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Technology
2:59 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Hacking Made Easier, Thanks To New Tools

iStockphoto.com

Time was when it took a fair amount of expertise to launch the kinds of illegal computer attacks that have become the hallmarks of "hacktivist" groups like Anonymous.

Today, just about anyone can download user-friendly software capable of crippling websites. One such tool is LOIC [Low Orbit Ion Cannon], which was used in Anonymous' attack on MasterCard, Visa and other companies late last year.

It's rumored that the group will release another weapon, called #RefRef, on Saturday.

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Sports
2:46 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

A Celtic Cure: Soldiers Use Hurling To Heal After War

The Barley House Wolves circle up around their coach, Ruairi O'Mahony, for a half-time huddle during a match against a hurling team from Worcester, Mass.
Shannon Mullen for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 11:15 am

One of the most popular sports in Ireland is the rough contact game of hurling.

It was created by ancient Celtic warriors, and now it's found a niche following among some soldiers in the U.S. A group of National Guardsmen in New Hampshire formed a hurling team to stay in shape after Middle East deployments.

But they're getting a lot more than exercise.

It's Like Stepping Off Of Battle

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The Two-Way
2:13 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Justice Department: Violent Crime Drops 12 Percent In 2010

Crime scene tape is wrapped around a telephone pole in Detroit.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Statistics released today by the Justice Department show that the number of violent crimes in the country continued their downward trend, dropping a surprising 12 percent in 2010.

The AP reports:

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported there were 3.8 million violent crimes last year, down from 4.3 million in 2009. Experts aren't sure why. The expectation had been that crime would increase in a weak economy with high unemployment like that seen in 2010.

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Latin America
1:35 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Venezuelan Know-How Fuels Rise Of Colombian Oil

A view of the Campo Rubiales oil field camp in eastern Colombia, in April 2010. Colombia's oil production has doubled since 2005 with the help of oil workers who were fired nearly a decade ago by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.
Jose Miguel Gomez Reuters /Landov

Nearly a decade ago, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez fired 20,000 striking oil workers, many in highly specialized areas who had years of experience.

Venezuelan oil production has since fallen, and those banished oil workers are helping boost oil production in other countries, including one new oil frontier, Colombia.

On a recent day on Colombia's southern plains, the oil fields run by Pacific Rubiales, the country's biggest private oil producer, were a hive of activity.

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Developing: Tucson Airbase On Lockdown

The Davis-Monthan Air Force base in Tucson, Ariz. is on lockdown. The AP, as well as local news outlets, report the Air Force base has confirmed that it has stepped up security, but it refused to give details of the situation.

The AP reports:

Senior Airman Timothy Dunaway says traffic has been reduced to a single point entry but he refused to elaborate.

He says the Sonoran Science Academy on the base is on lockdown.

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Rick Perry
1:22 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

In Texas, Perry's Vaccine Mandate Provoked Anger

Mike Toomey (foreground), former chief of staff to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, watches primary election returns with other staffers in Austin in 2006.
Harry Cabluck AP

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 11:15 am

The most dramatic moment of the GOP debate in Florida last Monday revolved around Gov. Rick Perry and his 2007 executive order mandating that all 11- and 12-year-old girls in Texas get the HPV vaccine. The human papillomavirus vaccine protects women and teens against a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer.

During the debate, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann called Perry's executive order an example of crony capitalism.

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Around the Nation
12:50 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Miami Invaded By Giant, House-Eating Snails

In southwest Miami, a small subdivision is being called "ground zero" of an invasion by a destructive, non-native species.

"It's us against the snails," Richard Gaskalla, head of plant industry for Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.

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Barack Obama
11:49 am
Fri September 16, 2011

N.Y. Special Election Shows Obama's Trials To Come

A crowd cheers as Republican Bob Turner appears on stage during an election night party on Tuesday in New York. The traditionally Democratic and Jewish district elected Turner, revealing the problems Obama may have with political strongholds in the 2012 election.
Mary Altaffer AP

This week brought another slew of bad political news for President Obama. The Democrats lost two special elections: one in a Republican-leaning district in Nevada, and one in a Democratic stronghold in New York.

There are also new polls showing the president's support weakening among Democratic voters in blue states.

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The Two-Way
11:47 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Report: Rogue UBS Trader Was The One Who Informed Bank Of $2bn Loss

Kweku Adoboli, the 31-year-old rogue trader who lost $2 billion of Swiss bank UBS' assets, was the one who alerted the bank to what was going on, reports the BBC.

