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Politics & Government
5:24 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Obama And Boehner Meet At White House; Session Ends Without Deal

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) leaves after his weekly news briefing at the U.S. Capitol Thursday. Boehner said negotiations with President Barack Obama to are stalled until the White House offers more federal budget spending cuts.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 6:01 am

President Obama hosted House Speaker John Boehner today, spending nearly an hour together in which they reportedly discussed ways to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes that are due to strike at the end of 2012. Boehner left the White House at 6 p.m., ET, apparently without reaching a deal. As Politico reports, the Republican plans to return to his home state of Ohio this weekend.

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Arts & Life
5:07 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Lady Liberty's Sea-Washed Gates Closed Indefinitely

The Statue of Liberty survived Sandy unscathed, but Liberty Island remains closed indefinitely as workers remove mud and debris.
Joel Rose NPR

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:01 pm

The Statue of Liberty still lifts her lamp beside the golden door, but the island that's home to the iconic statue was severely tempest-tost by Superstorm Sandy. Flood damage inflicted by the storm has closed Liberty Island and nearby Ellis Island indefinitely.

On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made his first visit to the Statue of Liberty since the storm. David Luchsinger, superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, led the secretary on a walking tour.

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Arts & Life
4:45 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

With 88 Goals, Lionel Messi Celebrates A Record Year

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (in dark blue) shoots on Cordoba's goalkeeper Mikel Saizar (left) during the Spanish Copa del Rey football match in Cordoba on Wednesday.
Cristina Quicler AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:42 am

Stop anyone on the street in Europe, Latin America, Africa and even Asia, and chances are they'll know the name Lionel Messi — and they'll probably know what he did this week. The soccer phenom scored his 88th goal of the year, which is widely thought to be a world record.

And the year's not over yet.

On Sunday, Messi, 25, scored his 86th goal of the calendar year in a Spanish league game against Real Betis, in Seville. The goal, Messi's second of the game, gave Barcelona a 2-1 win over Betis, with the announcer booming, "A new goal king!"

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Arts & Life
4:09 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

A 'Hobbit,' Off On His Unhurried Journey

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) takes a fantastic adventure across Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
James Fisher Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:01 pm

The Hobbit's path to the screen may have started out as tortuous as a trek through the deadly Helcaraxe, filled with detours (Guillermo del Toro was initially going to direct), marked by conflict (New Zealand labor disputes) and strewn with seemingly insurmountable obstacles (so many that the filmmakers threatened to move the shoot to Australia).

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Arts & Life
4:03 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Fighting For Their Family, One Day At A Time

When a boy with Down syndrome (Isaac Leyva) is abandoned by his mother, a neighbor couple (Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming) takes him in.
Music Box Films

It would take a heart of stone — or zero tolerance for soap — to resist Any Day Now, a full-throttle weepie about a West Hollywood gay couple trying to adopt a neglected boy with Down syndrome.

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Arts & Life
3:44 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Chronology: The Benghazi Attack And The Fallout

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:31 am

A look at the events surrounding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and the controversy that followed.

Before The Attack: February 2011-Sept. 10, 2012

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Arts & Life
3:29 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

VIDEO: Speed Camera Nabs Car Sitting At Red Light

A screengrab of the video a speed-camera sent to driver Daniel Doty shows his car idling at a red light. Doty received a $40 fine for speeding.
Baltimore Sun

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 5:54 pm

When most drivers get a ticket from a speed-zone camera, there's little they can do but pay the fine. After all, the ticket often includes photographic proof that their car was over the limit. But a Maryland driver is fighting his $40 fine precisely because of what the photos show: his car, sitting at a red light.

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Arts & Life
3:27 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Cooking Up Holiday Songs From Scratch

Left to right: Seth Jabour, Amy Carlson and Syd Butler of Office Romance. The group's new EP is called I Love the Holidays.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:01 pm

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Arts & Life
3:25 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

HSBC Critic: Too Big To Indict May Mean Too Big To Exist

HSBC has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle a multiyear U.S. criminal probe into money-laundering lapses at the British lender, the largest penalty ever paid by a bank.
Edgard Garrido Landov/Reuters

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:01 pm

Federal and state authorities have received criticism after deciding not to indict HSBC on accusations that it laundered money for Mexican drug cartels and conducted prohibited transactions on behalf of countries like Iran and Sudan. Instead, they entered into a $1.9 billion settlement this week with the bank.

There's no question that HSBC is a massive, sprawling operation. It markets itself as the world's local bank. But watchdogs of the banking industry say mere size should never insulate an organization from the law.

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Arts & Life
3:24 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Gravity Never Sleeps, And Other Lessons Nations Learn From Space Programs

This picture received from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday shows an orbit image of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, being monitored on a large screen at a satellite control center in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province in North Korea.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:51 pm

Sputnik 1 just beeped. China's first satellite, launched more than a decade later, simply radioed a communist anthem back to Earth. So far, North Korea's first satellite appears to be less accomplished.

And that shouldn't be a surprise.

Given the history of first orbital space shots, North Korea's apparent struggle with its mission is fairly typical, says David Akin, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland.

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Arts & Life
3:20 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Error Of The Year: CNN And Fox News Share The Dishonor

Poynter.org

We didn't make the list, and boy are we glad.

CNN and Fox News share the shame of the Poynter Institute's "error of the year" for mistakenly telling their audiences that the Supreme Court had struck down Obamacare.

In truth, the court had done the opposite.

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Politics & Government
3:08 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Ambassador Rice Asks Not To Be Considered For Secretary Of State

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Allison Joyce Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:23 pm

Moving to withdraw her name from among those being considered to be the next secretary of state, embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has told President Obama she does not want to be nominated.

The White House just released a statement from the president that says, in part:

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Arts & Life
2:56 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Good Tidings Of Great Joy: Google Maps App Released For iPhone

A screenshot of Google Maps on an iPhone.
NPR

Google's native maps app for the iPhone finally was released Wednesday, and there was much rejoicing. Just in time for Christmas, the three wise men are able to find the manger without spilling their frankincense or myrrh.

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Arts & Life
2:50 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Ah, Wilderness! Nature Hike Could Unlock Your Imagination

Maybe you can find that creative spark out in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah.
Jeff Turner Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:50 pm

Want to be more creative? Drop that iPad and head to the great outdoors.

That's the word from David Strayer, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies multitasking at the University of Utah. He knew that every time he went into the southern Utah desert, far from cellular service, he started to think more clearly.

But he wanted to know if others had the same experience.

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Arts & Life
2:38 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Many Cups Of Tea: The Business Of Sipping In Western Sahara

A high-end tea set in a Saharawi home in Western Sahara.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 4:16 pm

If you want to get anything done in Western Sahara, be prepared to drink tea — very, very sweet tea.

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