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Iraq
4:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Iraq's Anbar Province Under Threat From Al-Qaida

Heavy fighting has been reported in the Anbar province of Iraq this week. NPR's Arun Rath speaks to Middle East specialist Kirk Sowell about what it means.

Economy
4:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

With Benefits Cut, Unemployed Take Stock Of Dwindling Options

Visitors use the Unemployment Insurance Phone Bank in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 20. Tens of thousands in the state lost federal unemployment benefits in December.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 5:51 pm

In November, 222,000 Californians opened their mailboxes to find a warning: Unemployment benefits were scheduled to end in December.

While Congress was inching closer to passing a budget, Emergency Unemployment Compensation was not part of the deal. That's the long-term jobless benefits: extra federal money that allows unemployed workers to collect payments for months longer than they could in better economic times.

Sure enough, on Dec. 18, Congress passed that budget and packed up for Christmas recess, leaving those extended benefits to expire just 10 days later.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Saul Zaentz, Oscar Winner Who Feuded With John Fogerty, Dies

Saul Zaentz in 2009.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

"Saul Zaentz, who parlayed a successful career in the music business into a Oscar-winning second act as an independent movie producer, died Friday at his home in the San Francisco area from complications of Alzheimer's," The Hollywood Reporter writes.

He was 92.

The three Oscars that Zaentz won were all "best picture" awards — for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975, Amadeus in 1984 and The English Patient in 1996.

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

'No One Controls Fallujah,' Which U.S. Soldiers Fought To Free

In Fallujah on Saturday, Sunni fighters turned out for the funeral of a man killed by Iraqi army artillery fire.
Mohammed Jalil EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 1:42 pm

The latest headlines from the city of Fallujah, the scene of much intense fighting involving U.S. forces during the Iraq War, are ominous:

-- "Iraq Government Loses Control Of Fallujah." (Al-Jazeera)

-- "Sunni Fighters 'Control All Of Fallujah.' " (BBC News)

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Afghanistan
11:53 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

Conditions are spare at the Window of Hope orphanage in Kabul, but American NGO worker Siavash Rahbari (upper left) says it's still better than how many Afghan children live.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 5:14 pm

On Saturday afternoons, sometimes with a coworker or two, Siavash Rahbari drives up a rutted side street in Kabul to visit the Window of Hope orphanage.

In the living room, there are a dozen boys and two girls. Some are playing, while others lie around on mats on the floor, clearly suffering from a range of disabilities. Rahbari, a Texan who works at an NGO in Kabul, gives the children a cursory inspection.

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