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3:33 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Dave Barry's 'Insane' Miami Mixes Refugees, Gangsters, Escorts And A Burmese Python

Putnam

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 2:36 pm

It wouldn't do to call Insane City "a typical Dave Barry novel." What kind of thing is that to say about a book? The story begins with a bachelor dinner that goes off the rails, then brings in Russian mobsters, the fourth-place finisher in the Miss Hot Amateur Bod contest, a goodhearted escort and her "sales representative," if you please, an albino Burmese python — or is that a Burmese albino python?

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The Salt
3:12 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Vigor, Brain Power And Other Health Claims From Coke's Advertising Past

(1905) Courtesy of Tom Bates

Coca-Cola is taking a lot of flak for its new television ad campaign addressing America's obesity epidemic – an epidemic in which sugary sodas are widely fingered as a key culprit.

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The Two-Way
2:29 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Even Syrian Activists Fall In Love On Facebook

Two young Syrian activists, Mohsen and Sara, say they met and fell in love on Facebook while monitoring the country's uprising. They didn't want their faces shown, but provided this photo, taken in the Old City of Damascus.
Courtesy of Mohsen and Sara

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 7:35 am

Syrian activists tend to spend long nights on Skype and Facebook, sending and receiving updates on the battle to oust the government.

And online is also where they sometimes fall in love.

Mohsen, an activist from Hama, says he first met Sara, his girlfriend of nearly two years, on Facebook.

She sent him a friend request because she saw he worked in the field of journalism, and for months they chatted casually about the Syrian uprising. Then, after government troops stormed Hama, Moshen fled to Damascus, where he and Sara finally met face to face.

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Simon Says
2:28 am
Sat January 26, 2013

'Ebony' Editor Began Life Black In Nazi Germany

Hans Massaquoi told his story in Destined to Witness: Growing up Black in Nazi Germany. The former managing editor of Ebony magazine died on his 87th birthday last Saturday.
Matthew P. D'Agostino AP

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 2:36 pm

The proudest moment of Hans Massaquoi's boyhood was when his babysitter sewed a swastika on his sweater. He was a 7-year-old boy in Hamburg who wanted to be part of the excitement of the times he saw. But when his mother got home, she snipped off the swastika.

He also wanted to join the Hitler Youth. "They had cool uniforms," Massaquoi wrote years later, "and they did exciting things — camping, parades, playing drums."

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It's All Politics
2:27 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Obama Administration Takes Gun Control Fight Outside Washington

Vice President Joe Biden participates in a round-table discussion on gun violence at Virginia Commonwealth University with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on Friday. The panelists included people who worked on gun safety after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 2:36 pm

The Obama administration is taking its push for gun legislation outside of the Beltway — possibly in a nod to the obstacles any gun control bills will face in Washington.

On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden held a round-table discussion in Richmond, Va., speaking with people who worked on gun safety after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

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It's All Politics
2:27 am
Sat January 26, 2013

For GOP Comeback, Leaders Urge Stepped-Up Outreach

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, shown at the Republican National Convention in August, has been re-elected to another two-year term.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 2:36 pm

In their first big party gathering since Election Day, Republican leaders from around the country met in Charlotte, N.C., this week.

The GOP is promising a great deal of change in advance of the next election, but one area where there will be no change for the party is in its leadership. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was elected to another two-year term.

In his acceptance speech, he cited a simple reason why Republicans failed to win the White House and lost seats in the House and Senate in November.

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Economy
2:26 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Japan's Economic Plan May Be Bad News For Everyone Else

Masaaki Shirakawa, the governor of the Bank of Japan, speaks before the press in Tokyo on Friday. The central bank announced new measures to stimulate the economy Tuesday.
Rie Ishii AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 2:36 pm

Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.

Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.

What's Wrong With Pouring Money Into The Problem?

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The Two-Way
1:01 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Egyptian Court Gives 21 Death Sentences Over Soccer Riot

Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly football club celebrate in front of their club premises in Cairo on Saturday. An Egyptian court sentenced 21 people to death in relation to a soccer stadium riot last February.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 11:11 am

The top of this post was updated at 10:28 a.m. ET:

An Egyptian court has sentenced 21 defendants to death over a deadly soccer riot last year, adding fuel to the violent protests that continued to flare across the country on Saturday.

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Music News
11:03 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

The Composer Who Tested Fighter Planes And Partied With Sinatra

Jimmy Van Heusen with Frank Sinatra in the 1950s. Van Heusen wrote dozens of songs for the crooner and became Sinatra's close friend and confidant.
Courtesy of Burns Media Productions

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 2:36 pm

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Music Interviews
11:03 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Petra Haden Covers Classic Film Scores With A Single Voice

Petra Haden's new album is titled Petra Goes to the Movies.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 2:36 pm

Petra Haden had a problem when she was a child: "I remember watching Looney Tunes cartoons and having the music stuck in my head," the singer and violinist says.

