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Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest
3:17 am
Thu August 23, 2012

How The Smokey Bear Effect Led To Raging Wildfires

Adams (left) talks with Swetnam in their laboratory, nestled under the football stadium.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 7:50 pm

First of a five-part series

The history of fire in the American Southwest is buried in a catacomb of rooms under the bleachers of the football stadium at the University of Arizona.

Here rules professor Thomas Swetnam, tree ring expert. You want to read a tree ring? You go to Tom. He's a big, burly guy with a beard and a true love for trees.

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It's All Politics
6:34 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Cut Off From Party's Purse Strings, Rep. Akin Plans Next Move

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., says Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the GOP vice presidential candidate, asked him to end his Senate bid after recent comments he made referring to "legitimate rape."
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:59 pm

Republican Rep. Todd Akin's decision to stay in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri is likely to leave him with support from the state's evangelical community, but not much more, says a political scientist at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

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The Two-Way
6:28 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Officials Say West Nile Outbreak Could Be Worst Ever In U.S.

A map that shows where West Nile cases have been reported. Note that areas shaded white have seen no virus activity.
CDC

As cases of West Nile virus continue to increase, authorities warned today that this could turn out to be the worst outbreak since the virus first showed up in the United States in 1999.

The New York Times reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still unsure about "where and how far" the disease will spread, but so far there have been 1,118 cases and 41 deaths reported.

The Times adds:

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Middle East
5:53 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

As Fighting Rages, A Prisoner Swap In Syria

The daily fighting in Syria included this gun battle Wednesday involving rebels in the northern city of Aleppo. Still, the rival sides recently worked out a prisoner swap in which two women were freed from state custody, while the rebels released seven pro-government fighters.
James Lawler Duggan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:59 pm

The bitter fighting in Syria seems to grow worse by the day, yet the rebels and the government do occasionally manage to work out something that requires each side to trust the other: prisoner swaps.

In one recent exchange, two women held by the government were freed in exchange for seven men who were fighting on behalf President Bashar Assad's regime.

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The Salt
5:24 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Food Waste Is Overwhelming. Here Are Five Things People Are Doing About It

Rotten jackfruit and tomatoes are sorted at a dump in New Delhi. India loses an estimated 40 percent of its produce harvest for lack of infrastructure. And Americans waste about 40 percent of our food.
Mustafa Quraishi AP

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 5:39 pm

The food world is buzzing today about the latest news on just how often we waste perfectly good food. And we admit, the statistics are pretty depressing.

About 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. The average American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia — up 50 percent from Americans in the 1970s. Yet, 1 in 6 Americans doesn't have enough to eat, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And food waste costs us about $165 billion a year and sucks up 25 percent of our freshwater supply.

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It's All Politics
5:19 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Despite Fact Checks, Romney Escalates Welfare Work Requirement Charge

President Clinton signs the welfare reform law on Aug. 22, 1996.
Stephen Jaffe Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:59 pm

Wednesday marks the 16th anniversary of President Clinton's welfare overhaul. That law has become a major issue in this year's presidential campaign.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Fed Hints At More Action To Boost Economy

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks to educators Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C. At their most recent meeting, many Fed members backed action to boost the economy.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

The Federal Reserve could take more steps to boost the struggling U.S. economy. That's according to minutes released Wednesday of the Federal Open Market Committee's July 31-Aug. 1 meeting.

"Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery," the minutes said. [PDF]

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Summer Nights: Funtown
4:59 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Festive Nanjing Road Recaptures Shanghai's Heyday

The "Loving Happiness Band," supported, in part, by the Communist Party, plays for a crowd on Nanjing Road.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 8:34 pm

In the 1920s and 1930s, Shanghai was one of the world's most exciting — and notorious — cities. But all that came to an end in the middle of the last century, when the Communists took charge.

Over the past decade or so, though, a vibrant Shanghai has re-emerged. Today, it's a dynamic city of 23 million, with a skyline that dwarfs Manhattan's.

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Religion
4:56 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Some Israeli Parents Rethink Ritual Circumcision

Family members and friends gather around 8-day-old Israeli baby Oz Naftaly Cohen after his traditional Jewish circumcision ceremony in 2005.
Ariel Schalit AP

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 8:41 am

The question of whether to circumcise a newborn son is no question at all for most observant Jews. In Europe, the practice has come under fire. This summer, a German regional court ruled that circumcision is physical abuse, and a Swiss hospital temporarily banned the procedure. The debate has infuriated Jewish community leaders there.

In Israel, even the most secular Jews overwhelmingly have their sons circumcised. But the debate in Europe has drawn attention to a still small but growing number of Israeli Jews who are forgoing the procedure.

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The Two-Way
4:46 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Confederate Soldier In Famous Portrait Is Identified

Stephen Pollard of Carroll County, Ga., who fought and survived the Civil War.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:43 pm

The Washington Post brings us an interesting story about a portait that was donated to the Library of Congress.

As far as portraits from the Civil War go, this one is quite famous. It shows a confederate soldier looking a bit disheveled and very serious while holding an 1855 Springfield single-shot pistol carbine.

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