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6:16am

Sat January 28, 2012
Latin America

Law-Abiding Mexicans Taking Up Illegal Guns

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 5:53 pm

Police stand near the scene of a murder in Juarez, Mexico. The country suffers from drug cartel-related violence despite some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

In Mexico, where criminals are armed to the teeth with high-powered weapons smuggled from the United States, it may come as a surprise that the country has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world.

Law-abiding Mexicans who want a gun to defend themselves have no good options. Either they fight government red tape to get a legal permit, or they buy one on the black market.

After an outbreak of violence, one embattled community in northern Mexico called Colonia LeBaron has begun to ask if it's time for the country to address its gun laws.

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6:15am

Sat January 28, 2012
Politics

The Smart Politician's Guide To Avoiding Scandal

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 6:06 pm

When former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin addressed attendees at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 6, 2010, she appeared to have notes written on her left hand.
Ed Reinke AP

Politics may be show business for ugly people, but you don't have to be ugly about it yourself.

It's become a cliche to describe the endless series of Republican presidential debates as a reality show. But lately a lot of politicians have been acting as though they were looking to secure a spot on the "now trending" lists of Internet search engines.

Secretly donating sperm to lesbians in New Zealand? Seriously?

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6:18pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Presidential Race

GOP Candidates Wrangle Over Reagan's Legacy

President Ronald Reagan rides his horse at his Rancho del Cielo, "Ranch in the Sky," located outside Santa Barbara, Calif., in April 1985.
Pete Souza AP

As he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich almost always works the name of Ronald Reagan into his speeches.

In fact, it's become so common that Gingrich's name-dropping has become an issue itself.

Sometimes Gingrich invokes the name of Ronald Reagan to associate himself with the policies of the former president.

"When I worked with President Reagan, we adopted a lower tax, less regulation, more American energy policy, and it led to 16 million new jobs," Gingrich said at a speech in St. Petersburg, Fla., this week.

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6:03pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Salt

Beyond Black Beans And Rice: Cuban Chefs Go Modern

Lobster salad, pineapple sorbet and truffle oil-infused black sesame seeds, as prepared by Cuban Chef Luis Alberto Alfonso Pérez.
Robert Vesco

Ham sandwiches, hot-pressed and gooey with cheese. Neat piles of black beans and rice. Grilled chicken.

This is the simple, filling fare served at Cuban restaurants around the world. And like the iconic, rusty Studebakers that line the streets of Havana, Cuban food hasn't changed much since the 1950s. The communist government's stranglehold on the economy, combined with the U.S. trade embargo, has meant that Cuban chefs haven't picked up the modern cooking techniques, or exotic ingredients, that have invigorated the cuisines of much of the rest of the world.

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5:54pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Poetry

NewsPoet: Tracy K. Smith Writes The Day In Verse

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:40 pm

Tracy K. Smith poses for a portrait outside of NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Today marks the start of an exciting project at All Things Considered called NewsPoet. Each month we'll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom β€” and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's news.

The first poet to participate is Tracy K. Smith. She has received degrees in English and creative writing from Harvard College, Columbia University, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her latest book of poems is titled Life on Mars.

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5:30pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

'Welcome Home Heroes' Parade For Iraq Vets Set For Saturday In St. Louis

Veterans of the war in Iraq will be honored Saturday morning in St. Louis in what organizers say is the first major welcome home parade in the nation.

Local KSDK-TV reports that "75 floats, two marching bands and the Budweiser Clydesdales" will be involved.

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5:22pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Education

Higher Dropout Age May Not Lead To More Diplomas

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

President Obama delivers the commencement address for Kalamazoo Central High School's class of 2007 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The state requires students to stay in school until they turn 18.
Charles Dharapak AP

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on every state to require students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18. "When students don't walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma," he said.

The White House cited studies that showed how raising the compulsory schooling age helps prevent kids from leaving school. And while some of that is true, some of it is also wishful thinking.

For New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Education Paul Leather, the president made the right call in his address.

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5:22pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Romney's Unlikely And Persuasive Defense Of The 'Individual Mandate'

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney offered a spirited defense of the individual mandate during Thursday night's GOP presidential candidate debate in Jacksonville, Fla.
Matt Rourke AP

For a candidate who keeps vowing to repeal the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sure can make a convincing argument on its behalf.

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4:58pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Planet Money

Rethinking The Oreo For Chinese Consumers

Kraft Foods has reinvented the Oreo for Chinese consumers. It's latest offering in China: straw-shaped wafers with vanilla-flavored cream filling.
Kraft Foods

Everyone knows what an Oreo cookie is supposed to be like. It's round, black and white, and intensely sweet. Has been for 100 years. But sometimes, in order to succeed in the world, even the most iconic product has to adapt.

