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Asia
4:41 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

U.S. Forces In Australia Draw Mixed Reaction

U.S. Marines are shown during a training exercise south of Darwin, Australia. Marines recently arrived in Australia as part of a move by the U.S. to place greater emphasis on Asia and the Pacific.
Glenn Campbell The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 7:34 pm

Since a small contingent of Marines landed in the northern port town of Darwin last month, the U.S. has shown greater interest in using Australian military facilities as part of a larger effort to refocus its military capabilities in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific.

"We have no better ally or friend in the world than Australia, and we have no area in the world which is as important or dynamic over the next 50 years as the Asia Pacific," says Jeffrey Bleich, the U.S. ambassador to Australia.

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Performing Arts
4:03 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

UniverSoul Circus Organizer: 'Soul Is Not A Color'

The Shaolin Warriors, from Shaolin Monastery in central China, put on a demonstration of traditional kung fu fighting techniques, with some crowd-pleasing stunts thrown in. They had never performed with a circus before this year.
Courtesy of UniverSoul Circus

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 7:34 pm

For almost 20 years, the UniverSoul Circus has been pitching its tent in urban plazas across the country. The circus was founded by a Baltimore native as a showcase for black talent, one that he hoped would inspire black audiences.

In more recent times, the circus has evolved into an eclectic mix of acts from around the world. Now, it's pushing to diversify its audience, with a show called "Us."

Strength, Precision And Crowd-Pleasing Nerve

In the beginning, all of the talent was black. They came from Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S.

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Planet Money
3:33 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

For $75, This Guy Will Sell You 1,000 Facebook 'Likes'

How much for that thumb?
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 1:48 pm

Looking to get more popular on Facebook? Alex Melen will sell you 1,000 "likes" for about $75.

Melen runs an Internet marketing company. About six months ago, companies he worked with started coming to him more and more with a simple problem: They had created pages on Facebook, but nobody had clicked the "like" button.

"You would go there, and there would be two likes," Melen says. "And one of them would be the owner. And people right away lost interest in the brand."

For the right price, Melen can fix that.

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The Salt
3:29 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Thank The Patron Saint Of Bakers For This Cake Today

The author pauses to photograph the St. Honore cake before she digs in.
Deena Prichep

We here at The Salt usually ignore food festivals and those "Celebrate Whatever We're Eating Now" Days. They're a bit precious, no? But this one was too good to pass up: Today is the day the French celebrate the Feast of St. Honoré, the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.

And since the French hold their corner bakery right up there with the Catholic Church, the celebration is not complete without a big bite of the complicated confection named for the saint in question. More on the cake a little later.

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Bloomberg: Facebook's Saverin May Save $67 Million By Renouncing Citizenship

Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook.
Jason Kempin Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 8:17 am

Bloomberg took out its pencil, paper and calculator and came up with this number: $67 million.

That's how much the news service estimates Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin could save in federal income taxes after having renounced his United States citizenship in advance of social media company's public debut.

Bloomberg reports:

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The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers
2:41 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Town's Effort To Link Fracking And Illness Falls Short

NPR

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 11:35 am

Quite a few of the 225 people who live in Dish, Texas, think the nation's natural gas boom is making them sick.

They blame the chemicals used in gas production for health problems ranging from nosebleeds to cancer.

And the mayor of Dish, Bill Sciscoe, has a message for people who live in places where gas drilling is about to start: "Run. Run as fast as you can. Grab up your family and your belongings, and get out."

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Chipping In To Your Office Lottery Pool? Read This First

Tim Boyle Getty Images

Here's yet another reminder about why it's important to have somebody write down the rules and keep accurate records if you're pooling money at the office to buy lottery tickets.

After all, for every heart-warming story about "three amigos" who seem to have gotten along swimmingly and deserved the money they won, there are tales such as this:

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Asia
2:10 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Activist Bob Fu Helped Chen Call Congress

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Election 2012
1:57 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Latino Voters: Seen, But Will They Be Heard, In 2012?

Latinos protest Mitt Romney's opposition to the Dream Act, outside his campaign headquarters in Las Vegas on Feb 2.
Michael Thurston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:03 pm

If young voters were the breakout stars of the 2008 presidential election, then Latino voters may take center stage this year.

Every other week or so, it seems, a new poll gauges Latinos' opinions about the candidates, the issues and their level of engagement. Both parties are pouring millions into their Latino outreach. Latino politicians have assumed prominent roles in the conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties. And a Latino senator is on the short list of potential running mates for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

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NPR Story
1:45 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Hickenlooper And List On Pre-Election Atmosphere

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 1:58 pm

The push for civil unions recently failed in Colorado, and Governor John Hickenlooper has some ideas about why. Also, former Nevada Governor Bob List talks about the influence of Ron Paul on the Republican Party. And NPR's Political Junkie columnist Ken Rudin rounds up the news.

