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Texas Senator Ted Cruz was a political hit or miss, depending on whom you ask. Host Michel Martin and guests talk about Cruz and other politicians of note for this year's 'Tell Me Awards.'

The conflict pits the country's president against his former vice president, who is accused of plotting a coup. But the violence in the oil-rich nation also has tribal and ethnic dimensions that threaten the world's newest country.

The new year has arrived in Australia, New Zealand and other places in the Pacific. As 2014 begins around the world, we'll watch for highlights of the celebrations. Among the things to watch for: Dubai's bid to set a new world record for biggest fireworks display.

Early Tuesday, Israel released another group of Palestinian prisoners convicted of violent crimes against Israelis. Former prisoner Omar Masoud says the releases legitimize the peace process for Palestinians. But the family of his Israeli victim says it's unacceptable for Israel to sell "our blood as a gesture."

Throughout the year, stories about gun violence in the city grabbed the country's attention. Now at the end of the year, the city's crime rate is again big news because it declined so much in 2013, to its lowest level in decades. It's a reality that often doesn't fit the perception of the city.

A Swedish inventor came up with a wristwatch that counts down the seconds left in your life. He calls it a happiness watch because he believes living with the reality of one's mortality can enhance how we value our lives.

Long gone, but never forgotten, Voyager 1 is about 12 billion miles from home and now sailing through interstellar space, scientists were thrilled to confirm in 2013. The spacecraft carries with it a generation's dreams.

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.

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.

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.

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