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Space
5:39 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Found: Earth-Like Planet That Might Be Right For Life

This artist's conception illustrates Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. It is the first planet that NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed to orbit in a star's habitable zone β€” the region around a star where liquid water, a requirement for life on Earth, could persist.
NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Scientists have discovered a planet not too much bigger than Earth that's circling a distant star that's much like our own Sun. What's more, this planet is in the so-called "Goldilocks zone" around that star β€” a region that's not too hot and not too cold. That's the kind of place that could be home to liquid water and maybe even life.

The planet, known as Kepler-22b, is the first near-Earth-sized planet to be found smack dab in the middle of the habitable zone of a twin to our Sun.

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Politics
5:26 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Maryland Case May Dissuade Political Dirty Tricks

A little-noticed trial in Maryland could affect how many dirty tricks voters will see in the upcoming elections β€” things like anonymous fliers or phone calls telling people to vote on the wrong day, or in the wrong precinct, or that they can't vote at all if they have an outstanding parking ticket.

The tactics are often illegal, but it's rare for anyone to get caught, let alone end up in court.

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History
5:17 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

'The Atlantic' Remembers Its Civil War Stories

Alexander Gardner photographed President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C., on the eve of his second inauguration. It was the last portrait taken of Lincoln before his assassination in April 1865 and it appears on the cover of The Atlantic's commemorative Civil War issue.
Alexander Gardner National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Today it is widely understood that slavery is a stain on American history β€” indelible and regrettable. But on the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, a new issue of The Atlantic magazine reaches back to a time when this matter wasn't yet settled, and monumental questions were still up in the air: Would slavery continue? Would America remain united?

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The Salt
5:14 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Insects Find Crack In Biotech Corn's Armor

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 10:49 am

Hidden in the soil of Illinois and Iowa, a new generation of insect larvae appears to be munching happily on the roots of genetically engineered corn, according to scientists. It's bad news for corn farmers, who paid extra money for this line of corn, counting on the power of its inserted genes to kill those pests. It's also bad news for the biotech company Monsanto, which inserted the larvae-killing gene in the first place.

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Newt Gingrich
5:12 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

History With Cain May Pay Off For Gingrich

Herman Cain, who has since suspended his presidential campaign, greets Newt Gingrich upon arriving at CNN's GOP National Security debate in Washington on Nov. 22.
Jim Bourg Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 7:22 pm

When businessman Herman Cain left the Republican presidential race over the weekend, he said he would endorse one of his former rivals.

One likely recipient of that endorsement: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Like Cain before him, Gingrich is trying to establish himself as the conservative alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. And Cain and Gingrich share a long history of mutual admiration.

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World
5:06 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Russia Threatens To Reevaluate Nuclear Arms Treaty

In the past two weeks, Russia's president has once again slammed the U.S. for its missile defense plans in Europe. President Dmitry Medvedev told his nation Russia would aim its missiles at U.S. missile interceptors when they are deployed in Europe. He also said Russia might even pull out of the new START agreement, which limits both sides' strategic nuclear warhead deployments. We've heard these complaints and threats before from Moscow. Nevertheless, the tone of the Medvedev's remarks was quite sharp.

It's All Politics
4:59 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Can Congress Really Compromise On Extending The Payroll Tax Cut?

Congress returned to Washington Monday with a pile of unfinished business, and no clarity on a path to getting it done. At the top of the congressional to-do list this week is extending a payroll tax holiday that meant about $1,000 in extra take-home pay for the typical family this year. It is set to expire at the end of the month.

Congressional leaders from both parties say the payroll tax cut is a must-pass measure. It's just not entirely clear how it's going to happen.

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Afghanistan
4:52 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Afghan President Pleads For Long-Term Aid

Afghan President Hamid Karzai calls Monday on the international community to keep up its support for Afghanistan. More than 100 countries attended the conference in Bonn, Germany.
Oliver Berg AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 7:22 pm

A decade ago, shortly after the Taliban had been driven out of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, the international community gathered in Bonn, Germany, to talk about rebuilding Afghanistan.

On Monday, more than 100 countries again gathered in Bonn, this time to see how they could maintain support for Afghanistan after the U.S. and NATO wind down their combat operations in three years.

Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, said he was grateful for all the help his country has received, and he appealed to the international community to keep it up.

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It's All Politics
4:49 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

As His Past Emerges As An Issue, Front-runner Gingrich Spars And Parries

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks to the media at the Union League Club following an earlier meeting with Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Dec. 5 in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 8:02 am

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had little time to savor his weekend appearance atop the Des Moines Register's influential Iowa caucus poll before front-runner reality set in.

