1:21pm

Sat December 20, 2014
The Two-Way

Many States Now Have $2 Gasoline, Analyst Says

On Cue in Oklahoma City, was reportedly the first station to lower regular unleaded below $2 a gallon. Now, 24 states have $1.99 gasoline.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Remember when we told you earlier this month that a gas station in Oklahoma City had lowered its price for regular unleaded to $1.99 a gallon?

Read more

11:38am

Sat December 20, 2014
The Two-Way

Decorated Tuskegee Airman Lowell Steward Dies At 95

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 12:45 pm

This July 1943 photo provided by the Los Angeles Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen Inc., shows Lowell C. Steward after his graduation from flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field, in Tuskegee, Ala. Steward, who won the Distinguished Flying Cross among other awards, died on Wednesday at age 95.
AP

Lowell Steward, one of the famed World War II Tuskegee Airmen, has died at age 95 at a hospital in Ventura, Calif., his family says.

Steward, a Los Angeles native who flew 143 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross among other awards, died on Wednesday.

Read more

9:58am

Sat December 20, 2014
The Two-Way

U.N. Reports More Than 7,000 Ebola Deaths Since March

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:58 am

Health workers rest outside a quarantine zone at a Red Cross facility in the town of Koidu, Kono district in Eastern Sierra Leone on Friday. The World Health Organization says the number of Ebola deaths in the current outbreak has exceeded 7,000.
Baz Ratner Reuters/Landov

The number of people who have died from the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola has crossed the 7,000 mark, the World Health Organization reports, after it recorded another 392 deaths from its previous total of 6,900 earlier this week.

The total number of infected, nearly all of them in West Africa, is at 19,031, up from 18,569 in the previous report. More than 99 percent of all infections and deaths have occurred in three countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Read more

8:30am

Sat December 20, 2014
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Timothy Spall, Review Of D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah,' John Cleese

Timothy Spall says he had to use a lot of empathy to play a character like Mr. Turner, who wasn't always "very pleasant" and was a "man of massive contradictions."
Simon Mein Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Timothy Spall Takes On Painter J.M.W. Turner, A 'Master Of The Sublime': The 19th century painter wasn't always "very pleasant" and he was a "man of massive contradictions," Spall says. So Spall says he had to "dig deep" to play the title role in Mr. Turner.

Read more

7:59am

Sat December 20, 2014
Movies

Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:05 am

A worker carries a poster for the movie The Interview away from its display case at a theater in Atlanta. "It feels like the margin's narrowed about what kind of movies Hollywood will be making," says veteran Hollywood producer Stephanie Striegel.
David Goldman AP

President Obama is not the only one thinking about the precedent set when Sony decided not to release the comedy The Interview. Around Hollywood, the action drew immediate rebuke as celebrities took to Twitter — like director and producer Judd Apatow:

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel agreed, writing, "An un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent."

In writing rooms and comedy clubs in Los Angeles, however, the conversations are more nuanced.

Read more

7:56am

Sat December 20, 2014
Simon Says

Despite Its Beauty, Cuba Isn't Quite Ready For Tourists

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 8:39 am

In 1959, Fidel Castro imposed a law forbidding the import of foreign cars, so many Cubans drive and maintain older models.
Kate Skogen JetKat Photo

I've always had a good time in Cuba. The people are friendly and funny, the rum is smooth, the music intoxicating and the beaches wide, white and soft.

But you're accompanied everywhere by government minders. They call them responsables. Any Cuban you interview knows your microphone might as well run straight to their government.

If you want to talk to someone with a different view, you have to slip out of your hotel in the middle of the night without your minder — though dissidents say other security people follow you.

Read more

7:36am

Sat December 20, 2014
The Two-Way

4 Gitmo Prisoners Released For Return To Afghanistan

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:02 am

The entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, in a photograph taken earlier this year.
Ben Fox AP

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The United States has released four Afghan detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who were returned to Afghanistan — the latest in a series of releases of inmates in recent weeks.

Reuters says: "The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009, a U.S. official said."

Read more

6:48am

Sat December 20, 2014
The Two-Way

Russia Says It Won't 'Cave In' To New Western Sanctions

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 12:30 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in front of the map of the Russian Federation, with Crimea on the left of the map, during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. The Kremlin has responded angrily to the latest round of U.S.-EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.
Alexei Druzhinin AP

Russia, battered by the falling price of oil, its chief export, and a tumbling ruble, lashed out against the U.S. and EU for new sanctions that President Vladimir Putin says already account for "25 to 30 percent" of his country's eroding currency.

Read more

6:13am

Sat December 20, 2014
Animals

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 8:39 am

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

Read more

6:03am

Sat December 20, 2014
Michel Martin, Going There

'Going There' in 2014

Ferguson resident Frankie Edwards shows a rubber bullet wound he suffered during one of the nights of protests to NPR's Michel Martin (right) and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles (second from right) during the community conversation at Wellspring Church.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

We've been privileged in these last few months to share the stories of many Americans, some of them famous, but most of them not. We came together through some avenues we know well — books, music and theater. Sometimes, we found each other through pathways that have only recently become a big part of our lives, such as the #BeyondFerguson hashtag that brought so many young people to an August community meeting in that city. Our New Year's Resolution is to keep these honest and vital conversations going. We are going there.

Read more

Pages