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2:33 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Illegal Wreath 'Tippers' Look For Some Under-The-Table Green

The tips of balsam fir trees are used to make Christmas wreaths.
USDA

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:45 am

That wreath on your front door could contain stolen goods.

The tips of fir trees used to make wreaths are collected by "tippers" and attract high prices — as well as poachers, who cut limbs and even whole trees on private land.

The Christmas greens industry is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. But like other cottage industries, no one's really counting. Anyone with a desire to make some money can take part — on or under the table. And that's become a problem for some woodlot owners trying to protect their trees.

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NPR Story
2:33 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Karzai's Political Games Overshadow Hagel's Visit To Afghanistan

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel returned to the Middle East today, after a weekend tour of Afghanistan and a stop in Pakistan. Hagel's visit to Afghanistan was overshadowed by continuing difficulties with President Hamid Karzai. Afghanistan has not yet agreed to terms that would allow U.S. forces to stay there beyond 2014. As NPR's Larry Abramson reports, Afghanistan is not the only country where the U.S. faces questions about its military staying power.

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The Two-Way
2:04 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

U.S. Veteran Freed From N. Korea Says 'Confession' Was Coerced

Merrill Newman (left) walks beside his wife Lee and son Jeffrey after arriving at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.
Ben Margot AP

The 85-year-old U.S. veteran who was detained by North Korea for weeks, before being released, says the "confession" that he read and was aired on state television was coerced.

The AP and Reuters obtained a written statement from Merrill Newman in which he says North Korean authorities may have misrepresented his interest in the Korean War.

Reuters reports:

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

18 LA Sheriff's Deputies Indicted In Sweeping Jail Probe

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca in 2011
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:02 pm

Federal prosecutors announced Monday the indictment of 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies on an array of charges stemming from a sweeping investigation into inmate abuse and corruption.

"These incidents did not take place in a vacuum — in fact, they demonstrated behavior that had become institutionalized," said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. "The pattern of activity alleged in the obstruction of justice case shows how some members of the Sheriff's Department considered themselves to be above the law."

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Newtown Calls For 'Acts Of Kindness' On Shooting Anniversary

Erica Lafferty (right), daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Dawn Hochsprung, consoles Carlee Soto, sister of victim Victoria Soto, after representatives of 14 families addressed the media on Monday in Newtown, Conn.
Jessica Hill AP

Relatives of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School have asked people to mark Saturday's anniversary of the mass shooting with "acts of kindness" and say they will light candles in memory of the victims.

At a news conference on Monday, the families also announced the launch of a website, http://mysandyhookfamily.org, to create a "singular place of sharing, communication, and contact with the families of those who lost their lives that day."

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