NPR Story
1:45 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Democrat 'Appalled' By Wisconsin Recall

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 2:01 pm

Wisconsin Democrats hope to unseat Republican Governor Scott Walker in a recall election. In the Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Zimmerman, a lifelong Democrat, says he is "appalled." The recall, he writes, "epitomizes the petty, loser-take-all vindictiveness of contemporary American politics."

NPR Story
1:45 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

'Life, Interrupted' By Cancer Diagnosis At 22

On the day before Suleika Jaouad's first chemotherapy treatment in June 2011, an oncology nurse shaved her head.
Seamus McKiernan

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 12:14 pm

Just months after moving to Paris to start her first full-time job, Suleika Jaouad was diagnosed with cancer — acute myeloid leukemia. Like many who face life-threatening illnesses in their 20s, she is coping with a dwindling sense of independence — increasingly relying on her parents for care — while simultaneously dealing with the very adult issues of mortality, infertility and disease.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

EU Human Rights Court Could Be Last Stop For German Claiming CIA Kidnapping

Khaled El-Masri.
ACLU

A German man, who says he was mistakenly shipped to a secret prison in Afghanistan as part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program, took the stand at the European Union's human rights court today.

After unsuccessfully seeking redress in the U.S. and Germany, Khaled El-Masri is suing Macedonia, where he was allegedly kidnapped. El-Masri argued that the country was callous and calculating when it turned him over to the U.S. This hearing could also mark the end of the legal road for a case that spans eight years.

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Four Decades After Dying In Cambodia, Soldier To Receive Medal Of Honor

Army Specialist Leslie H. Sabo Jr. will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony.
army.mil

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:04 pm

President Barack Obama awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor today to Spec. Leslie H. Sabo Jr., a Pennsylvania rifleman killed after sacrificing his body to grenade fire in Vietnam during 1970's "Mother's Day Ambush".

A Defense Department description of Sabo's heroic actions says the 22-year old saved the lives of several other soldiers. He charged enemy positions and killed several North Vietnamese fighters while drawing fire away from his unit.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Report: Syrian Opposition Sees Greater Support From Gulf States, U.S.

There's quite a bit of news coming of out of Syria today. The big one is a report from The Washington Post, quoting "U.S. and foreign officials" saying that the Persian Gulf states and the United States have stepped up their efforts to assist and arm the opposition.

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It's All Politics
12:46 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Minority Rules: Who Gets To Claim Status As A Person Of Color?

Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is shown here attending a 2010 Capitol Hill hearing on the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:13 pm

Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren isn't backing down from her claim of Native American ancestry, despite the apparent lack of primary documents proving that she's 1/32nd Cherokee.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:37 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Buyers Of Hyped Skechers 'Toning Shoes' Can Get Refunds

An ad that featured Brooke Burke touting Shape-ups as the latest way to burn off calories and make muscles stronger was cited by the Federal Trade Commission.
FTC

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 2:49 pm

No more ifs, ands or butts about the claims that Skechers USA made for its goofy-looking toning shoes.

The company has agreed to pay $40 million to settle claims that it deceived customers by saying its Shape-ups shoes would help people who wore them shed pounds and tone their abs, buttocks and legs, the Federal Trade Commission said.

The FTC alleged there's no evidence the Skechers shoes would do a better job by those measures than regular old gym shoes.

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Africa
12:33 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Civilians Flee, Soldiers Dig In On Sudanese Frontier

Nyachieng Nguot Teng, 25, lost her left leg and her 7-month-old son suffered a fractured leg when a Sudanese bomb fell on her hut in Lalat, South Sudan, on May 5. The United Nations is trying to prevent the recent fighting between the two Sudans from escalating into full-scale war.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 7:16 pm

There's a tense calm at South Sudan's front line, just 10 miles from the frontier with Sudan, its neighbor to the north. South Sudanese commander Maj. Gen. Mangar Buong says his troops remain on alert and on the defensive.

There is not a civilian in sight. They all fled the area, known as Panakuach, after Sudan's recent aerial bombardments and escalating concerns about a full-scale war.

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Presidential Race
12:29 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Candidates Gird For 'Scorched Earth' Campaign Season

President Obama, who has a technocratic image, has shown that he intends to give as good as he gets — or better — in the campaign.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 1:42 pm

If President Obama is already running campaign ads that showcase people describing Mitt Romney as a "vampire" and a "job destroyer," what will the ads be like by November?

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Movie Reviews
12:15 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

'The Dictator' Rules With A Satirist's Fist

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen, the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and unexpectedly sympathetic protagonist of The Dictator.
Melinda Sue Gordon Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 1:30 pm

Many fans will be disappointed that Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is a more or less conventional comedy and not an ambush-interview mockumentary in the style of Borat and Bruno. But that guerrilla-clown shtick would be tough to sustain: Why not let him try something else? The good news is that The Dictator is loose and slap-happy and full of sharp political barbs and has funny actors moving in and out — and at a lickety-split 83 minutes, it doesn't wear out its welcome.