To catch you up on the story: Yesterday, UBS announced that it may have to post a quarterly loss because one man made a series of bad trades. As the AP reported, yesterday, Adoboli proved that banks remain vulnerable even after safeguards against rogue traders were put in place.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Alabama's Largest County Takes Big Step To Avoid Bankruptcy

The Jefferson County Commission in Alabama approved a plan today that could mean the county will avoid having to declare bankruptcy because of a $3.1 billion debt.

The Birmingham News cautions, though, that "the agreement [with creditors] is only a framework or a concept to settle the crisis, and work remains toward crafting a definitive, binding deal."

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Haven't Seen The 'Webcam 101 For Seniors' Video Yet? Here It Is

Bruce and Esther Huffman, video darlings.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 11:09 am

It's one of this week's "viral video sensations," as ABC News' Technology Review says.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Biologists Set To Rescue Fish From Drying Texas Rivers

This news story from the Associated Press gives you an idea of just how bad drought conditions are in Texas:

Wildlife biologists on Friday will evacuate two species of minnows from the shrinking waters of a West Texas river in the first of what could be several rescue operations involving fish affected by the state's worst drought in decades.

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Politics
10:00 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Political Chat: Boehner's Answer To Jobs Crisis

This week, House Speaker Boehner responded to President Obama's jobs plan; Republicans won both special congressional elections in New York and Nevada; and a former Obama administration member announced her bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. GOP strategist Ron Christie and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Cynthia Tucker weigh in.

The Two-Way
9:33 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Soyuz Lands Safely, But Not Without A Scare

Russian space agency rescuers carry Russian cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyayev after his landing aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 space capsule.
Sergei Ilnitsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 9:39 am

Late last night, Soyuz TMA-21 made it back to Earth safely. The three astronauts on board are all safe. But before the capsule touched down in Kazakhstan, mission control and those watching live were treated to some heart-stopping moments.

The AP reports:

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Shots - Health Blog
9:20 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Cocaine Mule Busted In Sao Paulo

A man arrested at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, had quite a bit of undeclared carry-on baggage: 72 bags containing almost a kilogram of cocaine inside his body.
Brazilian Federal Police/HO AFP/Getty Images

Here's a picture worth almost a thousand grams.

The CT scan above shows the insides of a 20-year-old man apprehended Monday at an airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as he was getting ready to board a flight to Brussels.

All those reddish capsules lined up in his intestines are filled with cocaine.

The Irish national, identified only as P.B.B., was pinched by authorities because he was acting nervous. Woudn't you be, too, if you were carrying nearly a kilogram of cocaine in your guts?

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Miami Battling Invasion Of Giant African Snails

The invaders: Two Giant African Snails, in the hands of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services staffers on Thursday (Sept. 15, 2011).
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 8:13 am

Giant African Snails, "one of the most damaging land snails in the world," have invaded a southwest Miami subdivision and are now the focus of "a time-consuming expensive counter-attack" by authorities, the Miami Herald reports.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:58 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Packaging Mix-Up For Birth Control Pills Prompts Recall

iStockphoto.com

Here's a boo-boo that you just don't expect to happen at a company making prescription medicines — especially a firm called Qualitest Pharmaceuticals.

The Alabama-based maker of generic drugs apparently didn't do enough quality testing. It's recalling a slew of birth control pills because a mistake in the factory put pills in the wrong places inside plastic packages.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Fri September 16, 2011

No Joking This Time: 4 Men Hospitalized After Bee Attack In California

We had a bit of fun Thursday with a story about a 200-pound beehive in Arizona.

This story's nothing to laugh about:

"4 Men Hospitalized In Honeybee Attack." (OC Weekly)

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Fri September 16, 2011

New Book Cites 'Bitter Disputes' Among Obama's Economic Advisers

RonSuskind.com

Journalist Ron Suskind had already said that his new book about the Obama administration's response to the 2008-2009 financial crisis would reveal "bitter disputes" among the president's economic advisers.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Reports: Emails Indicate White House Was Worried About Solyndra

President Obama visited Solyndra's plant in Fremont, Calif., in May 2010.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 6:32 am

"A White House official fretted privately that the Obama administration could suffer serious political damage if it gave additional taxpayer support to the beleaguered solar-panel company Solyndra, according to newly released emails," The Washington Post write

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The Two-Way
6:05 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Will She Tip Over? Norwegian Cruise Ship Listing Dangerously After Fire

The MS Nordlys sits stricken in the water at Aalesund in western Norway.
Hakon Mosvold Larsen AFP/Getty Images

Norway's VG-TV is streaming video from the scene as workers try to keep the cruise ship MS Nordlys from tipping over.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Texas Execution Put On Hold By Supreme Court

Duane Buck, "a black man convicted of a double murder in Texas 16 years ago was at least temporarily spared from lethal injection" on Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to "his lawyers' claims that race played an improper role in his sentencing," The Associated Press writes.

