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Middle East
11:01 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

For Arab Nations In Transition, U.S. Emphasizes Trade

Egyptians are seen working in a bakery in Cairo. The U.S. has been working on ways to help revive the economies of nations in transition, like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, while having limited resources available during tough economic times.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 4:31 am

Just as the Arab uprisings were getting under way, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was warning that the region's foundations were sinking in the sand and that governments needed to respond to the needs of a young, educated and underemployed generation.

Now, she's come up with a new catchphrase.

"As tens of millions of young people enter the job market each year, we recognize that the Arab political awakening must also deliver an economic awakening," Clinton said. "And we are working to help societies create jobs to ensure that it does."

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Energy
11:01 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Solyndra Highlights Long History Of Energy Subsidies

Windmills and solar panels in Atlantic City, N.J., power a wastewater treatment plant, with surplus energy going to the area power grid. Solar and wind energy companies receive $370 million in federal subsidies annually, which is less than 1 percent of what oil and gas industries receive.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 1:11 pm

When Energy Secretary Steven Chu appears on Capitol Hill on Thursday to defend the Obama administration's solar energy subsidy program, he will face questions about the solar panel firm Solyndra, which went belly up this summer.

The Energy Department has drawn stiff criticism over a government loan guarantee program that lent the company half a billion dollars, but the government has a long history of subsidizing many forms of energy.

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Politics
11:01 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Gun Violence Survivors Push For Tighter Restrictions

Patricia Maisch, one of the people who helped halt the Tucson shooting that killed six and wounded 13, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, holds up a photograph of victim John Roll, a federal judge, while testifying before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. Maisch testified in support of legislation that would strengthen federal power over the states' handling of background checks.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 7:33 am

Dozens of gun violence survivors and family members of victims traveled to Capitol Hill this week to try to convince lawmakers to pass a bill that would tighten loopholes in the background check system for people who buy firearms.

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Law
11:01 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Penn State Scandal Emboldens Other Abuse Victims

The man said the advances began when he was 10 years old. He was a fourth-grader and an altar boy at a Catholic school in Hudson, Mass. He said the priest would try to touch the altar boys when they were putting on their robes, and he'd invite them to the rectory, one at a time.

"He'd want to show us pornographic magazines, and ask us to take our pants down, and he'd take his pants down and expose himself and things like that," he said.

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Middle East
11:01 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Egyptian Groups Plan Mass Anti-Military Protests

Egyptians attend a rally calling for a rapid transition from military to civilian rule in following the February ouster of president Hosni Mubarak in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Political parties, activists and Islamist groups in Egypt are threatening more mass protests in Cairo and other cities Friday against a document drafted by the interim government that would enshrine the powers of the Egyptian military.

It's the latest clash between Egypt's pro-democracy factions and the ruling military council, which is accused of clinging to power despite its pledge to cede control to an elected government.

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Sweetness And Light
9:00 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Is Football Culture The Core Of The Problem?

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 11:01 pm

As confounding as was the failure of Penn State officials to act, the consensus explaining the motives for their ignoble behavior is that, first, Joe Paterno didn't want to scar the reputation of himself or his football program; and then, university executives wanted to protect the reputation of the dear old coach and his moneymaking team.

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The Salt
5:49 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Pizza As A Vegetable? It Depends On the Sauce

Pizza for sale at a Chicago public school. Under a House spending bill, this would still count as a vegetable serving — without extra sauce.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 12:06 pm

When it comes to the politics of school lunch programs, the easy part is agreeing that kids should be eating more fruits and vegetables.

The hard part? Determining what counts as a vegetable. Take, for instance, the tomato sauce on pizza. As part of new nutrition standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, schools would need to use about one-half cup of tomato paste on pizza in order for the sauce to count as a vegetable serving.

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NPR Story
5:04 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Lawmakers Consider Counting Pizza As a Veggie

Lawmakers say pizza and french fries deserve to keep their place in school cafeterias. New nutrition standards aimed at putting more fresh and healthy food in front of kids are being revised in a current House agriculture appropriations bill. The latest version says the tomato sauce on a slice of pizza is the equivalent of a vegetable. Critics are likening it to the "ketchup-as-a-vegetable-controversy" during the Reagan administration.

The Two-Way
4:51 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Energy Secretary Chu Defends How Administration Handled Solyndra

In an interview with NPR, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu vigorously defended the actions of the Department of Energy with regards $528 million in loans it gave the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra.

Chu told All Things Considered's Melissa Block that neither he nor any of his staff working on DOE loans program was swayed by politics and that even in hindsight there was no way to know that Solyndra would fail.

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Newt Gingrich
4:27 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Why Did Freddie Mac Pay Newt Gingrich $300,000?

Polls continue to show former House Speaker Newt Gingrich solidly in the top tier of Republican presidential contenders. But at the same time, he is dogged by questions about a job he had after leaving Congress: consulting for the mortgage giant Freddie Mac — but not, he says, lobbying.

The questions began at the candidates' debate in Michigan last Wednesday, when CNBC's John Harwood asked Gingrich what he did for a $300,000 contract with Freddie Mac in 2006.

"I offered them advice on precisely what they didn't do," Gingrich said last week.

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The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Siding With Mayor, Judge Rules Against Occupy Wall Street Encampment

Protester Leina Bocar stands outside Zuccotti Park after police removed the Occupy Wall Street protesters from the park early this morning.
Mario Tama Getty Images

A State Supreme Court judge has backed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the owners of Zuccotti Park, saying police had a right to enforce rules that prohibit camping at the park overnight. In the pre-dawn hours, Bloomberg ordered the removal of protesters from the park.

Earlier, another Supreme Court judge had issued a temporary injunction and ruled the protesters could return to the park with tents and sleeping bags.

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Middle East
4:11 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Syria Faces Growing Pressure As Bloodshed Spikes

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that his brutal crackdown on opponents threatens to place him on a list of leaders who "feed on blood."
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 6:19 pm

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It's All Politics
4:11 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

'Obamacare' Will Rank Among The Longest Supreme Court Arguments Ever

The US Supreme Court announced this week that it will hear arguments over President Obama's health care reform law.
KAREN BLEIER AFP/Getty Images

When the United States Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a challenge to the health care reform law, the Court also announced that the parties would have more than the usual one hour to argue the case before the justices. That is not unheard of in particularly important cases — Bush v. Gore was allotted ninety minutes. But at five and a half hours, the length of time given for the health care case is nearly unprecedented in the modern Court.

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Asia
4:10 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

From Crushing Poverty To South Korea's Presidency

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (shown here as a young accountant, working for Hyundai's office in Thailand in the early 1960s) overcame a poverty-stricken childhood to become a student activist, successful business executive and, ultimately, leader of his country.
Courtesy of Lee Myung-bak

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 3:29 pm

When Lee Myung-bak was inaugurated as the 10th president of South Korea in February 2008, it was an astonishing outcome for a poor boy from Pohang, whose No. 1 dream had been simply to get a job.

Lee's life journey is a literal rags-to-riches story. He has made a political journey, too, from a student radical imprisoned for his activism to a conservative head of state.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:38 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Fluoride In Drinking Water? No Thanks, Says Florida County

Public health officials say the evidence is solid that fluoridated drinking water helps protect teeth.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 9:15 am

The federal Centers for Disease Control calls fluoridated water one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century. But many people still aren't convinced.

In Florida, opponents recently persuaded Pinellas County commissioners to stop adding fluoride to the water supply — a practice the county began in 2003. By the end of the year, Pinellas will once again be the largest county in Florida without fluoridated water.

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