The former House Speaker on Monday sparred with fellow candidate Ron Paul over the relevance of businessman/reality show host/would-be debate moderator Donald Trump's opinion.

He was questioned at a New York City fundraiser about the "baggage" he brings to the race.

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

NASA Says New Planet Is A 'Major Milestone' In Finding 'Earth's Twin'

An artist's conception of Kepler-22b.
NASA

Scientists at the NASA's Ames Research Center said today that for the first time, they have found a planet that orbits a star a lot like the sun and is smack in the middle of the "habitable zone."

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Record Folders: 54,000 Feet Of Paper; 13 Folds; One New Standard

The St. Mark's School record folders.
Courtesy of St. Mark's School.

Using 54,000 feet of toilet paper and the 825-foot long "Infinite Corridor" at MIT as a workspace, students from a small boarding school in Massachusetts say they broke an unofficial record for folding paper on Sunday.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:06 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Young People Put Dent In Nursing Shortage

Lots of new nurses, like these graduating from New York University in 2009, are helping to fill openings.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

You know that shortage of nurses people have been warning about for about the last decade or two? Fuhgeddaboudit!

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The Record
4:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Howard Tate, Soul Singer, Dies At 72

Howard Tate, circa 1970.
Michael Ochs Courtesy of the artist.

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 7:22 pm

Soul music lost one of its great voices last week. Singer Howard Tate died Friday after a battle with cancer at the age of 72. Tate had made his name with a string of classic records including "Get It While You Can," before sliding into obscurity and addiction. But Tate got sober, found religion and he enjoyed a successful encore career over the past decade.

Tate's first turn at the music business came in 1966, when the single "Ain't Nobody Home" hit the R&B charts.

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Happy Holidays: Stories Of Crime And Redemption

The missing Santa and penguins as seen on McClaren's reward poster.
Jason McClaren via Herald Times

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 3:21 pm

We don't usually share local crime stories, but two of them stuck out today. And one of them provides some hope. We'll start with the sad one:

Fox 8 Cleveland reports that a burglar has "ruined" Christmas for a Painesville, Ohio family. The burglar allegedly broke into the home, took their TV, an Xbox, a laptop and worst of all perhaps, then took all the newly-bought presents underneath the Christmas tree:

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Afghanistan
3:12 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Angry Pakistan Boycotts Meeting On Afghanistan

Pakistani students protest the cross-border NATO air strike on Pakistani troops, in a march at the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Dec. 2. Pakistan said it could not attend the Bonn conference on Afghanistan unless its security was ensured.
Rizwan Tabssum AFP/Getty Images

The United States and dozens of other countries convened in Bonn, Germany, Monday to discuss Afghanistan's future. But Pakistan, a key player in any Afghan settlement, boycotted the conference.

Pakistani leaders were deeply angered by the killing of 24 of their soldiers in a NATO airstrike along the Afghan border last month.

Many in Pakistan say relations between the United States and Pakistan have never been worse, though there may be signs of a coming thaw.

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Europe
3:06 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Russian Voters Send Putin A Message

A Russian woman votes Sunday at a mobile ballot box in the western village of Shelomets. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party received around half the vote and will control the next parliament, but its majority was significantly reduced.
Viktor Drachev AFP/Getty Images

After 12 years with his authority virtually unchallenged, Vladimir Putin now appears to be facing an electorate that's showing signs of weariness with his rule.

Putin still seems to have a lock on another presidential term as the country prepares for that election in March. Nevertheless, his party – United Russia – received a clear rebuke in parliamentary elections held Sunday.

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Education
3:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

More College Presidents Earn More Than $1 Million

Robert Siegel speaks with Jack Stripling, a senior reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, about its analysis of executive compensation at private colleges. Among the findings, 36 presidents earned more than $1 million in 2009 β€” that's three presidents more than the previous year.

Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Wis. To Require Permits For Protests In Capitol

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

New rules set to go into effect later this month could make it harder to stage demonstrations at Wisconsin's state capitol. The move comes after thousands gathered there earlier this year to protest a new law curbing the power of public employee unions. Governor Scott Walker has issued guidelines that limit the size of crowds both inside and outside the capitol building. Demonstrators would also be responsible for the costs of cleanup and police security.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

FAA Administrator Charged With DWI

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 2:28 pm

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration, who among other duties is in charge of the nation's air traffic controllers, was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday night in Fairfax, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

And Federal News Radio says Jerome "Randy" Babbitt has now been "placed on a leave of absence." The Associated Press reports that the leave was "at Babbitt's request."

