years earlier, according to a report released Thursday.

So what are we eating less of? Saturated fat. Researchers documented a 6 percent decline in calories from saturated fat between 2005 and 2010.

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Shots - Health News
3:30 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

State Health Coverage Sign-Ups Paint A Complex Obamacare Picture

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, unveils a marketing campaign for the exchange in Los Angeles late last year.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Obamacare enrollment surged in December, and the administration's report on the numbers made headlines early this week.

But the national figures tend to obscure the differences from state to state.

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The Two-Way
2:28 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

New Drug Combination Takes 24 Minutes To Execute Ohio Killer

Dennis McGuire was executed Thursday.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction AP

The state of Ohio on Thursday conducted its first execution since running out of the lethal injection drug pentobarbital.

Reporter Alan Johnson from The Columbus Dispatch was among those who watched as convicted killer and rapist Dennis McGuire was put to death. Here is some of Johnson's description of what happened:

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It's All Politics
1:28 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Doctors Say Reid's Request For Bowel Research Money Is No Joke

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada talks about unemployment benefits during a news conference Thursday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:47 am

In his new memoir, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates heaped scorn on many members of Congress for pushing their parochial interests with him.

But he saved a special dig for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Gates writes, describing how the Nevada Democrat urged him to have the Defense Department invest in research into irritable bowel syndrome.

It's an anecdote that drew snickers — and media attention, including here at NPR.

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