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Wedding dress rentals are way down. Condoms are no longer a hot item. And prostitutes are having trouble finding customers.

Blame it all on Ebola.

With at least 300 new cases a week in Sierra Leone, the virus is altering practically every aspect of life. And life, well, life includes love and sex. Even illicit sex.

So we wanted to find out how the epidemic has impacted these more ... intimate facets of daily experience for residents of the capital, Freetown.

The small city of Orange Cove, at the doorstep of the Sierra Nevada in central California, was suffering the brunt of the state's drought in April.

The rolling hills around the town are lined with citrus groves, and most people work on farms. As the irrigation canals dried up last summer, so did the economy.

"If there's no water, there's no work," Salvador Perez told NPR at the time.

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One in seven households in the U.S. won't have enough to eat sometime in the coming year, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Even someone with a good job and steady income could quickly become a person who relies on food banks to make ends meet.

This story came to us from Capital Public Radio's documentary series, The View From Here.

It's been 20 years since San Francisco helped start a revolution: It became the first U.S. community to guarantee a home to every adoptable dog and cat.

Since then, the no-kill movement, as it's called, has been credited with greatly reducing the number of dogs and cats that are euthanized, from some 20 million down to about 3 million each year.

On this last day of 2014, America's troops in Afghanistan are still a combat force.

On Thursday, their mission changes.

"We will be ending our combat mission in Afghanistan, obviously because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the American armed forces," President Obama said during a recent visit with Marines and their families in Hawaii.

But there will still be more than 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Barring new and jarring developments, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is going to survive the story that he addressed a conference of white supremacists in 2002.

Unless further evidence emerges of liaisons with the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO, Scalise will take his oath next week for the 114th Congress as the No. 3 leader of the chamber's GOP — the party's largest majority since 1928.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has signed 20 international agreements, including one to join the International Criminal Court, a step that is likely to draw sharp response from Israel and the U.S.

The move comes a day after the U.N. Security Council rejected a Palestinian draft resolution that called for, among other things, an end to the Israeli occupation by 2017.