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Books
2:18 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

John Lithgow's On-Stage 'Education'

Provided by the publisher

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 1:45 pm

John Lithgow was born into a theater family, but he never intended to become an actor; he wanted to paint. But ever since he first took the stage as a toddler, he was a hit β€” and he's gone on to win numerous awards for his work in television, theater and film.

In his memoir, Drama: An Actor's Education, Lithgow focuses on the years before the fame β€” from his stage debut at the age of 2 and his college years at Harvard, right up to the moment when he moved out West and became a star.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Crippled Japanese Nuclear Plant Continues To Leak Radioactive Water

This handout picture, taken by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) shows radioactive water on the floor inside the building of a water treatment facility at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
TEPCO AFP/Getty Images

Over the weekend, the company that runs the Japanese nuclear plant crippled by the earthquake and tsunami in March said they had detected another leak of radioactive water. This time, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) said, 45 tons of contaminated water had been found outside the cooling system and about 300 liters of it had leaked into the Pacific Ocean.

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Education
1:47 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

A Carrot for College Performance: More Money

This year, Tennessee Tech's $35 million in state funding will go up or down based solely on whether students are succeeding.
By Brian Stansberry Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 7:22 pm

For a long time, most public colleges and universities have gotten their funding based on how many students they enroll: More students mean more money.

But economic pressures have convinced states they should only reward results that help students β€” and the state's economy.

Tennessee is a leader among states trying to peg funding to the number of students who actually graduate.

Getting Education To Do More For The State

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Newt Gingrich
1:27 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Gingrich's Health Care Consultancy: Is It Lobbying?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, shown at an event on health care on Capitol Hill this March, founded the Center for Health Transformation.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 7:27 pm

In between his speakership and his presidential candidacy, Newt Gingrich built a network of organizations to promote his causes β€” and himself.

Informally known as Newt Gingrich Inc., those entities have flourished. But questions linger, especially about two of them: the Gingrich Group, a for-profit consulting firm; and a unit of the Gingrich Group called the Center for Health Transformation.

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Humans
1:21 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

For Creative People, Cheating Comes More Easily

New research suggests that people who are more creative are more likely to cheat.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 7:22 pm

Five months after the implosion of Enron, Feb. 12, 2002, the company's chief executive, Ken Lay, finally stood in front of Congress and the world, and placed his hand on a Bible.

At that point everyone had questions for Lay. It was clear by then that Enron was the product of a spectacular ethical failure, that there had been massive cheating and lying. The real question was: How many people had been dishonest? Who was in on it?

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The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Queen Elizabeth's 'Pay' Has Been Frozen

Queen Elizabeth II in November.
Cris Jackson/pool AFP/Getty Images

She'll still get about $50 million a year in taxpayers' money to run her palaces and travel the world, but there's word from the U.K. that Queen Elizabeth II has had her "pay" frozen until at least 2015.

Hard times, after all, require sacrifices.

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World
1:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Limited Options to De-Escalate Violence In Syria

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 3:28 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Over the weekend, as the number killed rose over 4,000, one U.N. official took the considered step of describing the situation in Syria as a civil war. While much of the opposition to the government of Bashar al-Assad remains peaceful, defectors from the military have taken up arms, neighborhoods have formed ad-hoc militias, political and military opposition groups have established a presence across the border in Turkey.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

What Cain's Exit Means For The Republican Field

Herman Cain quit the presidential primary over the weekend and an Atlanta TV station reports that he may endorse his former rival, Newt Gingrich. NPR's Ken Rudin talks about Cain's decision to quit, and how it will change the primary field.

Education
1:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Hrabowski Works To Narrow The Achievement Gap

When Freeman Hrabowski became president of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 1992, he made it his mission to close the achievement gap. UMBC now sends more African-African students to graduate school in science and technology than any other predominantly white university in the U.S.

Opinion
1:00 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Op-Ed: Treating Families That Don't Immunize

Many doctors complain that the few patients who refuse immunizations put all patients at risk, and some refuse them treatment. New York Times Ethicist Ariel Kaminer addresses the question of whether it's ethical for pediatricians to refuse routine care to families with unvaccinated children.

Shots - Health Blog
12:47 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Teens Aren't the Rampant Sexting Maniacs We Thought

They're probably just texting their moms.
Mark Rose iStockphoto.com

Teens sharing totally inappropriate naked photos on their phones: Sexting sounded so plausible, it just had to be true.

But now it turns out that's the vast majority of teenagers aren't sexting at all.

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