As the wire service adds:

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Economy
10:01 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

New Programs Aim To Close The Wealth Gap

With the help of a San Francisco nonprofit, Helena Edwards was able to buy a home. The group helped her set up a matched savings account and also gave her financial advice.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Sun September 18, 2011 4:55 pm

Part two of a two-part report.

The gap in the wealth of white families and what's owned by blacks and Hispanics has widened in recent years. Researchers say it will widen even more unless steps are taken to break what's become a vicious cycle — the rich getting richer and the poor struggling to keep from falling further behind.

The city of San Francisco is taking one step to help even the playing field. Children entering the city's kindergartens are getting their own college savings accounts.

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Afghanistan
10:01 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

U.S. Now Relies On Alternate Afghan Supply Routes

For the first seven years of the Afghanistan war, almost all U.S. and NATO supplies were trucked overland to Afghanistan through parts of Pakistan effectively controlled by the Taliban. Here, smoke and flame rise from a burning NATO supplies oil tanker after armed militants torched the tankers in Mithri, Pakistan, Feb. 7.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Napoleon declared that "an army marches on its stomach," and Gen. Omar Bradley said, "amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics." Successful military commanders have long recognized that few requirements rank higher in wartime than the need to maintain reliable supply lines.

Nowhere is that adage more relevant than in Afghanistan, a landlocked country flanked by hostile or wary neighbors. The shipment of supplies and equipment to U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan over the last 10 years has been handicapped by high costs, pilferage, and the threat of ambush.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

California Turns To China For New Bay Bridge

Catwalks hang over a section of the newly constructed eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in Oakland, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

California is spending more than $7 billion building what it says will be an architectural marvel: the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. But the state saved a lot of money sending some of the construction work overseas.

The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge will have a distinctive design to rival its more famous cousin, the Golden Gate Bridge.

Bart Ney, a spokesman for the project, recently stood near the top of a gleaming white tower, more than 500 feet above the San Francisco Bay.

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Environment
10:01 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Arctic Ice Hits Near-Record Low, Threatening Wildlife

Ice on the Arctic Ocean has melted to its second-lowest level on record. Above, ice in a fjord in Greenland.
Slim Allagui AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 10:00 pm

Ice on the Arctic Ocean has melted to its second-lowest level on record, according to researchers in Colorado who track this trend. The summertime melt coincides with a dramatic warming over the past decade, and it's already affecting wildlife in the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic ice comes and goes with the seasons; typically about half of the wintertime ice melts away by mid-September. After that low point, the ice regrows. In 2007, the amount of ice left in September hit a dramatic low.

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Politics
10:01 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Lawmakers Seek Transparency From Supercommittee

The newly formed congressional supercommittee's 12 members are charged with finding more than $1 trillion in budget savings this fall. Their clout could attract more campaign contributions, and lawmakers are demanding greater accountability for the money the panel's members take in.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has a mixed voting record when it comes to campaign finance reform, but he is adamant about making the six Republicans and six Democrats on the deficit-reduction supercommittee more accountable.

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Middle East
10:01 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Iran's Political Infighting Ensnares 2 U.S. Hikers

A handout picture released by the official website of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows Khamenei listening to a speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (back) during a ceremony with other Iranian top officials and foreign ambassadors to mark the Muslim Eid al-Fitr feast in Tehran on Aug. 31, 2011.
HO/AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 10:49 am

The families of two American hikers imprisoned in Iran received hopeful, and then wrenching news this week. Iran's president announced the two would be released, only to have the judiciary deny it the next day.

As President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to visit New York for the United Nations General Assembly, the political infighting among Iranian conservatives seems to be intensifying.

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It's All Politics
5:38 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

The Senator Who Almost Shut Down The FAA

A partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration was averted right around 6:30 p.m., EST. That's when the U.S. Senate voted 92-6 in favor of a bill to temporarily extend funding for both the FAA and highway projects.

Sounds like an easy vote, right? Think again.

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