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Economy
5:21 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Mortgage Giants Ease Down Payments For First-Time Homebuyers

A new directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 7:05 pm

A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.

The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.

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Around the Nation
5:16 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Do Guns On The Premises Make Workplaces Safer?

In 2010, Omar Thornton killed eight colleagues in Manchester, Conn., before killing himself. Private employers used to create their own rules about guns on their property. But over the past five years, many states have adopted laws that allow employees to keep firearms in their vehicles at work.
Douglas Healey Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:49 am

This year, Tennessee joined 21 other states that allow employees to leave guns in their cars in the office parking lot. The laws have left many employers debating how best to ensure safety at work.

After Georgia passed its law allowing employees to keep firearms in their employers' parking lots, Sally Roberts installed a sign on her newspaper firm's door. It read: "No Weapons Allowed."

A job candidate once threatened her, says Roberts, human resources director at Morris Communications. "She did become violent, and I'm very thankful she did not have a weapon."

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This Week's Must Read
4:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

The Ethics Of Torture, Explored In A Painful Fable

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:29 pm

We've been hearing all week about a report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It detailed brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after Sept 11. Among the questions it raised are whether these techniques are legal, effective and morally acceptable.

For our series This Week's Must Read, author Laila Lalami grapples with these questions by turning to literature.

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Sports
4:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

How Good Can Young NFL Quarterbacks Really Be?

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:16 pm

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Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
4:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Outgoing Rep. Mike Rogers Reflects On Congressional Career

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Media
3:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Al Sharpton's Two Hats: Cable News Host And Activist

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Book Reviews
3:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Book Review: 'The Convert's Song' By Sebastian Rotella

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Music
3:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

NPR Music's 302 Favorite Songs Of 2014

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:15 pm

Traditionally, the folks at NPR Music make a list of their 100 favorite songs of the year. But this time, they expanded the list to 302 songs and made a really long mix tape.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
5:47 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Birds Of A Feather Aren't Necessarily Related

The updated avian tree shows how many different kinds of birds evolved quickly after a mass extinction 66 million years ago.
AAAS/Carla Schaffer

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:25 pm

What do a pigeon and a flamingo have in common? Quite a bit, according to a reordering of the evolutionary tree of birds.

One of a series of studies published Thursday in Science is the latest step toward understanding the origins of the roughly 10,000 bird species that populate our planet.

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Theater
5:39 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'

Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance.
Brigitte Lacombe Philip Rinaldi Publicity

In 1995, Glenn Close won her third Tony Award for her role the Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard. Now, after 20-year hiatus, Close is back on Broadway. She's starring alongside John Lithgow in A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee's 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The story follows Agnes (Close), a suburban matron striving to keep the peace in a household she her husband (Lithgow) share with her sister, who's an alcoholic; their daughter, who's a serial divorcee; and their best friends who have fled their own home in an inexplicable terror.

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