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Latin America
2:51 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Mexico Busts Drug Cartels' Private Phone Networks

Mexican soldiers stand guard behind communication radios seized from alleged drug-cartel members in Veracruz, Mexico, Nov. 23.
Lucas Castro AFP/Getty Images

The Mexican military has recently broken up several secret telecommunications networks that were built and controlled by drug cartels so they could coordinate drug shipments, monitor their rivals and orchestrate attacks on the security forces.

A network that was dismantled just last week provided cartel members with cell phone and radio communications across four northeastern states. The network had coverage along almost 500 miles of the Texas border and extended nearly another 500 miles into Mexico's interior.

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The Two-Way
2:45 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse On Saturday, Western States Get Rare View

The reddish hue during the December 2010 total lunar eclipse.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

The last total lunar eclipse of 2011 — and the last one until April 15, 2014 — occurs Saturday morning.

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Books
2:45 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

At The High Court, A Tribute To A 'Chef Supreme'

Frozen Lime Souffle is Justice Ginsburg's favorite dessert.
Occasions Caterers

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 2:13 pm

Walk into the Supreme Court gift shop, and there, among all the books on the history of the court, is a cookbook — yes, a cookbook. Put together by the spouses of the Supreme Court justices, it is a tribute to a master chef, the late Martin Ginsburg, husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

By day, Marty Ginsburg was one of the nation's premier tax law professors and practitioners. By night, he was one of the nation's most innovative and accomplished amateur chefs.

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Arts & Life
2:40 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Bolo Tie Goes High-Brow At Arizona Art Exhibit

This silver Navajo bolo tie features coral, jade, shell and other stones. It is on display at the Heard Museum in Phoenix as part of the bolo tie exhibit.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 7:42 pm

Arizona celebrates its centennial next year, and to help get folks spruced up for the occasion, the Heard Museum in Phoenix recently opened an exhibition featuring the state's official neckwear — the bolo tie.

The roots of the bolo tie aren't known for sure. But the story goes like this: Back in the 1930s and '40s, when Western swing was in full swing, a cowboy and silversmith in Wickenburg, Ariz., named Vic Cedarstaff was out riding his horse. The wind picked up, and to keep his silver hatband safe, Cedarstaff looped it around his neck.

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Malawi Will Review Its Ban On Homosexuality

The government of Malawi announced, yesterday, that it would review its ban on homosexuality. The announcement comes just days after the United States said it would use its foreign aid to advance gay rights. President Obama also directed his agencies to "to find ways to deter countries from criminalizing homosexuality."

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Shots - Health Blog
1:27 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Deadly Fire That Changed How Hospitals Are Built

Rescue workers carry a hospital bed through a flooded corridor at Hartford Hospital in 1961.
The Hamilton Archives at Hartford Hospital

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:12 am

Fifty years ago it was still OK to smoke in hospitals.

And on Friday, Dec. 8, 1961, someone, nobody knows who, dumped smoldering cigarette ashes down a trash chute at Hartford Hospital, igniting a ferocious fire that killed 16 people.

The fire began at 2:38 p.m. Within minutes a ball of flame zoomed from the basement to the ninth floor, blowing out a rickety trash chute door and engulfing much of the floor in flame and smoke.

An investigation into the fire and how it spread led to changes in fire codes for hospitals across the country.

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The Picture Show
1:21 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Russia By Rail: Getting Into Hot Water

The hot water boiler on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a social gathering place, as well as a convenient way to prepare tea, coffee, oatmeal or instant meals.
Laura Krantz NPR

In American offices, it's the water cooler.

On Russian trains? The boiler.

It's where passengers gather to make tea, coffee, oatmeal, soup, instant pasta or instant anything whose preparation demands hot water.

The boiler – standing proud and tall near the train attendant's compartment in each rail car – is a metal canister keeping water scalding and available at any hour.

Occasional passengers - including myself - refer at times to the appliance as a "samovar."

But this risks offending traditionalists.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Japan's Prime Minister Says Crippled Nuke Plant Will Be Stable By Year's End

This file handout picture shows workers spraying water to cool down the spent nuclear fuel in the fourth reactor building at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO via AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 3:54 pm

Japan's prime minister said that the Fukushima nuclear power plant crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in March is on schedule to be stabilized by the end of the year.

The AP reports:

"Temperatures of the three melted reactor cores have fallen below the boiling point and radiation leaks have significantly subsided, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

As Candidates Decline, Will Trump Moderate A Debate? 'Don't Know,' He Says

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich listens at right as Donald Trump talks to media after a meeting in New York.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon December 12, 2011 1:33 pm

The news that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) have decided not to participate in the Dec. 27 Republican presidential debate that businessman/TV personality/self-proclaimed potential independent presidential candidate Donald Trump is supposed to be moderating means just two GOP contenders would be left for the event:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).

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Sports
11:55 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Larry Kelley: The Life Of The First Heisman Winner

On Saturday, college football's best player will be awarded the Heisman Trophy in New York. This year's front-runners attend Baylor University, Stanford University and University of Alabama; but 75 years ago, the Heisman winner was a Yale man. In 1936, at a time when the Ivy League was a hotbed of football talent, Yale end Larry Kelley was the first to win a Heisman Trophy.

Economy
10:35 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Trade Deficit Shrinks For Fourth Straight Month

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in October to its lowest point of the year as Americans bought fewer foreign cars and imported less oil. Exports of American-made autos also fell.

