4:54pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Middle East

U.S., Russia Try To Find Common Ground On Syria

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a speech at Dublin City University in Ireland on Thursday. She also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Syria.
Kevin Lamarque AFP/Getty Images

As Syrian fighting intensifies in Syria, diplomatic efforts are also heating up.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the main international envoy to Syria were all in Dublin for an international gathering Thursday. The meeting came as Syria's opposition tries to get better organized to offer a real alternative to President Bashar Assad's regime.

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4:18pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Books

Addiction & Recovery Recounted In ‘Hooked’

A new book tells the true story of a Chattanooga woman who got so hooked on hydrocodone that she took between 30 and 40 pills a day. 

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3:59pm

Thu December 6, 2012
It's All Politics

White House Dismisses Constitutional Challenge In Debt Ceiling Saga

White House spokesman Jay Carney briefs reporters Thursday at the White House. "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period," he said.
Charles Dharapak AP

White House spokesman Jay Carney put an end to intense speculation Thursday about whether President Obama would do an end run around Congress with one simple line: "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period."

Some Democrats had been urging Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit — a bold move that would take away Republican leverage in the ongoing negotiations over taxes and spending.

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3:57pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Shots - Health News

Perfection Is Skin Deep: Everyone Has Flawed Genes

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:19 pm

When researchers looked at the genetic sequences of 179 individuals, they found far more defects in the patterns of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs than they expected.
iStockphoto.com

We all know that nobody's perfect. But now scientists have documented that fact on a genetic level.

Researchers discovered that normal, healthy people are walking around with a surprisingly large number of mutations in their genes.

It's been well known that everyone has flaws in their DNA, though, for the most part, the defects are harmless. It's been less clear, however, just how many mistakes are lurking in someone's genes.

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3:36pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Shots - Health News

Nigeria Pressured To Clean Up Lead-Contaminated Villages

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 3:57 pm

A boy works at an illegal gold mine in northern Nigeria. Lead from these mines has sickened thousands of children in the region.
David Gilkey NPR

The Nigerian government has been slow to fulfill a promise it made last spring. And, its sluggishness is putting kids at risk for lead poisoning, the advocacy group Humans Rights Watch says.

Last May, the Nigerian government pledged roughly $5 million to clean up lead contamination around illegal gold mines in northwest Nigeria. But so far, that money hasn't been released.

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3:32pm

Thu December 6, 2012
Around the Nation

To Trim Down, Spelman Trades Sports For Fitness

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

Spelman College has dropped NCAA athletics in favor of a comprehensive fitness program. The school now offers classes like Zumba to help encourage all students to exercise more.
Courtesy of Spelman College

For the past decade, Spelman College, a historically black women's school in Atlanta, has fielded NCAA teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and other sports. But when its small Division III conference started dwindling, college President Beverly Tatum says the school decided it was time to change focus.

"We have to ask ourselves: What is the cost of the program and who is benefiting? How many people are benefiting? Is the benefit worth the cost?" Tatum asks.

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2:32pm

Thu December 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Protests Erupt In Michigan Capitol, After Governor Unveils Right-To-Work Bill

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 9:22 pm

Police arrested several protesters and they sprayed irritants at a crowd gathered at the Michigan State House today.

As the Detroit Free Press reports, State Police used "chemical munitions" when the crowd tried to rush the Senate floor.

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2:04pm

Thu December 6, 2012
The Two-Way

With Looting, Syria's Army Isn't Winning Hearts And Minds

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:35 pm

A Syrian soldier aims his rifle during clashes with rebel forces in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday. Syrian soldiers have been taking over private homes and apartments, and have sometimes looted and trashed them, according to Syrian civilians.
HOPD AP/SANA

Editor's Note: Throughout the Syrian uprising, the government has allowed few foreign journalists and other outsiders into the country. In this report, a Syrian citizen describes life in the capital, Damascus. For security reasons, NPR is not identifying the author.

As the Syrian military struggles against rebel fighters, it seems the army has not been paying a lot of attention to winning the hearts and minds of civilians.

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1:20pm

Thu December 6, 2012
The Two-Way

PHOTOS: In Washington, A Historic Day; Gay Marriage, Marijuana Are Legal

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:26 pm

Jeri and Amy Andrews laugh as they wait in line outside of the King County Recorder's Office on Wednesday in Seattle, Washington.
David Ryder Getty Images

History was made at midnight in Washington on two fronts last night: Bans on both gay marriage and recreational marijuana use were lifted.

As you might expect, as the sun set and the clock struck 12, there were scenes of celebration across the state's biggest city. The pictures tell the story, so with that here are five photographs from Seattle.

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12:43pm

Thu December 6, 2012
The Salt

Fruit Fly Nose Says Steer Clear Of Deadly Food; Human Nose Not So Reliable

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:10 pm

Now we know why we'll never see a common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) sitting on a beet.
Jan Polabinski iStockphoto.com

The earthy smell of a fresh beet may spark delicious thoughts for us, but for a fruit fly, that smell screams danger.

Geosmin, a naturally occurring chemical that gives beets, fresh soil and corked wine their distinctive smell, is also cranked out by bacteria deadly to fruit flies. And it turns out that the tiny flies have a direct pathway from nose to brain made just to detect that smell — and avoid the toxic microbes that produce it.

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