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4:09 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Dr. Dog: A Standout Among Stereotypes

Dr. Dog's sixth studio album is titled Be the Void.
Chris Crisman

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

Sometimes I wonder: Do the members of young indie-rock bands know that they're walking stereotypes? There's the scruffy dude who's obsessed with everything vintage and analog, the Pavement-worshiping, whiny-voiced lead singer, the rhythm section that knows its way around every oddity recorded by The Kinks. That's pretty much how I pegged the Philadelphia sextet Dr.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:58 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need? Not Such A Mystery After All

Here's one clue that your child may not be getting enough sleep.
iStockphoto.com

Are doctors really clueless on how much sleep children need?

That was the provocative premise of a study we reported on yesterday.

It sparked a lot of attention from parents like me, who were left wondering where pediatricians come up those recommendations for hours of nightly sleep.

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Europe
3:56 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

In Russia, A Debate Over How To Set The Clock

Moscow's city center at dawn. Some Russians are upset that President Dmitry Medvedev put the country on daylight saving time year-round, which means it doesn't get light until 9 a.m. or later in winter.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

In just a few weeks, most of the United States will shift back to daylight saving time — and Americans will lose an hour of sleep but gain an extra hour of light in the evening.

That won't be happening in Russia, though, where President Dmitry Medvedev has put the country on permanent summer time.

Medvedev's decree, issued last fall, means that it doesn't get light in Moscow now until around 9 a.m. Back in January, it was dark until 10 in the morning.

This has become an issue in Russia's presidential election next month.

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National Security
3:35 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

As China's Military Grows, U.S. Assesses Risks

At the White House on Tuesday, President Obama greeted China's Vice President Xi Jinping and called for cooperation between the two nations.

Later in the day, the Chinese vice president crossed the Potomac to visit the Pentagon, where the U-S military may hope for cooperation, but has to plan for possible confrontation.

The Pentagon's new budget request, unveiled Monday, signals a shift for the US military, with a greater focus on the Pacific.

China is building more ships and aircraft, and is now patrolling hundreds of miles out into the Pacific.

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Warm Winter Leads To Early Blooms In Northeast

Kristin Schleiter, of the New York Botanical Garden, in front blooming red camellias.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

If you live in the Northeast, this has been a wacky winter: It has been deathly cold in Eastern Europe, as flowers bloom in New York City and temperatures rise to the high 40s and even 50s.

I went in search of flowers in bloom and was not disappointed. There were bushes of red camellias, and gorgeous yellow flowering Adonis. Kristin Schleiter is the acting director of outdoor gardens at the New York Botanical Garden. She took me to an outdoor test garden.

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Afghanistan
3:15 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Snowstorms Take A Toll In Afghan Refugee Camps

Aw Muhammad, a resident of a refugee camp in western Kabul, pulls back a shade as one of his six surviving children looks out on the snow. Afghanistan is suffering one of its harshest winters in many years.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Kabul's fourth snowstorm in the past month brought children out to play across the city, including those in the Charahi Qambar refugee camp in the western part of the capital.

Many of the children in the camp don't remember any other life outside of this mud-brick shantytown. Most of their parents fled the southern province of Helmand when the war heated up there four years ago.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Iran Can Disrupt Key Waterway — But For How Long?

The USS Abraham Lincoln sailed from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday. This photo was taken from the bridge of the aircraft carrier and shows U.S. aircraft parked on its flight deck. In the background, a U.S. destroyer patrols.
Hassan Ammar AP

The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.

This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Westminster Set To Name Top Dog; Out West, A Dog's Star Rises

Miu Miu, a Chihuahua, poses for photographers at a fashion show held before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
Michael Nagle Getty Images

The Westminster Kennel Club dog show is under way, and that means dogs are being pampered, brushed and cajoled to walk before the event's judges. First held in 1877, the Westminster show claims to be second only to the Kentucky Derby in terms of continuously held sporting events.

