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The Afghan presidential campaign is under way, and on the surface it looks like what you'd see in any other democracy. But underneath the decorations and sloganeering lies the shadowy practice of wooing tribal elders, warlords and other influential Afghans who can "deliver" votes or, in some cases, prevent opponents' voters from making it to the polls.

Pakistan's government and the Pakistani Taliban are holding a first round of peace talks in Islamabad. Expectations are low for any substantial progress toward ending what has been a particularly bloody insurgency. Some analysts believe that the Pakistani military will soon launch a major offensive against the militants in their strongholds along the border with Afghanistan.

The 2014 Winter Olympics officially opened Friday with a ceremony celebrating Russian culture and introducing Olympic athletes from around the world. NPR's Robert Smith was at the ceremony in Sochi and joins us to recount the pomp and pitfalls on display.

George Clooney anchors a thriller about a celebrated military unit that worked to recover and protect precious art and artifacts during the chaos at the end of World War II. NPR's Joel Rose reports on the mission — and some of the surviving members.

Barbara Amaya was 12 when she ran away and ended up in the hands of a sex trafficker. When she escaped, she went years without speaking about her ordeal — until her daughter ran away, too.

As the U.S. Postal Service continues to lose money, a new report suggests a way to add to its bottom line: offer banklike services, such as a cash card that would allow customers to load their paychecks and pay bills online. The idea is to provide services that are now unavailable in many communities.

This is the first Olympics where figure skaters from each country are competing as teams. It's twice the skating, which is great for ratings, but it also means athletes in this individualized sport now have to work together.

Samantha Power tells NPR the U.S. is enlisting the help of Russia in particular to secure humanitarian access to civilians trapped in the fighting.

In a courtroom in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday, prosecutors and the defense laid out different versions of how 47-year-old Michael Dunn, who is white, came to shoot and kill Jordan Davis, a black 17-year-old.

Cutting the national debt and deficit used to be the most divisive political debate in Washington. These days, not so much. Both parties have agreed to move on and focus on issues they largely agree on: income inequality and social mobility. But there's not much they can do without a sustainable budget.

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