All Things Considered for Monday, December 30, 2013

Investigators in southern Russia say two deadly bombings in the city of Volgograd appear to follow the pattern of attacks by Islamist separatists from the nearby North Caucasus region. It's a dire concern for the Russian authorities, who worry that this could be the lead-up to attacks during the Olympic Games in Sochi in February. Security analysts say the bombings could even be a diversionary tactic to distract the security forces before an even bigger attack. It also raises concerns about security for New Year's crowds in major Russian cities.
The event makes its debut in Sochi after a fight that landed in a Canadian courtroom and endured years of setbacks. At trials in Park City, Utah, on Sunday, ski jumper Jessica Jerome, 27, became the first woman to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Mexican Auto Industry Revs Up For Big Year

Industry officials say they are on course to boost production to as many as 4 million autos annually. That's good news for Mexico but has many in the U.S. worried, especially as Audi gets ready to build a new luxury line plant in Mexico and not in the U.S.
The world's most successful Formula One driver, Michael Schumacher, remains in a medically-induced coma. The seven-time world champion was injured in a skiing accident in the French Alps on Sunday, and underwent emergency brain surgery overnight. The German driver, now retired from racing, was skiing with his son when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He sustained severe head injuries on a rock, even though he was wearing a helmet at the time.

2013 Offered Up More TV Cast Diversity, Foreign Shows

The year 2013 offered a wealth of quality television programming — which can't be said of every year. Looking back at the year in television, a few trends stand out: more diversity in prime time offerings, critics and audiences found a lot to love in foreign offerings, and streaming services continued to encroach on cable.
Audie Cornish reviews Pope Francis' first year with religion writer and blogger Rocco Palmo.
Bloomberg reduced smoking in New York City but failed to match that much copied success with other campaigns, such as one to lower obesity rates by regulating the size of sodas sold in city fast-food restaurants.

FAA Names Test Sites For Drones In U.S. Airspace

The FAA announced Monday which states will become test sites for unmanned aerial vehicles. Congress has asked the agency to come up with a plan to integrate UAVs into the nation's airspace. State leaders hope the test sites will lead to jobs and industry investment.

Five More Coaches Sacked As NFL Enters Postseason

The NFL playoffs are set. We'll find out who the favorites are going into the postseason.

Remembering The Boston Marathon Lost To The Bombing

Alex Ashlock of member station WBUR covered this year's Boston Marathon, as he has for the last 13 years. He remembers when that tragic Monday in April was just another thrilling, magical morning that was shattered when two homemade bombs exploded near the finish line.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to resume work in a couple of weeks. Among other cases, the justices will be deciding the rules that govern campaign finance and they will hear arguments in cases regarding the so-called buffer zones around abortion clinics and the Affordable Care Act's requirement that for-profit companies cover contraception in their health plans.
A Catholic Church official convicted of child endangerment as part of a priest abuse scandal will be released from prison soon. An appeals court overturned his conviction and a Philadelphia judge ordered Monsignor William Lynn released on $250,000 bail. Prosecutors vow to restore the conviction.
Now is a good time to spot gray whales off the coast of Southern California, but scientists have been seeing an unusually high number of other whales. "The fact that we're getting a chance to see at this time of year fin whales, blue whales, is really a mystery," says a marine biologist.
In a 7,000-word investigative report published by The New York Times on Sunday, David Kirkpatrick revisits last year's assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Kirkpatrick finds that — contrary to much commentary from mostly Republican members of Congress — al-Qaida was not involved. He joins Robert Siegel to talk about his reporting and the backlash against his conclusions.

$0 Profits Couldn't Hold Back This Year's Tech Darlings

In Silicon Valley, zero profit and even zero revenue don't make a company a loser. Tech companies like Snapchat and Twitter, which have not yet turned any profit, can be worth billions of dollars based on future potential alone.

Looking Ahead At The Next Top Tech IPOs

Every year, research firm CB Insights offers up a report on the fastest growing and most highly valued private companies in technology — basically, the ones most likely to go public. Audie Cornish speaks with Anand Sanwal, CB Insights' CEO, for a look at the top tech IPO's expected in 2014.

Because You Liked Chemistry, We Recommend These Classes

The same kind of technology that recommends movies on Netflix or purchases on Amazon is now helping students choose college courses. A new program developed on a campus in Tennessee uses predictive analytics to suggest classes and is seen as a way to make higher education more efficient.

Another Fleetwood Mac Album That's 'Worth A Damn'

This year saw a much-ballyhooed reissue of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Virtually ignored was a reissue of the 1969 album Then Play On, Peter Green's last LP with the band. The recording signaled a spiritual quest already in progress.
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