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Pop Culture
2:29 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Pow, Crash, Boom! Marvel Thrashes DC On Screen

The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — upwards of $600,000,000 domestically. Based on characters in Marvel comics, The Avengers was released on DVD on Tuesday.
Walt Disney

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:54 pm

The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — more than $600 million domestically. And it's only going to make more, especially with the DVD release this week.

The Avengers features characters from Marvel Comics, but the No. 2 movie of the year was based on a character from rival DC Comics — Batman. It's just the latest skirmish in a long, long, long-running battle between Marvel fans and DC fans.

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Asia
2:00 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Tokyo's Governor Stokes The Island Feud With China

China, Japan and Taiwan all claim the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands as sovereign territory. On Tuesday, coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan dueled with water cannons after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around the islands.
Yomiuri Shimbun AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 1:25 am

Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.

Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.

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Animals
12:27 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Mammalian Surprise: African Mouse Can Regrow Skin

The African spiny mouse has the ability to regrow large patches of skin and hair without scarring.
Ashley W. Seifert Nature

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:54 pm

Scientists have discovered that a mouse found in Africa can lose large patches of skin and then grow it back without scarring, perhaps as a way of escaping the clutches of a predator.

The finding challenges the conventional view that mammals have an extremely limited ability to replace injured body parts. There are lizards that can regrow lost tails, salamanders that can replace amputated legs, and fish that can generate new fins, but humans and other mammals generally patch up wounds with scar tissue.

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World
12:15 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Badger Battle: British Animal Lovers Protest Cull

Badgers have been blamed for spreading disease among cattle in Britain. But a campaign to cull the badgers has been met with opposition from prominent figures like Queen guitarist Brian May, who joined this rally in Bristol earlier this month.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:54 pm

The badger, a stalwart of BBC nature programs, is one of Britain's most beloved animals and is a protected species.

To many English dairy farmers, though, this timid omnivore with the black and white stripes is a mobile biological weapon, exposing their cows to bovine tuberculosis through its urine and saliva.

And they've persuaded the British government to sanction extreme measures.

This month, the government issued licenses allowing trained marksmen to wipe out 70 percent of the badger populations in two pilot areas.

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Asia
5:10 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Mixing Past And Present In Papua New Guinea

A boy sits next to cooking fire at a Papua New Guinea village. Many villages re-create traditional dress and customs to cater to tourists and their search for an "authentic" experience.
Jake Warga for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Few places are more exotic in the imagination than Papua New Guinea. The romantic images it conjures up are the stuff of a National Geographic cover story, complete with deadly animals and, of course, cannibals.

But once I stepped off the plane, I entered a land that was wrestling with its past and its present.

The Sepik River basin, deep in the heart of the country, is a popular tourist destination. It's the perfect place for a jungle river tour, with dense greenery, massive birds and stops at tribal villages.

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Theater
5:10 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

A Broadway Mystery Worthy Of 'Rebecca'

The original Vienna production of a new musical based on the novel Rebecca didn't fall prey to the woes plaguing a planned New York staging.
VBW

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:39 pm

There's a new mystery on Broadway — one about the musical Rebecca, based on the Daphne du Maurier novel.

You can't see it yet on the New York stage. In fact, it hasn't even started rehearsals. That's because the production is short $4.5 million after one of its investors died before he could hand over the money.

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It's All Politics
4:35 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Despite Pledge, Gloves Are Off In Massachusetts Senate Race

Bill Connell of Weymouth, Mass., who supports Republican Sen. Scott Brown, stands near signs supporting Brown's Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, before the candidates' first debate Thursday in Boston.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:39 pm

The tight U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts is getting feistier. Republican Sen. Scott Brown is going on the offensive, running his first attack ad against his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren.

Yet going negative is risky, thanks to a pledge between the two candidates to keep out third-party attack ads.

A Brown TV ad that began airing Monday attacks Warren on an old issue in this race — how Warren identified herself as Native American during her academic career.

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It's All Politics
4:34 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Investigation Dims GOP's Hopes For Holding On To House Seat In Fla.

Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., speaks in Coral Gables in November 2010. Rivera is under investigation by state and federal authorities for allegedly misusing campaign funds.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 10:20 am

Democrats in Florida think they have a chance in November to take back some congressional seats now held by Republicans. Near the top of the list is the 26th Congressional District near Miami.

