Politics & Government

Latin America
6:46 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Chavez's Socialism At Stake In Venezuelan Election

A picture of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was on display this week at a state-run market that provides subsidized food and basic goods in Caracas.
Eitan Abramovich AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 8:17 pm

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces his most serious election test in 14 years of power. Though he has easily beaten his adversaries in the past, Chavez now confronts a 40-year-old former governor who has been electrifying the crowds.

The stakes are high. If Chavez loses, it could mean the end of his socialist experiment in the oil-rich nation.

In speech after speech, Chavez is like the Chavez of old — bombastic, loud, defiant, with grand dreams about projecting Venezuelan influence worldwide.

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Asia
4:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

U.S. Drones Navigate Murky Legal Path In Pakistan

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone sits on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in southern Afghanistan in 2010. The U.S. has been using drones in Pakistan for years. The Pakistanis initially claimed the drone attacks as the work of their own military, but the strikes have become a source of friction.
Massoud Hossaini AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:15 pm

The U.S. has been carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan for some eight years, but it's done so under a policy that has emerged piecemeal over that time.

"It started in 2004, when drones were really an oddity," says Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was on the State Department's policy planning staff when it all started during the Bush administration.

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The Two-Way
4:57 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Fallout From Financial Crisis: Thousands Of Nigerian Kids Poisoned By Lead

Women and their children wait for medication and instructions on how to use it at the clinic in Dareta, Nigeria. Treating children with high levels of lead is a painstaking process that works only if their environment at home is free from lead.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:27 pm

Gold in general has great PR. It's slick, it's hip, it's bling. But in a remote corner of West Africa, it's killing children.

Lead from illegal gold mines in northwestern Nigeria has sparked what Doctors Without Borders has called the worst case of environmental lead poisoning in years.

The catastrophe is part of the fallout from the collapse of the U.S. housing market.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:57 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Romney Health Care Debate Claim Gets Corrected By His Own Staff

Mitt Romney speaks during the presidential debate Wednesday in Denver.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 3:17 pm

Independent fact checkers have not been particularly kind to Mitt Romney since Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver. But one of the candidate's claims turned out to be so far off the mark that he had to be corrected by his own aides — a fact not unnoticed by the Obama campaign.

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Middle East
4:56 am
Sat October 6, 2012

A Whitewashed Wall Erases Egypt's Revolution

An Egyptian man waves a bullet casing in front of a mural that was painted on a recently whitewashed wall in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:43 pm

A massive graffiti mural in Cairo's Tahrir Square documenting the political turmoil in Egypt was whitewashed earlier this month. The next night, several hundred artists and supporters were back, covering the wall in new images and anti-government slogans.

Medical student and painter Doaa Okasha, 20, was outraged when she found out the original mural was gone.

"It's our history there. This wall explains a lot of what happened in the last months, and it's very important to us," she says. "They easily come and erase everything, and we don't accept that."

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Around the Nation
10:07 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Border Patrol Agent's Death May Have Been Accidental

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. There's new information tonight about the shooting of two border patrol agents along the Arizona-Mexico border earlier this week. One of the agents was killed in that incident. Well, the FBI now says that there are strong preliminary indications that the shooting was accidental and only involved the agents on the scene. NPR's Ted Robbins is following the story and joins me from Tucson. And, Ted, it sounds like the FBI is saying this is a case of friendly fire. What more do you know?

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It's All Politics
6:33 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Big Bird Makes A Campaign Appearance

A protester dressed as "Big Bird" outside a Mitt Romney rally Friday in Abingdon, Va.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

For those concerned that Americans weren't paying close enough attention to the presidential election, a tall, fluffy, yellow bird helped change that this week.

Two days after the presidential debate in which Mitt Romney brought up the Sesame Street character in a reference to federal funding for PBS, the "Save Big Bird" debate continued.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:33 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak Update: List Of Hospitals Released

The government has named 75 medical facilities that received a potentially contaminated drug suspected of infecting 47 patients with meningitis nationwide.

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New Districts
5:13 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Justice Dept. Clears Ala.'s Legislative Districts

The U.S. Justice Department has cleared Alabama's new legislative districts for use in the 2014 elections.
Trance Mist Flickr

The U.S. Justice Department has cleared Alabama's new legislative districts for use in the 2014 elections.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez notified state Attorney General Luther Strange of the decision Friday. The Justice Department has to review new political boundaries in Alabama to make sure they don't violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising black voters.

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The Two-Way
5:12 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Officials Investigating Whether Border Patrol Was Killed By Friendly Fire

U.S. Border Patrol agent Nicholas J. Ivie.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 7:28 pm

The shooting death of a Border Patrol agent along the Arizona-Mexico border may have been the result of friendly fire. The FBI said a preliminary investigation indicates the death of one agent and the injury of another "were the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents."

NPR's Ted Robbins tells our Newscast unit the FBI was investigating the possibility of friendly fire and that today Homeland Security Janet Napolitano flew to Arizona to review the case and meet with the dead agent's family.

He filed this report from Bisbee, Ariz.:

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Agriculture Consulting
5:07 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

State officials To Rework Consulting Contract

Alabama's Agriculture Department is reworking a consulting contract.
http://www.nasda.org/

Alabama's agriculture department is reworking a proposed $288,000 consulting contract.

Agriculture officials on Thursday pulled the item from the agenda of the Legislative Contract Review Committee.

Commissioner John McMillan said he wanted to rework the contract's terms and expand its description.

The committee's agenda had included a two-year, $288,000 deal with lobbyist and former state Rep. Noopie Cosby Jr.

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National Security
3:48 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Terrorism Suspects Face Extradition To U.S.

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 10:07 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. In Britain, the radical cleric Abu Hamza has lost his final battle to avoid extradition to the United States. Britain's high court judges ruled today that Hamza and four other suspected terrorists must now be sent to the U.S. to face trial on terror charges related to al-Qaida. That ends a legal battle that, in Hamza's case, has lasted nearly 14 years. Vicki Barker reports from London.

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Africa
3:29 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Benghazi Attack Raises New Questions About Al-Qaida

U.S. authorities are investigating whether al-Qaida played a role in last month's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Here, a damaged vehicle sits outside the consulate one day after the attack.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 10:07 pm

For the past decade, al-Qaida has been a top-down organization.

Letters seized at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan showed that he was a hands-on manager, approving everything from operations to leadership changes in affiliate groups.

But there's early intelligence that al-Qaida may have had a small role in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on Sept. 11.

If al-Qaida involvement is confirmed, it may signal that al-Qaida has changed.

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It's All Politics
2:40 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Commission On Presidential Debate Defends Moderator Jim Lehrer

Moderator Jim Lehrer addresses the audience before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday
Charlie Neibergall AP

Longtime PBS anchor Jim Lehrer was heavily criticized for his role in moderating the first presidential debate on Wednesday.

Today, the Commission on Presidential Debates defended him, saying the format of the debate was intended facilitate a long discussion on each subject.

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Tension Continues As Turkey Returns Fire Against Syria

Turkey fired across its border into Syria again today in retaliation for a mortar shell that landed inside its borders.

The AP reports:

"The Anadolu Agency quoted the governor for Hatay province as saying that Turkish troops 'responded with fire' after the mortar round landed in a rural area of the province that borders Syria. No one was reported hurt.

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