A T-shirt bearing the image of Russian President Vladimir Putin reads "The most polite man" at a St. Petersburg market in Russia on Wednesday. Putin began the year in dramatic fashion by hosting the Winter Olympics and seizing the Crimea. However, his year ended with Russia's economy in turmoil and forecasts of a recession for 2015. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

Parallels - World News

Which World Leaders Had The Best And The Worst Year In 2014?

Vladimir Putin got off to a great start, then it all turned sour. Bashar Assad looks to be better positioned today than back in January. Perhaps the pope had the best year of all.

Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers. Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU hide caption

itoggle caption Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU

NPR Ed

'Military Children': Their Struggles, Sacrifices And Strengths WAMU

Nearly 2 million children have parents currently serving in the military, yet their everyday lives are mostly invisible to the rest of us. Member station WAMU explores the challenges they face.

From member station

WAMU

Great Dismal Swamp, in Virginia and North Carolina, was once thought to be haunted. For generations of escaped slaves, says archaeologist Dan Sayers, the swamp was a haven. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hide caption

itoggle caption U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

History

Fleeing To Great Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom WVTF

Most Americans know about the Underground Railroad, which allowed Southern slaves to escape to the North. But some slaves stayed in the South, hidden in a place where they could resist enslavement.

From member station

WVTF

Over the years librarians have fielded all sorts of questions — like those above, found in a box of questions posed by New York Public Library patrons from the 1940s to the '80s. New York Public Library hide caption

itoggle caption New York Public Library

History

Before The Internet, Librarians Would 'Answer Everything' — And Still Do

The New York Public Library recently came upon a box of questions posed to the library from the 1940s to the '80s — an era when humans consulted other humans for answers to their daily questions.

Gov. Bill Haslam announces his proposal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee on Dec. 15. Under the plan, the hospital association would pay the state's portion of the program. Erik Schelzig/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Erik Schelzig/AP

Health Care

Tennessee's Medicaid Deal Dodges A Partisan Fight WPLN

An agreement between the Tennessee Hospital Association and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam expands Medicaid without tax dollars, an agreement that could be a blueprint for other states.

From member station

WPLN

Adebisi Alimi, an actor-turned-activist, was the first person ever to come out as gay on Nigerian television. He now shares his story when he speaks up for the rights of the LGBT community. Claire Eggers/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Claire Eggers/NPR

Goats and Soda

Gay Nigerian Actor Puts His Sexuality In The Spotlight

Rising star Adebisi Alimi was the first Nigerian to come out on national TV and was nearly beaten to death in his home. Now he's an international activist for LGBT rights and men with HIV.

Unlike her sister, Vanessa Bell, seen here circa 1910, didn't keep a journal. "Her voice is largely unheard and I was really interested in that," Priya Parmar says. George C. Beresford/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption George C. Beresford/Getty Images

Author Interviews

Novel Gives Voice To Virginia Woolf's Overshadowed Sister

In Vanessa and Her Sister, Priya Parmar imagines what Vanessa Bell wrote in her journal when she and Woolf were helping to form the Bloomsbury Group, a gathering of London artists and intellectuals.

A Thalidomide victim leaves a Spanish court in a wheelchair while a protestor holds a sign reading "Thalidomide, Justice!" during a trial in Madrid in October 2013. Thousands of babies across Europe were born with abnormalities including missing limbs when expectant mothers were prescribed thalidomide in the 1950s and later. Andres Kudacki/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Andres Kudacki/AP

Health

Thalidomide Victims In Spain Still Waiting For Compensation

Five decades on, the battle for justice over birth defects caused by the drug thalidomide continues in only one European country. Victims in Spain are the only ones still left without compensation.

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