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Around the Nation
5:36 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Cyclo-Cross Championship Takes U.S. By Storm, Mud And Sand

Competitors in a men's category race in the 2013 National Cyclo-cross Championships in Bradford, England, this month. The sport requires riders to traverse mud and sand on off-road courses peppered with obstacles.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:55 pm

While many Americans will be tuning into the Super Bowl on Sunday, there's another big sports competition this weekend: the Cyclo-Cross World Championships. This weekend's event, in Louisville, Ky., marks the first time in its 60-year history that the world championships will be held outside of Europe.

Cyclo-cross, a grueling sport requiring riders to traverse mud, sand and other obstacles, is growing rapidly in the U.S. And the fans can be a bit crazy. At the 2012 Louisville Derby City Cup, hundreds of people — some in costumes — packed onto the course to cheer the riders on.

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Latin America
5:31 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

As U.S. Consumes Less Cocaine, Brazil Uses More

Brazilian federal police patrol the Mamore River, which separates Brazil from Bolivia. The river is used by traffickers to ferry cocaine from Bolivia into Brazil, where cocaine consumption is rising rapidly.
Juan Forero Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:55 pm

As cocaine consumption falls in the United States, South American drug traffickers have begun to pioneer a new soft target for their product: big and increasingly affluent Brazil.

And the source of the cocaine is increasingly Bolivia, a landlocked country that shares a 2,100-mile border with Brazil.

As Brazilian police officers and border agents can attest, the drug often finds its way to Brazil by crossing the Mamore River, which separates the state of Rondonia from Bolivia in the heart of South America.

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Art & Design
5:16 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Graffiti Gnomes Allowed To Roam On Oakland Utility Poles

An anonymous artist started placing the hand-painted gnomes on the bases of utility poles all over Oakland.
Courtesy of the photographer

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:55 pm

Over the past year, small gnomes started springing up all around Oakland, Calif. The elfin creatures are hand-painted on wooden boards; each is about 6 inches tall, with red hat, brown boots and white beard. They're bits of urban folk art from an anonymous painter who surreptitiously screws them onto the base of utility poles.

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Around the Nation
5:05 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

South L.A. Teens Doubt New Laws Will Change Gun Culture

Handguns collected in South-Central Los Angeles as part of a Gun for Gift Card exchange in 2009. One teenager here says getting a gun on the streets is just "one phone call away."
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 1:04 pm

On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation. This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common — and so are guns.

"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."

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Music Interviews
4:36 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Ron Sexsmith: At Midlife, A Songwriter Ponders Mortality

Ron Sexsmith's new album, Forever Endeavour, comes out Feb. 5.
Michael D'Amico Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:55 pm

Somehow, Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith makes a case of the deep blues sound sweet. The new album Forever Endeavour is his 13th, and the songs show him, at midlife, reflecting a lot on the passage of time.

"I think there's always something comforting about sad songs," Sexsmith says. "It's a shared thing that everyone can relate to."

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Beyoncé On Lip-Syncing: 'I Did Not Feel Comfortable Taking A Risk'

Pat Benic DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:34 pm

The Grammy-award winning singer Beyoncé has finally put an end to all the talk surrounding her performance during President Obama's second inauguration.

And she did it in diva fashion, during a press conference to preview her Super Bowl performance.

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You Must Read This
3:45 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

War Writ Small: Of Pushcarts And Peashooters

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 7:55 pm

Adam Mansbach is the author of the forthcoming novel Rage is Back.

Stealing my 9-year-old nephew's copy of The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill was the best thing I did last summer. I was his age the first time I read it, and twice his age the last time I went back to it. I'm twice that old again now, but as soon as I dove into this intimate, majestic tale of war writ small — of a battle between the pushcart peddlers and the truckers of New York City — I realized how timeless, and how deeply a part of me, the story was.

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Shots - Health News
3:27 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

How Owls Spin Their Heads Without Tearing Arteries

How does a great gray owl do that? Now we know.
Martin Meissner AP

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 7:56 am

The human neck is a delicate stem. Torque it a bit too much, and the carotid and vertebral arteries can rip, causing deadly strokes. People have torn their neck arteries riding roller coasters, doing yoga, going to the chiropractor, being rear-ended in the car – even leaning back for a beauty-parlor shampoo.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Reports: Shots Fired At Atlanta Middle School

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:59 pm

Shots were fired at an Atlanta middle school, this afternoon, several news outlets are reporting. The Associated Press quotes an Atlanta fire official saying that a 14-year-old had been shot at Price Middle School.

WSBTV reports that one teacher was injured and the condition of the teen is not known.

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All Tech Considered
3:14 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

What's Next, A Patent For The Lines Around Apple Stores?

Apple has trademarked its minimalist store design.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 3:18 pm

Officially as of last week, there's nothing quite like Apple's stores. After an array of patents of its products, Apple has decided to go whole hog and trademark its minimalist store design. The trademark was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 22, Reuters reported.

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