The Two-Way
10:20 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Virginia Tech: Same Gun Killed Officer And Suspect

A student paused Thursday evening at the memorial for the victims of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. There was another vigil last night, following Thursday's killing of a campus police officer.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:39 pm

Virginia State Police and other officials briefed reporters this morning about Thursday's shooting on the campus at Virginia Tech, in which a campus police officer was killed and the suspect apparently later shot himself and died. We updated as it happened and put those posts in chronological order after the briefing was over.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:56 am
Fri December 9, 2011

With Doubts, FDA Panel Votes For Yaz And Related Contaceptives

Katie Anderson, shown with her mother, Beth, in 2010, suffered a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Her symptoms started within a month of taking the birth control pill Yaz.
Jane Greenhalgh NPR

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 4:52 pm

Doubts have been growing about Yasmin, Yaz and their sister contraceptives for several years now. And those doubts reached full flower at a Food Drug Administration advisory panel on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Missing Ex-FBI Agent's Family To Captors: 'Tell Us Your Demands'

Robert Levinson, in the video his family received from the retired FBI-agent's captors.
HelpBobLevinson.com

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:37 pm

In a direct message to the people who have held retired FBI agent Robert Levinson since he disappeared nearly five years ago in Iran, his son and wife today ask the captors to "please tell us your demands."

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Fri December 9, 2011

'Inferno' At Hospital In India Kills Scores, Staff Accused Of Running

A grieving woman at the scene of today's fire in Kolkata.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 6:05 pm

Horrific news from Kolkata, India:

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Fri December 9, 2011

U.K. Isolated As Euro Nations Move Ahead On New Pact

Britain Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte earlier today at the summit in Brussels.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

There's been movement today in Brussels, where leaders from the European Union nations are trying to save the euro and restore some faith in the financial markets that they can manage the euro zone's debt crisis. But an important division remains among the 27 nations.

The consensus among news outlets covering the story seems to be:

-- "UK Isolated As Europe Moves Ahead On Fiscal Union." (Reuters)

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Strange News
7:31 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Coca-Cola's Secret Recipe Gets A New Home

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 10:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Coca-Cola took its secret recipe out of SunTrust bank this week and drove it over to a new Coca-Cola museum in downtown Atlanta. But should you visit Coca-Cola World, you still won't see it. The 1886 recipe is in a box, and the box is in another vault. Taking the recipe for a ride, Coke says has nothing to do with the fact that the bank is selling millions of dollars of its Coke stock. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Strange News
7:30 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Blagojevich Case Inspires Airline's 'Seat-Selling' Sale

Spirit Airlines has launched a new promotion mocking former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years this week for crimes including trying to sell a vacant U.S. Senate Seat. Spirit's "Slammer Sale" features $14 fares in and out of Chicago. The airline is calling this a "seat-selling" sale.

The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Slain Virginia Tech Officer's Dash Cam Shows Suspected Shooter

Virginia Tech officer Deriek Crouse, who died Thursday.
Virginia Tech

It still isn't known why a man apparently walked up to a campus police officer at Virginia Tech yesterday and fatally shot the 39-year-old father of five. And the identity of the gunman, who authorities believe died of a gunshot wound shortly after the attack, hasn't yet been released.

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Politics
5:12 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Obama Pushes Agenda Despite Losses On The Hill

President Obama addresses the media Thursday, with an electronic clock counting down to the end of the year. The payroll tax cut is due to expire then, unless Congress votes to extend it.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 11:47 am

President Obama lost a couple of economic battles on Capitol Hill on Thursday, but he is hoping to win the political war. The president vows to keep fighting for policies he says will benefit the broad middle class.

As Obama spoke to reporters in the White House briefing room, an electronic clock behind him ticked down the minutes, hours and days until year's end. That's when a payroll tax cut is due to expire, unless Congress votes to extend it.

Economic Skirmishes

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It's All Politics
5:00 am
Fri December 9, 2011

GOP Objects To 'Millionaires Surtax'; Millionaires We Found? Not So Much

For the second week in a row, the Senate on Thursday voted down proposals to extend the payroll tax holiday through next year. In the case of the Democrats' proposal, Republicans objected to the "millionaires surtax" that would be used to pay for it.

Ever since the idea of the surtax was introduced weeks ago, Republicans in Congress have railed against it, arguing that it is a direct hit on small-business owners and other job creators.

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Technology
5:00 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Libraries Make Room For High-Tech 'Hackerspaces'

As information becomes more digital, public libraries are striving to redefine their roles. A small number are working to create "hackerspaces," where do-it-yourselfers share sophisticated tools and their expertise.

The Allen County Public Library, which serves the city of Fort Wayne, Ind., has a modest hackerspace inside a trailer in its parking lot. Library director Jeff Krull says hosting it is consistent with the library's mission.

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Business
4:59 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Online Video Sites Go Pro And Get Original

Cast members of the canceled sitcom Arrested Development reunite at a New Yorker panel in October. Netflix will exclusively stream a new season of the cult hit — and that could bring the service a lot of new subscribers, one analyst says.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images for The New Yorker

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 3:31 pm

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Business
4:48 am
Fri December 9, 2011

When Airlines Depart Cities, Businesses May Follow

Last month when Chiquita announced it was moving its corporate headquarters from Ohio to North Carolina, it said it was lured there in part by the number of flights in and out of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Cincinnati came out on the losing end of the deal because like so many other cities, it faces a shrinking airline hub, which can affect the city's business climate.

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, or CVG, is big but kind of empty. Business traveler John Bonno from Atlanta was noticing recently how desolate it feels.

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