It's a largely Hispanic district currently represented by Republican David Rivera. Although just a freshman in Congress, Rivera is a well-known Miami politician. Before being elected to Congress, he served eight years in the Florida Legislature and shared a house with longtime friend Marco Rubio.

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Religion
4:08 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

For Hasidic Jews, A Slow, Steady Rebirth In Russia

Dovid Karpov has been the rabbi at the Darkei Shalom synagogue since it was built 15 years ago. Like many people in his congregation, Karpov grew up in a Soviet-era family that was not religious. He says he had to learn his faith for himself.
Sergei Sotnikov NPR

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:24 pm

About a dozen men prayed recently at Darkei Shalom, a Hasidic Jewish synagogue in the working-class neighborhood of Otradnoye in north Moscow.

Except for the Star of David on its squat tower, the building is as plain and utilitarian as the linoleum on the floor. It sits — along with a Russian Orthodox church and a mosque — on a leafy stretch of land surrounded by towering apartment blocks.

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The Salt
3:57 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Greek Olive Oil Woes Echo Country's Broader Economic Challenges

A Greek farmer drives home with his fresh pressed olive oil in barrels near Alyki, Greece. The country's pure olive oil is hard to find, expensive and poorly marketed, businessmen say.
Matthias Schrader AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Greece is in the fifth year of a painful recession, and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. One big problem the country faces is a shortage of strong companies that know how to compete on the world market. And nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the challenges faced by the country's olive oil business.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:37 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Branding Health Care Exchanges To Make The Sale

Peter Lee, executive director of the California Health Benefit Exchange, discusses California's health care plans in Sacramento in July.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:39 pm

As states work to comply with the federal health care law, many are designing their insurance exchanges, where people will be able to shop for coverage.

But just the word "exchange" sounds to many like off-putting government-speak, and some states are eager to come up with a more appealing name for these new marketplaces.

Peter Lee directs California's Health Benefit Exchange. It's up for a new name, and Lee says they want it to sound fresh, dynamic and innovative.

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Latin America
3:23 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Bolivia's Cerro Rico: The Mountain That Eats Men

Cerro Rico, or Rich Mountain, rises like a monument in Potosi, Bolivia. It has produced silver, and hardship, for centuries. Now it may be in danger of collapse.
Carlos Villalon for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Near the mountain city of Potosi in the southern highlands of Bolivia, the cone-shaped peak of Cerro Rico stands as a 15,800-foot monument to the tragedies of Spanish conquest. For centuries, Indian slaves mined the mountain's silver in brutal conditions to bankroll the Spanish empire.

Today, the descendants of those slaves run the mines. But hundreds of years of mining have left the mountain porous and unstable, and experts say it is in danger of collapsing.

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Middle East
2:13 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

As Numbers Swell, Syrian Refugees Face New Woes

A Syrian refugee walks with her children at Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border, Sept. 8. Around 30,000 Syrians live at the camp, with the numbers growing each day.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Syria's refugees keep growing dramatically in number, and no country in the region has taken in more of them than Jordan — a poor, desert nation that is now hosting some 200,000 Syrians.

The conditions for the refugees are perhaps harsher in Jordan than in any other country, with many people sheltered in tents on a hot, dusty plain just inside Jordan's northern border with Syria.

At the Zaatari camp, everything is covered with a layer of sand and dirt; rows and rows of tents, once white, are now a golden color.

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Bring Back The Real NFL Refs! Debacle At End Of Game Adds To Outrage

Confusion: One official (to the left) signals touchdown for Seattle. The other signals that a touchback — possession — for Green Bay.
Stephen Brashear AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Football fans are furious. Bettors are out an estimated $150 million. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin — the Republican who's famous for battling with organized labor — is on the side of the referees union. And the NFL is in something of a "prevent defense," saying that nothing can be done to change the outcome.

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Environment
4:55 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

As Arctic Ice Melts, So Does The Snow, And Quickly

Researchers say that springtime snow is melting in the Arctic even faster than Arctic ice. That means less sunlight is reflected off the surface. Bare land absorbs more solar energy, which can contribute to rising temperatures on Earth. Above, a musher races along the Iditarod in the Alaskan tundra in 2007.
Al Grillo AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 4:11 pm

Arctic sea ice is in sharp decline this year: Last week, scientists announced that it hit the lowest point ever measured, shattering the previous record.

But it turns out that's not the most dramatic change in the Arctic. A study by Canadian researchers finds that springtime snow is melting away even faster than Arctic ice. That also has profound implications for the Earth's climate.

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