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It's All Politics
4:31 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Obama Uses And Loses Political Capital On Gun Control

Mark Barden, the father of a young Newtown, Conn., shooting victim, speaks at a White House news conference on Wednesday, with President Obama and former Rep. Gabby Giffords. Obama denounced the Senate's defeat of a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers. "This was a pretty shameful day in Washington," he said.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:53 pm

The Senate's rejection of more robust gun purchase background checks was a stinging blow to President Obama that raised questions about his second-term agenda.

Expanding background checks had become a key part of Obama's post-Newtown push for tougher federal gun control laws. And in recent weeks, the president had campaigned for overall gun control legislation — especially the bipartisan background-check compromise — with a sense of urgency.

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

More Prisoners Join Hunger Strike At Guantanamo

In this image reviewed by the U.S. military, Navy Capt. Robert Durand stands next to some of the makeshift weapons confiscated from detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison following a clash Saturday between prisoners and guards.
Ben Fox AP

The U.S. military says the number of prisoners on hunger strike at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has risen to 52 — up from 45 a day earlier. The news comes just days after guards raided a section of the facility to move prisoners to single cells from their communal holding area because the detainees had covered security cameras and engaged in other actions.

The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg had this tweet:

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It's All Politics
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Immigration Proves A 'Rubik's Cube' For Many Republicans

Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Capitol on April 10.
Allison Shelley Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:37 pm

While an immigration overhaul has drawn support from church groups, business, labor and even former opponents, there's still deep opposition — mostly centered in the Republican Party.

The last time a president tried to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul was in 2007, and George W. Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress killed his bill. Republican strategist Kevin Madden says a lot has changed since then — including the way the Republican Party is dealing with its own internal divisions.

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Education
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

More Than 50 Years Of Putting Kids' Creativity To The Test

E. Paul Torrance, shown here in the mid-'80s, spent most of his career studying and encouraging students' creativity.
Courtesy University of Georgia

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 3:30 pm

This is the second in a three-part series about the intersection of education and the arts.

Let's start with a question from a standardized test: "How would the world be different if we all had a third eye in the back of our heads?"

It's not a typical standardized question, but as part of the Next Generation Creativity Survey, it's used to help measure creativity a bit like an IQ test measures intelligence. And it's not the only creativity test out there.

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Around the Nation
3:03 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

U.S. Budget Cuts Hit Maine's Acadia National Park

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 7:03 pm

Acadia National Park draws thousands of visitors every year and contributed $186 million to the state's economy in 2011 alone. But under sequestration cuts, the park is closing roads for an additional month and cutting back staff and programming, leaving area business owners nervous about the 2013 summer season.

The Two-Way
3:02 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks For Gun Sales

President Obama makes a statement on gun violence as Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and family members of Newtown, Conn., shooting victims look on at the White House Rose Garden.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:36 pm

A bipartisan compromise that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases has been rejected by the Senate.

The defeat of the measure by a 54-46 vote — six votes shy of the number needed to clear the Senate — marks a major setback for gun-control advocates, many of whom had hoped that Congress would act to curb gun violence in the wake of December's Newtown elementary school massacre, where 20 students and six adults were killed.

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Shots - Health News
3:01 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

How Ricin Can Sicken And Kill

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 11:43 am

Federal authorities confirm that the poison ricin was found in envelopes sent to both President Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican.

If that sounds eerily familiar it's maybe because back in 2003, an envelope containing a threatening note and a sealed container of ricin were found in a South Carolina postal facility.

What is ricin?

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The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Scientists Sequence Genome Of 'Living Fossil' Fish

Workers at the National Museum of Kenya show a coelacanth caught by Kenyan fishermen in 2001.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:17 pm

Scientists have unraveled the genome of the coelacanth, a rare and primitive fish once thought to be extinct, shedding light on how closely it's related to the first creatures to emerge from the sea.

The coelacanth, a fish that can reach up to 5 feet long and lives in deep ocean caves, had only been seen in fossils and was thought to have gone extinct some 70 million years ago. That was until 1938, when fishermen from the Comoros islands off the coast of Africa captured one in a net. A second coelacanth species was discovered off the Indonesian island of Sulewesi in 1997.

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It's All Politics
2:16 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Focus On Sanford's Whereabouts, Again, Won't Help Gender Gap

Jenny Sanford says her ex-husband was in her Sullivan's Island, S.C., home without her permission.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 2:29 pm

If it seemed like former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's problem with female voters couldn't get any worse, well, it appears that it might have.

Sanford, a Republican, is hoping to put the marital scandal that defined his second term behind him with a return to Congress in a May 7 special election. But just two days later, Sanford will have to appear in court to defend himself from an accusation that he was at his ex-wife's house in February without her permission.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

On Independence Day, A Subdued Syrian Capital

Pro-Assad, flag-painted Hummers are often seen driving throughout Damascus blasting patriotic songs and regime slogans. These two vehicles were photographed at the site of blasts earlier this month near Syria's central bank.
NPR

The writer is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus who is not being further identified out of safety concerns.

On this day in 1946, Syria celebrated the withdrawal of the last French soldier from its soil, and announced itself as an independent, 20th century-style nation-state.

It was a day of hope and jubilation, which over the years my older relatives would periodically recollect from memory.

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