5:27pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Economy

Housing Recovery Lifts Other Sectors, Too

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:00 pm

Chevy trucks line the lot of a dealer in Murrysville, Pa. Sales were up by double digits at Chrysler, General Motors and Ford last month.
Gene J. Puskar AP

The government's employment report for April comes out Friday. It's an important measure of the economy's health and the advance signals have been mixed. One report this week showed layoffs falling to a five-year low, but another suggests disappointing jobs creation.

At least one sector is providing some positive news for the job market: housing.

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5:04pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Women's Health Groups Angered By Morning-After Pill Moves

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

Soon after President Obama spoke at Planned Parenthood's national conference in Washington, D.C., last Friday, the administration alienated some women's health groups.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

The administration's actions this week on emergency contraception have left many women's health groups sputtering with anger.

But what really has some of the President Obama's usual allies irritated is the fact that the moves are in direct contrast to speeches he made in just the past week.

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4:56pm

Thu May 2, 2013
The Two-Way

California Wildfire Burns 6,500 Acres, Shuts Down Highway

A fire fighting helicopter comes in to make a water drop behind some home threatened by a wildfire on Thursday in Newbury Park, California.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

A wildfire, dubbed the Springs Fire, in Ventura County has burned more than 6,500 acres and shut down a 9-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway.

NPR member station KPCC is live-blogging. They report that at around 1 p.m. ET., authorities ordered the evacuation of an area that includes "California State University, Channel Islands, where students were notified by text, email and by the campus-wide speaker system to evacuate."

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4:55pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Movies

In 'Iron Man 3,' A Metalhead Gets The Blues

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:07 pm

Window Dressing: Tony Stark's ongoing Iron Man research involves more than one suit of self-assembling armor.
Marvel

Y'know, I think this bummed-out superhero thing is catching. Depressed Bat-guy, brooding Spider-dude, even the Man of Steel seems existentially troubled in previews of his most recent incarnation.

And smart-alecky Iron Man? He'd appeared inoculated by Tony Stark's reflexive snark from succumbing to a similar ailment — but even he's having anxiety attacks these days. Ever since that Avengers dust-up with those unpleasant aliens last summer, he's evidently been having trouble sleeping.

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4:46pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Music Interviews

Natalie Maines On Motherhood, Eddie Vedder And Leaving Country Music

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:22 pm

Mother is the solo debut of Natalie Maines, former Dixie Chicks frontwoman.
Courtesy of the artist

Natalie Maines is a small woman with a really big voice. Flanked by Emily Robison on banjo and Martie McGuire on fiddle, Maines powered the Dixie Chicks to some 30 million records sold. And then came the collapse — after what the band calls "the incident."

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4:35pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Middle East

Sea Of Syrian Refugees Threatens To Overload Jordan

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 9:23 pm

There are more than 100,000 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Jordan's fastest-growing city lies in the middle of the desert, where the sand is so white that from a distance it looks like snow. There's little running water and not much electricity.

The name of this place? The Zaatari refugee camp, home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.

"This is a city — not one that anybody would want to create if they had a choice," says Caroline Gluck of Oxfam, one of the aid agencies working in the Zaatari camp. "It's certainly not urban planning at its best."

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4:35pm

Thu May 2, 2013
U.S.

Bill Would Put Immigration Verification System To The Test

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

Employers using the E-Verify program are required to post an E-Verify Participation Poster, shown here in a handout photo. A Senate bill would make participation in the system, used to check employees' immigration status, mandatory for all employers.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Reuters/Landov

Some employers around the nation have been using E-Verify to check the immigration status of employees for years. Operated by the Department of Homeland Security, the online system is designed to make it harder to hire unauthorized workers — and harder for those workers to find jobs.

While participation in the program has been voluntary since 1996, the immigration bill now in the Senate would make E-Verify mandatory.

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4:35pm

Thu May 2, 2013
News

When It Comes To Guns, How Young Is Too Young?

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

A woman holds a .22-caliber Crickett youth rifle at a Gander Mountain store in Flint Township, Mich. This type of gun, which is marketed to children and comes in a variety of colors, was involved in the shooting death of a 2-year-old girl in Kentucky.
Steve Jessmore The Flint Journal/Landov

The shooting death of a 2-year-old girl in Kentucky at the hands of her 5-year-old brother has opened up yet another debate about gun control.

While no one favors the idea of 5-year-olds using weapons without supervision, there is no consensus on the appropriate age to start hands-on training with firearms.

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4:31pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Research News

Of Flybots And Bug Eyes: Insects Inspire Inventors

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:49 pm

These robotic flies, which were built in a Harvard lab, can flap their wings independently of each other and fly around while tethered to a power and control wire.
Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon AAAS/Science

A smartphone can tell you where to get a cup of coffee, but it can't go get the coffee for you. Engineers would like to build little machines that can do stuff. They would be useful for a lot more than coffee, if we could figure out how to make them work.

But the rules of mechanics change at small scales. Friction becomes dominant; turbulence can upend a small airplane.

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4:28pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Outbreak Of New SARS-Like Virus Kills 5 In Saudi Arabia

The new coronavirus uses spikes on its surfaces to infect cells.
Elizabeth R. Fischer/Rocky Mountain Labs/NIAID/NIH

With a new bird flu in China, it's easy to forget that there's another worrisome virus emerging in the Middle East.

Today we got a rude reminder of its presence.

Five more people have died from a new SARS-like virus on the Arabian Peninsula, the World Health Organization said Thursday. Two others are being treated in intensive care.

That brings the total cases to 24, including 16 deaths.

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