5:00pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Environment

Caribbean Coral Catch Disease From Sewage

White pox disease on a frond of the endangered elkhorn coral on Carysfort Reef in the Florida Keys. The bacteria the overlying coral tissue, exposing the coral's white limestone skeleton underneath.
James W. Porter University of Georgia

Human beings occasionally get diseases from animals, such as swine flu, rabies and anthrax. A new study finds that humans can also spread disease to wildlife, with grim results. A bacterium from our guts is now rampaging through coral reefs in the Caribbean.

Those reefs were already in slow decline, but they took a huge hit starting in 1996, when a disease called white pox appeared in the Florida Keys.

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4:53pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

For Love Or Insurance? Rabbi Seeks Young Wife To Lower Health Costs

Insurance is a top priority for Rabbi Craig Ezring.
Courtesy of Rabbi Craig Ezring

When Rabbi Craig Ezring's annual health insurance costs soared 38 percent this year to a whopping $18,636, he did more than just complain.

He went looking for a young wife.

For several years, the Boca Raton, Fla., rabbi had been getting coverage through a small corporation he formed with his wife. When she died four years ago, he thought the cost of his insurance coverage would drop. Instead it rose.

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4:41pm

Wed August 17, 2011
The Two-Way

Thousands Of South Koreans Join Suit Against Apple Over Location Tracking

The law firm handling a new suit seeking damages for Apple's location tracking gathered plaintiffs at a website called"sue apple," seen here in a screengrab.
sueapple.co.kr

In July, a South Korean court awarded $932 in damages to a man who sued Apple over the iPhone's ability to track users' location — and store the data for up to a year. Now, around 27,000 South Koreans are making the same complaint, and seeking the same award.

If Apple loses in court, it may have to pay a total of $25.7 million, to match the original judgment of 1 million Korean won in damages for each plaintiff.

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4:32pm

Wed August 17, 2011
The Two-Way

Ambassador Locke Picks Up His Own Coffee, Gains 'Hero' Status Among Chinese

Some pictures of the brand new U.S. ambassador to China are causing quite a stir. There's no scandal, instead the pictures have the Chinese reconsidering how their own public servants should act.

And it's all because of a coffee break.

We'll explain: Someone took a picture of Ambassador Gary Locke buying his own coffee at Starbucks in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. And, then, later pictures showed Locke and his family arriving at a Chinese airport carrying their own bags.

Many Chinese were incredulous.

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4:09pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Politics

Pa. Senator On Deficit Panel A Tea Party Favorite

The legislation that finally resolved the debt-ceiling debate earlier this summer also created a panel of 12 lawmakers charged with finding more than $1 trillion in cuts to the federal deficit.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, dubbed the "supercommittee," has a big job to finish by a Thanksgiving deadline.

Among the six Democrats and six Republicans appointed to the group is Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), a Tea Party favorite who was swept into office with the GOP tide last year.

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4:04pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Middle East

In Syrian Conflict, Tactics Grow Increasingly Brutal

Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 9:40 pm

This screen grab, taken from an amateur YouTube video, shows a crowd beating a man in the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour. This video cannot be independently verified.
YouTube

Syrian tanks and gunships are attacking neighborhoods in towns and cities around the country that have been hotbeds of anti-government protest, as the government pushes ahead with what's being called a Ramadan offensive.

Activists say the latest, most grisly trend is to detain protesters, torture them to death, then release their bodies for all to see. Activists say of the 70 deaths in detention they've documented so far, nearly 40 have been in the central city of Homs.

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3:45pm

Wed August 17, 2011
It's All Politics

Obama Prepares Ground For Campaign Against 'Do-Nothing Congress'

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 12:39 pm

President Obama works rope line in Atkinson, Ill., Aug. 17, 2011.
Carolyn Kaster AP

It's safe to say President Obama probably isn't going to get much of anything that can be seen as an initiative of his administration through Congress in the next 15 months.

Obama and congressional Republicans have two entirely different prescriptions for how to create jobs, for instance. Obama emphasizes investments in infrastructure that would employ construction workers, for instance.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans argue that their agenda of tax cuts and fewer regulations would cure a too-high jobless rate.

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3:11pm

Wed August 17, 2011
The Two-Way

In India, Thousands Protest In Support Of Anti-Corruption Activist

Tens of thousands of Indians took the streets in a peaceful protest today. The protesters came out in support of Anna Hazare, an anti-corruption crusader, who has captured the imagination of the country and forced the government into a corner.

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2:52pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Business

Companies Sit On Cash; Reluctant To Invest, Hire

Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 9:40 pm

Google plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash. At the end of 2010, Google was sitting on nearly $35 billion, and it's not alone.
Paul Sakuma AP

Google's plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion might seem like a lot of money, but the Web giant can easily afford it. At the end of last year, Google was sitting on nearly $35 billion in cash.

And it's not alone. The U.S. economy may be slowing to a crawl, but a lot of individual companies are richer than ever. They're being cautious about how they spend their cash, though.

"Companies are generating and maintaining more cash than they have aggregate uses for," says Rick Lane, a senior vice president at Moody's.

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2:44pm

Wed August 17, 2011
The Two-Way

Swiss Shoppers Flock To Euro Zone, Boosted By Franc's Surge In Value

Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 4:03 pm

After a day of shopping, residents of Geneva get on a bus to head home this past Saturday, carrying 250 euros' worth of groceries they bought at the Carrefour supermarket in Ferney-Voltaire, France.
John Heilprin AP

The Swiss franc has emerged as a safe haven currency for investors spooked by economic uncertainty in the U.S. and the European Union's euro zone. In the past year, the franc's value has soared — and now Swiss shoppers are going bargain-hunting in Europe's malls and shops.

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