In China, that meant totally reconsidering what gives an Oreo its Oreoness.

At first, though, Kraft Foods thought that the Chinese would love the Oreo. Who doesn't? They launched the product there in 1996 as a clone of the American version.

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4:42pm

Fri January 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Revs Up House Democrats For Election-Year Fight

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 10:09 am

Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat., introduces President Obama at the House Democratic Issues Conference on Friday in Cambridge, Md.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

President Obama flew out to Maryland's Eastern Shore on Friday to fire up his rank and file in Congress.

House Democrats have spent the past few days in their annual retreat, regrouping and strategizing for the year to come. Lawmakers say their hopes for success β€” in the economy and in politics β€” depend on sticking together and sending the same message to Americans.

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4:30pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Multiple Views Add Perspective To Colten Moore's Extreme Crash At X Games

Colten Moore lost his hold on his snowmobile in mid-air.
X Games

The cable news networks have been replaying a pretty spectacular crash from Thursday's snowmobile freestyle event at the X Games in Aspen, Colo.

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4:01pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Middle East

U.N. Atomic Agency To Visit Iran For New Probe

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, is sending a team to Iran on Sunday to further look into the country's nuclear program. Here, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the agency, is shown at an IAEA meeting in Vienna on Nov. 18, 2011.
Ronald Zak AP

A senior delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits Iran on Sunday in a renewed attempt to probe aspects of Iran's nuclear program that could be connected to nuclear weapons work.

For years, the IAEA has been trying to get answers to some very uncomfortable questions about Iran's nuclear program.

Iran insists it has only a peaceful, civilian nuclear program, and so far it has refused to discuss evidence that it is engaging in some nuclear weapons work. But international pressure on Tehran is growing.

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3:53pm

Fri January 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Heading Into Final Fla. Swing., GOP Candidates Keep Courting Latino Voters

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

Fresh from a confident debate performance, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was jaunty as he campaigned at the Hispanic Leadership Network's lunch in Miami on Friday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Fresh from Thursday night's debate, the two leading Republican presidential candidates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, traveled across Florida on Friday.

Gingrich and Romney spent the morning in Miami, where they are both looking to shore up support from Florida's Hispanic community.

Gingrich started the day talking to an influential business group, the Latin Builders Association. Later, he spoke before the Hispanic Leadership Network β€” a group devoted to building Republican support among Latinos.

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3:45pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

In Egypt: Charges, Trial Could Be Next, Says Sam LaHood

While he says it is "patently false" for anyone to say that the International Republican Institute offices he directs are in any way behind the anti-government protests in Egypt, American Sam LaHood told All Things Considered host Melissa Block this afternoon that he's been warned by the organization's attorney that he and others may soon be charged and brought to trial by authorities there.

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3:42pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Movies

Movie Titles That Might Have Been

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

'Tonight' Show: Playing an alcoholic, unpopular superhero, Will Smith rouses himself from a park bench pass-out to stare down a curious kid in 2008's Hancock β€” a movie almost titled Tonight, He Comes.
Relativity Media The Kobal Collection

Shrek, Hitch, Gattaca: What's in a name? Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet β€” but for Hollywood the question is more like, "Would that rose, by any other name, sell as many tickets?"

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3:25pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Scratching An Ankle Is Hard To Beat

Now that feels good.
Arman Zhenikeyev iStockphoto.com

There are few more sybaritic pleasures than scratching an itch.

But according to a study just out in the British Journal of Dermatology, the intensity of the scratching delight varies with the location of the itch.

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3:19pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Winter Songs

Shredding To Metallica, Dancing To 'Jump'

Daron Rahlves of the U.S. competes during the Men's Freestyle Ski Cross qualification at Cypress Mountain during the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Adrian Dennis AFP/Getty Images

3:18pm

Fri January 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama Vs. Gingrich? More Reasons GOP Fears The Matchup

Pundits say former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had a mediocre performance in the Jacksonville, Fla., debate on Thursday.
Scott Audette Reuters /Landov

It's not that the panicked Republican establishment needed more fodder for its attack on GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as the wrong man to take on President Obama this fall.

They've managed quite nicely themselves over the past few days, piling on the pugnacious former House speaker, circa mid-1990s, in direct proportion to Gingrich's rise in the polls in Florida and nationwide.