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Winter Songs
3:02 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

A Skating Rink's 'Ribbon In The Sky'

hey.kiddo via Flickr

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

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The Salt
2:31 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

McDonald's Teams Up With Humane Society To Phase Out Pig Crates

Score one for the pigs. The news that McDonald's will require its U.S. pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestational crates should add a lot more momentum to efforts to end the practice of confining sows while pregnant.

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It's All Politics
2:16 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Romney's Hard Line On U.S. Auto Industry Good For Primary But Trouble Beyond

Mitt Romney is sticking by his position, first taken in 2008, that the Obama administration should have let GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Mitt Romney, self-proclaimed "son of Detroit," appears to be in serious trouble in Michigan, falling behind to rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in new polls.

Despite that, he's standing firm on his position that the Obama administration should have allowed two iconic car companies — GM and Chrysler — to enter the regular corporate bankruptcy process three years ago.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:10 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Family Acceptance Key In Preventing Gay Youths From Considering Suicide

A new study pinpoints signs that an LGBT teens may be at risk for suicide and suggests how to intervene.
Ben Goode iStockphoto.com

Chances are you've seen a YouTube video featuring _______ (fill in a celebrity's name) telling America's gay teens that "it gets better."

There are a slew of them promising that the bullying will eventually subside and that life will improve, if teens can just hang in there.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Fans, Senators Ask FCC To Scrap Sports Blackout Rule

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 2:05 pm

A coalition of fans and five U.S. senators are urging the Federal Communications Commission to scrap its so called Sports Blackout Rule. The policy allows the NFL to block local broadcasts of games that don't sell out.

The rule has been in place since 1975, and the Sports Fan Coalition says it is outdated and "fan-unfriendly."

Broadcasting & Cable reports on the filing, which was entered with the FCC on Monday:

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

In France, Drivers Face Gas Prices Of $8 A Gallon

Gas prices in France have topped more than $8 a gallon in some areas. In this photo from January, a woman rides her bike past a gas station in Paris.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 2:12 pm

Prices for gasoline are hitting record highs in France, where a gallon now costs more than $8 in some areas. That's the word from Eleanor Beardsley, who filed a report for our Newscast unit:

"Prices are up because of problems with two of France's main oil suppliers. Nigeria is racked by civil unrest, and European Union sanctions bar France from importing oil from Iran."

"A lower euro has also raised the price of gasoline because crude oil prices are denominated in dollars."

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Derided As 'Alien,' Government 'Cancels' Valentine's Day In Uzbekistan

Babur, der Gründer des Mogulreiches.
Wikipedia

If you believe the Uzbek government, today is not a day for love and friendship. Nope.

It is a day to celebrate the Moghul emperor Babur, who celebrates his birthday on Feb. 14. Now this hasn't always been case in the Central Asian country. The BBC reports that in years past, lovers celebrated Valentine's Day by listening to the songs of Rayhan, "a popular singer whose music mixes Eastern melodies with Western pop."

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Boeing Closes $22.4 Billion Deal With Lion Air

An artist rendering depicts a Boeing 737 MAX 9. Lion Air of Indonesia has agreed to become the first commercial customer for the plane.
Boeing

When your products sell for more than $80 million, selling one of them is a big deal. Selling hundreds of them in one deal means they're probably feeling pretty good over at Boeing right now. The aircraft company has finalized a deal to sell 230 jets to Lion Air of Indonesia, with a total list price of $22.4 billion — a record for Chicago-based Boeing.

The deal, which was first announced in November during President Obama's multi-country tour of Asia, includes 201 737 MAX jets and 29 of Boeing's extended range 737-900ERs.

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It's All Politics
11:11 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Can Congress Ever Restore Payroll Taxes To Their Usual Levels?