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It's All Politics
12:00 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Biden On Bain: Romney 'Thinks This Experience Will Help Our Economy'?

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 2:30 pm

The Obama campaign on Wednesday escalated its attack on Mitt Romney's business career, with Vice President Joe Biden scheduled to aggressively question how Romney's management of Bain Capital might translate into running the U.S. economy.

On Monday, Obama's re-election campaign unveiled a new swing state ad questioning Romney's assertion that he was a job creator while running the private equity firm. The Romney campaign countered later in the day with its own ad.

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The Salt
11:51 am
Wed May 16, 2012

From Science Fiction To Fact, Robots Are Coming To A Farm Near You

Brent Ware, a member of the robotics team at Kansas State, stands next to a planting robot that won a national competition.
Jeremy Bernfeld Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:59 pm

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Shots - Health Blog
11:35 am
Wed May 16, 2012

FDA Delays Sunscreen Label Redo

Alivia Parker, 21 months at the time, ran through circles of spraying water on a hot day in Montgomery, Ala., last June. She was wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 100, a rating that won't be allowed much longer.
Dave Martin AP

For a little while longer you'll still be able to buy suncreen labeled as waterproof or with a sun protection factor of 100.

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Law
11:30 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Is There Racial Bias In Clemency Decisions?

Nearly 20 years ago Clarence Aaron was sentenced to three life terms for his involvement in a drug deal. His request to have his sentence shortened was denied by the White House in 2008. Now a story by ProPublica's Dafna Linzer reports the Bush administration was not told key facts before deciding on it. Host Michel Martin speaks with Linzer.

Author Interviews
11:24 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Just What's Inside Those Breasts?

Breasts are getting bigger and arriving earlier. They're also attracting chemicals and environmental toxins, which are getting passed along in breast milk.
Photographer: B-D-S iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 1:31 pm

When writer Florence Williams was nursing her second child, she read a research study about toxins found in human breast milk. She decided to test her own breast milk and shipped a sample to a lab in Germany.

What came back surprised her.

Trace amounts of pesticides, dioxin and a jet fuel ingredient — as well as high to average levels of flame retardants — were all found in her breast milk. How could something like this happen?

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The Two-Way
11:23 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Neither John Edwards Nor His Mistress Will Testify At Corruption Trial

John Edwards as he entered the Federal Courthouse in Greensboro, N.C., this morning.
Sara D. Davis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 12:31 pm

The campaign corruption trial of former Democratic presidential contender John Edwards will not reach a dramatic climax with testimony from the former senator or the mistress he's accused of trying to hide with 2008 campaign funds.

According to The Associated Press, Edwards' attorneys said in court today that they will not be calling Edwards or Rielle Hunter to the stand and that they expect to rest their case later today.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Wed May 16, 2012

9-Year-Old To Westboro Baptist Protesters: 'God Hates No One'

Josef Miles, making his own statement.
Patty Akrouche Facebook.com/FeverDreams

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 10:42 am

Patty Akrouche says she's "never been prouder" of her 9-year-old son, Josef Miles, than she was this past weekend.

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Bush Says 'I'm For Mitt Romney,' But He Likely Won't Play Role In Campaign

Back in 2006: Then-President George W. Bush and then-Gov. Mitt Romney
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 10:47 am

"I'm for Mitt Romney."

With four words, said to an ABC News reporter as an elevator's doors closed, former President George W. Bush on Tuesday confirmed what was pretty obvious — he is supporting his fellow Republican's bid for the White House.

But as The Associated Press reports:

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Remembrances
9:04 am
Wed May 16, 2012

A Fleeting Memory Of Carlos Fuentes

Mexican write Carlos Fuentes at the Hay Festival Cartagena in January.
Claudio Rubio AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:43 pm

When I heard that the Mexican literary legend Carlos Fuentes died Tuesday at 83, I remembered a long, easygoing interview I did with him years ago. We talked about many things — including what epitaph he wanted carved on his tombstone.

It was the autumn of 1995 and I was a reporter at The Washington Post, assigned to write a profile of the elegant, eloquent Fuentes. I draw on that story now, for twice-told tales worth telling.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Wed May 16, 2012

At Trial, Serb Gen. Mladic Taunts Survivors With Throat-Cutting Gesture

Former Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague earlier today.
Toussaint Kluiters AFP/Getty Images

"Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic taunted Srebrenica survivors on Wednesday at the start of his trial for genocide, running his hand across his throat in a gesture of defiance to relatives of the worst massacre in Europe since World War II," Reuters writes from The Hague.

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