Shots - Health Blog
2:25 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

Why Toilet Training Can Trip Up Parents and Doctors

When it comes to potty training advice, pediatricians don't have much science to look to.

Science has failed parents, at least when it comes to determining how to toilet-train their children. There's scant data on whether it's better to potty train early or late, or whether it's OK to go diaper-free with "elimination communication," which involves whisking tiny babies off to the potty whenever they pee, which can be two or three times an hour.

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2:08 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

How Much Do Debt Ratings Matter?

President Obama signs the financial reform bill into law in 2010 as Vice President Joe Biden and lawmakers look on.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Standard & Poor's moved to downgrade housing lenders Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and a handful of insurance companies Monday — all in connection to Friday's credit downgrade of long-term U.S. debt.

There's a lot of speculation about how much these risk downgrades are weighing on stock markets, and whether they will continue to ripple through the economy. But, there are systemic reasons ratings matter less than they have in recent years.

Conventional wisdom says a U.S. downgrade would make Treasuries riskier. It would make yields — or interest rates — rise.

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National Security
1:48 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

For Navy Seal Team 6, A Huge Loss For A Small Unit

The U.S. Special Forces held a changing of the guard Monday, and it should have been a moment to recount triumphs, like the raid that killed Osama bin Laden just three months ago.

Instead, the long-planned change of command in Tampa, Florida, was a somber day as military leaders paid tribute to the 30 American troops who died in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash Saturday.

Nearly two dozen were members of the unit responsible for killing bin Laden – Navy Seal Team 6.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

Research Shows Texas Having A Link To Antarctica

Scientists have found evidence that parts of North America and East Antarctica were joined in a supercontinent called Rodinia 1.1 billion years ago.
Robin E. Bell Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Scientists have long thought that Earth's continents once formed a "supercontinent" called Pangaea. Now they've found evidence that parts of North America and East Antarctica were joined in a supercontinent called Rodinia 1.1 billion years ago — even earlier than Pangaea.

"I can go to the Franklin Mountains in West Texas and stand next to what was once part of Coats Land in Antarctica," said geochemist Staci Loewy, who led the work. "That's so amazing."

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Corey Flintoff is NPR's international correspondent based in Moscow. His journalism career has taken him to more than 50 countries, most recently to cover the civil war in Libya, the revolution in Egypt and the war in Afghanistan.

After joining NPR in 1990, Flintoff worked for many years as a newscaster during All Things Considered. In 2005, he became part of the NPR team covering the Iraq War, where he embedded with U.S. military units fighting insurgents and hunting roadside bombs.

1:14 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

In India, Snake Charmers Are Losing Their Sway

Snake charming is a dying art in India. Here, a man named Buddhanath is shown at a New Delhi market during Nag Panchami, the yearly religious festival in honor of the king cobra. The charmer plays a gourd flute and his snake responds.
Corey Flintoff NPR

Snake charmers used to be a fixture at Indian markets and festivals, beguiling crowds with their ability to control some of the world's most venomous reptiles.

But one of India's iconic folk arts is fading away — and animal rights activists say it can't happen soon enough. They say it's an art based on cruelty.

These days, it's not easy to find a snake charmer, even on Nag Panchami, the yearly religious festival in honor of the king cobra, which fell on Aug. 4 this year.

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1:00 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

Remembering A SEAL Shot Down In Afghanistan

A Navy SEAL from Massachusetts is among the 30 Americans who died Saturday when insurgents shot down their helicopter after a battle in Afghanistan. Kevin Houston was one of 22 members from the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 on board. Some of Houston's classmates gathered over the weekend to remember their friend.

The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

SEALs' Chopper Was On A Rescue Mission, NATO Says

New details are emerging about the downing of a Chinook military helicopter in Afghanistan early Saturday that killed 30 U.S. service members and 8 Afghans. Of the American casualties, 22 were Navy SEALS. The NATO mission in Afghanistan released a statement about the crash Monday.

For Newscast, Ahmad Shafi reported:

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12:15 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

Debt Downgrade Weakens U.S. Stature Abroad

In the rest of the developed world, the downgrade of United States debt is seen as an important marker in a long process that will likely harm both the world economy and America's reputation as a fiscal steward.

"There's real fear that, given the mounting challenges facing the administration and the stand-off in Congress, this could really weaken U.S. influence and the U.S. role in the world," says Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London. "For most Europeans, that's not a prospect they welcome."

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The Two-Way
11:44 am
Mon August 8, 2011

ABC News Questions Report On Contents Of New Jackie O. Tapes

Today, British tabloid The Daily Mirror published a report that alledged new recordings of Jackie Onassis reveal that she believed President Lyndon B. Johnson had a hand in the assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy.

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