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Sales of cars surged in December, and analysts believe that the year's total will exceed 17 million, making it the fifth straight year of growth for the industry.

Cheap gas prices helped make that happen, as sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury vehicles rose rapidly. Jeep's sales, for instance, were up 40 percent on increased consumer demand for crossover SUVs. Meanwhile, demand for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles shrank.

Scott Painter, founder and CEO of auto sales website TrueCar, says those trends aren't necessarily good for the industry as a whole.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Today, Florida became the 36th state to legalize gay marriage after an extended legal battle in state and federal courts. NPR's Greg Allen was at the courthouse in Miami for today's ruling.

Heart surgery is a spectacle to behold. Even more so to see it on a mass scale, which is what happens at the Narayana Health, a state-of-the-art medical center in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

I am invited to scrub up and witness renowned surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty at work. The operating room is a symphony of all things medical: monitors beeping out a metronome-like rhythm, forceps and scissors clanging onto metal tables, a heart-lung machine gurgling as it does the work of the patient's stopped heart, and, curiously, pop music drifting though the room.

When your kid's ear is throbbing at 2 a.m., you might want to grab the car keys and head to the emergency room. But now you can pick up your iPhone instead.

A startup called CellScope has built a little ear probe that you clip on top of your iPhone camera. The footage streams into an app where you can view the inside the ear.

The trial began Monday for the surviving suspect in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Melissa Block talks to criminal lawyer Jonathan Shapiro about Judy Clarke, one of the defense attorneys representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Clarke has represented other high profile defendants, including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph and Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner.

The average American produces an estimated 66 pounds of electronic waste every year. You can't compost it; it's gotta go somewhere.

Often, in violation of the law, that means a dump in the developing world — like the region of Agbogbloshie in the West African nation Ghana.

Before he made it big in Holloywood, actor, writer and comedian Patton Oswalt was a junkie — addicted to movies, as he explains in a new memoir, Silver Screen Fiend.

The word addiction gets thrown around a lot, but Oswalt tells NPR's Arun Rath that his relationship to movies was downright pathological.

This is part of a series of stories about starting over, profiling people who, by choice or circumstance, reinvented or transformed themselves.

At just 32, Mira Johnson has made a lot of changes — some drastic. Her choices took her to low points, but also to where she is now: coaching others to make changes themselves.

Perhaps the best place to start her story is with a little-known saying about Portland, Ore.

ESPN Sportscaster Stuart Scott Dies At 49

Jan 4, 2015
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ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's been an exciting weekend in the NFL Playoffs, but there was a sadness pervading ESPN's broadcast today. Treasured colleague Stuart Scott died this morning after a long battle with cancer.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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