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Around the Nation
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Texas Ice Storm Plus Sand, Traffic Equals 'Cobblestone Ice'

Cobblestone ice has made travel downright dangerous. Over the weekend, Ross Hailey of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram captured this truck driving over cobblestone ice in Haltom City.
Ross Hailey Star-Telegram via KERA

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

The ice storm that's blanketed North Texas streets and highways has spawned a new name: cobblestone ice.

Cobblestone ice — sounds poetic, doesn't it?

Not if you've had to drive through it.

So what is it?

Ryan LaFontaine of the Texas Department of Transportation says cobblestone ice is a combination of ice accumulation and sand laid down by TxDOT and city trucks — which traffic compresses together to form a cobblestone-type surface, a thick layer of frozen ruts and potholes. In some places, it's several inches deep.

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Around the Nation
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

New Orleans' Rat Fighters Go Beyond Baiting Traps

A rat forages for food in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans in 2006, a year after Hurricane Katrina. Blighted buildings and fewer people led to an increase in the city's rat population.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

Marvin Thompson knew he faced a difficult task when he was hired last year as principal at John McDonogh High School in New Orleans.

"The day that I pulled up to this building, I thought it was condemned," Thompson says.

The structure, built in 1898, was sagging and leaky and missing entire window panes. Inside, students were underperforming academically.

And then, there were the rats. Thompson and his two children didn't even finish unpacking his office before they discovered that problem.

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Around the Nation
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

St. Paul, Minn., Preps Break Record For Largest Snowball Fight

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Snow is also critical for another winter sporting event, though this one has yet to qualify as an Olympic sport, that's snowball fighting. In January, St. Paul, Minnesota, hopes to set a new Guinness world record for the largest snowball fight. Seattle holds the title set this past January with 5,834 throwers. Joe Alton, the event organizer, joins me from St. Paul to talk about his snowball ambitions. Mr. Alton, welcome to the program.

JOE ALTON: Thank you so much for having me, Melissa.

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World
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Is Obama-Castro Handshake A Step Toward U.S.- Cuba Thaw?

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Mandela was celebrated for bringing reconciliation to South Africa. That theme was embodied today in a handshake. At the service, President Obama greeted Cuba's president, Raul Castro. The U.S. and Cuba have not had formal diplomatic relations in more than 50 years and some are seeing this as a small step towards a new relationship. NPR's Ari Shapiro has that story.

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Latin America
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Ex-Brazilian President Kubitschek Was Murdered, Commission Says

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A probe into the death of one of Brazil's most celebrated presidents has determined he was murdered. It was thought that the former leader died in a 1976 car crash but an investigation has found he was assassinated by the military junta that once ruled the country. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that the revelation is renewing calls for Brazil's amnesty law to be revised so that the killers can face justice.

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