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Around the Nation
4:32 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

To Combat Suicides, Army Focuses On The Homefront

Alicia McCoy holds a photo of her husband, Sgt. Brandon McCoy. Despite taking part in basewide suicide prevention efforts at Fort Campbell in 2009, Sgt. McCoy took his own life in 2012.
Blake Farmer for NPR

When Sgt. Brandon McCoy returned from Iraq, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife, Alicia, remembers him being on edge in public.

"I'm watching him, and his trigger finger never stopped moving, constantly," says Alicia.

Four years later, after he returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, she says, she'd wake up with his hands wrapped around her throat. She told him: Get help or get a divorce. So he scheduled an appointment and — along with Alicia — trekked to the Fort Campbell hospital located on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

After Contract's End, Fox News And Sarah Palin Part Ways

Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate speaks at a "Patriots in the Park" Tea Party rally at the Wayne County, Mich., fairgrounds in July.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 3:47 pm

Fox News is not renewing Sarah Palin's contract, The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting.

After her failed vice presidential run in 2008, Palin resigned as Alaska's governor in 2009. When she took the job at Fox, she quickly became a staple on the cable news channel and one of the leading voices of the conservative movement in the United States.

The New York Times reports:

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

PHOTOS: Scenes From The March For Life

Lucia Dragas, 8, from Boston, Mass., held a poster saying "Defend Life" along with her parents during the rally.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered across the nation's capital Friday, marking the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

For many, faith was a large part of their opposition. Dunia Minniun from New Jersey, brought her husband's cross to the rally so he could be with her "to save the lives of the innocents."

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It's All Politics
2:45 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Court Ruling Upsets Conventional Wisdom On Recess Appointments

President Obama "strongly but respectfully disagrees with the ruling" on recess appointments by a federal appeals court, says White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 3:51 pm

In a bombshell decision on the limits of executive power, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., has invalidated President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Legal experts say the court's reasoning upends decades of conventional wisdom and deals a big victory to Senate Republicans in an era of congressional gridlock.

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Around the Nation
2:12 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Long Forgotten, 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Survivor Speaks Out

Sarah Collins Rudolph was with her sister Addie Mae Collins when a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The 1963 bombing killed her sister and three other girls, and Collins Rudolph was seriously injured in the attack.
Frank Couch AL.COM /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 7:22 pm

Signs of 1963 are everywhere in Birmingham, Ala., these days. The city is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights events of that year: the children who marched until police turned fire hoses and dogs on them; Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"; and the September bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.

Planted by white supremacists, the bomb killed four young girls preparing to worship. It was an act of terrorism that shocked the country and propelled Congress to pass the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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Shots - Health News
1:47 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

To Fight Addiction, FDA Advisers Endorse Limits On Vicodin

An FDA advisory panel voted to increase controls on painkillers containing hydrocodone, such as this generic version of Vicodin.
Sue Ogrocki Associated Press

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 11:38 am

A key federal panel Friday recommended placing new restrictions on Vicodin and similar prescription painkillers.

At the conclusion of an emotional two-day hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 19-10 to recommend the agency change how drugs that contain the opioid hydrocodone are classified as controlled substances.

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The Two-Way
1:41 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Mars Curiosity Rover Beams Back First Nighttime, Ultraviolet Photos

This rock target in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater is called "Sayunei." The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). The illumination came from one of MAHLI's two groups of white LED pairs. This allowed surface features to cast shadows and provide textural detail.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The Mars Curiosity Rover has beamed back its first nighttime pictures. It sent one taken while using its white LED lights and another using its ultraviolet LED lights.

It's a milestone and the pictures are pretty cool. But they don't tell us much of anything yet.

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Mon Dieu! A 'Hashtag' Is Now A 'Mot-dièse' In France

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 3:13 pm

The agency charged with finding French alternatives to foreign-language terms has put an end to the word "hashtag" in France.

From now on, reports Fast Company, the Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie has decided "mot-dièse" (that's MO-dee-YEZ for those of you who are not Francophiles) is the new hashtag.

Fast Company explains:

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World
12:38 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Spain's Strapped Towns Look To Churches For Cash

The Cathedral of Alcala de Henares is one of many buildings owned by the Catholic Church in Alcala de Henares, Spain. The town, which is outside Madrid, is broke and is pursuing a plan to have the church pay additional taxes.
JMN JMN/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 2:12 pm

The Catholic Church is Spain's largest and richest landowner, though its nonprofit status means it is exempt from paying most taxes.

But amid the current economic crisis, that may be changing.

One college town just outside Madrid is leading an effort by some Spanish municipalities to serve the church an up-to-date property tax bill.

Alcala de Henares is re-evaluating the status of hundreds of church holdings that have been exempt from paying property tax for hundreds of years.

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It's All Politics
12:02 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Some In GOP Want New Electoral College Rules

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 1:00 pm

Not many Americans are fans of the Electoral College. But trying to change the way electoral votes are allocated makes lots of people unhappy, too.

That's what Republicans in a number of states are finding just now. There are a half-dozen states that President Obama carried last November where both the legislature and the governor's office are controlled by the GOP — Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia.

In most of those states, there are efforts under way to change how electoral votes are distributed.

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