12:01am

Wed January 18, 2012
Around the Nation

Cruise Ship Disaster Puts Focus On Safety Concerns

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 7:50 am

The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side after running aground on the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. One maritime workers union called the disaster a "wake-up call" highlighting long-standing safety concerns and what it sees as lax regulation.
Gregorio Borgia AP

The dramatic Costa Concordia accident off the coast of Italy is calling attention to the regulation of the cruise line industry. Experts say there are plenty of rules, but enforcement can be spotty.

Some of the survivors of last week's disaster described the rescue effort as chaotic and disorganized. The crew had not yet conducted a required emergency drill during the cruise.

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12:01am

Wed January 18, 2012
Around the Nation

New Recycling Company Springs From Old Mattresses

Originally published on Wed February 1, 2012 11:23 am

Old mattresses lie on the street outside abandoned homes in Las Vegas, in this 2010 photo. Used mattresses present a unique problem to landfills and recycling firms alike.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Old mattresses are among the worst kinds of household waste: Most recycling companies won't touch them, and landfills would rather not. But a new business in Nashville that started as a college project hopes to move mattress recycling into the mainstream — and employ former convicts in the process.

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12:01am

Wed January 18, 2012
Energy

Blocking Keystone Won't Stop Oil Sands Production

Oil storage tanks at the Chevron Burnaby Oil Refinery on the shores of Burrard Inlet, east of Vancouver, B.C.
Andy Clark Reuters/Landov

President Obama is feeling election-year pressure on the pending decision over the Keystone XL pipeline. Republicans say the Canadian project would provide the U.S. with oil and new jobs, but environmentalists want him to block it. They say Alberta's oil sands generate more greenhouse gases than other kinds of oil, and Americans must not become dependent on such a dirty source of energy. But it may already be too late to change that.

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12:01am

Wed January 18, 2012
It's All Politics

South Carolina: Gingrich's Last Stand

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich addresses the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday in Columbia, S.C. The state holds its primary on Saturday.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

10:00pm

Tue January 17, 2012
Sweetness And Light

Take Your Ball And Go Home? How Dare You!

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 8:11 am

"It's not that I've fallen out of love; I've actually never liked sports, and I never understood how I became an athlete," Serena Williams said recently, according to TennisNow.com. "I don't like working out; I don't like anything that has to do with working physically."
Tertius Pickard AP

Now that Tim Tebow is out of hearts and minds, and we can actually turn our attention to other things, let us go clear to the other side of the world. There, a short while ago, while preparing for the Australian Open, Serena Williams said: "I don't love tennis today, but ... I've actually never liked sports."

While her confession might have surprised some, I suspect that even more were irritated, actually angered, that an athlete — a great champion! — could utter such blasphemy.

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7:02pm

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Facing Disaster, What Is A Ship's Captain Expected To Do?

The Costa Concordia lies stranded in the Giglio harbor on Tuesday.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty

The captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia has been pilloried by many for what they say was cowardice in the wake of the accident off the coast of Tuscany Friday.

The dramatic recordings of the exchange between Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco's and Capt. Francesco Schettino, reveal a captain unwilling to return to the listing ship, even as De Falco mocks him.

But under maritime law, what was Schettino supposed to do?

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6:30pm

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Indian Lit Festival Invitation To Author Salman Rushdie Stirs Controversy

Salman Rushdie.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

There's a controversy brewing in India over an invitation extended to Booker Prize-winning novelist Salman Rushdie by the organizers of the Jaipur Literary Festival.

Rushdie, the author of Midnight's Children, angered Muslims with his 1988 novel Satanic Verses. The novel, which many Muslims say insults the Prophet Muhammad, led to Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declaring a fatwa against Rushdie. The writer spent much of the next few years in hiding.

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6:22pm

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

The Social Reference Desk: A Band-Aid For The Wikipedia Blackout

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia on Jan. 17.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Mark told you earlier that Wikipedia is going black for 24 hours beginning at midnight tonight. While Wikipedia's reason for shutting down is to protest anti-piracy legislation making its way through the United States Congress, another interesting question is going to be what happens to all those web surfers seeking answers to can't-wait questions?

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6:12pm

Tue January 17, 2012
News

PHOTOS: Images From The Disaster

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:06 am

The Costa Concordia lies stranded in the Giglio harbor on Tuesday.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty

Images from Italian luxury cruise ship accident.

5:17pm

Tue January 17, 2012
Economy

States' Fiscal Future Starts To Look A Bit Brighter

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 7:19 pm

In 2010, Arizona sold 22 buildings in its state capitol complex to help deal with budget deficits. Gov. Jan Brewer recently asked representatives to buy back three of the buildings, including the State House of Representatives (right), as the state's financial situation has improved. The Old Arizona Capitol Building (left) was not part of the deal.
Ross D. Franklin AP

As the U.S. economy struggled to get back on its feet over the past few years, a lot of states found themselves contending with big budget deficits. They responded by firing workers, raising taxes and cutting spending. Now the fiscal picture for a lot of states is brightening a bit — but many still face enormous challenges.

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