House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner (right) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (left), said Monday they would vote to extend the payroll tax cut.
Zhang Jun Xinhua /Landov

Republicans rarely meet a tax cut that they don't like. Now that they have found one, they are finding it politically impossible to stop it.

On Tuesday, President Obama called on Congress to extend a 2 percentage point reduction in payroll taxes, which fund Social Security. The cut, enacted last year, is otherwise set to expire at the end of the month.

The current cut means a savings of about $20 a week to a worker who earns $50,000 a year and about $2,000 a year to someone making $100,000.

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The Salt
10:52 am
Tue February 14, 2012

DIY Willy Wonka Turns Home Into Chocolate Factory

Ben Rasmussen pours tempered chocolate into a tray, where it will harden into a finished bar.
Potomac Chocolate

Some people fill their workshops with sawdust and power tools; Ben Rasmussen built a chocolate factory in his.

Actually, "factory" might be too big a word for the Woodbridge, Va. operation, which Rasmussen says is "absurdly small." But it's a step up from his kitchen, where his Potomac Chocolate – one of the smallest chocolate companies in the U.S. – was born.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:37 am
Tue February 14, 2012

States Vary On What They Allow Midwives To Do

Midwife Erin Fullam, left, takes care of Shannon Earle and her new baby Kiera. Daughter Riana, the father, Patrick, and his mother, Ann Earle, look on at the family's home in Takoma Park, Md., in 2011.
Amanda Steen NPR

Women planning to have a baby at home will probably be helped by a midwife.

Doctors only deliver about 5 percent of babies born outside the hospital, according to figures released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Depending on where you live, though, finding a licensed midwife can be tough.

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The Two-Way
10:31 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Whitney Houston's Funeral Will Be Held In Childhood Church

Fans attend a Whitney Houston Leimert Park Vigil on Monday in Los Angeles.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Pop super star Whitney Houston's funeral will be held at the Newark, N.J. church where she sang as a little girl. Citing the owner of Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, the AP reports her funeral will take place at the New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday, Feb. 18.

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The Two-Way
9:58 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Syrian Activist: 'Idea Of Safety Doesn't Exist Anymore'

Syrian rebels aim during a weapons training exercise outside Idlib, Syria on Tuesday. Syrian government forces renewed their assault on the rebellious city of Homs on Tuesday in what activists described as the heaviest shelling in days.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 10:03 am

A day after the United Nations' chief human rights official offered a tough rebuke of Syria, government forces continued their assault on the restive city of Homs. According to the AP, the city has sustained the heaviest shelling in days.

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The Two-Way
8:44 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Drop In Auto Sales Leads To Smaller-Than-Expected Gain In U.S. Retail Sales

Retail sales rose by 0.4 percent in January, the Commerce Department reported today.

While that's better than December's flat number, it's less than the 0.8 percent expected by economists. The AP adds:

"When excluding autos and gasoline station sales, retail spending jumped 0.6 percent the best showing in three months.

"Consumers spent less on cars, the report showed, even though automakers have previously reported higher sales in January. That suggests dealers offered discounts in order to boost sales.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Rick Santorum Faces Off With Occupy Movement At Campaign Event

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to the media on Monday at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

As has happened to many of the Republican presidential candidates before him, Rick Santorum was "mic checked" at a campaign rally in Washington, yesterday.

As the Bellingham Herald reports it, Santorum was speaking at a venue right next to the Occupy Tacoma encampment and was met with chants almost as soon as he started talking.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Tue February 14, 2012

USS Abraham Lincoln Clears The Strait Of Hormuz

This January 19, 2012 image provided by the US Navy, shows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) transiting the Arabian Sea.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:12 am

For the second time in recent weeks, the USS Abraham Lincoln has passed through the Strait of Hormuz. If you remember the strait has been central in the diplomatic rift between Iran and the United States.

Reacting to sanctions imposed by the United States and approved by the European Union, Iran has threatened to close the narrow strait through which about 20 perent of the world's oil exports passes through.

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