National News

Susan and Bill Dunavan own 80 acres of land in York County.

On Nebraska's Farmland, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska's York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you'll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it's a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline — a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

The 12 Days Of Quirky Christmas Foods Around The Globe

Wherever people celebrate Christmas around the world, they feast. It may be as simple as a bowl of porridge, but food rituals to mark the day as separate and special from all other days are practically universal. So often eating the food associated with this holy day helps families pause for a moment to remember who they are, and where they came from.

A woman prepares a Japanese Christmas cake at the Patisserie Akira Cake shop on Dec. 23, 2011. The sponge cake is drenched in symbolic meaning.

Japan's Beloved Christmas Cake Isn't About Christmas At All

Only about 1 percent of the Japanese population is Christian. But you might not realize that if you visited a major metropolitan area during Christmastime. Just as in America, you'll find heads topped with red Santa hats everywhere and elaborate seasonal displays: train sets, mountain scenes and snow-covered trees. Often, these are set inside bakeries hawking one of the highlights of the holiday season in Japan: Christmas cake.

Amid Threats By Hackers, Sony Allows Theaters To Drop 'The Interview'

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

Sony Pictures has given theaters permission to not show the movie The Interview, following threats against theaters by a group that allegedly hacked Sony's internal documents. Deadline.com reports that at least one large chain, the 2,917-screen Carmike Cinemas, will pull the film from its schedules.

The King Fire burned 100,000 acres in the Eldorado National Forest in Northern California — 50,000 of those acres in one day. Now the danger is mudslides.

In California, Fire Plus Drought Plus Rain Add Up To Mud

An hour east of Sacramento, Calif., trucks carrying burned timber from the Eldorado National Forest roar down the canyon as chain saws buzz in the distance.

But U.S. Forest Service ecologist Becky Estes says besides humans, not much else in this forest seems alive.

"We're standing in an area that ... is going to be probably 100 percent mortality of the trees," Estes says.

The comic book superhero Priya survived a rape and now fights violence against women.

India's New Comic Book Hero Fights Rape, Rides On The Back Of A Tiger

Two years ago this day, a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. Three days later she died from her injuries. The incident pushed millions in the city and all over India to protest the widespread violence against women. The protests led to tougher laws and empowered women to stand up against sexual violence.

And one man was inspired to create a comic book superhero.

Ram Devineni, a New York-based filmmaker, gave life to Priya, a survivor of gang rape who seeks to stop violence against women.

Google News Is Taken Offline In Spain, After A Call For Payments

Reacting to a law that requires news sites in Spain to charge for their content, Google shut down its Google News service in the country Tuesday. The tech company and other news aggregators would face steep fines if they publish headlines and abstracts without paying.

When You Burn Off That Fat, Where Does It Go?

Lose weight and those pounds shuffle off, unmourned. Good riddance. Please don't come back soon.

But where does weight go when we lose it?

We talk about burning off fat, and it does burn in a way, going through a complex biochemical process. But mass can't be created or destroyed, so the atoms that made the triglycerides that plumped up the love handles have got to be somewhere.

<a href="http://media.npr.org/assets/multimedia/2014/12/derby-101-final.pdf" target="_blank"><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> Learn about derby rules and moves with our Roller Derby 101 guide (PDF)</a>

Skating Out Classroom Stress As A 'Derby Dame'

The NPR Ed team is discovering what teachers do when they're not teaching. Pilot? Artist? Bartender? Explore our Secret Lives of Teachers series.

Every fall, on the first day of school, Nina Park greets her new honors English class with a game called "two truths and a lie." Her students, 10th-graders at TechBoston Academy in Dorchester, Mass. have to guess which is which.

Dallas Woodhouse (left) and his brother Brad Woodhouse on C-SPAN's <em>Washington Journal,</em> listening to a caller who turned out to be their mother.

Brothers On C-SPAN Divided By Politics, United In Mortification By Mom's Call

Brad and Dallas Woodhouse are brothers. Brad is president of the liberal group Americans United for Change. Dallas Woodhouse, a conservative, is president of Carolina Rising. They were both on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to talk about their documentary, Woodhouse Divided.

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