3:15pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Monkey See

From Classic Toys To New Twists, Kids Go Back To Blocks

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 1:39 pm

Legos and other interlocking toys are only one kind of blocks that remain popular with kids.
iStockphoto.com

I visited Toy Fair in New York City hunting for ideas for our summer series about kids' culture. One of the big takeaways was the increasing popularity of construction games such as Legos. Sales shot up nearly 20 percent last year. Now, it seems, every major toy manufacturer is scrambling to add new games geared toward kids building things.

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3:15pm

Wed June 19, 2013
The Salt

And The Winner Of The World Food Prize Is ... The Man From Monsanto

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 3:41 pm

James Finley AP

Ever heard of the World Food Prize? It's sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for food and agriculture," but it has struggled to get people's attention. Prize winners tend to be agricultural insiders, and many are scientists. Last year's laureate, for instance, was Daniel Hillel, a pioneer of water-saving "micro-irrigation."

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3:10pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Shots - Health News

Vaccine Against HPV Has Cut Infections In Teenage Girls

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

A 13-year-old girl gets an HPV vaccination from Judith Schaechter, a pediatrician at the University of Miami, in 2011.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

A vaccine against human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and the cause of almost all cervical cancer — is dramatically reducing the prevalence of HPV in teenage girls.

The first vaccine against HPV, Merck's Gardasil, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. Cerverix, from GlaxoSmithKline, was approved in 2009.

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3:07pm

Wed June 19, 2013
Around the Nation

'The Watchers' Have Had Their Eyes On Us For Years

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

The revelations about secret National Security Agency programs, leaked by Edward Snowden earlier this month, have stirred great controversy, but this type of surveillance is not entirely new, according to journalist Shane Harris.

In his 2010 book, The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, Harris traced the evolution of these surveillance programs in the U.S.

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2:58pm

Wed June 19, 2013
The Two-Way

Wanna Be A Rock Star? NASA Needs Help Tracking Asteroids

Actor Bruce Willis appears on the surface of an asteroid in a scene from the movie Armageddon.
Frank Masi AP

It won't be quite like Bruce Willis in Armageddon, but maybe you'll feel just as much a hero.

The White House and NASA are seeking the public's help in hunting for asteroids that could someday smash into Earth. They're also looking for a perfect space rock to capture so that astronauts could go there and study it.

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2:53pm

Wed June 19, 2013
The Two-Way

Fed Leaves Interest Rates And Bond Purchase Plan Untouched

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 3:57 pm

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that a fall in the unemployment rate would not automatically trigger a rise in interest rates. He spoke to the media after the central bank issued a policy update.
Susan Walsh AP

The Federal Reserve will continue its program of purchasing $85 billion in securities and will leave the target interest rate for federal funds untouched to support the U.S. economy, the U.S. central bank said in a policy update issued Wednesday afternoon.

Here's a summary of the state of the U.S. economy from the Fed, which concluded two days of meetings today:

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2:24pm

Wed June 19, 2013
The Two-Way

'Suffering On A Huge Scale': World Refugee Numbers Swell

Afghan refugee children collect items of use from a pile of garbage on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

The United Nations Refugee Commission says more than 45.2 million people were in "situations of displacement" around the world as of last year — the most since 1994.

A report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there were 15.4 million refugees in other countries, 937,000 people seeking political asylum and 28.8 million people forced out of their homes but still inside their own countries.

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2:05pm

Wed June 19, 2013
The Two-Way

Country Singer Slim Whitman, Known For His Yodel, Dies

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

Slim Whitman arriving at Heathrow Airport in 1976.
Evening Standard Getty Images

1:24pm

Wed June 19, 2013
The Two-Way

Oops. Wrong Birth Year Fixed On NYC Mayor Koch's Tombstone

Look closely: Ed Koch's tombstone had the wrong birth date. It's fixed now, but the error had the late New York City mayor born in 1942, rather than 1924.
Andrew Savulich NY Daily News via Getty Images

"You could call it a 'grave' mistake," says WNBC-TV of New York City.

The tombstone of Edward I. Koch, the city's colorful, three-term mayor who died in February, listed an incorrect birth date for him. Instead of showing Dec. 12, 1924, the year mistakenly read 1942 — until yesterday.

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1:15pm

Wed June 19, 2013
The Two-Way

FBI Director Says Agency Is Using Drones Over The U.S.

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 4:55 pm

A Predator drone
General Atomics Getty Images

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is using drones on United States soil for surveillance purposes, the agency's director, Robert Mueller, told a Senate committee today.

"Our footprint is very small, and we have very few and of limited use, and we're exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use," said Mueller , answering a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Mueller, who was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said they were used in a "very, very minimal way and very seldom."

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