The Salt
5:52 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Farm Bill Critics Claim Partial Victory Despite Stalemate

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:20 am

It's amazing how many different kinds of people have been trying to abolish or at least change the government's payments to farmers. They include economists, environmentalists, taxpayer advocates, global anti-hunger advocates and even a lot of farmers. Some have been fighting farm subsidies for the past 20 years.

This past year, those critics laid siege to offices on Capitol Hill because the law that authorizes these programs — the farm bill — was about to expire. (It has to be renewed every five years.)

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Business
5:43 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

After The 'Fiscal Cliff,' Businesses Say Some Uncertainty Remains

U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. But the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent last month.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:23 pm

Businesses complained that the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" froze their decisions about hiring and expanding, which hurt the economy. Washington has now managed half a deal, which settles tax issues, at least for the time being. But has that removed enough uncertainty to boost some business hiring and investment?

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Environment
5:43 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Deep In Canadian Lakes, Signs Of Tar Sands Pollution

The Shell Oil Jackpine open pit mine uses trucks that are 3 stories tall, weigh 1 million pounds and cost $7 million each. There is explosive growth in the oil field areas around Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Canadian researchers have used the mud at the bottom of lakes like a time machine to show that tar sands oil production in Alberta, Canada, is polluting remote regional lakes as far as 50 miles from the operations.

An increasingly large share of U.S. oil comes from Canada's tar sands. There are environmental consequences of this development, but until recently, Canadian regional and federal governments left it to the industry to monitor these effects.

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Politics
5:25 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Rep. Hartzler opens office in Columbia, talks spending cuts and Hagel

Us. Rep. Vicky Hartzler met with dozens of supporters at the opening of her south Columbia office.
Credit Kristofor Husted / KBIA

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler opened the doors to her new office in Columbia Tuesday.

Dozens of supporters showed up to welcome the Republican congresswoman to the south Columbia location. For many of them it was the first time meeting her.

Though this is Hartzler’s second term in Congress, this is the first time she will be representing Boone County in the Fourth District. That’s because of redistricting that occurred after Missouri lost a spot in the House because of the state’s dip in population.

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It's All Politics
5:09 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

House Gears Up For Immigration Battle

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the new House Judiciary Committee chairman, is a former immigration attorney who has taken a hard line against Democratic proposals.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:05 pm

With immigration expected to be a top issue in the new Congress, lawmakers in both parties continue to call for a bipartisan approach — while also preparing for battle.

The messaging from many House Democrats and Republicans about the chances of passing an immigration overhaul remains optimistic. And some of them, such as Republican Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California, have begun to meet privately.

But other moves indicate that lawmakers are hedging their bets and girding for a fight.

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Politics
5:08 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

New Mo. GOP chair plans more aggressive approach

Ed Martin says Missouri GOP needs to do a better job at fundraising.
Credit KBIA

The new chairman of the Missouri Republican Party wants the GOP to be more aggressive in promoting its message and more sophisticated in reaching out to voters.

Martin narrowly ousted former chair David Cole on Saturday.

Many speculate it was because of the GOP's poor performance in statewide races, where the party lost five out of the six races.

Martin says those losses were due to one thing: "We found ourselves at a disadvantage because we were vastly outspent by tens of millions of dollars total," he says.

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Weather
5:01 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

2012 was record warm year in much of Missouri

Hot child in Missouri.
Credit jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

If you're a Missourian and felt hot under the collar last year, there is good reason.

The National Weather Service says 2012 was the warmest year on record in St. Louis and Columbia, and was among the warmest in other cities.

St. Louis recorded an average temperature of 61.2 degrees for last year, a full 1.1 degrees higher than the previous mark set in 1921.

In Columbia, the average temperature of 59.4 degrees topped the 1938 record.

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The Two-Way
4:55 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Venezuela's Chavez To Miss His Inauguration

President Hugo Chavez is too ill to attend his inauguration this week, the Venezuelan government announced Tuesday.

In a letter to the National Assembly, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the president's medical team said Chavez's recovery should be extended beyond Thursday – the day he is scheduled to be sworn in. The Associated Press reports: "Maduro said Chavez was invoking a provision in the constitution allowing him to be sworn in before the Supreme Court at a 'later date.'"

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Middle East
4:29 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

A Welcoming Way Station For Syrians Fleeing Home

Beit Qamishlo is a modest house in southern Turkey that caters to Syrian exiles seeking temporary refuge. It also hosts frequent discussions on Syria's future. Here, Malik Dagestani (center), a former political prisoner in Syria, talks about his detention in the 1980s and 1990s.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:37 pm

It's called Beit Qamishlo, or the House of Qamishlo. It's named after a city in northeastern Syria, though the house isn't even in Syria — it's just across the border in southern Turkey.

The house is humble, made of concrete blocks, with tile floors. Arabic slogans are taped on the walls: "Beit Qamishlo is a house for everyone," "It's a window to Syria's future," "Under one roof we plant life together and freedom."

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U.S.
4:09 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Gun Control Advocates Say ATF's Hands Have Been Tied

Officers transfer confiscated weapons after a news conference to announce the arrests of scores of alleged gang members and associates on federal racketeering and drug-trafficking charges in Lakewood, Calif., in 2009.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:37 pm

After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead a group tasked with drafting policies to reduce gun violence. One of the issues sure to come up in the Biden group's discussions is the role of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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