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Economy
10:13 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Workers May Be Missing, Or Maybe Just Retiring

Is the economy strengthening, or is the jobless rate falling only because so many people are dropping out of the workforce?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:52 am

For more than four years, the unemployment rate has been sliding down — from a 10 percent peak to today's 6.7 percent.

But does that reflect a fast-strengthening economy? Or is the rate falling only because so many people are dropping out of the workforce?

In coming weeks, members of Congress and the Federal Reserve Board will be making big policy decisions based upon their best understanding of those unsettled questions.

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The Two-Way
9:49 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Report Details Alleged 'Systematic' Killing By Syria's Assad

Syrian look up after an apparent airstrike by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad on Tuesday in the city of Aleppo.
Ammar Abdullah Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:58 am

This post was updated at 5:39 p.m. ET

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:14 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Treat Yourself To A 'Huh?'

Robert Krulwich NPR

You drop a ball. You drop a key. You drop a piece of lead. They each slip from your hand and tumble to the ground. But you have an orderly mind (you're a physicist) and, to you, falling things don't seem haphazard — they seem neat. The unruly world has rules, laws. So instead of saying "Bummer!" you say, "Of course! How beautiful! How logical!"

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The Salt
8:46 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Soba: More Than Just Noodles, It's A Cultural Heritage ... And An Art Form

Genuine soba noodles are difficult to find in the U.S.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:10 am

Traditional Japanese cuisine, known as washoku, is now an intangible cultural heritage, according to the United Nations.

Tofu, mochi and miso are a few examples, but it's the buckwheat noodle, or soba, that many consider the humble jewel of Japanese cuisine. It's not easy to find in the U.S., but one Los Angeles woman is helping preserve the craft of making soba.

In a cooking classroom off a busy street in L.A., Sonoko Sakai is teaching about the simplicity of making buckwheat noodles.

"Basically, soba is only two things: flour and water," Sakai explains.

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The Two-Way
7:02 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Hunt Is On For At Least One 'Black Widow' In Sochi

Police in Sochi have distributed leaflets as they search for Ruzanna Ibragimova, an alleged "black widow" who may be intending to set off a suicide bomb at the site of next month's Winter Olympics.
Natalya Vasilyeva AP

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 10:22 am

Is there already one or more "black widow" in or near Sochi, Russia, who might be determined to set off a suicide bomb at the site of next month's Winter Olympics?

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow that Russian security forces are said to be looking for "Ruzanna Ibragimova, the 22-year-old widow of an Islamist militant who was killed by security forces."

He tells our Newscast Desk that according to Russian news outlets:

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