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3:15pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Facebook's IPO Filing Could Come Next Week, 'Wall Street Journal' Says

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 3:17 pm

We've been hearing it would happen for quite a while, so keep that in mind when you read this scoop. The Wall Street Journal says:

"Facebook Inc. could file papers for an initial public offering as early as next week and is currently looking at a deal that would value the social network between $75 billion to $100 billion, said people familiar with the matter."

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2:50pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

'Barefoot Bandit' Gets 6 1/2 Years On Federal Charges

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 2:55 pm

Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Bandit."
Ted S. Warren AP

Colton Harris-Moore, who gained international fame for being the so-called Barefoot Bandit, was just sentenced by a federal judge to 6 1/2 years in prison.

But since the time is to be served while he finishes out the 7 years in prison that he was sentenced to by a state court last December, it looks like Harris-Moore won't actually be spending any additional time behind bars.

The Associated Press reminds us that in 2010:

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2:34pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Heavy Doctors Avoid Heavy Discussions About Weight

iStockphoto.com

Research already demonstrates that physicians are sometimes uncomfortable talking about weight with their obese patients. Now, a new study shows that the doctors' weight makes a difference too.

Physicians who pack on the pounds discuss weight loss less frequently with obese patients than doctors who have normal body mass indexes (18 percent versus 30 percent), according to the report published this week in the medical journal Obesity.

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1:55pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Why Could Romney's Father Run For President If He Was Born In Mexico?

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 2:29 pm

George Romney, center, with his wife, Lenore, and teenage son Mitt, in 1962.
AP

One of the more dramatic moments in Thursday night's Republican presidential debate was when Mitt Romney said it was "repulsive" of Newt Gingrich to suggest that Romney was the most "anti-immigrant" candidate among the GOP contenders.

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1:53pm

Fri January 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Fitch Downgrades Credit Of 6 E.U. Countries, Including Spain, Italy

Fitch Ratings announced it was cutting the ratings of Italy, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, and Cyprus.

Italy and Spain, two of the biggest eurozone economies, suffered a two-notch drop. Italy went from A+ to A- and Spain went from A to AA-.

Bloomberg reports:

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1:49pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Dengue Fever Cases Surge Worldwide

Not who you want to meet on your tropical vacation.
USDA AP

If winter has you daydreaming of a vacation to sunny lands, you might want to consider the risk of dengue fever in your plans.

The number of cases of the disease, a severe flu-like illness with excruciating headaches, joint and muscle pain, is soaring, according to an update from the World Health Organization.

Now more than 40 percent of the world's population is at risk β€” 2.5 billion people, according to the group. In 2010, there were 1.6 million cases in the Americas alone.

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1:00pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Author Interviews

Can Science Be Done Without Secrecy?

In his book, Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science, Physicist Michael Nielsen discusses why scientists jealously guard their data and are slow to adopt online tools for collaboration. Nielsen talks about why attempts to create science wikipedias have failed.

1:00pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Research News

Ancient Skull Holds Clues to Dog Domestication

A 33,000-year-old skull of a "wolf on the way to becoming a dog" was found in a Siberian cave. Evolutionary Biologist Susan Crockford, co-author of a study about the skull in PLoS ONE, discusses why the discovery challenges common beliefs about dog domestication.

1:00pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Research News

Magnetic Soap May Help Clean Up Spilled Oil

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 1:41 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. After the Deepwater Horizon spill, BP poured nearly two million gallons of dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico. The goal, of course, is breaking up oil slicks, making them dissolve into ocean waters, sort of like how you squirt dish soap on a greasy frying pan to get the oil to wash away with the water.

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1:00pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Medical Treatments

Stem Cell Eye Therapy Shows Promise

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 2:02 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Stem cell therapy, it seems, is always promising, promising to cure diseases or illnesses. And this week, a study using embryonic stem cells has increased the hope of fulfilling some of those promises.

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1:00pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Space

How 'Space Weather' Affects Planes And Power Grids

This week solar flares sent a huge blast of X-rays and charged particles screaming towards the Earth. Solar astronomer David Hathaway and physicist Doug Biesecker discuss the sun's explosive behavior, and how that 'space weather' affects satellites, airplanes and the electric grid.

1:00pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Art & Design

Ode To Ice

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 1:58 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Time now for our Video Pick of the Week. Flora Lichtman, our multimedia editor is here. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: Good video as always.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Yeah. This one is about something that I encounter every day, and I think of it as little more than a beverage cooler or maybe a nuisance on my commute to work. I'm talking about ice. But it turns out that ice was way more interesting than I knew before (unintelligible)...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

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