Economy
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Economy Weathers A Bad Winter And Other Storms To Finish 2014 Strong

A New York Stock Exchange trader works on the floor on Dec. 17. Stocks rose nearly 300 points after the Federal Reserve announced it plans to begin raising interest rates next year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

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World
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Blind Syrian Refugee Writer Seeks To Make New Home In Sweden

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

Business
2:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

How 'The Interview' May Change How Big Studios Do Business

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

The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Father Of Jordanian Pilot Held By ISIS Issues Plea For His Release

The father of a Jordanian pilot taken by militants of the self-declared Islamic State is urging his release.

As we reported on Wednesday, Jordan said Flight Lt. Moaz al-Kaseasbeh was captured by ISIS after his plane crashed over northern Syria.

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Music Interviews
11:13 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Naive, Yet Revolutionary: Ray Davies On 50 Years Of The Kinks

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Merry Christmas. Today, we begin a week-long series of some of our favorite interviews of the year.

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Parallels
10:20 am
Thu December 25, 2014

After 522 Years, Spain Seeks To Make Amends For Expulsion Of Jews

Children gather outside the El Transito synagogue and Sephardic Museum in Toledo, Spain. Founded in 1357, the synagogue was converted into a church following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Spain is now preparing to pass a law that would allow the descendants of the expelled Jews receive Spanish citizenship.
Gerard Julien AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 2:29 pm

As night fell recently over the Spanish city of Toledo, Hanukkah candles lit up empty streets outside the medieval El Transito synagogue.

Folk songs in Ladino — a blend of Spanish and Hebrew — wafted across the garden of the synagogue, which is now the Sephardic Museum.

Sefarad means Spain in Hebrew and the term refers to Jews of Spanish descent.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Sierra Leone Puts North On Lockdown Amid Ebola Spread

British health workers lift a newly admitted Ebola patient onto a wheeled stretcher in to the Kerry town Ebola treatment center outside Freetown, Sierra Leone, earlier this week.
Baz Ratner Reuters/Landov

Sierra Leone, the country hardest-hit by an ongoing Ebola outbreak, has imposed a lockdown in the country's north in an effort to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

The BBC quotes local officials as saying that shops, markets and non-Ebola related travel would be shut down. Many public Christmas celebrations had already been banned, according to Reuters.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Peaceful Protests In Missouri After Latest Police Shooting

A protester shouts at police in Berkeley, Mo., Christmas Eve night.
Kate Munsch Reuters/Landov

A vigil and a march in Berkeley, Mo., were largely peaceful overnight after confrontations between police and protesters Tuesday in the wake of the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old black man by a white police officer.

Antonio Martin was shot and killed on Tuesday after police say he pointed a gun at the officer.

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The Two-Way
6:46 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Pope Francis: 'Many Tears This Christmas'

Pope Francis delivers his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and to the world) blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, on Christmas Day.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Pope Francis, in his Christmas Day blessing in St. Peter's Square, denounced the "brutal persecution" of religious and ethnic minorities and condemned conflicts in Ukraine, Libya and elsewhere.

It was his second "Urbi et Orbi" ("to the city and to the world") message since becoming pope last year, the pontiff also lamented the deadly Taliban attack on a school in Pakistan that killed 149 people, mostly children, and the deaths of thousands due to Ebola in West Africa.

"Truly there are so many tears this Christmas," he said.

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The Two-Way
6:31 am
Thu December 25, 2014

NYPD Sorts Out Threats, Plans Funerals For Liu And Ramos

Officer Rafael Ramos (left) and Wenjian Liu were killed on Saturday in an attack by a gunman in a Brooklyn neighborhood.
NYPD EPA/Landov

Authorities in New York City are monitoring threats made against police since two officers were fatally shot on Saturday, and are upping security at some stationhouses.

The gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, shot and killed Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in their patrol car before committing suicide. He had posted messages on social media suggesting the assault was revenge for deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of authorities.

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